To All of The Nurses Who Take Call

  1. Kim says:

    I am an RN in a Cath lab. I’ve been bummed since yesterday just preparing myself to take that little pager home staring tonight, and won’t give it back till Monday morning. (After a long week!!) Thank you for this article. After reading it, I’m holding my head a little higher and remembering how important what I do is to so many people. The on call is so very hard, but I do love what I do!! #cathlabrocks

    • Sheila says:

      Thank You for your hard work, your very well appreciated.

    • Rochelle, BSN RN says:

      Dido to Kim. I am an RN in the Cath Lab and actually on call this weekend. We had a middle of the night call-in until 2a this morning. Sometimes it is really difficult missing your family/friends events, but seeing the pt’s family and even the patient (who like the article said, truely thought they were going to die) after the case makes it all worth it! When I explain my call to someone who doesn’t understand, I just say, “We need a team on-call 24/7 because you can’t schedule your heart attack.” Working in the Cath Lab can be very demanding, but it is also very rewarding! I love my job!

      • Angie says:

        I’m also a cath lab RN and can attest to the fatigue and long hours of cath lab work. Sometimes, we work all day, get called in in the middle of the night, and still report to work at 0700 the following morning to work another full day. You’re right, the work can be exhausting, and there are times I get very frustrated when I get called in. Then I get to the lab and i get to be apart of giving someone their life back, and I’m telling you, there are no words to describe how humbling that is! What we do matters and I wouldn’t want to do anything else!

    • Minerva Viton says:

      Thank you …. My husband is Rudy … And he’s on call almost every day 24 hours at a time … We travel in 2 cars , we stay local as he must respond in 20 minutes … This can be difficult for the family but we support him and God knows I think About the person having the heart attack And their family … Instead of becoming upset , I say a little prayer and ask God to heal …… When my husband gets home I always ask ” did he/she make it ?” And what happiness I feel when he says yes …CUZ we all can relate to the pain of having someone who is ill … Thank you for posting this blog … God Bless you

      • Kelsey Rowell says:

        You tell Rudy its been a year and my Dad and I still remembered him. He was my dad’s source of calm after that storm. Just played it cool like it was nothing until my mom had arrived. I know it was more than just Rudy, but we specifically remembered him and thank him from the bottom of our healthy hearts 🙂 You both are special, and thank you SO much! I want you to know that this post has been viewed by over 100,000 people 🙂 He’s a famous cardiac angel now! haha. Thanks so much!

    • Rachel A says:

      This was a nice article to read. I’m glad your father did well and that his life was saved by talented professionals who came in on call. I wonder if this experience has inspired you to become one of those amazing professionals that takes call and saves lives? Would be a great way to give back & experience being on call.

    • Gayleen Bernal says:

      Yes being on call is difficult cause you are not the only one on call your family is too. But every time I see my son I thank the “on call” staff who saved his life one spring Saturday.
      He had been playing Rugby and felt funny after the game. He collapsed walking into a restaurant where the after game celebration was taking place. He had a massive MI and due to Off duty EMS personnel, he survived enough to make it to the Cath lab where the “on call” staff was waiting to take care of him. Everyday that followed was hard as they put him on a vent and ‘cooled” him to preserve his brain. 40 days later he awoke and was able to thank those girls who took care of him that first night. He now has two wonderful children and his quick mind is still intact. It took a team, a “on call” team to keep him on this earth. Thank you , Thank you , Thank you. Gayleen (I am also a nurse too who has been on call many times.)

  2. Barb Davies R.N. CHPC(C) says:

    I am an R.N. working in homecare in Ontario Canada. I don’t do on call per se BUT having said many is the time I have gone out late at night, in the middle of the night to solve a problem or to pronounce a patient. I don’t have to do these visits but I choose to for just the reasons you have written about because I make a difference in people lives

    • G. McD. says:

      Thank you. Oft we, including yours truly, complain on FB as if the politicians will suddenly realize what we want. So, thank you for your work. No complaints except needles raise my anxiety and I will get over it. Nice week.

  3. Demetria Parker says:

    I’m an OR nurse. Thank you for this article. I am proud of what my co workers and myself do. OR nurses are a different breed. We become family. Last October my mom had surgery that required calling out the call team(my second family). Wouldn’t want anyone else caring for me and my family. OR nurses are a slice above the rest. Lol.

    • Stephanie Ann says:

      As an OR nurse for 25 years I totally agree…. We are a special breed. No matter your title or job description you are ALWAYS family. It takes a village…..

  4. Marey says:

    I’m an RCIS in the CathLab. I really appreciate your words of encouragement and appreciation for the CCL RNs . The team in the CCL does case after case day in and day out and often forget how we impact others lives. For me personally every patient is my family member and treated as such. Love to hate that little black box, but know how important it is when it goes off. May God bless you and your family

    • Mary Poponak says:

      I worked ER for 25 years a lot of 3-11 missed alot of things my son was in at school but needed to work because I was a single parent.Did not have to take Call in those days but now I work in PACU and do take Call for surgery and Csections too. It is hard to be called in the middle of the night and still work full time but I do it. I could retire but I would really miss my job so I will continue to work as long as I am able.

  5. Nancy says:

    Thank you for your kind words. I am a Cath lab nurse, presently enjoying a well deserved margarita as I am, thankfully, not on call this weekend. Last weekend I was. Friday evening 11:30 pm I drove in a snow storm for a 43 year old man who rec’d 1 stent. Sunday afternoon I was at my 86 yo mom’s house, filling the weekly pill box when my pager went off for a 67 yo woman who had her STEMI while at Dunkin Donuts with her daughter & granddaughters, she rec’d 1 stent. And finally Tuesday night, my last night of call for the week, a 43 yo man whose right coronary artery was filled with clot & he rec’d 2 stents. Despite all of that “badness” our department was honored this week for Cardiovascular Professionals Week, pizza, small gifts & thanks for a job well done!

