Sunday, July 27, 2008

Spreading My Wings



This is the week I should get out there on my own in my new role as a hospice nurse. I made quite a few visits on my own last week and some joint visits with a nurse educator. I also made several visits with nurses and social workers who acted as preceptors for me. I just need to perform a couple of tasks to demonstrate my competency and I'll be on my new shift. Surprisingly, I'm nervous. I don't want to make mistakes. It's so disconcerting to go from the top of my game to novice again.

After so many years, I'm a newbie all over again and I'm suffering a bit of anxiety. Last week, I dropped my keys in the car between the seat and the console and set off my car alarm looking for them. In front of a patient's home. It took me forever to get at those stupid keys. When I got things settled I drove off to my next appointment and had a panic attack thinking I'd set the paperwork on top of the car while looking for my keys. I didn't. The papers were in my visor. Jeeze Louise, I'm out of sorts.

The paperwork is extraordinarily involved. Most of the nurses are working with computers but not me. Not yet. I won't get my training until next month. I'm told, life will be easier once I do get my laptop. In the meantime, I'll deal with 32 page admission assessments. And, I won't be doing what another nurse in the area did-lose a laptop with patient data tucked safely inside and password protected. Not trusting memory, she taped her password and ID on the laptop. Uh-oh. Not so good for business. I am capable of learning from another person's mistake.

I think the hardest part of being in this role is giving up the ghost of the critical care nurse in me. Not the critical thinking part, but the rescue part. I want to rescue everyone. It's been pounded into me over the last 25 years that I need to think ahead and see what is coming. If you are part seer, then you too can be a critical care nurse. I know that I can't completely let go of those skills, I just need to use them differently. It seems odd to be telling people "don't call 911 in an emergency, call us first."

Most patients in hospice care, are doing this in their own homes. This is sometimes very difficult and I feel tremendously for their caregivers. All of a sudden, they've gone from relative or friend to the role of full time caregiver and often, with no preparation. I try to make extra time for just talking to caregivers and allowing them the opportunity to express their concerns and fears. This was always one of my better skills in a critical care situation and I'm hoping my new role allows me the time to continue with this kind of care. I think it will.

In the meantime, I'm burning some of my favorites for those long drives all over this city. I'm taking suggestions for good street and driving music. How about this one for a theme song?

12 comments:

Wilde Thyme Knits said...

Good luck with your new role. I'm sure you'll be fine. They're lucky to have you touching so many people's lives.

Lisa L said...

Hi - just found your blog...and wanted to let you know I'm a Hospice RN also...started April 1, 1992! Prior to that did peds,wellborn nursery and post-partum...you'll be just fine! Good luck and if you have any questions, I'd be happy to help you out!

Anonymous said...

Searching for some ditties. I found one by the Clash that is perfect for you ...

Check your e-mail: You'll love it!


Ftm

Rudee said...

Thank you expat.

Rudee said...

Hi lisa. Do you do peds hospice? I don't think I could do that. For right now, it's adults. We have quite a few very YOUNG adults-and even that's hard. We do have a pediatric hospice. Those nurses are pretty awesome and handle an incredibly heavy workload for such a delicate situation. Thanks for the offer of help. Are you a knitter too?

Rudee said...

Great song FTM. Rudie Can't Fail! I love The Clash!

Brenda said...

You really are special to do everything that you do. The part about your horn honking though made me laugh...sorry. Meant to ask you if the picture on your previous post, about returning the shawl to its original owner... was one of the ladies you? The only reason I ask is because I remember a post you had a while back about getting your hair cut short and letting the gray show. Just curious, when you were going to show off your hair! Ha...

Rudee said...

Yes Brenda, that's me on the right and Niki on the left. The back is mostly all gray and I have about another inch of new growth beneath the blond on top. I'm due to see Tiff to get more whacked off. It isn't bothering me too much where only a year ago, any showing drove me nuts.

Lisa L said...

Hello! Yes we do it all, but have had very few peds pts over the years. Young adults yes...Mostly the peds cases have been newborns born with either genetic or developmental anomalies which are incompatible with life.

Brenda said...

Okay, Your hair is REALLY cute!!! I could never wear mine that short though, but would love to try it just to see what color it would be. I did not see gray though in yours?!?!

Rudee said...

Brenda: The gray is there-all the sides, completely in the back and about an inch of new growth on top. All silver. I'll be getting more cut off Friday. One more cut after that and it'll be all silver. We'll see how it looks!

Rudee said...

Amazing Lisa. I can't go there. Our nurses who do are amazing.