I had the worst day at clinical today.
We're in a long term care facility for the next six weeks. We began clinicals yesterday, and I actually had one of those "I know I want to be a nurse" days yesterday, and I was really excited that I "knew" I was in the right place, even though I've been feeling like quitting for the past several weeks.
Today, I may have been pushed over the edge. We only have a short clinical on Fridays, pretty much just long enough to help do feedings and to do assessments on our patients. Keep in mind, this was only my second day -- I fed my first patient ever yesterday. Today, my instructor told me to follow some of the NACs around that were passing trays so that I could learn to do that, and I somehow got roped (by one of my fellow students, no less!) into being the sitter in the dayroom, where three of the residents eat. Two of the three eat fine by themselves, but have some strange habits that keep them away from the other residents, but the third is a food thrower. The NACs were very specific in telling me that I needed to give her one thing at a time to eat or she'd dump or throw her food.
So, that's what I did. I gave this resident one thing at a time, and it was fairly frustrating, since she wasn't very interested in eating. She dumped her water on the floor and kept throwing her spoon, but it wasn't anything I couldn't handle. Meanwhile, one of the other residents in the room kept motioning me over and pointing to his plate. I honestly had no idea what he wanted, and I acknowledged him as best I could while trying to keep food off the floor from resident three.
The med nurse on the floor was finishing up her rounds, and was glaring at me through the window. My instructor refers to her in class as "the troll," so this gives you some indication of what she's like. She came storming in and demanded that I put all of resident three's food in front of her. I told her that she had told me she was done, and was refusing to eat anything else. She again demanded that I put the rest of her food in front of her. So I did, and I'm sure you can guess what happened next...scrambled eggs and oatmeal all over the floor. This med nurse in the meantime had sat down to feed resident two (the one that had been motioning to me), and then said, "Why don't you go over to the kitchen and...oh, never mind. You don't KNOW anything, anyway." Imagine that said in the nastiest tone you can, and that is how it was said to me. She then got up and left the room. I cleaned up the mess from the floor as best as I could and moved the table away from resident three and asked her if she'd like for me to help her put her slippers back on. I was reaching down for the slippers when the med nurse came back in the room, pulled the tray back in front of the patient, right between the patient and I -- and VERY abruptly, I might add -- and then slammed down a nutritional drink in front of the resident, then went back over to feed resident two. Of course you know what happened next -- nutritional drink on the floor. The nurse just glared at me. I walked out of the room, saw another of my classmates in the hall and just started bawling.
She pulled me into the bathroom and I recollected myself, and then my teacher found us and I started crying again. She pulled me into the conference room, reassured me that this was nothing that I had done and that the behavior of the nurse was unacceptable, then she took me to the nursing director's office where I had to repeat my story again. Then they called the nurse in question in and talked to her (my instructor also had some other problems with her that she had already discussed this morning). After she got chewed out by the director, she kept trying to corner me, but thankfully my instructor kept telling her to back off, that she had traumatized me enough for one day. Then on my way out after we were done for the day, she grabbed my arm, and I said, "Look, I'm not doing this today," and I removed her hand from my sleeve. I cried all the way home.
Knowing that I am a new student, this nurse could have poked her head in the door of the dayroom and said something like, "Looks like XXX would like a little help eating this morning," instead of barking at me about the other resident and then doing the feeding herself. I think making suggestions is usually more effective than barking orders, particularly when this was not a life and death situation.
I can't believe I'm paying tuition to be treated like that by a nurse on the floor. I also feel like I never want to set foot in there again. I've been teetering on the edge of wanting to quit, and after I got home, my husband and I discussed what would happen if I left the program. I just don't know what to do; I just know I never want to go back there. I also feel like a total baby for being upset about this; I mean, I know I'll have to deal with this kind of crap out in the real world, but being a student is hard enough without nurses that just can't be bothered by what they perceive to be idiot students. Maybe I'm really not cut out to be a nurse.
What a miserable day.