Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Paper Planes

Nice to be the 4th most popular dude R.N. in the universe. http://www.lpn-to-rn.net/blog/2009/50-best-blogs-for-male-nurses/

I start out in my new E.R. next week. I'm really lucky to get the job. Over 150 applicants, five picked, I made the grade. As much time as I spent in the E.R. as an E.M.T., I am not an E.R. nurse. I have not worked with babies and kids as a R.N. The thought of putting an I.V. into a little guy makes me nervous as hell.

I miss the E.R. Quick movement, patients in and out, more volume than detail. I am also frustrated that an I.C.U. nurse with one year of good trauma experience can't get an I.C.U. job. The market is tight. Enthusiastic career minded new nurses are treated like a plague. We work cheap, we don't bitch as much, and we take abuse we probably shouldn't.

I have found that a lot of experienced nurses didn't really apply themselves to the books when they first started. They didn't need to. It was more about volume, families, more patients died. It seems that I.C.U. nursing is more about science now, memorization of facts and numbers, understanding deep pathophysiology. I feel like I never got out of nursing school. I went straight to I.C.U. , my head up the arse of a book the whole time. For the last year and few months I have been given book after book, taken test after test, all of critical care knowledge. I learned it because I enjoy it and have passion for critical care.
That knowledge is an absolute detriment to my career because experienced nurses are quite savage and vindictive to anyone who might know more than they. My pathophysiology and technical knowledge is far more deep than the average veteran I.C.U. nurse (20 years). However, it is the veteran's practical skills and experience with outcomes that makes her captain of the ship or general of the cluster fuck. Veteran nurses run circles around me because they don't follow the same rules I am expected to follow. They write their own orders, they dismiss labs. They are so bitchy and obnoxious to residents that the residents wait until they are gone to write orders which means 7 pages of crap for me. Basically, they do what they want to.

I had to take and pass a critical care exam to work in my last I.C.U. I was told that I scored higher than anyone before me. When I got on the floor I was EXTREMELY careful to not flaunt my knowledge or act like I knew better than any senior nurses. I was a good boy. Instead, I got labeled a "new nurse" by everybody. The manager told me that if I didn't ask question she would be worried. If I asked a question any of my 5 preceptors in 5 weeks (scheduling bonanza)and they knew the answer to it- what a a stupid question! I'm really surprised you didn't know that! If they didn't know the answer they would tell me it was not of any importance. I got quizzed constantly about drip rates we never used, nursing interventions for problems that didn't exist, I must have been quizzed 60 times on why we deep suction every two hours. So annoying, all these hags so proud of themselves because they can say the word "VAP" and know how to minimize it. Never mind the fact I already was suctioning q2 hours with oral care. I even wrote it into my daily plan of care before the shift started for them to see. Never mind I was taught in nursing school how to reduce ventilator associated illness AND THEY JUST STARTED SAYING "VAP" LIKE QUACKING DUCKS A MONTH AGO. Not one time did a preceptor say, "Clearly you understand." and leave it. Their insecurity manifests in hours of wasted time.

I didn't want to be argumentative, so when one of my preceptors decided I didn't know the onset, peak, and duration of fast acting insulin she went to the hospital's intranet and showed it to me. "This is the IntRAnet!" she said , proud of herself. I nodded like a puppy. I appreciated the fact that she was taking the time to help me out so I said thank you for the information. But the bottom line is I had never heard of Aspart insulin, the last two hospital systems I worked at used Lispro.
My preceptor pop quizzed me-"What is the onset, peak, and duration of fast acting Aspart?"
"You mean Lispro?" The PDF she showed me just said "fast acting".
"I said Aspart!"I was 30 minutes off the peak time, I think I said an hour and a half. The rest of my times were correct. I recited from rote memory. Mind you that my preceptor of course had no fucking clue the onset, peak and duration and was also writing her own order for insulin. I was trying to get her to tell me what THE BRAND NAME OF ASPART WAS when she decided I was incompetent.
Two weeks later the I.C.U. manager called me into her office and told me, "I was told you don't know what fast acting insulin is. I'm very disturbed that Janice had to explain fast acting insulin to you."

I told her that just because Janice had explained it didn't mean I didn't know as people were explaining things to me all day that I already knew. Oh the catch 22. I think it is beginning to dawn on a lot of senior nurses that the game has changed and is in the process of becoming a whole other game entirely. I think it profoundly bothers old nurses that I'm coming out of school with one year of I.C.U. experience and I am able to demonstrate more clinical knowledge then they ever had. It's not their fault, nursing education is different now. Better research is out there. But they hold us responsible for their aging. And I need them, which they know. They have the experience to put it together. They know what rules to bend and which to ignore. They know how their particular machine works, they helped build it after all, but the machine has been redesigned.
Nurses get paid for how long they have been in, not what they know or are capable of.