School

Well, so far obstetrics is about how I remember it. Granted, I’ve only been in it for 1 day, but I remember the process of having my kids and nothing has changed too dramatically. As things progress we’ll be learning more about fetal lab values and vital signs and the anatomy of them and complications of birth and all the rest, but that first day was an overview and I found myself in the position of knowing most of it already. That’s nice.

Clinicals should be interesting. Apparently we are going to a very student friendly place and they are more than happy to let us help as long as we seem interested and engaged. Cool. We get to be in the nursery and postpartum as well as labor and delivery. All aspects of maternal-fetal care are open this class and I am really looking forward to it. BABIES!

So far I am doing pretty well in school. I am a solid B+ student with some A’s thrown in here and there. And a couple of B’s. But, I’m doing well and I’m progressing through and that’s the best I can hope for at the moment. I think I’m going to like being a nurse.

One of the things that I’ve been told is that it’s very important to be matter of fact about things. There are some pretty intimate and embarrassing things that people have to come in for or discuss and it’s best just to be open and friendly and make sure it doesn’t seem like a big deal. And, we’re learning that, no matter what a patient tells you, don’t react. Put on your “beige face”. You are going to hear some things that will shock or outrage or make you want to cry. You can’t show any of that to the patient; it might make them not want to keep confiding in you. And, the number one rule of nursing (besides do no harm and that sort of thing) is to build trust with the patient so that you are in a position to help them. If you react strongly in the wrong way to what they’re telling you (shocked or angry or anything like that), you’ve injured that trust, they are going to be wary of telling you the whole story because you might judge them. Your job is not to judge them, it’s to help them in any way you can. I’m cool with that.

Also, realizing that their health is ultimately up to them. You can refer them to resources and do your best to make following the therapeutic regimen as easy as possible, but it’s up to them to do it ultimately. My powers of persuasion might not always be enough and that will be hard.  I don’t want to see people hurting without trying to help, and I don’t want to see people hurting themselves if there’s anything I can do to help them stop. But, the best I can do is the best I can do and ultimately the patient’s health is up to them. I can help them while they’re in the hospital or clinic or wherever and set them up with other agencies for when they get home if they need it, but that’s all I can do. I can’t go home with them and ensure they are following doctor’s orders. There are some downsides to being a nurse, and that’s one of them: you can only help people so much if they don’t want to be helped.

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