Some of my classmates and I after having learned how to don gowns and gloves to prepare for sterile technique in the Operating Room.(Top picture)
Part of my clinical group during conference and my professor.( Bottom picture)
I have had interesting conversations of late about nursing income. Honestly I had no idea about any ballpark figure for a salary until this week. It just never was what was most important to me, either that or the spectrum of being a student to actually becoming a nurse seems never ending. As I came to realize the varying but each adequately supplemental it still hasn’t really hit me the price of nursing care. I know I do not fully understand still the money flow and all the necessities of life that it provides for, that scarily enough someday I will have to figure out. But the real value of nursing care comes to me when I am at the hospital seeing it in action (or agonizing over endless pages of reading and telling myself it will all pay off someday, literally).
This past week I had an incredible experience at the hospital. (Which was much needed after m extremely boring day in Cath/Endo lab- where ya know I saw the inside of some one's heart beating, and the inside of someone's intestines) My nurse was really friendly and let me do a lot of things. Including starting two IVs successfully on the first try and that was the first time I had ever done it on a real patient! I also did a PICC (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter; it is just a really long IV where the tip ends up in the superior vena cava of the heart where medications that need to mix with a lot of blood immediately can be administered) line dressing change, which has to use sterile technique. I also placed my first Foley Catheter (a tube to collect urine out of your bladder). I was also able to report on my patient to the rounding Doctor and teach some patients about some procedures. So it was an eventful, very good day. Ironically enough this was also a hard day. I experienced the difficulties of working with a confused patient and the struggles of communicating. I learned the value of touch and just being there for the patient and also having humor. When I asked my patient who the president of the United States was (not of the Mormon church because we get that a lot with older patients around here in Utah) and he replied by Saying Osama Bin Laden. He was fairly close with the name at least, and he was disorientated. I learned a lot about prioritizing my time by watching my nurse and the importance of double checking. She would always check and recheck things to make sure she had it right. I could tell that she was not just doing it to protect herself but she was concerned for the patient’s well being in the treatments she was giving. She wanted to make sure she was doing things correctly and for the right patient. She had their interests at heart and what would be best for them. The most tender moment I had of the day was when I was placing my second IV in a man who was not very responsive. I was extremely task orientated at the time and helped with the assessment but then I stopped and realized the impact of what was occurring to this man’s health. His wife and daughter were in the room and after they tried to talk to him the daughter started to have tears well up in her eyes. It touched me so deeply and I just felt this overwhelming sense of concern for all of them. I really wanted to run over and give her a hug at that moment as well! I remembered the impact of what it is like to have a loved one in the hospital and not just feeling accustomed to the hospital from working there hospital. It was scary for them and this man’s care took on a new meaning for me. It wasn’t about getting the job done, the pay check at the end of the day and following policy guidelines so you don’t get sued; no, rather it was about real caring and hopes of healing for the patient. It reminded me of the honor I have to step into these patient’s lives and for a brief time really care for their needs.