turned loose in the ER
It has been a long time coming. Way back in January of 2007 when I took my first prerequisite classes to start my nursing career, it seemed like I would never get to this point. Ever since then it has been an intense ride through nursing school, and then through the new grad program. Finally after 16 weeks of working in the ER with another nurse watching my every move, I am being turned loose. I’ll be working my first solo shift next Wednesday, so try to stay safe and out of the ER.
I am excited and nervous at the same time. For the most part I feel confident. I know I am a good nurse even though I am still pretty green. I am thorough with assessments, clear in my charting, and getting more efficient at getting everything done for my patients. I have figured out how to get the attention of the lab, radiology, CT and ultrasound. I have learned a bit more about the docs so I can predict what I can get started for my patients before they ask. I listen well to my patients, and they are always grateful that I am nice to them. They comment so much on my being kind and compassionate that it makes me suspicious that this is not the norm. I think however that the truth is that I have not worked long enough to build that protective shell around my heart, I am still wearing it on my sleeve. The nervous part comes when I get a patient that is really sick and I know the timing of my care is critical. I am not so fast yet, I still look up lots of meds before I give them, I double check dilutions and infusion rates and compatabilities just to be sure that what is in my head is actually right. I worry about getting IV access started quickly enough and those sickest patients have the worst veins! I worry about not recognizing just how sick a patient is, especially a kid because I haven’t seen enough of them. And my biggest worry is that I will make a medication error that will cause a patient harm, I guess no amount of experience will ease that worry.
So far I have surprised myself at what doesn’t gross me out. Patients puke, poop, and scream. Bleed, smell bad, and curse. So far none of it has made me want to run. Usually there is a glimmer of a scared individual that melts my heart and makes me want to help them feel better. Each case is a challenge to try to figure out what is making them sick and how can we help. And there is endless opportunity to educate people about their health. Many have heard it all before, and really need encouragement to take steps towards health. Call me crazy, but I get off on encouraging people and giving them hope.
So if you come into my ER you can expect to be listened to, cared for with kindness, have your stuff explained to you and be encouraged to live a healthier lifestyle. Watch out, new ER nurse turned loose.