Saturday, January 16, 2010

Standing Strong

 8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
  9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
 Joshua 1:8-9
I happened upon this scripture as I was preparing for my efy(especially for youth, counselor position) interview since it is this year’s new theme. It struck a very strong chord with me and was what I needed to hear desperately at that time.  As I write this post I will tweak its meaning for it to more accurately apply to my nursing life.
Only two weeks down in school and I am drastically behind in my reading. I feel completely lost in my classes as they review over pathology with terms that sound so familiar but fail to fall into congruence of what they all really mean. Part of me feels so overwhelmed, with the 3 chapters of reading for one class, four for another, or two and lots of videos to watch somewhere in between, making the climb of K2 seem not as daunting! In wanting to give up and hopefully survive through the bare minimum, that is where the encouragement of verse number 8 comes in. My book(s) of law are now my very heavy new set of Pharmacology, Medical-surgical, Nursing-research, and so on. Right now nothing I read out of them is quite making sense or sticking but I guess it is not suppose to yet. Eventually I hope after doing my reading I will have success in finally at least understanding what my teacher is talking about in my three hour class on Tuesday. It may sound like I am complaining and maybe I am but then I have my experiences in the hospital where it all comes together and makes sense. It gives reason to all the studying and reminds of what I am really doing, learning the healer’s art.
OR:  Operating Room = Real life Grey’s Anatomy
I am not an advocate of that show , although I do watch it on occasion, for one it does not have a single nurse in it and if it did half of the problems they run into would not have happened! I do not watch it for the drama and the incredibly annoying characters but I watch it for its back drop, the OR. So for those of you who watch it you have an idea of where I spent an entire day this past week. This year my clinical are in IMC, Murray UT, which has been so nicely nicknamed the Death Star! Do not be alarmed this is not because of very poor statistical ratings discovered by JAHCO but because this hospital is a monstrosity and very confusing to navigate through!
IMC patient tower, a very small portion of the entire hospital!

A sample OR

In my first day in the OR I was able to follow a patient from preparing for surgery till right up after she would be admitted to the hospital. We will call her Elle Woods for HIPPA purposes. I was not very warmly greeted by my first RN of the day and felt quite uneasy about how the rest of the day might go. I met my patient Elle who was to have an ORIF of her left distal humerus translation being that she had a fracture in her bone above her elbow that needed to be closed by placing plates and screws into her bone. As the RN started to put in the IV in her arm for surgery trying to find her vein and causing great discomfort in Elle! In seeing her pain sympathy struck too strong with me and I thought I was going to pass out right then and there! I thought how in the heck am I going to make it through an entire surgery if I cannot even watch an IV being put in! As embarrassing as it was I sat down until I started to feel more stable and had said about a dozen prayers to get me through the day, since the banana I had eaten  at 5:30 was not cutting it!
As we made our way up into the OR we were greeted by our friendly OR circulating RN who flight attendant like directed us into the room. I had never imagined to meet such professional, yet relaxed, intelligent, cool people ever in my life in the OR. Yes these RNs and DR. were listening to 80’s rock while they were doing this surgery and cracking jokes to one another the whole time while still being very focused on the patient. They even asked me about who I was, I could tell that they really care about everyone that comes into their OR. It was amazing to see the care they went into to protect the patient who would not be moving for four hours during the surgery. They made went to great efforts to provide lots of padding everywhere, warmth( because it is absolutely FREEZING in the OR!), and the sterility of the procedure. I was able to move around a lot during the surgery and watch all of it! I was right by the anesthesiologist for a while and was able to watch him intubate her (put a tube down her throat so she could breathe) and could see her vocal chords! The Surgeon was amazing he told me everything he was doing and all the anatomy that went along with it. It was incredible! I even was able to see the fracture in the bone that he was trying to fix! After the surgery I followed Elle into the PACU (Post Anesthesia Care Unit) This is where they monitor patients coming out from anesthesia and start controlling their pain level. Elle was in a ton of pain when she woke up and reasonable so, after just having seen her entire upper arm cut open! The RN there was great in explaining all her monitoring and what meds she was giving to help relief any pain. Unfortunately for Elle nothing was working! So then this other MD came in and preformed a nerve block by finding her nerve with an ultrasound machine(compliments of GE) and then injecting around it to help block the pain radiating down her arm through her nerve plexus. The pain was finally relieved and Elle was able to be admitted to an official room to see her Mom again. By this time it was almost three o’clock and I had yet to eat anything and I successfully had not passed out yet either! I then went to see if I could catch anymore surgeries before I went home. I entered in where they were doing thyroidectomy. The RN there was also amazing and really funny. He made sure I could see everything going on and showed me everything possible of interest and all of it was! I also saw a 10 lbs goiter removed, adrenal glands the size of a football (which are normal the size of a small rubber ball), and how the pathology lab diagnosis different tissues that come to their lab! Overall it was an amazing day. When I came it was dark and when I left this other world(very much like Star Wars where their technology is astounding, and their light sabers are bovies that electrically severe tissue, which smells like burnt hair!) it was dark again but I will never be the same because of it! I have a huge appreciation for what surgeons know and do, orthopedics being my favorite ones so far. I am so thankful for all those who taught me so much on my first day and for how much I was able to see. I was able to stand strong the entire day and knew that God was with me the entire time pulling me through, along with all the patients in the 60 some surgeries that happened that day.

Accomplishments this week
1.      Placed a couple of IVs successfully
2.      Learned how to start an IV pump
3.      Did NOT pass out in the OR despite the empty stomach and quivering nerves!
4.      Somehow managed to get the efy position even though I showed up thirty minutes late to my interview because I had the wrong room and I had a dryer sheet stuck to my skirt!
5.      Finished Anderson Cooper’s book, very interesting and great perspective on fairly recent historical events.
6.      Was fortunate enough to be the confidant of several confidential reports and kept them
7. Learned that you have to park the direction  of traffic to avoid a parking ticket :(
Pictures to come soon!


  1. Sounds very interesting. It's neat to be in a professional work environment isn't it?

  2. Whitney... you are awesome!!! I know you are going to be an amazing nurse. Crystal and I were randomly and coincidentally reading your blog at the same time but on separate laptops on the couch just now. Funny. We miss you a lot and I totally lol'd about the dryer sheet :-)

  3. Glad to know you're enjoying everything. A little bit jealous you get to be an EFY counselor again, but it's a healthey jealousy! Miss you and am proud of you! :)

  4. I'm just here to make you feel a bit better about being behind. Because imagine how much more behind you would be if we had hung out the day you left . . . my ENTIRE family got sick that day, and that morning began it all. You're welcome! Consider disastrous mysterious vomitous crisis averted for the nursing student!

  5. I love you so much and am so proud of you ! ( I'm allowed to say that, cause I'm the mommma) Learning can certainly be an adventure that requires courage! The greater the needed courage - the greater the adventure the more exciting the learning. You are certainly experiencing 'the great wide somewhere'.