I worked on Thanksgiving, it wasn't bad working 8 hours. I felt more rushed, but the time flew so quickly that I was literally at one point running down the hall with my supply cart as if there was a code just to get things done. You'd think that working 12 hours, or even 8 is enough time, but rarely it is not. I am often feeling rushed and can hear the clock ticking as if it's a time bomb ready to explode and show the world what a big failure I am. I got my last med passed at exactly 0700. Mission accomplished!
The other night I found myself to be "that" nurse. You know, the kind who inches towards to door while seeming interesting in the mindless chatter of the pt when in reality they are just thinking of all that she needs to do? Yes...I hate "that" nurse, but she was me.
Me: "Hello Mr. Patient Man. I've brought your protnix." Quickly pushing the protonix in the central line while simultaneously assessing the state of their breathing, scanning the catheter bag for adequate output, checking the 02 saturation....90%! Reach over turn up the volume to 3L. Finish pushing the med, quickly flush. Cover pt, move water close by, make sure call light is within reach. CHECK!
Mr Patient Man: "I asked if you could scratch my back please!"
Me: "Of course" Quickly scratching back as if I'm in a "who can scratch the fastest contest" while thinking of Pt in bed 6 who pulled out their IV and has D5NS running all over their freshly changed sheets. Can hear the "Mary Had a Little Lamb" going off down the hall and wondering if Mrs. Dementia is halfway to the parking lot by now.
Mr Patient Man: "...and I had this mole removed back in 43' and the doc said it was not cancerous, but I got cancer all right!"
Me: "Hmmm...Mmm Hmmm....Oh really?" Scratching even faster now....can pitcure Mrs. Dementia wandering aimlessly looking for her cat which she seemed overly obsessed about.
Can hear the call light going off...I bet that is Mr. Wet Sheets in bed 6 wondering where in the hell I am. Stop scratching and walk nonchalantly toward the door seeming calm and collected. Getting closer....closer....."Ok then, you're all set. I'll be back shortly." (not really, but sometimes you have to lie)...
Mr Patient Man: "Nurse!"
Me: cringe with one foot out the door. Peep my head in with a shaky smile. "Yes?"
Mr Patient Man: Holding the remote toward me. "Can you find Walker Texas Ranger for me?"
Me: For f*cks sake! "Of course." Smile.
So, yea....sometimes you are left with no alternative than to be THAT nurse. I hate it. I'd love to chat with my patients and their families all day long, but there is never any time to do so. It's a rat race, I'm tellin' ya.
I also had a VERY awkward experience the other night. It was the beginning of my shift and I walk in to greet my patient. I got report and know he is there with diverticulitis. I walk in and who do I see sitting in the chair next to the patient's bed other than my old clinical instructor.
Ba, Ba, Bummmmmm!
Suddenly I felt I was back in nursing school fumbling clumsily and feeling incompetent. I had to remind myself that Old Eagle Eyes is not my instructor anymore and that I am a good med-surg nurse who knows what she is doing! Well....most of the time. Oh she watched closely all right. Making sure I did a thorough head to toe assessment. She even asked if I'd help pull her, very mobile and non surgical, 60 year old husband up in the bed! I almost fell on the floor laughing at how ridiculous it was. He layed there like dead weight and even crossed his arms over his chest. I could tell it had been a very looooooooooooong time since she's been a floor nurse. I asked him to pull up his knees and help push himself up. It would be like myself laying there helpless and letting people completly move me....laughable. She looked almost appauled I'd ask for his help. Sorry honey, but the only people I risk my back over are people who cannot move themselves...not healthy men who haven't even had surgery who was just up walking the halls to get coffee!
Anyhow...she left soon after and I was relieved. The next morning I was very tired and telling my patients goodbye. I was moving quickly..as always...and when I got to Eagle Eye's husband (don't you love my names for these people? Ha!) I noticed she was back in the room...knitting a ugly sweater that I told her was very pretty and not entirely sure I appeared truthful. I made certain he had his breakfast and as I was leaving I accidentaly told him..."Ok, I'm leaving now...I love you!" Oh-Em-Gee! Did I just say that as if I were talking to my husband or kids and OUT LOUD? Yes I did. And he replied automatically with "Love you too!"
(Blush) I left flustered....embarassed, ready to get the hell out of there and fast!
I thought about it all the way home....berating myself and laughing at myself in the car like a crazy lady. If anyone is going to humiliate themselves it will be me. I am the one who will trip and fall in front of a bunch of people, the one who will laugh at inappropriate moments and the one who will spill my coffee all down the front of my white shirt....that girl is me.
I am not surprised that I made a fool of myself...let's put it that way, but why did it have to be him? HER husband! I was doing so good....proving myself to be a good nurse. "See Eagle Eyes...I can hang IV fluids....I can do an assessment...I can use critical thinking....I can even pull a 200 pound man up in the bed while not using my back! How you like them apples Old Eagle Eyes huh, huh?! Then I fall flat on my face and erase all traces of professionalism with 3 little words. Oy!
Moral of the story.....you can't do everything and please everyone. You can only do your best. When the day is done, it's done. Let it go and move on because tomorrow is another day and I'm sure I'll do something completely random and stupid then too.
the more things change
2 years ago