"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?"
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Blast from the Past
But, the most important lesson of the week, was actually a blast to the past. School!
Ok, I'll explain. This week, the local college of nursing began their clinicals, in our hospital. Well, on day 2 this week I saw them in the hall but didn't really interact with them much. But they were everywhere! I sort of just tried to avoid them because I already had too much on my plate. But much to my surprise, on day 3, after I got done with my second assessment, I had two nursing students hovering by my little binder. I sort of smiled and said hello, and they said hello but just kept standing there. Then eventually, they told me they needed report. So I was like......"Okay....." and then it was awkward silence. And then, I got it. I asked, with a squeaky voice, "Wait....report from Me?" And they nodded. I was like, seriously? They gave me students to supervise? I mean, I vowed, when I was a student nurse in their shoes, that when I became a real nurse and got my own little students, I would be the nicest, best educator I could possibly be. But seriously, I was three weeks old! Was it even safe to give me students? Apparently someone thought so.
So, I gathered my self, picked my mouth up off the floor, and gave them a report, and delegated them some easy things they could do for the day (assessments, report back to me, communication, vital signs, etc.) They are in their first year so that was pretty much the extent of what they could do. It made me giggle, reminiscing back to me, 3 years ago, in their shoes.
Listening to them give me a "report" back at the end of their "shift", was very....interesting. I of course had spent the day with the same patients, so I was listening to see if their assessment matched up with mine. But their thinking was drastically so very....simplistic. They can't make circles yet, no critical thinking yet. They focus on the obvious. Facts. What they can see. No putting two and two together. No advanced physiology.
But at the end of the day, the student's teacher (who also works in the hospital as one of my ex-bosses) happened to be very nearby and the students told the teacher right in front of me that they both request me as their nurse for the next week again, that I was a very good teacher and made them feel very comfortable, and I really "knew my information". Again, I had to pick my mouth up off the floor. I was shocked.
I found it funny, because really- being so busy all day, just because I have students under me doesn't mean I don't do anything. I'm still completely 100% in charge, working with the doctors, giving the meds (they dont do that yet) and coordinating patient care, and taking care of my other two patients that the students didn't have at all. Complicated enough? Quite.
So all day, the best I could do to keep up with everything and educate them, was to just think all my thoughts out loud, and hopefully they would follow that. And they did! I thought aloud but at the same time, talked in their direction so maybe they would think I was actually educating the right way! But it helped myself more than I thought to think aloud for the students, because as a new nurse myself, it helped me verbalize and think through the reasoning behind my actions. Why was I doing this? How do I do this? Why does the hospital do this? Why is our patient getting this medication? Is it the right dose? It helped my own brain slow down and double check everything because the last thing I want is to mess up in front of a student learning from me!
I got to have a cute little real "educational opportunity" with one of them. My patient was on a med I was not familiar with, and obviously neither was she. The order was written for the patient to have it exactly 30 minutes after breakfast. So thats about 0830. Well, I didn't get in there with it til about 1000 (c'mon not everything is on time when you have four pts on third week with 2 students!). So, it was in my best interest of course to investigate why it had to be that time period after breakfast, and if that rule could be bent. So I taught her how to use a drug book, and we looked up the drug together. It was suggested in this book as well to take it 30 minutes after breakfast, so I decided to give him a little something more to eat and gave the med. By doing this, we actually had the classic educational opportunity of, Why is he on this med? What will it do? What are the side effects? Does he have any? What are we gonna do about that? It really opened their eyes on how to think in circles.
But it was definitely an interesting experience. Being looked up to like that, being looked up to by some students older than me going back to school for nursing. thats impossible- since I'm the nurse, after all, not the student anymore. Its overwhelming to think about.
But, I think I liked it. Maybe I can be a nurse educator one day after all. I always threw that notion out the window- thinking there was no way I would ever make a good teacher, I'm far too spontaneous and erratic. But I pulled it together somehow and made it work. They learned from me. It wasn't a total disaster. Maybe I'll teach in "retirement" (aka social security will be zilch when im 70 and I'll be forced to work).
So, fun! Week 4 starts tomorrow......5 patients. Going to just keep getting crazier and crazier. Just have to take a deep breath and constantly re prioritize, and just keep going. *Breathes*.
~A Writer in A Nurse's Body