Tag Archives: clinical

Good Morning, Uptown!

This is my view from clinical.  On clinical days, we all meet in the cafeteria, sluggish and needing coffee.  We sit around and ingest overpriced cafeteria oatmeal and lattes, and curse the early morning hour.  Some of us get up earlier than others, because we have farther to drive.  Regardless, we are all tired and craving more sleep at the start of every clinical day.

But then we go up to the 8th floor, step off the elevator, and we are greeted with the huge paned windows and the view of of the city.

There is something to be said at working at BIG hospital.  I will admit that there is a certain “Grey’s Anatomy” feeling to stepping off that elevator and seeing the skyscrapers!!  But mostly, working at a hospital like this one gives me so many fantastic opportunities.  Opportunities to see, learn, and grow – opportunities that just aren’t available in smaller hospitals.  We get the transfers.  We get the trauma.  We get the unusual and the mysterious.  We get the sad and the unbelievably happy.

I have always said I wanted to work at a small town hospital, but after doing these clinical rotations with school…. there is just something in the air here.  I love being a part of it!!!

I finish up OB next week….. my last rotation will be in plain old Gyno.  I have done Labor and Delivery, High Risk Maternity, and Postpartum/Newborn nursery so far.  This hasn’t been my favorite class, but I have learned a lot and it has been a great experience – which, after all, is what nursing school clinicals are all about.  Getting hands on, learning, and discovering your real path in this field.

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Healthcare for the Healthy

That’s truly what Labor and Delivery is.  Most of these women that are in the hospital having babies are HEALTHY women! It’s a different kind of nursing to say the least.  You don’t want to make them sick, you don’t want to even infer to them that they ARE sick – because childbirth is a pretty natural state.  It’s kind of a shame the way we have medicalized (is that a word?) it, and I wonder if at the end of the day our numbers of mortality are any different because of our health care.  That being said, for a geek like me — it’s an interesting field.  I could sit for a few hours at a time and just watch the monitors!  Life in the uterus is fascinating.  The entire thing from start to finish truly is a miracle.

I was able to see two babies born – one by cesarean and one vaginally.  It’s just amazing.  One minute there is one and in a split second (and lots of blood and glory! LOL) there are two.  Both babies I saw came into the world screaming and happy…. it was a wonderful sound, that first angry baby cry.

I know this is a short blog, but I really don’t have that much to say about this week because it just wasn’t my week.  I didn’t like it. *shrug*  Does that make me a horrible person? I can’t imagine working in that environment.  I truly didn’t enjoy it one second I was there.  I though that I might, because like I said before – the technical part of it really fascinates me.  I love lecture, and I find myself really enjoying the *science* part of it. But the medical part of it? Not so much.  She did tell us on that first day of theory — this is a field you will love and HAVE to work in, or this is a field that you will just simply have to survive this rotation.  I see myself surviving right now.

This coming week, I’m in Women’s Special – so these are women who are hospitalized with complications in their pregnancy, pretty much.  I think I will like this week better than last week (I’m weird), but we’ll see.  Then I’m in Post Partum/Newborn nursery, and then I’m  up on the plain old Gyny floor, which I bet I will like the most of all – because I will be taking care of patients and not healthy mothers and babies. 😀

BTW – disclaimer – I know not all births are healthy and I know they all don’t end up with happy endings. To be honest, I never want to lay eyes on that part of labor and delivery!  A friend of mine who has worked on the floor (and no longer does!) said to me… “Kat, it is the happiest place on earth when it’s happy, and when it’s sad? It’s absolutely tragic.”

I bet.  😦

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Tiny Angels

I spent the day today working among some of the best people in this business.  NICU nurses.  I’m not sure how they do it day after day after day.  So many sad stories to tell, so many UNhappy endings.  When it’s happy, it’s happy. When it’s sad, it’s just tragic.  I saw a baby today that was as big as my hand…. with paper thin skin and a list of problems that would make any care plan easily 26 pages.  Such tiny little beings, with such fragile little bodies!

The NICU is truly an amazing place.  It’s a room full of medical miracles that even a decade ago wouldn’t have had the happy endings that they do now.  There are million dollar machines that work in amazing ways to keep these babies alive.  It’s a place that will make you appreciate the real strides that medicine has taken!

These nurses have their work down to an art.  The teamwork on this unit beats anything I have ever seen.  Everyone knows everyone else.  The neonatologist works closely with the nurses.  The respiratory therapist is down the hall.  There is always a nurse practitioner.  Rounds is a huge group effort where everyone contributes.  Nurses seem to have a voice in the NICU that is sometimes overshadowed in other parts of the hospital.  The NICU seems to have it’s on heartbeat… it’s a thriving, busy place – but at the same time, it’s not unusual to see a nurse snuggled up with a little guy getting his 11 o’clock feeding either.

I enjoyed my time there. I’ll be there again tomorrow as well! I learned a lot (thanks to a great clinical instructor), and look forward to another day there.  I don’t think this is where my “calling” is going to be, but that doesn’t mean I won’t have a great time playing with all those tiny angels!

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Being a Nurse is EASY!

Have you heard this?  This is a vicious rumor going around.  That nursing is easy.  Not only is NURSING easy, but nursing school is easy.  After all – what is nursing? It’s just tucking people into bed and wiping their noses.  Oh, occasionally you have to clean up some poop, maybe some vomit.  You know what being a nurse is? It’s a glorified housekeeper.

Did you know that?

