Friday, October 5, 2007

Watch Out Boy, She'll Chew You Up

It's that time of year again. There's a chill in the air, restless creatures are stirring and ghouls with murderous fangs and dangerous claws are lurking in the shadows.

Yes, it's time to start nursing school clinicals.

Nurses have this ugly reputation that has an even uglier slogan - "THEY EAT THEIR YOUNG".

Many's the time I've been warned by nurses that once I get my first nursing job, I have to watch out for the older, more experienced nurses. I've heard they are mean, nasty, unsupportive and bitchy.

You know, it doesn't sound all that different from any place I've ever worked.

Still, I wish those nurses would cut it out. They're scaring the nurslings who are still in school. Having been in clinicals for over a year now, I haven't found nurses to be all that scary. Most of the time the nurses are patient with me and enjoy teaching. That's not to say I haven't had my share of nurses who weren't very easy to get along with. From what I've seen, it's usually a personality quirk. Once in a while the nurse I'm working with and I don't get along all that well because our personalities clash. All of us can think of someone we don't like and we can't put a finger on why. We just don't like them, period. But I'm there to learn, not make friends. If the nurse and I like each other it's a bonus. It's not a requirement.

I try and put myself in her shoes. I think about how I would feel if I'm having an off day; the alarm didn't go off, the neighbors fought all night and I didn't sleep, I'm behind on my bills, the dog crapped on the floor in the middle of the night and I'm PMSing to hell and back. I get to work and here is an eager, fresh-faced nursing student brimming with enthusiams and ready to save the world. Not only do I have to struggle to put on a game face for my patients, I also have to manage a nursing student. I have to slow down and explain everything. I have to coordinate my care around what the student does. I have to figure out which patient would be the best choice for them to care for. Then I have to go behind the student and make sure they did what they were supposed to and be ready to step up and take over if they don't. Forgive me if I'm not all teddy bears and rainbows.

To make the experience better for everyone, we can do what we were taught from the time we were in grade school. Be nice. Be polite. Be helpful. Keep your snarky comments to yourself. Say please and thank you. And students, suck it up and do what you're there to do. Pay attention. Do what your instructor tells you to do. Learn.

And whatever you do, pull in your claws and give those fangs a rest. We've got work to do.

No comments: