Friday, May 28, 2010

Why I do what I do

There are some days that I leave work and think, "What a great day! This is why I love my job!!" That was exactly what I thought yesterday as my carpool buddy and I walked out of the hospital into the gorgeous weather...and I love days like that! Because they are not always that way! Some days I walk into the gorgeous weather and think, "Ugh, why was I cooped up in there all day!?"

I have been "following" (AKA consistently taking care of) this patient for the past several weeks now...he's the one I talked about walking around the unit in his wheelchair....he's the one I talked about pooping in my hand. So you see, after someone poops in your hand, you kinda have a bond with them. BUT- he doesn't talk!! At least to ANY of the nurses or doctors. He'll get on the phone all the time and talk away in his delayed Spanglish that I can barely understand....but he WILL NOT use words with any of us!!

Until yesterday! Apparently he was in a good mood. And apparently he now feels comfortable enough with me! Both are good things! But let me tell you when I joked around with him and he laughed at me and then proceeded to say "No, mine! Me game" I about fainted!! He had the biggest grin on his face as he was telling me he wanted to play the XBox and I was joking around with him that he broke it! The rest of the day when I asked questions, instead of pointing or using his made up sign language (which I've gotten REALLY good at deciphering now!) he actually used some words!

What a joy it is to see the patients that you spend so much time and energy on to get better actually getting better in more ways than just their physicality! And when phsyically their progress is really slow....REALLY slow's nice to see that I am making an impact in other ways! This little man will be with us....with me as his nurse....until at least August. And who knows how long after that! So I'm sure you'll be hearing much more about him.

Oh, and the other reason I loved my job yesterday was as I was leaving and saying goodbye to both my patients, the other patient's mom said "I just want to thank you so much for everything you have done for us this week. You really care a lot about my son. And in a time when I am too stressed and overwhelmed to do the little things for him, you did it without me having to even ask. So I appreciate that a lot!"

This is something that I don't hear often....weeks could go by without a thank you from patients or parents! But it's nice to know that some people do notice the little things that I do....that nurses do! Because even on the days that we walk out into the sunshine and think, "Ugh, why was I cooped up in there?" we had moments of nursing greatness, and ultimately these are the things to reflect on. These are the things that lead us to think "This is why I love my job!"

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Oh Poop!

Let me just tell you there are days that you just have to laugh at the grossness of your job. Yesterday was one of those days for me! I had two patients (my usual 16yo boy, and another teenager boy) both of whom use the bathroom in their adult sized diapers. Oh so fun!

And even more fun when they both have straight up liquid poo that leaks out of the diaper and all over the bed! Uh-huh this is no joke people!

I felt like I was in med-surg nursing all over again cleaning old people's butts (aww, I hated that job but it still makes me sad!). Though sometimes they did make me laugh, ie: The old man as I was cleaning him saying "It's just cold in here...It's just so cold" as he's looking at his prized man parts. Uh huh....sure, it's cold, but I'm really not checking out the size of your shrived up manhood : ( Poor guy!

Back to the poop though! All morning I went from one room to the other with this horrible stench in the air cleaning up poop after poop! And the best part was when I had my one kid totally on his side cleaned up nicely, bed changed, and went to reach for the new diaper....I see he's starting to poop again! So what do I do??? efforts to NOT mess up the bed I just made up (by myself, I might add, which is no easy task!!) I put my hand under there (gloved of course) while reaching for wipes to use instead. But, yup, there was a pile of nasty orange poo in my gloved hand. Ugh, I can still smell it in my nose (barf!!). I told my patient what I just did, and he laughed! After I got rid of the glove, and washed my hands for about 10 did I!

Now that ladies and gentlemen is nursing at its finest : )

Friday, May 14, 2010

Group Projects

I have never really liked group projects before. This is not to say that I'm not a team player, because I really am when it comes to working in the PICU. It's just there is something annoying about working on a project, a power point, a poster, or a presentation as a group (wow, everything in nursing school seems to start with a "p"!).

However, I realized this quarter WHY I have not liked group projects in the past. It's because I'm completely type A and anal about my work-whether it be in the PICU or in school!! I have always been the one that wanted to do a majority of the project thinking that nobody would do it as well as I could (wow, that's really cocky when said outloud!)

But I've taken a completely different approach this year in school! Don't get me wrong....I'm still a straight A student and want to keep it that way....I've just changed my view on group projects a bit. The last group assignment I had, I initiated the group to start early (I hate procrastinating!) and since I was the one to get the ball rolling I chose which part I wanted to do first....the easiest!

Then this week we were assigned a group power point presentation, and following suit, I chose the topic that I thought would be the least time consuming (granted, I was the third to choose and there were only 4 options....but still, I chose the easier of the 2 left!). I cranked out my part over the past several hours and turned it in to the rest of the group.

In the past, I would wait until everyone had their parts turned in, check it meticulously, and then create the final, not so much! Once my part is turned in, there's no looking things over...there's just no need! I guess the nice thing about being in school with all PICU/NICU and other acute care nurses is that they are all as anal and type A as I am! We consistently turn in our work early, and heavin forbid we get anything less than an A!

