Saturday, November 10, 2007

It's been awhile

I have been lost in the world of nursing school. We've been really busy with tests, lectures, and clinicals. Last week was by far my most challenging clinical yet. My clinical instructor paired me up with another student. I'm a very independent student and generally prefer to do things my way and alone. However, with this particular patient, I was glad to have the extra help. My patient was dying and was in the most terrible condition I have ever seen. Covered in purple-red bruises, paper-thin jaundiced skin that would break and bleed, so swollen that it was weeping. Unable to hear, speak, or see with wounds -- skin tears and pressure ulcers -- everywhere. Multiple organ failure. Trach tube. And the list goes on and on. From a learning standpoint, this patient had several issues that I had just learned about. But from a practical standpoint, this person was dying and suffering and nothing I did alleviated that suffering. That was hard for me. I wasn't on top of my game like I usually am. I was paralyzed by this patient, forgetting everything I had prepared. Without my partner, nothing would have gotten done that day at all. It hurt me to look at this patient. And if it hurt me just to look, can you imagine how hard it must be for that person who is actually living that situation? The worst part of the whole situation is that this patient was alone -- no family was there. If anything can make you contemplate advance directives, a patient like this certainly would. I was sort of relieved to hear after I left that day, my patient was transferred to the ICU.

But this week's patient was much better. A patient who in the past has been in pretty critical condition is getting better :) This patient has been there for a long time and just since we started working on the floor, you can see great improvements. I was happy to have someone improving who I could actually help. This patient laughed with me and helped me decide that I'm going to be the kind of nurse who's serious when appropriate, but funny too. I almost dropped the bedside remote/call button on the patient's head (someone had tucked it in with the BP cuff and it fell when I tugged the cuff out.) Then later, I was doing an Accuchek and the finger-prick broke, so I had to call for another one -- Pt was on contact precautions -- then the strip I had didn't work, and yet again, call for another strip. All the while trying to keep the finger I pricked from clotting up before the new strip came! Patient meanwhile thought the entire fiasco was hilarious. I did manage to get enough blood for the test to work. Patient said I will make a great nurse. This particular patient has been seen by all of the students in my group but I gave the best SQ shot. :)

I had a good friend come in from DC to see the Va Tech v. Georgia Tech game. It was a pretty fun weekend. I managed to go to the game, prepare for clinical, have the worst clinical day ever, get up the next morning to eat breakfast with Beloved, took them to the Decatur Wine Festival (yum!), go out to dinner, and study for my big exam that I took on Tuesday. (Pharm/pathophys. exam which I aced!)

I was kind of miffed that study group arose from the people I routinely hang out with. I was not invited to join the group, however, for unknown reasons. It kind of made me mad -- I'm still sort of miffed. I'm not used to being in a group of people and having other students think I'm not-that-smart. All of my friend, fellow classmates from VA, know and would classify me as a smart girl. But these new people haven't really given me any credit. So said study group prepared for the test, I studied alone, but I think I did better than them -- I think most got B's. I was slightly amused by this fact but still want them to recognize that I'm smart too! I guess it's kind of juvenile, but we'll see.

Speaking of school, we've been registering for next semester's classes. I got permission to take a GLBTQ and Public Health graduate-level course that's cross listed with Women's Studies. I'm so excited about the course -- it sounds awesome! Then I think I will be taking the Spanish for Healthcare Providers as well. Hopefully, they will give me credit for the research class I took during my undergrad so I can waive that course next semester. But we'll see. I'm not sure if they're going to want to count it because it was a "feminist" research methods course -- but, feminist or not, it was still research. But I'm taking the Peds/Maternity clinical rotation so I will be doing mommas & babies :) (Finally!)

Anyways -- I've got a conference to go to that starts at 10:00. So I need to get ready :) Hopefully I will post more later on this weekend.