Monday, October 02, 2006

It Ain't Easy Being Green

I've had my nursing license since late June but I've been an employed nurse for only about 6 weeks.

It's been exciting:
Learning so much in such a short time
Meeting lots of new people that I work with
Starting my first IV
Placing my first NG tube

But last week was hard. I started night shift, which I like but is always difficult at first. The initial sleep deprivation causes me to not regulate my temperature as well, feel really cold, stops my digestive system (ewww, sorry), and I'm more emotional.

Most of the patients I see are fairly healthy, have a procedure, get some meds, and go on with their lives. Last week was different. 3 of my patients, all under 35, had cancer. Big, scary, spreading cancer. Add to that patients who wake up to find that the accident wasn't only painful, they had to have major surgeries, and their family died. Plus there were language barriers. I speak French, they didn't. Lots of other staff speak Spanish, still they didn't. So I can only use small sentences, hope they understand the call light and how to call me, hope they know the words for water and pain pill when I ask if they need anything, hope a smile translates well.

It was frustrating. It was disheartening. It was part of life as a nurse. Learning to shut off part (but not all) of your emotions so that you can help them rather than just curl up in the corner and cry, so that you can move on to the next patient, so that you can sleep when you get home, so that you can go back the next day.

7 comments:

Chelsea said...

You have the perfect qualities for a nurse; calm, cool, and collected. Just that can make a huge difference to a patient. Keep up the great work!

Elizabeth said...

I can't even imagine how difficult it is to be in those situations. I can't even watch Grey's Anatomy without crying when someone dies. You are a rock and I know you are a great nurse. Love!

Sara McOllie said...

Hang in there. The patients can sense when someone wants to help and you definitely have the help gene in you. Sorry you had to have a bad week though.

Malia said...

As someone who has recently spent the night in the hospital, I APPRECIATE NURSES!!! And let me assure you that a smile definitely translates, particularly in the middle of the night, when you just feel horendous and yearn to feel better....a smile is so comforting.

Hey, It's Ansley said...

Thanks everyone for your supportive and positive comments.

Ryan Remains said...

I was going to leave supportive and positive stuff, but then I thought of Luke Perry in 8 SECONDS.

So, "Cowboy up!:

Although, I think you're doing a good and noble thing (and I hardly ever think that about anyone, which you probably know).

So there.

Hey, It's Ansley said...

I used to get all my sage advice from the 90210 characters. I'm glad the tradition lives on in other Luke Perry movies. Thanks!