Inspiring stories - page 2
All you nurses out there- Can you tell me what your most inspiring stories are from the PICU. I'm about to start as a GN in the PICU in July and I am somewhat nervous. I know there are amazing things... Read More
Feb 6, '07Quote from googabin02You're most welcome. I'm involved in our preceptorship program in the unit. I've mostly been partnered with nurses who have no critical care experience, which generally works out okay. I guess my enjoyment of teaching is showing because now I've got people I've worked with for years coming to me asking me to teach them how to do different things that they've just never had a chance to learn before. I've been researching my family tree and was stunned to find out that an ancestor that I had always though was a farmer was actually a teacher, so I must come by it that way!and JanFrn...thanks so much for the help. You're a wealth of information...Sounds like maybe you should go into teaching?!
Feb 6, '07Haha...Maybe that's how..It's nice to know there are still nurses out there who enjoy teaching students or new graduates..Many of my experiences with clinicals during school were bad ones. Nurses always ask "Why are you going into nursing?" Or say we are crazy.. That really bothers me. It seems to me you are pretty good at what you do. Hopefully I get a preceptor with the same attitude as you!
Feb 6, '07Here's a couple from my time in the PICU:
When I first started, one of my first patients was a child who had been in a horrific car wreck which killed most of his family. His survival was due solely to his seating in the vehicle. He arrived with multiple fractures and an extensive abdominal wound. During his first surgery, he began to crash so they stopped the procedure with sponges in his abdomen to help staunch bleeding, and left the abdomen open (covered with a sterile dressing). When he was more stable they actually completed the surgery in the unit. Since I was on orientation, I was able to watch it all. I really thought he didn't have much of a chance, and he was unstable for weeks, but he slowly got better. A couple of months later, he came to the unit on his way to be discharged home. He walked out the doors on his own. There was not a dry eye in the unit
Another story: a girl was riding horseback with her grandmother, and the girl was thrown off the horse and kicked in the chest. Luckily, the grandmother was a retired doc, so she gave rescue breaths until EMS came (also, the girl was wearing a helmet - yeah!!!!!!). She came in for surgery, wound up losing a small part of her lung. Was extubated and went to the floor within a couple of days after her chest tubes were out. She healed SO quickly compared to adults.
I think the key is the resilience of the kids and the thankfulness of the families. Certainly not all of them, but many of the PICU families I worked with really seemed to be thankful for our work and were such a joy to work with.
Good luck! Sounds like you have a great orientation set up!
Feb 6, '07Thanks Kate! Sounds like you've seen some really interesting things! I can't wait to begin.. I have two months off from the time I graudate until my start day and although it will be nice to have a break, I'm really ready to jump right into it.
Feb 12, '07Ok y'all, I'm not PICU but I've been reading this thread & boohooing!! I loved peds when I did it (now in mother-baby/nursery) and the reason I loved it was the reasons you all mentioned. Children's resiliency & families' gratitude. And even when they are sick, they are so darned cute!!
Mar 15, '07Hi googabin! I am a new nurse and also a parent of a frequent flyer to PICU......So I have the other side so to speak..lol..I am a home care nurse right now until I can get my foot in the door of a hospital.
I have great advice (I hope! ) from the parent/patient side of the coin......
My child is severly disabled and trached/vented ( vented last 2 years)
I guarantee you will have patients that are very very well known to the PICU...as my child & I am......to the point that you will know all the meds that kid is on without asking .....because you have cared for them so many times....
Words of advice from me.....don't EVER assume the parents don't have a clue or are in "denial" .....I had that done to me about 5 years ago by a highly educated ICU nurse & a critical care doc ......who knew me & my child all of 5 days (this wasn't our regular PICU , as ours had no beds open).....I just casually mentioned that I've been living this for many years so denial is hardly a description.......& it's very inappropriate as well.
Listen to the parents...they know their kids better than anyone else.
Don't ever judge a parent who isn't sitting at their kids bedside 24/7.........that may be the only break that parent gets from caring for their kid.....EVER. (trust me....personal experience)
Never assume because a kid can't communicate that they have no idea they even exist..........Many kids who are dd know whats going on around them but just can't openly communicate.
Just be there for the parents, even if it means rubbing their shoulder for a minute with your hand to let them know you are there for them.
I know we all judge at some point....heck I am even guilty of it myself...we are only human.....but just because they may not do something "by the book" or the way you would or "were taught in nursing school" doesn't make it bad or wrong.
Above all never assume anything .......I have this happen all the time......mostly by nurses & doctors.....that my kid lives in a facility......and when I casually say she lives home & always has.....I get a look like I have 10 heads attached to me.
Actually a week ago my child went for an endoscopy at the hospital we always go to...a big teaching one, and the nurse who 1st saw us in the holding area ( she was a grouch anyway) when we got there was just about yelling at me for "the paperwork from the facility" and the look on her face was like nothing I have ever seen before........ and I just asked what paperwork......... and she kept very loudly saying from the facility......and when I said she doesn't live in a facility...alll she did was hymn & haw when I was giving her all my kids meds, dosages etc....without even looking at a paper just rattling them off......doses, times, route etc......she stopped me 1/2 way through saying ok I have enough........I think she got my point.
Also another time I took her for a test & the nurse actually asked me (because our homecare nurse was with us) if I was learning how to take care of her (because I mentioned at the time I was going to nursing school when she asked what I did for work)...I looked at her as if to say "are you serious"...................
So I could go on & on & on......
Also you may see a miracle or two........my daughter is one....witnessed by all PICU staff..and even the doctor who had her literally looked up to the ceiling & said " someone or something of a higher power is watching over her because I have without a doubt witnessed a miracle with your daughter"
You see the summer of 2004 my daughter was literally dying and I mean literallly...from septic shock/multi organ failure etc ...you name it.......and she pulled through......even when we ended up just doing comfort care as nothing more could be done.......4 days 24/7 by her bedside & she miraculously pulled through.
