Friday, January 28, 2005

I think I'm in LOVE with Nursing again

This past couple of weeks have been very strange. Everyone in our house has been sick. First it was my 5 year old daughter, then my 10 year old son. Then me and my fiance. I did tell you that I got an engagement ring for X-mas, right? It's hard for me to remember who I have and have not told. I haven't told anyone too much because this is not our first engagement and the last one didn't turn out as well as our family planned. But this time it seems a bit different, and he (my fiance) is supporting me as a go through nursing school. I guess neither one of us are going anywhere.

School started in its regular disorganized fashion this semester. Our school, once again, did not have our clinical stuff organized. I've waited two weeks to get started. It doesn't even feel like I am really in school. I have class one day a week. Believe it or not, I still have time for a life. I am able to attend functions at my kids' school. I can take a nice long nap. I am able to study when I need to. That's a beautiful thing.

I am doing clinicals this semester in a rural hospital. I love it. If Mayberry had a hospital, this would be it. My preceptor is very nice. She has six kids ranging in age from 2 years to 18 years. She really understands what it is for me to be a mom going to school because when she became a nurse, she too was a mother. It is nice to meet someone who appreciated my struggles.

At first I wasn't very sure about this experience. Many times I feel like I am hovering. I hate being in someone's space. I do know how to do a lot of things and I would love the opportunity to get in there and DO something. I think that she is basically trying to gradually incorporate me into this environment. To be completely honest, she is really good. My first foley on a female was a rather difficult experience. I did my sterile technique and turned to my patient. She was a slightly obese elderly lady. I opened her legs and couldn't find her urethra. I broke sterile field and went to find my preceptor. We returned to my patient, did a new set up and she proceeded to start the foley. She cleaned the urethral meatus and stuck the catheter in blind. It was impossible to visualize the opening, but she did it. I was impressed. So yesterday, She gave me another foley, this one was pretty much textbook, but the one after that was similar to my first. I opened up my sterile field, gloved up and guess what? I nailed that foley blind! I was so shocked that I did it, my preceptor was pretty shocked too. My IV wasn't as successful.

We had a patient come in that had just quit a drinking habit. The patient drank for ten years straight, one fifth of alcohol...everyday. I can't imagine how this could be, but it was her situation. In a way, I felt a huge sense of pride for her because I realize that it is very hard to quit drinking. And then I felt sad, because she was not feeling good, and quitting drinking is something to feel good about. She was covered in bruises. She had shortness of breath, and a tachy heart rhythm. Her spouse was standing at the bedside giving her support. I hooked her up to the leads, and took her vitals. Then it was IV time. This particular unit uses winged infusion sets for IV's that have a guide wire. I'd never seen anything like that before. We found a good site, cleaned it, and I unsheathed the needle. This was an excellent vein. My preceptor told me to go in shallow. I wasn't paying attention to the tubing, and as I got my flash of blood I continued to advance the needle. Which resulted in me blowing the vein. I felt kinda bad because it was her best vein, and she would have to get stuck again because the site couldn't be salvaged. I will know better next time for sure.

When the unit is busy, I am elated, and when it is quiet I could pick my eye out with a scapula. I think this rotation is making me bipolar. I enjoy the variety of patients that we take care of also. We get OB, Psych, Peds, you name it, we get it. And there are little rules to know. One such rule is that the one word you are not allowed to use in an ER under any circumstances is QUIET. I nearly got killed by my preceptor for that one. In a way, I guess quiet is good, because in order to be busy, someone has to get hurt or very sick.

The only issue I take with the whole rotation is the fact that it seems like staff in this environment judge the patients and the validity of the patient's complaint. I don't think that it should matter if the patient is really life-threatening sick or not. Or if they are having an attention-seeking psychiatric episode. Aren't they all there because they need help? Isn't it our job to help them and not judge? We are all different and should be treated accordingly. Otherwise, I must say, I think I am in love with nursing again.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

The new semester has begun!

