The Good and the Ugly
I have had good days and bad days in Nursing school and as well in my work as an nursing asst. My good days were really those days when I left there feeling like I really made an impact and helped someone.
One good day was when I did my pediatric rotation. I got an 18 month old born with a Cytomegalovirus infection, Hepatitis C, and he was definitely cognitively delayed. But that's not why he was there. He was there because his guardian broke his leg, a spiral fracture. Those of you in the Med field and social work field know there aren't too many accidental causes for a spiral fracture in an 18 month old. He was such a joy though. He made you smile when you walked into a room. He was constantly smiling. He loved playing PeekaBoo. Sadly, Since his birth he'd gone from family member to family member. This last "Guardian" would be his last. He was discharged to foster parents, whom I met and they seemed very attentive and loving people. He was finally going to be loved and I got to love him for 2 shifts. That's why it was a good day.
OH but the bad days can be BAD. Not unlike the bad day I had in second semester. I made the mistake of telling this patient I was holding his blood pressure med. I shouldn't say mistake, It's only right to inform patients on their meds, but in hindsight, I should have maybe phrased it differently or something.
The drug was Cardizem, an Anti-hypertensive, and I was holding it because the Patient's BP was something like 90/50 and his heart rate was borderline at around 58. This is what I'm supposed to do, if I had given the drug, his BP could've dropped even lower, and would've been very dangerous. So I walk in with his other meds and explain the situation and I explained why and everything. He suddenly started cussing at me! This was a middle aged, middle income seemingly pleasant man until I told him I was going to do something that could keep him from dying. The other nurses could hear him out in the hall. (Now I'm OK with the mentally unstable cussing at me, I see that often at work. It really gets me when the mentally stable get verbally violent)
I paged my instructor as the patient was demanding I bring him his medicine. She went in with me to explain again and although, not cussing this time, he was still rude. I was brought to tears by the situation, frustration, and the demeaning way he treated me.
His demeanor had changed with me as soon as he found out I was a student. This is not something we hide from patients and it is usually added to our introduction (Not to mention the big ole patch on my arm that says STUDENT). He was nicer to the staff, he just thought I had no idea what I was talking about.
We students have no problem with patients denying our services. Not everyone wants to be a guinea pig for us. We understand. So, I make this plea to you, my readers. If you ever find yourself hospitalized and a student walks into your room, please tell them right away if you have a problem with them caring for you and please don't keep quiet and then treat them with disrespect.
Personally, as a patient, I would love to have a student. We students only have a couple of patients (2 or 3) at most versus our staff nurses who have 5, 6, or 7 patients. Sometimes, We have to do extensive research on your diagnosis, lab results, and medications. We also have to do EVERYTHING by the book and depending on our level, with our instructor (With their Master's degrees) watching. It can be like having your own private nurse for a shift.