If I can ever do that!



Cartoon on courtesy of all nurses.com

After suffering through numerous brutal experiences at the hands of nurses as a student, I swore I’d do my best to encourage nursing students and ease their path.  I took time to show them procedures and include them at every possible intervention.

I invited an eager nursing student to join me as I prepared to insert needles into a patient’s dialysis access prior to a treatment after getting the patient’s approval.  Dialysis patients were almost invariably willing to help teach.  I meticulously prepared the materials needed, scrubbed the site for needle insertion and tore tape strips to securely anchor the needles in place.  The student was all eyes as I slid the needles in as painlessly as possible and the patient pronounced it a job well done.  I started the treatment so it was a few minutes before we had time for conference.

“Do you have any questions?”  I was prepared to explain precautions and how the needle placement was selected.

“Yes!  How in the world did you learn to tear tape so straight?  If I ever learn to tear tape like that I’ll know I’m a real nurse!”  Her admiration took me down a notch or two.

“It’s no trick.  You can do it right now.”  I pulled out a roll of tape and showed her it was scored for ease in tearing.

“Wow!  Thanks!”


Lessons from Michael

A few months into my first nursing job, I met Michael, the patient who put me on the road to true nursing. Still limping down the painful road from enjoying success in nursing school to putting it into practice, I drove home most days thinking, “I can’t go back tomorrow. I can’t go back tomorrow.”  I lived in terror of getting caught alone with a patient whose survival depended on all that “nursing magic” that had so far sailed over on my head.  Orienting on an acute dialysis unit, my only useful skills were a pretty good nursing vocabulary, understanding of aseptic technique, and the complete understanding that there was no question too stupid for me to ask.  I would have never have made it if my supervisor had been one of those who “ate her young.” (terrorized new nurses) Continue reading