Nurse Blog


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Today was my first day of clinicals. I was assigned to a nursing home, so I was expecting to spend the day helping old people move around and take their medications. I was nervous about what my first patient, (the one who could possibly determine my self confidence regarding my skills as a nurse) would be like. Of all the scenarios that I imagined, I was no where near prepared for what happened when I arrived at that nursing home at 6:30 this morning. My first patient was dead. The very first real sponge bath I have ever given was on a woman who had passed away a few minutes beforehand. The first time I combed a patient’s hair was to prepare her body so her husband of 77 years could spend time with her. The first time I changed a patient’s clothes was to put her into a nice gown for her bedside memorial. The first time putting lotion on someone was so her hands would smell good and feel soft when her crying lifelong partner kissed them. As I’m helping prepare this woman’s body, all that I am thinking is that there is no way I can do this as a career. I was fighting back tears the whole time, even though I had never met her. Once we had everything ready and she looked beautiful, her husband was brought in. He has known her for 90 years, since they were both seven years old. The pain in his eyes was almost unbearable. All I can do is stand there and wipe away the tears in my eyes. All I can think is that maybe being a receptionist wasn’t so bad after all. But then something amazing happened. The man turned to the nurses in the room and simply whispered "thank you." The nurse who has taken care of his wife for a few years walked over and hugged him. They both cried. This is what it is about. Forget about wiping asses and giving baths and medications. That is just the surface stuff. Just the stupid details. My job is really about the emotional support- being there when these people undergo the most dramatic changes in their lives- birth, death, diseases, healing. Quite a huge lesson to learn the first day, huh? I’ve always known that nurses are needed for the emotional side of patient care, but I had no idea until this morning how significant that role truly is. I hope this is something I never forget.


3 thoughts on “Nurse Blog

  1. Hello all you nursing studentsI graduated from a nurse diploma program in 1998 and I remember being exactly where you are now. It\’s not easy but it gets better. I still have butterflies sometimes when I think about going to work. My best advice is jump in and get the experience now, no matter how scared you are of screwing up. Its better to do it now when you are in a teaching/learning atmosphere. My other advice is keep brief reference notes on all the procedures so that when you are a real nurse and the Doctor says, "put a feeding tube in NOW", you don\’t have to scour through 2 text books to remember what you need. Another good idea is a quick pocket book that outlines all the major diseases and surgeries and what they are. Speed is critical once you are out there on your own so have lots of quick reference tools in your bag. Another helpful tool is learning to think before you go anywhere. Remember what your patients asked for so that you can accomplish several things at once, take the juice to Room A and the pain med to room B and the bedpan to room C all in one swoop. Multitask. Nursing is all about remembering !! If your hospitals are anyhting like the one I worked in then you are constantly busy and any time saving techniques are crucial. Learn to chart only what you need to. On days that I was extremely overwhelmed I went to a quiet place for my break and cleared my head so I didn\’t feel so frantic when I went back aafter lunch. Oh and never hesitate to call for help, even if it turns out you really didn\’t need it . When something critical happens, stop for 5 seconds and decide what your priorities are. Number one, stay with your patient and call for help.Its a great job but it can get to you so take advantage of the pay and work less if you can. I never committed to a permanent position (well I did and then quit it) so I could work casual and take breaks when I needed them, a week off here or there. There is no shortage of work so tailor it to your life not the other way around.. And never, never, forget what it was like to be a student and always treat those who follow you with the respect you wish for now. For those older nurses that you meet that you think "What an old hag she was!" Just remember they have done their "time" and endured more than you can imagine so give them a bit of a break but also stand up for yourself. I remember my friend in nursing school gave a stroke patient a big glass of water and he choked on it. His Nurse spoke very harshly to my friend and scolded her. My friend turned to her and said "I don\’t like the way you are speaking to me!" I almost died when I heard her say that but that nurse never bothered her again and was much more pleasant. Guts. Good luck with your careers.Cindy in CanadaOne moer helpful piece of advice(remember to do this every time you EXIT a room, takes about a minute and it becomes second nature if you do it enough times) CHECK:A – AirwayB – BreathingC – Circulation (color)In – look at everything going IN to the patient (O2, IV, feeding tube..etc)Out – look at everything coming out of the patient (catheter, drain tubes, drsgs)Safety – are the side rails up, brakes on the chair, shoes on. CALLBELL in reach.These simple checks can save alot of time and maybe a patients life.

  2. Hey, I happened to stumble across you blog and think you’ve done an amazing job giving us an insight into life as a nurse. I’m looking to do child nursing at university and have just written up my personal statement. If it’s not too much trouble, I was wondering if you would be willing to read over it advise me on any improvement I could make.

    Thanks for an awesome blog 🙂

    (from London!)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s