Monday, November 16, 2009


Today’s clinical was an emotionally draining day. My patient was an African-American woman in her fifties, in with a Lupus exacerbation that covered her arms with sores. It literally looked like her skin was sloughing off – there were dark scabs, bright red areas and skin just hanging off her (like when you peel skin after a sunburn). It was extremely painful for her, but very interesting for me and Brenda the wound care nurse. On the surface, my day was full and fairly easy – I was able to administer oral medications on my own (I felt like an old pro, and it really boosted my confidence) and I gave several injections due to the patient’s diabetes. Later on in the day I dressed the client’s sores on her back, chest and abdomen.

Although I only had one patient, I still felt like I was being pulled in 20 different directions and at the end of the day I was wondering how I would ever be able to take care of multiple patients. After talking with a classmate, we decided that a lot of what we as nursing students do with some patients – vital signs, Accuchecks, hygiene – are usually done by techs. This is slightly sad in a way, because doing those tasks for my patient is usually what builds a rapport with them. I guess as my role changes over the next year I’ll learn to adapt and connect with the patient in a different way.

I previously mentioned that it was an emotionally draining day – it didn’t seem that way at the hospital, but I think I just bury everything in order to provide the best care for my patient. Between my patient, who was extremely sweet and in so much pain, and a classmate’s patient, who has an extremely rare form of cancer and was very comfortable with her ileostomy, I just was expending a lot of empathy. I came home and crashed on the couch, watching Mercy on television, and promptly cried (but then it was out of my system). I know that I’m an emotional person, and I wonder how becoming a nurse will affect that part of me – whether I’ll be able to handle all the emotions, or if I’ll become callused to people. I think that as I mature as a nurse, it will come – at least that is what I hope.

Overall, a really good day. I got to see something completely new, cement what we’ve learned in class about Lupus, and be there emotionally and physically for my patient. I hope next semester’s clinical will be as rewarding as this semester’s has been.


Liz Chinlund said...

Don't worry Danielle! I was the same way, and now I believe that my emotional connection with patients is what makes me a good nurse...not the skills or tasks, but how I do seem to get a little too emotionally attached. There is a fine line, but you'll find it! Don't lose your kindess :)

Britt said...

When I was a hygiene student, we saw one patient for 3 hours. We usually needed to see them 2 or 3 times (for 3 hours each) before their treatment was finished. I couldn't fathom seeing 8 people in one day. How would I ever survive?! But I did, and you will. I see a patient ever 45 minutes or so now. I've come a long way, and you will too. :)

Shannon said...

I think after some time and a lot of hard, draining experiences you will become stronger and almost "immune" to those stresses. Did you see how all of the interns acted on Grey's Anatomy in the beginning? They were scared and emotional. And now, they barely flinch on any kind of surgery or patient's illness. If anything, it's best that you are a little emotional towards the patient. It makes them feel that you truly care for them and make them feel human...that's what nurses are for.