Saturday, September 24, 2011

Weeks 1 to 3 of Nursing School (2nd Year)

The first three weeks back to school have zoomed by!  I feel like I have so much to tell you, and yet I have so little time to do it.  THERE IS SO MUCH HOMEWORK!!!

Watching Surgeries
So I'll just share a little of what has been going on.  First of all, the focus this term is on Surgery and Maternity.  The class has been split into two: half of us are in Surgery and half of us are in Maternity.  I'm starting in Surgery first so I've had the chance to watch three live surgeries so far!  I literally got to stand above a patient's head while the surgeon cut their chest open.

It was the most unreal experience I have ever had.  The surgical assistant was holding something smooth and pink inside of the patient and she told me that it was the stomach.  My eyes almost popped out of my head.

I expected to see a lot of blood, but the surgeon used a special tool that basically cuts and seals at the same time so there isn't much bleeding at all.  The only side effect is a very pungent burning smell, kind of like burning oil.

Team O.R.
Anyways, it was a really positive experience for me to see the surgeries because I'm quite afraid of the operating room.  Watching the operations as a student allowed me to see a different perspective and I was really impressed at how nice the nurses treated the patients and how well they all worked together as a team.  The anesthetist was able to time things perfectly so that the patient woke up immediately after being transferred to the bed that takes them to the recovery room.  It was like magic!

General Surgery Ward
I also got to care for the patients on the surgical ward after they underwent surgery.  This is very different than caring for elderly patients like I did last term.  Many of the patients on a surgical ward are not elderly and have very little illness aside from the surgery.  They can do most of their own care independently, and they also have less medications.  So, in a sense, it's easier this term than last term in clinical because I don't have to assist as many patients to the bathroom or bathe them.  On the flipside, we have new skills to practice, such as injections, IV, and dressing changes.  We also need to see the bigger picture now so that we can plan how to get the patient back to being healthy so that they can go home.

I find this really exciting because I get to think more about what I can do as a nurse to help the person heal better and feel better.  I also do a lot of exploring with the patient on how they cope with their illnesses, their support network, and what they do to improve their health.  I also get to teach patients about things that can improve their health.  Something about all this talking with patients and teaching them makes me feel really useful, so I have really enjoyed clinical so far.  I also have a fabulous teacher that really encourages us to think critically about how and why we do things, and whether there are better ways to do things.  I love improving processes, so this is candy for me.

Anyhow, I better get back to my studying.  So, if you're wondering about why there is a picture of an orange, it's because one of the patients gave it to me as a gift.  I only had her for one day, but it was her last day at the hospital and she wanted to give me something.  She said that she had really appreciated my care and how nice I had been to her.  You can't really give nurses gifts per say, so I asked the teacher what to do with the orange.  "Eat it," she said.  So the orange came home with me.

Have a great week!
  My Nursing School Diary


KC said...

Thank you for sharing your experiences at the nursing school. I am very curious about nursing, but I don't think I could handle working in an operating room. I am not really worried about the sight of blood, but the thought of seeing the organs of a person really terrifies me. I hope you do well at the nursing school - will be looking for more updates from you :) said...

Hi KC,

Nursing is a very versatile profession, you don't have to go work in the operation room if you don't want to. I thought it would be really terrible in the OR, but it turned out to a really interesting experience. There is a lot of camaraderie in there that I admired among the OR team.

Thanks for leaving a comment! I try to keep this blog updated with my nursing school experience because I know a lot of people are considering this field. I think it would help their decision to see a glimpse into what it was like for someone else to go through it.

Take care!