Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The "Better Late Than Never Tuesday Friday Random Ten"

Completely missed last Friday's Random Ten, since I was busy with school and work. We had a test coming up that is generally considered to be the most difficult of the year, covering coronary problems, AIDS, tuberculosis and lung cancer.

I got together Saturday with a handful of classmates to get ready for the test. One of those people is pretty damned annoying, but worked as a paramedic and understands the coronary stuff, which includes reading EKG's, something the rest of us struggled with.

The study session must have worked; a test I would have been thrilled just to get a "C" on, I got a "B." I kept my mouth shut about it though, because I found out most of the rest of the class (including the annoying former paramedic) got C's, D's and F's.

Going in to clinical today, I had the realization that something has changed. First, knowing that I got through the toughest portion of the program yesterday, I know that I can do this. Secondly, I realized that I'm no longer terrified going into a clinical day. I look forward to learning new skills and perfecting ones I've already learned. I had a moment today when I realized how much I've learned. On clinical days, we team up; one person is the "lead" and the other is the "team member," who is basically serving as a CNA (certified nursing assistant). I was the team member, so I set about getting sets of vital signs, changing linens and witnessing while my partner gave meds.

Toward the end of the day, my "lead" was about to give a heparin shot-- something that we do a lot in the hospital (it's an anti-clotting agent-- people who are bed-ridden are more prone to blood clots). My partner asked me to do it, but I'd given a lot of heparin shots and so thought it best for her to do it, especially since she was the lead. As she started giving the shot, I realized she was doing it wrong, though it was too late to stop her. She gave the shot at a 90 degree angle, like you'd give an insulin shot. A heparin shot is "subcutaneous;" you give it just under the skin, at about a 30 degree angle.

Fortunately, where she gave the shot, on the underside of the patient's arm, was okay-- there's enough fatty tissue there so that it was okay. But I was mortified that just a few weeks before graduating, she did not know that this was how to give heparin. I found myself wishing I'd have gone ahead and given the shot.

I was not the only person mortified. A resident who was in the room took her outside and politely but firmly told her what she'd done wrong. I was glad the resident did it and I didn't have to. But I learned a couple of valuable lessons. First, if I see someone about to do something wrong, go ahead and stop them. Secondly, to have confidence in what I've learned.

On Friday, we have the comprehensive "HESI," a practice for the NCLEX, a big nursing board I take at the end of this program that I have to pass in order to officially become a nurse.

I've got a lot coming up. One of my kids starts his last year of high school this year as the other is starting it. I'll be starting a new career, and may have to move out of the place I've called home for the last nearly-13 years. Oh, yeah-- and I'm turning 50 in a few weeks. It's all good.

1. Ruby Tuesday- The Rolling Stones
2. Turn That Heartbeat Over Again- Steely Dan
3. In the Heat of the Summer- Phil Ochs
4. Fade Into Me- Mazzy Star
5. Are You Gonna Be My Girl- Jet
6. Painting By Numbers- James McMurtry
7. I Hear You Knocking- Dave Edmunds
8. Walkin' After Midnight- Patsy Cline
9. Ever Fallen In Love?- The Buzzcocks
10. She's So Modern- The Boomtown Rats

1. I've always found this to be one of the Stones' more lovely songs.
2. From "Can't Buy A Thrill," one of the greatest debut albums ever.
3. The late, great Phil Ochs, singing about the riots that racked the ghettos of America's cities in the mid to late sixties.
4. This song is haunting and achingly beautiful.
5. Love this nasty little song from a few years back.
6. The son of "Lonesome Dove" author Larry McMurtry. He just did a couple of shows at the Old Town School of Folk Music, just a few blocks from my home.
7. Dave Edmunds had a hit with this back in 1970.
8. Spent many a night in college walking home-- alone-- drunkenly singing this song.
9. A new wave classic.
10. The Boomtown Rats at their snottiest.


Churlita said...

I saw James McMurtry perform here in Iowa City before. he puts on a great show.

I got to hang out with my friend who works at the Old Town School of Folk Music when I was in Chicago to see the Pogues a couple of weeks ago. I love that place.

Johnny Yen said...

Um, the next time you're in Chicago, let alone two blocks from my house, which you were when you were at the Old Town School, you'd better contact me so you can have dinner and/or drinks with my wife and I!

SkylersDad said...

Would you have to move out based on where you would be getting a job as a nurse? I hate the idea of having to move someplace, I have way too much junk!

dmarks said...

#1 is lovely. The restaurant chain isn't bad either

Pat Tillett said...

It's always amazed me how much pressure is on nurses. Especially in a hospital setting. They have to know so darn much in a technical sense, while still being the face that patients count on to be friendly. Congrats to you for becoming so proficient at all you have to know and do! Something as seemingly small as an injection is very complicated! I hope you are feeling pretty good about all you've accomplished! Have a great weekend!