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4 yrs Med Surge, 13 years Critical Care, now lovin

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  1. Babs0512

    Dear preceptor

    Okay, my preceptor story. While in nursing school we were on the surgical unit - there was this one nurse - I'll call her "Attitude" - who was so nasty to the students and showed such contempt for us, that I never forgot her, she even reduced me to tears one day because I got nauseated taking care of a woman with peritonitis who's abdomen was left open to close by secondary intention. I had to do wet to dry dressing and cover the wound properly. My instructor stood by, as I was unpacking her abdomen - the smell was indescribable! I was a 1st year nursing student at the time, and I had to reach in to all the cavities, where my gloved hand would literally disappear, to get all the wet dressing out. I remember at the time, my "spirit" left my body and it was like I was watching from above. I got through it, never wrinkled my nose or anything. Apparently I chatted with the patient, but have no memory of this. After we were through, I went out into the hall, and felt like I was going to faint - so I slid down the wall to a sitting position. My instructor apologized to me, she said "this was NOT a 1st year patient, I didn't know - I'm so sorry - if you want to go home for the day, you can." When the feeling faint past, I went into the dirty utility room to wash up, and I was teary eyed thinking "What ever was I thinking becoming a nurse - I can't do this!" In walks "Attitude" and says, "Your pathetic, grow up and get a grip" in her most disdainful voice. I stuck it out, didn't go home, but I was ashamed that I had such a hard time with the sights and smells of that patient. I decided then to get a PT job as an NA at the same hospital - I figured that would cure me of my squeamishness. Fast forward. now I'm am RN, just past the boards, and same hospital hires me for their float staff. They send me to med surge to work with my preceptor for two weeks. I get to the floor, eager to start my day, who walks up to me but "Attitude" and with a sly smile says, "I'm your preceptor for the next two weeks!" I almost pooped my scrubs - my worst nightmare was in my face and I had to "prove myself" to her. She pretty much left me alone - except during med passes, and I would come to her with questions. This is how the question and answers would go: Me: "What do I do about blah, blah, blah..." Attitude would look at me with her most bored expression and say "What do you think you should do?" I'd stammer and say, "if I knew that, I wouldn't be coming to you!" Attitude: "yeah, well, what do you think you should do?" So I'd stammer and try to think of an answer, and I would give her an answer - Attitude would then say "yeah, and then..." I would answer some more. Attitude "yeah, so....?" So I would complete my answer and usually answer my question. Attitude "so go do it!" That's how it went for two weeks. I NEVER got her to answer one question. I hated her for that. During my last med pass needing Attitude to follow me around, I got to the last room, Attitude said "Your doing fine, just finish up this last room" and walked away. I got "A" beds meds ready, and as I walked into the room, "B" bed calls me over to ask me some questions. So, I'm talking with "B" bed and as I'm doing so, I give him the meds in my hand. He said "What's this one for?" I told him "It's a stool softener" "B" bed says "but I'm not having trouble going to the bathroom." and on it went, he questioned everyone of the pills, and I answered, and he took them. As I was walking out of the room, I realized what I had done, and I started to panic - I just knew I had flubbed up royally. I went to Attitude and told her what happened, I said "I'm going to be fired, aren't I" She said in her usual bored voice "No, it's my error, I should have been with you." She went ahead and took care of everything. She came to me afterward and said "Well, your dammed good at educating, you convinced "B" bed to take all those meds". Then she said "What have you learned from this experience?" I said "Well, if a patient questions a med, I should go back and double check the MAR" she said "And?" "I should have told "B" bed that I would be right with him, and finished giving the meds to "A" bed first." She said "Barb, you know more than you think you do, TRUST in yourself and what you know, problem solve step by step, eventually everything will fall into place." Well, she "passed" me, and I moved onto the next unit. It wasn't until YEARS later - that I said to her one day "Thank you for all you taught me when you precepted me." She said "You taught yourself, I was just your sounding board." I said, "No, you taught me a lot, and I wanted to say Thank you" she smiled and said "Well then, you're welcome." She looked at me and said "Barb, your one of the best nurses we have, next to me of course, I developed much respect for you over the years." I said "Attitude, why do you always come off like such a *****" She said "It's my reputation, so don't tarnish it by telling anyone about this discussion!" and yes, she continued to act like a *****, even to me. I knew better though. She had developed faith in me, and she taught me that I did indeed know more than I thought I did - and I learned to think things through step by step - and over the years, I noticed I didn't have to go step by step, I could get from A-Z without thinking about the steps in between. I never made the same med error again - Oh, I found new ways to make them, but never gave an entire cup of meds meant for one bed to another bed. But every error I made, I learned from. And, I can proudly say, that in 20 years of nursing, I've made only 10 med errors. Sometimes, things aren't always what they seem. It took me a while to figure that out. She was the best preceptor I'd ever had - and when I began precepting, I used some of her techniques, but I did it with a smile and patience. Nuff said.
  2. Babs0512

