The Day Shift
A/N: Please note that I'm not quite sure how big the difference is between the roles and responsibilities of RN's in South Africa vs. those of USA. And on any given day, we have at least three RN's present in any specific ward. The Unit Manager, or matron of a ward usually oversees bed bookings, staff allocations, shift schedules and handle compliments and complaints. None the less, I'm gonna wing it and write about what I know. So bare with me. Jacksonville General is a made-up hospital, keep in mind that this is fiction. You are more than welcome to ask questions if you are unsure, but here we go...
Disclaimer: Twilight and all it's recognizable characters belong to the brilliant Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended.
Chapter 1: New
It was raining none stop. Literally without end. And it had been ever since she arrived in Forks. What a dreary place. God! What had possessed her to move all the way form the ever sunny Florida to The Pacific Northwest? She'd been perfectly content with her nursing job at Jacksonville General. Except that the salary was better in Forks. Gasp! Yeah. Who would have guessed?
Bella sighed as she drove in through the pristine gates of Forks Hospital. It didn't look bad, but it was way smaller than what she was used to. A one floor Hospital with none of the impressive features of the big city Hospitals.
"Fuck!" Bella swerved out of the way, narrowly missing a tall man appearing from out of nowhere. It was raining so hard now that Bella could barely see through the windshield. But still, did the people of Forks not know to look left and right before crossing the road, so to speak? He was still swinging his fists at her in anger when she looked up into the rear view mirror and clucked her tongue at the idiot in irritation. She couldn't see his face and she prayed to god that he wouldn't confront her. Not today.
Bella parked her truck in the only open spot she could find, yanked up the parking break and cut the engine. She leaned back against the cool leather seat and drew in a calming breath. "This day too shall pass." She muttered to herself.
She hated first days and tailing people so she could get the hang of how things were done. She'd experienced it often enough in her life and never got used to it. Her mother and father had moved around a lot. For no particular reason. They just couldn't seem to settle in one place for longer than two years. And eventually Bella had given up making friends or dating. It wasn't worth the heart break anymore. She'd resigned herself to a life of new beginnings and when they finally settled in in Florida, passing the 2 year limit, she'd finally realized that her parents had found whatever it was they were looking for. Things were finally starting to look up and she'd even made some good friends and joined the debate team. And she was happy... Until the day two police officers showed up on the doorstep of their house one night while her parents were out on a date night, to inform her that they'd been in a head-on collision with a Freightliner and didn't survive the crash. At the tender age of eighteen she had lost both her parents. She was fresh out of high school and had been accepted to Maryland with a scholarship. So with determination, Bella dived into her studies that started just after the summer, focusing all her energy into making a success of becoming a nurse. After she had graduated, she moved back to Florida and continued working there until now. And at twenty-six years of age, she had finally decided that she needed a change, though she had imagined herself in Texas, L.A. or Phoenix. Not Forks. But when she unexpectedly got the job, she decided to go for it. Carpe Diem and all that bullshit.
Mustering up all of her courage, she pulled herself upright, checked her make-up in the rear view mirror and stroked an idle hand over her ebony tresses that were starting to frizz, thanks to the constant wet climate of this dull town. What did her appearance matter anyway? The rain would surely wash off the only bit of make-up she'd reluctantly applied this morning in an attempt to brighten her pale skin. Mascara and eyeliner. Not that it helped in any way. It just made her large brown eyes stand out even more against her translucent skin. Ugh!
Trudging through the rain with her head down, she tried her best to give the puddles of rain a wide berth. The last thing she needed was to start the day with wet socks and wake up tomorrow morning with a cold. Tackling a new town and a new job head on required her to be alert and efficient, something a cold would not allow.
Her shoes squeaked loudly on the vinyl floors as she headed down to the Medical ward. It was the type of ward that always seemed to be stacked from wall to wall with the sick and elderly. Patients with diabetes, hypertension, strokes, pneumonia, heart failure, you name it.
A large red and white sign hanging from above large double doors, with cream paint peeling spot-spot, informed her that she was headed for the right place, but even if there were no sign, all she'd needed to do was take a whiff. Jesus. It smelled exactly like the medical ward at Jacksonville - soap, crap and old people. It hit her square in the face when she pushed open the double doors and made her way past the occupied rooms toward the nurses station.
