A week or so ago, Brian came home late because he was busy at work and I totally cried like if he had done the worst thing in the world. He looked at me like I was insane and with a child-like voice told me that he totally didnâ€™t mean to hurt my feelings but that he was stuck in one of those last minute things he had to get done. As I looked at him trying to explain himself so I would calm down, I broke down and told him that it really wasnâ€™t about him but it had to do with the fact that it was Friday night and I was going to work Saturday, Sunday and Monday in a row. Working weekends is not a new thing. Iâ€™ve done this over and over again over the past eight months of being a nurse. I was just venting. Iâ€™d had a really bad week at work and the thought of having to go back for three days in a row was crushing to me at that moment. He told me, â€œbaby, it might be time to consider changing jobs if you feel so bad about going there.â€ Iâ€™ve been thinking about that ever since. The fact is I donâ€™t hate going to work but it can get to me from time to time. Iâ€™m a new nurse and every day I encounter situations Iâ€™ve not come across before and as I desperately try to keep up in such a fast-paced environment, it can wear me down.
Over the past eight months these are some (small sampling) of the things Iâ€™ve experienced on a daily basis. Sometimes all in the same day or hour of the day for that matter:
Trying to stop patients whoâ€™ve been told they will never walk again because of some crushing spine injury from trying to get out of bed because they are determined to prove the doctors wrong and then crying in desperation when realizing their legs or body wonâ€™t cooperate.
Patients with head injuries who are not oriented to anything and donâ€™t know where they are screaming at us, trying to escape from the hospital (weâ€™ve actually have had to chase down a few), and trying to get out of the way when they swing their legs or arms at you as you try to perform patient care. They also can pull out every type of tube being used for their medical care like IVs, feeding tubes, catheters (ouch!), etc., etc.
Patientâ€™s whoâ€™ve been burned by accident or because theyâ€™ve tried to commit suicide scream all day because they canâ€™t stand the pain as we clean their wounds.
The young patient who has somehow survived multiple gun shot wounds all over their body and now will have a completely different life because they are paralyzed or because theyâ€™ve reconstructed their insides as best they could.
The criminal who is injured and requires care but is shackled to the bed with a police officer stationed at the bedside.
Families who will not accept their family member is now brain dead and will make statements like â€œI canâ€™t wait until he wakes up and realizes all that has happened to him or her. They will be so happy to see us.â€
Patients who are doing okay and then they start deteriorating and require new and immediate medical interventions or to be sent back to ICU or something else.
Sometimes there are also moments where Iâ€™ve had to laugh at myself as I drive home because a patient might say or do something that requires me to say things Iâ€™ve never thought I would ever have to say. For example:
â€œMr. whatâ€™s your name, can you please not scream at me as I give you this pain medication through your IV line because I have to make sure it does not interfere with your breathing.â€ (By far my favorite.)
â€œMr. or Mrs. whatever, can we go back to your room and put all your clothes back on? We donâ€™t want you walking around naked.
â€œMr. or Mrs. whatever, can you please not play with your diaper because as you see, it gets poopy all over your bed and the floor.â€ or â€œCan you please keep your penis inside your diaper because if you donâ€™t when you urinate, it will get all over your bed.â€
Donâ€™t get me wrong, itâ€™s not all bad. There are plenty of good days. Patients do get out of bed and walk again; go home perfectly fine as if the accident had not happened. Families say thank you or send flowers or cards after they go home. Some even come back and visit to say thank you and show off how well theyâ€™ve done. Some patients and their families are very funny and tell us stories to keep us laughing all day long. Some even remember your name from day to day and stop by to say hello. Things like that are just cool.
I have a lot of learning to do but I love what I do. It can be tiresome physically, mentally and emotionallyâ€¦.to the point of crying at random. Maybe with experience, I will learn how to handle it differently and it will spare my poor husband from weird emotional outburstsâ€¦.about work anyway. Maybe Iâ€™ll stay there; maybe I wonâ€™t but I will say this, my first year as a nurse will be one I will never forget!!!