Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Coming up for air.

It's been a month since I posted "like a bird on the wire." Everything I said in that post is still resonating with me, and it's a good thing too. Friends who have received whiny emails and any poor soul who follows me on Twitter knows that February is being brutal to me. I've overcome all but 2 of my obstacles this month, and I pwned the hell out of them.

Tomorrow I have my last skill check-off of the semester. In case you're wondering what exactly that means, skills check-offs are when you demonstrate all the steps to a certain procedure under the eagle eye of an instructor. You are pretending that you are in a real patient situation, so you have to do everything to that dummy as if it were a patient, including asking them questions, explaining your procedures, et cetera. It's incredibly nerve-wracking. If you mess up and don't catch yourself, the instructor has every right to completely fail you on that check off, and if you don't get your single chance to try again, guess what? Just like Heidi Klum says: I'm sorry, you are out. 

Out of the program. Doesn't matter if you have an A average. You're done. Trail, derailed.

So you can see why it's so stressful. Not to mention the fact that it's important that we understand these procedures, because they are real procedures that we will do in the hospital, on real people. Tomorrow's skill is medication administration, and boy howdy does it have a lot of steps. You are constantly verifying that you're giving the right amount of the right drug to the right patient at the right time via the right route. In fact, that's called the "Five Rights of Medication Administration" and it saves lives. You also perform "three checks" of your medication before you give it, meaning you're checking the order against what you're drawn up: once when you take it out of the cart and assemble it, once before you leave the cart, and a final time before you actually administer it to the patient.

It's a lot of steps, but it's vital.

And then there's the IV drip rate, but I won't get into that. Let's just say that even thought most of hospital equipment is mechanized, nursing students still have to know how to do things by hand (such as calculating and then adjusting how many drops of IV fluid the patient receives per minute.)


I'm alive, but just barely. I have Spring Break in 3 weeks, and I absolutely can't wait. My house? It's really dirty.