  6. Amy says:

    I am a Home Health Nurse with 25 yrs experience Med Surg. We take call every 3rd weekend but also have local families and patients knowing our home phone numbers too. Many a time of calls and requests. NEVER should patients or families ever feel intrusive. One day. …no one will call. All Nurses Rock!!!!

  7. Marianne says:

    Awesome post! You are obviously a great nurse – and are a nurse for all the right reasons!

  8. Melody says:

    Thank you for this. I’m an IR nurse who takes call and this really resonated with me. Since I’ve made the switch from ICU almost two years ago, I’ve come to realize how little people (even RNs and healthcare workers in other departments) know about the interventions we do. We treat every body part from head to toe, except hearts, which we send to our awesome counterparts in cath lab. I love what I do now. I have a great team. But taking call means you can’t truly relax. But I also think about how quickly I can respond when someone is having a stroke and their livelihood depends on our team. It’s a privilege and a true calling. 🙂

  9. Elsie says:

    I’ve been there. I just want to include that it’s a whole team effort. Thanks to the CVI techs too. They are amazing at their jobs too. It takes a team.

  10. Sue says:

    I have been an OR nurse for 18 yrs, and I have taken ALOT of call over the years – every third weekend. And yes, it does interrupt your plans regularly however, I am very priveleged to walk families through unplanned emergencies that have interrupted their lives too. I love being an OR nurse, we are a unique group that truly are called to this specialty. It’s either your passion or not, and I am honored to have to take call.

  11. Tonya says:

    I am not a nurse, I am an Xray tech. I scrub in and stand beside the doctor, helping him as he diagnosis and fixes the blockage. We work as a team usually 2 Xray techs and a nurse and the doctor, on call for situations just like this. Yes it is hard to leave my bed, my kids, or even my comfy chair and good book, but knowing that I helped to save someone’s life is well worth it. So thank you to not only the nurses, but the doctors, the scrub techs and all of the other ancillary staff that take call, that make themselves available to go to work, when lives are on the line.

  12. Steph says:

    I am proud to be a cath lab nurse. Once upon I was the family in the waiting room with my dad having a STEMI. I was truly blessed that day. Thankful that I can now help others.

  13. Amy says:

    Thank you so much for this post! As a Cath lab nurse, we often sacrifice a lot for the people in our hospital community. I had the pleasure recently to care for a fellow church member at 2am. Had we not intervened, her outcome would have been tragic more than likely. I love my job very much and am always very proud of our team and the work we do. Call can be very difficult at times, especially when you have children. The best reward is articles and stories like this or when you and your kids hear people say “your mom took such good care of me and she saved my life.” The Cath lab is a team that takes stemi calls and any other cardiac emergency call very seriously. While call is life altering, we arrive, stay focused, and get the job done treating each patient as if the we’re a family member or friend even at 2am. God bless you for writing this.

  14. Steph says:

    Thank you! After a very long and extra call week at work this was a wonderful boost.

  15. Paula says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story and I am so happy your dad did so well! I am a nurse in the cath lab and also a member of our community rescue squad and stories like yours are exactly why I do what I do and why I love what I do! No, call is not fun but the negative impact on my and my families life pales in comparison to the impact on my patients and their families! Yes, my family sacrifices but my children learn how important and what a blessing it is to take time to help someone in their time of need and for that I am forever grateful!

    • Wanda says:

      As an OR Nurse of 43 years I, & I’m sure other OR/Cath Lab/Endo/PACU (Recovery Room) Nuses, Scrub Techs & Endo Techs , Surgeons, Anesthesia Techs, Anesthesia personnel “Thank You” for sharing your thoughts with everyone. Yes, sometimes we get tired of being “on call” & being “called in”; but when I see my patients face & their family members faces I know that it’s a blessing for me to take care of them. Over the years my children & family have gotten use to me being “on call” but they know that someone is in need when I get “called in”; & I’m even more blessed to have them & their understanding me!

      Now I’m a Director of Perioprative (Surgical) Services & I’m on “on call” for my staffs 24/7 to support them. I would not want to do my life & my nursing career any other way!

  16. Bernice Jasper says:

    In May 2014 I was a patient that got everyone out of bed at 2 a.m.. My daughter who is an OR RN called on her fellow nurses and the best heart surgeon in the world to come and take care of her mom. Not 8 showed up but about 18. They were the best and treated me with such care. I thanked them all before they started on me and the one said it was their job. I told them all I knew it was but they all showed up out of what they thought was going to be a good nights sleep. My surgery was a 5-6 hours. So yes some of them started their regular shift when they took me to ICU. I so appreciate all of those nurses and my Doctor what would we do with out them. They sacrifice a lot for us. I was in CHI St Alexius Hospital for 10 days and fully recovered and went home to my family. I also was so glad to see all of my children and grandchildren when I woke up, they also sacrificed a lot for me. Love to all.

    • Lisa says:

      Miss Bernice, as an OR nurse, I need to tell you taking care of you is not a sacrifice. It’s what we do. Not everyone can. Not everyone should. I can’t balance my checkbook. And after going to school for three years to teach, I realized, I don’t like children that much. Not everyone is supposed to do every job. We are just wired to take care of people at 2am. It’s what we do.

