There’s nothing like walking onto a unit, for a 12 hour shift; after a 2 week vacation to some tropical island, receiving an alert on your phone that reads “MISSLE INBOUND,” singing karaoke with strangers, drinking Mai Tais, getting married to a local, all while doing the Cha-Cha Slide.
I know. It’s wild. Not knowing your patients, I mean. Time for first impressions all over again…
01/12/2015 @ 0558
Today is my first full clinical day. I’m here an hour and a half early. No reason. I am a morning person, and when I am up…that’s all she wrote. I’m currently parked, sitting in my Toyota Corolla. I call her Caroline. I just finished listening to “Return of the Mack,” by Mark Morrison. And now I am on to “This is How We Do It,” by Montell Jordan. Lol. Ugh. I feel old.
On my way here, I had a very low self-esteem attitude. It was a pretty monotonous drive. Nothing spectacular happened. I didn’t even have my morning fix of caffeine. I realize that I’m addicted to the fix, especially when it comes to Monster Rehab drinks. I’ll eventually have to work on that. So, I stopped by a local gas station, just before I got to my site and purchased the Rehab Rojo Tea. It’s one of my favorites. Now, I have this sudden urge of Tourette’s, screaming “I will blow this mother f**ker up!” Not in a literal sense, of course. It’s more or less an expressive attitude on how I feel about this place, waking my up 5 o’clock in the flipping morning. I do look spiffy in my scrubs though.
Today, according to my course calendar, our main objective is to work on our process recording assignment. Process recording is essentially an exercise that analyzes communication.
Communication is huge in nursing. I repeat, huge. Heck, communication is a big deal in every professional field. As I’ve stated, process recording is a tool we all can use to evaluate how we talk to someone. I won’t go into extensive detail on it. For crying out loud, they teach semester long classes of this topic. I’m merely shining light on it for the newbies and the veterans. First impressions are everything!
Imagine walking into the room of your bedridden-patient. Approaching the bedside, you start blabbering on about how they need to sign consents for something or take a medication; all while you hoover over them like you’re telling your 5 year old to put on her shoes. If I was the patient, I’d tell you “I don’t have to do s**t. Get out of my face.”
In my case, it’s communicating with a psychotic patient, who has no idea who I am. Or reaching out to a depressed kid, who recently tried to run into traffic.
Or perhaps imagine wearing black and white checkered Vans to work. Some may see it to be unprofessional. Some may even see it to represent “incompetence.” But in my eyes, I feel that they project a sense of humility/humbleness. It allows me to not come off as a random Jacka**, who has their head so far up their butt.
Or perhaps even further, you probably don’t want to break the news to your girlfriend that you cancelled a spa night, because you wanted to watch football with the guys…her arms were crossed, she had a stressful day at work, and it reads “HANGRY” on her forehead. All the signs were there Scott. All the signs were there. #Smh.
The art of Process Recording, continues to be a forefront for therapeutics. The exercise makes us aware of a multitude of communication aspects: body language, tone of voice, dictation, eye contact level, articulation, appearance, cultural awareness, etc. The list can go on and on. A skill that can be easily forgotten.
Being aware/reminding ourselves of this helps us become better nurses…better professionals. It helps us to be better educators, advocates, and listeners. It helps us relate to our patients and get closer to them. It helps us build those positive, trusting, therapeutic relationships. All of which help us reach that common goal: for the course of treatment to continue to move linearly progressive.
(later that evening)
Today will forever mark the day of my first patient, as a nurse. I went up to the orthopedic unit, and immediate grabbed her paper chart out of the cubby. I even made a little laminated sheet of paper that stated “PATIENT CHART with NURSING STUDENT.” I’m such a nerd. Anyway, Mrs. Mary is in her 80s. She recently had an acute infarction. She has a been diagnosed with severe rheumatoid arthritis, for quite some time now, and is taking methotrexate. Nurse’s notes state that she complains of joint pain and difficulty walking. She is on the orthopedic unit because she has a fractured tibia and fibula. With all that said, she has history of falls. “Redness to the bottom. RN is aware. Please reposition q2h.” In addition, she is continent and has a general diet.
The room was quiet, a little cold, and dark. The sun was barely up. I immediately noticed that my patient seemed very reserved. She was already awake and had her arms crossing her chest.
Long story short…my patient requested a nurse change. #blown. #Lol. Unfortunately…my patient, Mrs. Mary, didn’t like Filipinos. Nor did she like men. With all that said, process recording allows us to change and make a mark on how we work as individuals. It allows us a chance to open a gate and get closer to people. It does not however, control their own past experiences and free will of opinion.