Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Keeping Patients in Line & Things We Do For Children With Cancer

I know I dwell on the uniform but it really is a large part of the nursing student experience. I swear. For example, I was taking care of a 5-year-old patient the other day who asked me why I was dressed like a police officer (our uniforms have all sorts of patches and pockets). The kid asked me this after I had been taking care of him for a day and a half already. He had finally worked up the courage to ask why his caretaker was in costume. Goodness knows what other misunderstandings the uniform engenders. Personally, I think I look like a deranged paramedic. The worst part is that other schools in the area get to wear uniforms that actually make them look like nurses. Therefore, I always wonder if the hospital staff feel as if we're somehow different from the others; that we're "special" nursing students.

For one of my "enrichment" experiences in my peds course, I spent 2 days at a pediatric oncology clinic. A lot of children who are going to have long-term chemotherapy will have a device implanted in their chests which is connected to a central vessel. The nurse accesses the device by poking a needle through the patient's skin into the main chamber of the device which will route the chemo drug into a vein. The device has the rather jaunty name "port-a-cath".

A nurse was showing me how these port-a-caths worked on a teen-aged girl. Her device was located just below the left breast so that it would be hidden with low-cut shirts or bikinis (talk about paying attention to quality of life...). The nurse told me that girls who have larger breasts need the port-a-cath implanted aboved the breasts - v. unisightly. Therefore, the nurse essentially told the patient she had small boobs. I picked up on the slight and assured the girl that I shared her dilemma and that I had the smallest boobs in my family and my rather mediocre endowment hasn't done me too much harm nor will it her. The nurse, the patient, the patient's mother and another patient (teenage boy - oh great) all shifted their gaze to my chest and laughed. Cheer the cancer patients up by poking fun at my boobs! All right!

I have my last two days of clinical this week and today was the last day of classes. Three final exams next week then off for two and a half weeks!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

stay tuned for a preview of next week's special, hour-long episode of The Swan: Princess Port-a-Cath Pageant!

2:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Em, one day you can ask Daniel what the first thing I said after meeting you was. Dianne

8:59 AM  
Blogger DD said...

Nice writing in your Port-a-Cath and Sim Boy stories. You have quite a touch.

6:13 PM  
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