Thursday, May 29, 2008

survivor mode

Well, I survived the long and boring central nurse orientation and happily looked forward to this week: my first week on the unit as a nurse, not a tech. The first day was more orientation. But yesterday was my first day on the floor with patients. I was scared to death. I felt like I had no idea what I was doing, I was way, way, WAY outside of my comfort zone, and the title 'nurse'? Yeah, I felt like a poser. What do I know about being a nurse???

My regular preceptor couldn't be there, so I was handed off to another relatively new nurse. She is a great nurse, excellent at everything, except maybe... precepting. She flew threw everything so fast in the morning that I got incredibly frustrated, just trying to figure out what was going on. Later in the day I got a handle on things, though, and did better. I'm not used to working for twelve hours, and until about 5:30, when my circadian rhythm kicks in, I was exhausted. My eyes were burning, my feet were aching, all I wanted to do was go lie down somewhere. But I kept plugging on. This was no joke... now it was up to me (well, me and the other nurse) to take care of these people!

The patient I was primarily responsible for was mitral and tricuspid valve repair, post-op day 8, with a chest tube, a dophoff, an NG, glucose checks, and basically everything else you could think of. Getting her to eat was the hardest part. I helped out with the other patients as well, and I'd have to say the highlight of my day was getting to remove staples from an abdominal incision.

I definitely figured out how to organize my notes and my day a little better, and got a minimum idea of the charting systems and routines... but if nothing else, now I know that I really have a long, long way to go before I feel like a 'real nurse'.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

it's under my belt

So I did it, I graduated! I am now a graduate nurse with a bachelor's of science in nursing. But I'm not getting too excited yet... the NCLEX and getting through my first six months as a nurse looms on the horizon. Scary changes. I'm not sure if my education has prepared me for most of it, but I have to keep in mind that I'm as prepared as anyone else ever was.

I found out who two of my preceptors on the floor will be, and I'm pretty happy. One is a more experienced nurse, V, who has always been very friendly and helpful to me on the floor. I told her she would be precepting me and she said she was really glad, that she likes me. The other is a younger, newer nurse who is gaining experience as a preceptor. She is pretty cool and seemed happy that I'll be her preceptee.

Graduation was a good time. I felt proud of myself and glad that my parents and grandma can finally feel like all of their support has paid off. Three of my fellow nursing students will be working with me on my floor, but I'm the only one starting in May. I'm especially glad that I'll be with my nursing buddy C, we have fun together. Ok, we complain together, but it's fun!

I got an A in statistics, an A in community health clinical, and a B in lecture. I graduated cum laude.

And I start nursing orientation a week from Monday... so, welcome to a new blog, the title is changing to: "The Life and Times of a New Grad Nurse!"