Sunday, September 19, 2004

"Oh Sh*t"

A cardinal rule of the health professions involves never ever using the word "Ooops" or saying "Oh Shit". So I decided to break it on Friday. I was helping a patient perform some perineal-area cleansing which involved fussing with her hospital-issue panties. I was being very gentle and careful and totally forgot the woman had an indwelling catheter and came close to pulling the damned thing out. I went with "Oh Shit" instead of "Ooops". I don't know which one is worse. Either way, my patient was a very young woman who was so traumatized by giving birth that a swearing, incompetent nursing student seemed the least of her worries. Thank goodness. Hopefully I've learned my lesson and won't ever break the rule again but it just slipped out and I'm not convinced it won't again. I will have to be very vigilant.

Sidenote regarding the hospital-issue panties: they're white and blue striped, gauzy and gigantic. They resemble a corset designed by a mentally deranged child with a deep concern for modesty. I was with one nurse who joked with her patient: "If you'd been wearing these 9 months ago you wouldn't be here!" I don't have the infirmiero cajones to use that line yet. I'd like to work up to it, though.

Despite doing something really horrible (breaking the rule) and almost doing something truly horrific (pulling out a catheter), my Friday clinical day went remarkably well. I feel as if I am getting the hang of things and my confidence is building. I discontinued (yanked out) an IV and catheter...on purpose! These are the most involved procedure I've been asked to do so far so I was pleased they went off without a hitch.

This weekend has been concerned with cramming bits of pharmacology and pathophysiology into my head. Was distracted yesterday by hurricane Ivan winds ripping through my room and today by the first beautiful weather I've had in Baltimore since I moved here in May. Will have to try harder.


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