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'.

1 comment:

Birdy said...

You'll get there. You'll start to have moments of competence in about 6 months, and the anxiety dreams will go away. But it really takes a year until you stop leaving the hospital thinking about all the things you didn't manage to do. It takes practice! I think blogging and reflecting on your practice sure helps put the pieces together, too. Best of luck!