"When you get those rare moments of clarity, those flashes when the universe makes sense, you try desperately to hold on to them. They are the life boats for the darker times, when the vastness of it all, the incomprehensible nature of life is completely illusive. So the question becomes, or should have been all a long... What would you do if you knew you only had one day, or one week, or one month to live. What life boat would you grab on to? What secret would you tell? What band would you see? What person would you declare your love to? What wish would you fulfill? What exotic locale would you fly to for coffee? What book would you write?"

Friday, January 7, 2011

What My Job Should Always Be About

Another nursing post :)

The last couple days at work have been.....busy. We have literally been 1 or 2 away from a full house the entire time, and I think we even hit full momentarily at the beginning of the week. The acuity has also been very high, we had and have a lot of patients that need a lot of attention. So, to the say the least, it's been busy. When I first started my job, days like this used to put me into a complete frenzy. You have 6,231 things on your mind constantly, and you remember you forgot to give someone a gingerale when you wake up at 3 am after your shift, and everyone wants you to help them and you really have to pee and OH someone just fell on the floor and you have to help them but you hear more emergency bells go off and then another nurse needs your help and before you leave could you put so-and-so on the bedpan? oh and soandso needs some more ice water and did you do accuchecks yet? why arent the accuchecks done?

But now, I have gained a very important skill over the years and I am very excited to carry it into nursing: Prioritization. And, remember that you are only one person.

I first prioritize everything that is in my head. What takes most importance? I start with that. I give that all of my attention, and do a good job. I move on. I do a good job with that. And yes, I do hear emergency bells going off in the distance and vitals are halfway done and I still have to do accuchecks, but I am helping a patient get washed or hobble into the bathroom or whatever I am doing. We, human beings, are just one person. Its good to know when to ask for help. You can only be so many places at one time and sometimes you just have to pray that someone else is there to take care of it before you can get somewhere else.

But anyway, what I had in mind before I started writing this post and got sidetracked...Today we had a lot of extra help (aide wise) and we had a couple moments to really spend some time with patients, since we had extra aides. When getting report, the aide told me she hadn't had a chance to get "Jane Smith" (not real name!) washed up because she didn't want to before lunch and after lunch she was off the floor. Now, my shift (3-11) rarely does bed baths or gets anyone washed up because its not normally a night time activity. But that doesnt mean we don't know how. It just means we don't do it often. However, around 6 or 7, after dinner, I asked "Jane" if now would be a good time to get washed up. I had noticed that her hair had a lot of knots in it, the same knots that I had noticed many days prior. She is in her 90s and has been very sick with COPD and pneumonia and has been too exhausted to get washed up on her own. So it took a little convincing to get her to want to wash, but eventually I coaxed her into the bathroom and did it. I spent an hour with her total, between getting her completely washed, brushing her teeth, changing her clothes, and then at the end I sat down and brushed out all her knots. And during all that, we had some lovely conversation. It is truly fascinating to have conversations with the elderly in the 80s and 90s, because at this point in time, they have lived through so much of the history that we study today in textbooks. THis lady lived through the Great Depression, WW1, WW11, and everything else...She's been there first hand. The 50s, 60s, 70s...I hope something exciting happens in my lifetime because when I'm 90 I want something interesting to talk about. So far all I am "living through" is the Iraq war. And I honestly couldn't tell you much about it. Is that how they felt too? Who knows. And cell phones....ipods, stuff like that. But that makes no difference, because in 2080 they will have robots and flying cars.

Anyway, the point is, I normally would have never that much time to spend with one patient, and it felt really nice to be able to do those real "nursing" type activities, the type of nursing activities you hear about in "Chicken Soup for the Soul", lol.

Good Day. =)


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