For my May term course I have to keep a journal of daily events. It’s our first course that’s hands-on with patients. In the end we will qualify as CNAs. That’s the frame of reference for the journal, just so you don’t expect too much. Since I have to keep a journal, why not share it on my blog?
Today we were assigned our patients. The instructor chose our patients last night, wrote down everything he could tell us, and gave us a mock report this morning. Then we went upstairs to try to take part in the real report. The nursing staff didn’t seem to know we were coming, or didn’t care, as they were already giving report to the oncoming nurse by the time we found out who we should be shadowing.
Our assignment for the day was to take a set of vital signs and to chart them. For some reason I can take vital signs all day in a controlled classroom environment without a problem, but I have difficulty in real life. I keep telling myself it comes with practice, but I have had a lot of practice.
My patient’s blood pressure was low. Real low. I had taken it manually…for more practice. I took it again with the machine to double check myself. It was still low, though not quite as low as I had found. I went to tell the nurse, who was expecting a low BP but not as low as what I got. The patient had to have a saline infusion. The nurse tried to tell me I saved the patient’s life, but all I did was take a blood pressure and report it. That reaction seems melodramatic.
I stayed with my nurse for the first hour. I rarely interacted with the CNA. When I did it was just to pass along something I wanted her to know about my patient. We are supposed to be primarily working with the CNA, so I probably missed out on a few training opportunities today. Luckily the nurse is really nice and tried his hardest to fill in my knowledge/critical thinking gaps.
I wasn’t really able to help any of the other students with their tasks. Another student and I walked a patient who didn’t have a student. I delivered coffee and graham crackers to another patient who I wasn’t assigned to. Some of the others performed bed baths or linen changes. I feel like I didn’t do enough. On the other hand, the nurse taught me a lot about nursing.
Tomorrow I should have the same patient. I’m trying to figure out what’s wrong with him. I think that’s outside of my scope.