When I was in nursing school…

In going through and packing up some books, I found a journal that I kept for a whole week when I was in nursing school. It was the first week of the spring semester my first year. Here is what I wrote the night before my first clinical day of med/surg and the day after.
January 10
We had orientation for clinicals today at VCSF (“back then” our orientation was a whole day). I’m going to be doing good if I don’t get lost! That hospital is so crazy. Maybe it just seems that way because Verda took us up every back stairwell she could think of because it was a “short cut”. I’m sure I’m going to end up on the wrong floor looking like an idiot. It was a long day and I’m sure tomorrow will be longer.
I tried to get caught up on some laundry today, it’s so hard to keep things going when I’m so busy with school. We actually have some clean bath towels! I think Kerry was surprised. I should’ve been working on my presentation for post conference tomorrow. I have to present it to the whole class and I don’t want to look stupid.
I’m a little nervous about tomorrow. I get the strong feeling we’re going to be thrown to the wolves. Verda doesn’t seem as “over bearing” as G was, so I don’t think she’ll hover as much. I think that might be scary. I just hope the nurses on the floor are receptive to us being there. The nurses at RS weren’t happy to see us and we felt like we were in the way a lot. I hope it’s different at VCSF. Blech. I should go to bed…I feel sick.
January 11
We had clinicals this morning. I got up at 4:45am to get ready to be at the hospital by 6:30. I am sooo not a morning person. Thank goodness I remembered to switch my scrubs to the dryer or I would have had a lousy start to the day.  I think our whole class was a little nervous to start with. I know I was! We were spread out on 3 different floors. Verda gave us our room numbers and the kind of surgery our patient had. That was it. I had a colostomy patient. I thought I would be doing wound and stoma care all day…I felt sick to my stomach this is totally not something I wanted to mess up and I was afraid I was going to feel like a ding dong all day. My nurse told me they had a stoma team for stuff like that and I think I could have hugged her I was so relieved.
My patient threw up all morning and I spent my morning, instead, worrying about him losing staples or trying really hard not to puke myself. Barf is NOT my thing. And then the best part of the whole morning, was right after my patient got his breakfast and he barfed and then coded. Seriously! My first day of clinical and my patient codes, when I was in the room with him…by myself. My first thought wasn’t “ABC” like it should have been…it was “oh my goodness I’m going to fail”.  After the code team got in the room I came out to stand in the hallway. Verda wasn’t on the floor so she didn’t know. I walk out and my classmates are all standing there like “are you okay?”. I asked one of them to call Verda. She came down, put her hand and my shoulder and told me to get my butt in the room, that was my patient. I think I could have melted into the floor. Then she announced to the whole room full of nurses and doctors that I was the nursing student and I needed experience. Like the red sea they all parted and the doc running the code told me to keep doing chest compressions. Never ever have I wanted so badly to not be in a situation. I felt like everyone was watching me and all I could think was “if this guy doesn’t make it…I’m so going to fail…” He didn’t make it. I fully expect a call from the department chair tomorrow to discuss my “progress” in the program. I have no idea what happened the rest of today, it’s pretty much a blur,  other than I had to be with the chaplain when we talked to his daughter and that I did post mortem care (I’ll bet I’m the only one who gets that one checked off on the first day of clinicals). If Verda wanted to make sure I got the “full” experience…I did. Sheesh.
I was really sorry I carpooled today. All I wanted to do was get in and bawl my eyes out, but I didn’t want my classmates to think I was a wuss so I didn’t. But the minute I got to my car I cried like a baby. Kerry was very nice about the whole thing and is sure I didn’t kill him and that I’m not done with nursing school. I know I didn’t kill him (he aspirated and had a heart attack), but I’m pretty sure I’m done. I guess I can always fall back on being a waitress. I think I’m going to be sick.
January 12
Didn’t get kicked out today. Holding my breath for tomorrow. I guess I should work on my care plan.

2 thoughts on “When I was in nursing school…”

  1. Oh this made me giggle! Thanks for sharing!! I didn’t realize how traumatic your first clinical day was.

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