Friday, October 28, 2011

First Day of Clinical!!!!

Let's start with the boring stuff. . . well, it's not really boring, it's just not as exciting as the other stuff. ;)

Wednesday morning I had my second performance test in 224 (Health Assessment). There were three possible options that we could be given for this test. 1 was the head, neck and peripheral vascular system, 2 was the eyes, ears, nose and mouth (this one included vision and hearing tests) and 3 was lungs, thorax and cardiovascular. If you ask me the little irrigation bowl filled with tiny pieces of folded up paper containing one option each was very heavily weighted toward option 3, but that's a whole different story. I wound up choosing Option 3. This meant I had to listen to heart sounds and listen to, feel and percuss lung sounds, assess the chest surface characteristics and bone structure, and assess carotid artery and jugular function. I did fairly well. I was A LOT less nervous this time because we were in an exam room with a closed circuit camera system so it was just me and my partner while the professor listened and watched from another room. It's amazing how that presence of a professor really rattles your nerves! I wound up with a 77/80 on the assessment with a possible 20 points on the documentation. I guess I will find out next week how I did on the documentation. That is so important and I feel like I always screw it up! Now I have a two week break from that class (next week the remainder of the class will take the performance test and the following week we have no class through the magic of school rescheduling due to too many Monday holidays in the fall).

Now onto the good stuff!!!! I worked my first shift at the hospital yesterday!!!! I took care of my patient (and some other patients) all day and didn't injure, maim or kill anyone! This is very good news! I must admit when we first arrived in the morning there was a small voice in my head SCREAMING "Run! Run! You don't really want to be a nurse! get the heck out of here!" Maybe I was just a teeny bit nervous. OK, I was so nervous I felt like I was going to pass out! My main concern was that because my patient is nonverbal X would not be able to tell me if I was hurting X or doing something X didn't like. I did see a few grimaces in the day that were brief and I think I have figured out what X doesn't like -- although some of it needs to be done anyway. I used a Hoyer lift and gave my first patient shower in a shower chair (with the help of my professor extraordinaire), I changed a tracheostomy sterile dressing and a G tube sterile dressing, I fed a patient lunch (not my patient), I emptied a Foley bag, I did some passive range of motion exercises with my patient, I gave my first injection to a live being (insulin), I learned to use a "Plac-vac" which is like a toothbrush with suction, I turned my patient and I cleaned up lots of yucky stuff (and that's all I have to say about that). I read my patient's full chart and learned a lot, most of which broke my heart. I didn't get emotional about it until last night when it all hit me and then I cried. Sometimes it just takes a little perspective. Compared to my patient, my life is without problems. The good news is that by the end of the day the little voice that had been telling me to run away had gone away and I was more sure than ever that I want to be a nurse. I really feel like I made a difference for the patients that I cared for. Those that can talk expressed how much they enjoyed us being there. The staff there is AMAZING -- so willing to help us and teach us. Too bad it is SO FAR away or I might consider working there someday. My first ride up there from home was in the PITCH BLACK (I left here at 5:45 am in the pouring rain) up very windy, wet country roads. NOT FUN! It was a bit of a white knuckle ride but I made it with lots of time to spare.

When I got home I was so tired that exhausted isn't even adequate. My feet were killing me and I was totally wiped out. I felt really bad for my kids because they wanted me to do all sorts of things for them and with them and I could not even stand up. It was a lot of work! Dinner was takeout, I got the kids into bed, had to paint a bean bag toss for my kids school Halloween party and then I went to bed. I slept like a ROCK!

Can't wait to go back and do it again next week. . . :0)

MY PSA for today: If you ride a motorcycle PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE wear a helmet. God bless!

So the bottom line is, I do indeed want to be a nurse. I want to make a difference in the lives of my patients. I want to take care of people. I am so thankful to be taking this journey and I am so glad that through technology I am able to share it this way.

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