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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