Thursday, June 10, 2010

Testing the Waters vs. Jumping In

Today was the second day of clinical. We took a tour of the mental health unit of the hospital and finished going through most of the CID. I’m not too sure if I was just tired today or if things just didn’t go as well as I had hoped - probably a little of both. I woke up early again this morning and went for another run. I really enjoy waking up early before the rest of the family. It gives me some time to be by myself during the day. I loved the train ride this morning. I was able to get quite a bit of studying done without the frivolous talk of deadbeat husbands, girdles and such. :) (Sometimes it really sucks to be the token male.) I arrived at the hosptial nearly an hour early and went on up to the meeting room just in case it was already open. Nope. Next week I’ll hang in the cafeteria or waiting area when I get there. The air was still out so I knew it was going to be another uncomfortable day. Now that I think about it, maybe that [the heat] just started things off on a downward slope.

I knew that I would be sent out into one of the units today, but I’m not too sure what I expected. Actually, I do know. I expected to be able to test the waters today, and I did. However, we don’t have time for that. As it turns out, in order to get everything done that needs to be done during the next four weeks, I’m going to have to just take a deep breath, jump in and hope that I can swim. I feel like I’m already behind in what I needed to be doing today. My first unit assignment was in the recovery group building. What should have happened is this. I should have gone into a group, identified a patient and followed up with that patient ASAP. I didn’t. Did I think about it? Yep, sure did. Was the opportunity there? Yep, sure was. The thing that comes to mind here is that whole “Self Directed Learner” thing all the faculty have been telling us about. I was too apprehensive after the first meeting to seek out that opportunity to practice my therapeutic communication skills. As it turns out, the patient I had chosen attended both group meetings today. She was there in the building and all I had to do was seek her out. Had I left the first meeting and gone to interact with the patient(s) I could have developed an introductory relationship with at least one of them. During the second meeting I had decided to seek out my “chosen” patient afterword. Wouldn’t you know it; she left the second meeting early. Two things happened when my chosen patient walked out…

1. The outward emotion, “Oh, man, she’s leaving. I didn’t get a chance to talk to her.”
2. The inward emotion, “Oh, thank God. Now I don’t have to talk to her.”

I’ve come to the realization that this sort of behavior is fairly typical of me. Maybe that’s normal, maybe not. What I do know is this, if I don’t take the initiative to “practice” my skills, I won’t do well in this class. I have to do things in this particular nursing rotation that are directly contrary to my personality. I am not a social person, but I will have to start pretending pretty soon before I start to sink….. [sigh].

So now, after having spent a couple of hours looking at my patient’s chart, I’ve got all of the necessary, fact finding, theoretical, organizational, research work done. I can tell you what’s wrong with her, what meds she’s taking, her delusional statements, her physical needs, etc. What I don’t have is the necessary information I need to actually help this person. What is that information? It’s her tone of voice.


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