So I have had a very rollercoaster day today. I am a Nursing I student, 21 years old and today was our first day of doing clinical at the hospital. I got my patient assignment and she had some major diagnoses of Pneumonia, COPD and CHF. I went into her room at around 9 AM to do vitals, a physical exam and my assessment on her. She was very anxious when I arrive but she was a sweet lady and was very cooperative with the things I had to get accomplished. She had dyspnea, use of accessory muscles, coarse rales and rhonci on anterior and posterior chest and an irregularly irregular heartbeat. She was very congested and had a nonproductive cough. As I was getting to know her, we had to go down to Chest Xray. She was very anxious going down there and kept saying that she couldnt breathe even though she was on 5 L via Nasal Cannula of oxygen. Once the Xray was over, we headed back upstairs and I was about to prep for my AM care. My instructor came in my room to check on everything and see if there was anything we needed. I told her about my findings on the physical exam and she explained and clarified some things. Then she wanted me to weigh the patient but we couldnt figure out how to work the bed so we looked at the instructions that were on the bottom of it.
As the instructor was reading, I noticed my patient got very quiet and wasnt anxious sounding like she had been all day. I looked up and my patient looked like she was about to sneeze but it wasnt a sneeze. She looked out of it and unresponsive. I told my professor to look at her because she didnt look right and my professor went by her side. My professor and I called her name and she was not alert or answering us. So I called the primary nurse from down the hall to come over to the room. Of course the nurse was probably thinking "What does this student nurse want? Its probably something stupid" Although she was a very sweet nurse, but I think its just a typical response for a nurse to think a student nurse is overreacting. So the nurse came to the room and we told her what happend and then they called the Rapid Response team. They did what they had to do and I was standing at the side lines watching this whole thing. Seeing the different procedures they were attempting to do and how fast everyone rushed to the room. My instructor was helping out the staff which I thought was pretty neat to see my instructor use her skills instead of talking about her skills in lecture all the time. As I watched what was going on I told myself I will be okay and that I think I can handle it. I work as a Nurse's Aide at a hospital so I have done post mortem care before and could handle death pretty well. But as the chaos finally subsided, one of the staff members asked me if I was okay and that it is okay to cry. I think just having someone say its okay to cry made me let it all out. Before the water works came, I told my professor I need to step out for a second and I took my gown and gloves off. I was so numb to the core and walked out shaking and hives all over my body. I went to the bathroom to clear my head on what just happend.
I literally saw the life get sucked out of this woman which I think is what scared me the most. To be interacting with my patient for the 2 hours that I did, I enjoyed it and this was the last thing I was expecting. I saw her go from anxious, to slowly turning blue and unresponsive and then dead. It was interesting to see this happen right before my eyes because not many see the process of when they are on the brink of life and death and boy did it happen quickly. Many just walk into something like that when the patient has already collapsed and dont see that transition. I think its very ironic that this happend to me because I always thought it was so cliche' for something like that to happen to a nursing student on their first day of clinical. My instructor even said out of all the years she has taught, she has never been a part of something like that. It was a mindblowing experience and definetely a story to tell my grand kids. But it is still kind of a shocker for me because I wasnt expecting it and it has left me in this weird funk all day. It was sure a learning experience because I was understanding how Pneumonia and COPD and CHF effect the body and its just interesting how it all plays out in the end and the destruction it can cause on the body.
Anyways, Im sorry this is a long post but I am just venting out my feelings about my day that I was not expecting