Thursday, January 24, 2008

Shell Shocked

My patient died a few nights ago. It was the most bizarre experience ever. I had just been in his room, taking his blood pressure (which was fine), drawing his AM labs and talking to him. I walked him to the bathroom and back, then tucked him in his bed, got him a warm blanket and said goodnight.

I went into my next patient's room to hook up his antibiotics. The Monitor tech calls me and tells me my other patient has a junctional rhythm. I rush in there and he's pale and unresponsive, his head crooked over to the side, his dentures halfway out of his mouth. I instantly freaked and started shaking him, then hit the code button (even though he was DNR). I told the other nurses that he was DNR with chemical intervention but his heart had stopped beating and he wasn't even breathing. The doctor pronounced him at a few minutes after 3am.

How can someone be talking to you and then dead the next minute? He was old, in his 80s and had COPD...beyond that, he should have been fine. The family is not going to do an autopsy, so I'll never know what happened but always have questions.

This isn't the first time that my patient died, it's just the first time that it was so unexpected and random. I was the last person that he saw before he passed. I was the last person he spoke to. I'm still shell shocked. The nurses on the unit accepted it cynically, and almost without empathy. I'm dealing with hella emotions at this point, feeling that if I had stayed in the room for just a few more minutes I could have helped him live.

The next night I had a patient in the SAME ROOM. Unfortunately he didn't get much sleep that night because I kept going in to make sure he was still alive. I checked on him almost religiously, freakishly paranoid that this old 80 year old would die on me too.

How do nurses deal with all these emotions? I don't know what to do.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Cardiac Jitters

I've just started a new job at this super advanced hospital. It's the largest tertiary cardiac hospital in the WHOLE state, and has a reputation of sterling gold. I'm learning so much on this unit, which is great because at my old job I was getting kinda stagnant. It's a cardiac telemetry unit, and when I say cardiac, I mean CARDIAC. They are hardcore about the cardiac ish.

I'm worried about working this week because now that I'm off orientation I'm expected to fly on my own. It's a ratio of 5 patients per night, which isn't hard except I'm still new and figuring everything out. Hopefully they go easy on me the first few days, it would suck if I couldn't hang.

The whole hospital is computerized to the next level, everything is computerized. It reminds me of my old job in Maryland, and the ease that technology adds to everything does make up for the 'fish out of water' feeling that I have. I love the fact that I can do all my charting on my patients on the computer in less than 15 minutes!

It actually gives more time to spend with the patients. I'm doing 12 hour nights, and they have me on 3 in a rows, so hopefully I will stay on top of my game and the Super Nurse will find her wings again.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Hey peoples,

Do I really post that infrequent that noone knows I've been out? Dayum! New Year Resolution, post more often.

I was sick in the hospital since the 5th, not a cool way to start the year but it has been my modus operandi as of the last few years.

Anyway, there is alot to do and say, but first I must catch up on all you blogging freaks out there.

Oh, and although I'm hella late,


By the way, my new job starts on the 14th, I'm going to be a travel nurse...can I get a hells yeah?