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.


3 thoughts on “R-E-S-P-E-C-T

  1. One does not delegate Code Browns, one shares them.

    The alternative is to be rewarded with the nursing equivalent of having all your restaurant food taste like spit, when the CNA, tech, or what-have-you, decides to leave you hanging.

    As a choice, it’s usually a lot less painful to learn from others’ mistakes in that regard, rather than gaining the wisdom by making your own, but some people are slow learners.

    As a survival instructor says to people who ignore his hard-won advice: Suture self.

    Best wishes once orientation becomes preceptorship.
    Remember, whatever doesn’t kill you, seriously p*sses you off!

    1. Bahaha. . .suture self. . .that’s seriously funny!!! In a phrase, I plan on not crapping (literally) on my CNA colleagues once I’m doing my nurse thing.

      My nurse coworkers in the hospital were generally pretty durned awesome about the shared Code Brown experiences. . .but in long-term care, there’s more CNAs than nurses and the poor nurse is generally doing all they can to assess, push the five gazillion meds to residents (who all have to have crushed meds or can only take their 20 pills one at a time, slowly, in applesauce). . .so they really can’t get to peri-care, even the ones that want to. I should have clarified that LTC was where my illustrious CNA career began.

      However, point taken (same point I plan on continuing to make to myself throughout my bedside career). My goal is to be nice and helpful to EVERYBODY because my hospital really encourages that, and because folks have been so darn nice to me, why the heck not? Patients seem to like it, and since none of us can leave (us for 12.5 hours, the patients who knows when?) why not make things as enjoyable as possible, right?

  2. “they wean us from the oh-so-sweet baked goods like there’s a CIWA protocol for it. . ” my, you’re brilliant! 🙂

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