This week has felt very long. For starters, school has become more of a routine, more or less. I attend classes, I take notes, I listen, I put what I learn into practice. Oh, and on Tuesday I had my very first clinical day. With a whopping 5 days worth of lectures and labs under my belt, I went into the hospital. Now, before you all become worried that wet behind the ears nursing students are stocked in the ER, let me assure you that I’m not in emerg. That and my scope of practice (the phrase used to describe what I’m allowed to do) is currently very small.
For this term (August to December), my clinical placement is in an acute medicine ward. It’s primarily older adults, so we have to speak up for those that are hard of hearing and be careful of what we say when we get someone who’s blind. I love it. I love it, I love it, I love it. It’s considered a small ward but there’s so much going on! My first patient was actually not present when I needed to go in and do a basic assessment, so my clinical instructor had to find me another first patient, who was a very pleasant, cheerful person.
A basic assessment consists of me going in and introducing myself as a student nurse and assessing:
- ABC’s – airway, breathing and circulation. When I’m checking their circulation (radial [wrist] pulse), I’m also checking their id band to ensure that I have the correct patient
- LOC – level of consciousness. It ranges from alert, verbal responsive, pain response to unresponsive. I ask them to tell me their name, where they are and what’s the current month to assess their LOC.
- Pain – I ask them if they’re in pain or discomfort, where it is, what makes it better/worse, when did it start and (most importantly) why do they think they’re in pain
- Safety – their bed needs to be down, side rails need to be up (if required), brakes need to be on, their suction and oxygen needs to be working and ensure that they have their call bell
I’ve also been very proactive and joined up in a pathology study group. It’sstill review, but it’s a good practice and it helps to talk out loud to make sure that I understand everything fully. Patho is considered the “weeder” course in term 1 – kind of like how organic chemistry is a weeder class in lower-level sciences. Where most term 1 students struggle is in patho, so study group it is! We met up for the first time today.
I’m loving school right now. I like learning practical things, I like getting to practice it, I like the courses, I love my clinical instructor. She’s both practical and funny, but mostly she’s a fantastic source of support. I feel like I’ve learned more things that I can actually use in the last two weeks than I did in five years in my undergrad. While I enjoyed (for the most part) my five years in university, not a lot of it was practical. Yes, I love entomology, animal ethics and A&P; but I didn’t really get to apply a lot of it to real world scenarios. Although nowadays, I’m the one who gets called if a bug is found in the house. “What is it? Do something about it!”