Monthly Archives: August 2013

Matters of the Heart

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During the last couple of weeks, studying for my hospital’s mandatory EKG rhythm interpretation course made me very glad I bought this book, and worked my way through it. In combination with the course, taught by a cath lab RN/heart addict (“wallpaper with a Torsades border would be so pretty!“), which actually uses this book, I’m stumbling toward a better understanding of WHY those wiggly lines get weird when the heart’s electrical system gets FUNKY. So, aspiring nursing students, tele techs and panicking new grads, get shopping!

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

So, as a new graduate RN at a hospital, one may expect to experience a thing called “Orientation.”  

During the first few days of this ritual, new members of the tribe are welcomed by the elders with offerings of continental breakfast, free coffee (the good stuff, not that whatever-it-is-that-gets-served-on-a-hospital-unit-stuff), swag bearing the facility logo, and are treated to campfire stories concerning lean hospitals, corporate integrity and benefits. All too soon, children, it is time to buckle down and get to work, larnin’ stuff like electronic charting and code procedures – the tasty, gratis edibles vanish, ever so slowly (they wean us from the oh-so-sweet baked goods like there’s a CIWA protocol for it. . .first it’s just cookies at the back of the room with coffee, then just cookies with water. . .and then, NOTHING) and like baby dolphins, the newbies are eased into the shark-filled waters of. . .computer-based training!

Mostly, it’s been fun, although I do need to turn myself Q1 hours for fear of developing a pressure ulcer or two.  There are, however, bright points, like when the instructors, seasoned nurses, try to drum some common sense into the wee, thick skulls of the students.

During a sprightly discussion of scope of practice and delegation, the role of the CNA was discussed.  A quiz about what a CNA might be delegated to do ensued (discontinue a Foley catheter?  Yes!  Insert a Foley catheter? NO!!!!), and when the instructor sensed some superiority complexes in the room concerning the RN-CNA relationship, she pounced like a lion on a limping gazelle during dry season on the savannah. “Your CNAs work hard. . .they are a great asset, and you need to treat them with RESPECT!  They can make you or break you. . .and they talk!  So don’t develop the wrong reputation off the bat!  If you’re sitting at the desk doing nothing (not to be confused with charting) while your CNA is running after seven call lights, and you ask them to get the patient in the room across from your desk a glass of water, that’s probably not going to go well!  Work as partners with our valued CNAs, and you’ll do great!”

Speaking for this now former CNA, and the other folks who started their medical careers on the wrong end of lots of Code Browns – thank you, Wise One.  And don’t let me forget to consider the feelings, goals and frustrations of everyone on the health team with me.  Please, don’t let me forget my roots.