Introduction

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As I have never done a blog before, I beg your pardon while I get the hang of it. So what spurred me to start one now, you may wonder. I have had a lot of going ons in my life as of late. I felt the need to reach out to people and yet keep a diary simultaneously.

So, about me.

Just call me “BJ” or “the crazy cat lady.” I am in my mid-twenties and married. My husband, lets call him “M,” is older and I met him in my teens. I was legal! I swear! No human children, just my furbabies, the princess and prince. I am a nursing student with a busy schedule. I also work part-time. I am suffering through a lot of personal issues as well as mourning.

Some days are a struggle to keep my head above the water, but I put a smile on my face and keep fighting. I refuse to lose the fight. So this is my diary of exploration, self discovery, recovery, advocacy, and, well, whatever else I feel like writing about.

In the interest of anonymity, I will not use any real or full names.

Behind Every Great Nurse (and even the not so Great Ones)

One of the least glamorous sides of nursing is performing the “smaller” tasks of patient care. These tasks include things such as grabbing the patient a cup of ice or assisting them with the bed pan. A lot of these tasks can be delegated to what we call unlicensed assistive personnel (UAP). Many people know them as CNAs, techs, nurse’s aids, etc… Their specific titles vary dependent on the organization.

Regardless of what these people are called, they are seriously awesome.

Really.

Obviously not every one will be fantastic BUT that is true for every profession. I genuinely appreciate our techs and would be clueless without him. They do so much for us and many people look down on them. Fortunately, my unit has a great team and we all appreciate each other and surprisingly, the patients’ and their families are kind as well.

As a nurse, I went to school for several years learning about disease processes, medication effects and interactions, therapeutic communication, etc… As such, my work tends to be slightly more advanced in nature. However, my work is by no means the harder job. I have so much respect for these guys. I watch them run around and maintain composure.

My unit maxes night nurses out of 6 patients which is a lot of work. Truly. (Day shift typically get a max of 5 since patients are a lot more active and there is just a lot more going on in general during the day.) However, at night, our technicians max out at 18 patients.

EIGHTEEN.

They aren’t administering medications or completing detailed assessments. They aren’t calling doctors or transcribing telephone orders. They don’t do dressing changes or anything of that kind of nature.

What they are doing is just as hard. They are taking vitals on all of these patients, either every 4 or every 8 hours depending. Not to mention the fresh surgical patients that require vitals once and hour for 4 hours and then every 4 hours for 48 hours and keeping track of the odd timings and changes. They are also the first responders to the call bells. I get frustrated with 2 call bells at once (or even just only poorly timed call). I can’t imagine having EIGHTEEN patients that could all potentially ring at once.

They are also “running errands” such as grabbing drinks or linens for the patients as well as the nurses. They help clean the rooms, get people on and off bedpans, wipe their asses, listen to their needs and complaints, and learn valuable information that somehow did not get passed along to the nurse.

The work these people do is incredibly invaluable and entirely under appreciated. I have so much respect for what they do. I try to take care of these things myself while I am in the room, but unfortunately I can’t always. I may be capable of doing all their tasks, but they are not able to complete all of mine. This is when that prioritization and delegation they always spoke in school comes into play. I realize that I must prioritize, but I still sometimes feel guilty asking them to do these tasks for me. There are too many nurses in general, not my unit, that abuse the presence of the techs and will even refuse to do some of these tasks because it is “below them” as a nurse, but I can’t do every thing alone.

I adore these lovely ladies and gentlemen in my life and wanted to take a moment to express the respect that I carry. What they do is not easy work and they make very little money for it. Well, I mean, we all get underpaid for wiping shitty asses, but they are even more underpaid.

These guys allow me time to provide the safe care to my patients as well as partnering with my for some of the heavy lifting. Don’t abuse your techs guy. Love them. Appreciate them. Respect them. Not only is it the proper thing to do, but it really will help you in the long run.

On The Prowl

So I have talked little of my love life of late. Well, little of just about every really. However, I am getting back on the saddle and trying to enjoy my new city a little bit. This actually started back in Jamaica. My aunt approached a very attractive guy, Andrew, on my behalf. (Sometimes I do love my crazy ass family.)

He and I spent the night at the bar chatting and drinking. A lot of drinking. He was completely into me and I was into having a fun vacation memory. The bar got close to closing up so we wandered off to the beach in our drunkenness, eventually stopping to make out and fool around for a bit. There were surprisingly more people out at 2 am than we had anticipated and stumbled back to his room, hoping that his siblings weren’t there.

The night was pretty hilarious really and one of the few times that I really “acted my age.” Not long after we got to the room, his brother and sister did walk in and were not too happy. We were too drunk to care and giggled away. The mood was slightly ruined because he was flying at half mast when it came time to do the deed. You know, when it’s hard, but not hard enough? He apologized, but I truthfully wasn’t phased by it. Slightly disappointed but accustomed to that particular bit of disappointment by that time in my life, sadly.

