Thursday, September 09, 2004


School started back up on Monday and we're already in the thick of things. Over the summer we covered the basics (health assessment, nursing "technologies", medication administration etc.) and now it's time to be real live nurses and learn all the things that can go wrong with people. It's terrifying.

We have classes on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and then attend clinical placements on Thursday and Friday. For the first 7 weeks of the semester, it's obstetrics. I've been placed in a large, extremely well-to-do hospital in the suburbs.

The good news is that the hospital is a great place to learn: its nickname is the "baby factory" and I'm guaranteed to see several births and have the opportunity to catheterize, assess, medicate and stick (inject). The nurses on the floor are pleasant and helpful and people seem happy to work there.

The bad news is that my lead clinical instructor at the site is a nightmare. She used the words "yucky poo-poo" to describe various unpleasant things that come out of birthing women and advised us to tie our hair back so we wouldn't get "vag juice" in it. Professional, no? She didn't have a single kind word for us and we were warned that we're being "graded on everything" (emphasis NOT mine) we did from 7 until 3. Great! Helpful! Nothing like a supportive environment!

This wonder of pedagogy has informed us that we will perform a complete physical assessment of a postpartum woman tomorrow with minimal instruction. Poor Daniel has had to play "Mrs. G." all evening as I check his fundal involution (how fast his uterus is shrinking after giving birth), ask him about his hemorrhoids and carry out several other indignities. I'm extremely nervous - the other exams I've performed have been extensively practiced in lab beforehand with faculty supervision and haven't involved spreading buttocks and similar.

But I've resolved to take everything in stride and hope that a calm manner (assuming I can pull together a calm manner tomorrow) and sense of confidence will carry me through but dear goodness I feel unprepared.

Sink or swim and all that. I'll keep you(s) posted.


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