I was in the hospital changing room this morning. I had just put my uniform on, and looked in the mirror. I saw a staff Nurse in the reflection. It was with mild horror and a smidgen of excitement that it turns out the staff nurse was me.
Yes, this is my first "proper" shift as a Staff Nurse after qualifying. I was initially bloody terrified. I mean, I have never been on the ward, and now people would not be looking at me and saying "Have you seen a staff Nurse about?". Nope, this time it would be "oi, you!". Oh dear.
Well, having been greeted and given the mandatory cup of tea, I was introduced to the staff Nurse who I was working with (who shares my last name). We agreed that rather then me shadow fully, that I would take the bay patients and work observing initially, and then take on a small caseload myself. We started the drug round first off. That was the first big step. Before, as a student nurse, if I did medications they had to be checked and countersigned by the registered nurse. When we started, the other staff nurse said "Have you got you PIN through?". I have, so the round was left to my own devices. The round did take 40 minutes. Now, before you all snigger and think "Daft bloody newbie" I may point out the first patient was bad at swallowing and so I was the one who gave the tablets literally, and with two of the patients there was no medication sent up with the overnight admissions. This necessitate my going through the ward drug cupboard and ordering several medications from the pharmacy department. It was at the same time, one of the wards consultants came into the treatment room who also has my last name as well. That was rather odd. Anyway, that done, I did the washes. Two were straight forward while one was a patient who needed changing.
The day wore on with the same pattern emerging. I did some dressings, some patients needed turning, some were admitted, all had paperwork done/risk assessments completed/nursing plans put into notes e.t.c. One change I found was if one of my patients asked for PRN medication. It was a massive change to be able to say "Right you are" and then get it there and then for them rather then play "Hunt the Nurse". This happened several times.
All in all, the day was steady. The ward manager spoke with me several times to ask how I was getting on. She thought that I had crammed a lot into my day. I did say that my approach to work is to initially ask when unsure. I have worked for 3 years to get my PIN. I would much rather be ridiculed for asking about something that seems trivial rather then have the ward manager come to me and say "I need a word with you as you should not have done..."
One thing I have found of today is that while I checked, double and quadruple checked my medications and drug cardex, I am still full of nagging doubt. About what, I really don't know. I think it is the after effect of the nerves wearing off. I am back in tomorrow.