I hate first days.

It has been 14 weeks since I had my last patient.  That is way too long to go between clinical rotations.

Our clinical rotation last quarter was the first six weeks of the quarter.  This quarter it is the last six weeks.  That is a hefty gap in between when you throw in Spring break.

We actually started back in the hospital (new hospital) two weeks ago, but spent the first week orienting–we were working with patients, but not totally responsible for them.  And then last week I didn’t have my own patients because I was assigned to be a “peer resource”  (basically helping out my classmates, helping them manage their time, jumping in when they were overwhelmed, etc.).  I got to do some cool new skills, but didn’t really get the experience of managing a patient load.  So this week I finally had patient assignments, and it was my first time having two patients–last quarter we were just responsible for one (although we still helped out with other patients when we had time.)

Last night when I was working on my drug sheets and beginning my nursing concept maps, I was feeling pretty confident. I’ve had patients recovering from hip and knee replacements before.  I know what the big nursing priorities are.  My patients had simple medication lists.  It seemed pretty doable.

But when I got to the hospital and got report, both of my patients had hematocrits in the toilet and needed blood transfusions.  And when I walked into the first room to start my assessment my mind drew a blank–what do I do?  What questions do I ask?  It had just been a long time since I’d been through the routine, and it took a while to start feeling it again.  And then although I helped my peers pull meds from the “omnicell” last week, I still floundered a bit doing it all on my own this week.

The good thing is, I set up for three blood transfusions last week, so I at least knew what I was doing with that part.  But overall?  Kind of a crappy day.  Nothing really to complain about, just those first-clinical-day blues.  I’m looking forward to tomorrow when hopefully I’ll be back on my game.

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