Monday, September 6, 2010

The Patient in Room 19

It’s easy being a nurse when the patients are pleasant and easygoing, when you can engage them in conversation and get a thank you at the end of the day. So I took on a challenging patient today, to say the least. I wanted to see if I could handle someone who was not going to be able to communicate, who would be uncooperative and potentially hostile. I also wanted a taste of what the psych clinical would be like, since I’ve talked to seniors who told me they weren’t prepared for what they found. Psych is one of those clinicals that everyone is afraid of, right behind pediatrics. Kid medicine is scary!

I got my challenge. My patient had actually scared off one of the sitters. She was uncooperative, took swings and spit. But it was her voice that unnerved people; a loud, low growl that seldom let up without additional Haldol.

She also needed more help and understanding that all my other patients combined. I feel like I wasn’t able to do much for her. What are a little oral care and a bath with a washcloth in the face of her condition? But I did what I could, and I did it while calling her sweetie.

I think I have a good grasp on the patient-centered care part of the nursing equation. The informatics is coming along, as is the evidence-based practice. I always have safety in mind. I don’t feel I have enough experience yet to contribute much to quality improvement. I’m continually working on the teamwork, and I feel like I did very well with that today. Student Nurse P and I teamed up with some of her patient care – oral care, foley care – and we did really well together. I like working in a team, I just have a hard time finding my place. I think it will come as I improve my skills. Half the battle is just knowing where everything is!

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