The Dog Ate My Care Plan…

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

Posts Tagged ‘pregnancy’

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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HESI Smesi

Posted by isntshelovlei on April 22, 2010

It’s that time again—maternity HESI in T-minus 9 hours. For those unfamiliar with this particular form of headache, HESI is yet another test we take in addition to our regular exams/quizzes. I like to think of it as nursing SAT’s. It’s not quite the NCLEX but it’s supposedly a pretty good indicator of how well you’ll do on the real thing. In our program it doesn’t figure directly into your actual class grade (so depending on if you do well or poor on it, it may feel like a waste or a relief) but they’re currently giving us a few points (on a sliding scale) towards our final exam depending on how well we do.

So I’ve been up to my eyeballs in case studies, practice questions, and reviews/rationales most of this week in preparation (I don’t throw away any free points!). And for some reason, one concept that really gets my panties all in a twist is GTPAL, which basically gives you a summary of a woman’s obstetrical history. I wish they would just do away with that mess and write it the hell out. Damn, you don’t have to abbreviate everything!

Here’s a little scenario from one of my case studies I did last night: Jane Doe, who is currently pregnant, has previously given birth twice, twins born at 35 weeks and a singleton born at 39 weeks. All of these children are alive. She also has a history of having had one miscarriage (the more medicalese term would be “spontaneous abortion”) at 9 weeks into the pregnancy. What is her GTPAL?

Well first a refresher on the acronym/abbreviation itself. Gravidity is the number of times pregnant, including the current pregnancy (which is what I always forget to count). Term is any birth after the end of the 37th week, and Preterm is any birth between 20 and 37 weeks. Both term and preterm include live and stillborn babies. Abortion is any fetal loss, whether spontaneous or elective, up to 20 weeks gestation. Living refers to all children who are living (duh). Multiple fetuses (twins, triplets, etc.) are treated as one pregnancy and one birth. It’s just too many variables and parameters and whatnot…it makes me cross-eyed. So…Jane’s GTPAL is 4-1-1-1-3—four pregnancies including the current one; one baby born at 39 weeks; one set of twins born at 35 weeks; one miscarriage/spontaneous abortion at 9-weeks; three living children.

Well I don’t know about you, but I’m spent…

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