      • Agnes Holloway says:

        Hi Kelsey : I am a retired OR nurse and I have to say you did such a good job on your blog it almost made me want to go back to being on call but at 70 I don’t think I could do it now . Thank you for your kind words because sometimes we don’t get any thanks but as far as I’m concerned when we see our patient settled safely in his bed after his surgery is completed is definitely enough for Me

        • Susan Bowles says:

          I too am a retired OR nurse and am humbled by the gratitude of the above comments and the patients and families we have helped over many years, 24-7.
          By this age I’ve been on both sides of the stretcher and am always grateful for the community of faithful warriors who continue to stretch themselves in devotion to their oath to help others. Thanks to all in our community who hold others in such esteem that you sacrifice so much…..God bless..

      • Shay Carnley R.T.(R) says:

        I absolutely love the way you put this. I am a RT (R) that’s xray tech for those that don’t know. I feel the exact same way. I could never spend all day in a classroom with kids, but give me that one with a belly ache or a bad cough and I can almost always sweet talk them into laying on my table and getting a pic that I assure them won’t hurt…. Or of they can’t be won over… I have it in me to hold them down screamimg cause I know that’s what’s best for them. I too have taken call ( I use to be a CT Tech) and it is hard… But worth it… I loved it… And remarkably I miss it! Here’s to all medical personal we are a breed of our own! And I’m proud to be in the ranks with people like us!

  17. Mary Lou says:

    I am a RNin the CathLab and have been fior 20+ years and I am grateful you for the. Words of thanks and the acknowledgment for what we do.
    I just want to add that specially in FL the Call Team include some very special people that hardly ever get recognize, they are our cardiovascular/ radiology technonologist , we could not do what we do without them. Saving lives require the skills of a well refine team, we all contribute valuable skills . So hats off to the Call Team!

  18. Debi says:

    How I wish more nurses in the Homecare field felt this way. True dedication and the realization of importance in the lives of patients and families is a quality hard to find. Up since 4am on Friday..found out this evening shortly before evening RN due to arrive that no one will be here until late Sunday night| Monday am. A continual battle. At $35 per hour, low pay isn’t the problem. The need is there.

  19. Yordi says:

    Is about the team in Cath Lab not about Nursing. Am the Rt standing shoulder to shoulder next to a Doctor trying to save a patient life.
    Nurse, Rt and Cvt are the team savers without a Nurse or tech it will be a challenge for a Doctor to save a patients life. Is not only about the 1 and 50 and time out. Is about the combination of skills that make us save a patients life.

    • Kelsey Rowell says:

      I hear you! I will say what I have said to all of the other people with similar comments! I am by no means downplaying your role! This is a nursing blog so I am giving a shout out to specifically nurses and the role I know that we play! The whole team is amazing and I thank you for all that you do! I know it’s a team effort.You should start a blog for techs so people better understand your role and what you do! I’m serious! Everyone deserves recognition, and know better way than to come from someone in that role, themself!

      • treva says:

        I am so proud of my youngest daughter Amy I have read this entire post she was 21 when she packed up and moved from her family from Ohio to Louisiana is a long ways she cannot drive home every other weekend. Just a couple of week’s after her move I became very sick hospitalized for quite some time it was a struggle for both of us after I became well enough to travel I visited her for 2weeks she was constantly on call but I didn’t mind a couple of times in the middle of the night she was called into work when she returned she was emotionally upset because if the case she had to deal with its been 2 years she is still there doing whatever it is she does I am extremely proud of my daughter the Tech that gives so much but thinks nothing about it other than doing her job God bless you all in the medical field for giving so much

    • Diane Durm, BA, R.T.(R)(CV) says:

      ell put! It is about all the professional modalities that make a team!

  20. Becky says:

    Wow Kelsey! Thank you so much! I don’t usually mind call, and frequently pick up extra, but it certainly does take a toll on my family life and affect my children. I am a second generation OR nurse, now rn first assistant, and I remember acutely the times my own mother left us kids to go in on call. So it hits a painful spot when I see and hear that disappointment from my kids when they say, you’re on call again?
    We nurses tend to run each other down, not seeing the importance of each others work, so I am very grateful for your blog, and I want to tell you something too. If you work in the ER, THANK YOU, because when I rush in with my child ( and all 3 have been there), your calm authority comforts me in my fear. I have only a glimpse of the BS and danger you put up with, because our patients quickly go to sleep. If you also do shifts on the floors, I’m grateful also, because, in the OR, we seldom have to move patients with fewer than 4 people. I can’t imagine having to turn or toilet a 150+ kg patient with one or 2, or have to respond to call bells. So thank you for the highly specialized work that you do. And thank you for acknowledging the difficulty in our specialized work too.

  21. Judy says:

    Thank you, thank you to all the people who are so dedicated to their jobs! Each story has so much feeling in it! You can tell that they like what they do! It is so important to care!

  22. Deb Minor says:

    I’m an OR nurse and have taken call for over 30 years and all to well know the phrase of ” I can’t I’m on call”. My children and now my grandkids also plan life events around my call, because it is what it is. We look back on old family photos and laugh at the size and changes in my pagers I’m wearing in them, from the ones the size of a radio to current use of the cell phone. Nursing alone is a family career because you’re always on duty and your family grows thinking the conversations you have at the dinner table are normal until their friends tell them how gross we are. So before you deside to start taking call really think things through because it is your family also taking call. Btw I love it and would never change my OR experiences. ? Nursing

  23. Ruth D says:

    Your Dad is an example of why I have been on call in the OR for over 40 years. Is it hard? Damn right it’s hard! Do others who don’t take call know how hard it is on your life? I don’t think so! I remember a time when I was grocery shopping with my 6 month old daughter, I got beeped and had no choice but to bring her in with me. While I was in doing a c section, she was safely put in a walker, bouncing off the walls just outside the OR. I had a number of times when my husband was away on business, I would have to bring my young children in with me in the middle of the night, put them in an empty patient room and I would do my emergency surgery. There have been many times that I’ve worked all day and all night and then my next shift rolls in. There are many stories over the years. Forty hour work week and also a 72 hour call week together! Not easy. So, thank you kindly for acknowledging and appreciating what it means to be on call!

