Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cold Cold Ground

I could write for days. Days, I tell you! Funny stories, aggravating instances, tales of monotony and terror, personal reflection and the ultimate sad but true truth. Highlights like a hot lady with dark hair and that kind of naughty, kind of cute, light brown streak, the highlight, running across the lateral side of her head. Lateral. Hot chicks with high lights. New grad dude nurse feels overwhelmed for 12 hours can't seem to get it right. When is this shit gonna get easier?
Still love the ICU. I'm happy and grateful to be there. My supervisor wants me to be more humble and ask questions more nicely. Reasonable request. Cuz don't forget, experienced nurses can shit all over you but the second you bite back they're moved to tears and outrage and cookies and WILL NOT BE SPOKEN TO LIKE THAT BY A NEW GRADUATE. Sorry. Just don't make up hospital protocol (if a doc writes an order for ANY drug you as nurse have the autonomy, the discretion, to give the dosage you see fit as long as it doesn't exceed the order) and get pissed when I point out that legally, that's asking to get sued. If a doc writes an order for 3mg morphine and you think it might kill your patient, call the bastard up and get a new order for 1mg of morphine, even better, have it written as a sliding scale PRN. That's legit. That's communicating with a doc who probably appreciates the foresight. Now, who wants to be the motherfucker to call at 0300 for that bullshit? Not me. That's when you give a nursing dose. But regardless, we may give the drugs, but we don't write the fucking orders. And don't male up rules on how "it really works". I didn't call you sloppy. I don't even care. I just don't roll that way. So now all 30+ ICU nurses know of my argument and have taken away about 20% of the warmth they initially extended to me. Ahhh, good looks can only get you so far when you come across as an arrogant dickhead.

I keep telling them, the experienced ones, till I'm blue in the face, "I understand your rationale, you don't want to overdose your patient but you need to get a new order if you are going to change the dosage and a sliding scale or dosage parameters have not been set." Not that abrasive right? Opinionated, fuck yeah. But I'm not like, " ALL NURSES OLDER THAN 35 WITH MORE THAN 5 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE SUCK AND ARE STUPID COMPARED TO MY NURSING SCHOOL ASS. I WAS CLASS PRESIDENT BITCHES, AND DON'T FORGET IT." My god, I politely didn't agree with your practice and had, what I stupidly thought, was a healthy argument.

And with that, my friends, I earned the label "Cocky". It is pretty ridiculous, I mean I'm a new grad, a student with a license, telling them how to do something they've been doing for 10, 15, 25 years. It IS outrageous. What can I do? I'm gracious when they share knowledge with me, my questions come across as a challenge and that's my bad- they aren't challenges-I thoroughly enjoy debates and spirited arguments, I love tumultuous, vigorous conversation. I do not raise my voice, I do not call names, I preface my statements with, "I don't mean any disrespect" or "I'm confused about this order do you have a second to explain it to me?" Even, "What do you think if I was to do it this way?"
And then I argue until I understand what they are saying. That's just me. A stubborn weirdo who respects the people who can thoroughly explain their rationale before I implement it into my own practice, so I know why I'm doing what I'm doing, rather than just doing it. My preceptor tells me I don't ask enough questions. God, I must be a prick.
In nursing, its just not okay to debate. Nurses are fragile with their truly impressive knowledge. I'm not being sarcastic. I love nursing knowledge. But all it takes is some first year intern to tell them they are wrong and toss out what the nurse considered to be a rule of biblical proportions (give Desmopressin to a polyuric pisser who basically has no electrolytes and is in DI). Intern says no, "Lets keep supplementing with IV electrolytes." Resident backs it up. Attending likes the way it sounds. They all read some study on desmopressin that R.N.'s don't even have access to. She's pissed and humiliated.

Nurse: your knowledge is hereby rendered dated and you just lost a little more of your repetoire.
I guess I realized this week that new grads aren't allowed to bring new nursing science to the table. It's seen as insanely arrogant and mildly suicidal.
Kind of sucks. I wouldn't argue with experienced nurses unless I respected them. But I don't think too many of them respect themselves so they don't really get that.
My ICU preceptor and subsequent staff are aware of my argumentative hard headed nature. I tried to hide it. But its been 90 days, I'm still on precepting. I still make stooopid mistakes. I forget to sign off the morphine I gave two hours ago, again. I feel stupid. I forget to transcribe the lab results onto the flow sheet because I've got the hard copy in my hand and I've already shown the critical values to the resident. My preceptors says, "You know, I'm tired of babying you with these lab results, you need to record these on the flow sheet as soon as you get them and intepret them."
I ask, "Even before I notify the doc that my patients K+ is 2.5? He says, "Yeah".
I don't argue. And I make mistakes. Some preceptors are cool. Some are hard asses. Can't say for sure I 'm making the grade. I think I am. I mean, I ask for the heaviest patients the ICU has, I make 5 million little mistakes throughout the day but I always leave on time. I just woulda thought that if a new grad, a preceptee, asks for the heavy patients then the powers that be, that general hum that runs through a unit, like a positive ion gossip charge pulsating through a rumor bed, I thought they would have cut me a teeny bit o' slack. Guess not. I asked. I received. duh.
Yep, there is a lot I could write.
But I'm tired and tomorrow I have to be able to tell my preceptor where an MI is likely to occur in someone with right coronary artery failure. Inferior, posterior left ventricle, I think. Got me. They're not gonna let me get near a heart patient for like, 15 years anyway. And understandably so.