Thursday, March 29, 2007

In memory of Mr. _________

DISCLAIMER: from a nursing students' perspective - please do not read if you have recently lost a loved one...

Friday's clinical did not start off very positively. In fact it has taken me almost a week to be able to blog about it.

During our briefing we found out that a resident had passed during the night. There have been a few times that I had heard of a patient passing in between our clinical visits, but this was the first recent one. As soon as I heard that the body was still in the patients’ room, I totally broke out in hives, and KNEW somehow we’d be involved. I realize that this was an excellent learning opportunity, but I just didn’t feel ready, but at the same time, I knew one is probably never ready for such a thing.

Sadly, I was at the disadvantage that this was the first person I had ever seen after they had died. Becuz I am such an emotional person, I have purposely avoided any situation where I would have to go near an open casket, even for family members, and my friends and family all know this about me. Unfortunately, this did not help my situation for Friday.

The walk to the patients’ room seemed too short so I didn’t get the chance to overcome my panic! Then, I mistakenly was one of the first students in the room so I was right up front. Glad I wasn’t expected to help cuz I would’ve been useless! Everything just seemed wrong…the waxy coloring of the body – his eyes being wide open; dull and lifeless – the mouth half open in a struggling breathless gasp. Was just too much and I didn’t know whether I was going to throw up or faint so had to get to the back. What I surprisingly found to be the worst part, was the tagging of the toe, and then the body getting tightly wrapped in the plastic, and that image haunted me all day. It was just so final, so unnatural and so obvious that a human body does not belong wrapped up in plastic. I kept expecting to see him struggle to get out of the plastic.

One thing that did impress me was how everything was done quietly, with dignity and respectfully. That was great to see. Overall, this was a great learning opportunity, and I am just thankful that this was an elderly person, whom I had never met, who had been suffering but now was at peace. Probably made this learning experience a lot easier than it could have been!

Later, when I was getting my meal ready for my patient, I chatted briefly with the RNA who gave me her experience with her first dead body, with advice for next time, which I have already passed on and will continue to pass on to other nursing students. She told me her teacher advised her to touch the body, as it helps overcome any fears we may have and then you realize there is nothing to be afraid of. She said it totally worked for her, and others she has talked to. So I will try and remember that for next time. As it was, I was unable to have my afternoon nap becuz the images would not leave my mind, and I was a wreck at work that night, as it did not seem right that I had witnessed a body be tagged and wrapped up like a mummy to be shipped off to a funeral home, and yet a few hours later, there I was sitting at my desk doing paperwork…

Friday I actually had a good day with my patient. Our time together was totally upbeat and went fairly smoothly. We even chatted about her family and the weather! I have to admit, I actually think I will miss her when clinical is over! Also, I was happy that I successfully cared for 2 clients before break with time to spare. I realize that I still have a long way to go yet, but I have come a long way in the past few weeks.

Only one more clinical to go…. having a BBQ this weekend to celebrate surviving the whole ordeal!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Another one down, three to go...

Well, I survived another clinical on Friday – I stressed all week – gained 5 lbs from stress eating all week – had nightmares – researched switching degrees for next year (was seriously considering a biology degree) – was just one hell of a week! A couple friends gave me some good pep talks a few days prior which did help a lot. Lindsay with her tough approach: “Tell me you didn’t let a PATIENT make you cry, oh come on!” And Jackie with her focused compassion: “You know Jen, you have so many options in nursing; you don’t HAVE to work in geriatrics. This is your way of realizing that this aspect of nursing isn’t for you. Don’t give up on nursing becuz of this experience.” So between Jackie & Lindsay straightening me out, I went in with a totally different attitude! I decided I wasn’t going to take my patients’ crap (literally!) – I was there to do my job, to HELP HER, and I was just going to do it. I still barely slept…got about 2 hours sleep prior to clinical this time (it is amazing what a difference that extra hour of sleep makes though!) I was kind of excited knowing this was the last week I would have to deal with her, and it would only be one more hour out of my life.

First my fellow students gave me a quick little motivating pep talk, then I jumped right in. I told her firmly how things were going to be. I took control of the situation and didn’t let her boss me around (quite as much), and in the end, instead of yelling at me, she just muttered at me, “I wish you would do this….I wish you would do that…” rather than “DO THIS… DO THAT…” So at least my confidence wasn’t crushed the first 2 minutes I walked in the door this time, so I was able to get things done competently….pretty much. Once again, I started struggling with her depends. I just couldn’t figure out why I was having trouble. Finally I had to swallow my pride and I went and asked my clinical instructor for help. Would you believe all this time I have been putting them on backwards!!!! I had memorized “stickers to the front, stickers to the front”, and really, it was stickers to the back!!!!!! I had been lucky with previous patients; their depends were always a bit too big for them, and I struggled a bit, thinking I just needed the extra practice, but this time, my patient fits in her depends perfectly, so there was no slack room to force fit them! Only me! Then the outfit she picked out was the most bizarre thing I had ever seen – there were flaps and holes and buttons and straps everywhere! Between my clinical instructor and I, we finally pieced it all together, but next time, I’M picking out the outfit ;-)

We had a 30 min time-limit, and well, I took an hour and 10 mins :-( At coffee break time, our clinical instructor asked us how we think we did… I said, “Shamefully, I know I am the worst…is there a prize for last place?” Apparently I wasn’t the slowest, I was actually one of the fastest! Shocking! Then I was told I have my patient for yet ANOTHER week, sigh…. Oh well – since things went a lot smoother this week, I won’t need to stress as badly for next week.

