- 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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Wednesday, February 18, 2009
8:37 AM | Edit Post
All right, so I left off last night describing my experience caring for the dying man. I didn't do much else except stand and watch because his family was there and did most of the work for him.
We then went into the med room and my nurse started getting all of her meds together. While I was hanging out in there it occurred to me - wait a minute, this nurse hasn't washed her hands yet. Not once. I had been using hand sanitizer like a crazy person (like I said, 5 skills, and I'm gonna do them right!) and my hands were all gunky so I went for a speed wash because really, she was leaving to pass meds whether I was following her or not.
Now, some of you might call me out for not calling her out on it. Yeah, I probably should have but it's really tough to correct someone that has 20 years experience on you and you've only known her for an hour, and you're just grateful that she let your useless ass tag along. It's not even like I'm a 3rd or 4th year student with the experience to go most of it alone. I'm just a lowly 1st year on my 4th clinical day who asks a lot of questions but can't help much! (I'm also a person who is insanely respectful of other people's autonomy. An attitude that clearly needs to have boundaries, but geez, I'm working on it, okay? :) Anyway Wardbunny and Kim helped me out for next time by suggesting I just ask for a minute to wash up before we do the next task and hopefully she'll get the hint.
So we passed meds to everyone and she asked me to hang out with Mr. F, the stroke patient in restraints. Uh... sure?
Technically, Mr. F was only in one wrist restraint because his right side was immobile. She went to untie him and said "Okay, Mr. F, I'm going to let you out of this restraint but you're not allowed to attack me, and you're not allowed to attack my friend. Okay?". He just looked at her but I really do think he understands more than he let on. She untied him and he was fine. She asked me to stay with him to make sure he didn't come out of bed. Apparently the day before he saw his breakfast but there was no one in to feed him yet, so he crawled out of bed (sort of - remember, stroke patient) and attempted to self-feed. His family wasn't too happy with that!
So I hung out by Mr. F's bed for a while, straightening this and that and basically puttering around waiting for her to come back. I could feel his eyes burning into my back and I was getting really weirded out so I started talking about nothing in particular. Mr. F had two responses he would give to a question. He would either nod slowly, staring into your eyes, or shrug his shoulders with palms upward as if to say meh, take it or leave it.
I asked him if he was comfortable - nod.
I asked him if he'd like the radio on - nod.
I asked if it was a good volume - nod.
I asked if he liked the station - shrug.
I asked if he was comfortable again - nod.
So I saw there were some cards on Mr. F's table from various guests. Aha! thought I, something I can make small talk about that doesn't make me sound like I'm hearing voices.
I picked up a card and it was your generic get-well soon card. I read it to him and he nodded slowly, looking at me. Then it hit me - this card was from the Little Italy association! Mr. F is Italo-Canadian and now that shrug that he does is totally in context.
So for the rest of my 4 hour shift I hung out with Mr. F, making small talk about sweet nothing until he started asking me for something but for the life of me I couldn't figure out what it was! I don't even know if he was speaking English. He was so muffled it was hard to tell. He kept gesturing kind of wildly with his good arm and finally I was like... oh... are you thirsty, Mr. F? Nod. I wasn't sure if that was a nod yes or just an 'I'll agree with you because you're talking to me' nod, but I went with it. So I told my nurse that he seemed thirsty and she kind of gave me the so give him a drink expression but I'm not allowed to yet and aspirating a stroke pt 'because I wanted to help' is not exactly on my to-do list.
She went off on her break so I started following some other random nurses around. As I was carrying sheets for one of the nurses, a tech came running up to us and said "Are you an RN? I need an RN to take the Dr orders" and I shook my head and my nurse did too. After the tech left she muttered "I used to be an RN in the Philippines but here I am only an LPN". In case you weren't aware there is a huge hoopla because Canada took in a lot of foreign-trained nurses and told them they could be RNs here. Then we changed our minds because they couldn't pass the CRNE and so we made them LPNs until they can pass the CRNE. So I felt super awkward, being an RN student as I am, with this woman who can't function as an RN here even though originally that's just what she was. I was trying to explain this to my boyfriend that although it sucks they were made bad promises, we can't just upgrade everyone to an RN position without them being able to meet CRNE standards. Not all countries train their nurses the same way and to give everyone the same responsibilities without having had equivalent training is just unethical. So I don't have a solution for that one. Good luck, government.
That about wrapped up my clinical day on Monday last. We had a 1-hour post conference in which we discussed our reflective journals which are periodic through the term. Yeah... about that - I failed it. I am so peeved about the whole thing. I wrote a good little paper and I thought it covered off all of the requirements but apparently a reflective journal is a whole different can of worms. Most of my group failed it actually. Most of the other groups got an easy 5/5, which is what I was expecting. My instructor said that it wasn't about passing or failing, but actually, it is. These journals are 20% of my final grade! So we're going to talk to the course developers and be like, dude, wtf.
Lab last Friday was so fun! We did a hygiene lab and we got kits with all kinds of goodies in them. There's a shower cap that comes preloaded with shampoo, and you can microwave it and wash someone's hair with it. There is also shaving cream, a razor, a toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, tongue depressors, wipes, etc. My tuition dollars, hard at work. The lab was super fun though. I usually pair off with one particular girl and we have a blast roleplaying. We tend to get very animated and give each other stupid names.
"Oh, Nurse Mindy, you're the best nurse ever!"
So we gave each other bed baths on arms and legs and that was a great experience, having it done on myself. It's easy to forget how cold even hot water becomes when it's on a washcloth. Also brushing someone else's teeth is a real challenge!
Anyway, that brings me to this week, where I'm doin' a whole lot of nothing and it's great. Semester end is in sights!