Thursday, September 16, 2004

Blood, Baths and Bedpans

Today I was a nurse's nurse - you know, the sort you see on television. I changed beds, put patients on bedpans, emptied urine from Foley catheter bags and dealt with lots and lots (and lots) of blood. . Today I had a "fresh vag" which is the produce-stand-sounding name for a woman who has just been transferred from the labor & delivery suite to the postpartum care unit. My patient had received an epidural so she was numb from the waist down and couldn't move herself so I toileted and moved and performed "peri care" (peri = perineum).
Peri care involves a great deal of blood. I've never been squeamish about blood and if I were today would have been the day. Other than the rather fleshy smell of the blood, I'm pretty undisturbed by the whole thing.

My physical assessment skills have improved vastly since last week - I managed to perform the exam with minimal prompting and feel I could do it on my own. But let's just say I still wouldn't want to be my own nurse yet.

My one major humiliation of the day was dropping some stool softener on the floor which caused a major traffic jam in the medication administration department. "What's going on" the nurses would ask? "Oh, some student dropped a pill". That student was me. Humiliations of other students included letting an IV run dry, not being able to find an anus for the hemorrhoids and being unable to insert a suppository and writing on the wrong chart. Not too bad at all, considering.

The neat thing about having a "fresh vag" (god I really hate that) is that my patient will be in the hospital for the next couple of days so I will be able to have her tomorrow, too. This is a fairly unglamorous rotation and somewhat difficult to write about - in a week and a half I'll be starting in on Labor and Delivery which I think will be better material.

In other news, this is probably the longest I have ever been on my feet without a break in my entire life. They kill. As I said, today was a nurse day.


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