I always prefer the after-coffee shift. We are basically little gophers running around helping out where we are needed. Every little thing we do is appreciated by the staff and the patients. Seeing how excited the patients get when we walk into the room to help them with whatever little request they are asking makes you feel good, and reminds me why I really do like working with the elderly. Their faces just light up with joy! Later, I assisted with a tub bath for the same elderly man that I had helped a couple of weeks ago. It went so much better this week – it really has showed me that experience does toughen you up.

I also realized what a great group of students I am with. My clinical instructor may think we are a bunch of incompetent morons, but I think we are a great group. We work well together and help each other out when we can. I think these students are going to be great nurses and build a great rapport with their patients. I actually think I am learning more from them than the support workers who trained us! I just wish I could continue on with this same group – at least I will be with them for part of next year, but then I fall behind again as I continue on part-time.

So, only 3 more weeks of clinical! YAY!

And, spring is on it’s way – this evening it was +10!!!! I’m sure it was even higher during the day! I am so excited for the warmer weather and the coming bright sunny days :-) The little snow we had is almost gone and just giant mud puddles everywhere. And the smell of spring is in the air (FYI – the smell of spring here is the smell of melting dog poo)

Oh, and one more thing... amazing Leafs/Senators game last night!!! Toronto still may make the playoffs!!!!!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

1000 visitors!

Yay! I reached the 1000 visitor mark today :-)

Only 87%???

You Are 87% Burned Out

You are extremely burned out.
You work too hard, and you're not getting the results you deserve.
It's time for a life change, as soon as you can manage it.
You're giving away most of your energy to something you don't even enjoy.

The Official Canadian Temperature Conversion Chart

The Official Canadian Temperature Conversion Chart

50° Fahrenheit (10° C)
New Yorkers try to turn on the heat.
Canadians plant gardens.

40° Fahrenheit (4.4° C)
Californians shiver uncontrollably.
Canadians Sunbathe.

35° Fahrenheit (1.6° C)
Italian Cars won't start
Canadians drive with the windows down

32° Fahrenheit (0 ° C)
Distilled water freezes
Canadian water gets thicker.

0° Fahrenheit (-17.9° C)
New York City landlords finally turn on the heat.
Canadians have the last cookout of the season.

-40° Fahrenheit (-40° C)
Hollywood disintegrates.
Canadians rent some videos.

-60° Fahrenheit (-51° C)
Mt. St. Helens freezes.
Canadian Girl Guides sell cookies door-to-door.

-100° Fahrenheit (-73° C)
Santa Claus abandons the North Pole.
Canadians pull down their ear flaps.

-173° Fahrenheit (-114° C)
Ethyl alcohol Freezes.
Canadians get frustrated when they can't thaw the keg.

-460° Fahrenheit (-273° C)
Absolute zero; all atomic motion stops.
Canadians start saying "cold, eh?"

-500° Fahrenheit (-295° C)
Hell freezes over.
The Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup. (hey... wait a second......!)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Clinical experience illustrated in cartoon format...

Click on to enlarge....

This next one has absolutely nothing to do with me... just wanted to clarify... I'm not quite this bad....

Not so much funny; more like, sounds familiar....

Ok.... I admit, this one is TOTALLY me!!

And here I am again - always the student that gets the extra "learning opportunities" - lucky me!

And one more...

All cartoons were found at

Friday, March 02, 2007

What am I DOING?

To continue on with another negative post, I HATE CLINICAL!

Today I met my new patient and she made me cry :-( As you've read from previous posts, it really doesn't take much... but still. She didn't want me touching her - she told me I was incompetent - She was SO uncooperative and all she did was yell at me. While feeding her, first I brought her the ONLY juice out of the 4 that she doesn't like, (her chart said it was her favourite!) then her porridge wasn't sweet enough so I had to go get her sugar, then she wanted all the raisins picked out, then it was TOO COLD after I did all this racing around making everything JUST RIGHT! I was so flustered by the time I got to giving her bed bath that everything started going wrong! I put on her wrong blue sweater, she wanted the NAVY blue sweater not the dark blue sweater (after struggling for 5 mins to get in on her) You couldn't tell me that BEFORE I put it on you? At one point she even flung poo at me!!!

Later, when changing her depends, when putting on a new pair I pulled too hard, trying to prevent having to roll her on her side again and have her yell at me once more, so of course the depends ripped right in half!!! Then she screamed, "Can't you do anything right? Why don't you get someone in here that actually knows what they are doing?" So of course I got upset and had to get one of the nurses to help me. 3 weeks ago, I got such a glowing report from my clinical instructor telling me I was doing a great job, and that she could tell I have what it takes to be a good nurse, and then this week I hear how incompetent I am... bit of an ego crusher.

Then after clinical, our instructor lectured us for 45 minutes on how disappointed she was in us - there's no excuse as to why we are taking so long with each patient - her OTHER group of students does _______ better than us (she listed literally 20 things) Then she started reading out assignments from her other group, cuz apparantly they write essays better than us too! What a day - at least that part didn't bother me as much considering none of our assignments are marked, just a pass/fail... so whatever.

Thankfully I just have this patient for one more week, and we only have 4 more weeks of clinical.

Today is the first day that I am really questioning what I am doing? Why am I paying all this money in tuition, taking up so much of my time in school which is not allowing me to have any time for fun, not to mention I'll be taking a pay cut in the beginning when I leave my current job to become a nurse - makes me wonder why I bother - especially if I don't make it into medical school and my only option is nursing. But then I just have to remind myself that it was just a bad day...

So now I'm going to attempt to have 1 more hour of sleep before I have to go in to work tonight!

Tomorrow's another day.....


I'll bet I am the only person in the world who hates Friday's!

7 am clinical - after a snow storm - on 1 hour of sleep - plus not feeling well.


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