May 28th, 2015
It’s been a big month, and as we wrap up May and effortlessly slip into the snuggle season of Winter, I’ve been doing a bit of reflecting.
At the beginning of May I kicked off my comfy RN shoes and slipped into a new pair of CN shoes. It was an exciting moment to see my name bumped up to a new category on the roster and I couldn’t help but feel ecstatic at making it one step closer to #4 on my Bucket List (make Clinical Nurse at work).
For the last four weeks I have been lucky enough to ‘act up’ (or fill in) as a Clinical Nurse, and it has been one hell of an adventure so far! While it’s not the real deal yet, the experience I’ve gotten in acting in the position will be all-too-important when I finally do get there. And I can’t wait for that day.
Having only been out of my Grad Year for two months, it almost didn’t feel real to be given such responsibility so early. But with a new hospital nearing completion in the next couple of years, and my ward’s big transition into a Trauma Ward there, the added bonus of CN experience will most definitely come in handy. There were no second thoughts, I jumped right in.
Like every new pair of shoes, being a CN didn’t come without it’s blisters and aches. It took plenty of wearing in. But looking back now, I can see how far I’ve come and a part of me is really proud of what I accomplished.
Often you don’t realise at the time the progress your making. But there always seems to be that one defining moment where you suddenly realise you’re doing just fine. Riding without training wheels, swimming without floaties. These moments are my favourite.
In the beginning, it was difficult to figure out the ropes with no one there to show me. Being boss is kind of scary in that sense. I kind of had to wing it, or at least phone six different people until the odds were so far in my favour I found who I was looking for. I mean, I did at least have a general idea of what to do, and I guess between being naturally quite good at problem solving and being overtly curious with buttons on the computer, I managed to do okay!
In the midst of a shift involving 9 patients to be transferred out, with another 8 hot on their tails to be transferred in – it’s hard to feel sane. Add a Code Blue, an absconding patient, a computer system that seems to waged war against you not allowing patients to be entered in and bladder irrigations that simply refuse to work, and you’ve got yourself a shift well deserving of the name “Actual Nightmare”. You soon become very aware that you may never see the ‘Tea Room’ again, and have in fact, forgotten what it looks like altogether. And while we’re on the topic of forgetting what rooms look like, you may as well add the toilet to that list. Focus on growing a bigger bladder instead.
And when you finally think you’ve got it sorted, the phone in your pocket which has boasted it’s existence every 5 minutes for the last 8 hours, rings to let you know there are three more patients on their way up from Emergency right on Handover time with no IV Fluids, no catheter and no life saving medications given yet. It’s at this point, you consider just making a run for it and just maybe never coming back.
Granted that not every shift is like that, but it sure made for one steep learning curve for this little nurse.
Nevertheless, the patients and I survived, so I think we’ll call it a successful month.
In all honestly though, despite it’s chaos, I love being an acting CN. I love the challenge of being in charge, I love the requirement to always learn new things – to always be on top of my game. It’s what I’ve always loved about surgical nursing right from the beginning, but this certainly steps it up a notch and I am enjoying it wholeheartedly.
There is so much fulfilment in nursing and although the dream of being a doctor is getting closer (yes, that does entirely mean I passed my med school entry exam!), I am soaking up everything nursing offers while I’m here in this adventure and in these acting CN shoes. I’ve even found that they don’t give me blisters anymore – in fact, they may be just the most comfortable shoes I own yet.