I accepted a position as a new graduate in a ED. It
is an adult trauma center but has pediatrics which is extremely appealing to me, as I love being able to work with both populations (especially the children!).
I'm currently completing my practicum here to prepare me for my impending orientation. I'm one of those students who truly enjoys pathophysiology and pharmacology, and teaching. One of my favorite parts of nursing is teaching, as my first degree is in public health and I eventually want to be a community health nurse or provider. I like when I can explain something to patients and see that they understand it better than they did before. The emergency department is great for teaching, which is another draw.
However, over the past several weeks I realizedâ€‹ that there something that I am concerned about, and was wondering if I could get advice. Because the atmosphere is so quick, I'm realizing that everything is so reactive and very task-oriented... Of course nurses have to use quick critical thinking/assessment skills here, but I see I am not going to get the same ability to delve into patho as I would in the ICU setting.
I like the ER, I just wish there was a way I could figure out how to maintain and grow in my level of patho knowledge. I spoke with one of the ER nurses who used to be an ICU nurse, and she told me that even in the ICU, she still had to look things up.
So I began keeping a nursing journal where I write down the diagnoses that I encounter...& in in my free time I look them up, as well as common medical treatments. This is no substitute for the learning I would get on in an ICU or even a med surg / tele floor, but I'm just really worried that if I were to move to another specialty in the future I would have a hard time learning everything again. Plus I kind of just want this knowledge for myself so I can understand what's going on in the body.
Does anybody have any other suggestions as to how I can keep up with patho and critical thinking skills? I know that I'm going to have a hard enough time adjusting to the emergency department, and that this will not be a priority for a long time...but when I'm ready to return to it after I start finding my way around my new job, I'd like to have some ideas.
Thanks so much.