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- by IrishIzRN Feb 25, '07There was so much in this weekend that I can't believe it ALL happened this weekend.
We are all paired up since we just started doing meds and this cuts the number of those giving meds in half thus allowing the instructor to be there when all meds are given and meds won't be given terribly late. We have just started doing meds so instructors need to be there.
First off, I was on care for Sat and meds Sun. So my partner does care with me only she doesn't do any formal charting and I'm responsible for all the care in the end. So it was a nice day. Things got done very fast. The family came in and I actually felt like I was a resource for them. There were some issues...I fixed them and the family seemed shocked (I guess because I'm a student and they couldn't get the RNs to do anything) and relieved all at once. Then I discovered an untreated sacral wound. So created a wound care sheet for it and my instructor tells me "good catch". SCORE!
So the next day is my meds day. I have not done any meds yet so I'm nervous she's going to try and "get" me. So while waiting to do meds (she starts with pokey first) my partner and I discover out pt is sitting on wet sheets. So we figured we would do her bath and change sheets at once. So we had her bathed before breakfast...that NEVER happens. We also had ALL vitals done by about 9:30.
While doing care on Sun my partner starts telling me how she couldn't believe how much I knew and she was telling her husband how much she learned from me and she's just amazed at what I knew. Me? I was so flattered. I didn't realize that I was teaching her things. I knew one thing I had to teach her but apparently other stuff I thought I was babbling about...she was learning and I thought she knew it. What an amazing compliment to have another student feel like they learned from you...especially when you think you had the greatest partner. I really had the greatest partner this weekend.
So then it's meds time. I was worried. So the instructor comes in with the MAK and meds. She tells me to do my first check and leaves. Done. I wait. She comes back and says do your second check and she stays. Done. I ID my patient, open the meds and she says "great see ya later". So I administer all the meds without my instructor. Now technically she's supposed to be there and she is for some others...but she clearly trusts some of us and I'm one of them. And I'm sure this will make some people mad but hey so be it. She clearly trusted me and I'm fine with that.
I then saved the butt of a student doing a care plan who had been out for the past year and just couldn't remember how to do them. So I got her set up and on her way. She was thanking me...which is a little silly because that's what we are supposed to do.
I was telling my mom about this and she says "you're smart, you're not stupid, why does this shock you?" Ya know I guess I know I'm not dumb as a brick but I never feel like I know more then the other students. In fact last semester I asked my instructor if I was too slow. She says "why are you asking that". I told her I thought I was slow. I thought others were doing better then me...I was wrong. I was just fine. So I think it's one of those things where I don't realize how good I am until days like this happen. It made me feel so good.
Okay so then a pt dies. Well I managed to be able to be 1 of 2 students to go in and do post mortum care. Yes I was excited because this is something that most won't get to do. I walk in and I seriously wanted to cry. Seeing this sweet old lady laying there, eyes open, mouth drooping and knowing that her heart has stopped, her brain is calm. Then I thought of the pain her family has gone through as they were there and they were the ones who realized she died right before their eyes. I wanted to cry and in fact had to hold it back. I don't know how I held it back. It was really touching to be there, to care for her, to help maintain her dignity even after passing.
So then we were told to head on down to the "research lab" and we were told what to get and what to do. So we check with the instructor because this would go into our lunch time and she is big on taking lunch. She tells us "go, have lunch later". This is a learning experience most won't see and she wanted us to go. So we go down to the lab and wow that was weird. We got the stuff and went up, put her on the "table" and brought her back to the lab. We logged her in, wheeled the "table" into the refrigerator and said "good bye" and insert name.
We were in all honesty laughing our asses off at times but it's some coping mechanism. When we were down in lab logging her in some nurses we knew came in. They saw us and said "uh are you lost?" We laughed and said "oh no she's ours". We were laughing a little. The nurse says "oh you have post death giggles" and we told her we do...she told us they still have it and they've been doing this a while. I guess it's some coping mechanism. We were very respectful to the patient, in her room and when putting her "away". So don't get the wrong impression. It was just a heartbreaking, amazing, touching, rewarding experience. I think the laughing is the coping of a tragedy even if she wasn't somebody we knew. If I didn't laugh I probably would have cried.
So then something happened with my patient and my partner and I had to research something. I did some kick ass research and then go back to the instructor with some very in depth information and a question. She couldn't answer the question but said "I really like your thinking here". She actually seemed intrigues by my research and suggestion. So she tells me to find the answer and let her know later this week...because she wanted to know too. I laughed and said "you say that because even if you forget that I was supposed to do this you know I will do it anyway". She's had me look things up in the past and always forgets until I show up with it...apparently asking questions they can't answer means researching it and being told to bring in the information when we find it. Next thing I know she's hugging me! She tells everyone that this is why she went into teaching and I was great. OMG OMG OMG My nursing instructor hugged me and I made her day! One of the other students says to me "omg did you hear what she said about you?" I seriously went blank when she was hugging me. I would have never expected the hug and I was so in the moment I didn't even hear anything...but apparently she was very proud of me and I guess I made her day. Oh and this was at the nurse's station with a bunch of other students...which is probably one of the reasons I freaked when she hugged.
