HELP! Bad day at clinicals

  1. Yesterday was my fourth day of clinicals for nursing assistant. All the other days were good. I saw a lot and did a lot. Got to practice my skills. But yesterday I saw the tension between aides and nurses. I saw open bed sores that I practically had to beg a nurse to come look at. A 38 yo new admit with stroke. He just wanted us to let him die and how could I fault him for that! And so many other things that my instructor didn't prepare me for.
    Maybe it's PMS but I really have to rethink my career path. My intentions were to work my way through nursing school working as CNA. Now I don't know if I can hold up to the mental strength required to be CNA or RN.

    Does anyone have any advice?

    At the comm. coll. I attend there are a lot of people who drop out of the nursing program. I can see why.
    Nursing is what I want to do and who I want to be. But I'm not sure if I can do it.

    Please HELP!
    Amanda
    •  
  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   llg
    Perhaps it will help you to remind yourself about the reasons WHY you want to become a nurse. Did you think it would be easy? Did you think you would never have to deal with difficult situations? Probably not.

    You probably knew that there would be bad days and that you would have to deal with some difficult, complicated issues that would pose you with tough challenges. As you thought about your future career, how did you imagine yourself dealing with the challenges? Did you imagine yourself quitting and running away from every challenge? Probably not. Your probably imagined yourself sticking with it, trying your best, and eventually mastering any challenges that comes your way.

    That's what you have to do now -- think of those difficulties you have encountered as challenges that you need to master. Imagine yourself mastering them. That's the first step. Then you just put one foot in front of the other and take it step by step. That's how "heroes" do it.

    Keep learning. Find a few people (classmates, instructors, co-workers, etc.) that you can talk to and who might be able to give you good advice about the specific difficult situations you encounter. Try to help the patients one person at a time. Take care of yourself, too. Get plenty of rest, eat well, get some exercise, have some fun and relaxation in your life. etc. You need to keep yourself healthy, both physically and emotionally, to be able to help others.

    We've all felt a little overwhelmed at times. The important thing is not to let a few bad things prevent us from doing the work we need to do. Sometimes, you simply have to "suck it up" and keep going. Give it a little time before you throw your goals away. Any career worth having will have it's challenges.

    Good luck,
    llg
  4. by   jb2u
    I'd say that the experience you had IS the reason to become a Nurse. As a Nurse you can be the one to go to that patient in need, instead of being the frustrated CNA that can only call the Nurse and not make him/her go. Use your time as a CNA as a learning experience. What do you see now that you can do better? Remember these things when you become an RN and change things. You can go into the political side of Nursing and push for changes such as safer pt to Nurse ratios. Whatever you do, don't stop because of a bad experience, use it as motivation to succeed!

    Good Luck,
    Jay
  5. by   natrgrrl
    Thanks for the advice, especially about one patient at a time.

    Amanda
  6. by   NSinMD
    Natrgrrl - you will make it. Your compassion for those clients is what is needed. The open sores would have been a good opportunity for you and your instructor to clean them and dress them. If they weren't previously documented , please make sure that you do it. I've seen cases where a student (or even another RN) will simply check off the assessments as they were on the previous shift without assessing it themselves. This does nobody any good. Hang in there.
  7. by   Agatha
    Quote from natrgrrl
    ... A 38 yo new admit with stroke. He just wanted us to let him die and how could I fault him for that! ...
    Natrgrrl,

    I've had very little experience ... But once had a pt in her late 60's w/severe stroke. Did total care on her for the better part of a week. She had an NG tube for feeding. She was completely unresponsive to anything.

    Had 1 day off.

    Returned to work. Went to her room, and asked the lady in the chair where Mrs. X might be. <clang-sound of my jaw hitting the floor> It was her, sitting in the chair, reading the paper, fully dressed. Alert! Looking good! hmmmm. There's always an exception to give others hope. And 1981, that was before the new stroke Tx, so today there's even more hope.

    About your decision. Only you can do it, but hang in there for a while. Maybe it's just this one rough spot, and there are oodles of types of nursing. Follow your heart!!
  8. by   natrgrrl
    Thanks Agatha. I passed my state testing (YAY!) and feel much better about how to handle the heartbreaking situations I come across. Good to hear story about patient improvement.
  9. by   chadash
    Go forward, make a difference!
    It is so hard, because you are in no position to make a big change for this particular patient at this time, but the more education you get, the more power you acquire, the more change you can effect.
    For us carreer NAs, we can effect small changes that impact individuals and make a real difference too.

close