    "Nancy" and Babs

    Nothing wrong with second guessing yourself - but always have faith in what you do know, and pay attention to those "nagging" feelings that "something just isn't right". Barb
  3. Babs0512

    "Nancy" and Babs

    Thank you for reading it, I'm glad it's still circulating. Blessings
  4. Babs0512

    Upper Back and Neck Injury from work

    Well, my job of 18 years let me go May 15. The "couldn't accommodate my restrictions any longer". I've been unemployed since. I have been cleared for sedentary work only. I can't stand still for more that a couple of minutes, I can't walk any real distance, I can't lift over 20 lbs, no twisting, bending either. When I stand at the sink to brush my teeth, my back will be hurting 5/10 before I'm done. Same for dishes, only my back hurts worse. Ditto for sweeping, vacuuming. My back has improved in the sense that I have little pain most of the time while at rest - otherwise nearly anything hurts my back. I can sit, however, for prolonged periods, and only when I stand will the pain come back. Problem is, most desk jobs in nursing are more administrative in nature, so I've started online classes toward my BSN. Right now I'm getting workman's comp and unemployment. I've been on too many interviews to count, and haven't found a real job. I start a "temp" job this coming Tuesday - but I will have to lug around a laptop and scanner, my purse and my lunch. Not sure how it will affect my back, but I'm going to give it a try. It's on wheels, but I still have to get in out of the car and back in again. I've also developed rediculopathy. My lateral right foot has areas of no feeling. I'm 50% disabled at the moment. I'm not a surgical candidate. There, that's about it. I'm still in PT, they do traction on me twice a week, I swear that is what has helped relieve the pain at rest. I'm taking Lyrica, and Zanaflex - works great for muscle spasm. Good luck with your situation. Blessings
  5. I'd like to see a robot that cleans up vomit, feces and other bodily fluids. It would also clean empty beds so that we don't have to hear "house keeping is busy, they will get to it as soon as they can". Nurses wear so many hats, when we have to assume housekeeping duties as well, it takes more valuable time away from the patient. I'd like a robotic administration. It would actually be programmed to care about nursing concerns - not just the budget and outward appearances. I'd like a nurse, an actual nurse, to be part of the architectural team that design the "new and improved" patient rooms and floor designs. A valet to park our cars, so we can be let off at the entrance, rather than spending 30 minutes looking for a place to park, then another 30 minutes to get into work - we could call them prior to leaving, and our car would be heated and available upon leaving the hospital.
  6. Babs0512

