I really need to vent!!!!
I had the worse day of my life (with nursing). I am on a VERY BUSY ENT/urology surgery floor. My last clinical day is tomorrow, then I only have class, a specialty area for 7 shifts and exams.....then I will be a nurse. I have been struggling through this program for 5 and a half years, (for various reasons....I had some bad luck!)
Today I had the biggest patient load that I ever had and I was on meds.
I had one patient in respiratory distress, spiking a fever, another patient needing a new IV to be inserted, a woman with a trach that I could not understand, only expressed herself through grabbing my arm and hitting me...while I tryed to help her, by changing her and suctioning her, and it was not pretty!! respiratory secretions, vomit etc.
I had another patient who thought she was a drill sergent, commmanding every step I took, and would not let me do anything for her, except answer her "questions", and pass her a bed pan.....I was not allowed to take her vital signs, remove her clips or do her dressing, because I am "not a real nurse". Thank God, my teacher passed her on to someone else.....I know it is the patients right.
I think with practice with better time management, I could handle the patients.
What really got to me was the lack of help from staff. As a student, it feels like we are expected to be an orderly and a nurse. It is not possible to do everything!! The staff nurses have orderlies to wash their patients.
I have the greatest teacher, but I have not had her for a while, so I still have to go over my meds with her and it makes me late, while I wait for her...she has 6 others students to supervise.
I was working with a nurse that helped a lot, yet made it seem like she was doing me a huge favor......when in fact I had all her patients!! I also did not agree with some of her techniques that would have been a failure in nursing school! Yet I am just the student.....so "I don't know better".
It was completely out of character for me to feel so mad and upset that I was shaking!! Not to mention 9 hours without a break!!!!
I cannot believe how I felt today, I seriously thought of leaving, for the first time, I was REALLY mad at the government for making us work in these conditions. It is totally disgusting!!!!!!!!!!!I want to be there more for my patients, but there is no time! I know this is reality.....Lucky for me, as a nurse... I will be working at a federal hospital in geriatrics where the working conditions are MUCH better!! I have been working as an orderly for 3 years there, so I know how it works.
I have wanted to be a nurse since I was 16, and I love what I do, (normally).
It felt good to have a patients mom, tell me I will be a good nurse. It made things feel better.
Mar 30, '01
Welcome to nursing, Michelle! Don't worry, we ALL have days like that, it's part of the job, unfortunately. It will get better as you get more experience, and eventually you will have enough self-confidence to shrug off the bad days, and know that you're not a bad nurse, even if some patients or other nurses take a stunner on you.
Time management is always a challenge, but eventually things will come automatically, rather that you having to stop and think about them. Still, there will be bad days, and yes, hospitals sometimes DO take advantage of students and load them down with too much. I had a very bad clinical experince on a medical/rehab ward. Four of my five patients at one point were total care, including assisting with their meals. I thought I would go crazy! I was rushing the one patient into the shower while the first team was taking report, and I left the one lady's bedbath till the afternoon (who says baths MUST be given in the am??) Anyway, she was in terrible pain from spinal T.B., and I'd just changed her fentanyl patch, and wanted to give it a chance to work before I had to move her around in bed. Well, did I get shi** for it!! My preceptor gave me very little help or support, and I failed my semester and had to do it over.
I sympathize with what you're going through. There will always be those days that make you want to quit. I was having one today, as a matter of fact, but then, one of my patients told me that I was the only nurse he had who was well organized, and had never caused him pain while doing his wound care. This patient has been a real pain in the a** sometimes, and very, very critical of everything I do, so to get some +ve feedback from him really made my day!
Mar 30, '01
Oh, Michelle! If I could give you a big hug right now I would. Bless your heart. I'm so sorry you had a crappy shift like that. After a night like that, I watch a funny movie and sit on the couch and snuggle with my dog/cat/husband for a few hours. It makes you feel HUMAN again. 'Never Been Kissed' has been my therapeutic movie of choice these days. You hang in there, woman. We're all rooting for you and you know you can always come here and vent.
