Sunday, July 29, 2007

Dr. Jekyll vs Mrs. Hyde

My first assignment on my first day of clinical orientation was a combative patient. My preceptor gave her to me saying that, "she kicks, she cusses, but I think you should know how to handle a difficult patient."

Sure thing. I'm flexible. I got report from the night shift nurse and expected to meet frankly, the Mr. Hyde of all patients. When I went into the room for my first assessment, she was in bed sleeping. I decided to let her rest and returned about 30 minutes later. She was awake then, and we talked some about the plan for the day and what tests she had scheduled. With me, she was an absolute gem. We understood each other---she didn't want to be bothered, and I didn't want to bother her..we both just had to work together to get her taken care of.

Her son was at the bedside, and the other 2 patients in the room told me later that I'm the only one she didn't kick and fuss at. When I gave report to the next nurse, I told her specifically, that Ms. Hyde was fine unless she felt like she had no control in the clinical process. I returned the next day to find her on 4 point restriants (apparently she and the evening & night nurse) hadn't gotten along, she pulled out her IV and cursed them out big time.

I assessed her, talked to her and took the restraints off. She had to drink 2 Liters of Golytely for a procedure at noon, and contrary to popular opinion she downed it like she was a champ (actually drinking 1.5 liters of it!) Everyone on the unit, the techs, the nurses, even my preceptor are surprised at the fact that with everyone else, Ms. Hyde is a grade A B...but with me, she's like a lamb. She even let me put a foley & IV in her.

I'm not surprised. I think that patients sense the kind of energy that we present when we come to their bedside. If my energy is good and positive, she feels that and responds to that. Having sickle cell, I know what the other side of the fence feels like and perhaps that's why I'm able to relate.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Joie De Vivre

True happiness is... to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future. ~Lucius Annaeus Seneca

I was on the phone with all my sisters today and the younger ones both stated that I sounded so happy. It wasn't just because I was having a good day, (actually, I had just gotten back from work and it was an insanely chaotic day and I was tired as all get out). However I think it does have to do with work in a way.

Nursing satisfies me in ways that nothing else can fill. There is something immensely gratifying to go to work and know on the spot that you are helping people. Today I had 2 patients and neither of them spoke any English. The hospital I was at didn't have translators on the weekend so they spent half the morning on opposite sides of the hallway, unable to communicate to anyone at all. My solution was to introduce Mr. Espanol to Mrs. Latina....I actually walked him down the hall and into her room. The rewarding excitement and joy that they radiated in those 15 minutes was probably what gave me the joy and drive to live through the remaining crazy hours at work.

So yes, I've found my calling. I'm fortunate to have found it early and to know that every day I step out of my house, I am doing my small part to save the world, one hurting soul at a time.

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Willing

Today was the first day at my new official job. I happened to meet a new grad as I stood waiting for the elevator and we clicked instantly and chilled for the whole day. It's interesting how people from diverse places and backgrounds can all fall under the wonderful umbrella of nursing and fit in somehow.

I learned that no matter how inexperienced I think I am, there is always someone that knows less than me. I actually felt like kind of a veteran in the room surrounded with all the new grads. They have such a fresh, excited energy that is so enthusiastic, friendly and warm. I hope that the toll of our demanding job won't take that spark from them.

For me, I think the spark is still there. My man tells me every time I come back from a hard shift at work, I come home glowing. "There's something so beautiful about you when you come back from work, something that I've never seen before."

I have no idea what he's talking about, but I do know that ever since I got back into nursing, I have been more satisfied and content with myself as a person. And it is true, when you help others even in the smallest way, some of that good energy comes back to you.

There's a quote I saw the other day that fits perfectly into nursing.
We the willing, led by the Unknowing
Are doing the Impossible for the Ungrateful.
We have done so much for so long, with so little
We are now qualified to do anything with nothing.
~ Mother Teresa

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Germaphobic Fiance

I'm taking today off. I've worked 4 of the last 4 nights and my body is screaming...I want some night-time melanin giving sleep!

Yesterday was the first night I realized that all the petty foolishness that exists when women work together still exists in nursing. I worked on a rehab unit, and it was really ugly. The nurses was click-ish, the charge nurse was a royal BITCH..(even the patients complained to me about her). She was so engrossed in unit gossip and politics that she didn't even have the panache of showing me around.

I thank my lucky stars that I'm a good self starter and once I figure out the layout, I can do anything. It helped that the one nurse I met in the elevator was nice and kept me informed of the unit routine cos the charge RN was on another level.

My Husband to be is a total hypochondriac. It's so funny to me his reactions to me telling him about my day. I leave out the gross stuff, and of course follow HIPAA rules, but even something as simple as me boasting that I started an IV on a hard stick is enough to make him nauseous. We actually had to have a discussion to lay the ground rules of what he can handle and what I should leave him out of.

I first thought his reactions very amusing and told him stuff just to tease him and watch him turn green. It wasn't until we had our talk that I realized that this is so much bigger than him being squeamish---he's really a hardcore germaphobe. He told me that he's been like that since he was little, and anything hospital related gets him feeling antsy. So now I know. I'm glad we had the talk. It helped me to see things from his angle.

I'm sure the nurses will agree, it's so easy to get desensitized at our job. I don't even think wiping someone else's BM is nasty anymore---but that is the kind of thing that makes my man all icky. Poor baby.

New rule: Share less of all the gooey stuff. Anything that deals with bodily fluids is too much for him. He loves hearing about interactions with the patient, so I'll just stick to these type of stories from now on.