Saturday, July 3, 2010

Go Towards the Light

There is a light at the end of a short tunnel. Today I finished gathering all of the information I needed to complete my clinical assignments. I’ve got pages of care plan notes, notes from a lengthy conversation I had today for my process recording, and now I’ve got to do something with it all. I’ve got to take this information and be able to present it in such a way that others will know exactly what I want them to know. After the previous four weeks, I’ve found that to be much more difficult than it sounds. Also, like the long semesters, as I near the finish line I tend to get ready to rest a bit too soon. I’m ready for summer break. This will be my first semester off in 1 ½ years. Yea! I’ve just got to push toward the end and complete everything the best I know how.

My day today was good and bad. First, this morning was somewhat of a bust. I went onto my unit to find that ALL of the patients were in group meetings. There was nobody on the floor. I went back to the computer room and worked on gathering some more information for my care plan. Fifty minutes later I went back onto the floor to wait in the day room for the patients to come back. Most of them did not come back because they were going bowling. I ended up “shooting the breeze” with the nurses for nearly two hours. One was the regular staff nurse, but she was pretty busy and had no qualms about telling me so. The other was a new staff nurse in training on that floor. We actually talked a lot. The cool thing was that this nurse was a male nurse. He had been in psychiatric nursing for about thirty years and had worked for the state hospital for quite a while. He had a wealth of knowledge and tons of tips for me as well as some very interesting stories. We discussed what it was like being a psych nurse compared to med-surge, career tips, education, etc. I was really glad that he was so open to passing on information to a rookie. One thing he mentioned was that the units I had been on up to this point weren’t “really” psych units. I have to agree. He said that next week, when I move to the acute care unit, I would really get the experience I was looking for.

After lunch I went back to the unit and waited for some unsuspecting person to come into the day room. I had to wait about ten minutes when finally a gentleman come in and sat down with a magazine. I mustered up my courage and went over to him and started up a conversation. He was pretty receptive to me. Our conversation lasted about an hour and a half. Therapeutic communication is difficult for me. I caught myself saying things that were not working to help the patient express his feelings. Occasionally something good would come out, but this is really difficult for me. I don’t mind listening, but making me try and say something worthwhile takes work. Speaking of making me say something worthwhile…

A couple days ago I was “encouraged” to participate more in class – as were many of my other classmates. My brain doesn’t work that way very well. It takes every ounce of energy that I have to muster up questions to ask about presentations. The questions I ask on the spot are generally superficial and don’t seem to bring up important issues. I’d much rather have time to think about questions and ponder what has been presented to me. I suppose that is part of becoming a nurse. Being able to think critically in a short amount of time is very important. I’m going to have to practice that as well.

I hope that my last two days in clinical prove to be very educational. I’m looking forward to practicing my skills more without the looming report deadlines. It’s time to get ready for the big finish. I hope I go out with a bang.


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