Mar 30, '01
Michelle, I am so sorry you had such a terrible day at clinical. Sometimes it feels like one day is two weeks long. I hope you carry on...you deserve it after all the struggles you've had. Even though it's been a long time since I was a student, I still remember that overwhelmed, is this day ever going to end feeling. I wanted to share a plaque that my mom gave to me on my capping day(guess that really shows my age...do they even have that anymore?) Oh and I apologize to all the men...guess this poem kind of leaves all you out....sorry...I told you it was from along time ago. Anyway, sometimes when I had a really ruff day when I was a student, when I got home, I would read it and it always made me smile.
It's been one of those days, God.
It all started at seven this morning
when I put a run in my new white nylons.
As I made my rounds it seemed as if I
counted a million pulse beats and gave
pills by the carloads. I fed your sick
with IV's and diets...til I felt I needed
the hypos. This God, filled my day,
along with the buzzers, charts and doctors orders.
But still, God, I checked all
labels three times and was careful to give
the right dosage,
to the right patient,
at the right time,
by the right method.
Throughout the day, God, I wore my happiest smile
even for those who cursed. Throughout
the day, although I complained, I thank you, God, for letting me do the work of a nurse.
So Michelle hang in there...it will be over before you know it. It will only be memories that you share with a new student that you teach on the floor. Good luck and God bless. Let us all know how you are doing...we care, you are our future.
Mar 30, '01
Gee, you did have a rotten time. Believe me, some day you will look back and laugh at at that story. Yes with time and experience, you will learn how to prioritize, get away from the crazy talkative patients with tack, so you can get to the more critical ones, answer the phones, input new orders, answer pt family questions, bake a cake, and cut the crust off of bread all before noon.(tee hee).
The good thing is, you also experienced the the kind of nurses you know now you don't want to be....those who make students and new grads "pledge the sorority of nurses" buy hazing them, and RNs who feel that bedside care and dumping urinals is below them. I am an RN. If I am passing meds and a bed needs to be cHanged I do it, or if a pt needs the bed pan, I give it, or if they are sitting in their own waste, I don't say "I'll go get your bedside nurse...." as far as I'm concerned we are all bedside nurses. Nursing is hands on job, not a desk job. This obviously really BURNS ME!!!!!! With the nursing shortage the way it is we all need to pitch in, and no one should be playing the part of prima donna, ESPECIALLY to the students who are PROSPECTIVE COWORKERS!!!!!!!! you fools.
A little kindness goes a long way and I'm sick and tired of nurses playing this power game with eachother.
So see Michelle, you can take some positive learning and self awareness out of this otherwise awful experience. Good luck!!!!
Mar 30, '01
I really wasn't expecting all those responses...I just needed to vent!! My closest friend in nursing just called me and said....People responded and it'll make you cry! And guess what....Ames it worked!
Today was a great day, and I only had 2 patients, (my two better patients from yesterday) and we were supposed to finish early at 1pm. I had great nurses to work with. I had time on my hands, so I actually washed one patients hair in bed (first hair wash in 3 weeks!!), and took time for all the extra spoiling!! Patients really notice this extra care....I guess they are not used to it!
Thank you everyone for your encouragement, it meant a lot! I got through today, I am now officially done the hard, critical part of my last rotation. Now I have class for 2 weeks, In there, grad pics with the cute hats will be taken....then 10 shifts or so in a specialty area (mostly observation). I chose palliative care.
Again thank you......
Apr 1, '01
Hi Michelle. I agree with the previous posters prior to your last post. I'm so glad that you decided to stick it out. Welcome to nursing. There are many directions to take your skills and knowledge. Best wishes.
Apr 1, '01
Michelle: You have chosen a career that, I can promise, will never bore you! When I have a night like you had, I keep telling myself to "do one chore, do it well, and then move on." Wish I knew where that quote came from. Just wanted you to know that those shifts happen to all of us, here and there. Congratulations! You won't be sorry you stuck it out.
Apr 2, '01
I am sorry you had a bad clinical day> I am also happy you came back and had a better day the next. Hang in there. There will always be a bad day here and there. Just try to remember this experience so when you are a vertern nurse you can give the words of encouragement to help the next struggling student. Remember we are always here when you feel the need to vent.