I love this photo!
As you can see from the name on the side, this baby was photographed by Mr. Tom Arma, aka “The most published baby photographer in the world!”
Check out his website for the epitome of the word “cute”.
If I have grandkids, I’m going to photograph them in a nurse’s cap and stethoscope.
Not any grandsons, of course. They just get the stethoscope.
I may have just set a record. I’m sitting in my second Starbucks of the day. I’ve never done that before!
And the Police are playing – geeze, how annoying can Sting be? “A goo-goo-goo, A ga-ga-ga.” Warning: impending emesis if they don’t change this music…
Don’t stand so close to me…
The baby and I have a lot in common – and I don’t mean the rolls of fat!
You see I once was a “baby” nurse. A new graduate with virtually no confidence, petrified at the thought of actually being a nurse.
To tell my head from a hole in the ground required a topographical map.
What happened to me that first year would never happen today, it just isn’t done.
Let’s just say I lucked out.
I’ve always found it funny that I ended up in critical care. After all, it was my ICU rotation in school that had me leaving mid-shift so I could go to the college and quit – with only six weeks to go!
I was convinced I was going to kill somebody.
Med-surg was not my thing, so when a small community hospital advertised for their 10-bed cardiac step-down/education unit, I applied and was interviewed.
For some reason, they gave me the job. I had zero cardiac training. The deal? They would pay for me to go through a cardiac course if I agreed to stay on the job one year.
I said yes.
They promptly closed the unit, an ostensibly temporary situation. That meant that my preceptor and me, a non-cardiac certified new grad would be working down in the Coronary Care unit.
This was in December. They weren’t able to put me in a cardiac class until April of the next year.
For four months, I came to work full-time and was never counted as staff!
I was able to work side-by-side with experienced nurses every day. They would answer my questions, taught me how to read a monitor and backed me up every single shift.
There were two cardiologists with offices in the hospital. When they found out I was new, they sat with me and explained preload and afterload and other tricks-of-the-trade, like hooking nitroprusside directly into the saline lock because it was safer than having it go through back up tubing, or how to troubleshoot a Swan-Ganz catheter if the wave form was poor.
They were always willing to answer questions and explain why something was ordered.
The unit nurses were just as supportive. Hours were spent discussing PVC-vs-aberrancy strips with my older colleagues. I was so green, the first time a patient went into bradycardia my preceptor threw a box of atropine into the room and yelled “push this”! I had to yell back “how much!!??”. “Half the syringe – point five!”
Hey! It worked!
By the time I was enrolled in the cardiac course, I already knew how to read every rhythm and which ones to treat and why.
I knew I had “made it” when I called one of the cardiologists at 0200 for a patient who experienced a sudden, intense shortness of breath.
After I gave the rundown of symptoms, he said, “Kim, you know what you’re seeing. What do you think is happening?”
“She threw a pulmonary embolism.”
I was right!
I kept my end of the bargain. I stayed a full ten years at that facility.
The reason I stayed is the story behind the story.
You see, I had serious doubts about my ability to be a nurse after I graduated. I constantly wondered, “what the hell did I get myself into?”
By stumbling upon an experienced, enthusiastic and supportive group I was able to learn in a safe environment while growing confidence in my nursing ability.
You know the old saying “it takes a village to raise a child”?
Well, it takes a “village” to raise a new nurse. I know. I was mentored by a “village” of my colleagues.
Twenty-nine years later, I’m still nursing and I’m good at what I do.
I firmly believe I wouldn’t be where I am now had I not been supported in those scary first days.
How many new nurses are we losing to “culture shock” before their first year of practice is over?
How can we keep new nurses from finding the exit door?
Maybe the first step is not eating our young, but helping them find their strengths and mentoring them into confidence.
It worked for me.
Side note: Cardiac care was much different back then! Patients spent at least a week in the unit with commode privileges and then could get up to the bathroom using a “long cord” to keep them attached to the monitor. Later, when the unit was open, they would spend ten days or so in the cardiac step down unit getting “educated” on all matters cardiac.
We needed a doctor’s order to discuss sexual activity with the patients – there was a special booklet for that! There was no troponin, only CK, CKMB, LDH, SGOT and SGPT levels. You didn’t have to worry about running a patient to the cath lab, they did not exist. It was said a bypass was good for five years. Calcium channel blockers were experimental and we never heard of TPA!
We’ve come a long way, baby!