Friday, February 19, 2010

Role change

The other day started off as any other day, I woke up early, got ready and went to clinical. Since I was observing in a new environment I was nervous about what journey I was about to embark on. I had read the papers about the burn unit and had followed the instructions, I ate a good breakfast and drank plenty of water, I felt prepared for the most part. After arriving on the burn unit I felt there was nothing for me to do. I looked through the patient charts to know what to expect but then I just stood at the desk waiting for more instructions. Eventually, I asked one of the nurses if I could follow her into the patient rooms while she took vitals, and she said yes so I went with her. I didn't feel very welcome in the burn unit and I felt more in the way. I attempted to talk with the nurses and ask questions but there wasn't a lot going on. There was also another student observing so she got to see the first treatment and I was going to get to see the second. Once it was my turn, I washed my hands, put on the cap and plastic gown and was ready to see the burn treatment. I was very excited about what I was about to see. The patient was a 16 year old female who had been in a car crash, she had abrasions on her back, shoulder, and hands. The nurses took off the old dressings and they took her vitals. She was getting in the whirlpool when I started feeling nauseous and asked to sit down. The nurse suggested that I exit the room and cool down as well as drink something. I assured her that I would be fine once I sat down but then I decided it would be best to leave. I remember walking over the nurses station but I was already blacking out because I couldn't really see to sit down in the chair but I made it. The other nursing student asked if I would like some water and I replied yes. The next thing I remember I was waking up on the floor thinking, why do my ankles hurt so bad and why am I asleep on the floor in this awkward position. There were tons of people around me asking me a lot of questions. It was very overwhelming and I felt bombarded. I was very hot and sweaty and I was shaking pretty badly. They started hooking me up to all the machines to be sure everything was ok. The nurse that witnessed everything is telling the code nurses what happened, apparantly I passed out, stopped breathing for like 10 seconds and had a short siezure. I had to go to the Emergency room because they had to call a code when I wasn't breakthing. It was so weird to be the patient now, I felt so embarrassed that this happened to me. Being the patient as a nursing student is interesting because I knew what they were talking about but I can see how a normal person would be very freaked out by everything going on. They got me in a wheelchair and said they had to bring me down to the ER, now I was even more embarrassed. I didn't like having to be wheeled in a wheelchair because I hate when other people have to do things for me, it is so dehumanizing. As I rolled through the ER, my friend Laura was observing down there so she asked her nurse if she could come with me. It was so nice to have a familiar face with me now. The nurses were very nice and asked all of the routine questions. Then the doctor came to see me and asked me more questions. He determined that I was fine and that I should just rest for a while then I can be discharged. I didn't like having to sit in this room and do nothing, I felt bad that I was in this situation. It was also very frustrating that I had to find a ride to come get me and I did not have service in the room so I had to use the hospital's phone. It was interesting trying to explain the situation to the people I called while trying to find a ride. Eventually I got a hold of my brother who came to get me and everything turned out fine. It was a stressful time being the patient but it really helped me to understand what they are going through. I think I can be a better nurse because I have now been in the patient's shoes.

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