I am so excited about this semester. This week was a bit of a surprise. I only had classes on Monday. I have had the rest of the week to get my life together. It seems as though this semester might be one that will boost my GPA, and Lord knows that can't hurt a bit.

Research seems like it will be okay. Acute Care seems really interesting. I guess that I probably should have chosen another area besides emergency medicine since it is technically not an area where a nurse manages groups of patients in the same way that a nurse would manage a group of patients on a med-surg unit. For infomatics, our assignment is to create a web page. I have absolutely no idea how one would go about constructing a web page, but I will find out. Critical care is later this semester.

Graduate school. Everyone says if you want to get anywhere in nursing, don't stop until you get that MSN. I figure it will be at least another year of school above and beyond my bachelors. At first I thought I wanted to do Peds or OB. I don't know about that. I do like women's health a lot. I did enjoy taking care of the older children, ages 4 and up. Med-surg was a really good place for me. I like taking care of adults, but I am not sure about Geriatrics. I could end up liking it, but I don't know. Surgery was okay too. After this semester, I will have seen all the areas of nursing except community/public health. I could very well end up liking public health. The goal of my clinical nursing experiences is to experience a variety of nursing environments so that I can select an area of nursing for graduate study.

Next week, I begin work on becoming bilingual. Speaking fluent Spanish has always been a goal of mine. I am determined to become a nurse who can communicate with most of my clients. Well, I have a little bit of homework to finish. I'll be in touch soon.


Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Happy New Year and all that Jazz...

Welcome 2005!

I am so happy to be here. I am embarking on my fourth semester of nursing school, and can I tell you that I am loving it? About a month ago I had wrote this elaborate post about this stubborn ass tree that sits in the middle of campus that in late November, still had leaves...(which is a profound occurrence in the Midwest, to me anyway). I had wrote about the beauty of living in an area that has seasons, and how everything about Fall semester ended on a pretty good note. I also wrote about the highlight of the semester when a woman came in to deliver a baby all by herself. My heart would not allow me to leave her, so with permission, I stayed an additional 4 hours after my clinical shift ended. I helped her to cope with labor and watched her bring her baby girl into the world. She had a complicated delivery. Her baby suffered from nuchal cord. The umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby's neck three times. It was the best post ever. Just as I was waiting for the message to post, the computer crashed and I was unable to recover the message. In my frustration, I decided that perhaps the message that I toiled over just wasn't meant to be seen and that I should come back and write on a day when I have just a little more patience.

Last semester was a fun, challenging and somewhat disappointing semester. I got good grades, but not as good as I wanted. Though highly anticipated, Peds and OB were not quite what I expected. I learned that Peds may not be for me...the children are great but it is very stressful for the parents, and that in and of itself makes for a hostile learning environment for which I am not sure that I have the patience to endure. Obstetrical nursing is a lot of sitting, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting. Interesting, but not for me. I need something with a little more nursing action. Soon we will start doing critical care and acute care nursing.

I decided to start with acute care and my assignment will be in the ER. I know this sounds silly, but I have been watching episodes of ER on TNT and the urgent care shows on Discovery Health so that I could get used to the terminology and start making logical connections. I can't wait to come back and tell you all about that. My Peds instructor told me that I would be a great Peds nurse, which I found to be rather shocking given our history. She advised that I should stay away from the ICU's, because I will have a broken heart on a regular basis. She picked up on the fact that I treat my patients will love and compassion, and that I have a tendency to get very attached. This makes me a little apprehensive about the critical care rotation, but I think I will find a way to handle it. Nursing is my passion.

The holiday was really great. I spent a lot of time with my children and family. I am going to spend the rest of the week catching up the laundry and getting the household ready for my return to school. Did I mention that I got an engagement ring for Christmas? The love of my life gave me a beautiful ring. For the past week I have spent a good deal of my spare time admiring my ring and my new fiance. Doing this blog thing is so tricky. I want to share so much more, but then I realize that if I do, someone may figure out who I am. But then again, based on the information that I have given already, it wouldn't be that hard. Enough paranoia, I'm going to bed. Talk again soon.