Saturday, July 23, 2011

Nearing the End

Each day I get a little closer to the end of level 1! I can hardly believe how fast the time is flying by! This week I finished up my clinical rotation at the VA and I'll spend the last couple weeks back at school to do some intense clinical simulations; or at least that's what they told us and I'm hoping it's true...because I don't know that they can even compete with my clinical experience!

First of all I just want to brag about the amazing clinical group I got to go with! I had a fantastic instructor and amazing classmates that I'm now proud to call all of them my friend. Everyone was so willing to "share" their client with one another and whenever someone needed to give an injection everyone else would always let that person know when their patient was getting one, or if someone wanted to see wound care everyone would go around and let us was phenomenal!

Seeing as how it is extremely late I'm just going to sum up the experience I had with my client. He was there for rehab to help him learn to walk again after suffering a stroke and bilateral toe amputations. He was discouraged and feeling a little hopeless! I always tried to make sure he was getting his pain meds to help take the edge off of his pain and I tried hard to encourage him as much as possible, but I just never felt like I was getting through. I took time to just sit with him and listen to his stories but still it just didn't seem like enough! However...on my last day as I was telling him goodbye he said, "Thanks for taking the time to listen to me, thank you for giving me enough strength to make it through the days and for encouraging me to make it through my physical education (and by PE he really means PT)." After that he asked if I wanted a "pop" (soda), I gratefully declined and he said he wanted me to go get him a orange pop and a Butterfingers!! :D I don't particularly know how, but somehow I was able to get through to him!

You see, nursing homes (long term care facilities) aren't where people go to die...even though I think that as a society that's what we think...nursing homes are where people go to keep on's where they go to get enough strength to make it through their days and to enjoy their time! It's so easy to get caught up in the "care" we're providing when sometimes all that our patients need is an encouraging word, a back rub, or just for us to sit next to them and listen. It's not comfortable for us...we're all about getting up and at...silence is uncomfortable and it's hard for us to remember that sometimes that's all that someone needs....they just need another person there to draw strength from and to help them make it through each day!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Supplementary Lab

So I told you that I would share with you some about our supplementary lab! We're given the option to take this, but of course, wanting every opportunity to practice almost every (only 2 out of 103 didn't sign-up) signed up for the lab. The lab is used to enhance and reinforce whatever was taught that week in lecture (or round robins). We get to work with these pathetic looking manikins and practice our Foley insertion, wound care, NJ tube placement, injections etc.

My favorite part, of working in the lab, is the over-exaggeration of certain body parts...for instance when you go to insert the catheter many of the manikins have abnormally large urethral meatus making the insertion of a catheter the most wonderful and easy thing in the world! But our instructors drill into our heads...make sure you have a penlight so you can actually find the meatus when you're inserting a catheter into a real patient. (I gasp and think "you mean it's not going to be this pronounced and easy to find?!") hahahaha...Another thing that I just loved was practicing injections on the lovely little injection pads...once they had too much fluid in them they'd start spitting back at you when you'd go to give the injection. It was a blast randomly getting squirted with normal saline by this little piece of imitation skin!

These aren't the exact pads we used...but pretty close!

This is Wilma Wound Foot

We also had the privilege of working with some pressure ulcer models (See Stan at the bottom of the page) to give us a vague idea of what we may see when we're working with our patients!


I'd like to share with you though one of my most favorite experiences thus far! We're constantly being told to expect the unexpected (potential complications, adverse reactions, side effects etc) but apparently some didn't think that applied to our instructors as well. Our instructors were preparing to demonstrate the head-to-toe assessment. The instructor that was going to be the patient was given a hospital gown to wear just to make the situation more real. We were all taken back when our instructor takes off her vest, takes off her necklaces, removes her over-shirt (she still had another shirt on underneath)...of course we're all thinking that she'd go behind the curtain for the rest, but no, she throws off her other shirt and while standing there in her bra looks to us students and said, "If you were expecting modesty, you're in the wrong field!!" Gotta love nursing instructors!

However what I think is most amazing is the skill of gaining our patients trust...I mean really..we walk into their room and say, "Hello Mrs. Smith my name is Maggie, I'm going to be your student nurse today. I have a Dr. order to insert a Foley catheter into your you have any allergies?!" Common...where else can you do that? It's like walking into a strangers house and going straight for the refrigerator!!

Anyways, we had to pass our final skills check-off which just included Foley insertion (sterile procedure) and our head-to-toe assessment. If we didn't pass this check off then we wouldn't have been able to go on to it was slightly important! Bless the people who decided wound care is no longer a sterile procedure but rather just a clean procedure! I passed with flying instructor said,"You do a superb head-to-toe" and I didn't forget any steps or break sterile technique while inserting my Foley!!! HORAH!!! So needless to say I'm in clinicals, and speaking of which, I need to get working on that care plan!! So until next time...