Andrew was totally into me. He tried to exchange numbers before remembering that we were in Jamaica and couldn’t text anyway. I didn’t bring my phone with me either. He kept trying to convince me to stay the night with him. I almost relented except that I didn’t want my sister/roommate to worry and then thus be harassed by my family the following day. He even set an alarm so that I could wake up in time for snorkeling that morning.

Eventually I talked him out of our sleepover and he walked my back to my room which was literally as far from his as it could possibly be. He was on the ground floor of the south tower; I was on the seventh, and top, floor of the north tower. He walked through the sprinklers and puddles in his socks to say good night. After that, he had basically nothing to do with me. My theory is that he was embarrassed. He was really digging me long before he was drunk and much longer afterwards. He was a 23 year old guy. This likely has never happened to him before and the alcohol was probably a strong contributing factor. Plus, he was smoking which constricts the blood vessels. (Also kissing a smoker is nasty.)

By the end of the week, my family started calling him “Limpy.” Fortunately I saved him that embarrassment. My uncles attempted to approach him several times to harass him. I plainly told them, “I don’t have any choice in dealing with you guys, but leave that poor kid alone.” Their sentiments were nice though.

I learned two lessons from that night though. The first is don’t do a night of heavy drinking before you go snorkeling. The second being that vomit attracts fish if you ever want an up close view.

Settled In

I have been here three months now. I completed my orientation a month ago and all I can say is wow! I am actually a nurse now. Some days it feels strange having badge access and passwords to get into everything. Not too long ago I had to chase down a teacher for that! Other days I am just too busy running around to even think about how weird it is.

All in all, I love my job. The surgical unit was a perfect start for me and I have fantastic coworkers. One of the things that sincerely terrified me most about starting my career was the fear that “nurses eat their young.” I’d seen some of my teachers do it in school. Hell, my own preceptor did it to me, but I didn’t let that hold me back. However, I honestly have not encountered any of that on my unit. Not in the slightest bit.

We have a good strong team that pulls together when we need each other. The experienced nurses are happy to share their wisdom with us and teach us. I don’t see my manager much, courtesy of the night shift, but she definitely promotes this kind of safe environment for all of us.

I finally found a place where I wholeheartedly belong. My life here is great. My coworkers are great. My job is great. I am excited every night to go to work even though it does kick my ass most days. I am growing and learning with every shift. I also find it strange that I had more “nursing judgement” than I thought that I had. Every time that something doesn’t feel right in my gut, I go confirm with another nurse and I have been spot on each time. Granted, we don’t see too many complicated cases. Still. Book world and having one patient at a time and real world and six patients are not so shockingly different from each other. I find comfort knowing that I am adequately equipped to handle these situations though.

I am a real nurse. When did this happen?!

Mountain Girl

After a long absence, here I am! I am settling nicely into my new place and the apartment is getting pretty dang livable. Also, I finally have internet! Honestly though, I didn’t miss the internet as much as I thought that I would. I spent a lot of time working or hanging out at the pool. When  was home, I enjoyed spending quiet mornings sitting on the couch while watching G and the princess look out the patio.

I have officially lived here for a month as of today. I haven’t been this happy in a long time. I love the area and I love my job. The hospital is fantastic and the people are wonderful. I feel entirely weird being a “real nurse.” I have been taking multiple patients on my own. I always had just one patient when I was in clinical and I had to go get my instructor if I needed to do anything.

Now, I have the magic badge. I can open doors and pulls meds. I can chart on patients’ legal records. This is incredibly weird! However, I chose a great floor to start on. It is a surgical floor with some medical overflow. Our clients are stable and generally are in for short 2-3 day stays. More complicated cases tend to go to other floors for more thorough or intensive care than ours can provide.

I am honestly surprised at how well that I am managing. I am largely independent at this point. In cases where I am unsure, I just talk with my preceptor or other staff. It will take time to development my nursing judgement. There is also the matter of changing my thinking and knowledge from book world to real world application. The hospitals in book world are always either the absolute best or the absolute worst. There is no in between which is where most actual hospitals fall.

I am so happy here. Not only am I doing well, but I am thriving. Moving hours away to a place that I had no connections with seemed daunting at first, but this move has truly been one of the best things that I have ever done for myself.

Orientation

Work is going really well so far, but it is just standard orientation stuff. Monday and Tuesday were facility orientation and the rest of this week is nursing orientation.

The orientation is nit specifically for my unit, but for all the new hires at the facility. However, I am lucky enough that there are two other people in orientation with me who will also be on my unit working the same shift. They are both new graduates as well and I have already befriended one.

Things are tight, but going well. I am at peace.

The Move

I moved on Monday and my internet connection is limited to my mobile device. Ever try typing out a blog post on a phone? Ugh. Doesn’t work out as well.

Anyway, I am thriving thus far. Only been one week though, but I love it here. My apartment complex is so serene and beautiful. The staff are so friendly as well!

I have gone out and did some exploring of the environment around me. The nature here is beautiful! I think this place will be good for me!