Juggling patient prep

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Tomorrow is going to be one of those crazy days.  I have my community clinical in the morning where I will be teaching 5-13 year olds about washing their hands. It will be loud, and crazy, and hectic, (ok, it will be fun, too) but that’s what we do. And then AFTER THAT I have to drive across town to the hospital where I will need to be looking sharp as a tack in my lab coat, and go to the ICU to pick out my patient for the next day, spend hours looking up everything in the chart, and then go home and write it all out on the right forms to be completed and turned in to my instructor.

So, I know I gave my whole shpiel about being confident this quarter, but there is just something about doing patient prep that makes me really apprehensive. First off, it’s a new floor for me. New environment, new nurses, sicker patients. Then there’s the whole stress about making sure you pick the right patient to care for (our teacher sort of threatened with “you better pick the right patient, or else!”), so I’ve got to make sure my patient is juuuust right. Once you’ve found the right patient, you have to go in and inspect the room, check out all the lines, make sure everything is a-okay and that you know your surroundings a bit more before you leave (I always feel awkward walking into the patient’s room just to look around and say hi) . And then I factor in the countless pages of meds that we have to look up, the lab results (and rationales for why they are abnormal!), and the patho, dietary requirements, IV tubes, etc. Writing out all this information, all while slowly realizing that in the morning, this patient’s life will be in your hands.

What really gets me frustrated is that not all the classes are held to the same standard. I mean, yes, the patient prep work really helps you get a better understanding of what’s going on. But at the same time, not having patient prep work gives you a much better night of sleep so you can be fully alert and ready to take control when you get to the hospital. There are good sides and not-so-good sides to it, but in the end it has to get done. Tomorrow will make for an interesting day. Wish me luck!

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Ani Burr, RN

I'm a brand new, full-fledged, fresh-out-of-school RN! And better yet, I landed the job of my dreams working with children. I love what I do, and while everyday on the job is a new (and sometimes scary) experience, I'm taking it all in - absorbing everything I can about this amazing profession we all fell in love with.

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3 Responses to Juggling patient prep

  1. Michelle

    Ani, I totally feel your pain on this one. My nursing program made us do careplans for our nursing diagnoses which was about 7 pages worth of paperwork on 1 patient. But, when that patient has 50+ meds. or more, that 7 pages turned into 20. Plus, we were required to know what each medication was, why it was used, and the side effects to look for. We were like you and got the patient info. the night before so it was a LONG night. I’m like you. I totally understand the reasoning behind getting the patient info the night before so you’re not walking into the situation blind, but I enjoy my sleep! This semester we don’t get to know anything about our patient until we get there for morning report, and get to do all this from our heads like real nurses. Good luck!!!

  2. Ani Burr

    thanks! we really have to do that much paperwork as well… i need sleep! when we had peds it was a “morning of” type of prep… like you get to do now… it helps so much more! i hope this is the last quarter we have to do this!

  3. Michelle

    I will agree that having done the paperwork the night before helps so much, but I know that I’m usually so tired when I get up in the morning to go to the hospital that I don’t remember half the stuff about the patient that I looked up. It’s almost like my brain just shuts off and says “no, go away, i’m still sleeping. Come back with coffee and maybe we will talk.”