Friday, March 22, 2013

Smile like you know what you are doing!

Smiling like I'm in complete control and have absolutely no doubt about my abilities has become my new go to face. It's a particularly useful face to have in a patient's room so s/he doesn't think I'm crazy or incompetent. That being said I generally leave the room and immediately go run options by my fabulous coworkers. They may have no more experience than I, but it's nice to be able to get some confirmation that my head is indeed screwed on straight. In the event that I truly don't know what I'm doing I run to one of our fabulous charge nurses or to the assistant nurse manager on nights. That being said when the charge nurse of the week is your boyfriend, it makes me want to ask questions a little bit less. Nonetheless I persevered, asked the questions that needed asking and everybody lived. They may have either been snowed or restrained, but no one died...that's the main point anyways. 
Now, when your boyfriend is the charge nurse for the week that means his lovely and talented nursing student needs to be precepted by someone else. Somehow that someone else turned out to be me...yes me as in the haven't been working four months yet but somehow people think I'm competent enough to oversee someone else. Needless to say it was an entertaining week as I tried to stay 20 steps ahead of the game, keep my student on track, teach, catch up the stuff that day shift hadn't done, and deal with some quite frankly critical patients. It was a good learning week for my "mini me" to say the least. She learned what massive, rapidly growing hematomas look like, how to restrain people, how to interpret some basic rhythms, what to say when your 96 yo patient asks you if she's in outer space, have we replaced her body, and to bring her bourbon and a man (this same pt the next night would have me kiss her on the cheek three times, and then later grab both my ass and my boobs and try to bite me). I think it was a good learning experience, and she seemed to be enjoying the fast pace, but I definitely wished we'd had a bit more down time to talk things through (that's the goal for next week!). 
I still love my job, but this has definitely been a trying month, and to top it all off my rad blood drawing skills seem to have left me the past couple of weeks. I haven't had a great stick in quite a while :P Oh well I guess it all comes in waves. I am just glad the week is over though because I've been hit, fondled, bled on, and told by my previously sweet patient that she was going to "sock me in my puss". I was so shocked by this statement, that she momentarily won the mitten restraint battle and smacked me in my stomach. It's just been one of those stretches where the mantra of "I love my job, I love my job, I love my job, I love my job" has been the only thing keeping me going at times. Hopefully by Sunday night I'll have recharged my nursing battery and will once again be the little engine that could  =)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Sometimes comfortable is a good thing

I am currently laying on the couch at my boyfriend's house listening to the familiar sounds of call of duty in the background, and I have been struck by a wonderful realization. I am comfortable, I enjoy laying on the couch without obligations or concerns. There are no exams to study for, I no longer feel like I have to spend hours looking things up for work, and the thought of working on my own no longer makes me want to vomit. I am comfortable. However, this is not to say that I have become complacent, far from it in fact. I simply have the time to invest in life now; both my own and those around me. I'm sure there will be days where I am completely out of my element, and I am stuck with difficult decisions to make; for now though I'm going to enjoy the new life I have taking root, the people I have met (if I haven't mentioned that my boyfriend is awesome let me say it now: he's pretty incredible and for some reason thinks I'm amazing), and the experiences I am having along the road I'm on :)

Monday, January 21, 2013

One of the worst feelings, in my opinion, is waking up in the morning (or early afternoon) and immediately planning for my afternoon nap. Nonetheless, this has become my life as I have transitioned from working days to working nights. After completing my first week on nights since nursing school, I have come to the realization that I like my patient’s awake. I thrive on the fast paced environment on days, and I genuinely enjoy working with doctors and NPs that circulate the floor during the day. The part I miss the most though is the patient education; we’re so busy from 1900-2300 that there’s no time to spend more than a couple of minutes with your patients. Once things slow down, ideally you want them to sleep, so barring complications the next time you interact with them is to draw their blood at 0400. And I don’t know about you, but the last thing I would want to do at 0400 is have a conversation with anyone. In fact, most of my patients just stick their arm out, let me draw their blood, and then roll over and try to catch a few more precious hours of sleep before the hubbub of the day overtakes them. I often tell my patients that they come to the hospital to get well, not get sleep. Unfortunately it often seems like the two are mutually exclusive. By the time my patients start to wake up in the morning, I am almost on my way out the door. They are awake just long enough for me to introduce them to their next nurse and say my goodbyes as I stumble my way home for some much needed sleep.

All of that said, there is a certain charm to nights. You have more time to review patient charts and orders; and when things go wrong on nights the entire floor pulls together to help get you, and your patients!, through it. Not to say that doesn’t happen on days, but it’s just a bit less hectic generally. Perhaps the only thing that’s made me truly laugh on nights are the patients who tell me they don’t want to call me because “I look like I need my rest!” However, as much as I love my night shift coworkers I am looking forward to hopefully transitioning back to days in the next couple of months. That being said I think it’s time for my pre-work nap before I start funneling caffeine into my system :) 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Controlled Chaos

I am a nurse. Nursing is not what I do, it is who I am. I know there are people who say that, and I used to write those kind of statements off. A job was just a job until I discovered what brought passion to my life. This job I have is not something that I leave when I swipe my badge at the end of my shift. I interact with patient's and their families at some of their most vulnerable moments in life. On occasion I impact them; more often their overwhelmed state and dependence impacts me. I couldn't have planned my life any better if I'd had a fairy godmother. I love what I do. However, there are days that we all pay a price. Not everyone survives their hospitalization; often, some patient's don't have a chance before they even enter the door. 

