Tuesday was my clinical day 1 of 2 at the Pediatrician's Office. While the day was very interesting, I am fairly certain that a clinic is not the place for me! The nurses spent a majority of their day on the computer and the telephone. The computer system in the office allows for interoffice mailboxes (similar to email) that allows the secretaries to communicate with the nurse and the nurse to communicate with the doctor (and back the other way). The personal interaction was practically nonexistent which I did not really like. I am such a “people person” and enjoy face to face interaction with others that using a computer and phone all day would drive me crazy! They were really more like secretaries than like nurses. I think I was 15 minutes in before I was said (to myself) "THIS IS SO NOT FOR ME!!!!"
The nurses definitely used a totally different set of skills performing telephone triage. Physical assessment is not possible, therefore they had to know what questions to ask and how to get the most information via telephone to make an accurate recommendation for treatment. They also had large binders of childhood conditions (common and rare) along with questions to ask and recommendations to go with the information that they gathered over the phone. Not to be rude, but it seemed like a rather brainless job overall. I like to be challenged, and this did not seem very challenging!
The only patient interaction that the nurses had was to administer vaccinations to the patients. I was able to give a few vaccinations (Flu and Gardisil), mainly to the teenagers, which was a great experience. I was also able to administer an intranasal flumist vaccine to a four-year-old. The teenagers were very stoic for their vaccines and they all went well – most of them were smiling as I left the room. The toddlers on the other hand were not so happy! I helped to restrain two four-year-olds for flu vaccines and I thought I was going to get my teeth kicked out by one of them – little kids are strong when they are scared! I did not enjoy this aspect of patient interaction! I much prefer a hospital setting where there is more time to establish trust with the patients and help them to feel better rather than making them hurt with a vaccine! The only time these nurses see the patients is to give them vaccines. One mom even said "here comes the mean lady" OMG! I could not be "the mean lady"!!!!
I have to say I was very surprised at the number of teen parents! A vast majority of the adolescent patients in the practice have children of their own that are also seen in the same office. I know that teenage pregnancy is on the rise, but to see it that up close and personal was a real eye opener for me. One nurse told me that their youngest patient with a child of her own was 14. In my eyes, a fourteen-year-old is still a baby herself! Something has to be done about this!!! HOLY MOLY!!!
The staff was great which made it a very enjoyable day. I learned a lot about the clinic setting and am thankful for the opportunity to see that side of nursing. It's kind of nice to be able to weed out what I do and don't like so that when I graduate I have an idea of what direction to head in! The perks of working in an office are the hours -- strict 9-5 hours, no holidays, no weekends. The cons -- minimal patient interaction, A LOT of sitting and NOT A LOT of doing. I am not a sitter, i am a doer, therefore this is not a good fit! I could see myself maybe doing this in 10-15 years when I have had enough of hospital life - but not right now!
I have to say that right now Maternity is still my #1, that was the reason I went back to school, but I am prepared to not be able to do that right away. A close 2nd would definitely be a medical surgical floor. I like that things are different everyday, it's busy and most of the patients are post op so they are getting better which is nice. I have not been able to rule out pediatrics. I enjoy the kids a lot but the thought of a dying child is just too much for me to handle. We had to read a chapter in our book about end of life care for children and it was very hard for me. If I had a guarantee that none of my patients would ever die than I would love to do pediatric nursing! But since life has no guarantees. . .
So I feel like I am still climbing the mountain, but I am most definitely making progress toward reaching the top!! Below is a picture of me while rock climbing in Alaska. I will never forget the feeling I had when I got to the top -- it was such an accomplishment. I am looking forward to feeling that again when I am done with school and become a licensed RN!!!