I’m glad I’m paying for an education that is nearly killing me on some days to just be a glorified housekeeper.

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the following:  “I’m practically a nurse anyway!”  Really? You are not a nurse.  Having kids, and bandaging knees, and pulling out splinters does not make you a nurse.  I truly think a lot of people are seriously misinformed about what nurses DO, and what they have to suffer thru to BECOME nurses.  My first taste of pharmacology nearly pushed me over the edge.  Nursing school is HARD. It is the hardest thing I have EVER done… and I say that with all honesty.  Not only does it effect your physical being (I’m TIRED), but it effects your home life (Hi kids, bye kids – Mom has to learn how tetracycline effects the liver now…).  On top of learning how to balance all these new demands on your life, you get released as fresh Student Nurses onto a hospital unit where you spend your days feeling clueless and trying not to kill anyone, and sucking up all the knowledge and skills from those experienced nurses around you.    My first day on a hospital unit… and I watched a bone marrow aspiration.  I sat with a man and listened to him talk about life with a chronic debilitating illness.  I circled the floor doing physical assessments on patients who were just happy to talk to someone with TIME (because our floor nurses are SO overworked and underpaid right now in hospitals) that they were happy about being poked and prodded.  Not once did I wait on someone, or wipe a snotty nose. I didn’t bandage anyone’s boo boo.

Don’t tell me nursing is easy.  I will call you a LIAR!

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Crossing things off the list.

So my OR experience shed light on my career path.  I’m not a fan of the OR.  Surgery? Yes. I love surgery. It was completely bad ass and I would definitely like to spend time in the OR on occasion just to be nosey.  But I can’t imagine my nursing career being limited to that.  We were assigned a patient in preop, followed thru into surgery, and then into post op…. and it was just so… impersonal for lack of a better term.  I have really enjoyed my time on the med surg floor – meeting patients, getting to know them somewhat, meeting their families.  In the OR, the majority of time you spend with your patient you spend with them completely asleep to the world.  I just don’t think it’s up  my alley.  I’m not nearly that technical and analytical either. I think having to count the sponges more than once might make my head explode.

However, watching the OR team work together was definitely an experience.  It’s like a well oiled machine in there.  I wish that the floor nurses could get that kind of team work going on in their units…. patient care would skyrocket.  The techs worked with the nurses and the nurses worked with the surgeons, and everyone was like a big happy family.  I did envy that environment.

I can’t believe that my first semester of nursing is almost over.  It’s balls to the wall from here on out though – exams and finals and summatives.  I’m ready to move on to the next class though – Pediatrics!

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Code Pink

I was just thinking about this the other day… and I am still giggling about it. Sometimes, I think – technology sneaks up on us and ends up smacking some of us across the head with a big stick.  When I had my babies (the last one almost 7 years ago! EEEK), we had the good old fashioned “wristband” security.  The nurses wouldn’t give the baby to anyone that didn’t have a matching wristband.  It seemed to work ok… I mean, you never saw a huge plethora of baby snatchings from hospitals on the news.  Nowadays though, these little newborns have sensor tags ziptied to their brand new wrinkly selves – and when grandma takes the whiny infant for a bounce down the hall, they end up locking down the entire hospital with  a “CODE PINK”.  While we were in Clinicals on Friday, this happened not once – but TWICE – in the six hours I was there.  I was told by my instructors that if a code pink is ever called while we are on shift, we are supposed to head straight to the exit doors on our floor and watch for the bad baby snatchers.  When this first code pink was called…. all of us first semester nursing students stood there with this aghast look of “OMG A CHILD ABDUCTION” on our faces, but the nurses on our floor had not a single change in demeanor.  In fact, not one of them went to an exit door to look for the perp.   I guess logic had the best of them – after all, we were on the fourth floor and L&D is down on the second floor – so odds are a babysnatcher would run down and out, not up.  When the alarm rang again only a few hours later, it became apparent to all of us that Code Pinks might just be a giant pain in our collective asses.

Grandma!  Put down the baby!  You can’t take him down to the cafeteria anymore! It’s 2010!

LOL!

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I want to be a nurse when I grow up.

Today was my very first day in a hospital unit.  You know, going in to the hospital on that first clinical day is super daunting!  You feel like you are in everybody’s way and everything moves so fast that you feel like if you blink you’ll miss something.  Today was a fairly simple day for us – we had no patient care, we were simply learning the ropes. We had a “scavenger hunt” where we had to find a list of supplies/objects on the unit floor.  How sad is it that we needed help finding the crash cart? LOL!  At the end of the day though, I think we all felt a bigger sense of “belonging”.   I know at least for me, spending a day immersed in patient charts and med logs gave me an even deeper feeling of KNOWING.  Knowing that this is what I am supposed to do.  I really do feel as if I have a calling to be a nurse. I can’t explain it, I just do.  It probably has something to do with the fact that the patient chart we dissected today (an elderly man with COPD)… well, I have thought about this gentleman all night. After all, I feel as if I know him now. I know his medical history. I know the date of his myocardial infarction.  I know that he smoked for 25 years but hasn’t picked up a cigarette since 1985.  I know that he lives alone with his elderly wife.  I know this man, and at the same time I don’t know him. I have never met him… but I drove home from clinicals today thinking about him.  Wondering what his latest SAT was, if he was feeling better, if perhaps he might get to go home tomorrow…. maybe get off the bipap…..

So maybe that is why I feel like I need to be a nurse…. put an action to all this thinking. 🙂

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