Yesterday as I was getting ready for work - I heard the space shuttle's "sonic boom" as it was reentering the earth's atmosphere. Living here in central Fl, we used to hear that noise quite often. I hadn't heard it in a long time though - it is an amazing sound. I'm glad the astronauts made it home safely & that the shuttle is still in one piece.
Work has been going well. I put in 4 days this week. It's been an interesting week to say the least. It's funny what patients will try to get away with. I had one gentleman that when I first introduced myself, he began apologizing & telling me all the help he would need for me through the night. Mostly helping him in the bathroom & wiping his butt & putting cream on him down there cause he was sore. It was a bit too much from someone that was capable of walking to the bathroom on his own. So I reassured him, told him we'd be working as a team tonight & whatever he needed, "we" would be there. We being myself & the male tech that was working. Well, no sooner did the male tech introduce himself did the patient suddenly become self-sufficient. It was a miracle! He was able to take care of himself in the bathroom. Imagine that. The next night I had him as a patient again & we had another male tech...sure enough, this patient was able to do for himself again. It's not that I mind helping out, but when people that are self-sufficient take advantage of the situation - it can be irritating. Needless to say, he was discharged home within a few days & is totally self-sufficient...lol.
It was a week in which I began to question my role in nursing. Are we truly there to help heal? Is what we're doing making these patients better? I don't know. I mean I see them feeling better & getting discharged - but is it because of anything I've done? Am I simply going through the motions? I don't really have the answers. I had a couple of patients in which it made me thankful that my health is pretty good compared to what they are going through. It makes me sad to see so many suffering, but on the other hand - some of the suffering comes from what they do to themselves & others are simply born with it. I'm rambling here & probably not making much sense.
I had a patient last night who had Coumadin (blood thinner) ordered. No PT/INR had been done that day & I saw that when she came in 2 days ago...her INR was 2.9. Normal range is 2.0 to 3.0, so she was at the top end of normal. I decided to have it rechecked before giving her the dose. Good thing I did as it came back 4.2 so the medication was held. It was a reminder to always follow your gut instinct & make sure you know the lab values on stuff that is important. The doctor for some reason the night before insisted the patient receive like 4 times her usual dose of Coumadin & the nurse gave it without having the INR checked. It's a reminder that you have to cover your own butt in certain situations - don't take the doctor's order as a "must do." Sometimes they do make mistakes or they order things that aren't necessarily good for the patient. So you have to be on guard - otherwise you could not just lose your license, you could be sued...and worse...you could cause harm to another person. There are so many flaws in healthcare that you really do have to be your own advocate. I see & hear so many stories of things gone wrong and that could have been prevented. It's scary.
Ok, time to change the subject - it's getting way too serious & depressing for the holidays with that stuff that I wrote above. I am off now until January 7th...well, that's my next scheduled day, but I'll be picking up shifts here & there. My goal in 2007 is to pay off my car. I have 2 years of payments left....something like $15,000 or so...but I am determined to pay it off....hopefully by June. I don't usually set goals, so I'm trying something new here...lol. The hospital is short-handed as usual, so there will be plenty of opportunity to make some money to achieve this goal.
I hope everyone has a safe & happy holiday season!