Monday, November 13, 2006

First Day on the Floor

7am and I'm up, dressed all in white, and wiping some ass!!! WHY do they insist that we have to wear all white if we're working with blood and other nasty body fluids all day?

My first day on the floor was yesterday. It started off bad and just got worse from there. The wonderful stark white wardrobe that they gave us is designed to fit a 5'9" 110 lb. female. Needless to say everyone was having issues. God forbid any of us have to bend over at any point during the day cause those poor patients are going to be seeing a lot of crack (and I mean a LOT), these stupid scrub pants going running for your knees anytime you bend over...or sit...or walk quickly...or cross your legs. If was very funny to see 8 nursing students running around all day holding their pants up in the back. Does anyone have a pair of suspenders that I can borrow? We are REQUIRED to wear the uniforms they give us, so its not like I can go buy some pants that fit! Seriously, suspenders anyone - give me a call!!!

So we finally get up to the floor. My hospital is in the ghetto, and you can definitely tell from this floor of the hospital. Now, ICU is beautiful - clean floors and rooms, well lit, sliding glass doors, colorful. The floor I'm on is the floor they send the DNR's. Its OLD, nasty, cracked floors and walls, old yellowing paint, EWE. It makes you want to die its so depressing.

My instructor informs us that we're going to start off giving bedbaths and changing beds. I think ok, how hard is that...onward! My friend Marie and I are assigned to this 86 year old man, can't move, can't speak. My instructor introduces us and disappears. So we start with the bath...simple enough...or so we thought. As I'm washing I find he has a PEG tube (tube coming out of his stomach), so I say "Oh, Marie, be careful, he has a peg and I'm not sure if its tender or painful and he can't tell us". Then I say, "hmmmm, I wonder if he has any bedsores before we start rolling this poor guy around". Would have been nice if the instructor or nurse would have been in the room to supervise. Can you say L A W S U I T ??? So we continue on carefully.

Then we get to the diaper and its a MESS. And we can't figure out how to get it out from underneath him. Ok, with a baby you just lift the legs and pull...but this is a 150 lb. fragile old man, so we're pulling and rolling him and we can't get it out. Marie goes looking for someone to help us...no one is around...everyone is on the other side of the floor. Hmmmm, NOW WHAT?!!?!? So we roll him over again (not knowing if the poor guy is in pain). Marie looks like she's gonna hurl so all I'm thinking in the back of my head is "if Marie hurls, I'm gonna have twice the mess to clean up all by myself". So I get on in there and clean everything out and get a new diaper on him. Ok done right!?!

Um NO you idiots you haven't changed the bed yet! So now we're trying to change the bed with him in it. Now we've seen a video on this...4 weeks ago, and evidently to our instructor that means we know how to do it. Watching and doing are two VERY different things, let me tell you. Marie and I are big girls and at this point Marie's found a very nice nurse to come and assist us. So the three of us roll him and change his bed. It is HARD to roll a small man like that even with three of us! I can't imagine doing all this by myself.

After that we made two more beds, thankfully the patients were able to move into chairs while we did it. Then we did some vitals on some very scared-looking patients since we couldn't get the machine to work right and my friend Chante put the thermometer in this patient's mouth and the cover fell off. We were laughing most of the day, hopefully the patients were laughing with us. I couldn't even get this poor man's TV to work correctly... what good am I!?!? I did however, use my 7 years as an Executive Assistant to un-jam the copier for a doctor (brownie points!!!).

I feel like an idiot! My instructor asked me if I was coming back from lunch and I told her I wasn't sure at this point. I guess it wasn't the nursing that I was upset about, that didn't even bother me, it was the lack of supervision and direction. And the saying "Nurses Eat Their Young" is totally true...there were a few nice ones, but the majority were awfully nasty to us!

On the upside, at lunch none of us could eat...so I've found my miracle diet. 5 hours of body fluids and old nasty hospital makes you feel like you can't get it off you no matter how many times you wash your hands. I think I downed a diet coke and 3 fries...that was about all I could handle.

We have 4 more Sundays on this DNR floor. I can't wait to go to psych and OB next. I will definitely not be working in a nursing home. Those nurses are amazing and I give them a lot of credit!

The only thing that got me through the day was that poor old man smiling at us when we were done. (Or maybe he was smiling because he knew we'd be leaving soon!).

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