It was quiet and there were only two others behind the desk, clip boards in hand, writing down the bed list for the day: Surname, Gender, Bed number and diagnosis. It was the same in every hospital.
"Hi." Bella greeted the two women at the desk. "I'm Bella Swan. The new RN."
Two sets of eyes lifted from their task to meet Bella's own brown eyes.
A pair of blue eyes (the bluest she'd ever seen) belonged to a gorgeous blonde with fair and flawless skin. Her eyes crinkled at the corners as she smiled at Bella in greeting and stuck out her hand. "Welcome. I'm Rosalie Hale."
"Nice to meet you, Rosalie." Bella shook the hand that was offered to her.
The other set of eyes, a mint green, twinkled with excitement in a small face, framed with a jet black halo of spiky hair. Just a light smattering of delicate freckles was dusted over the pixie-like girl's even more delicate nose. "I'm Alice Brandon." She pulled Bella in for a hug, squeezing almost all the air out of Bella's lungs. She sure was strong for such a tiny little thing and apparently Alice didn't bother with formal greetings like Rosalie did. She released Bella and cocked her head to the side. "I just know we are going to be great friends."
Bella nodded and smiled back, not sure exactly how to respond to the bubbliness that was Alice Brandon. But just maybe they would in fact become good friends. Great friends even. She sure needed friends here. In this small town with it's ever-overcast days. She couldn't, for the life of her, imagine where one would go to meet new people and make friends. She bet most of these people knew each other from school and remained friends throughout their life. So she would take what she could get, since a potential friendship was offered to her so easily.
"If you stick with us, we'll show you the ropes. There really isn't much to it and by the end of the day I'm pretty sure you'll have the hang of things." Rosalie assured Bella.
"Good." She grinned. "I hate first days."
The girls offered her a sympathetic smile each and a nod of the head.
Handover was nothing unusual. Same as any other hospital. The day staff went from room to room and, in a quick overview, one of the night shift RN's informed them of who the patients were, and what their diagnosis was.
"So we have three doctors. All extremely gorgeous." Alice informed Bella. "There is Dr. Cullen Senior: Sweat heart and heartthrob. Dr. Call is a toffee-skinned god and an all-around nice guy." And then Alice sighed and rolled her eyes. "And last but not least, there is Dr. Cullen Junior. Edward Cullen."
"What, no dreamy description?" Bella wondered.
"You'll soon meet him and then you can decide for yourself." Rosalie chipped in. "We always start with medicine rounds in the morning." She changed the subject. "We split the ward up in three between us. We each take responsibility for nine beds. Hand out the eight o'clock meds, check that all the IV's are patent and IV bags are full. If the doctors come, we hand over the meds to the nurses. As RN's, the doctors are our first priority and they expect as much. After that there's usually patients to discharge and new ones to admit. Then we have two o'clock meds and at six o'clock there's another short meds round. We take the rest as it comes. Entries are made with the meds rounds. We write about what exactly we gave our patients, what their current level of pain is, if the IV is still up and running and at what rate." Rosalie informed. "Feeding and bed baths are done by the assistant nurses and they write down their own findings. And of course we each hand over our own part of the ward to the night staff."
Medicine rounds went off without a hitch and Bella and her new friends finished before the doctors arrived for rounds. Which meant they were lucky enough to sit down and have tea time. According to Alice, this happened more often than not here in the medical ward, but they too had their rough days.
Bella wasn't used to the slow pace of this small hospital. She was used to working non-stop right from handover straight through to the end of shift without so much as a sip of water. Or a pee break. She sipped on her coffee and relaxed back into her chair, savoring the peace and quiet.
"Morning, girls." An insanely tall, russet-skinned man with dark, short cropped hair peeked into the tea room. "Mind if I steal you away for a few minutes?"
Oh my god! This was the most beautiful man she had ever laid eyes on. His hazel eyes and dazzling white smile made her knees weak and she mentally fanned herself. His eyes darted to her and he fixed her with a lopsided grin. "Hi." He greeted, stepping into the tea room with an outstretched hand. "I'm Embry Call."
Bella turned and set her coffee mug down on the small, rickety table next to her and took his hand, enjoying the feel of his soft touch. "Nice to meet you, Dr. Call. "I'm Bella Swan."
"Welcome, Bella. I hope you're gonna like it here."
