The Dog Ate My Care Plan…

Just a mom/wife/nursing student extraordinaire trying to make it in the big bad city…

Posts Tagged ‘labor’

Silence Is Not Always Golden

Posted by isntshelovlei on May 3, 2010

Our last OB clinical was yesterday—there really was a light at the end of that long, dark tunnel. I really didn’t think I could take another day on the postpartum floor so I was glad when my instructor said I could go to the NICU. But it’s never a good sign when you get there and the charge nurse presents you to the nurse she’s assigning you to and tells her, “I’m sorry, I have to give you a student today.” WTF?!? And like I wasn’t even standing right there! The nurse kept a straight face but you could tell she was less than pleased. So there I was, only there for about 60 seconds, and I was already turned off to the whole situation and ready to leave. You have TWO whole patients who sleep 98% of the day anyway, what is the big damn deal? Lord forbid I keep you from your sticky buns and trash mags…  

But I took a deep breath and kept it moving. It was the last day, and I was determined not to feed the trolls. I did the eternal scrub up to my elbows just to be able to enter the unit but was not allowed to touch anything—not  a chart, not an isolette, and certainly not a baby—for five-and-a-half painful hours. I should have brought a crossword puzzle or something. I’m really starting to rethink my desire to be a NICU nurse. Not because of the less than stellar experience I had (because the nurses in the NICU where I volunteer are great), but because I’m starting to think it’s just not enough excitement (patient care/interaction) for me. I know that some people like relaxed jobs where they sit around and don’t do much, but if that’s all I wanted to do I could have went to school for envelope stuffing or something. The most interesting thing that happened all day was two incidents where fentanyl (big time pain med—100 times more potent than morphine) syringes came up to the unit completely empty. But they weren’t just empty syringes. They were actually drawn up to the dose that was supposed to be in them but there was nothing in those chumpies but air. Gone unnoticed, that would have been one hell of an air bubble… Freak pharmacy thing or…you fill in the blank…

Though it’s no secret that maternity wasn’t my favorite rotation, our last moments in OB will forever leave a footprint on my heart. As we walked through L&D we could hear a woman in the actual pushing stage of labor. And she was a-hollering—totally to be expected when you’re pushing something the size of a watermelon out of a hole the size of a lemon. She had the nulliparous students in the hallway cringing at how much pain she apparently was in. So she’s in there screaming and you can hear the nurses encouraging her to push. There was a climax of activity/noise and then all of a sudden it was quiet. Since we were not actually in the room and able to see what was going on, at first when you hear the woman stop screaming you figure okay—the baby is out. But then you slowly start to realize that it’s too quiet. The critical thinking wheels start to turn and you ask yourself why isn’t the baby crying? Next thing I know they were calling for a neonatal crash cart… 

…dystocia…nuchal cord x 2…baby completely blue…umbilical cord separated from the placenta…blood everywhere…

When you work in health care you will sometimes see how even in a beautiful situation such as a new life being brought into the world, things do not always go as planned. Always count your blessings.

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No Crystal Stair

Posted by isntshelovlei on April 28, 2010

We had an exam last night in Maternity/OB (final next Tuesday!). Usually there are not a lot of meds to remember for maternity since technically the patients aren’t “sick.” Other than epidurals and such during labor most of what you’ll see is postpartum—percocet and motrin for pain, maybe a stool softener if mom had a episiotomy. But when something goes amiss—antepartum, intrapartum, or postpartum—that’s when you get hit over the head with all kinds of stuff—pitocin to start or augment labor, tocolytics to stop labor, hydralazine  for hypertension, magnesium sulfate to prevent seizures (in eclampsia), methergine for hemorrhage, and injection-only insulin for diabetics since oral agents are teratogens. It’s enough to make your head spin and this is only scratching the surface of all the meds I need to know!

So needless to say I can already tell that pharm is going to be a beast. Everyone makes it sound like such a “bird course,” and that “it’s just straight memorization”…OK, if you say so. You not only have to learn the names (trade and generic) of about a gillion drugs, but also the actions, interactions, indications, contraindications, side effects, rationale for why you are or aren’t giving it…the list goes on. You have to know all of these things to be able to challenge that brand new resident’s order for your pregnant patient to receive coumadin (which crosses the placenta), or to be able to question why he wrote an order for methergine when your patient’s blood pressure is already 160/100. You have to know all of these things because in the end YOU are giving the patient their medications—YOU are their last line of defense before a potential medication error occurs. Yes, Mr. Resident that wrote the order should have some accountability as well, but everyone will be looking at YOU because YOU should have caught it. 

So although the wonderful world of maternity is coming to a close, I now have to prepare myself for a whole new kind of headache. One of my favorite poems, “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes, sounds just like the plight of a student nurse. Nursing school for me ain’t been no crystal stair…

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Zzzz…

Posted by isntshelovlei on March 22, 2010

Our first day in Maternity/OB clinical was pretty uneventful–almost downright boring. Part of the problem is that we have clinicals on the weekend. C-sections and inductions are not typically scheduled for weekends. So we are basically just sitting around waiting for someone to spontaneously go into labor (and with all the planned C-sections these days I’m not sure if people still do that…). There was a single postpartum mom on the entire unit. The clinical instructors had to go “find” a baby so that they could show us how to do a newborn assessment. I will admit technically it was just our hospital orientation day (which translates into boring computer training on yet another EHR system), but I was all ready to palpate some funduses (fundi?) or something. I also heard that we’re not even going to be giving meds which leaves not much else to do than a lot of patient teaching–if there’s anyone there to teach…

So although many of my fellow students are still excited about this rotation since some would like to work in maternity, I can already see it’s not my cup of tea. I need more “action”–like in an intensive care or ED environment (but real emergencies–not “my baby has hiccups”). Not that I thrive off of dire emergencies or people being critically ill/injured but when you’ll be working 12-hour shifts I’d like to be doing a little more than reading the tabloids at the nurse’s station (don’t act like you haven’t seen it). Who really cares how Kendra Wilkinson lost 10 lbs in 10 days?–she probably ran 5 miles a day on a strict diet of romaine lettuce…

Of course now I’ve totally jinxed myself and this weekend it will be on and popping (hopefully)…

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