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.