Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Oy.

Some schools celebrate Nurse's Week with cookies and feel-good posters, our school celebrates it with giving its students ulcers:

This week it has been especially hard for my class and I to keep our eyes on the prize. We're now just 10 weeks from graduation but we've got an obscene amount of work to do and even more is coming up. On Monday we began our final course that deals with "nursing leadership" and "transitioning to practice" which sounds very helpful and it is. But it is also TERRIFYING and our professor would like us to go home with that thought (it is terrifying) and wake up with that thought (very very terrifying) every day from now until July 22nd and, if she succeeds, every day after that for the rest of our careers.

This is perfectly fair as nursing responsibilities *are* terrifying. It is horrifying to contemplate what my active errors or simple neglect can cause. We watched a video put out by the Institute of Medicine called "Do No Harm" which is a true (composite) story of a series of nursing errors which led to a brain dead mom and a brain damaged infant. I think I ulcerated about 70% of my entire digestive track during the 10-minute movie and, all around me, I could hear people whispering "I don't want to be a nurse anymore." It's not as if this idea is new to us but it's rare that we do nothing for 4 hours but contemplate it and, perhaps more importantly, the reality of our responsibility has never been closer.

So this course will, I hope, help us incorporate this sense of dread into simple responsible nursing practice. Our professor is wonderfully competent and firm and intelligent so I can't imagine a better person to help us accomplish this. Because, really, I didn't want to be a nurse anymore either.

7 Comments:

Blogger HypnoKitten said...

I am almost positive we saw that same movie last year. Med errors - saw it in pharm class.

Hey I finally put up a link to you on my blog http://mediblogopathy.blogspot.com check it out if you like :) Could you put a link up for me too? I'd love it! 28 more days til graduation WOOOOOOOT!!!!

2:31 AM  
Blogger THW said...

Hi. Found your blog by randomness. Well written and funny.

In regards to Nurses Week, the hospital I work at distributed watches to its nurses as a token of appreciation. Last year was a canvas bag. An improvement, I think. And a whole lot better than the free muffin I got for Doctors Day.

Best of luck with school.

3:51 PM  
Anonymous marjorie said...

I feel your pain!!! I took a Leadership course this past semester plus had a "mentoring class" where professors made sure that we were educated about malpractice and the legal system. They stressed that they want us to be responsible and competent nurses. After putting the fear of God and lawyers into us, they expect us to relax and study for the NCLEX. Ha! Well, I'm still excited to be done. Now I just need therapy. ;) Take care!

6:04 PM  
Blogger Ilan Muskat said...

Do No Harm sounds like it should have been narrated by Troy McClure (whom you may remember from such driver's ed. films as Alice's Adventures through the Windshield Glass)

11:18 PM  
Anonymous Judy said...

Yikes! And they wonder why there's a nursing shortage!

I got my copy of the Maryland Board of Nursing newsletter today. It has a page with the list of nurses censured, reprimanded, suspended, and the 2 revoked licenses. All in all, it's a pretty short list.

You're going to make mistakes. Everyone does. You just pray that they won't be serious mistakes. I work in a NICU where the average seniority of the nurses is something over 15 years. NICU experience. One of the huge advantages of working in a NICU is that there is nearly always another nurse you can brainstorm with -- or just ask a question -- if you're not certain about something.

I'm not trying to sell NICU as a specialty, but you're never too experienced to ask a question. Never.

And I am certainly relieved to hear that your instructor is much more helpful than that film.

10:24 PM  
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