  24. Rebecca, MSN says:

    Wow – first let me say – I agree – thanks to the Cath Lab RN’s and IR and OR. HOWEVER – I work at a level one trauma center. As a FLOOR nurse in the ICU/burn unit (God, how awful, right?). My husband is also a nurse there – float pool (every floor). And… Get this …. ALL RN’s in our hospital take call. Every last one. Unfortunately – there’s a nursing shortage. So, what that means is that we work our 3 -12 hr (really 14 hr) nights and take 1 on call per week. In the past 6 months I have not had a single on call day that I wasn’t called an hour before my shift even started to work the whole shift. My average week is 56 hours!! On call is used to actually staff the hospital! So I get it – when nurses sigh and say “ugh, I’m on call”. That just means that instead of working every other weekend, your now working 3 weekends a month or more. It means that while I’m thrilled your dad was there to tell you stories and to be a part of your upbringing – I watch my kids from a distance and miss their baseball games and soccer games. I beg and plead with people to switch me days so I can attend just one awards banquet with my child. I come home exhausted and watch my child sleep – because it’s the only time I have with them some weeks. So – nurses – sigh, complain to your fellow nurses who understand your plea. And then put on your big girl/boy pants and save some lives. I won’t ever say it’s not worth it. But we all deserve a little venting.

    • Doreen says:

      On-call to serve staffing needs is a hospital gaming the system to not hire sufficient staff (think of the benefits expense they are saving!) If you are not unionized, think about calling the ANA or CWA Nurses United unions and having a conversation. Nurses deserve better than to be treated this way by their employer. I have been a nurse over 35 years, most of that time in ‘on-call’ positions. We organized in 1983, and while it does not fix everything, mandatory overtime and terrific on-call policies protect us.

      • Mary Jane O'Connor says:

        I have also been an OR nurse for over 30 years and believe that we have no business being unionized. If you became nurse, you did so for a very different reason than an auto worker. I can speak for myself, instead of running to some hump union steward. And, if you can’t, you belong on an assembly line at Chrysler. You are a disgrace to the nursing profession.

  25. Ashleigh says:

    I’m a l&d nurse and required to take call and this article is perfect. Thank you for helping me realize that some people aren’t so lucky with spending time with their loved ones because bad stuff can happen. Glad your dad was ok and thanks for putting being on call into perspective.

  26. Zumie says:

    Kelsey I am a cath lab nurse and understand how frustrated that nurse was that night. But it is the stories like yours that make my call easier. Even thou the call is frustrating I love my job. Thanks for writing your your story it shared me up.

  27. Hello! I am the daughter of a surgeon, the sister of a palliative care nurse, the sister-in-law of any OR nurse. I am not a nurse myself, but from the position of loving so many people that have lived “on call” I want to say thank you for what you are doing to provide hope, encouragement, to refresh them and to help them to take care of themselves. My passion is for healing the broken-hearted and helping them to find unconditional hope. As I read your post what resonated in me is your passion for making life better … for everyone. I think in that way we are similar. Here’s to healing in all its forms!

  28. Melinda says:

    As a parent with a daughter who has had two brain surgeries and other related procedures, I want to thank you all for what you do. My daughter was first diagnosed at 4 years old and that’s when she had her first brain surgery. How you all can be so calm and comforting to both the patient and the parents, I don’t know, but I’m very grateful! When her younger brother presented with massive headaches that just wouldn’t go away and we feard the worst, ER staff helps us though the entire process. Turned out the headaches were viral and not caused by a tumor (thank goodness!) Whether you’re on shift or on call, please know that your work is very much appreciated. (Even if some patients suck at showing you the thanks you deserve).

  29. Gail Christian says:

    I have to vent a tiny bit because of a group that is consistently left out of this type conversation: the PACU nurses. We are NOT the OR though we are in that department. We provide the care, direct care, to your family after the surgery……We are the diligent watchers of your family members when they are at their most vulnerable. I salute every nurse, those who take call and those who don’t; it just hurts to read the lists and not see my specialty listed. I don’t like call, but I will do it, and deal with the tiredness because I love what I do, I chose it and I knew when I did that I might lose some sleep. Your family is worth it!

    • Kelsey Rowell says:

      You are simply amazing! Very discipline that takes call deserves to be praised! I want you to know that every blog I write, no matter how good the intention is, people find something negative to say. I’m not saying yours is negative, but I’ve had people address me as if I specifically said “ALL NURSES DESERVE THIS PRAISE ANS NO ONE Else!” That is not what I’m saying…. I just people would understand that. Some of my best friends are PACU Nurses! Love what Yall do!

  30. dlo says:

    I have taken call for over 25 years in different capacities. I have always told myself if I no longer care that a patient is having an emergency in the middle of the night, it is time to get another job. It is exhausting at times, but very rewarding. I have also been on the family side of things, and remind myself that every patient is someone’s loved one. A reminder that all the staff taking care of patients are not nurses, that there are many professionals that make up the team., such as RCIS, RT(R)CI, RT(R)VI, Exercise Physiology…..not to forget the many professionals that show up in departments when there are additional problems, as in Cardiothoracic Surgeons, respiratory therapists, lab technologists….the list can go on and on. So happy things turned out well for your Dad, but he also did his part in not ignoring he was in trouble…..many people stay home and have a huge heart attack.

