Posts Tagged ‘monitor’

So was that fun for ya yesterday?  Was it?  Big props go out to my buddy and fellow student nurse Will over at Drawing on Experience who provided the blog entry for me yesterday.  Also, thanks to E1 for pointing out tonight that I had still not, technically speaking, posted any blog entries in 3 months, even with yesterday’s post.  Thus, here I am posting!

Seriously?  It’s been 3 months since I last posted something?  Wow.  Just … um … wow?  Not sure I really have any words for that kinda dedication to my blog, right?  Right.  Yeah.

So let’s see, let’s get reacquainted.  Hi there, I’m Nurse Kenny.  I’m a student nurse who has finished his first year of nursing school, believe it or not, and is prepared to start his second year in the Fall.  The last we talked, I was getting ready to start my rotation on the Maternity floor.  Yeah, that was in mid-March.  Since then, a lot has happened.  Let’s recap and make a long story short, shall we?

  1. I completed the 6 weeks on the Maternity floor.  More on that later on in another post.
  2. First year of school done … happy with my grades … blah blah blah.
  3. Finished my first ever Relay For Life with the American Cancer Society.
  4. Started riding my bike quite a lot more.

And lots of other, mostly boring stuff.  So another time I’ll start posting a bit more about my Maternity rotation, because it was indeed quite eventful.  I’ll just say, I enjoyed it a ton.  Really.  Being serious!  Good times.

Ok, so that brings me (in a roundabout sorta kinda way) to the present.  Right now I have a position as a Nurse Extern in the hospital affiliated with my school here in the city.  I’m actually working on the very same floor where I did my cardiac rotation:  it’s a telemetry unit called the ICCU (Intermediate Cardiac Care Unit).  It’s filled with people who are mandated to be on cardiac monitors (maybe they’re in heart failure, maybe they’ve had a heart attack, etc.).  Also on the floor are folks who are either a) waiting for heart transplants or b) have just had heart transplants.

Immediately after getting a new heart, they’re transferred to the CCU (Cardiac Care Unit), which is like an intensive care unit for them.  After they’re more stable, they’re transferred to our unit.  Also, anytime in the future a heart transplant patient has to come to the hospital for any reason, they’re admitted to our unit.

So … this all means that, for the remainder of the summer, I’ll be posting primarily about my externship (which I’ll have until I graduate — I’ll just be committed to every other weekend during the school year).  I’ll sprinkle in lots of stories about my Maternity rotation, too.

I’ve been “orienting” to the unit, and just getting the hang of the logistics of it all.  This week I’m working Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday on a 7AM-7PM each day, and then I’ll be done my orientation and will be on my own!

Today’s highlights included:  collecting drainage from a JP drain to send to lab; changing gowns a million-gazillion times on a middle-aged woman because she had tube feeding going and was a general mess; being able to tell a fella he wouldn’t have to get his insulin before dinner because his sugar was at an acceptable level, and then seeing the smile come across his face; working with 2 other awesome externs and trying to figure out how best to get someone from Bed A (with a broken bed alarm) to Bed B (brand new bed) without clogging up the whole system — how many nurse externs does it take ……………

See you all soon.  Welcome back!

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So this semester I’m working on the cardiac care unit.  There are different types of patients here, but consist mostly of people in heart failure, people with breathing problems due to heart problems, and people waiting for heart transplants.

It’s this last group of patients who I’ve seen all semester.  They have their own rooms, obviously, and these rooms are very much like rooms you’d see in a dorm.  They’re decorated with Christmas lights.  They have flat-screen TVs hanging up on the walls.  They have their own bedding and furniture (sometimes) and photos in frames hanging on the walls.  These are the folks who walk around with fanny packs containing all the wires hooked up to their cardiac monitor leads.

And they have their own little corner of the unit, which is reserved solely for them.  There’s a few couches there, and a table, and a big-screen TV, and a Wii.

That’s right.  A Wii.

Every time I’m on the floor and come around the corner, I see the same guy down there swinging an imaginary golf club.  Or throwing an imaginary bowling ball.  I’m glad they have stuff like that to occupy their time.  I can’t imagine sitting around in a hospital waiting for a heart.

On this floor there are multiple flat-screen monitors, which detail all the different heart rhythms the patients are experiencing.  We’re tasked to keep tabs on their rhythms to ensure nothing freaky is happening.  Anytime anything abnormal happens with a patient’s rhythm, all sorts of bells and whistles go off.  I’m starting to hear them in my sleep.

My last patient was an elderly woman admitted to the unit with severe shortness of breath.  When I walked into her room, she was wearing what they call a non-rebreather mask (NRB).  There’s a one-way valve on this oxygen mask, which prevents the patient from breathing room air as well as re-breathing the air she had just exhaled.  In my patient’s case, she was breathing 100% oxygen.  As far as I’ve been instructed, this is the most oxygen a patient can receive.

So.  I had gotten report from the student before me, and walked into her room, and knew what to expect.  Whenever she removed her mask for about 10 seconds, her oxygen levels (pulse ox) would start plummeting into the 70s.  (Normal is anything above 95%, and should ideally be as near to 100% as possible — unless you have a chronic respiratory condition like COPD, in which you live in the low 90 percents.)  Anyway, this made taking care of her pretty difficult.  She’d ask for a sip of water, and when she took a drink, her pulse ox would dive quickly and we’d have to get her mask back on.)

Not sure what her future holds, but we shall see.  She was the sweetest woman, and was really an awesome patient.

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