Monday, July 1, 2013

Orientation to 8 West

I'm currently learning my new profession.

Not that all of Nursing School wasn't a learning experience in itself... BUT...

now I'm stepping easing into my new role as a registered nurse.
Because y'all, this isn't nursing school anymore.
There is no Nursing Instructor checking behind all that I do.
I have a licence!
I'm a workin woman! ;)
I am responsible for all that I do.
Every single bit of it.
Someone's life was in my hands last week.
But let's start at the beginning, Shall we?


It was an early sunny morning that Monday, June 17th.
0700 to be precise.
My child was staying with Mimi and Papa.
I was dressed in my business casual attire and ready to go.
I was on my way to my very first day of orientation at PHR's corporate office on Greystone Blvd.
It was a day full of speakers, following the 1st day itinerary, learning the key values and pillars of the company, and filling out all the fun Pre-Employment paperwork.

This was my 1st day.

It was boring.
But, it was OFFICIAL!!
The first day in over 2 years that I was getting paid for something, anything!
And sitting in a chair, listening to people talk?
You wanna pay me for that?? Why sure!
No argument here.

For the days following the day at corporate, I was sitting in a classroom in the basement of Palmetto Health Baptist {where the old radiology department used to be located thus NO phone reception. At All}.
Tuesday   -   Wednesday   -   Thursday   -   Friday   -   Monday
There, we did modules on general information as well as orientation information for our own units.
There were 21 of us in my orientation class, and we were packed into that room like sardines.
It was Such a comfort to be going through orientation with 4 others from my graduating class.
We went over all our basic skills and hospital policies on them.
We walked through the charting computer system, which was already familiar because the computer system where I did my clinicals in Orangeburg was nearly identical.
The BEST part of orientation??
I got to wear my scrubs every day.
So far, Grey's Anatomy and Koi are my absolute faves - but I need to try Smitten now.
Any other suggestions??

Oh, the pressures that are relieved when knowing the exact thing you're going to wear to work - not having to plan outfits, coordinate shoes/jewelry... We have srub colors - Royal blue and White, and our trusty nursing shoes.
A fail safe.
I should probably get a few more sets of scrubs after my next paycheck - I only have 3 pair right now and I'm still finding which ones are most comfortable and wear better when working.

Ok, getting down to the nitty gritty now!
Thursday, June 27 - 1st 12 hour shift.
I had one patient from 7am - 7:30pm (give or take 20-30 minutes on both sides)
That was a LONG day.
We started our day with a "huddle" - where all the RN's and techs come together to talk about the night before, then break out to get report from the RN that had our pt the night before.
We do bedside reporting (which is great) so, I was introduced to my patient and away we went!!!
There was NO mad dash for the glucometer's or Dinamaps to get the AM vitals/blood sugars like there used to be in clinicals.
Why? because the nurse tech's get all that for us.
There was time to look in the computer at my orders, labs, previous vital signs/blood sugars and get all my med times written down.
At one point, I had my meds in my hand, my computer ready to go, waiting on my preceptor - JUST LIKE I used to wait on my nursing instructor to give meds - then realized: I got this.
I'm a nurse.

There are 2 of us new grads orienting right now on the floor.
It's so good knowing there is someone else there going through the exact same thing I'm going through!
We find each other in the parking garage in the mornings, walk in and get lost trying to find our way through the hospital together, have each other to ask questions to during the day, eat lunch & people watch together, then get lost walking back out of the hospital together on the way to the parking garage.
AND, on a good day, we actually make it to the right parking garage FIRST ;)
I wonder how long it will take before we know our way around that hospital...
We do so much walking, I should probably invest in a pedometer just to see how much it is. I'm curious to know...

YET, I digress.
While we both have a light patient load, we are orienting with the same preceptor - who is pretty amazing, by the way! I'm so glad to have been put with her! I've already heard horror stories of some preceptors.
At one point in the morning, my new buddy RN and preceptor went into her pt room and I was told to get started on my Head to Toe assessment by myself.
No Problem!!
I will have to get used to finding a computer and pushing it into the pt rooms - in Orangeburg, there were computers in every room and THAT was WAY convenient.
This assessment was pretty easy and within normal limits.
I gave some pills, and checked them like 5 times to make sure they were the right ones - made sure I knew what they were for - gave some insulin, and gave another SubQ shot that day.
It went SO smoothly.
My pt went down for surgery and was gone for about 3 hours.

For the most part, my day was spent getting acclimated to the new schedule, checking my tasks, meeting nurses, techs, doctors, and everyone else that works up on our unit.
It was a good day.

We went back the next day to follow a nurse tech and the unit secretary - each half the day.
THIS DAY - totally different.
It was Friday, but it might as well have been Freaky Friday, the way it seemed like chaos was totally ensuing.
ALL of the nurses were running around, it did have me a little nervous about encountering that sort of day.
They were all telling us how NOT normal days like that were.

So, tomorrow and Wednesday are my 1st back to back 12 hour shifts.
2 patients each day.

Just breathe.
And check those medications over and over again.
Oh, and I forgot to mention - my very first 12 hour shift, JACHO was in the hospital.
This is the accrediting company who is the end all/say all to all hospital - everything.
I don't know how else to explain it, but they are scary.
At one point, these 3 people in business suits sauntered up to our unit, and Erin and I made a B-line to the nurse's station.
They like to corner (licensed) people and ask questions {that are probably a lot easier to answer than I think - like... what do you do if there is a fire/how do you use a fire extinguisher} then, there are questions about stroke protocols// Heart attack protocols that I am just NOT familiar with - yet.

So, here's to tomorrow and Wednesday.
My I keep my patients alive, keep them breathing, and provide them all that they need.
12 hours is a long time to be ever so vigilant.



  1. You're gonna do great!!

    JACHO seems terrifying! I haven't experienced them personally, but they were in our hospital for clinicals a bit last year & cornered one of us students & asked a bunch of questions.

    1. Haha!! And that is the reason we hid in our pt rooms & the nursing station ;) avoiding them at all cost.

  2. You got this! So exciting to follow this journey...

    1. That jump from school to work has definitely been an experience for our family! I'm so ready for this journey! I'm enjoying following your stay at home mom journey with all the fun things y'all are doing.

  3. Surreal isn't it? You are THE Nurse! Congrats again.

    1. Thanks!! And guess what I've been doing the last 2 days.... CHASING PAIN. For real every hour.


say it with a smile.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...