Too soon, my vacation has ended. Now it's back to school I go. *groan*
I know, I shouldn't be so reluctant. I should be excited! But vacations are always so good. I never want them to end.
This term, I don't have any classroom classes. I only work at the hospital three days a week for 8 to 9 hour shifts. I like to think of it as free labour, but it's meant to help us to practice our skills and become better. After this semester we will be able to work as employed student nurses.
So far, my experience has been good. I was expecting something much worse. There are a couple teachers at my school that have a notorious reputation for failing students. I don't know if the accusations are true, but my classmates have made it sound so terrible that I was preparing for the worst. I had put down my top choices for hospitals and accidentally chosen the hospitals with these notorious teachers. (Oops!)
I don't know how it happened, but I didn't end up getting either of my top picks. I think they placed me with a student that I normally carpool with (very thoughtful!), and that student chose one of the other hospitals. So, magically, I got placed with a super nice teacher instead. She has been nothing short of sweet and informative so far.
You can imagine my relief.
The first day of clinical was an orientation. The next day we got to shadow a nurse. My initial impression was that the hospital was very posh. They had wide hallways, gardens, big atriums, a fully-loaded cafeteria with actually tasty food... it was pretty amazing. Best of all, I didn't notice a single hallway patient (the ones that live in the hallways on beds when the hospital has no rooms available).
Super Nurses, Super Place
I was available to help my nurse all day, but she didn't actually need my help (huge surprise). She could manage all of her patients and I just watched. She also only had four patients.
I didn't know what to think.
Either she was a super nurse (which she was because she could remember up to two patient's worth of data without writing it down at all), or this hospital had a good patient to nurse ratio (which is also probably true because the nurses I've met so far usually have more than 4 patients). I think the hospital must be rich or something, but that doesn't really make sense because all of these hospitals are publicly funded. Maybe this hospital gets a lot of private donations?
I'm stumped, but I like how things are better here. Each patient has their own blood pressure cuff, the blood sugar testing machines require less blood (and they're smaller), and the bed pans are made of metal (I hated those environmentally friendly paper ones. They were rough and I always feared leakage.)
The Guinea Pig
After a day of shadowing, I was given a patient from the day before. He had never had a student nurse before and he was very skeptical. He assumed that he was a "guinea pig" and he didn't like it. I promised him that it would be a good experience and that he'd get special treatment. "What kind of special treatment?" He asked.
"You can have water whenever you want," I joked. He scoffed. He told me that he was going for a walk.
"What time are you getting off?" He asked.
"I'll be back at two," he said. I felt a little hurt and I hoped he was joking. I laughed anyways and told him to be back soon for his medications.
Once he was gone, I had nothing to do. He was my only patient. So I changed his sheets and made his bed. I got his medications ready, set up his breakfast tray, and I filled a cup full of ice. I remembered that he had liked this the day before. I even tidied up his room and cleaned the table.
When he got back, I was ready with everything that he needed. He looked around and he couldn't hide his surprise. I don't think he expected me to be so busy while he was gone.
"See? I told you you'd get special treatment." I said.
He still went out for walks frequently, but he wasn't upset about having a student nurse anymore. He got his medications on time, I spent time talking with him and cheering him up, and I even massaged moisturizer into his dry skin. He was literally pampered.
I had convinced him that student nurses were a good thing, and he told me that I was the best of the bunch. That cheered me up.
Anyhow, this wouldn't be possible if I had more patients, but one patient is pretty easy when he can toilet and bathe himself. While he was out, I took care of the patient next door. That patient was supposed to be a real grump, but I think she took a liking to me. She kept asking if I could come back and help her again.
End of Week One
Sigh, so week one is complete. Only four more weeks to go. I don't believe that it will be this easy all term so I need to gear up and get ready. This is a Trauma and Orthopedics ward. The patients are recovering from motor vehicle accidents, falling from heights, sports accidents, work accidents, etc. My patients so far were at the end of their hospital stay, but I expect that patients at the start of their stay won't be as easy.
There's a lot to learn.
Have a good week!