Quote from Jvn11
Opinions of a new grad receiving a patient with an epidural when never being exposed to one while I had a preceptor or anyone else on my floor having much experience with one?
I'm a Scandinavian nurse and what you describe would actually be considered problematic here. In order for a nurse to care for patients with either an epidural or intrathecal cathether they would have to attend a one-day class. That usually happens during orientation if your first job is in a hospital. A couple of times I've seen messages on my hospital's intranet that a certain floor won't take patients with epidurals because not enough nurses on the shift are certified. It doesn't happen often, but I've seen it a few times over the years.
Even as a recently graduated nurse you're of course expected to know aseptic technique but the class covers things like the checks you need to do apart from pain assessment and vitals, which you check for all opioid administration. Things like how to assess motor block/bromage scale, which dermatomes are are affected, urinary retention etc. Of course you also need to be aware of the signs of the possible, rare but serious, complications like for example subdural hematomas, abscesses and meningitis. When removing a epidural catheter it's important to know the patient's coagulation status and what checks need to be made after the removal.
What I've written doesn't cover everything there is to know about epidural analgesia and isn't
intended as a guideline/advice. I only wrote this to illustrate why I think it's important that a nurse receives training in caring for patient's with epidurals. I work and practice in a different country and what's standard practice here might not be the same in the U.S.
OP, I echo the advice from other posters. Hopefully you have access to a clinical nurse educator who can help you gain proficiency.
I don't know if I'm interpreteing responses correctly here? It seems that other posters aren't very surprised or bothered by the fact that the other nurses on your floor don't seem have much experience with epidural analgesia either. I don't know if that's normal? Personally I find that less than ideal if it's a pain treatment method that's commonly used for your patient population.