I learned ...
1. I'm eligible to sit for the ANCC Medical-Surgical Nurse certification exam. I have 90 days to test. I may (or may not have) thrown up a little bit when I found out.
2. A patient can refuse medications, assessments, and other nursing interventions, but be deemed to lack capacity to sign themselves against medical advice.
3. 12 hours is my limit on how much screaming, yelling, verbal abuse, and nagging I can handle from one patient (and their family). At hour 13+, I started to lose my cool, and demanded that the Nurse Supervisor come to the unit to help reign this family in. What can I say? I'm only human.
4. Extending some empathy and compassion to a patient with advancing Alzheimer's disease really goes a long way towards making their loved ones feel as though their family member is more than their disease. It's hard to remember there was once a prideful person in that body: a person who had a profession, education, family, hobbies, and who was once a contributing member to society. It's hard to accept these behaviors as manifestations of the disease and not as a representation of the patient's true feelings. I have learned, however, if you put in the effort to see past these behaviors, you'll find much deeper rewards, and help the patient more than you know.
5. RNs on my unit are far under utilizing PRN medications (this includes for anxiety, agitation, pain, nausea, insomnia, etc). This causes them to feel more stress and anxiety over things they could control if they'd just help themselves!