Throughout the weeks, we have been practicing every little detail of every scenario that we could encounter during our first semester in the clinical setting. Everything from injections, to catheters, to med administration; we made sure that we would be prepared for whatever came our way.
When the time came to hit the floor, we were the most cheerful and self-confident group that ever walked through the door in all of the history of nursing. After a short group meeting, we headed out on our own…under the care and watchful eye of our instructor and the nursing staff of course. The day went on like one would expect on the first day. Taking vitals here, feeding there, and running to lend a hand wherever else I was needed.
Then, something unexpected happened. While standing at the nurse’s station and listening in on a new employee’s orientation, the head nurse turned to me and asked, “would you like to administer her TB test?” My mind began to race and I thought back to my class lab. I’ve performed at least two-dozen of these things on hotdogs, how much different could it be?! I dove at the chance.
I confidently walked around the station where the new employee was sitting and prepared for the injection. The employee caught a glimpse of the huge red badge hanging under my ID. It reads: “STUDENT NURSE”. She seemed to get a little uneasy and finally admitted that she is somewhat paranoid of needles. As I was putting on my gloves, you could see her comfort level dropping rapidly. The two nurses reassured her that it wouldn’t be painful and to just look away. I lowered the needle to her arm and said, “Now you’ll feel just a little pinch”.
I began to insert the syringe, however, something was different, something…unexpected. There was resistance! It felt like the needle wouldn’t go in without a bit of force. My mind raced back to the lab again. My hotdog wasn’t this resistant! I pushed the needle in just a little further and began pushing on the plunger. Was I too deep? I think I’m too deep! It never felt this deep on my hotdog!
I see the bubble begin to appear under the skin. It seemed like it was taking an eternity. I continued thinking, It didn’t take this long on my hotdog! After the syringe was empty, i withdrew it, applied a bit of gauze, and cleaned everything up. I kept thinking to myself, too deep, too long. I must have scarred this poor person for life!
I turned to her and asked, “So how was it”? I prepared myself for the worst. “It wasn’t too bad”, she replied. At that moment I mentally breathed a sigh of relief and I realized that nursing, is nothing like a hotdog.