Wednesday, April 15, 2009

dose of humble pie

As is the recent standard we have no sunshine in the skies above Virginia. You look out your window and all you see is gloomy gray ranging from slate to dove. It suits my mood right now. Today was hard, hardest yet. I had to witness an occurence report that I brought on to myself with shear stupidity.

In clinicals we're trading each others' residents to gain experience in skills we otherwise wouldn't get, at least in the near future. My one classmate, LW, and I swapped so she could administer meds via PEG tube, and I took care of her resident. Boy did I ever take care of her! It was horrible. I dressed, we'll call her Mrs. Doe in her gown (a pretty new thing she got for Easter--not one of those icky hospital types), and then proceeded to transfer her from her bed to her wheelchair. Lesson learned: do not forget to lock the wheelchair and make sure you have a second person to assist. If you don't follow these simple rules you may end up on the floor, as I did with Mrs. Doe. I actually couldn't tell you if her buttocks even touched the floor because I already had her under her armpits, with my arms to support her. One thing I remember from my days as a medic in the Air Force is how to go down to the floor with a patient. Recall from the depths of your memory can certainly come in handy!

One of my classmates was taking care of her resident in the next bed over and I immediately called for her assistance. She was there in a flash! We managed to lift Mrs. Doe into the chair. Schew! After getting Mrs. Doe settled in activities I promptly went to let my instructor know what happened.

She told me to tell the nurse, and so I did. The look that came across Nurse C's face made me get queasy, but she just said we'd have to fill out an occurence report. Along with the report itself she also filled out the physician notification and then I saw the spot on the report where it asks if family has been notified. Gulp. Nurse C called the family and that's when I lost it. All I could think about was if it were me on the receiving end of that call and how I'd feel.

After a few minutes in the restroom I gained my composure and went back out to the nurses's station and got the "everyone makes mistakes, and we learn from them" schpiel, along with reassurance that it was all going to be ok. The family member was at first horror stricken because evidently Mrs. Doe has had an actual fall that left her with broken bones. Fortunately there was no injury sustained today. I'm sure she may be a little sore under her arms. I know I supported her with all my might and adrenaline as I guided her downward.

If you do ever go through this horrid situation I hope you have someone react the way that Mrs. Doe did. Can we say "angel"? I, of course, apologized profusely, to which she gave me the "we all learn somehow" schpiel. The events of the morning along with the necessity to obtain vitals signs and blood glucose per the occurence report protocol, not to mention everything else the woman endures, left her very tired. When I went to go I told her how much I appreciated her patience with me, and she said, "That's alright honey". She was too kind, too, too kind.

Well if that isn't all enough to wear a woman down I just received the call from hospital #1 and got the "we decided to go with other candidates...there were so many great, experienced people....please apply next year as a new grad..."



Anonymous said...

I know exactly how you feel Kirsten but let me tell you EVERYONE goes through what you went through at least once (probably more). You got that look from the nurse because whenever a patient falls (no matter what facility they are in) there is tons of paperwork to fill out.... that is what that look was for :) There will be a few first times with things that will make you cry.. first time a dr tells you off, a first time you ever give a medication error or the first time a patient falls on you. They are all things that help us grow as a nurse!! Chin up!!

jeninthedesert said...

I am sorry about your day! I had a day last week that involved me taking a time out in the bathroom to compose myself.

andrea said...

Though as students, we're fragile, this is also the best time for us to make learning experience mistakes. Like children I believe we'll bounce back better. I'm so sorry for the way things turned out, and I give you major hugs!! But I also offer you my hand to help you up when you're ready to get back up. It's okay!!! It really is!!! <3

PS. You're amazing for trying to move someone independently. Perhaps because I'm small, I have never tried to do it on my own, meaning sometimes I am not able to transfer patients because no one can help :( . In the hospital you can usually call the lift team. Don't worry we'll have support!!!

Robyn said...

Oh, I can imagine how you felt. Like Lorie said, we all make mistakes and none are exempt. When we make them though, we feel like we are the only ones who have ever done whatever it was. I'm sorry you had to experience it though...and you will get the perfect externship position, I just know it! You are going to make a great nurse...because you care, and that's the most important thing...