Learning the ropes in the ER
Damara Hutchins | Highlands TodayI've been working at my job as an emergency room nurse for about a month now and I have completely fallen in love with the job. My coworkers have been wonderful and my 12-hour shifts are over before I know it.
Published: September 22, 2012
Published: September 22, 2012
I truly do learn something new every day, which isn't surprising because I am a fresh out of school; but even seasoned nurses will tell you they never stop learning. There is just so much basic medical information, not to mention the continually changing world of technology and medicine.
My first few days on the floor following my preceptor felt unbelievable.
Every time I pulled a medication from the med room to administer it to a patient, I'd pause to look over my shoulder and see if one of my instructors was going to walk up behind me to see if I was doing everything correctly.
The first time I pushed morphine into an I.V., I got a sinking feeling in my stomach like I was going to send the patient into immediate respiratory depression. I didn't. I'd checked the dose and the patient, of course, but the computer also helped with a final check once I used the handy scanner.
Computers are wonderful until they turn on you.
For instance, you are in the middle of complete madness and have 15 things going on at once when your laptop shuts down because you forgot to plug it in for the last four hours.
You only do that once.
I'm getting better at working the I.V. pumps and lines. The first few times I started a pump, I felt like I got caught in a spider web of tubing and I somehow made a knot that I had to untie.
Luckily, I was in the privacy of the med room and no one witnessed it.
Speaking of tangles, I had to wrestle a bedside table to free the call light cord from one of the wheels the other day.
I thought I could roll it off, but the table wasn't cooperating and I ended up on my hands and knees, muttering to myself about the absurdity of the situation.
When I released the call light, I accidentally pulled it out of the wall which set off the signal that I needed assistance in the room.
"Sorry. The bedside table attacked me, but I'm okay now." How often does that happen?
I'm improving my technique with starting an I.V., also. It is nice to think that my patient doesn't need a blood transfusion when I'm done. Seriously, it wasn't that bad, but when you get a really good vein on a person who is taking anticoagulants, you'd better be prepared to quickly apply pressure and have your supplies ready.
They say nurses grow their third arm at some point in time and I'm starting to realize what they mean. You have to do several things at once and it would look bad to put your foot on someone's arm to stabilize it; really bad.
As for my patients, I can't say much about them because I have to respect their privacy, but I will say that they are my priority. I look forward to helping them and thank them for allowing me to assist them. So far, they have all seemed to like me well enough.
I hope I never lose any of the love I have for nursing because I feel so fortunate to be doing this.