Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sometimes it sounds like a long way away still. But when I look back at where I was a year ago, I can't believe how fast it went. A year from now, I will be getting ready for Spring Break and getting ready to take my last nursing course of this program. It seems so far away, yet so close. The feeling sometimes overwhelms me. I have waited so long to begin this journey, and sometimes I wonder, when listening to my instructors rattle off their knowledge, will I ever know that much information? Will I ever be able to really think like a nurse. It seems like an unreachable feat, but I also know it comes with the territory.

I remember starting Anatomy and Physiology class. I skimmed my book to see what I would be learning by the end of the class and was so overwhelmed at the fact that I was supposed to know ALL the bones and muscles in the body. How would I ever know all that? It didn't seem possible at the time, but by the end of that class, I aced my lab and had the highest grade in my lab class. I knew those bones and muscles backwards and forwards. I know I still have tons more to learn and that's only to complete THIS program. My instructors have years of nursing experience plus they have Master's degrees in nursing. Of course I don't know as much as them and I shouldn't be discouraged by their knowledge either. Sometimes, though, it just seems like a never-ending journey. But, you know what? It really is. A nurse is always learning, always a student. And just when you start to feel comfortable, its time for a change. Good thing I still have a lot to learn. And in a year from now, I will have a whole new set of things to learn.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Well, exam #2 came and went. I once again did not do as well as I had hoped, but I am very pleased that I did the same as my first exam because it seems that everyone else's grades went down from their first exam grade. I got a 78. Same exact grade exam 1. Stayed the same. And I passed. I now only need a 63 to pass, which takes a lot of pressure off of me for the final. If I want a B in the class, however, I will need a 93 and I believe that may be nearly impossible. I am slowly coming to terms that I will be getting C's in nursing school. Sigh.

Clinicals are going well. The last two weeks I have been getting 2 patients to take care of. I did my first IV push medicine the other day- a medicine that is injected into the IV line of a patient through a syringe. For the most part, I have just been doing things I have already done. I'm liking the rotation more now, mostly because I have been working with great nurses on the floor and we seem to have a pretty good group of students in my clinical group. I also like my instructors. The head instructor (I'll call her this because its her group and she is training the other instructor who is new to the school) is VERY smart and really knows her stuff. She asks a lot of GREAT questions to get you thinking. However, with some of the students, I think she can be short and snippy with, and I think a lot of the others are intimidated by the fact that she asks tough questions. I think she means well and that she isn't trying to be intimidating, and I try not to take it personally, but I think some of the others do. I like the fact that she gets me thinking and I hope to be able to be as knowledgeable as she is one day. Right now, I have no idea how I will ever know half of what she does.

As of now, I have two lectures left, two clinical days left and one day for my final exam. This course is winding down and I am glad to have made it through my third nursing course. In a week and a half, I will be one third of the way done with my program. 33% complete. I can't believe it. By summer, I will be over half way done. Its going by fast.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I've been completely busy with studying, clinicals, and assignments that have been due. I have a week until my second exam, and I am coming close to being done with all of my assignments, but I will continue to stay busy for the next few weeks until this course comes to an end.

Clinicals have been going well. Right now we have been taken care of one patient, but starting next week we will have 2. By the end, I will be taking care of 3-4 patients, so we gradually work our way up. Yesterday, I got to insert my very first foley catheter on a patient. It didn't go as smoothly as I had rehearsed in my head a hundred times before, and when my instructor asked me how I thought it went afterward, I said I would give myself about a 6 out of 10. My instructor disagreed. She said I had a very difficult patient, it was my first time, I knew all the steps I needed to do, I did NOT contaminate my sterile field (this is a VERY sterile procedure, by the way), and I looked confident and stayed calm despite the circumstances, including the patient saying we needed to hurry up because she was getting nauseous again. She said that should would have given me an 8 or 9 out of 10 and that I did a really great job. She also said out of the 16 students my instructors have between their 2 clinical groups, I will probably be the only one with the chance to insert one since they're pretty hard to come by up on the floors. Usually these are more commonly done in the ER.

Today, which is not a normal clinical day for me, I had to come in special for observation in the Endoscopy suite. Endoscopy is a scope that is inserted down the throat and can go to the lungs (bronchoscopy), stomach (gastroscopy), etc and has a camera at the end to see whats going on. I observed two cases and a fellow student observed two. The first one I observed was a bronchoscopy with fluoroscopy (an imaging technique that uses an xray and a fluorescent screen) and a biopsy of the lung. The second case I observed was a gastroscopy. Both patients were under general anesthesia. The first case, the patient was also intubated. On the second case, it was a nurse anesthetist, and she was really nice and really encouraging towards the field of nurse anesthesia. This is something I had an interest in before, but found myself gravitating away from, mostly because I have felt like I would never be able to achieve this goal. At this point, it really is too early to consider it as an option, but its also too early to disregard it as well. We will see what the future holds in that regard, but it was nice to see someone encouraging rather than discouraging, and friendly none-the-less. The doctor on the second case was especially friendly and extremely helpful in the fact that as he did the whole procedure, he explained everything that we saw from the moment the procedure started until it ended. He also joked with the staff and it was a breath of fresh air to see that not all doctors are uptight and egotistical (no offense, John. You're not uptight or egotistical either!!). It renewed my sense that there are caring doctors out there, which really seem to be few and far between nowadays. All the staff in the endo suite were really helpful and I really enjoyed my time there.

After I observed those two cases, I had to switch with my classmate so she could observe some cases before the suite closed up. So we switched places and I got to go to same day surgery recovery. I saw a few discharges and also checked the vitals on a patient receiving an outpatient blood transfusion. The staff there was very helpful and friendly as well.

We have 4 more clinical days left of this rotation. I really like my clinical instructors and the 7 people in my group. I've been very lucky to have a great group of people each rotation so far. We'll see what the next 4 days bring.
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