Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Early mornings

5:20am - The first of my alarms goes off.  I have two alarms, as there is always the possibility that I sleep through one when it is that early in the morning.
5:30am - I am washed, dressed, and in the kitchen.  I switch on Radio 4 and catch the end of the shipping forecast.
5:31am - I make myself a cup of tea and put on the coffee machine.  The tea gets sipped now and the coffee goes in a flask for later.  I listen to News Briefing and stare into space for a few minutes as I listen to the soft bubble and drip of the coffee machine and the state of the world this morning.
    Tea for now, coffee for later
5:35am - I start to make my packed lunch and packed supper for the day ahead.  It would be so much easier to throw money at the problem than prepare two meals at 5:35 in the morning but:
a) I am poor - I have no money to buy sandwiches 
b) I have only a half hour break and work on the 14th floor of a massive hospital...if I attempted to buy sandwiches in my lunch hour I'd be still in the queue for the till when I was due back on the ward.

Packed lunch + packed tea

So I make packed lunch and packed tea.  Both of them substantial, because I can never be entirely sure that I will get both my breaks.  If a patient suddenly deteriorates, then your half-hour supper break is not the ward sister's priority.

5:45am - Farming Today comes on the radio, and I know that I need to finish faffing around with my lunch and supper and make some breakfast.

5:50am - I don't want to eat breakfast at this time in the morning, but I make myself, because I might not get another chance to eat until 3 or 4pm, and patients don't need nurses who are delirious with hunger.  I usually have a bowl of oats and dried fruit that has been soaking in milk overnight, mixed with yogurt, and some chopped fresh fruit.

6:00am - The Today Programme starts and I need to finish up breakfast and pack my bags.  Clean uniform and my portfolio of achievement in one bag, food in another bag.

6:12am - I switch off Radio 4, am out of the door and walking to the station.

Walking to work 6:15am  

Walking to work 6:15am

6:28am - I get on the train.  Standing room only.

6:50am - I arrive at the hospital and make my way up to the 14th floor.

7:15am - I am in my uniform, hair tied back, make-up on, food for the day stored in the staff fridge.  I make my way to the handover room, and start taking notes from the big whiteboard about which patient is in which bed.

7:30am - Handover from the night staff begins and I start my shift.


  1. I've been up at the same time as you the last couple of days, with nowhere near such a good reason. I do like being up early, but I have no idea how you keep going all day if you're doing this every day!

  2. You put me to shame, that is quite a day. I used to get up at that time and listen to the same things on R4; can't quite put my finger on why I love the shipping forecast and Farming Today, but I do. Something to do with the sense of place it gives me maybe. And I always think homemade packed lunches are better than shop ones - I couldn't afford to buy one either, but I am sure yours are nicer. I am very grateful to you and other nurses for the amazing job you do. Thank you Nancy.

  3. Dang that's a long day. But given the packed train at 6.28, clearly you are not the only one.

    When we lived in Japan, I got up at 5am for a year to get to work. Not sure I ever got used to it, though if you asked, I'd say I was a morning person.

  4. I'm so grateful right now to the wonderful people like you who become nurses. I've been thinking about you this past week as i watch the nursing staff tend their patients with no-nonsense yet tender care.

  5. You make me feel very idle Nancy, I feel like writing my own mornings post as a complete and utter contrast to yours.

  6. And yet you still find time to blog! So glad about that xx

  7. I feel idle by comparison.... Love the building on the corner, second photo from the bottom

  8. Amazing how much you get done so early! BTW, it looks like you live close to a place I used to live in (E17).

  9. oh my. I am tired just thinking about your day............

  10. ohdearohdear - when I think about the fuss I make about getting up at 6.30 I am ashamed.


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