So while in the past I hated group projects, I've changed my opinion on this in grad school! In fact, I almost welcome them....instead of doing an entire project myself, I can do a fourth of the thing and get credit for all of it! Sounds like a slacker, but really for all the work I put into group projects in the past, I think I can take this kind of mentality now!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Subscribing by Email!

This is for you mom!! And anyone else who doesn't want to log onto blogger in order to see if I have updated my blog. While I know you do it daily (wink wink!) you now can subscribe and get an e-mail each time I write a post! No more wondering if I've updated! Easy enough...just go to "Subscribe by Email" and put in your e-mail address. Can't be more simple! Enjoy!!!

Never a Dull Moment

Yesterday proved to me that there truly is NEVER a dull moment in the PICU. I had my same two boys I talked about in the walking around post. And while in the morning I got a bunch of stuff done(ie: homework, research on the hardwood flooring we're putting in this summer, scheduling stuff etc.) because they boys were still sleeping, the afternoon definitely took a turn!

While I was supposed to be getting stuff ready for my little one to be discharged home, he decided he had other plans. He decided instead that he wanted to stop breathing and desat ( = your oxygen levels should be 100%...his was 70%!). It ended up in a bunch of excitement, me almost pushing the code button (but I didn't b/c the doc got to me SUPER quick after I stat paged him- props to you!!) but ultimately ended ok. The patient is fine, he just bought himself more time on his bipap machine ( pushes high pressure air in when you breath, and if you breath slower than a set rate, it will give you breaths)...and consequently more days in the PICU.

Just goes to show me that even though my assignment may seem boring, or like I am not doing much nursing that day, I always need to be on the ready. Anything can happen....patient's that look great can change on a dime. And I was ready! The adrenaline that comes with stuff like that is definitely what keeps me going....especially that day because Jon and I both woke up at 3am that morning! I was certainly not tired the rest of the evening...until I got home and crashed! But at the end of the day I could be proud that I was attentive to my patient, noticed his status was changing quickly and acted upon it. In the end, it was a great thing he hadn't gone home a little bit earlier as he was supposed to....the outcome might not been quite as great! I definitely believe that all things happen for a reason....this is one thing that helps prove that!

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Happy Mother's Day to my mom, to my friends that are moms, to the moms to be, and to those wishing to be moms soon! I hope that you all enjoy this day thoroughly and are able to do something fun....something relaxing...something you truly enjoy. Please know that you are special and have a job like no other! You are not rewarded enough for what you do. You do not get the praise for the hard work that you put into raising your children. And yet, you continue to do this, tirelessly! So thank you!

And for the moms that are having to "celebrate" in the PICU today, my thoughts are with you. I pray that you feel the love your child has for you, the gratitude they have that you are with them by their side, holding their hand, wiping their tears. On a day that is supposed to be YOUR day, you make it about your child....truly this is what a mother is! I hope that come next mother's day you will be able to look back and be thankful for where life has led you....away from the PICU and to a happy home with a healthy child. But for those of you that may look back to this year as one of the last with your children, please know that I am praying for you... That your job of a mom is not forgotten or diminished with the passing of the child you raised. Thank you for all that you did...all that you do!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Taking a Walk

I had a great day at work yesterday. In the craziness all around me (ie: surgery being performed in the room because the kid was too sick to make the trip down the hall to the OR, the code happening for almost two hours on a kid who was almost "floor status!", and the kid bleeding profusely but unable to find out from where), I had a serene, peaceful assignment!

Now on some days, I would want those other crazy assignments...I do work in the PICU afterall and love the adrenaline and excitement that comes with it. But yesterday was a nice change of pace from the last two weeks or so where I've had my fair share of the busyness!

So yesterday my job consisted on taking both my kiddos (15months and 15 years old) on walks...over and over and over. If I ever create a hospital I would make a scenic track around the ICU for the few kids that actually do get to go out and walk around the unit because let me tell ya, hospital hallways are pretty boring! If it had been nice out, we could have gone down to the courtyard...but of course it was nasty, windy and rainy : (

So we made the figure eight walk about a dozen times. Every time the 15 month old got into his stroller, he knew he was going for a walk and started laughing! SO cute!! People in the halls kept laughing at me saying I wasn't really working (umm, yes, this is my job today...not much nursing required, but it's keeping him happy!)...and several people said I looked like a mom pushing her son in the park (aww, that was kinda nice...and pushed myself into a deeper case of baby fever!)

And I figure I got another workout in for the day which is always a bonus! So glad I have this weekend off (last one before Jon starts at his new job!!), but am glad that on a typical crazy Friday in the PICU, I had a nice, peaceful, easy assignment!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

I love my job!!

Or the flexibility of my job I should say!

I love that I worked "full time" 38 hrs last week and yet still had a 4 day weekend! Tomorrow is the last day of those 4 and while I'm not super ready to get back to work Tuesday, it is SO nice to be able to have so many days off!

In the last four days Jon and I have gotten tons accomplished: purchased our new wicker patio furniture, placed our cabinet pulls in the kitchen, cleaned the house, done 3 insanity workouts, gone to church, and caught up on some tivo!

And we've had TONS of fun...eating out with friends, watching movies, taking walks, drinking wine, making/grilling dinner together, and just relaxing!

There are not many jobs out there that have this kind of freedom. ..Just one of the many reasons that I LOVE being a PICU nurse : )