Four of five Critical Care clinicals DONE & can I just say, I REALLY like this.
I have to be honest, between my run in with one of my clinical instructors (who as it turned out happened to be MY clinical instructor [who turned out to be super nice even after the incident]), my lackluster attitude at the beginning of the semester regarding this class & not being REMOTELY interested in critical care, I really did NOT think I was going to like this clinical. Ha! I couldn't have been MORE wrong. Not only do I like this clinical, I'm pretty sure it's going to be top on my list to do my capstone clinicals in. And yes, no one is more surprised than I am.
I'm not sure where my perception of critical care came from, but I was totally wrong about it. I thought I would be grossed out by the vent care & bored with just having two patients but I was way off. My preceptor was so awesome. The day of cc the first thing she said to me when I got there was "I don't believe in nursing students being bored, so by tomorrow you should be prepared to be on your own." I was like wah? I was looking around like "Is she talking to me?" But by lunch time of my FIRST day I was off. I had a precious vent patient & by lunch time I was giving all the meds & caring for that patient basically on my own (with proper supervision of course). The next day I was on my own (not really, but you know what I mean). I was doing the charting, caring for the patient, giving the meds, it was AWESOME!!! I loved the autonomy of this clinical, and the hands on experience that we get. I definitely think that all of our clinicals should be like this. By the third day I had 1 1/2 patients. I say 1/2 because I wasn't able to keep up totally with the 2nd patient. And we ended up switching mid shift to get a new one & because of his critical nature I didn't get to do too much with him at first, BUT by yesterday I had two patients all by myself (with proper supervision, of course). Here's the lowdown of what I had: 2 patients, 3 chest tubes, 1 vent, 1 bipap, 1 Stage IV decubitus, 1 wound vac, 1 triple lumen JV line, 1 femoral art line, 2 falling O2 Sats and BP's & that resulted in one tired nursing student at the end of the day!! Now why in the world would I have ever thought I would be BORED with this patient population?? I loved it & I could definitely see that I would really love it if these were actually my patients & I was on my own.
The only thing I found hard was keeping up with the charting. I don't know if it was because it was Monday or what, but I found the environment a little more chaotic than my other days, but those were Saturday's & Sunday's, so I guess that's to be expected. The weekend was much calmer. Plus this ICU is really small, so it's not like there's a quiet little cubby to go & chart, you're sitting right in the eye of the storm. So I did find that a bit difficult to keep up with. Also, I lacked a little bit on keeping my preceptor informed. We had one patient that had great output but when they came back from the OR their output went to crap & I didn't really think to let my preceptor know. At the end of the shift she was like "Uh, you may want to tell me this from now on", but she was VERY nice. She knew that this was A LOT for a student to handle & she said I did a GREAT job, so I was really pleased, if not exhausted. All in all, I could definitely see myself being a CC nurse. And yes, even of ADULTS, can you believe it?? After all my talk of not EVER wanting to take care of adults again, I thoroughly enjoyed this clinical, enough even to do my capstone there!! I'm pretty sure my 2nd choice is going to be ER, unfortunately we don't get a clinical there.
Anyhoo, I have some serious CC studying to do so I will update more later.
I hope all of my other school peeps are trucking along just fine, it's getting close!!!