    Work Injury, need advice

    My employer let me go May 15, stating "they couldn't comply with my work restrictions any longer", they posted my job, and I was done. Problem is, I'm still having pain. I've see two different psychiatrists, I'm in PT, Tens unit, etc... my back isn't getting better. I've had two pain blocks with minimal results - maybe five days of ability to perform some minor house work or walking any distance. I'm on unemployment and getting workmans comp, but these won't last forever, I've been looking for jobs diligently, I've had several interviews but no offers. I'm well qualified for the positions I'm applying for - but they always ask "why did you leave your last employer?" I don't want to say "I was fired without qualifying it. So I explain about my back injury, briefly, and I assure them that "I wouldn't be applying for this position if I felt I couldn't handle it" - truth is, I'm not sure I can. I have good days and bad days. Two nights ago I was trying to wash my dishes and wipe down my counters, after approx five minutes of work, it felt like I was being stabbed by a hot poker in my spine, right back and buttocks - I forced myself to "work past the pain" while crying like a baby, it hurt so bad!! How the heck am I going to find ANY job if it hurts to wash dishes, do laundry, vacuum, shave my legs! I'm not sure what to say to prospective employers when they ask "why did you leave your last employer" without telling them about my back, they also need to know any restrictions I have - basically I just tell them "no lifting". Most of the jobs have been either desk work like Case Management or clinic type work. I can sit for long periods with some stiffness upon standing - but when I just BRUSH MY TEETH - I inadvertently lean forward just enough, to cause pain - standing still is a no no, walking any real distance is a no no, lifting over ten lbs is a no no, I'm LOST and feeling hopeless - any more suggestions would be greatly appreciated. By the way, Zaniflex does work well for me to, but it makes me so groggy, I only take it at HS. I take Lyrica, but I can't really tell if it is working. Lidocain patches do nothing. Tens helps a bit, but lately, not so much. Blessings
  7. Babs0512

    Suicide On The Ward

    Very sad, but informative. Well written. Thanks
  8. Babs0512

    Posterior View

  9. Babs0512

    The Patient I Failed

    A tragic but all too true story, it's is told every day, hundred's of times all over the country. I've lived it myself more than once. I couldn't have written it better myself. BRAVO!
  10. Babs0512

    An Unbeating Heart

    I thought it was very well written, I enjoyed your humor too! It left me wanting more! It felt like the story ended too soon.
  11. Babs0512

    A Father's Tears

    Very moving. I believe the fathers are often the forgotten ones - a well written reminder to us all. Thank you.
  12. Babs0512

    A Path of Learning

    Lovely article, masterfully written, Thank You.
  13. Babs0512

    Dear Henry

    Grandpa52, thanks for standing be me on this article, I love you, your wife like person, Babs!
  14. Babs0512