This is Stan the Pressure Ulcer

Are you a nurse or a pitbull?

Today we got to finish up our week long lecture/discussion on Diabetes. Fewsh....let me just say....that's a nasty and chronic disease that is to have! It's amazing to think how three little things can play such a huge role; diet, exercise and weight!! At the end of class our instructor went over some practice exam questions with us. Let me just start by saying how awful nursing questions'll be given a situation, and then answers you have to chose from will all be the right answer, but your job is to find out which answer is the best! So, we had narrowed our answers down to two possible choices. I decided on which answer was the best and so had the others. The answer I selected was correct, but there were still other students who put a different answer. My instructor wanted to hear why the students thought the other answer was correct! (Now this is what we nursing students do...instead of just taking the answer for what it's worth we decided that we need to think about the "what ifs" like what if this was the situation, or, what if they had this problem too...but in all reality everything we need is in the question and not the what ifs!) So after explaining to us why the other question wasn't the best answer she went on to say, "I'm not training you to be pitbulls...LET GO! I'm training you to be just let go of all those what ifs and maybes because that's not what this question is asking you!"

I think we were all grateful for that gentle slap on the face saying, "HELLO?!?! Is that what this question is asking you? Because if it's not then you just have to let it go!!!"....although it's much easier said than done but I'm reminded yet again that I'm not just the student...I'm the nurse!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Somewhere inbetween...

For those of you who don't know me my name is Margaret...but you can call me Maggie if you want to. I could try and explain the dynamics of my family and my life story but that would take to long so let me sum up; I have a big family and like any family we have our difficulties...currently they seem to be constantly occurring, but hey, when it rains it pours! I'm a nursing student right now though so I don't really have much time to care about the other stuff going on! :D That's what this blog will mostly be about anyways...the real important stuff in life right?!

An older picture...but that's all of us!

I'm currently a level one student (meaning this is my first semester) at Central New Mexico Community College. I'm in week 8 of this 12 week semester. It's hard to believe that I’m over half way done! However, since I'm starting this blog a little late into the program I didn't get to share the trials and joys of beginning this program! So, for you to be able to fully appreciate my endeavor I would like to share with you my experience thus far!

I'm legit!

Since I was lucky enough to begin this program in the summer we had to hit the ground running! On Week one we had reading and assignments up to our neck! You think I'm joking? We had 13 different chapters to read, paperwork that needed to be filled out and turned in, physicals and drug tests that had to be done and returned within a certain amount of time, we had to get fitted for our scrubs, get our equipment for our lab and clinicals...the list goes on and on! To say the least it was overwhelming and a whole new environment that we had to throw ourselves into. When signing up for this program you have a general idea of how things will go and of course you know that it's not going to be easy, but I'm not exactly sure that there's anything that can quite prepare you for the overwhelming amount of stress and pressure that you'll be put under!

I signed up to take a supplementary lab; which is supposed to reinforce the topics that we cover in our lecture and also give us extra clinical time to prepare for the real deal! I think I'll write a separate post on our lab time! :D

We have class Tuesday thru Friday. Tuesday and Wednesday are our lectures days (and Wednesday I also have supplementary lab) and Thursday and Friday are our clinical days. Initially we spent our clinical days at a workforce training center and in the labs. We would do round robins where we basically go room to room learning new skills and getting a chance to work with it hands on! (Talk about getting close and personal with your my instructor put it, "What other kind of job allows you to know 60 different students bowel movement patterns...honestly I have the best job!" that's the kind of instructor you love to have!)

Honestly I couldn't have asked for better instructors and mentors. They're full of wisdom and support, they have great constructive criticism, and they're immensely compassionate and truly want to see you succeed! Anyone that's ever gone to college knows that the most popular question to ask is "Who's a good instructor? Who should I take?" but I'm learning more and more that in this program it doesn't matter who you take..yes, they all have different teaching techniques and different backgrounds but they all are there to help you succeed and become the best nurse that you can be!

Well I can see that I'm not going to have any problems writing down my wealth of information! I'll stop for now, seeing as how I have clinicals to prep for! But this is just a sip of this ocean I'm currently taking goal is not just to stay afloat but to soar across and take in as much as possible along the way! Right now I'm somewhere inbetween the mindset of a student and a goal is to no longer call myself a college because I'm not just any college student...I'm a nursing student...I'm redefining all I've ever known and building upon my limited knowledge. I'm somewhere inbetween going crazy yet knowing this is what I'm meant to do! :D