I have recently posted several times- things like I'm incarcerated again, have I been bad. I'm incarcerated again, I've worked so many nights I feel like a vampire etc. People who know me now, know that means I am at work, but still they don't get the analogy. Truthfully, the nurses and respiratory therapists I work with don't get it either, as they will often reply "will then I'm incarcerated too." To which, I invariable respond, oh no you're not. You get bathroom breaks, lunch breaks, whatever breaks.. See there is a difference.
When I am at work overnight, there is only one of me, and I am in charge. Yes, I have my team, residents, nurse practitioners (during the day), fellows (sometimes) etc., but only one of me and ultimately everything that happens in my unit on my watch is my responsibility. That is the nature of the job. If I have done the teaching portion of my job well, than my team can handle 90% of what happens and so I hang in my office doing whatever it is that I do. However, we aren't allowed to leave, just in case. Invariably if I have a slow day and spend two hours getting work done in my office and then go to get food,or go to the restroom, or go outside- I'll get paged- invariably. Leading to my comment that we are really denied our civil liberties. There is no freedom for those hours, none.
Don't take this to mean I don't like my job, I do. I know that I am good at what I do. Take my recent 24 hour Saturday call, one of my friends on twitter made fun of me for not working too hard since I was tweeting. My response was "no one wants to know the truth of what I do." I believe that and trust me THAT wasn't a fun day, but I know that I left the babies better off than when I got there even the one who died peacefully in his parents arms. I know this, but still sometimes, it would be nice to be able to have a few moments to relax, at least to not be responsible while in the restroom. I'm just saying. So yes, it does feel like I'm incarcerated, held at the mercy of my little charges illnesses for the sentence imposed on me (tonight, only 14 hours). I hope that I do right by them. That is my overarching wish in my job to do right by the babies.