A year at U of R

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Staying busy

Every day seems like a huge accomplishment. Sometimes I wonder if it is just the newness of everything, and if nursing will hold the same excitement in five years, or ten. I'm convinced that the answer is "yes".

Every room you walk into, and every patient you interact with is a brand new learning experience. If you thought you knew the most basic skill, like taking a blood pressure, try taking it on a crying two-year-old, or on a teen on a cell phone, and then on a child in a room with ten family members celebrating a birthday. The same skill always new.

I also hadn't realized just how varied nursing is. Most of the doctors I see have specialties. For one, it was epilepsy. He'd done epilepsy for 20 years, and was the expert on epilepsy, diagnosing it, and treating it. Every day, all he saw was epilepsy. The same is true of the pulmonologists, anesthetists, or any other medical specialty. Yet when a pediatric nurse walks in the door for the day, they may have a patient who is a 2-year old waiting for a kidney transplant, a 15 year old eating disorder patient, and a cystic fibrosis patient with diabetes and strep throat. And they have to know all of the meds for all of them, the etiologies of the diseases, and all of the care. It is a lot to learn.

Today, I put together my first full IV piggyback and new IV tubing. I did all the calculations, and programmed the Alaris infusion pump. I gave a subcutaneous shot. I removed an IV from a toddler. I took a stool sample and did billions of vital signs. Another busy day in pediatrics.