Sunday, January 09, 2005

Stumbling Towards Surgery

My first day as a full-fledged med-surg student nurse on Friday was actually not so bad. Our instructor gave us a wonderful gift - a day of observation. In other words, we were allowed to watch a real live nurse do real live nursing things before we stumble through the procedures ourself. We were also allowed to perform the tasks we were comfortable with so it was a nice balance of learning new things and having the chance to get back into the swing of things.

This was a last minute gift: our instructor led us to believe that we would be responsible for all nursing interventions on Friday and suggested we go home and review the procedures we'd be expected to perform. This is actually quite terrifying and I spent half the night in a cold sweat worrying about my patient's bile stents; specifically - where are they? I kept running over a nightmare situation where I'm fumbling around my patient's gown trying not to reveal that I have absolutely no idea where one finds a bile stent, much less two. I read all about how to empty and flush bile stents and how often and with how much saline but no one seems to bother telling you where they actually are. I know where a gallbladder (where bile stents go) is, of course, but stents can come out anywhere. When I came in the next morning, our instructor had "reconsidered" (perhaps she had some cold sweats of her own) and decided she'd let us tag along with a nurse. Thank goodness.

FYI: Bile stents come out below your 8-9th rib halfway between your nipples and armpit.

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