Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Watch Out for Air Bubbles

Today was a very long day. However, it was also very productive. Coming off of the second theory exam the last thing I wanted to do was get up early and go to the hospital. I would have much rather stayed in bed all day. I am sure that I will feel that way many times when I become a fulltime RN. My patient today was a very nice elderly woman in the hospital for a bowel perforation and hiatal hernia. She had had her surgery the night before and was just waking up when the staff nurse and I went in for our assessments. She was having some abdominal pain and we started checking out the PCA. The staff nurse said, “Oh, I like to set up the tubing a little different. Everybody does things differently and I just like things to be a certain way.” After a couple minutes of unhooking and re-hooking the patient up to her TPN, NS, and Morphine we left the room. As soon as we left the room the staff nurse told me what was going on. The lines were full of air and were going directly into the patients veins like that. The staff nurse was obviously upset about what she had just had to do, but she was extremely calm and professional while in the room with the patient. She reported the problem to the nurse manager and documented what she had done. Despite the obvious danger that the patient was in, I am very glad to have witnessed the staff nurse in this situation. It taught me how important it is to assess the lines at the beginning of the shift. It taught me things to watch for when I set up tubing, and it taught me how to act in perilous situations that present themselves while the patient is watching or listening. It is so good to be able to see a really good nurse in action. So many of the nurses I have seen during my clinical times have been mediocre at best and some have been just plain awful. I really hope that when I get a job and a preceptor, that the person training me is like the staff nurse I worked with today.

On a technical note, today I was able to hang my first IVPB. Not a huge deal, but it is one of those things that is kind of fun when you finally get to do it for real. I am beginning to find out (after many years) that I am a kinesthetic learner. I have tried for a very long time to figure out how I learn the best, and now I am pretty sure that actually performing skills is a much better way for me to learn than listening or watching. Once I have done something once or twice, I pretty much have it.

I really hope that my next clinical day goes as well as today. Despite the fact that I was really tired today, I was able to learn a lot while at the same time enjoying what I was doing. Days like today are a good prescription for recovery from days like yesterday.


1 comment:

  1. I think I found that out this semester. I aced all my lab tests & struggled on my lecture tests, even though I studied quite a bit. I am definitely a hands on learner. If I can see it & explain it to someone else, then I have it.