    • Kelsey Rowell says:

      The whole team rocks! I write a nursing blog and specifically addressed them, but my dad said time and time again that he was thankful for EVERY person there!!! Thank you for acknowledging them, as the TEAM deserves praise! You rock!

  31. Julie C says:

    It’s nice to feel appreciated. Sometimes we do, and sometimes we don’t. I’m an X-Ray Tech in a Cath Lab, and love it. Just finished walking figure eights around two blocks, because it’s 70 degrees in Ohio in February, on a Saturday, and I’m on call. Th hard live, I’d rather be available to help someone if they need it, than something else. Tonight, going to dinner with my husband, niece, great-niece and then playing Uno with them. Th here’s only a few things you can’t do on call — drink and go out of town. I can handle that one every fourth weekend!

    • Kelsey Rowell says:

      You rock Julie! Thank you for your kind words! I’ve had a lot of techs and other positions getting so defensive about me not specifically mentioning them! I write a nursing blog! I don’t write a cardiac catch lab blog! And this was a sentimental story about my dad! I may not have specifically mentioned every individual in the lab, but I KNOW it is a team! And I’m thankful for every person who had their hand on my dads heart…literally! thank you for all you do!!!

  32. Annette says:

    It is so good to hear these praises. I have worked 30 years as an RCIS in the cath lab! It is a very hard job and I sacrificed a lot of my family’s time to do what I love. There is nothing better then the feeling when a STEMI comes thru the door in severe pain, sweating profusely, and leaving smiling and joking! That is why we do it. Please compliment the nurse and the team as we must love what we do or we wouldn’t put our bodies and families through it!

  33. N Hansen says:

    I have worked many years as an OR nurse and taken a lot of call. And what you overheard is typical – we can’t plan anything on call days – never would I have tried for a manicure while on call. That being said I was never sorry to be called in for a true emergency at all – holiday or not because you knew you were there for a reason. So glad your dad had such a good team.

  34. Sharon Rogers says:

    Great story and boost to all those special people who take call! I was an ICU RN for 30 years and worked as an anesthesia tech while I was in nursing school. I never forgot those “On Call” nights but what I did forget was just how important it is for the families of a patient in crisis to have a nurse there providing care and skills to their loved one. All too often we, as nurses, only hear the complaints surrounding our profession. It’s nice to hear the gratitude of a family and sister nurse! Keep up the good work, girl!

  35. Laura says:

    I just got home from a Stemi,sitting here on my sofa just waiting for the adrenalin rush to wear off.So glad your dad made it,honest to God there is no better feeling than seeing the patient alive and pink and all there at the end of the case.Thank you for saying your thank you!

  36. Joy Clair says:

    I am a CRNA. This definitely put a smile on my face!! Call staff often goes unrecognized saving many lives a year in life threatening situations. I always refer to our call staff as heroes in the night!!

  37. Karen Neil says:

    This is a great letter! I would suggest to nominate those nurses for a group DAISY award! This is an award that has become a worldwide award. If you are interested, look it up on daisy

    • Kelsey Rowell says:

      Lol Karen I interview the president of the Daisy Foundation recently. You should check out that blog 🙂

  38. Moya says:

    Thank you for your words of encouragement… I’ve been a cath lab nurse for over a decade. You are right… Most people have no clue what we do. I love my job. It’s hard, but oh so rewarding. It’s what I was created to do. I’m so glad your dad is okay… Bless you!

  39. Bonnie RN says:

    Thank you for your encouraging words. It is hard to take call but I try to focus on the precious life I am coming in to provide care for. So thankful that your outcome was so awesome. They aren’t all that fortunate but at least we try.

  40. Bill Weast says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I hope your father is doing well.
    You seem to be a caring person and therefore a good nurse. I hope you continue to pass this caring enthusiasm that along to our “youngsters” as they come into the profession.
    Bill Weast, CRNA.

  41. Cindy says:

    Thank you so much for the wonderful words, As a hospice nurse who LOVES my job but not so much being on call, its nice to hear what a difference we can make. Although I don’t save lives, I hope to make them more comfortable. Thank you 🙂

  42. Karen Neil says:

    I have met them also! I was the coordinator of this award at the Hospital that I work for!

  43. Georgia RN says:

    Hi Kelsey,
    Thank you for sharing your family’s story. Nurses are heroes, and we do make a difference in people’s lives! I am a recovery room nurse that loves my job! I take from 48 to 63 hours of call a month on top of working full-time. I am on the ready when the phone rings at 3 am knowing that there is a person in need waiting to come out of OR. That said, there are problems in my department, and the job that I accepted 10 years ago has changed into something quite different. Weekend call consists of 12 hours and more of cases that are non-emergent. Night call starting at 2300 has become an extension of a late shift requiring the call nurses to be at work at 2300 until the cases are done, sometimes until 2 or 3 am. This is necessary because surgeons, for one reason or another, start their cases late. Again, I love being a nurse for the past 24 years, and I can’t imagine doing anything else to earn a living. Sometimes, and more frequently as of late, I feel burned out from working additional call hours for non-emergency cases just to accommodate surgeons. Nurses need to be rested and feel well to give their best to their patients. I wish directors and supervisors would be a little more supportive of their staff so that we can function at our best for our patients.

