Apologies if this post ends up reading like a diary post! Also... I realized I never made a post about my thoughts after the first week of Med-Surge! Whoops! Med-Surge has been a whirlwind. During these rotations, we have lectures in classrooms as well as clinical days twice a week in that correlated specialty. The lectures for Med-Surge were kind of all over the place due to our professor's own personal life which was understandable. Med-Surge is also just SOO much information all crammed into 5 weeks. For those who don't know what Med-Surge is, it' stands for Medical-Surgical. So we are basically taught EVERYTHING in terms of nursing care -- renal, cardio, pulmonary, cancer, endocrine, neuro, musculoskeletal, perioperative, etc. So many topics. It was a pretty exhausting 5 weeks, but my clinical days were what really made my learning experience incredible.
The floor I was on was a basic Med-Surge floor - we had a variety of patients who commonly came in for CHF, CKD, falls, asthma, COPD, MI, CKD, DM, etc. My clinical instructor has been teaching for over 10 years, so she definitely knew her stuff. She constantly challenged us to understand the nursing process, to know how all these pathological issues interconnect. She made us think critically and allowed us to make sense of what we were doing in the hospital with our assigned patients. She was so invested and passionate in our education, as well as our well-being as students in an accelerated program. I will forever be thankful for my Med-Surge clinical instructor.
During the last day of my rotation, I witnessed my first passing of a patient. One of my clinical group member's patients coded. As a group, we all huddled outside the elderly patient's room as doctors, respiratory therapists, anesthesiologist, cardiologist, nurses from the floor, nurses from other floors crowded inside the room. The red crash cart was right outside the room and one of the nurses was in charge of prepping medications to be handed into the room. Another nurse at the crash cart recorded everything that was going on -- the meds being administered, the time they were administered, and when time of death was called.
Us nursing students were trying to stay out of the way while this healthcare professional team worked on resuscitating the patient. Peaking through the team, I could see the CNA, a pretty tall, muscular guy bobbing up and down performing CPR. I could still see and hear it all. Epinephrine. Dopamine. Calcium. More epi. Prep amio (amiodarone). Administer bicarb. We need more epi, call pharmacy. Get the doppler, we need to find a pulse.
When time of death was officially called, we looked at each other with solemn faces. That was it. I guess it was the patient's time to go. The nurses and CNAs went in to clean up the room. Our instructor prompted us to go in. We walked in and saw the patient's face, mouth still opened from the intubation. Cell phone and glasses by the bedside. The TV was still on. The sun was still shining outside. The patient's life had passed. But the world just kept turning. The nurses had to attend to their other patients. Patients roamed the halls oblivious to what had happened. We also had our duty as students to go about our day as well. It left a strange feeling for the rest of the day as we studied our butts off for our final exam the next day. Looking back at the death, I can still picture the scene. And I simply hope the patient's family who was on their way to the hospital by the time we left are going to have the support and closure they need.
Moments pass so quickly. We take things for granted -- people, our health, time.. We don't go throughout our days thinking -- oh, i should make sure to say something nice to this person before I leave, because you never know what will happen. That's just something we don't do. It's something I know I don't do. It does make me think though... about last words. There's so much pressure in that. But more so, I am hoping that people can look at experiences, relationships and life on a timeline, rather than putting all this pressure on the very last moments.
Okay, too much solemn reflection. I hope all have a good long weekend (for those who get Presidents day off). Spend time on yourselves and do things that make you happy. Surround yourself with people who uplift you and inspire you.