A night in the life of a hospital

It certainly felt very strange walking towards Lincoln County Hospital as a stream of nurses were walking out of the door and on their way home at 8pm on a Saturday night.

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It certainly felt very strange walking towards Lincoln County Hospital as a stream of nurses were walking out of the door and on their way home at 8pm on a Saturday night.

I admit that I am very much a day worker and have only been in the hospital at night on a couple of occasions for work and to visit friends and relatives. As I made my way to the hospital at night team’s base on Greetwell ward, the corridors were already much quieter than I am used to.

But as I turned the corner I was welcomed by a hub of activity and a small team of friendly faces. As part of the NHS70 celebrations I have had the pleasure of meeting the Trust’s longest serving member of staff Hospital@Night Nurse Coordinator Gill Rodgers. I have loved hearing her stories about life living in Robey house when it was the nurses accommodation, how different work on the wards used to be pre-sterilisation and how much our hospitals have grown.

Gill is part of a team that comes in every night of the year and is made up of a junior doctor, a hospital@night nurse co-ordinator, a hospital@night practitioner, hospital@night clinical support and a hospital@night health care support worker.

Between 8pm and 8am they are the team many wards call to request prescriptions, deliver medication, review patients, help with any emergencies, carry out blood tests, review x-rays and provide a friendly and reassuring voice on the end of the phone. By 10pm they have already had two handovers, visited many patients and had a hot cup of coffee to kick-start their night.


We must have walked miles going from their base to different areas of the hospital, going up the glass corridor to the maternity wing, backwards and forwards to the pharmacy cupboard, visiting patients on many wards, a quick trip to the ops centre and so much more. We spoke to every single person we passed around the hospital. It may be quieter but the team are certainly no less busy.

During the shift, there is a technical glitch in the ops centre, that sees all computers and landlines go down. But, unfazed they simply utilise their iPhones more and pop to other areas of the hospital where they are able to access a computer screen.

But everything stops in an instant when a patient needs them. There are no distractions, no rush and it is inspiring to see them at work offering first class care, but with such kindness and reassurance. I am sure this happens day in, day out on all of our wards. But knowing how busy they are and with their limited resources it is great to see this in action.

Looking back, there were a couple of occasions as we walked through the dark corridors activating the next set of lights to come on, that I was glad to be with Gill and the team.  It was so alien to see such familiar places in darkness.

During the day, our corridors and wards are full of people and activity much of which is indirectly linked to our patients, but at night every conversation and every single act is all about the care we provide. There are no distractions and it very much reminds me of the chats I have had with Gill about where the NHS has come from.

There is a real sense of community in the hospital at night and I would like to thank everyone for welcoming me.