    • Kelsey Rowell says:

      I hate that so much for you guys! I think all hospitals struggle with that in some way shape or form! I just worked an extra shift for a floor be I love them and they were so short staffed! I didn’t want to but they love on me so well, it makes me want to help them! We really do need more support in so many areas! Thank you for you commitment to this profession! I think you are amazing!!!!!

      • donis says:

        Hey cvor nurse in mobile, al..I take call Alot!!!!! Yws we complain… yes our plans get altered… & our kids complain about the call but honestly… nothing I mean nothing is on our minds except our patients when the call comes in the adrenaline kicks in.. and I wouldn’t have it any other way…. so glad your Dad was blessed. . I am blessed also with my skills and ask for Gods guidance every day.. thank You for the acknowledgement. …

      • Linda A. Fein CRNA says:

        I am a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist in Cincinnati, Ohio. After almost forty years of taking call, the exhaustion of lost nights of sleep, the sadness of lost holidays with my family, and many many interrupted plans over the years, your blog has made me remember why I do it. We rarely get a thank you, but there is great satisfaction in knowing that your life’s work is meaningful, and that you have touched the lives and families of thousands of patients.

  44. KSPL, RN, CNOR says:

    Thank you for writing this for ALL of us who take or have taken “call” over the years. I’ve been retired for a year now after 40 years in the OR… many changes, but the feelings expressed are the same. From a 3 room OR where I began my “on call” life to the end in a OR with a Cath Lab……I can recall patients and their families and the impressions they made on me. I plan to share this with family and friends who are still “taking call” tonite. This should be part of the orientation folder for ALL new “on call” staff.

  45. Jo Swann says:

    Taking the time to say Thank You makes doing my job easier. No one likes being taken for granted as well as being on call. There is a sense of entitlement displayed at times by the people we care for. Don’t get me wrong one is entitled to receive good care. I’m a nurse because I like making a difference as I care for people. I liken my job to that of a customer service professional, where my ultimate goal, at the conclusion of my encounter with you, is safe efficient care with satisfaction. If being on call or working a set schedule is what’s required then so be it.. The struggle is real, being short staffed, high acuity, working long hours and being grateful for having a well trained bladder. Thirty years ago I said this and I stand by it today…I am a nurse because I care!!!! Thank you fellow nurses for choosing this profession..Thank a Nurse today !!!
    P.S. I am so glad to hear that your father is doing well ,

  46. Joe says:

    Glad your father is well!!!
    I still hate call with a passion and most of my Cath Lab coworkers do also. However I think we all agree that when it is necessary to come in and help a patient that is truly in need there isn’t one of us that has ANY issue heading to work. We do complain until that one pt arrives that would have died without the STEMI teams help.

  47. Jimmy Harris says:

    I can’t say Thank You enough to the ER and Heart Center at Singing River Hospital in Pascagoula Mississippi. I had a Heart Attack on Christmas Eve 2010 I am alive and doing well today because of all of the TEAM. They are one of the best teams around. I don’t know the nurse who wrote this article but I know in my Heart you are a Great Nurse yourself. Thank You.

  48. Hank Mathewes says:

    Thank you for your kind words of appreciation. Working in the CCL is a stressful, sometimes discouraging, labor of determination and optimism. Every call team member from the operator who pages out the team to the housekeeper who ensures that the room is safe to work in deserves kudos for their dedication and professionalism. It’s easy to understand that some of our families and friends can be disappointed in what appears to be a selfish over-dedication to our career. Those people will never truly understand or appreciate why we do what we do. They will never know the thrill of returning a person from the brink of a life ending event. They will never know the absolute satisfaction of watching another person’s eyes open in confusion when circulation is re-established and awareness returns.

    Blogs like yours remind those of us who deal with crappy schedules, multiple call backs, cranky peers, physical discomfort and job stressors that break the strong that its all worthwhile.

    Thank you.

  49. Teresa Allison says:

    Thank you so much. I am an OR RN . You just reminded me of my call case this week. My patient made a difference in my life…he was awesome.
    I will keep your message in mind when I am on call and smile, knowing the lives that can be touched. Just another way to make in difference in a person’s life.

    Thank you for your wishes.

  50. Nikki says:

    I love the nurses I work with in the CCL, but let’s not forget about the x-ray techs that work in the Cath Lab too. It was most likely an x-ray tech that would have scrubbed in with the cardiologist, getting their hands and gown bloody to fix your father’s STEMI. And x-ray techs also take call for the OR for trauma, vascular, GI, and orthopedic cases.

    Not at all trying to diminish the amazing work that nurses do. I’m just trying to shed light on the fact that there are many non-nurses who also take call and have to drop everything when there’s an emergency in the same manner that nurses do.

    • Kelsey Rowell says:

      i appreciate what you do BIG time! I actually contemplated becoming a CV scrub specialist…..but stuck to nursing! I made sure to add in my thanks at the bottom to yall. This is predominately a nursing viewed blog, but i still want to extand thanks where thanks need be… SO THANK YOU!!!!

  51. Jen Schultz says:

    Thank you so much for writing this! I am a Cath Lab RN and what you have written in this article perfectly describes why we do what we do. I am thrilled that your Dad is doing well. By the way, I have had the pleasure of working with Rudy too; he’s great 😉

    • Kelsey Rowell says:

      so cool! Hes a really fun dude! Lol I was like man i need him around to pull all of my sheaths 😉 thanks so much, Jen!

