During the end of spring semester I couldn’t figure out how I wanted to spend my summer. Go abroad and experience international medicine? Stay local with my roommates and try to make some money? In the end, after many nagging productive conversations with friends I decided to ask the nurse manager on my clinical floor if she had any openings for techs this summer. To my delight she said she was in fact looking for more techs and to talk to nurse recruitment about setting up an interview. After about a week and a half I found out I got the job and I started planning my Baltimore summer. After today, I can’t imagine having been anywhere else.
I’m working as a CNE (Clinical Nurse Extern) on a surgery floor at Johns Hopkins Hospital. I assist the nurses which includes taking vitals, checking blood sugar, helping patients bathe, changing patients linens, removing catheters, putting in catheters, removing nasogastric tubes, etc. Sometimes I do so much during the day that when I come home in the evening to share with my roommates, I can’t even remember what happened in the morning. (Normally, I would be concerned about this memory deficiency, but I tell myself that this is why nurses chart things so if we can’t remember what we did, at least it’s in writing. Somewhere..)
So far this summer I’ve learned a lot. I’ve honed my glucose taking skills (I apologize to all the patients I had to prick more than once. I really do think the machines have something against me). I’ve removed a few IV’s, catheters, nasogastric tubes, and have definitely taken a lot of crap from patients (not in the negative sense, it’s a GI floor, so literally, I’ve cleaned up a lot of stool). Anyways, after almost two months of just removing tubes…I finally got to put a tube IN today! Yes, that is right, I successfully inserted my first catheter into a male patient. Some people reading this are wincing in pain right now and while I can’t quite relate, I can relate to those of you reading this who have been in my shoes (Sketchers Shape-ups, best purchase I made all year). I don’t like putting people in pain, but to be able to do a procedure (big or small) and to carry it out successfully and have your patient feeling a little better than they were before is a nice feeling to carry around with you as you go through the hectic day and get caught up in any craziness that can happen at any moment. The process went fairly smoothly and to any nursing student out there, it just felt great to put into practice what I’ve learned in school. To go to school and pretty much immediately USE the skills your taught is such a rewarding experience. In this day and age when we expect instant gratification, it’s great to use my knowledge before I’ve even graduated and started paying back my loans! I can really feel the significance of the profession I’m about to enter and it just solidifies the confidence of my decision to become a nurse.
There are a few more weeks of the summer before the Fall semester starts and looking back on it I’m glad I made the decision to stay and work in Baltimore at JHH. Besides gaining a great educational experience, I’ve also observed and felt the camaraderie of working with other nurses on a consistent basis. The nurses on the floor are so caring, passionate, supportive and in general an amazing group of men and women to work with. I look forward to coming in to the hospital and especially look forward to our lunch conversations and any other quirky discussion that comes up throughout the day. It’s amazing how many topics you can talk about when you’re working with the same group of people for 12 hours at a time, three times a week J The knowledge I’ve learned (both during lunch and pre/post lunch) will only benefit me as I go forth in my nursing career and I look forward to continue working on my floor during the semester and winter break.