Thursday, April 2, 2009


Most of the time I write about my family, what's going on in my life, and thoughts for the day. This time I am going to go back a few years. This is a story about my "firsts" as a nurse. I hope that Amy and Jamie can get a laugh or two and maybe take something in the process.
My First IV start as an RN:
I had been on orientation for at least a week or more but hadn't had the opportunity to start an IV. In nursing school, we practiced on dummies and it was nowhere near the same thing. I think I might have started a couple on an elderly patient with bulging veins that wasn't aware of what was going on so that didn't really count for me. This was my first real attempt on someone who could talk back. My patient was a middle aged man who was just there for a "routine" surgery. My preceptor asked if I wanted to try. I did, but at the same time I was so nervous. She took me into the break room, went over the entire process again, and got all the supplies I would need. As I walked into the room all alone I was so nervous I think I started sweating right away. My patient could probably tell that I was new to this but it didn't seem to bother him at all. I think it took me almost 10 minutes to "find" a vein to attempt but I finally did and it was in a not so easy place. My first attempt was not so successful so I tried again. The second attempt I inserted the needle and got a flashback immediately...yeah for me. Then, I had to attach it to the j-loop which is always the hardest part for me. As I took the needle out, the blood started oozing all over the place. I felt so bad, it was so messy, but at least it was in and it worked. I think I left that patient's room a couple of pounds lighter from all the sweat but it felt good to accomplish something like that. Now, it's no big deal of course, but I always take a small towel to set under the patient's arm just in case it gets a little messy.
My First patient refusal and my First big cry:
The first job I had right out of nursing school was on an orthopedic/neurology floor. It was said to be the busiest floor in the hospital. There were 64 beds on our unit and we could have a turnover rate of 50% on some days. I had just gotten off orientation. I didn't know any better, so when the manager told me that orientation was 6 weeks I thought it was no big deal. Well, I would never have gone for that if I knew then what I know now. So, here's the picture. I graduated nursing school in May 2005. Started this job in August 2005 and was working on my own just 6 weeks later. I had a patient come in to the ER with a hole in her chest/upper abdomen. My charge nurse said she was getting transferred to our floor and I was going to be taking care of her. I got report from the ER nurse and I knew I should have been a litte concerned when she told me that all that was covering the hole was a towel. Sure enough, the patient arrived to the room with a towel over her hole catching any contents that came out. It was a mess. The patient was very demanding, very uncomfortable, and very specific as to what she wanted and when she wanted it. I don't think it would have been all that big of a deal to me but I also had 5 other patients I needed to care for. Those four hours I took care of her were the busiest yet longest four hours of my nursing career. I just kept thinking, get through this shift and tommorrow will be a new day. Needless to say I arrived the next day to find out that they had assigned her to me again. I just broke down right then and there in the break room. I was overwhelmed. I felt all alone like no one was there to help and I wanted to quit. By the way, I was pregnant with Kambry also. I sobbed to my charge nurse and told her everything. I just couldn't deal with that patient again. Sometimes you just need to know when to say enough is enough. From now on, I let it be known if I am uncomfortable doing something or taking care of someone.
My First Laugh (so hard I almost peed my pants)
This also happened during the first few months of working as a nurse. When I started working, there were also a couple of other girls who started the same time as me and were also fresh out of school. We always worked to together to help each other out even though we didn't always get the job done quickly. As any of you know that work in can get kinda messy and stinky. When you work with patients that have no use of their lower extremities you have to do things for them that they cannot do for themselves. So my nurse friend Alison and I went to the room together to change a patients underpants. This particular patient was on the larger size and was unable to move from side to side on their own. We used something called a Hoyer lift to lift the patient up while we changed the sheets. Okay picture this: A large patient in only a gown at the moment, lifted a couple of feet above the bed. Then he says, "I think I need to go." Alison and I looked at each other and knew we were in trouble. We heard a sound come from the patients bottom, at that moment I think that was the fastest I have ever put a sheet on a bed and we quickly lowered the patient to the bed just in time. Then we had to start all over again.
I think I will end on that note. I know some of what I wrote is not for a weak stomach, and I am sorry for that. I know some of it may not be of interest to you, but it's what I have experienced and it's only the beginning. Life is full of surprises. I look back on those experiences and think about what I can do differently now. It's a learning game, each and every day.
So, does anyone have any good stories or "Firsts" for me?


2003beachbunch said...

Love it! I still remember my first iv stick like it was yesterday... only it was 10 years ago now! Good golly. I am afriad that I would gross people out with my firsts. I got a good laugh though :-) Esp. the hoyer lift story!

Lindsay said...

Thanks Jamie, I am glad that someone understands what I am talking about.

Amy Walter said...

playing catch up on blogs since I've been out of town... that was great!! hoyer lift story was the best... lord knows I have already experienced some funny stories like that already!!