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Life of a Murse Episode 3: The Lady in White.

IV

The last two years of nursing school were not so bad but the workload was still heavy. Perhaps the most anxious thing was writing the CRNE (Canadian Registered Nurse Exam.) I literally had nightmares of failing the exam (likewise with other fellow students.) While in my last year and juggling two jobs I got a sweet summer job at a hospital close to me working as an extern. For better lack of terms, it was being nursing assistant, and I got to be one in the Emergency Department. At that point this is when I knew I would love nursing. As a nursing assistant I was doing so much and helping the staff. In fact, I was doing stuff that I never got to do in my other clinical settings in school but was only taught in lab. I was putting in Foley catheters, doing ECGs, doing vitals signs, and even helping with doing bloodwork (which was so nerve wrecking at first.) As I was in my final year and continued working as a nursing assistant.(I was working three jobs just so I would not have no school debt) I was encouraged by the educator and the charge nurse to apply for a new grad position in the emergency department. Without hesitation I applied, and I was hired.

One of my first ER shifts was when I was with another nurse in the acute area on a nightshift.
Oh boy.
One of my fondest memories was learning how to start IVs. Doing straight blood draws was not an issue as I learned them quite well when I was an extern. The tricky part came when i had to put in an actual IV. The IVs were quite tricky as you had to make sure you applied pressure so the blood would not spewing all over the place like a bloody crime scene. I said to myself.. nope I am gonna do an IV I don’t care.
Again…..Oh boy.
One night I was working along with my preceptor. It was a Friday night so of course we were getting all the drunks coming in. We had one lady who was dressed in complete white who was here for a problem that to be honest with you I could not remember. All I remember was that she was wearing all white. White blouse, white jacket, white pants and white shoes to match.
Maybe there was a white sale at Sears? Maybe I should have told my mom at the time?
Who the heck knows. Anyhow, the distinct thing I remember about this patient was that she had some form of social issues at home that required to be seen by our crisis worker. The doctor had ordered some blood for work and I told my preceptor that I was going to the blood work.
“And you are putting an IV in her.” she chimed as a reminder.
I closed my eyes for a quick second and kept repeating myself. “Don’t fuck up, don’t fuck up, don’t fuck up. You can do this.. you got this man. You’ve done straight pokes before, you can put an IV, it will be ok.”
Clearly my conscious lied to me.
The patient rolled up her sleeve as I tightened the tourniquet on her arm trying to feel for a vein. I felt a nice fat juicy one right in the centre of her arm. I had all my equipment and blood vials set.
I took a deep breath.
You can do this. You can do this it’s okay you can do this.
Grabbing my 20 gauge IV, I aligned it with her vein and slowly entered. Learning from all the nurses, I would count one to three so the patient would know (for those who had quite apprehensive to needles.)
Immediately I saw blood return to the tip meaning that I had entered the vein.
Great!!! Okay so part 1 was done.. .now I had to remember the rest of the parts. I indistinctly remember to make sure I had placed good pressure over the IV so the blood would not spew out before I attached it to an IV lock.
Ok you are doing good. You got this bro.
The patient then gazed at me with this weird look. “You’re quite good looking you know that?”
I lifted my head surprised by her comment. “Huh??” My fingers immediately released from the IV as I was trying to make sure who she was referring to. I guess you can call me modest but I never considered myself the model GQ type or that attractive so when usually when a woman makes a comment like that either she is intoxicated, high on some kinda of drugs or had a dementia. I forced a smile trying not to be rude but then my eye caught something red on her sleeve.
SHIT!!! I let go of the IV!
I did not even have time to respond as blood started pouring out of her IV like a leaky faucet. The blood started soaking on her white blouse, jacket and her pants.
Fuck my life!
My voice all of a sudden sounded like Grover from Sesame Street. “Uhm, help me here please.” As I turned to my preceptor.
She saw smiled a bit and quickly grabbed a couple of two by twos gauzes. She immediately helped me IV lock the patient but at this point this woman looked like a bloody mess. She look like she was part of a crime scene from criminal minds.
Immediately I began apologizing while we were cleaning up. “I am so sorry about that. ”
Surprisingly the woman did not react or act mad. “It’s ok.”
My preceptor immediately grabbed a patient’s gown and gave it to her to change while we grabbed her white clothes and placed them in a container with hydrogen peroxide.
She turned to me. “And this is why we always tell patients to dress in a gown before they are seen by a doctor.”
I nodded still feeling like shit. “Yeah I got it. ”
“Don’t worry you were okay, you will be a pro at it.”
“But I screwed up. ”
“Trust me, this is so minor compare to other things.”
“Really?”
“Trust me as you work in the ER you will know and you will look back to this and laugh.”
I was not laughing. I just kept thinking how I screwed up.

Later on that week was my actual graduation ceremony. The day I was graduating was such a rewarding time for me. But it was also a time of mixed emotions.
“So, dad are you and mom going to be at my graduation?” I had asked a month ago.
My dad shook his head. “I can’t I am busy.”
“Busy with what?”
“I am going to the racetrack that day for a big race. Sorry.”
“So a bunch of horses galloping around a track is more important than seeing your son cross the graduation stage?”
“I’ve been to your graduation before for your first degree.”
“You really don’t like what I am doing do you?|
My father ignored me and shrugged his shoulders. “All I want to know is what you are going to do after. Do you plan to stay as a nurse are you actually gonna do something better?”
I glared at my father. “I can’t believe this. My father does not want to go my graduation for a degree program that I worked my ass for because it makes him look like a fool in front of his friends.'”
“I am not gonna this discuss with you. ”
“WELL I AM!”
“Don’t you dare raise your voice at me! Have respect for your father!!!”
“Well have respect for me dad!! This is my graduation. Not every parent gets to see their child graduate. Not everyone graduates period. This should be a happy time for me and yet you are making it miserable.”
My dad grabbed his jacket as he headed out the door. “I have other plans. You’re mother is going. She will be there to support you.”
I stared at the half opened door as he started the car and drove off.

