Quote from d.page
Hello, this is d.page. I just started working at a nursing home. I am feeling slow and overwhelmed with all of the meds, but I refuse to give up. I am all ears for methods or "tricks of the trade" for quicker and more efficient med. passes.
On "my floor" we typically have 50 residents, 2 nurses, 4 CNA'S, and a unit clerk shared with another floor. Lately though we have been having three nurses which makes life for everyone much better.
You are feeling what every new nurse feels. As Calgon said it's good to know your finger sticks, insulins, and tube feeds up front. In time you will get better and faster at reading the MARs, and med boxes. You'll get to know where everything is in the med cart. You will also get to know your people and how they take their meds. If you are on the same unit you will eventually memorize their meds. I try to keep the meds in alphabetical order in the drawers.
You'll learn more tricks as you go along, some of which go against the "proper way".
Sometimes I find myself clowning around too much with the residents as I work and before I know it it's 0930 and I still have 10 people's meds to pass. I also try to do some of the quick treatments as I pass meds. This saves time later in the day.
It was difficult at first. Where I work you are always getting interrupted either by a call light on too long, running up the hall to answer the phone, PT or OT coming to pick up so and so or asking you questions about someone, CNA's coming to you when they have/find a problem, or need a "pull-up", and ect.
The face of LTC has changed. We do a lot of rehab. There are many more meds than there used to be and some of the people we have for rehab would have been in a hospital 5 years ago and they require a lot of your time. The vast majority of my time is spent passing meds and doing paperwork (charting, responding to labs, taking off orders, harrassing the pharmacy to send ordered meds, etc) and calling dietary to correct their many mistakes. Far too often it is one of the CNA's that alert us nurses to a clinical change with someone and that is quite disturbing.
One thing to keep in mind is that a smooth day can turn into a complete mess in a matter of minutes so don't slow your pace when things are going smoothly.
Keep plugging away. You will get there.