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06 Nov 2018

Night shift. It’s 4am, and the ward is finally quiet after a rush of clinical reviews. The lights are dim, patients are all in bed, the tea room chairs converted to makeshift stretchers for nurses napping on break. I sit staring bleary-eyed at the computer screen, raising my eyebrows to keep my lids from drooping shut. There’s nowhere to sleep, and if I do steal away to a couch in the office my absence will be noted. The head of department made it clear: you don’t get paid to sleep. Intermittently I startle as I nod off. This matters little sitting still at a desk – it matters a lot on the drive home, as sleep presses heavy on my arms, loosening my grip on the wheel.

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Published: 06 Nov 2018