Thursday, July 12, 2007

ICU not for me

Today I spent the day in an ICU, the one with the highest mortality rate in the hospital rate actually. It took only an hour for me to decide that I don't want to end up in an ICU. This shocked the ICU nurses, who I must say, really really love the kind of nurses they are. But me- my favorite part of nursing is interacting with the patient, teaching them, getting feedback from them... on this unit, patients are hovering near death, the nurse is keeping them alive through brute force. The nurses seem jaded to the suffering, the pain of the family. They keep their patients heavily sedated and on lots of pain pills, which is the only humane thing to do, but I felt that the nursing in this situation was much different. Technical skills are of the utmost importance as the nurse must sometimes balance ten to twelve drips, ventilators, dialysis machines, etc. Nurses also have more independence, and the docs who come around depend on their opinion and expertise.

What they do is amazing, and I have nothing but respect for it, but I don't want to spend my life in that kind of nursing. If I did end of life care, I would want to be in hospice, helping people who have made the decision to die do so as comfortably as possible. In the ICU there is a desperation, the feeling that these patients should not be here, like this, they are gone from the process and now it is the health care team operating their body and the family praying praying praying for them to pull through.

So anyway, the other nurses simply couldn't understand why I would want to be any other kind of nurse. To them, OBS unit sounds dreadfully boring. If they have to answer a call light they think it's time for more sedation. They said to me 'oh you're one of those people who like to talk to their patients'. They said they didn't think they could teach patients. It was just very different. I thought of my old boss and her love for people. I felt proud that I think I'm just like her.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

this one's a keeper

My patient today was so sweet. She spoke a little English, was from Hong Kong, and told me repeatedly I was "so beautiful". I was like hey, that's nice, we'll keep you. She also kept telling me I was very smart and very kind. I wish we had more patients like that! It was a busy, busy day and I was very glad because that meant that the time flew by.

I ran into another extern on the way to my car. We chit chatted about how much we've learned and where we'll work when we finish. That was good for me, to touch base with someone else in my shoes.

I've applied to several jobs at this hospital, hopefully I will hear from them before I leave for overseas. If not, well, I will find something to pay the bills when I get back.

Friday, July 6, 2007

funny things I've done

1. Retrieved a wheelchair for a discharged patient... except the wheelchair I grabbed was not a hospital wheelchair, but a personal wheelchair that someone had parked nearby!

2. Spilled Morphine, twice. All because I end up in a fighting match with the carpujets and always lose.

3. Let an IV run out onto the floor. I was wondering why it sounded like there was a fountain running in the room...

4. Wondered how on earth to retrieve a retracted penis so that I could hold it up for catheterization. I have done many females, this was my first time with a male and they sent me in there on my own. Once I got it in, it just kept going and going. I thought, well, this is unpleasant.

5. Thrown away countless carpujets because I thought they were disposable. Guess what, they're not.

6. Injected air SubQ because I forgot to prime the heparin carpujet. No one knows this but me. (And now all of you.)

7. Asked many, many times if a patient wanted something for pain, and they had to remind me that they had a PCA. Oops... oh yeah!

8. Searched all over for an incision site when the procedure required none.

I'm sure there was more but that's all I can think of right now. Could be worse, right?

days gone by

I know I have been lax about this particular blog. The Observation Unit is not really the most exciting place to be. We had a really slow week last week in which I discovered and tetris online. I've also been reading a lot at work. But really I have improved drastically on med administration and admin/discharge procedures. I'm pretty much independent now.

Today I had a 17 year old patient because the children's hospital was full. She was glad to have me, as the other nurses were a bit stodgy. For example, I told her sister to go ahead and use the other bay's bed, and the older nurse had a fit. Oh well! She was a funny girl: wanted a picture of her in the hospital bed on myspace, and wanted to take the hospital gown home with her. Sure, I said, just stuff it in your bag. She was a good one but I've had a couple patients who I really wanted to smack. This is why I should be working with old people! I have the patience of the gods with them, but for crabby adults I have none.

Every now and again I sleep over at the hospital and stumble back in at 7am with sleep still in my eyes. Only two more weeks of this day-in-day-out kind of work schedule.

I'm now on a quest to get a job with the hospital after I return from Nepal. I need one, as of right now the money sitting in my bank account has to last me indefinitely.