I participated in my first code last week. I've always heard how violent CPR is, but you never hear how beautiful it is at the same time. There are multiple people in the room, but each one plays a role in a synchronized dance you perfect the moves to the first time you step into the situation. It is the place that theory becomes concrete knowledge. In this particular situation I took part in chest compressions, ventilating the patient, pushing medications, checking for pulses, and acting as a member of a team with one goal in mind: keep the patient alive. In this particular case I experienced something I never imagined. I actually rode on the patient's bed doing chest compressions as we moved to another location. When adrenaline pumps through your body that quickly and viciously everything but the situation in front of you fades out. That moment of utter clarity doesn't happen very often, but in these situations it's a necessity. You don't feel the pain ripping through your body as you push it beyond the physical restraints binding it. 

I am a nurse. It is not a profession, it's a lifestyle choice. It impacts every aspect of my life, and I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Country Roads and Old Fashioned Country Thanksgivings!

First of all let me say I have been spoiled beyond belief driving on the West Coast. Admittedly, people from California do not count, because they A) are not PacWest people and B) can't drive. However, I have NEVER seen worse drivers than I have here in Florida. They don't signal when they turn or change lanes, they consistently drive 15 MPH above the speed limit, if you do not immediately take off when lights turn green they honk and may or may not provide you with a less than pleasant gesture, and finally they don't require helmets for motorcycles! I mean come on, can you say stupidity?? But enough ranting about bad driving...needless to say no one here would win the driver of the year award if there even was a reward like that. 

On a happier note, I went to my aunt's house for Thanksgiving. It was a great long weekend (I have FIVE days off from work!!), the drive was beautiful and relatively stupidity free, saw family, played with cats and dogs, had great food, AND rode in a cotton picker! If you have never seen a cotton picker, or had the joys of picking cotton off the stalk and playing with it you have seriously missed out on life! It's amazing to see cotton in its raw state and imagine all the steps it takes to take form and be used (in case you didn't know this, cotton is generally shipped to China and then back to the US in actual goods; also there's cotton in a $100 bill), and it's really just downright fun to ride around on a cotton picker!! 

Thanksgiving was a really fun affair, I got to see family and friends I haven't seen in years, shoot guns, eat turkey and pumpkin pie, and generally have an All-American Thanksgiving. It was a bit nostalgic to not be at my parents, watching football on the back porch (ROLL TIDE!!), and drinking White Russians, but I guess that's all part of growing up. At least I am still near extended family, and we're planning an old fashioned country Christmas as well =)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Start up fees, working 12s, and pesky ole appliances!!

When you sign up for things like cable, internet, and electricity. They never tell you about the "fees" that come along with it. I mean really does Comcast really need to charge me $59.99 to pick up my cable box and internet modem?? I literally drove to Comcast and picked up everything I needed and THEY charged me. I should have charged them the gas it cost me to drive out there since they shipped me the wrong stuff in the first place!! And then to start up my electric, the great city of Tallahassee charged me a $20.00 start-up fee on top of a $180.00 deposit...a deposit? Really?! It's not like I signed a contract, so why do I need pay a deposit?? Needless to say fees are not my friend!!

This was my first week of real work in my brand new job! I had forgotten how hard it is to be on my feet for twelve hours a day. Plus getting up at 5am to get ready for work, leaving while it's still dark, and getting home after the sun sets is HARD. That being said, I really do love what I do, and I love my new job!! There are a lot of adjustments, and new things to get used to...I mean really EKG strips that I am responsible for interpreting?? Very nerve wracking. On a very proud note I did my first blood draw on a very dehydrated patient, and I got it on the first stick! Hopefully the weeks begin to go more smoothly, and I figure out the nuances of the system =)

I got my washer and dryer today. I don't think I've even been so excited to see an appliance in my life...I once again have a surplus of clean clothes! Plus I bought an energy efficient washer so I'll get $100.00 dollars off my electric bill, which will alleviate some of the "fee" issues I've been having so that's good. I think this has been one of the most ADD things I've ever written...couldn't quite decide which of the exciting life events I should write about today...will have to work on that another day =)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Reasons I'm pretty sure my neighbor hates me and other shenanigans

Anyone who has ever lived with me for any length of time will tell you that I am a wiggler. Not only am I a wiggler, but I also feel the need at random times during my day to run through my abode. These are not predetermined jaunts, and I'm doing them before I quite realize that this is happening. So now my neighbor is graced by my little thumper feet. Additionally, I have felt the need to listen to CNN in the morning while I get ready for work. Which means at 6:30am my tv is on, but on the bright side my knowledge of news events and politics is at an all time high. On top of that is my desire to listen to music to combat the silence. This now means that s/he is subjected to my random mood music swings including, but not limited to: country, R&B, rock, alternative, 90s pop icons and 60s jazz. As a result of all of this I'm pretty sure my neighbor probably thinks I'm schizophrenic. And for the record I've never actually seen the person who lives below me...for all I know there's no one living there, but that would make the cat gymnasium on the porch hard to explain.

In other news, I completed my week of orientation...mostly. I have to go back Monday morning for one more 29 question test about cardiac rhythms :P Otherwise it's been a fairly uneventful (e.g. a fairly boring overview of a lot of stuff, but at least everyone has been really nice) orientation, I really like the campus and organization I work for. They have made a lot of improvements, and have touch screen IV pumps...yes I said touch screen. It's awesome. However, they use one of the most archaic electronic medical records I have ever worked with. It is so not cool, but than again I have a job so I can't really complain! And I'm heading off this weekend to the Greek festival or the Seafood festival, or maybe both!!