Thursday, June 9, 2005


Is it just me or is time flying by?  It's already June!  Today is my mom's 63rd b-day - Happy Birthday Mom!  My parents 45th wedding anniv is on Saturday - Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad! 

I've had a pretty good week - started off on Saturday (I know Saturday isn't the usual beginning of a week, but this week it was for me).  I went on a date with Scott.  We went to the Inlet Harbor for dinner & live entertainment, then a walk on Daytona Beach & spent a couple of hours talking & getting to know a little about one another. (Thanks Scott!)

Then it was back to work Sunday night.  They had Gina on a different floor than I was, but at least one good thing about that is we can take breaks together & have lunch.  Our hospital has this stupid policy that only one nurse is allowed to leave the floor at a time - even if we have 5 other nurses on the floor as well as a clinical leader.  Ridiculous!  And now we have assigned lunch breaks.  We used to be able to go when we wanted to or we could eat at the nurses station - not anymore - no drinks, no food, no nothing at the nurses station.  They keep telling us this is JCAHO's policy, but we aren't stupid because other hospitals are not this strict & have better ratings than our hospital.  Oh well, the countdown is on - I'm getting the itch to spread my wings & gain more experience in another hospital.  I want to have at least 6 months at this hospital so it looks ok on a resume (as opposed to 4 or 5 months), then make the switch.  I want to learn more about cardiac nursing as well as work at a hospital that is working in the 21st century = computerized charting. 

Anyways, my first two days at work were good - decent patients even though 2 of them spoke only spanish (or so I thought).  I tried my best to talk to them & to figure out what they needed.  One of them said to me out of the blue "You are a good nurse - you give love & that makes you a good nurse."  Awwww!  So she did know a little english, but I was surprised.  I can't even remember the specifics of the patients I had those first two nights because on my third night - they moved me to a different floor...grrrr.  The only reason I didn't try to have that changed was because it was the same floor that Gina was on & I figured we'd get our work done & have some time to chat or help each other out. 

It was one of the most aggravating/frustrating nights I've had since I began work.  Maybe part of it was me being a little tired, but when I got there - I got report on 3 patients, did my assessments, was starting to get meds & my clinical leader gives me a new admit.  I don't mind new admits - just prefer it not to be that quickly.  So I pass meds to my first patient who had just had 2 toes amputated & had MRSA.  Very pleasant woman, but she had generalized edema - I felt for her.  She could barely move & didn't want to bother me.  Those are the patients I could spend all shift taking care of - the ones that don't want to bother their opposed to the ones that think that they are staying at a 5-star hotel & you are their servant. 

Then my new admit was brought to the floor - pleasant woman with a possible stroke, but so time consuming & full of drama.  I kept my cool, she was upset about family problems & I was trying to give her some emotional support - telling her to try to relax, that worrying right now isn't going to make things better & all that good stuff.  This woman kept touching me & then would apologize for touching me & then she'd touch me  I didn't care, it wasn't inappropriate touching or anything like that.  Got her situated, went over her orders, called the doctor for her Xanax (much-needed). 

At the same time, I had another patient & her son wanting answers - what was wrong, what did the doctors decide, what do the tests say, etc.  I explained to them that I had just gotten report from the day nurse, that I hadn't been able to read through the chart at this time & the person they really need to ask as far as test results & all that is the doctor - because I didn't know what he had or hadn't told them.  She was an 88 yr old woman that was just tired of the whole medical thing - tired of being in the hosp, tired of the tests, tired of lab draws, tired of mediations - I can't say I blame her.  At 88, I'd be tired of it too.  I'm tired now & I'm only 36!  I don't even remember what she was in mind is shot.

My third patient was easy to care for - a walkie talkie.  Other than meds & a snack, she really didn't need much from me.  So now it's midnight & I'm finally able to sit down & get some paperwork done (did I mention I am so tired of having to do all the paperwork by hand???).  It takes forever to do all of that repetitive paperwork.  Tick, tick, tick...the countdown is on.  Around 2 am my clinical leader says "I have another admit for you."  Sigh...noooooo.  A woman with chest pain.  Not more than 2 minutes after my clinical leader tells me this, ER is on the phone ready to give report.  Ugh!  No time to prepare which really sucks because 95% of the ER staff are, for some reason, unable to give a decent report.  She tells me this patient's potassium level was 2.7 on admittance, but she has given her 60 mg PO.  Ok great, she says that's the only concern at this time.  As I'm getting the room ready for the new patient, my 88 yr old is making a mess in her bed (if you know what I mean).  So we get her cleaned up, my new admit arrives, the paperwork is given to my clinical leader to put in the orders & my new patient is situated.  I come back to the nurses station & my clinical leader is saying something about how this patient's magnesium level is low = 1.4 & that I need to call the doctor right now.  I have no problems calling doctors now, but I prefer to at least get a chance to look over the orders & the labs before doing so.  Nope, she called his answering service at about 3 am & he calls back - I was so overwhelmed at this point that I forgot what the heck I was even calling him for.  So I'm stumbling through the words (gotta love & rather than the usual doctor/nurse conversation where the nurse is trying to understand what the doctor is ordering - this time the doctor is trying to understand what I am even talking about.  :)  So he orders 2 magnesium tablets to address the problem & hangs up.  I had so much paperwork to do...I was scrambling to get it done.  Gina helped out so much with doing other things that I needed done - thanks Gina! 

Then the morning labs come - a lazy nurse wouldn't even look at the results, just push it off on the day nurse.  Unfortunately, I'm not a lazy nurse.  One of my patient's K+ was 5.7 and my 88 yr old woman's K+ level was 2.0 and her sodium was 151....uh oh.  Gotta address that.  No wonder she was saying some weird things to me such as "Is the refrigerator plugged in?  My husband just plugged it in so we could have cold soda later."  I was so out of it that I just started agreeing with her...sure the refrigerator is plugged in!

So I put out a call to a different doctor, but luckily it was the same doctor for both patients.  He finally calls back, Gina answers, attempts to transfer it to me & somehow hangs up on him.  Good going Gina!  And he never called back.  At that point it was near 6:45 & I figured the day nurses could handle it.  The low K+ woman was on an electrolyte protocol so the IV potassium was started, just had to notify the doctor. 

I could not wait to go home & get some sleep.  I went & saw my Dr. today because I needed my thyroid prescription renewed.  I hadn't seen her since November.  She asked if I graduated...I said yes & told her where I was working.  She drops her pen, looks up & says "Why are you working there????"  She has privileges there but she really doesn't like the hospital either.  She named the hospital I should be at & I told her that's where I'm headed (hopefully).  We chatted for awhile, she told me she was glad I became an RN.  She was in a real friendly mood.  It's funny, I think she's a great doctor - been going to her for 15 yrs on & off, but most of the nurses at my hospital are afraid of her.  They fear calling her at anytime, not just the middle of the night.  I hear she isn't the friendliest.  I haven't had to call her yet, but if I have to - I will be throwing in my last name so she remembers I'm also her patient, then maybe she will be nice.  :)

There was some sad news this week...a guy I went to high school with died last Friday.  He collapsed at home & they are thinking it was a heart attack.  He was 38 yrs weird to think someone around my age has died from that this young even though I have patients that come in that young with chest pain.  Just sad!

We also had a patient in the ER that died the other night from taking an herbal diet supplement - he was only 44 yrs old.  I don't like those herbal things - they aren't regulated & who knows what you are really taking.  So not worth it!!

Ok, time to go back to relaxing, I'm still tired!


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