Sunday, January 16, 2011

Weeks 1 & 2 of Nursing School - Semester 2

After a blissful, stress-free holiday, it was back to the grind for me. This time, there was no mercy. We weren't newbies anymore.

The teachers piled on the readings and homework assignments, and my eyes bugged from the long lists of things to do for each course. I thought first semester was hard, but the homework for second semester is even more extensive. The textbooks are also massive. There's no need to lift weights at the gym anymore, seriously. I just have to lug my giant Medical-Surgical Nursing In Canada textbook around. I dread picking that book up.

On the happy side, there's also something new and exciting for second semester - we get to start practicing at the hospitals! Our first assignment will be one healthy elderly person at a local hospital, and we'll likely be shadowing nurses initially or working in pairs to do simple tasks like taking blood pressure, changing beds, and giving bed baths - things we learned to do in first semester.

So the first two weeks of lab was mainly devoted to reviewing the key points from last semester, and demonstrating to the teachers that we were ready (or ready enough, anyways). We got to practice on very life-like robots that blink, breathe, have blood pressure, have lung sounds, heart sounds, etc. They can even have swollen legs. The teachers video taped us practicing different kinds of assessments on these "dummies" and gave us feedback.

What can I say about these videos? Well, first of all, I look like a very squat nurse. The camera in the simulation labs is in the top corner so we get an almost top-down view. If you've ever played a top down or angled-down video game, you'll know that everyone looks sort of short and squat. Sigh, so unflattering camera view aside, I groaned often in watching myself make mistakes. I'm also apparently paranoid, checking and re-checking constantly. That can be a good thing in real life, but it's also slow.

All in all, my clinical group didn't do so badly. We all have a lot to work on before we'll become great nurses, but it was a great learning experience and we were able to pick up on most of our errors immediately afterwards, which is a good sign. "Oh no! I forgot to _____!" was something everyone was saying after they walked out of the room.

That's why these simulation labs are so important. Now that we've screwed up in the lab setting, we're less likely to screw up again in real life. We'll all be jumping on each other's cases for things that we noticed each other missing before.

So, week 1 and 2 are over, and week 3 is coming up. On Friday I'll get to tour the hospital!

I'm still a little scared about working with real people as a student nurse, but I'm also really excited to be able to help someone. Students from the higher up semesters told me to value this clinical experience since we'll have more time to talk to the patients and to build relationships. This is because we have only one patient, and we're very limited on the kinds of tasks we can carry out. As time passes, we'll be trained to do more things, and we'll be given more tasks. This means that we'll be more busy, with less time to spend chatting with the patients.

So, I'm ready to chat! Hopefully, my patient likes a chatterbox :P

Have a great week.

PS - My sister brought that mousepad for me from Hawaii. It's pretty cool, huh?
My Nursing School Diary


John Toft Basketry said...

I love to hear of your progress. I sm sure you will do well!

At a party on Thursday to host our choir members, two retired nurses proved to be of great value as one of our choir became very faint. They looked after him. He is well now but has had many tests to see the causes of his weakness.

My Life Under the Bus said...

Gaaaaa - in my other life ( before kids) I was a licensed Vet Tech - I am endlessly glad there were no cameras lurking about as we worked in real hospitals and were constantly covered in some sort of bodily function - eek!

Mich said...

I've been in nursing many years, rising through the ranks...Embrace every experience you can while in school, and don't let the pressure get you down! It's a very challenging, yet soul inspiring career! You will touch the hearts of many patients, and many patients will touch yours. said...

Hi John Toft Basketry,

Thanks for always stopping by to read my blog! I hope you are taking good care of yourself.

I'm so glad the nurses were able to help your fellow choir member. It's very lucky that he has such good helpers in his life :) said...

My Life Under the Bus... what an interesting name you have. I hope the bus is stationary.

Lol, yes, I don't look forward to being covered in bodily fluids. We have to wash our scrubs at home so bringing home muck doesn't sound very appealing.

No cameras sounds like a good thing. I agree with you on that! said...

Hi Mich,

Thank you for the inspiration! I am looking forward to the soul-inspiring side of nursing :)

You sound like a very good nurse that has gained a lot from her career. I wish you many more happy years in nursing.

Thanks for stopping by and leaving me such a nice message!