Awkward Nurse Chronicles · Random Musings · Updates

The Awkward Nurse Chronicles: The little things matter the most

Hey everyone, clinicals have been keeping me busy lately, and for a fact that my work schedule is completely bonkers and spontaneous that I sometimes have to fully commit to work before anything else. But I wanted to put a new category to this blog where I get to share my thoughts and experiences in the clinical area.

So currently, I am a trainee in the Medical Intensive Care Unit. Our usual patient cases would be stroke patients and post myocardial infarction patients, who are placed in the coronary care unit (CCU). Two days ago, I was assigned to a patient in the CCU and he was one of those talky patients, where when you give a medication you end up staying longer than intended because he enjoys conversing about anything. He was actually doing fine that the doctor gave an order that  he can be transferred to a room.

But then he another attack…. feelings of chest tightness, difficulty of breathing, and hypothermia was suddenly happening, so we had to intubate him asap. Once he was stable again, we proceeded with the therapeutic and medical management made for him.

Oh, and btw, he’s still chatty even with a tube. We provided him with a whiteboard and a marker and he doesn’t stop writing.

One of the managements was rapid potassium replacement. My fellow colleagues in the medical field, we all know how burning and irritating potassium is to the vessels. And he complained about this alot, despite us slowing down the rate and explaining to him that this is the best way to bring up his potassium levels back to normal. Still complaining about the pain, I decided to provide him with a cold compress to put over the site. I used to do this to patients back in the ER when we would give rapid potassium replacements when they complained about the pain as well. He was still grumpy and defeated, but he didn’t really have a choice. After I got him settled, I went to tend my other patients.

About an hour passed and I was working with my staff on writing our progress notes. CCU patient’s guardian came up to me with his whiteboard with this written on it: “You’re idea works! Thank! :)” That actually made me smile. And when my staff went in to check on him, he wrote to her: “That nurse is really resourceful! She needs to be hired as a staff!” and “she must work in the US, she’ll be competent enough.” My staff was happy that he was happy, and told me I did a really good job.

I would never expect that I would be able to make a patient really happy and be praised over a simple cold compress. Now every time I do my rounds and treatments, he would be happy and cooperative, and he would always point out that he’s really grateful that I gave him the cold compress. It really got to me that even the most tiny things of what you do to care for your patients, greatly matter to them.

This job is full of surprises that’ll make not only a patient’s day, but your day as well.

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