  52. Marlene says:

    I have been an OR nurse who specialized in Open Heart Surgery for 27 years, on call every third weekend and sometimes every other weekend as there were only 6 of us in the heart room. It was a sacrifice we commit ourselves to but it was awesomely rewarding. Loved my job and my team. We were a tight knit and became really good friends and I wouldn’t change it for the world! I retired two years ago and I think of all the patients we saved all those years! Wow! OR Nursing is a specialty not many nurses get into but I loved it.

  53. Annie says:

    Hi there! This was lovely! I’m an RN in Interventional Radiology…it’s like Cathlab but for rest of the body…we do strokes, bleeds (GI, post partum the works), traumas, lines, drains and biopsies! We take call and it is rotten…but we save lives. We joke that we are saving lives…but it’s true. We are. And I feel it everyday. Thank you for noticing!

  54. Cath Lab Rep RN says:

    Kelsey, I will make sure this gets to Rudy and Dr Vedere. Although I am a cath lab rep I am also a Cath Lab RN working on-call locally for 15+ years prior to my career change. Thank you for recognizing passionate hard work. Rudy and the team are great and will be so happy to see this.
    Thanks again

  55. Kim says:

    I am an OB nurse who takes call and want to tell you thanks for reminding us how we often touch families and their lives!

  56. Vickie says:

    At the end of a long, hard Call weekend, I really appreciate reading this. It is hard and it is so important. Nice to be thanked. It is a hard to explain thing, why we keep doing it after years and years(26yrs now). Somebody’s got to do it! #Cathlabelder

  57. Shelly says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this, I’m an OR nurse. I was on call last weekend and had a challenging time. I have spent many hours wondering if I’m supposed to continue. I’m on call tonight too. I have turned my struggle to God. Your post is very inspiring. God bless you and your family.

  58. Bruce in Kentucky says:

    Needed this ! Thank to my friend Donna who sent it to me. I’ve been in the Cath lab several years. Lots of call, lot of staff turnover as well which causes me to take even more call. I’m on call right now ( my 4th night) . It does get old. But, reading this story really helps.

  59. Deborah says:

    Even though I retired 3 years ago, I was an RN in the transplant program in a large university hospital for 25 years and was on rotating call for most of those years. Fortunately, it was usually a happy experience for the team, patient, and families. Due to the long term relationships we developed with those patients, I knew I was appreciated by them. That was not always the case when it came to administration. Reading your post reminded me how much I really loved my time spent with patients, and how the sacrifices I made truly were worth it. I also would like us to encourage and support each other as nurses and caregivers, all of us feel and work better with positive feedback.
    I’m so glad your father had a positive outcome as well.

  60. jenniferlyn says:

    But for not being a nurse myself, I feel like I could’ve written this! My dad has had multiple heart attacks, and has had quadruple bypass… 22 years ago. If not for all the medical staff involved, he would not be here, and it’s to all of them I owe the biggest debtof gratitude, because my dad is my best friend, and I don’t know where I’d be without him. I will always be a “Daddye Girl” no matter how old I get, and it’s the doctors, nurses, and paramedics that made it possible to have many more memories of my father. I thank you for your hard work, and I know plenty of others do too… even if they never get the chance to say it!

  61. Elisa says:

    I’m an OR RN – and I read this the morning after a particularly long night of call. My alarm went off at 0445 and I didn’t see my pillow again until almost 0200 the next day! All too often, we as nurses ‘eat our young’ – or – criticize ‘specialties’ or downplay the role of a med/surg nurse. We all have developed valuable skill sets that are integral to the success of our patient’s treatment/recovery! We need to remember to lift each other up! We’re all an important part of the process…each bringing our skills to meet the needs of the patient in our portion of their journey!
    Nursing is a unique and diverse field that creates amazing opportunities and challenges for any who chose to explore the possibilities! To quote a favorite TV show…my career as an OR RN is a blessing and a curse! Lol! I love what I do! But it’s easy to get lost in the exhaustion and the sheer enormity of our jobs!
    Thank you for recognizing and appreciating the insanity of our ‘call schedules’! Your words were a blessing to me personally….and I’m not gonna lie…I may have felt a tear running down my cheek while I read your words this morning – in my sleepy haze….sincerely….your appreciation means more than you know…..thank you.

  62. Janey says:

    PACU RN here! We take call days, nights, and weekends. I live 50 minutes from the hospital and have 1 hour to get up to the hospital once called. I have driven back and forth 3 times in less than 24 hours. Literally driving back and forth all day. Several times in the middle of the night I have made it to the hospital and told our services werent needed. PACU is under recognized and we probably take the most call since we recover any patient getting anesthesia. Thank you for talking about something not talked about often! Glad your Dad is ok!!

  63. Rudy Viton says:

    Kelsey , you are a rock star. Thanks for starting this forum. This blog is exactly what nurses need in order to energize them to provide quality care. Sometimes a nurses effort can seemingly go unnoticed by administration , patients, or families. We do impact many lives, even if we do not hear feedback right away. The gratitude from you and your family uplifting.
    I truly love my vocation. It usually does not feel like work. I incorporate humor and a try to bring smiles to my patients and families.
    There is much misery between the hospital walls, I just try to comfort people despite of their prognosis. I try to relieve their anxiety by simplifying terms and describing what the hospital experience will be like. I treat them like family and try to make them feel like the hospital is an extension of their home.
    Continue to write your blog as long as you can. You are an excellent writer. I have enjoyed all the different stories. I will share this blog continue to follow you.
    You make a difference.
    Thank You!!!!

