Friday, March 23, 2007

Pediatric clinical

for illustration only, not a kid I actually cared for
I didn’t write much about my experience in pediatrics. My time for blogging is scant it seems. It was great overall, though slight in patient interaction in the hospital. Because one or both parents are there all the time and they usually like to provide as much personal care as possible, we as students didn’t do much beyond taking vital signs, performing the nursing assessment, and administering medications. Often my cohort could be found in the hall, hungry for something to do.

One day though, I had an infant and mother who’d had a rough night. The primary nurse and I encouraged the mother to take a break, visit the cafeteria, whatever she needed to do while we took care of the baby. While she was gone, we gave the baby her medications, removed her Foley catheter, and saline-locked her IV (basically kept the IV access while discontinuing the continuous infusion). Then I got to hold the baby.

Whoo! Baby-holding. Growing up, my Mom took care of kids in our house so I had lots of experience taking care of them. I forgot how nice it is to hold a little baby, especially if they’re not screaming. It was short-lived as the mom came back soon after. It was nice while it lasted.

My favorite part of this rotation was the observation experiences I did in the pediatric ER and ICU, and not only because I didn't have to complete a lot of paperwork for them. I'd worked in the ER before as a registration clerk and so I knew the layout, but it was such a different experience being there as a nursing student. I found myself focused on patient assessment: what they look and sound like, the history, how the family was interacting. I felt quite nurse-y.

The pediatric ICU was a great too. My instructors couldn't fit me in during the regular schedule, so I volunteered to come in on a Saturday morning so I could have the experience. It was worth the loss of sleep and down time. I lucked out and ended up paired with a great nurse who's also a grad student at my school. She encouraged me to help out with patient care and challenged me with questions throughout the shift. Her two patients (ICU ratio is at least one nurse for every two patient) were toddlers with tracheostomies. They were cute kids, and it was sad that they had to be hospitalized. Worse, because they were trached, when they cried there was no sound. Trust me, a little kid with a tears, a scrunched up face, and no sound is heartbreaking.

Despite enjoying the experience, I'm still drawn toward critical care of adults. I like kids and do well with them, I just think my talents are better used elsewhere.

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