100 Hours In

So far I’ve got 100 hours in as an ED Tech. Actually it’s a bit more since I’ve had to work past the official end of my shift a few times. Now if anyone has done the math and read a previous post, they’re probably curious how I got to the number 100 and why it’s not 96 or some other multiple of 12. The truth is, my normal shift is 12 hours. However, during my most recent 12 hour shift a text went out to all techs asking if anyone was available to work a “Crisis Shift.” I volunteered. Now the down side is, as an orient I’m not eligible for the bonus differential for a crisis shift (which I’ve been told is fairly nice). But I wasn’t doing it for the money. I was doing it for the experience. Normally my shifts are 11:00-23:30 (that includes in theory 30 minutes for a meal). Since this 4 hour shift started at 23:00, it meant I worked 11:00-03:00. Yes, you’re reading it right: I worked a 16 hour shift. This allowed me to experience the ED at a different time of the day than I’m used it. And I will say it was worth it. The overall “mood” is a bit different. It’s definitely a bit quieter.

And best of all, I survived the shift. Granted the next day I resorted to a dose of caffeine between class and lab in order to stay awake, but overall, it wasn’t too bad. On the other hand, if I were 30 years younger, I think it would have been a bit easier to recover from also.

I’ll probably pick up more Crisis shifts in the future, especially once I’m eligible for the Crisis Pay differential since it gives me the experience and pays decently.


For my original shifts I pulled out some old shoes to wear. I figured if they got covered in fluids or something I could toss them. Sure enough, on my second or third shift I stepped in something very sticky. I looked down with dread and was relieved to see it was only some apple sauce the patient had spilled.

However, fairly quickly I realized how uncomfortable they were. The one weekend I should have gone shopping for new shoes I didn’t. It took me a few shifts and some thought to realize what the real problem was: lack of arch support. Hence the photo above where I added some impromptu arch support. It was an amazing difference.

That said, this past weekend I picked up a pair of Skechers to wear at work. One big advantage of them too is they’re machine washable. I suspect at some point I may have to take advantage of that ability, but so far I’ve been, apple sauce aside, lucky.

And now off to another shift (and two more this coming weekend.)

And of course the disclaimer that I in no way speak for my employer Albany Medical Health Systems in this post. That said, I do hope not to see anyone of you in the ED any time soon. Drive safe over this break and please do not drink and drive.

I am in the Right Place

A couple of weeks ago I asked “Am I in the Right Place?” The question will always be in the back of my mind and I think that’s a bit healthy. I think any time anyone gets too sure of themselves, especially when lives are involved, it’s a bad idea. That said, I’ve now done 3 shifts in the Emergency Department (ED) and the answer to my question is “yes.”

In 36 hours I’ve learned a lot. I’ve done at least 2 dozen EKGs and only had to repeat one of them at doctor’s request. I’ve done more than my share of Covid Swabs. I’ve done a psych sit. And one of my fellow techs let me practice a straight stick blood draw on her. According to her I did well (she commented on her lack of bruise the next day). I’ve also done chest compressions. I’ve also sat around with nothing to do. That’s rare and one savors those moments.

I’ve had sore feet and one night as I got into my car my lower back froze and I couldn’t move for a few seconds. I’ve gotten dehydrated because I had forgotten my water bottle one day and it was too long between getting some water. I’ve snacked on the run (fortunately however, as an orient, I’m in theory guaranteed an actual food break which I’ve taken advantage of so far, but once I’m beyond orient status that may no longer be available).

I’ve worked to 2 12-hour shifts back to back and then gotten up on the 3rd day to make it to A&P Lab after only 6 hours of sleep.

But, though I’m only 3 shifts in (and about to run my 4th) after the first night I was confident I’m in the right place. I’m gaining confidence in my skills and abilities and I’m earning the trust of my colleagues. And at the end of the day, I’m enjoying what I’m doing. At least so far. We’ll see what I’m saying in 6 months or 12 months.

But at the end of the day, so far, yes, I think I’m in the right place.

And now the obligatory disclaimer that I do not speak for my employer Albany Medical Health Systems and my views are entirely my own.

Am I in the Right Place?

First this question came to mind when I arrived for the second day of orientation. Technically there was no sign for where ED Techs should report to, so I made the assumption that it would be the same classroom as Patient Care Associates. But when I went to the classroom it was dark and no one was there. I fretted a bit, but not too much, after all I was early.

Fortunately my assumption was right and I was soon seated among a number of other students. Turns out only one other was also a Tech, who happened to be assigned to the ED, but all the others were PCAs in various departments.

The second time the question came to mind was while waiting for the class to start and I’m reviewing the material and start reading the requirements and wondering, “umm, I’m not sure I really have the experience they expect. I’m sure I’ll be found out shortly.”

Fortunately, again the answer appears to have been yes, I was in the right place. This became more evident over lunch when 4 of us started talking about our backgrounds. Yes, some clearly have more experience in the medical field than I have. But some are starting at about the same level I am, or perhaps with even a bit less experience.

So yes, I’m in the right place. At least so far.

This is not to say it won’t be easy. There’s a lot to learn. Some of it I’ll learn tomorrow, some will come later. Like any job, I suspect the learning will never be over. So it’s two days into my new job and so far I’m still loving it.

And today I’m officially a step closer:

I make these look good?

And now for the first time I have to add that the above are my own words and do not reflect the opinions or views of my employer Albany Medical Health Systems.