So we are five weeks into our RN program and our first day at the hospital was yesterday. I was extremely anxious about being there, especially since we had to take vital signs on a real live patient.
So we got a tour of the hospital, and talked to the OR/PACU nurses, and met a few of the nurses on the medical units. Everyone we talked to seemed friendly and genuinely happy to see us there. So the moment arrived for us to meet our first patient.
Our instructor handed me a slip of paper with a room and bed number, and a last name. She said choose a buddy and go! So I partnered up with the student who happened to be standing right next to me. We gelled in and walked over to the patients bed. He was in the process of being helped out of bed by a family member who says, "Oh, just in time! He has to go to the bathroom."
My brain proceeded to switch itself off. This wasn't in the script! My co-student said, "We're here to take vital signs." And then she went on to say that we could come back later, and I may or may not have jumped in at that point. But the patient said it was okay, we could go ahead, he could wait, and lay back down.
My brain finally woke up and I thanked him, and introduced us as students. He introduced his family member as a nursing instructor at another area college. Pressure! So I asked my fellow student if she would take VS while I entered data on the computer. So I managed to log on, but could not remember how to get into the patient records.
While I'm wrestling with the computer, my fellow student starts calling out numbers. Sweating now, I had to pause to write them down. She finished up and joined me at the computer, and we both struggled to figure out what was happening. As it turned out there was a glitch in the way we were set up in the system, so it was just a glitch. But it served to throw me off even further.
Again, the staff was super helpful. One nurse saw us huddled around the computer next to the nurses station and stopped to say hello, and we asked him for some help. He figured out how to get us into the patient's chart so we could document. And that was that. I've been analyzing my performance, and though I should probably cut myself some slack, I feel fairly disappointed that I wasn't able to think a little faster on my feet. But this is a process, just like everything else, and with some (a lot) of practice, it will become routine. Presumably I will look back on this day with some humor.
I am interested in other first day experiences! Any similarities? Any encouraging words would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!