Bella wanted to roll her eyes or scoff. How could she like a place where it rained most days of the year? But instead she smiled and nodded. "I'm sure I will."
"So, shall we get to it?" He asked.
Rounds were also nothing new, although she could already see from the interaction between Rosalie, Alice and Dr. Call, that he had certain preferences and expectations. Dr. Call was quick and to the point but had a gentle manner with which he treated his patients and the nursing staff. Bella liked that. Dr. Call's newly admitted patients were all sent through a routine of drawing baseline bloods, which included U's and E's, a crp and a full blood count. In layman's terms, they checked the kidney functions and screened for any signs of infection. If the patient came in with a possible pneumonia, he wanted a chest x-ray done without asking for it. He expected Rosalie or Alice to hand him a x-ray request form which he simply signed, leaving the rest of the details to be filled in by one of them. Easy enough. She could remember that.
Dr. Cullen Senior (gorgeous blonde with a gentle smile) was much the same, though he was kind enough to fill in the x-ray requests himself. He was sweet and had an incredible bedside manner and it wasn't hard to see why his patients loved him so much. He took his time and by no means rushed through rounds. And that's how Bella found herself 'lucky' enough to assist Dr. Cullen Junior with his rounds.
She'd hurried off in the middle of rounds to fetch Dr. Cullen Senior a pair of gloves when she walked smack bang into a tall man with unruly copper hair. And immediately she retracted her earlier assessment of Dr. Call. He was now the second most gorgeous man she'd ever laid eyes on, with Dr. Cullen Junior knocking him down to take first place for himself. What was it with all these handsome men? Was there something in the water here in Forks?
Dr. Junior, as she now referred to him (in an attempt to make it easier for herself) was lean, but quite muscular. It was evident even under the grey shirt and charcoal tie that he wore so well. His shirt was rolled up over two strong forearms and his large hands bore no sign of a wedding ring. His copper hair had a hint of brown in them and his green eyes - my god! - those eyes were the greenest of green with rings of sea blue around the outer edge of his irises.
"Are you just going to stand there all day, or can we get to work?" He interrupted her embarrassing and obvious ogling.
"Yes, Doctor. Let me just get-"
"It's either yes or no. Nothing in between." He interrupted her.
Bella arched her brows in unpleasant surprise and nodded. "Yes, Doctor."
But god, she should have called in for reinforcements for this round. If she only knew before hand what a disaster it would be to assist him. But as they say: Hindsight is twenty-twenty.
As beautiful as this man was, he was harsh, curt and unpleasant to say the least. Bella was so flustered and anxious that she totally forgot the clipboard with her notes, not to mention the file with all his patients' latest blood results.
When she told him she was just going to fetch it, he gave her a cowering, tight-lipped glare that threatened to burn her nervous frame to the ground right on the spot. Fuck. This day was quickly going to shit.
She hurried to the nurses station, studiously ignoring a relative of one of her patients that tried to get her attention for an inquiry, and scooped up the file on the other side of the desk.
"Hey!" Rosalie stopped her on her way back to Dr. Junior, with a frown. "Where did you disappear to? You were just supposed to get the gloves."
Bella jerked her head toward the end of the passage. "Dr. Cullen Junior." She explained.
"Oh god." Rosalie's eyes widened. "I'll be with you in five minutes. Promise." Clearly she knew Dr. Junior well.
"If I'm still alive by then..." Bella said over her shoulder as she scuttled off toward impending doom that awaited her with fierce green eyes and fiery copper hair, tapping his fingers impatiently on the over bed trolley of bed number three, occupied by Mr. Thompson.
"Here are the results, Doctor." Bella panted and tripped over her own feet in her haste to hand him the file, stumbling gracelessly toward the impatient doctor.
"Took you long enough." He held out his hand to her for the results without looking at her.
Bella thrust the file into his open hand.
He looked at the blue file that he now held and then flicked his stern eyes up at her, a frown puckering his brows. "What is this?"
"The blood results, Doctor." She said and suppressed the urge to roll her eyes at him. Wasn't it obvious?
"If I wanted to see every single one of my patients' results all at once, I would have said so." He practically growled at her, pinched the bridge of his nose for just a second and then flung the file through the air, papers flying in every direction, before said file clattered loudly to the floor.
