Nurse By Night
At 6 feet 3 inches tall, Paul Sedgwick, RN, BSN, CCRN is used to standing out in a crowd. This month, it was not only Sedgwick's height that put him heads above the rest, it was also the 2005 Essence of Nursing Award. Sedgwick was presented with BWH Nursing's highest honor at the annual Nursing Recognition Dinner.
“There are no beds, staffing is difficult, but the good news is Paul is in charge on 12D,” said Lisa Pugh, nursing administrator, whose sentiments were included in Sedgwick's nomination form and announced by Chief Nursing Officer Nancy Kruger at the May 5 dinner.
For most, delivering care in an ICU situation, where the stakes are high, can be daunting. However for Sedgwick-a triathlete, father of two (9 and 12-year-old daughters) and overnight nurse in charge on 12D-such a challenge is par for the course as part of his very active life.
“I was drawn to the critical care setting because of the level of technical expertise required,” said Sedgwick, who also tried Emergency Room nursing for a while, but prefers his role in 12D's Cardiac Care Unit. Sedgwick's attraction to health care came early with a father in the military and frequent exposure to military hospital settings. “I'd say I knew as young as 13 that I wanted to be a nurse.”
His career pursuit was a perfect fit. Being a part of BWH since 1986 (with a 2-year hiatus when he worked in MGH's ED), Sedgwick's unflappable nature makes him excel at his nurse-in-charge role in a critical care setting. His expertise and the manner in which he conveys it, is respected by his nursing colleagues, attending cardiologists and others on the overnight shift. “Sometimes the overnight shift can be a forgotten shift, given the more limited layers of supervision than those provided during the day. But, I welcome the additional autonomy….and the ease of using the Tower elevators during off hours,” he said with a subtle grin.
There is no forgetting Sedgwick or his contributions to 12D, its patients and their families. “The overnight shift is a whole different culture,” said Sedgwick. “In a hospital, very urgent needs come up around the clock. I am pleased to be able to provide the care needed at 2 a.m.”
About receiving the Essence of Nursing Award, Sedgwick releases a humble smile and comments, “I feel like I what I do is really appreciated. That is a great feeling.”
Sedgwick's devotion to BWH is unmistakable, but his vocation is clearly not everything for this Tewksbury resident. As Sedgwick explained a typical week in his life, his job took an even seat to time spent with family and training for triathlons.
With his body's circadian rhythm in tune with the night shift, Sedgwick typically works four days in a row, alternating between 12-and 8-hour shifts. After finishing a shift at 7 a.m., Sedgwick heads home, not to sleep, but to train.
Sedgwick's most recent athletic competition was the Iron Man held in Montreal last September. Between 12 and 16 hours of training per week is required to compete in these grueling competitions, which include a 2.4-mile swim, 112 miles of biking and a 26.2-mile run. When asked his advice on how many triathlons in which one should participate in any given year, Sedgwick replies, “One is plenty, especially if you want to stay married.” Sedgwick has been married for 16 years.
After a daily morning workout, this go-getter attempts to get “a little bit of sleep,” until he wakes up in the late afternoon and starts his busy night over again.