Thursday, October 16, 2008

From nursing student to NURSE

It has been a long time but I’m back – with a nursing degree and a (temporary) license! After finishing my consolidation, I landed a job in an ER right smack in the middle of the big city! I’ve been working there for a little over a month and so far, it’s not too shabby. The first couple of weeks were spent in orientation which included some mind-numbingly boring sessions (but paid and with free breakfast) on hospital philosophy and policies on CBG testing.

Currently, I’m ‘buddy-shifting’, meaning that I’m following different nurses around trying to get the hang of things. Some of those nurses understand that I’m a new grad but I need to learn so they let me try to run things and help out when I need it. In fact, a couple of shifts ago, I was pretty much running the fast track area. I actually felt like a NURSE instead of a scrub clad monkey with opposable digits. On the other hand there are some nurses that just make me feel like crap. For example, yesterday I was working in the fast track area with a nurse who kept telling me that I’m insanely slow and that I can’t keep up with the patient load. She was right that I couldn’t keep up but I think it was partly because she kept slamming me with new patients every 10 minutes. When I worked the fast track area previously, I discharged at least 2 patients before bringing another one in so I could keep a stretcher free in case a lol (little old lady) with a query hip fracture is brought in by EMS. When I explained my reasoning to her, she just looked at me like I was a total moron and started giving me report on 4 new patients. There are some days when I get really pissed at myself because I keep forgetting the details about patients. I still feel like I’m having the hardest time remembering who is going for what test at what time. I feel like an idiot giving report while realizing I forgot about a test or a new set of orders.

Another shock to my (nursing) system was the sheer number of patients I can see in a given day. When I was consolidating on the floor, I memorized the patient list, admitting diagnoses and med times within a week. I got sick of handing out the same pills every day. In the ER, I can see up to 30 patients a day presenting with everything ranging from abscesses in the ass crack (its true) to bleeding eyes and insane joint deformities. Throw in the Friday and Saturday night Drunky McDrunkingtons (my pet name for the drunks requiring a B&B) and I’m well on my way to climbing the steep learning curve.

I really hope that I don’t screw up and get tarred and feathered out of the ER. Now that I’ve had a taste of the autonomy nurses can have, I really don’t want to go to another unit. Attaining competence, confidence and beyond is my biggest goal – I really hope I get there sooner rather than later.

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