I know. I know.
I have been absolutely MIA lately and I am terribly sorry for that.
Will you forgive me if I tell you that I have been suffering from a debilitating case of Writers' Block? Really. It's bad. I'll stare at the computer screen for an hour at a time...watching the curser blink...and blink...and blink...trying to will the words that I so desperately want to say out of me.
This is something I have been thinking about for a while but haven't been able to put into words.
As a new nursing graduate (for some reason, I cannot yet bring myself to say that I am an RN until I am actually working....as hard as I worked for those letters behind my name, go figure), I don't know anything. At all. Seriously.
Sure. I have a book shelf full of binders and binders full of notes and so many textbook that it would make your eyes water and your head spin. I have a shelf full of NCLEX review crap and a CD case full of practice question discs.
But. I. Don't. Know. Anything.
Sure. I may be able to put in an IV on a person who is well hydrated with veins like pipes. I can keep a person calm and listen to them and reassure them that they will be taken care. I can give shots and insert Foley catheters and do a physical assessment and recognize abnormalities. I can quote normal lab values and tell you the general pathophysiology of a disease.
But drop me in the middle of a code? Or have my "healthy patient" suddenly stop breathing?
Well...I hope the patient wasn't someone you liked very much because if I am in charge of their care at the level I am at right now, they probably won't make it. [And yes. I realize that no nursing supervisor worth their salt would put me with a critically ill patient without back up of some kind...but still...the idea remains the same.]
Like I said. I don't know anything about anything.
A professor told me this was normal. Everyone feels like this when they first graduate. That it takes at least two years before a nurse becomes comfortable in his or her abilities. She said that she knew I was ready to graduate because I realized I still had so much to learn.
I guess what brought all this up was a conversation that I had with a paramedic friend. I don't even remember how it started but I think I asked something about if all medics were like him (self assured....or cocky, if you will). He said they should be.
Estelle: Why do you think that? What is it about the field that makes y'all like this?
Him: You gotta have big balls to dance with the devil alone in the streets so to speak. There are only 2 of us in an ambulance as opposed to several docs, techs, nurses, etc. We don't have chem 7s, 12s. Can't check cardiac markers, etc. We have to go only on pathophysiology and our gut instincts for diagnosing. And we have to be accurate otherwise it's back to square one when we arrive at the ED. And for me, doing critical care, we have to make acute care decisions that will last several hours.
We have to have ACLS in order to have our license, it's a choice for an RN. I am an ACLS instructor, teach doctors how to run codes. We paramedics save more than doctors do. I can compress chests, do surgical airways, intraossious lines, intubate, reduce fractures, chemical sedation, induce chemical paralysis all while cutting someone from a car or taking them from a house. Nurses really don't know what we do in the field. We do everything but take x-rays.
I teach EKG and 12 lead interpretation to docs. Paramedics are almost as good as a cardiologist. Paramedic school is basically equal to almost 3 years of medical school. We come out of school ready for action. Nursing only prepares you for NCLEX.
First off....how fucking awesome is that?
Secondly, read that last line again.
*Nursing only prepares you for NCLEX.*
I've heard this before. And it pissed me off to no end. My reaction was something like this:
"WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU MEAN IT WILL ONLY PREPARE ME FOR NCLEX???!!! I AM NOT SPENDING THE NEXT TWO FUCKING YEARS OF MY LIFE LOCKED AWAY IN A LIBRARY JUST SO I CAN PASS SOME GODFORSAKEN EXAM. TEACH ME SOME SHIT THAT IS USEFUL!!!11!!!! RAWR!"
My reaction now?
".....fuck.....i am going to kill someone...because all I knew how to do when I got out of school was pass boards.....fuck...."
Heaven help me....and any of my unfortunate patients.