Training Wheels

Last week was my first full week of my 3 month preceptorship. I worked 7pm – 7am Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday. Of course I was sick with a sinus infection the entire time, but what else is new. Regardless, I am officially a “nocturnal nurse”.

My preceptor is a fantastic nurse who has a lot of experience in several different areas of nursing. She’s the charge nurse which has its pros & cons.

  • Pros: She knows just about everything & she gives me great advice on how to work more efficiently. I also have more freedom because sometimes she gets pulled away to admit patients or help the other nurses.
  • Cons: Sometimes she gets pulled away to admit patients or help the other nurses.

I am confident in my abilities & I know what my limitations are. But after having an instructor watch my every move for the past two years it’s hard to take those training wheels off.

I was in charge of 3 patient's last week & one of them was complaining of nausea. After checking his orders, finding an order for a PRN dose of Zofran for nausea, pulling it from the pyxis (a magical machine full of medications), & gathering all my supplies, my preceptor said, “Ok. Go ahead & give that IV push & meet me back here. We’ve got a new admit coming to room 5.” I looked at her, said “Ok” and wheeled my workstation to the patients room while thinking “Oh my gosh! They’re really gonna let me do an IV push without watching me!”

Standing outside of the patients room I realized there was no “they”…this was all me. I was pushing a drug under MY license number, not someone else’s like in school. Even though this is a task that I am perfectly comfortable doing (and one that my preceptor had watched me do several times) I was still nervous. I checked the 7 rights at least three times:

  • Right patient
  • Right medication
  • Right dose
  • Right time
  • Right route
  • Right to refuse
  • Right documentation

After telling the patient that he had the right to refuse for the 3rd time he looked at me and said, “Are you trying to hint to me that I should refuse this medication?” Thankfully, I played it off & blamed the fact that although I had done this before, I was a new nurse so I wanted to cross all my T’s & dot all my I’s. He smiled & politely said, “Consider ‘em crossed & dotted. Now give me the damn medicine before I puke on you.”

I love being a nurse. I can’t wait to experience more firsts. In a couple of weeks, I know I’ll be ready to take those training wheels off…until then, I plan on soaking up all the knowledge I can from my preceptor while taking care of those in need.

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