    Dear Henry

    As a new nurse, I wasn't as outspoken as I am today, I was rather shy, and not as inwardly confident as I would have liked, but I hoped I portrayed an air of confidence outwardly. I went in to introduce myself to my patient and noted that Henry was there, with his wife sitting next to him, they were holding hands and watching television. Henry was in for DVT, as such, he couldn't get up and walk about freely. I went in to do my assessment and both Henry and his wife smiled brightly and shook my hand. I instantly liked them both. Henry was patient while I listened to his lungs, bowel sounds, checked his legs and measured his calves, and finished by checking his pedal pulses and cap refill. I noted his wife and he remained touching each other in some way throughout my assessment, and they even snuck in a kiss. I put on his ted stockings, asked if I could do anything for him, to which he replied "No young lady, but thank you!" I gave him his call light and moved along to my next patient. I noted, as the shift went on, that he and his wife were very close, and obviously, very much in love. Instead of finding this "cute", I found it awe inspiring. I assumed they had both lost spouses and were fairly newly married - as I had never seen such an elderly couple so physically affectionate with each other in public and done in such a classy and respectful way. As bedtime neared, Henry's wife, Rose, said she had to get home before dark, as her vision "isn't what it use to be" and they both chuckled. They hugged and embraced and kissed each other and said "I love you" to each other before Rose left. Henry finished with a very gentlemanly kiss of his bride's hand. I felt so warm that they felt comfortable enough for such tenderness in front of me. After Rose left, Henry said, "I have to urinate, could you help me". I looked around for a urinal, and couldn't find one, so I excused myself and went to the clean utility room and grabbed one and brought it to Henry. He just looked at me and matter of factly stated: "Oh dear, that won't be of any help to me, you see, I had penile cancer and had my penis removed 25 years ago, I'll need a bedpan." I was shocked, as this rather important fact had not been mentioned in the report. I recovered quickly so as not to embarrass Henry, and grabbed the bedpan in his bedside stand and helped him onto it. I told him to ring when he was ready to get off the pan. I left the room ashamed that I hadn't known this history, and I prayed I hadn't embarrassed my lovely patient. Soon the bell was ringing, and I went in to help him. He had taken himself off the bedpan but I noted no tissue paper. I emptied the pan and then offered Henry assistance with HS care - which he gladly accepted - I think more for the company than anything else. As he was washing his face and hands, my curiosity got the best of me, I just have to ask "Henry, how long have you and Rose been married" he said "Forty wonderful years!" I wasn't expecting that answer. I was even more curious, as much as for myself, and for the nurse in me. I said, "I don't want to offend, but I would like to understand. You and Rose appear so close, how have you kept the 'spark' alive, since the majority of your marriage you haven't had your penis". Not only was he not embarrassed, but he also seemed to welcome the question, and motioned for me to sit on the bed. As I sat down, he looked at me and said "Babs, intercourse isn't the only way for a couple to show their love for one another. Why Rose and I are closer now than ever before. We hug and kiss often, whisper sweet nothings in each other's ears, leave each other love notes and have learned the art of sensual touch." He reached up and stroked my face and said: "There is more than one way to pleasure each other you know?" I smiled sheepishly. Henry said, "That was a perfectly legitimate question, and I'm glad you asked." I said, "My husband and I barely made it 10 years, and we were physically intact, I'm just awed by how hard this must have been for the both of you". He said "Not hard, just different. We learned never to take each other for granted, to cuddle every chance we got, to never go to bed angry and above all else, to be grateful for what we do have with each other." I finished helping him with care and I said: "Thank you for your tolerance of my ignorance." He took my hand, held it to his face and kissed it" I felt myself choking up, he said, "Thank you for caring enough to ask." So I tucked him into bed and said goodnight. Years went by, and I thought of Henry often. He was such a class act, so kind and loving, and I felt I had learned something very important from him, but I didn't know how to apply it to my life until many years later. My husband and I were married in 2000. He occasionally had problems with erections in bed, but not often enough that I was really concerned. Over the years, it began to happen so frequently, that I felt "It must be me, he doesn't find me sexy anymore", often he would cry after a failed attempt "I don't even feel like a man anymore." I begged him to go get help, I said: "This is affecting us both, and I don't know how much more I can stand". He went to see a urologist and was given Viagra. This helped for a while, but even the mighty Viagra became less than 50% effective after a while. He tried a couple of other drugs that didn't help at all. I felt like our marriage was over. One night in bed, after another failed attempt, I remembered Henry & Rose. I laid there quietly thinking of them while my husband cried silently next to me. I knew then what to do. I said "Honey, I'm sorry that I feel like this is my fault, I realize now that it isn't - it isn't your fault either. We've been given a chance to strengthen our marriage and I think we should take it." At first, my husband looked at me like I was nuts, but I told him about Henry and Rose, and he got the point. Now, when we want to be intimate, if it ends with intercourse - that's great, if intercourse works, even better, but if neither occurs, we find other ways to connect and please each other. It took some practice, but we are growing stronger as a couple. My husband is very open about his ED, we've even spoken at couples groups about it. About a week ago, as my husband and I were lying in each other arms, I said: "We owe all this to one of the most classy, kind and loving gentlemen I've ever had the pleasure to meet." My hubby said "Henry?" I said, "Yes, Dear Henry." Thank you for reading my article. If you enjoyed it or felt it was relevant, please take the time to scroll up to the top of the page and vote. It would be appreciated. Always love hearing your comments as well. Thank You. Babs
  15. Babs0512

    I Could NEVER Do PICU!

    What a beautiful article! Very well written, and totally took me to PICU with you!! Yes, I had tears in my eyes. WELL DONE, and thank you for sharing your story!