I'm a brand new nurse still on orientation. I am learning a LOT during my first 90 days.
I had the unfortunate opportunity of being rushed to the ED during my shift last week. And then I was admitted overnight in my own hospital! As awkward as it was knowing almost all involved in my care on a professional/personal level, I learned a lot. Things that I plan to improve on/things I learned:
1) communicate frequently with patients about procedures, what you are doing while you are in the room, and their overall treatment plan. Not knowing this caused me great anxiety. I understand having 5 people work on me at the same time without much conversation is okay in the ED. It was truly an emergency. But once on the floor...talk! It's so easy to forget that just because you know their case inside out, that they don't know hardly anything. Put them at ease with some information.
2) understand that the food really does suck, and that it's harder than it sounds to eat. I have true appreciation for my patients who won't eat because they can't stand the taste.
3) GET MY PATIENTS OUT OF BED. Unless they have an activity restriction or have not yet been evaluated by PT, they need to be up, at least sitting on the edge of the bed or in the chair. It was unbelievable how weak my legs got after a day of bed rest. I'm a strong 26 year old. And I still felt weak after being in bed.
4) Bedpans are a lot more difficult than they seem. I had to use one because I was unable to stand, and could barely even sit up. When your whole body is weak, lifting yourself up onto one is really rough. My nurse wanted to give me privacy and said that I could just get myself off of it and call her when I'm done (she was really trying to be nice). As a coworker, she wanted to reduce my embarrassment. But actually it was a lot more embarrassing when I tipped it and she had to clean me up.
REALLY embarrassing. Please, stay with your patients while toileting! Modesty doesn't exist in the ED.
I go back to work tomorrow, and I'm ready to be a better nurse