Second Semester, You Will Not Overwhelm Me … Oh Wait

I feel like I can finally breathe! Don’t worry, nothing medically has been going on, but this semester has been crazier than I anticipated!!  I feel like winter break never happened and that as soon as I landed, I hit the ground running and haven’t had a chance to look back.

This semester my time is divided slightly differently than last.  I am taking four classes throughout the whole semester, and two classes are divided between the first seven weeks and the last seven weeks.  Currently, I’m halfway through the last seven weeks of the semester. Where did the time go?!

Since I have two projects due this week, but no tests, I finally am able to find some time to sit down and start to process this semester.  I started off the first seven weeks in Psychiatric Nursing.  I had no idea what to expect.  In the end – I. Loved. It.  Seriously!  It was so fascinating and interesting and I learned so much.

My clinical group was amazing and so was my clinical instructor.  The nurses on the floor were willing to teach us everything they know and answer any of our questions.  Shout out to MP1!  So, we are at clinical every Thursday and Friday this semester.  That means, the patient we are with on Thursday, we also are with on Friday.  I really got to know some patients and really felt I was able to get a better sense of what it’s like being a nurse and seeing the same patients more than once a week.

What I discovered is that Psych Nursing is a lot of talk therapy and you don’t use most of the technical skills you learn in the first semester.  Psych nurses give meds and sometimes give injections (for diabetes or if patients need to calm down quickly), but overall it’s a lot of talking about goals and reactions to feelings and how to deal with what this patient population feels on the inside.  I guess it reminded me a lot of camp with all the talking and feelings and sitting in circles. The patients I worked with had schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, or a combination.  A lot of the time was talking with my patients, listening to their thoughts and then coming up with a goal for the day or next few weeks and how they can achieve that goal.  Overall, I enjoyed my time on this unit and would love to get to work on a unit like that again.

dogs are pretty therapeutic – it seems like everyone at school HAS a dog!

Currently I’m in my Adult Health I rotation and I’m on a Medical/Surgical floor at Hopkins.  We have lots of patients with GI issues so that means … lots of cleaning of different bodily fluids.  At first, I really missed psych.  I missed talking to patients and just being able to sit at a table and work out their feelings and listen to what they had to say.  The truth is though, this type of nursing is so technical and also so important that I can see why I’m having a hard time choosing what type of nurse I want to be.  In this rotation we are giving meds more than once, we are able to do more for our patients so overall we’re slowly gaining more responsibility as nursing students.  I’m going to highlight this past week because it was a roller coaster of activity, but I left on Friday thinking and hoping I helped out my patient and made her feel better for the short time I was with her.

My patient had surgery on a Tuesday and on Thursday morning she started throwing up.  A lot.  So, I spent the whole morning in my patient’s room calming her down and cleaning her up.  Eventually, the doctors decided to put a tube (nasogastric) down her nose into her throat to relieve her of the vomiting (the tube sucked everything out) and so she’d feel better.  Also, to give her stomach/bowels time to rest after having such a major surgery.  By the afternoon my patient was feeling much better, but after such a tumultuous morning she mostly rested and we didn’t get to speak that much.

I came in on Friday not knowing what to expect and it was pretty much a 180-degree turnaround from the day before.  My patient felt better, she no longer felt nauseous and she was super-talkative.  So talkative that I could probably relate every detail of her upcoming wedding to you. Anyways, my patient and I spent all of Friday morning getting her up out of bed, cleaned up, I changed her bed and then we did about five walking laps on the unit.  Five! That’s huge.  In the afternoon we did some more laps and I even was able to squeeze in some patient education about why it’s important she get up and start moving around sooner rather than later after having surgery.  I left to go home on Friday exhausted, but the good kind.  The kind that had me running around for two days making sure my patient was comfortable and feeling better, and while I played a minimal part in her care for the time she is on the floor, I was still touched when she asked me on Friday afternoon, “So, will you be back here tomorrow?”

I feel like I’m finally starting to get a real sense of what nursing is like.  I mean, my feet are always killing me by the end of the day Friday so I think I am doing something right! Well, I think I’ve used up my procrastinating time for the evening by writing this blog (as opposed to checking Facebook, I mean … checking email).  Have a wonderful week!

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