To this day they talk about it........
So......I wish you luck on your PICU adventure........you will see many things good & bad.........and you'll be great! Please tell us all how it's going....I want to actually work in PICU myself at the hospital I usually take my child too because I am in awe at the way they work together & what incredible nurses they really are............ Good Luck!!!! Enjoy your new position!
Mar 16, '07My PICU miracle story: There was this almost two year old child brought in ho basically had a vulvulus (sp) and whose gut had become almost completely necrotic, had gone to the OR, coded for 12 minutes (compressions, etc). had a lap and all they could do was put his gut in this sterile bag, and they waited to see if he could survive the night, he wasn't expected to, and they did not have much hope that if he coded again that we could resusitate him. So, I was doing ABGs Qhour, I watched his gut turn greener and greener in the bag, watched as his temperature went up, and as he began to clamp done, we had him on dopamine, versed, morphine. He survived the night, they resected his gut that next morning, he was still intubated when I had him the next night. Well, he eventually made it to the floor, is doing well, and is now up for a transplant (small bowel). But he was a true miracle.
Mar 16, '07Wow- KellieNurse06- You are truly an inspiration! You seem like you're wonderful with your daughter. One thing that I try not to ever do is assume...you know what they say about that! I will let you know how my time is. I don't start until July so we'll have to keep in touch!
RNNPICU- What a great story. These little folks are fighters, thats for sure!! Keep the stories coming!
Mar 16, '07You're entirely welcome googabin......I hope I didn't come off as a ranting maniac....rotflmao..... I just wanted to give you the perspective from the family/patient side ....actually I was thrown into nursing not by choice (at 1st) because I HAD to do it......I only decided to become a nurse 7 years ago....and believe me I love it & wish I did it years ago.......
I can't wait to hear your experiences in PICU......and please do keep in touch...absolutely!
Lots of fantastic advice on here & especially from nurses who have been PICU/ICU nurses.
p.s...thanks for giving me a chuckle about the assume thing......you made me remember an old history teacher I had who was a gas.......he would always say......never assume....because you make an *$$ out of you and me....lol.....
Mar 16, '07KellieNurse06- You are an angel. I'm sure you take wonderful care of your child. It takes a strong person. Oh, and about the assume- You hit the nail on the head!! I love that line. I definately will keep in touch! Wish me luck and pray for me. I am just really nervous that everything is going to overwhelm me and I'm not going to learn everything that I need to. For some reason I think everyone will know more than me. I am trying to stop these thoughts, but it is hard. I try to be as confident as possible, and everyone is telling me I'll do wonderful, but I am just nervous!
Mar 16, '07googabin..that's a good thing I think. My last nursing instructor when I finished my RN program was a nurse practitioner..she always said being nervous is a good thing because it makes you know you don't know everything ...and if you aren't nervous then you aren't learning. She was so right on the money there. She always said the students who didn't feel nervous or worry were the ones that scared her because then you get over confident & thats when things get away from you....... She was so right on.....one of the best instructors I have ever had!
You'll be great..don't worry!Plus I think a good thing is you will probably have a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio when you are on your own after precepting.
Plus the other nurses will be right there and the docs too. From what I have seen those picu staff really do work like a fine tuned machine........I really admire them and am always amazed at how they do their work and make it look effortless even under very stressful situations.......You'll do fine!
Mar 17, '07I'm going to echo what KellieNurse06 said. I've been the parent of a PICU frequent flyer and am in my 10th year of working in PICU. The new staff who recognize that they don't know everything are the ones I have to greatest respect for. I have a couple of pearls I pass on to my preceptees: 1) The only stupid question is the one you don't ask, and 2) take responsibility for your own education needs. Ask to help with difficult dressing change, ask to watch a new procedure a couple of times so you know what your role will be, ask to help with a challenging admission. You're there to learn how to be the best PICU nurse you can be, not to do somebody else's work; you can't allow yourself to be stuck in a rut with a million patient care tasks you're already proficient at when you could be soaking up new stuff. Use your resources... all of them: the other nurses, the clinical instructor, the physicians, the respiratory therapists, the pharmacist, the dietician, the nursing assistant, and most especially THE PARENTS!! They may not know much about critical care but they know that child! Involving them in care is also extremely important. There is always something a parent can do for their child, no matter how sick the child is, even if it's just washing face and hands a couple of times a shift.
You have the right attitude for a new PICU nurse and that will take you far. Please do keep us updated!
Mar 17, '07Jan you are awesome! You are so right! 10 years, huh? Good for you!
When ever my daughter was inpatient ( only can go to PICU due to her vent regardless of what illness it is), I'd do tons of stuff that I could of just let the nurses do...I would suction her trach & mouth, change her briefs, wash up, do mouth care, do chest pt.....all of it ( & this was even before I went to nursing school)..except of course the obvious things no one but the nurse could do like meds,...unless of course they handed them to me & watched me give them........I really think they appreciated it when they were swamped.....and I'd even mark the time on a brief I changed, or tell them I flushed the feeding tube with xx amount of water..............and I always made sure they didn't mind first.......none of which did (I think) because they knew us so well....
How do you feel about parents doing those things???? Seeing you as well are on both sides of the coin??? I always wondered if they really minded but didn't want to offend me...... they seemed to be ok with it.......and I'm sure they would of said so if it wasn't ok.
I also never hounded the nurses with questions about every little thing they were doing....like some who can be a nightmare parent....maybe because I am so adapted to it after dealing with it for so long....I don't know......I would love to get into PICU nursing....that would be my ideal job right now...Last edit by KellieNurse06 on Mar 17, '07