Then I had a presentation that went well on a community experience...I went to the largest maximum state prison the state. The trip was so much fun, I learned so much information and the presentation went really well.
Sorry so long. I tried to keep it as short as possible. It was just an amazing weekend. This weekend made me feel trusted, intelligent, capable and reliable. This weekend also taught me so much with education of a patient and their family, being a resource and advocate for the patient and family. This weekend also taught me the honor of caring for somebody who has passed.
Just an amazing weekend.
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- Feb 26, '07 by NRSKarenRNYour caring shines through in your post. Keep this great day tucked inside your heart and pull it out when the going gets rough. It's days like this that help get you through school.....and you'll look back on years later as reasons why you became a nurse.
- Feb 26, '07 by locolorenzo22SAHS, Right on! See, when you actually sit back and write out everything that happened....Wow, what a crazy weekend, eh? I understand completely where you are coming from. I have a lot of other students who come to me during clinicals because they're not sure about something, or they just want to double check something, learn how to enter it into the computer, etc.
I am more than happy to show/tell them something then just go on doing what I do....I feel like my instructor is impressed with what I do, and that my classmates respect me more than they did last semester(which is a little easier to do, since classes are WAY smaller).
Somedays, I seriously think about teaching when I get more life under my belt. I'd love to see the look on a few student's faces that first day/orientation when they wonder who the guy is up front, figure he's the tech guy, then realize that I'm Mr. so and so who is tough on students, but only those who don't know what they're doing.....
I'm still waiting to see how well I do with the post-death giggles....I didn't have to do much post-mortem care with a guy the other week, just the lifting/bagging. Apparently, nurses actually go down with the body to "security".....although, what security does is still a mystery......
Glad to hear you had such an awesome clinical....I always look forward to mine.
- Feb 26, '07 by IrishIzRNQuote from locolorenzo22I'm still waiting to see how well I do with the post-death giggles....I didn't have to do much post-mortem care with a guy the other week, just the lifting/bagging. Apparently, nurses actually go down with the body to "security".....although, what security does is still a mystery......
Glad to hear you had such an awesome clinical....I always look forward to mine.
For the post postmortem care we went in, took out her picc line,closed her eyes (a couple of times) changed the 4x4 at the picc line site a few times because it was bleeding through, we rolled her to clean the bm that had come out and then we bagged her. She had a bath earlier that day so she didn't get another. We then had to go to the front lobby log her in there, get a pass, go to the research lab and get in with the pass get our stuff, go upstairs and move her to the table and take her down, log her in and put her in. We did learn how to tag and deal with somebody who was in isolation after passing.
There was less to do before placing her in the bag then I thought there would be. I was shocked that all it took was 2 students to sign her into the book and close the door and suddenly she was gone.
After this weekend I am considering starting a journal just to keep my thoughts and experiences in. Caring for this woman touched me more then I expected. I don't like death and never dealt with family deaths very well. This was so different. There's something overwhelming about seeing somebody just after passing and watch as her fingers turn blue and feel the warmth of her skin disappear and realize that her soul was gone. It's just weird. I truly felt honored to take care of her.
One thing that shocked me is that pparently it's policy to send them down in the bag without a gown on. I didn't know this until then but just so happened the nurse we were with was against that. I told her I was shocked that anyone would be okay with that. She may be dead and she may be in a plastic bag but I think she still deserves the respect of modesty. I could never leave somebody with a gown. It just seemed to wrong.
So being able to give her that last bit of respect, to be the last person who cared for her to say good bye...touching.
And the giggles are gone and quite honestly they are replaced with an overwhelming sense of reality and sadness. I don't deal with death well...not even the death of somebody I didn't know. I never knew that it would be so sad and that I would care so much...guess it's different then hearing about somebody dying and then caring for them when they are gone.
- Feb 27, '07 by dodgerlaSounds pretty amazing! As a first semester student, this day seems so far away for me, but I simply can't wait until I feel the confidence you weekend obviously provided for you!!! Congrats on your success!!!
- Feb 27, '07 by elby812Wow, sahstudent. Thanks for a positive post about nursing school. I plan to (hopefully) start this summer and sometimes all the negative posts get me a little nervous. Its nice to a hear about a rewarding, educating, uplifting experience.