Yesterday I had a "field day" at work; when I was in school, we called them "clinical days:" a day in the hospital rather than the classroom.
When I was in school, I was terrified of clinical days. It meant doing a bunch of new-- and terrifiying-- things. Giving shots, hooking up IV's, giving a med through a JG tube (a tube that goes directly into the patient's GI tract). All of them were new to me at one time. But I survived them all, and more, and here I am now, a Registered Nurse.
I had been told that SJ's would be one of the hospitals that my company is contracted to provide dialysis care for. SJ's was my favorite place to have clinicals at. For one, it was where I had two med-surg clinical rotations with Ms. Beaumard, my favorite clinical instructor. She rode us hard, but it was for a purpose: to make us better nurses. It was also where I liked working with the staff. No matter how busy they were, they were always able to answer our questions. They seemed to remember that they were once nursing students too. And on top of that, it was also a beautiful location-- see the picture at the top of the post. When they built the hospital in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood in the 1960's, it was probably because the land was dirt cheap; Lincoln Park was then a fairly rough neighborhood. Nearly fifty years later, it's almost laughable; the view the patients get in the lobby/sunrooms that are on each floor are views that Chicagoans now pay a premium for. The sunrooms overlook Lake Michigan, the now-tony Lincoln Park and Belmont Harbor, where the richest of the rich pay to dock their yachts.
I was told to get to the hospital at 8 am. I parked, and went to the desk in the downstairs lobby to get my employee parking pass. The lady at the desk, who remembered me-- and remembered that I always bought the candy bars that she was hawking for her daughter's school fundraiser-- gave me the free "courtesy pass," rather than the already heavily-discounted employee's pass. I was reminded of my reminder to my kids to always be nice to everybody-- you never know who will return that to you. She was delighted to see me returning as a full-fledged nurse, and I was delighted to be returning as a full-fledged nurse. She told me that my friend-- my friend Alina, who I'd shared rides with there when I was in clinicals-- was working there. I told her that I knew that, and hoped I'd run into her that day.
I went up to the 11th floor ("Mine goes to 11..."), where the Acute Care Dialysis Room was, and waited for my preceptor. It turned out that she'd overslept (very likely she'd worked an 11 or 12 hour day the day before) so I hung out while I waited for her. While hanging around the floor, I discovered something I'd heard about while I was in clinicals at the hospital, but had never seen before: the beautiful chapel. Later in the day, someone told me that when the hospital was sold to a major hospital chain, one of the quid pro quos was that the chapel would remain.
My preceptor finally arrived and we got to work. We had two patients. One had an "AV fistula" and the other had a catheter-- two different means of hooking up the dialysis machinery. My preceptor was great, answering the many questions I had, and let me do as much as I was comfortable with.
My first patient was on the 8th floor, which was the cardiac telemetry floor; I had done a clinical rotation with my friend Alina on that floor, and knew she now worked on that floor. When we ran into one another, we were both delighted. Every time I run into her lately, it has been followed with good news. I had run into her last month when I got of the el when coming home from the NCLEX test (and passed it), and then had run into her a coupe of weeks later on the way home from my interview with this company (I got the job). It was cool to be running into one another on the floor we'd worked on as students.
And do you think it was cool to be working on that floor, running into nurses I'd pumped for information as a student, being able to tell them I was back, but this time as a nurse? Oh hell yeah!