On My New Schedule, Student Nurses, and My Work Wish List

September 15, 2009

This week starts a new phase in my work life, one where I have three whole days off a week. Hence the reason why I am lounging around in my bed at this moment even though I had the weekend off. (I am also lounging around in my bed because I’m still not feeling great. The congestion just WON’T GO AWAY.) Yesterday I worked my first 12-hour shift. Well, not my first 12-hour shift EVER. I did them when I was in school, and I’ve done them for overtime. This was just my first 12-hour shift in my new schedule.

I think I am going to love it. First of all, once I’m already there it’s so much easier just to stay. I loved being able to finish up tasks that I normally wouldn’t have been able to do, and pass my patients off to the next nurse with a clean slate. It was also amazing how once 3 p.m. came and went, the unit got so much quieter. I am convinced that day shift is the craziest, no matter what anyone says. We have the most admissions and discharges, the most doctor’s orders to carry out, and the most tests to send patients to. But that’s beside the point. The point is that I’m already wishing I did three 12-hour shifts a week instead of two 12’s and two 8’s. This extra day off is bliss.

Moving on to my next subject: student nurses. I was one not very long ago. And when I was one, I vowed that when I became a nurse I would be extra nice to the students and try to help them whenever possible. However, I anticipated that I wouldn’t be working with students for years. But here I am, 15 months into being a nurse, and I have already worked with (counting them up now) FIVE student nurses. Methodist is a teaching hospital so we get them all the time. And I understand not wanting to overburden the more seasoned nurses on our unit with students all the time, because we have a lot of young nurses on our floor. I also know that it is a huge compliment that they continually ask me to precept these students.

But really, I don’t think I’m qualified. Most of the time I can get through the day with a student without them realizing that. I try to be as nice and helpful as possible, but last week I had a student that just about did me in. It took 20 minutes just to write down the morning lab results. I’ve never been asked so many questions before in my life. And whenever I didn’t have a complete answer for her she looked at me as if I was stupid. Not to mention the amount of times my career flashed before my eyes thinking she was going to report me for not doing things exactly the way they teach you in school. (Confession: I don’t check my patient’s armband every single time I give medication. Also, sometimes I leave it at the bedside for them to take when they’re ready. Does this make me a bad person? I hope not.)

So the student was extremely needy and judgmental, but don’t get the idea that she was a know-it-all. On the contrary, occasionally I wondered how she made it to her second semester. I can’t tell you how many times I had to explain to her how to calculate infusion rates.

Me: So if I have a 50 cc bag, and I want it to go in over half an hour, how many cc’s per hour does it need to go?

Her: blank stare.

Me: OK. If I have a 50 cc bag, and I want it to go in over ONE HOUR, how many cc’s per hour is that?

Her: …50?

Me: YES. So if I want it to go in over HALF that time I just need to DOUBLE the infusion rate. Does that make sense?

Her: Yes…

Me: So what would it be?

Her: blank stare.

I thought I was going to snap at one point. Anyway, despite all of this, it seems that the student actually LIKED me. So lucky me, I will get to be with her again 1-2 times a week this entire semester. Yay!

Finally, let’s address my ever-expanding wish list. I’ve already shared my biking wants, now it’s time for my nursing-related wants.


1. Cherokee Workwear scrubs. After informal surveys, extensive online research, and acute observation I have decided that this is the brand of scrubs that fit the best. I would like at least three pairs of Caribbean blue and two pairs of other colors.

2. New socks to wear to work because mine are all wearing out. I want some that are ankle high and are either black or have cute stripes or designs.


3. Multi-colored pens. Black and red are essential, blue and green are helpful. It’s so much nicer to have all the colors in one pen.


4. A little pocket organizer. No matter how dorky it looks, I’d like to try it out. I think it’d be good to have a place to store my scissors, pen light, and other random supplies without them getting all jumbled up.

I don’t know if any of this was interesting to anyone who isn’t a nurse themselves or in my family, but there you have it anyway. Hope you are all enjoying your week, and now I’m going to go attempt to salvage this day off.

Posted in: personal

Comments on On My New Schedule, Student Nurses, and My Work Wish List

  1. 1

    From Julienne:

    Dude, how did she make it past elementary school if she can’t figure that out? I’d be frustrated too!

  2. 2

    From Krista:

    Sometimes it blows to be good at your job… Good luck with that student!

  3. 3

    From Rae:

    Is it sad that I almost laughed out loud at your student? Lucky you to get to keep working with her. ;-)

  4. 4

    From mediumcrazy:

    I won’t tell you about the blank stare I gave my computer the first time I read your question to the student.

  5. 5

    From kapachino:

    That’s hilarious. My brother actually told me something similar…he said it was like one of those trick questions that he had to do a double take on. :)

  6. 6

    From Angel:

    Ah, sometimes it’s those people who know how to really get on our nerves to teach us a valuable lesson. They can also just be really annoying. It’ll be interesting to see how everything plays out. Other than that, it seems that you’re really enjoying yourself and that’s wonderful.

  7. 7

    From Ro Manalo:

    Love the socks! :)

  8. 8

    From kait:

    Ah good socks– so hard to make yourself buy, so easy to lose half of! :)

  9. 9

    From Shelly:

    I love the socks!

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