But I have to say, the nurses were a big help (thank you to all nurses who are kind to students!). I’m hoping it was just a bad day when I last encountered them, and that the rest of the quarter goes as well as yesterday did on the nurse-student relationship front. She really helped me out so much, and was particularly very patient in waiting with me for my instructor to come so I could practice some new skills. There was a lot of feeling like I was holding up the team, but at the same time, I did what I could to help make things easier for the nurses, and they were patient and helpful throughout the day. So much anxiety was relieved just because of that.
It is a big adjustment though, it really reminded me of how much nurses do have to stay on top of everything. Not only do you have to assess the patient, but you have to assess the room, making sure that you have everything that you need for the day (especially since one of my patients was in isolation). Part of being able to get your room ready to go is knowing what equipment you’ll need. I’d never worked with a trach patient on a ventilator before, so I wasn’t familiar with those (super cool) oral care sponge/brushes that hook up to suction. And I did have to stay on my toes and remember the basic care principles, turning my patients, getting baths done and out of the way. Those simple tasks that are often overlooked took me a while to remember, but really made all the difference for the patient.
The highlight of my day: one of my patients was a former nurse. She was not my primary patient, but in the time I did spend with her, I helped her get cleaned up and take care of some essential things. She told me about how things were when she was a nurse, and how they used to do things, it was great to hear her stories as a float nurse. But at the end of the day, when I said goodbye to her, she said, “you did a noble job today.” And despite the ups and downs of the day, the things that were hard to remember to do, and the skills I got to practice, I had made this woman’s day better, I made her feel better. And that made me remember why I want to be a nurse.