Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Practice Makes Perfect, Sometimes


( Sharing my memories from my nursing career.  You can find all the posts here)

Did you think I would never get back to this series? Let's continue with my nursing education!




We were finally at  the end of the first semester of the 'actual' nursing program. We  have started doing nursing things. Passing pills, giving shots, inserting catheters and nasal gastric tubes. The 'get down and dirty' things of nursing. First we had to practice these things in the clinical labs at school. They had beds set up which we learned the 'famed nursing square corners' of bed making. We practiced giving each other a bed bath. How to peel off the clothes to maintain the patient's dignity and wash the body parts all the while maintaining the wash basin full of warm water. We were taught how to take out one arm, wash it, rinse it, dry it and tuck it back under the bath blanket. And then move all to the other extremities. We had to pay special attention to arm pits, because even patients who do nothing but lie in bed all day sweat. 

One of the mantras we learned while in nursing school (and we learned a few) was to wash up from the waist, as far as possible, wash down from the thighs, as far as possible, and then suds up the wash cloth and hand it to the patient and tell them to wash "possible". If they were able. And if they weren't capable, then we got to wash possible. This could be the making/breaking point for the really young girls. 

My favorite nursing skills were inserting catheters, nasal-gastric tubes and IV's. And I was good at it. Often times I would get calls from other nurses to come and preform this chore for them on a difficult patient. But I wasn't always good. It took practice.

When we were learning how to insert a urinary catheter into a female patient, we were told that the catheter would sometimes coil into the vagina and then we would have to start the procedure over with a new, sterile catheter kit. I couldn't imagine how this could happen. And I voiced my opinion in class. I wasn't afraid of voicing my opinion.(Then or now)  When I got my first chance to insert a catheter into a female patient I was excited to finally put my practice to work. I had the room set up, the patient properly positioned and draped, and was ready to go. My instructor was on one side of the bed and I on the other. Yep, you guessed it....first attempt and the catheter coiled into the vagina. I looked into the eyes of my instructor who wisely smiled and said "I'll get you another catheter." 

I had already graduated nursing school and was working as an RN before I got my first chance to insert a nasal gastric tube. The patient was a "nearly comatose" elderly, Spanish lady. My brand new LPN co-worker assisted with the procedure by reading me the instructions as I attempted to insert the tube. Was I ever glad the patient wasn't awake. She probably wouldn't have had much confidence in me as her nurse. But, we were successful! 

I hate needles! Especially if they are aimed my way. I can't stand to have blood drawn. It hurts like hell! And when having an IV started I always insist on the best nurse start mine. I don't have good veins. And I'm a big whiny baby. But I loved giving shots and starting IV's. And I prided myself on being good at it. You don't have to cause an excessive amount of pain with either procedure. Be quick, be gentle, and get it over with. 

Next up we will talk about the last year of nursing education. 

23 comments:

  1. I admire your nursing skills. I definitely do not have that aptitude. I just cringe at the thought.

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    1. Thank you so much Kwiz!! And I couldn't be a teacher!!

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  2. I like what your favorites were to do with inserting catheters, etc. I can't imagine actually doing it, but I type enough reports I could do it (you know what I mean, I know the technique, not the experience of actually doing it). It is fascinating to read about your experiences with nursing :)

    betty

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  3. I bet there was a lot of patient's grateful for your skills!

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  4. You sound as if you were a very competent nurse and that's always comforting to the patient if you know what you're doing.

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  5. "Possible" ... Gawd, that cracks me up! I read your catheter description twice (OK, 3 times) and I still don't 'get it', so many thanks to those of you who do!

    I suspect your self-assure behavior was comforting to the patients. My Tom has notoriously 'bad' veins and always looks for that guy or gal who appears to be the most senior.

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    1. I made fun of the people who coiled the catheter into vaginas!! I said "how is that even possible, duh) and then I did it the very first time I tried to insert one. It was like Karma!!

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  6. Possibles...I have not heard that before! I bet you were a really good nurse:)

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  7. Ah, needles. I have terrible veins, too.

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    1. It sucks to be blessed with terrible veins, doesn't it!

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  8. My veins are terrible too. Once I tried to donate blood. It was a disaster. They never go the blood and my arm was a mess. I decided never again - unless I knew the person and they were special to me (which, of course, they don't let you donate that way) because I have O blood - universal donor.

    Giving a sample for a blood test isn't so bad - IF the person is good and I am well hydrated.

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    1. I totally agree with you. If a person who is doing the needle stick is good then the blood draws, while still painful, are at least tolerable.

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  9. Good to know you were the one to get IVs done. Next time ai need one, Im gonna have them a
    call you. I'm a "hard stick" apparently. Even when I caution them, folks still feel the need to try several stabs before calling for help.

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    1. LOL! And I'll come running!! Yep, some people just don't know when to quit.

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  10. Thanks for sharing your training. It is an interesting story.

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  11. Thank you for all you did as a nurse! My dad recently was diagnosed with an enlarged prostate, and has been on a catheter for a couple weeks, and will be until his laser surgery on the 21st. I canNOT imagine.

    As for needles, I don't mind at all, but I can't imagine sticking someone else! In the US, I was a regular blood donor, and even a platelet donor for years. Sometimes, if my veins were being shy, there was one particular nurse who would be called over to do it. She ALWAYS got it in one go. I loved her.

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    1. Richard had a catheter the last 18 months of his life. He hated it. But it was a blessing for me. I know how you feel about loving the nurse who is good with a needle.

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  12. It never ceases to amaze me how some people can give shots that you barely feel and others cause such extreme pain.

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