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Life of a Murse: Episode 1: Before Nursing School

I never thought that I would be a nurse. Moreover, I never thought I would enjoy being nurse. Without making this sound like an E-Harmony ad, let me just give you the basics. I am a 36 year old guy born in Toronto to Jamaican parents. I grew up in a suburb city called Mississauga (home of the longest running mayor Hazel Mccallion) as an only child which at times I hated but as I grew up,I realized being an only child was not so bad.
I always wanted to be a doctor. The idea of helping those were sick and curing them with medicine always enticed me as kid. While growing up, I would frantically always tell my parents and other family members that I wanted to become a doctor. I use to always read up on medical health books and even at one point (out of boredom) decided to make my own hand written health anatomy book when I was 11 (I never made it past page 3 though.) Throughout high school and even university I aimed to study and become that doctor that everyone including myself wanted to be. I took the necessary classes, achieved the grades necessary to enter university and stayed out of trouble.

Nursing_Textbooks_1

Then reality hit in.
University though was great became more of a huge academically political expense. After being accepted to York University’s Kinesiology program I got bombarded with changes. By the end of my second year, York University went on a 5 month strike that made everyone’s academic year a living hell. At this point, I was fed up and just wanted to work so I took a year off before I went back to finish my degree. Apparently I picked the “wrong time” to take off because when I returned, they had restructured the kinesiology program making some of my previous courses not acceptable. Pissed off and frustrated, I switched majors and completed my degree in Psychology instead which took another two years to complete. Throughout my 20s I worked as a pharmacy technician for a major chain drug store; Shoppers Drug Mart as well I working at other jobs. Still determine to become a doctor, I decided to write the MCAT exam but I did not prepare for it. Instead I thought I would take it as a “practice exam” so I can gain more experience in writing the next one.
That was a complete waste of money and time. (what the hell was I thinking?!!?)
For starters, I did not take organic chemistry and physics throughout university in fear of flunking and lowering my GPA (as I saw it did with other students and friends.) Therefore, I thought I would be “smart” and self teach organic chemistry. It was very challenging. After writing the MCAT exam I knew that I was not ready but I was still determined. I still continued working as a pharmacy technician while working at other health related jobs after I graduated. Still feeling the desire to go to medical school, I decided to do another degree at the University of Toronto by getting into their Bioethics program which in hopes to get into medical school.
Again, another waste of time.
The majority of courses I had to take where philosophy courses which did not excite, or motivate me. Furthermore I found it confusing and perplexing as hell. So again I dropped out and went back to working. As I got closer to my thirties I realized that I needed to change careers and that the money that I was currently making would not be enough to suffice for my future.
And this is where nursing was born.
While at work one day during my day job (I was working two to three jobs at one point just to pay the bills and survive) I was looking at different careers. I became vastly interested in becoming a nursing anaesthesia assistant. It seemed cool, rewarding, and the pay was actually great. The only issue was that the job was not that popular in Canada but I didn’t care, I thought it would be a great job for me to do and being my stubborn self, I was determined. While researching into this career I discovered there were two ways to get into this career: Either by becoming a RT (respiratory therapist)or by becoming an RN (registered nurse). Without hesitation, I immediately applied to the RT program at a local college in my area. I got accepted but got put on a waiting list because so many people had applied which meant I would not start until the following year meaning yet another year wasted.
I was tired of wasting my time.
The other option: nursing. Now I will admit I thought the idea was stupid. Like come on, I am a 6’0, 230lbs guy who looks more like he should work for security than be a nurse! Why would I become a nurse? I mean nurses just change diapers and feed old people right?
“Stop being a male chauvinistic fool!” one pharmacist told me one night while I was at work asking her this same question.
“I am not.”
“Yes you are!!! There are a lot of male nurses out there. And no, being a male nurse does not mean you are gay either. Just stop your stupidity and apply. You will make a great nurse. You have great people skills. Trust me!”
“People skills? Nurses just do orders by doctors, I don’t think there will be that much people skills involved.”
“You are being a fool again. People skills are important. Trust me. When visiting loved ones in the hospital, the nurses who had great bedside manners were the ones I remembered. You my friend are a people person. I also know a number of male nurses as well who are doing great for themselves. Just stop your whining and apply.”
I shrugged my shoulders as I continued counting the lorazepam pills for our inpatient regular customer who sat nervous and anxious in the waiting room. “Yeah I guess you are right. I will look into the application.”
The pharmacist smile. “Great, now hurry up with those pills, Mr. Jackson is giving us that ‘eye'”.
I laughed.

My father dropped his fork. “Nursing? Why do you want do you want to nursing?”
I got up from the kitchen table and grabbed a drink from the fridge. “Because like I said, it will help me get into the career path I want.”
“So you don’t want to be a doctor anymore?” My mother asked inquisitively.
“Mom, by the time I apply to medical school get accepted and go through all the schooling, I will be in my 40s. I don’t have the time or expense for that.”
“I still think you should be a doctor.” My father interrupted.
“Why? Because you told everyone else in our family and friends that I already am?”
“Being a nurse is not professional career. It’s not a real job.”
I rolled my eyes. “I am going to my room. ”
“Well whatever I do I will support you.” My mother said.
I forced a smile. ‘Thanks mom..” I looked past my father as I went to my room.

……………..stay tuned for Episode 2: Nursing School..The Battle Camp!

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Posted by on February 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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