He gritted his teeth and stalked toward her. "I asked for Mr. Thompson's results." He ground out. "Not the whole goddamn Pacific Northwest's results."
"Yes, Doctor." Bella scrambled toward the scattered papers on the floor, gathering it all together and scooped them into her arms while she tried to swallow back her tears. She refused to let this man see her cry. How the hell was she going to sort through them right now, with Dr. Impatient standing staring at her? Her hands shook and her vision blurred. She blinked back twice to keep herself from crying and paged hastily through the clusterfuck of papers in her unsteady hands.
Luck was somewhat in her favor, because three of the four pages of results for Mr. Thompson was right on top and the other was just a few pages under.
She thrust the results toward him, avoiding his eyes. What an asshole.
The rest of the round went surprisingly well. No files or tantrums were thrown and Rosalie and Alice had joined her right after they'd finished with Dr. Cullen Senior.
"Doesn't seem like Dr. Cullen likes you very much. What did you say to him to make him so hostile toward you?" Alice asked later that evening as the three of them sat together in the diner, eating a burger and drinking coffee. Alice and Rosalie had suggested they go out for dinner to get to know each other better.
"Isn't he always like that?" Bella frowned and took a big bite of her cheese burger, chewing thoughtfully.
"No. Never that bad. Sure, he has his moods. But today's tantrum was definitely a first." Rosalie explained.
Bella swallowed her food. "I don't get it, then. I swear I didn't say anything to him that could warrant such a hate."
"Maybe he just got out on the wrong side of the bed today. I wouldn't take it personally if I were you." The blonde suggested.
"I like the other two doctors, though. Weird how Dr. Cullen Senior differs so greatly from his son."
"Yeah and can you believe that Dr. Call and Dr. Junior are best friends?" Alice added.
"You're kidding, right?" Bella asked. "I sure as hell didn't picture them as besties."
"Quite the bromance. Apparently they've known each other since they were kids." Rosalie supplied, leaning forward.
"Okay." Bella sighed. "Enough talk of work. I want to know more about you guys."
"What do you want to know?" Alice asked with a full mouth, hiding it behind her hand as she spoke.
"Are either of you in relationships? Do you have brothers or sisters? What do you do for fun around here? You know, the usual stuff."
"We're both in steady relationships." Rosalie said while Alice still chewed. "Emmett and I have been together since High School." She smiled, eyes glazing over for a moment. "And Alice and Jasper have been dating since college. We all went to school together. And I'm an only child."
"I have an older brother who lives in London and a younger sister in Australia. I'm the only one who stuck around." Alice added after she'd finally managed to swallow the gargantuan bite of food she'd just taken."
"Why?" Bella arched her brows in disbelief.
"I know Forks seems like a shock to the system, but it grows on you. I promise." Alice smiled.
"As for fun," Rosalie chipped in with a grimace, "The Diner and the movies are about it. There is a club not too far away from here where we usually go if we feel like dancing or celebrating. And then there is La Push Beach. But it's rare that we actually go there. There aren't too many days that are warm enough for bikini's."
"What about you?" Alice enquired.
"I'm an only child, just like Rosalie. No boyfriend. I worked at Jacksonville General for a few years and then I finally decided I needed a change of scenery."
"Don't you miss your parents? Florida is so far away." Rosalie sipped on her coffee and pushed her plate away.
Bella looked down to the mug clutched tightly in both of her hands and sighed. "My parents died when I was eighteen."
"Oh my god, Bella. I'm so sorry." Rosalie slapped a hand over her mouth. "I didn't mean to pry."
Bella shook her head and lifted her gaze to the sympathetic blue eyes of the blonde sitting across from her. "Don't worry about it, Rose. It was a long time ago."
On the short drive back home (because let's face it, in this small town, everything was close together), Bella thought about what Rosalie had said. What had Bella done to set off Dr. Junior? She racked her brain for any clue as to what she might have said or done, but came up empty. He'd been rude and cold from the get go and he was now firmly on Bella's 'hate list', ranking firmly at number one. And she dreaded going to work tomorrow, knowing that he would be there. He sure was one miserable son-of-a-bitch and it boggled her mind that a man as beautiful as him could be such a dick.
What she did know though, was that she wasn't planning on keeping her mouth shut the next time he spoke to her like she was a piece of shit. She was going to stand up to him.
A/N: What did you think? Reviews are welcome.