For all the years that I’ve worked as a nurse, I have few photo stories or memories of those days. They exist only in the recesses of my mind and they are getting dimmer. Perhaps in the telling of some, the rest will show up.
Most everyone, almost, always remember first jobs, first day on the jobs, and jobs they’ve been fired from. I’ve quit nursing before, but never been fired as one. That story will come later. I’ve been fired, too, once. And if you know me, then you will know then what a horrific blow that was, not to my ego, but to my heart. That story maybe will show up – in another place.
For now, let me tell you about my first day as a nurse.
In those days, there was no orientation period, no buddy shifts. You were a nurse. School was over. Time to put away the books and get to work. I was shown my way around the ward – the patient rooms, 28 in all, the medication room, the dirty service room, etc. Then I was given my assignment. Then, go to it, girl!
The only thing I remember from that day was one patient in a private room. She was a little confused. She had diarrhea. The only thing foremost in her mind was she had to get to the bathroom. And she got there, but….not in time and she didn’t take her IV with her. So there was this trail of blood and yellow diarrhea behind her.
And so, what the f**k is the big deal? 🙂 I can say that now nonchalantly from the safe distance of 30+ years of mopping it up, wiping it up and sucking it, buttercup. BUT in that first day, even though I was a mature woman it WAS a big deal.
I was a very, very new, no experience whatsoever nurse. I had been out of training for 6 months and couldn’t find a nursing job till then. Did not know the ins and outs of nursing homes or hospitals. I had never even changed a baby’s diaper. Never knew anyone else’s wastes except mine own.
So I was aghast at the sight. What do I do now? I ran to my head nurse and told her of my plight. She went and got a mop, then a band aide. She handed them to me. She and the CNA (certified nurse’s aide) smiled at each other and went for coffee!
Imagine my distress. There was nothing much I could do except the best I could. I must have stopped the bleeding from the IV site and put the band aide on. I do remember mopping furiously and sobbing. I remember the poor lady sitting on the bed and looking at me. I remember her patting me, trying to comfort me, apologizing.
I always had the kindness of patients.
And some nurses do eat their young.