  64. Rudy Viton says:

    Kelsey , you are a rock star. Thanks for starting this forum. This blog is exactly what nurses need in order to energize them to provide quality care. Sometimes a nurses effort can seemingly go unnoticed by administration , patients, or families. We do impact many lives, even if we do not hear feedback right away. The gratitude from you and your family uplifting.
    I truly love my vocation. It usually does not feel like work. I incorporate humor and a try to bring smiles to my patients and families.
    There is much misery between the hospital walls, I just try to comfort people despite of their prognosis. I try to relieve their anxiety by simplifying terms and describing what the hospital experience will be like. I treat them like family and try to make them feel like the hospital is an extension of their home.
    Continue to write your blog as long as you can. You are an excellent writer. I have enjoyed all the different stories. I will share this blog continue to follow you.
    You make a difference.
    Thank You!!!!

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  66. Tonia says:

    I am a Cath Lab Director, and help with call due to working short handed. My Cath lab team finished a long week of STEMI calls, and then had a very hard weekend with 9 STEMI calls. Exhausted sets in, but we keep going, because we are dedicated to saving others. God bless all those who take call, the patients, and their families that are touched.

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  68. Kristin Hall, RN says:

    Hey Kelsey! I just wanted to say THANK YOU for being a nurse and for this blog! I am a Mother/Baby (Postpartum) RN and I just wanted to let you know how wonderful it is that you typed such a wonderful post complimenting not only your peers; but the multidisciplinary team as a whole! More often than not, the only comments or feedback we receive is negative and it is so refreshing to receive a positive one for a change! Positive feedback is a excellent reminder of why we do what we do day in and day out including the good bad and ugly! My Dad had a heart attack 25 years ago and unfortunately by the time he went to the hospital it had already killed 1/3 of his heart. He ended up being placed on the top of the National Transplant Registry and after42 long days he finally received a much needed heart transplant! I spent the month after his transplant helping take care of him and I was so impressed by the care and compassion he received from all who cared for him I decided then that I was meant to be a nurse! That was almost 23 years ago and I was 16 years old. He passed away from Lymphoma caused by the anti-rejection drugs 11 months after receiving his transplant and I still remember some of the names of the people who took care of him! I will be forever grateful to his caregivers because they were able to give me 11 more months to be “daddy’s little girl” and they showed me the impact that our actions as medical professionals truly have on families. I am so glad your Dad is recovering well and truly appreciate your expression of gratitude!

  69. Felicity says:

    Thank you-

    From a nurse who does high risk pediatric home health- and is ON call.. this is a good reminder of why we do what we do!

    Much love,
    Nurse Fee Fee in Missouri

  70. I am a retired RN, spent over 45 years working in Surgery. Have spent many hours on call. This article reminds me of those many times I was called in for an emergency. As was rolling patinet into operating room they were apoligizing for messing up my time off.. I would remind them that we don’t plan emergencies, they can happen any time to any one, that we can’t schedule them so are “convenient” for others.

  71. Pegg S. says:

    As a nurse who has taken call on one form or another for the almost all of the 18 years, I have to thank you. Thank you for noticing. Thank you for appreciating the sacrifice of what those of us “call takers” do.

    We take extra call so that coworkers can be home for their kids birthday or their parents anniversary. For that special night with the spouse because grandma and grandpa are going to take the kids. Granted… The pay is nice.. Especially when you are saving for that vacation or Christmas is right around the corner. Sometimes it is worth it. Sometimes it’s not. Taking call is hard. It’s stressful. It means we can’t go to the beach or to the movies. But it doesn’t mean we can’t spend time with our families. It only means our activities have to be modified.

    Again, thank you for noticing. Most people don’t. It is appreciated that you did. Best wishes to you and your dad. I’m glad he’s doing well. (I know that scare too.) I hope he continues to do so.

  72. Martina Ramirez says:

    I’ve been a OR scrub for over 30 years. The last 8-10 years I’ve been taking call Monday thru Friday at night. I’ve learned so much . The OR Nurse I work with Rodney is awesome. Yea I don’t like getting called at 3am but it is a part of my life. I don’t think I would trade it.

  73. Nancy says:

    Wonderful story and so happy you and your family had a great experience. I am an Acute Dialysis nurse for the past 7 years…and I certainly know about being on call. I have gotten that late night call to put someone on dialysis because they coulndn’t breathe, or their potassium was a life threatening high. We groan about call, but in the end, we are glad to help save a life. It is my job and I love it.


    Thank you!!!!! Wow, I have to say as a PACU nurse who takes call on the weekends, I truly didn’t think about the family part. Sure, I knew the patients were thankful, but never thought past that. Thank you for appreciating us and I am glad your dad did so well!!!!

  75. Jeff Beilue says:

    Wow, what a story. I’ve been in Cath Lab for 27 years and I have to say that I truly appreciate my coworkers and…my family. Last Thanksgiving I sat down to eat my dinner at 11:30 pm after a tough day of back and forth trips to the hospital on call. I was frustrated and tired. My wonderful wife looked at me and said, “If you had a bad day, think about your patients and their families”. There are days like that when I couldn’t make it without my family’s support. Luckily, I’ve been blessed with the best.

  76. Karen says:

    I am a Cath Lab Nurse, and member of our In-House STEMI Team. I work every weekend, and pull call on top of it.

    Yes, being on call sucks. Yes, I seemingly have little-to-no social life. Yes, it can get crazy busy at times. Yes, it blows when your pager goes off for back-to-back-to-back STEMIs. But articles like yours are what makes all of it worthwhile.

    All too often, we get little or no (positive) feedback from patients or family members. Even though I wasn’t involved in your father’s case, it’s nice to see some validation from a family member. Especially from one who is “in the Field”.