Sunday, July 27, 2008

all about the nurse

In my third week I had three patients on three different days as I followed three different nurses. I wish I could say that my experience was three times better than the previous two weeks (which were tough), but I can't. Last week was a gazillion times better! My nurses were amazing. I didn't knock over anything. I wasn't scared, just a little nervous when I was giving shots, which was as exciting as it was scary.

It's amazing how different it was in the south wing. It's the telemetry unit, so I'm thinking the caliber of nurses is better because of the heart thing. Everything about the south wing was better for me: the nurses, the patients, the atmosphere, and mostly, my attitude. I'm sure that having a supportive nurse enabled all of this. Each of the nurses I was paired up with really cared that I learned, and did so by challenging me and encouraging me. During the first two weeks I questioned my decision to become a nurse at few times a day. Not once did I doubt my path last week. Sweet.

My favorite patient was Mr. B, an elderly man with a teenager's heart. As I was getting ready to give him his shot in his abdomen, I asked him to please raise his gown. He said, "Sorry, you're not built right. Have her ask me." I mean, this guy was sick, and he just kept the jokes coming for two days. My inspiration.

The big shift for me was that I was able to relate to my patients as people. Imagine that. Having a supportive mentor nurse made all the difference in my confidence. Since I didn't have to figure everything out myself (like the first two weeks), I was able to relax and just be present with my patients. I feel like I finally experienced caring for a patient. It felt good, I learned a lot, and had fun.

I took my first full day off of studying yesterday, and spent it up at the Russian River with a bunch of friends who were there for the entire weekend. It felt great to not open any books all day, play softball, catch up with friends, swim in the river, and eat way too much. The downside is that I had a hard time studying today. I just wanted to go outside and play and forget about all this studying stuff.

Despite my experience at school, this past week in the hospital has me looking forward to the coming week. This is good. Really good. My goal is to feel this way every Sunday night for the rest of the program, and I know it's possible. It's all about the attitude. And the nurse. It's all about the nurse.

A good nurse really does make a difference.


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