“Just a Nurse”

The new semester has started!! I will be able to blog about it Friday night (too busy right now and Friday I have to stay up all night because I work Saturday night) but to tie you over in the meantime…

I read this great blog post last night that really resonated within me. For some time I have struggled with how the public and some of my friends and family choose to identify nurses; nurses are seen as “babysitters,” or “doctor’s handmaidens,” etc, etc. It’s hard to describe how much a nurse really does within her/his shift and career and how VITAL and important nurses are in their own right. This blog post really put into words how I feel and I encourage everyone who reads my blog to hop on over and read this post. And then, when you come into contact with a nurse, thank her/him. 🙂

I am a Nurse. I didn’t become a nurse because I couldn’t cut it in med school, or failed organic chemistry, but rather because I chose this. I work to maintain my patient’s dignity through intimate moments, difficult long term decisions, and heartbreaking situations. I share in the joy of newly born babies and miraculously cured diseases. I share in the heart break of a child taken too soon, a disease too powerful, a life changed forever. My patient is often an entire family. I assess and advocate. Sometimes I wipe bottoms, often I give meds, but that isn’t the extent of what I do. There are people above me, and people below. I work closely with both, without them, I could not do what I do well. I chose this profession and love almost every minute of it. I know I am not alone and I appreciate all of the nurses who work alongside me. Many of them have shaped me into the nurse I am. Someday I will shape others into the nurse they will be. This wasn’t my plan B, it was my plan A, and I would gladly choose it again. ~ According to Kateri

Summer’s End

Wow! It’s been awhile since I’ve written…a month has gone by and a lot has happened in that period of time!

First of all let me just start this by saying: does my J2 semester REALLY start in just two short weeks?!?!

My job as a tech is going very well. I’m feeling VERY comfortable in my job now and am so thankful for the opportunities that I have with my job for patient and nurse interaction. Whenever the nurses and I have time we will sit down and talk about nursing and I am learning a lot just from the conversations I have with them. I’m thankful that they are willing to give me the time of day during their busy shifts (the nurses on my unit stay extremely busy!) and encourage me in this field that I’m stepping into. Also, I love the fact that with this job I am much more confident with patient care and communication. I remember back to my first clinical last semester and remember how nervous and fumbling I was all day, and I know that if I’d had this job before I ever started nursing school I would NOT have felt that way about being in a patient’s room and caring for that patient!

I am working a mixture of night shifts and day shifts…and I would have to say that between the two I feel like I am enjoying day shift better. I didn’t think that would be the case, as I am a night person and I figured I would enjoy the slower environment of night shift more. However I think night shift is actually TOO slow for me…and I really hate having to wake the patients up every few hours just to take vital signs or weigh them and what-not. I prefer the day shift where the unit is much busier, everyone is awake, and I literally don’t sit down until I’m in the car driving home for the day! Maybe as a nurse I will feel differently.

Some of the interesting things I’ve seen/done while working as a tech on the surgical telemetry floor: I got to watch a doctor remove a chest drain, I empty JP drains, I clean chest incisions, I have seen pretty bad pressure ulcers (not through the fault of the nurses on my unit!), I’ve learned how to apply EKG leads on a patient and re-position them if they’re not working properly, I’ve seen open, oozing cancerous masses on a patient, I watched a patient end up hypoglycemic and helped the nurses bring his blood sugar back up (in a near-emergency state), and I’m sure there’s more but that’s all I’m remembering right now.

And, of course, I watch the telemetry monitors often and try to diagnose different rhythms. A few times I’ve asked the nurses to confirm what I was thinking and I was right! Although I must say, diagnosing a moving rhythm is so much harder than looking at a 6 second strip!

And in other news, I have finished my summer EKG elective! It was a fascinating class and I’m SO glad I had the opportunity to take it. It really supporting my theory that I’m a heart lover and I think I really want to work on a cardiac floor or in cardiac intensive care when I’ve graduated. In the elective, we learned how to read basic EKG rhythms but I’ve realized that I want to know even more!! When I have the time (which probably won’t be this semester) I am going to try and delve deeper into learning about the heart and more advanced EKG rhythms. Love it!

I’ve bought all my books and all my supplies for the J2 semester, and yesterday I got on blackboard and read through the “welcome letter” for both Adult 1 and Women’s Health. And I felt the stress immediately tighten up my neck and give me a headache; there are already SO many chapters that I need to read before the first day of classes and so much to check off the list before the semester begins! We have a lot of clinical paperwork and hospital modules to complete, as well as watching through skills videos before the skills labs so that we are already familiar with what we’ll be learning through the first 2 weeks of class.

Here’s what the first few weeks of this semester look like (for only Adult 1 and Women’s Health – I’m leaving the other classes off of the calendar for now because I don’t have those syllabi yet):

Tuesday August 27th: Meeting with Women’s Health clinical groups and faculty to be introduced to course expectations, take care of any necessary paperwork for the hospitals, and become familiar with clinical expectations and paperwork. This is basically clinical orientation – and we have to have our clinical paperwork already done and filled about before this class day. This will be an all day event, from 0800-1600.

Wednesday August 28th: For Adult 1 (from 0800-1200) we will have our first lecture. For Women’s Health (1300-1600), we will be going through labor support skills lab and clinical preparation. In between those two classes (during the lunch break) I will be helping out with an SGA event.

Thursday August 29th: From 0800-1600 we’re in a clinical skills lab to review old skills (those we learned last semester) and new skills for Adult 1.

Friday August 30th: We’ll be going to our hospital for hospital orientation (tentatively).

Tuesday, September 3rd: For Women’s Health, we are in a skills lab again all day from 0800-1600. We will be completing a foley catheter check-off, and practicing IVs, breastfeeding, immediate care of the newborn, and a postpartum assessment.

Friday September 6th: For Adult 1, from 0800-1600 we will have clinical skills lab and our medical dosage calculations exam.

This is all on top of having Adult 1 lecture on Wednesday mornings, Women’s Health lecture Wednesday afternoons, and my 3 online classes (Group Processes, Research, and Aging!) which will all have their own set of homework and activities to be completed.

It’s going to be a busy semester, that’s for sure, with the first few weeks being the hardest! It’s just hard to believe that my summer is already at an end and I have to buckle up and continue with this crazy whirlwind called nursing school!

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My J2 textbooks!

Supplemental books for the semester!

Supplemental books for the semester!

My EMPTY binders for the semester...they won't remain that way for long!

My EMPTY binders for the semester…they won’t remain that way for long!