My Baystate Story:
Heather Patterson, RN, Flex Team

Heather Patterson, RN, Flex Team

My name is Heather Patterson and I’m a nurse on the Flex Team working the night shift at Baystate Medical Center. I have been a night shift nurse for just about 17 years, which I am happy and proud to state. Flex Team nurses have the skills and experience to work with different types of critical care teams and patients and we move around to units where extra support is needed.

Each time I have a conversation with a person who does not work nights, they say, “I don’t know how you do it!” Of course, the response is different for everyone. It takes a special, kind-hearted, and compassionate person to be a nurse, but it takes an extraordinary person to work the night shift. I don’t say that to boast, but it’s what I’ve observed in my colleagues. Not everyone has the motivation, the inner drive, the interest or the ability to work the night shift.

Night shift takes on a world of its own. The fact is most patients do not sleep at night for various reasons. As a caregiver, your mind has to be alert and ready to face the challenges each night you walk onto a unit. You have to be prepared for anything. I keep myself alert by staying busy, drinking coffee and getting enough sleep during the day.

As a Level One Trauma Center, Baystate Medical Center is extremely busy. The amount of teamwork that goes into caring for patients is incredible. Flex Team nurses work where the need is greatest. We may work in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) one night and the Medical-Surgical Units or Emergency Department another night. We also support the Rapid Response Team (RRT). The RRT nurses cover a lot of ground, literally, and sometimes run from one end of the hospital to the other to help nurses having a difficult night with ill patients. ICU nurses are busy start to finish, saving lives and communicating every detail to doctors. I have the utmost respect for our critical care staff and am proud to support them.

I can’t list enough adjectives to describe what exceptional, determined and inspirational nurses we have at Baystate Medical Center. Baystate has the most caring, smart, kind-hearted, compassionate, dedicated, empathetic and teamwork-focused nurses. I am thankful and lucky to work with them. We are each other’s superheroes.

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