Nursing school problems

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Another memory I simply have to laugh at was one that occurred during my labor and delivery rotation. L&D was my least favorite by far, normally I view myself as a tough cookie but something about the whole birthing process gave me high amounts of anxiety.

In nursing school you only get two solid days on the actual delivery unit, and the rest are spent on the postpartum ward, so while being on the labor unit I at least wanted to see a delivery. After two days of waiting and the end of my second and last shift approached, disappointment settled in my stomach. My patient wasn’t anywhere near delivery for the second day in a row, and I sat at the nurses station watching the fetal heart strips on the monitor. Suddenly a team of health care providers burst out of a room down the hall taking a patient to C-section. The nurse who was mentoring me nudged me and said “get in there and go place the catheter in the operating room.” ┬áSo excited to be a part of the action, I scrambled to get to the gown cart in the hall where the surgical gowns, hair covers, shoe covers etc. are stored. In my haste to catch up to the physicians and nurses in the operating room, I grabbed one of the covers and tried to yank it over my head. I remember thinking “ugh I have so much hair it won’t fit.” I tried shifting my hair, but nothing was working. “Jesus how do other people get their head in this damn thing?” I soon got my answer when I heard a roar of laugher from the nurses station. “Sweetie that’s for your shoe stop putting it on your head!” I couldn’t turn around to let them see my face flush bright red, so I grabbed the next box of covers and ran towards the OR. Needless to say most everyone at that nurses station probably said their prayers for any of my future patients that night.

The night I was covered in shit.

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One night in nursing school during my final semester, I knew what kind of night I was headed for when I heard during shift report, “room 689 has been having copious amounts of diarrhea.” I look at my assignment sheet and below the hot pink highlighter indicating my assignment I saw 689. Preparing myself for a busy night, I went and got started with my assessments, and by 2 am I had thought to myself “Okay, I can handle this I’m doing well.” WRONG. Rule number one in nursing, never think that until you’re in your car on your way home, because everything will go to shit. Literally.

Around 2 am, I reassessed room 689 and realized something was very wrong. His level of consciousness and blood sugar were quickly slipping away from their baseline, along with various other physiological issues. I spoke to a nurse I was working with and she agreed we should rapid response the patient which signals the night resident and an ICU nurse to come and give their input on what is happening.

Getting to the punch of the story, I decided to clean the patient’s linen and put on new depends while the rapid response was on their way, so if he were to be transfered to the ICU then he would already be clean. Just as I was finishing wiping the last bit of diarrhea off his rear and was getting ready to slip a new one underneath him, a series of unfortunate events ensued. The first was a river of shit started flowing from his anus, in a manner that reminded me much of water flowing smoothly out of the end of a hose. It was flowing at a comparable velocity, but it was obviously more alarming to me seeing as it was human fecal matter. The bed was quickly filled, the shit rushing up the patient’s back, down his legs, while he was laying on his side. The nurse who was helping me had no view of what was going down, so I calmly said “we are having a situation back here” as to not embarrass the patient again. She nodded to me and at the very moment that the resident walked in, she yanked the soiled pillow that had been between the patient’s legs acting as a plug, out from between his legs and tossed it to the chair right beside me and in front of the resident. The unfortunate result of this action was that the liquid shit covering the pillow splattered both the resident and I with dark green stool. WIth 6 hours left to go, I looked up at the ceiling and had a very real “Fuck my life” moment. Needless to say it was a night that the resident and I will never forget.