Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Small but Perceptible Shift in my Position on the Totem Pole

Apparently the powers that be feel that I’ve got enough experience in the non-critical areas to orient new staff. So that’s just what I did. For two weeks straight.

I must say that I really enjoy teaching. It’s an opportunity to not only help another person get their bearings in a new setting but it helps me learn from their experiences as well. Unfortunately, a particular new hire does not feel the same way. I tried to go through several protocols including chest pain with cardiac features and hip fractures but she talked over me the entire time. I heard all about her kids, her husband’s habit of not filling up the gas tank, her mother-in-law’s crazy tarot card obsession, her sister’s multiple affairs and her favourite shampoo’s magical hair softening effects. When I finally got a chance to speak, I redirected her to a patient who was brought to us with a possible hip fracture. I told her to do the initial work up which we would discuss afterwards. She talked and talked and talked and then talked some more with the hip pain guy without checking for distal pulses, checking for shortening or rotation, drawing blood, doing an ECG or even putting in a freaking catheter. When she came out of the room, she tells me the guy’s entire life story but nothing clinically relevant. She didn’t even ask him about HOW he fell! What really kills me is that she’s been a nurse for 4 years! FOUR years! Had I known that she wouldn’t even do basic assessments, I wouldn’t have left the patient to her because I had to give up my break to catch up on the work she created for me. While she sauntered off to break, she had the audacity to comment to another nurse that *I* was slowing HER down. It was a miracle that I didn’t end up strangling her!

However, the day was saved when I had to orient two new grads – they were brilliant. Smart, great critical thinkers and asked lots of intelligent questions. Even though I was still swamped with a bunch of unworked-up patients, I genuinely enjoyed teaching them as much as I could. Unlike nurse with 4 years experience, they did a great job with their assessments and were able to very intelligently explain their rationales.

As I write this post, I received an email saying that I’m teaching for the next set of my shifts as well. Here’s hoping I get the later and not the former. Otherwise, I might stuff her mouth with a chart. But that would not be very professional of me, considering that now I have to uphold an image of someone with a mild bit of nursing experience.


Mar's Bar said...

hehehe, you are an excellent teacher!

Grumpy, M.D. said...

I love teaching, but with rare exceptions refuse to do it just because of the time involved. In my small solo practice it just adds too much time to my day.

I agree with you. The joy you get from it depends on the quality of the students you're given.

Reality Rounds said...

The one thing I hate the most when I am teaching anyone, is when they talk over you and say "I know"..."I know"...."I know". Even if you do "know", have some respect for my time, and shut up and listen. You must be a great teacher!

Anonymous said...

You're teaching now? That's awesome! You'd make a great teacher! Wish I had you when I was starting out. You'd teach me EVERYTHING I would need to know, even the non-standard ways. :P