About Me

undergrad RN
I'm a twenty-something Canadian student. After stumbling through a few years of college, I finally managed to get into the nursing school of my dreams, where I hope to graduate in 2012 with a nursing baccalaureate degree. I want to offer an honest look into how a modern nurse is educated, both good and bad. Eventually I hope to compare my education to my day-to-day career and see how it holds up. Whatever happens, it should be somewhat entertaining. Find me on allnurses.com!
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Thursday, January 29, 2009

What a week!

Alright, so I'll pull out the wayback machine and start at last Friday, in the lab.

We had our infection control lab where we got to practice putting on isolation gowns, hairnets, booties, a variety of masks, and of course gloves in every shape and size. We also got to do that signature experiment where we slathered some UV-responsive cream on our hands, washed it off, and checked it under the black light. Surprisingly, the way I normally wash my hands is pretty effective, except for my cuticles, my wrists, and a circle the size of a loonie on the back of my left hand. Then my "nurse hand-hygiene routine" went very well. Those cuticles, I tell you! Germ trappers!


Sunday was fun. Mumsy and I got all excited over the scrubs we found a couple of weeks ago so we went to Mark's again. Now that I know that I'm magically two times smaller in a uniform than I am in any other style of clothing, the shopping wasn't so bad. We pulled some more solid colors (God, I HATE PRINTS as you may recall) and I came home with two more shiny outfits in forest green and light blue. They gave me this little Scrub Club (hehe) punch card and if I buy five I get a top or bottom free. So I need one more and then I'll have a free one. Sweet! It's like I'm in a coffee club for scrubs :)

My aunt was listening to me bemoan the fit of the uniforms that I had tried on that fateful day and she mentioned: "You know, UgRN, you do have to move in these clothes. Be careful with the sizing lest you stoop to do a transfer and your butt seam goes rrrrrrip. Happened to me before - no fun! And don't go commando!"

Pearls of wisdom.

So that brings us to Monday, the day of my second clinical! We met up on the unit at 1500 and we got to look through charts for the first time. I'm not quite sure what I was expecting by charts.... a chart, perhaps. Instead, I find huge heavy binders filled with pages of wonderfully illegible MedSchoolWriting™. Each person had an assigned patient for the day and we looked through their charts to find how the determinants of health may have impacted their lives. My patient (OMG that's fun to say) was an elderly guy who'd been on the unit for quite a while, awaiting a transfer to LTC. Unfortunately before I was really able to get into the health determinants, his real nurse whizzed into the room and stole his chart away. Bummer.

Anyway the big thing that was just so mind-bogglingly-terrifying, and that we all had sweaty palms over, was actually meeting the patients.

What if they want something?

What if they cry or yell at me?

What if they've got 3 heads like a chimaera and eat student nurses for snack?

We all stood around looking like a gaggle of wimps until my clinical instructor was like sooo.... either you meet them now and get it over with, or you sweat all through your dinner break. Oy, it's no fun when someone makes so much sense! So finally I took a deeeep breath, and crept into my patient's room:

HIMYNAMEISUGRNIWILLBEYOURSTUDENTNURSETODAY

Patient: (Looking up from his dinner) Uh, hello...?

Me: (Blushing like I might catch fire) Er, hi.

The conversation went fairly smoothly after that. Heart rate soon returned to normal. First patient contact? Success! So the clinical group went for supper break, hung out for a while, and then came back up the floor when we were fairly certain all of the patients would be done their meals.

I strode back on to the floor, grabbed my clipboard, and confidently headed into my victim's room, all ready to get The Best Health History Ever Gotten On A Human Being.

Except... he was asleep! Snoring away all curled up in fetal position. Temptation flared briefly to poke him until he awoke so that I could still get said TBHHEGOAHB. Haha kidding! Ooookay, so much for that.

Another girl ran into the same problem where her pt was also indulging in a post-meal pre-bedtime nap. So our CI took us around the unit trying to find some unclaimed pts who would (hopefully) appreciate a little noobie nurse company.

We happened upon a very teeny tiny LOL (that's short for little old lady, for those of you new to medbloggery) who was staring off into space and looked lonely. The CI, all pro, swooped in there and started talking to her and it was clear that this lady had dementia to some high degree. CI waved us in and introduced us: me and this other girl standing side by side.

Well that LOL looked from me to the other girl and back to me again, and said NOOOO GOOD, pointing at me and then pointing at her glasses. Apparently she didn't like my specs? She then looked back and forth between us again, looked back at me, and said EEEEYUCK and made the face to match!

Allow me to reiterate: the second patient I ever met said EEEEYUCK and made a face at me.

Uhhh...

CI waved me over and said "Oh, UgRN will come and look over a photo album with you, won't that be nice?" (This just after she made the face. I was mortified.)

No. Please, no. Please.

Yes indeedy. CI told me to sit on the side of her bed*.

*For the record, I'm not totally down with sitting on someone's bed unless I'm expressly invited to. Especially when they say EEEEYUCK when offered the opportunity to meet me.

So I sort of perched precariously on the side of her bed and the LOL lets out a YELP!

I jump up like a shot!

And yes, you heard it here first, the very first time I've ever gotten near a patient's bed with the intention of using therapeutic communication, I sat on her catheter tube.

On her catheter tube.

Fricken FANTASTIC! She's gonna love me now!

Thank God she didn't seem to blame me for her sudden acute cooter pain.

Anyway, her fam had brought in a photo album so I cracked that open and she was able to start pointing out people and stuff. She had trouble picking the right word for what she wanted to say, so it was obviously really frustrating for her to tell the stories she wanted to. She was also highly suggestible (I could have pointed to anyone and been like, oh, is that great-uncle Lenin? and she probably would have agreed) and I sure didn't want to screw with what remaining memories she did have so the conversation was stunted and forced at best. The conversation ran a bit like that one House episode where the dude kept saying words that were kind of like what he wanted to say but the whole conversation was totally random.

Anyway, that 45 minutes passed in a flash and the only regret I have (except for the EEEYUCK and catheter parts of course) is that because talking with her was kind of spontaneous, I never had a chance to find out her name or look at her chart. Next Monday that's the first thing I'm going to do!

Shortly after that we were dismissed for another week. I have 2 midterms next week, one in Micro and one in Physio, so that's what I've been up to this week.

And, in regards to my post below, I did indeed win the first place prize for an essay contest and will be awarded $1000! (Thanks for the encouragement Lou!) It's going straight into my beloved ING Direct tax-free savings account where I will cherish it, and all of its compounding tax contributions, forever... or at least until my student loans come due!

3 comments:

undergrad RN said...

Are you sure you shouldn't give up nursing and become a writer?
You are so funny.
Congrats on the award - the first of many to come.
Moe

Lou said...

Awww it sounds like your second day was quite the adventure:) I love that you and your clinical group stood around waiting to introduce yourselves to your patients (hee hee, your patients!)-thats exactly what I picture myself doing too. Good luck with your midterms!
Oh and P.S. I might be asking you for some sweet tips on scholarships next winter :)

the star gurl said...

LOL!!(thats the laugh LOL not the lady one...) brilliant writing, love it. the thing with dementia is at least she wont remember you sitting on her catheter, I guess thats a bonus??

:-)

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