I have said several times throughout my blog that I feel like a fake when at clinicals- that I really don’t know what I am doing and hope no one figures me out. Well, I am starting to feel fake outside of the hospital too. For example, when I was on the plane on my way to Dallas, I started thinking to myself, what would happen if someone on this flight had an emergency medical problem? Little student nurse Katie would come to their rescue!! I sat there for a few minutes daydreaming about saving someone’s life thousands of feet in the air- and was rudely interrupted by someone a few rows back coughing loudly. Oh no, they could be choking!! Where do I hide!!!!???? I don’t know what to do! That was my honest initial reaction. So much for being the hero, huh? Of course, the person was not choking, and once my heart rate returned to normal, I was left thinking about how poorly equipped my brain is to handle a real emergency.
Before my accelerated program started, I was a waitress. I was not a very good waitress, and here is why: If I was at table 4, and my customers asked for two Cokes and a water, I would have to say over and over in my head, "T4, 2 Cokes, 1 water. T4, 2 cokes, 1 water…." until I had their drinks poured. Now, lets say someone at table two stopped me on my way to pour the drinks. They requested a straw. No big deal. Now its, "T4, 2 Cokes, 1 water. T2, straw." Over and over, almost like a song in my head. I’m doing fine, until someone at table 1 says that their food is burnt, and they expect a response from me. I talk with them for a moment, and continue on my way to pour the drinks, "T2, 4 Cokes and a straw. T2 water. T12, do I have table 12?!" Who wanted a water?! My brain obviously cannot handle more than one task at once. I quickly learned to start carrying a little notebook with me, and I wrote everything down. My coworkers, who have no trouble remembering simple drink orders, found this hilarious, and since this was when the movie "The Notebook" was out, I was the butt of way too many jokes. Anyways, I brought my waitressing skills up because while watching ER recently, I realized that nurses need to remember a lot, just like waitresses. When handling an emergency, a doctor will shout out, "Start IV 5% dextrose in .45 normal saline at 35 ml/hr. I need the bla bla bla results and get started on the arwlkgyeorh meds NOW!" The nurses on the show have absolutely no problem remembering the five things they were just told to do. How the heck do they do that!? I would be so scared I’d miss something or switch two numbers… I hope that this is a skill you learn quickly!