Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Nursing...the Next Generation

For some reason, there are more than a few nursing students who feel the need to read this blog. That's OK, as long as y'all are taking my mad ranting with a grain of salt. Remember that I have been a nurse for a long time. A VERY long time. During that time I have run the gamut from wide-eyed optimist, to rebel without a clue, to union organizer, to leader, to simply throwing my hands up in surrender. Butcher, baker, candlestick maker. I've done....well, not quite everything but near enough. Near enough.

Although I love to teach and am usually on my best behavior when I am toting a student around like a pull toy, I usually have to make a conscious effort not to make snarky comments. Also to conduct myself professionally and to set a good example. It is stressful. I can usually go about 2 to 3 hours before I go off on something or other. Just can't help it.

Tonight I had a student for 6 painful wonderful hours. I was a paragon of virtue for the first 2; shocker.

A satellite ER is not the greatest place to have a first year student. For one thing, we have limited resources on a number of levels; we don't do things exactly by the book, and it is an entirely different environment. Plus, when things rapidly go to hell in a hand basket, it is necessary for students to just get the hell out of the way and for me to try to explain later. Sometimes we just can't use the training wheels, and students are forbidden to ride the bike without them.

Since we can't even let students take vital signs (only second year students can do that, yikes) I hauled my student to triage and back, in and out of rooms for IV starts, and had her hand me stuff. No big deal. I think it was more important to give her a sense of how the assessment process works, but you know kids; not happy unless they have a toy to play with. I had a high school intern who was bored out of her mind last fall, and mainly did her English homework if it was quiet. On her evaluation, you know what she listed as the best part of the entire 100 hours? "Ednurseasauras showed me how to use a syringe and needle to draw up water (saline, actually), and how to get rid of the bubbles". She played with it for about 2 hours.

Really? The best thing you did in weeks?

Tonight I had a good bit of time to explain stuff which makes for a reasonably good experience. I showed her all of our toys "Oooh! Shiny!". I let her listen to lung sounds. I showed her how to take out sutures. She had some initiative and was out of the chair when patients came in to accompany New Cathy and I to triage. I only went off on one of the 3 frequent narcotic seekers who was pissed that she got Tramadol, and even more pissed when Bobo gave her a 'script for Motrin when she complained. But I digress. Mostly I was a good little nurse.

Now that you have finished falling off your chair, you may resume your normal activities.

Oh, when I asked the student what were the best/worst parts of her experience at night's end, she thought that making the beds was the worst part.