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, March 26, 2009


Well, in case you're wondering, my post from last week is still unresolved. But I am being open and honest with myself for the first time in probably a while and I can feel change in the air. To be honest I've been steering clear of blogging for a bit because I have been doing a whole lot of partying to get my mind off things. However, judging by my traffic counter, not many people are interested in my emoting, so it's back to your regularly scheduled program of UgRN!

P.S. Thanks to everyone who sent their well wishes. It was totally appreciated and I know I've got a whole lot of life left in me and a lot of experience to gain, so it helps a lot to get the experience and wisdom of other people :)

Anyway - clinical! OMG, there's only 2 weeks left of this semester. Two weeks proper, anyway. Then there's a gap while we celebrate Easter with the fam and then it's back to finals. Then after finals there's another mini semester in May. But I'm not thinking about that! I'm thinking about 2 weeks left in classes!

I'm soooo ready to be done this semester. I think I've said this before but I love nursing and nursing school. Really, I do. I just haaate the freakin' wringer they put me through! I'm sick of going to classes every day and learning a million new things, all the while thinking, 'shit, I've got to memorize all of this stuff for the final!'. It's really insane how much the human brain can store. Add to the mix my current life stressors and lack of sleep, and it makes for a pretty explosive college girl!

This week in clinical I had TWO patients! One was a stepdown from ICU (is that the right word? coming from ICU to a medical unit?) with a previous tracheotomy and a whole lot of tubing, and the other was just about the sweetest nonagenarian that I've ever met. My assignment wasn't supposed to be quite so crazy but my previous patient was discharged and replaced with the ICU patient. So I totally had my hands full. I did vitals for the first time on a real patient (with my Littmann Master Cardiology scope, which I heart!). My instructor, who seems to love me now that I wrote such a good reflection journal, watched and said that my technique was great so she wasn't even going to double check my results on a manual BP. I insisted that she did and she got the same BP as me! So that was very exciting for me.

The thing with vitals is that people are counting on you to come up with accurate numbers. It's not like a bed bath where you can just do it your way and no one complains. If the numbers are off, it could screw with someone's meds or tests, and ultimately life. So I took it as a pretty big deal. My biggest obstacle is actually finding the brachial pulse on someone. I didn't even KNOW there was a brachial pulse except on a baby arm. So a few of us spent hours on that just palpating each others arms. It's pretty funny, any nursing student can approach another nursing student and start poking their elbows for a brachial pulse, and we all instantly understand! We don't even need to ask permission any more. That's peer support for you.

So just to be sure, I checked my stepdown patient's vitals manually and then with a vitals machine, and I was totally thrilled to see they matched exactly for BP and pulse. SpO2 was at 95% on 5L (?) of oxygen which was good. The sneaky part about measuring someone's respirations is that they will change their respiratory rate when they know that's what you're counting for. So we are taught to palpate the radial pulse, count off 30 sec and take the reading x2, and then to keep our hands on their wrists for another 30 sec while we count off their respirations while ostensibly still checking the pulse. It was a lot of fun. I felt kind of sneaky in a good way. But then I got all over confident and forgot my HR count while I was counting off respirations. So clearly I have some work to do there, haha!

The sphygmomanometer that we have on the unit is really super ancient. I might have mentioned this already, but it's about 3 feet tall on casters, with for-real mercury in it, and you need to push it around the unit to get to a patient's room. Compare that to the portable cuffs we used in lab that is essentially just the cuff, a dial, and the pump part. Totally can fit in your pocket. The nurses on the unit laugh at us for taking BPs manually, but oh well! I'm so thrilled that I can do it at all! :)

Anyway, I just wanted to check in with you all. I haven't forgotten about you! <3


little d, S.N. said...

i cant even remember when taking a blood pressure was a big deal...and it WASN'T that long ago..how time flies!!!

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