Thursday, November 20, 2008

Practicum Exam Time

I HATE practicum wait, maybe I hate my overly-emotional personality and hate that I do not know how to properly deal with stress...that is probably more accurate...

This year in nursing school we have had a LOT of information thrown at us - to the point that everyone is majorly overwhelmed. In addition to all the information thrown at us, we had labs 2 times a week to learn new skills. This is probably the BEST part of nursing school - practicing skills on each other, on fake equipment and on mannequins. We also had to buy ($80 worth!) of equipment to bring to lab so we can practice in lab and then take the equipment home and practice on our own. This included a catheter kit, dressing kit, IV supplies, etc.).

Now we are drawing close to the end of the first semester (Wednesday is our last day of school before written exams begin!). During the last 3 weeks of school, every week we had a different practicum exam. Last week was neurological and we did a neurological exam on our partner. It was super easy, and I could do it in my sleep! But of course, when under stress of the fact that you are being tested on it, it doesn't seem quite so easy. I managed to get through it disaster free, and in fact got 100% on it - wahoo!

This week, our practicum exam was on IV's, IM injections, catheters, and dressing changes. My mom was up visiting for a few days, so on the weekend I practiced with her. I practiced until I wore out the equipment and until I had no voice left from talking so much describing what I was doing. I had IV equipment hanging all around my living room, catheter equipment set up in the kitchen, and balled up socks made into fake gaping wounds full of packing. My poor dog didn't know what was going on! I knew my stuff! Then exam time came. I was REALLY hoping for a cathether or an IM injection...... well, I got IV's :( I was so nervous my mind went blank - I couldn't even figure out the basic math to do my drug calculation. I just started writing down numbers and moved on to the next step - gathering up the required equipment. When it came time to doing the actual task, everything that could possibly go wrong, WENT wrong :( I kept dropping things... twice the instructor pointed out wrong equipment I had grabbed (wrong sized needle, wrong IV tubing) and she had to go and get the right things for me while I kept on going. That just made me more and more nervous and stressed out, and by the time she went to fetch the new tubing I just felt so incompetent and started to cry.... yep.... cuz that's the appropriate response in such a situation! I hate being such an emotional person :( I was just so frustrated that I knew what I was doing going in, but yet when it came time to demonstrate it, I couldn't prove it cuz I allowed my stress to take over :( I did manage to stumble my way through and finish up, but I was so embarassed. If nothing else, maybe the instructor took pity on me.

I have one more practicum exam to do next week (cardiac, respiratory and abdominal assessments) and I am stressing already. This time I have TWO reasons to stress. First, we are practicing on each other, so when it is my partner's turn, I have to strip down in front of the instructor as the patient, and then second, once again going through the stress of having my assessment techniques scrutinized. At least I have 4 days off so am going to study and practice like crazy and hope I can handle myself better this time...........

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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