Last week, I mentioned that things have been a bit crazy for me. There have been several different things that have thrown me off balance, but not all of it was bad.
During the end of April, and the month of May, I became a preceptor for a student finishing up her nursing degree. The program requires that she work 120 hours with a nurse, and they wanted her to take on a full load by the end of the 120 hours. I know that was the same requirement for me when I was a student nurse, but to be honest, I barely remember my own preceptorship.
It was a blur, and except for a few memories that stand out, I don’t remember what kind of a student I was. I have a feeling that I was shy and withdrawn, mostly because that’s my normal personality.
This student was not that way at all. I was quite impressed with her knowledge and her work ethic. It was an interesting experience for me, to watch her learn skills that have become almost second nature to me. There are so many things that I do without even realizing, and after having to stop and think about it, I’m kind of amazed by much I’ve changed since becoming a nurse.
I remember the first time that I had to do a full body assessment. I went textbook, asking the questions in order and stopping to record every single answer. Now, I do it while I’m working with the patient. If I’m preparing their medications, I ask them how their day was. I ask how their appetite’s been, and if they’ve had any nausea. If I get them up to the toilet, it’s a great opportunity to check skin, instead of making it a completely separate assessment. I can also check to see if they have any swelling in their legs when I’m swinging them back into the bed. Every interaction with my patient is a chance to assess, and most of the time, I forget that’s even what I’m doing until it’s time to chart.
Which of course leads to the next part of nursing –
I don’t remember much about charting during my preceptorship. I do know that the system that they used was more user friendly than the one I’m using now. It honestly doesn’t matter, because charting in itself is pretty standard. Making sure to focus on all the systems, chart the irregularities, focus on their diagnosis. When you know what you need to chart, then it’s easy to store that information for the time you have a chance to sit down at the computer. I feel like it took me several months before I fell into a rhythm, and knew what needed to be the focus of my charting.
Now this is something they didn’t teach me in nursing school, but there should totally be a lab on projecting to mostly deaf patients. Not yelling, because that increases the pitch and doesn’t always work, but speaking up so that you can be heard. Especially for people that are naturally shy like me. I call it my nurse voice.
Growing thick skin:
People aren’t always pleasant when they’re sick. Sometimes, they can be downright frustrating. It’s hard not to take everything personally, especially when you have a patient who’s being particularly difficult. I will be honest, sometimes, I still struggle with this one, but I still try not to take everything personally. I’m sure I would lash out if I were a patient as well.
What about the rest of you nurses? What are some things you’ve picked up over your years of working?