Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Questions That Won't Be On The Exam

I have a final exam in medical-surgical nursing tomorrow and the following are the only items that one could possibly consider worthy of sharing and, as you'll see, that's not saying much:

1) If you know someone who has just had a bone marrow transplant or is severely immunocompromised in some other way, don't send them flowers before asking to see their latest lab results. At my hospital, you may only receive flowers if your absolute neutrophil count (germ-fighting white blood cells) is above 500. The general idea is that standing water and flowers can play host to countless germs that will get someone killed. Go with the balloons (but not latex balloons because that will kill someone too).

2) There is such a word as "hematochezia" and it means bloody stools.

3) Besides sounding like a lovely girl's name, the word "Melena" (or melena, really) means black, tarry stools.

4) If you have colo-rectal cancer and you must have your rectum excised, some clever surgeons will build you a new rectum out of a bit of your small intestine. You can't use your new rectum for about 6 months to a year because your body needs a while to get used to having a small intestine for a rectum. In the meantime, the surgeons will fill your new rectum with *glue* to help it keep its new shape.

5) There is such a word as poiklothermia and it means "cold" but has 5 syllables.

6) If someone has had a cardiac catheterization for an angioplasty or angiogram, the nurse is responsible for placing a 5-10 pound sandbag over the insertion site for a couple of hours after the procedure is over. Who makes these sandbags? Are they made of special, hospital sand? Do frantic civilians raid the cardiac units when hurricanes come and they're low on sandbags? This whole thing mystifies me.

7) Nurses should request that their patients receive "conscious sedation" for bone marrow biopsies because this may not be standard practice. Conscious sedation, or "Versed" (the name of the drug), is a type of anesthetia that kills the pain and makes you forget the procedure but allows you to follow simple instructions and breathe on your own). Ummm, why would anyone have to do without this? My book says that bone marrow biopsies can be "quite painful" and you know that when a textbook admits something can hurt, it must be mind-blowingly horrific. After all, these are the same textbooks that talk about "discomfort" while giving birth.

In addition to the above, we've technically covered all you need to know to care for hospitalized adults in 7 weeks. I don't buy it. However, the process of becoming a likely RN is really picking up the pace: I have a job interview scheduled in March and will hopefully have another interview set up by the end of the week. One interview is for general pediatrics and the other is for adult oncology.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry, but i'm under contractual obligation to say "rectum? damn near..."

2:39 PM  
Blogger Third Degree Nurse said...

God, I love medical terminology. I even love Latin. You are too funny. Good luck on the test and good luck on the job interviews. You'll probably ace them both.

I, on the other hand, am plodding along balancing chemical equations and learning physiology. These prereqs are dragging out. However, come August, I'll be steppiing into those white shoes and singing your song.

9:26 PM  
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3:00 PM  
Blogger Ilan Muskat said...

I remember "poikilotherm" being a term for cold-blooded reptiles.

If nothing else, you can use it in your Outkast spoofs, in the Nursing Revue.

"Hey fellas,
what's cooler than being cool?
poikilothermia!Alright alright alright alright alright,
now LADIES..."

11:14 PM  
Blogger Ilan Muskat said...

Hey, 3d-Nurse, I think "poikilothermic" is Greek (possibly Ancient Greek)... no worries, health sciences make you learn all SORTS of crazy dead languages. I bet there's some cool fourteen-syllable sanskrit words which mean "nose" and "navel", but I can't be bothered to look them up.

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