Clamp it!

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Parents do everything they can for their kids, especially when they are sick. Not being a parent (but having a pretty awesome set myself), I tend to see them a superheros, taking on whatever they need to to make their kids better. Even if that means doing something they once thought they could never do, dealing with blood, suctioning, all that. They’re superhero nurses who wear many many MANY hats all day everyday.

But one of the disadvantages to working and learning in a pediatric unit or hospital is that sometimes – scratch that – A LOT of the time, the parents are more savvy about their child’s care than you are.  Fortunately, in my experience, they’ve been pretty good about understand that I’m a student, but when they’re teaching you the basics of nursing, it can be a little embarrassing.  Case in point: me.

At the beginning of the quarter, it seemed like I had a total mental block against clamps. G-tube, J-tube, IV, whatever needed to be clamped in anyway was just giving me a hard time. I would start trying to flush a line with the slide clamp closed, forget to unclamp tubing after setting a feeding pump. I started to feel pretty foolish, but one clamp topped them all. I was giving meds through my patient’s g-tube: unclamp, fix syringe into port, push med. Then what? As I’m removing the syringe from the port, the mom’s shouting “clamp it!!” and before I realize it, my preceptor has the tube clamped, of course, not before the sticky gooey multivitamin was running down the tubing. And my hand.  Needless to say, we needed to give a second dose because it ALL came dripping out.

Also needless to say: I never made that mistake again!  Two days ago I cared for another patient with a g-tube. A patient who required, at least 15 meds. Seriously. But as I was standing there at the bedside, slowly pushing each med on my own, I realized just how far I had come, at least with that. And I felt good. This quarter has stirred a whirlwind of emotions in me, and it hasn’t always been pretty. But even if it’s just in this one small area of practice, I got better.  Baby steps.

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