I had one night of orientation before “taking patients” and I got the feeling that while my manager and educator didn’t think that was a great idea, they also didn’t know what else to do. With 0-2 very, very stable ICU patients, the other nurse that I am working with is basically my “preceptor.” But you do have to consider that they have all been working here only two months more than me, although some of them do have some experience in the system, which is helpful.
I started work in the middle of the month and nursing orientation is at the beginning of the month so I’ll do that in Sept. While I don’t look forward to sitting through classes about ethics, patient safety and infection control, it will be nice to learn about all the symbols and abbreviations that I should be using to chart. Speaking of charting, somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I remember paper charting and reconciling the MAR’s (medical administration records) at midnight … that was, after all, only four years ago. Maybe it is old fashioned but I do enjoy flipping through a paper patient chart and instead of clicking tabs on the computer screen although reading doctor’s handwriting is still a fun challenge. I also remember hospital life without residents or techs or med students which, on the night shift, translates into a really quiet morning and paging the real doctor, as in the one who actually did the whole, entire surgery.
Rumor has it that this little hospital will grow and expand quite a bit in the next 3 years and if you look at the construction, it is obvious that the place was built for growth. Right now, 16 general care beds will be added in November and the ICU has the potential to be a 10 bed unit, but if you ask me a 10 bed ICU in a 48 bed hospital may not be all that full. I look forward to being a part of the growth and, in the immediate future, celebrating with the rest of the ICU staff when we get our first vented patient. =)