What an exciting couple of days I had. I felt so awkward and completely inadequate and I don't think I hid it well. Fortunately, my assigned patient was very knowledgeable about her care and was able to give me step by step instructions. Good and bad. Helpful, but also she questioned everything if I didn't do everything 'just so' and I wasn't confident enough to assert that my way was equally correct.
So what did I do? Bed baths (not with a sponge like in the movies, they are bacterial havens). The nether regions aren't quite so bad anymore. Bowel disempaction. And yes, it is as bad as it sounds. I did it twice and let me tell you I actually gagged the first time and I was mortified. I mean, imagine how your patient feels at you violating her like that, even in pursuit of her relief, only to have you gag at the smell. I felt like the excrement I was removing. But the second time I was gag-free. Progress. I got to do meds and sub-cutaneous injections (just under the skin), but no inter-muscular; removal of an iv cath; charting; and stuff I can't even remember. They were very busy days indeed.
Two patients died on my floor while I was there. Very sad. A couple of the students got to do after-life care but I was busy with some other things so I didn't get to participate. In case you are unaware, you lose control of your bodily functions when you die so your body has to be cleaned and prepared for the morgue.
I learned a lot in a very short time span and am looking forward to next week, hopefully, I will have a patient as awesome as this weeks. This weeks patient was about ten years older than me and was very easy to like and develop a good rapport with. I might miss her.
All in all, great experience! Anyone want to be a nurse yet!