Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Student nurses

I am not trying to be mean or anything but I am seriously getting annoyed with the student nurses that have come to the hospital. I know that they have to learn skills somewhere. I truly get that. I am just so tired of having to baby them along when all they are trying to do is something as simple as taking a set of vital signs.

Last night I had to show the student nurse how to use the machine that they use to take blood pressures. She has been using it on the infant setting instead of the child setting so she was not getting a correct reading. Then this morning we had student nurses come from a different school with very green students. It took forever for the one working with Evan's nurse to get his vitals and then right before it was Evan's nap time she wanted to start all over again. I just had to tell her no because getting Evan to sleep was more important than her assignment. Tonight we have the same student from last night but by now Evan is in rebellion mode so it took some heavy duty distraction to get a reading.

I actually like educating the nurses, telling them all the nuances of Evan's heart defect and the surgeries that he has been through. I also gave a lesson on child development to one student that was assigned to the play room. It is in my blood to educate. I just wish that they would not insist on following the letter of everything. There are times when with young kids that you just can't get vital signs the required number of times per shift.

They are also not equipped to know when things out of the norms are fine. After Evan's second surgery I spent a good half hour trying to keep Evan asleep while a student insisted on repeatedly taking Evan's temp. He was running a bit on the cool side so she kept wanting to do it until he read normal. Evan was squirming a lot making the under arm thermometer not read correctly. Finally one of the student's class mates rescued me by bringing in the tympanic thermometer. A quick swipe to the forehead showed that he had a normal temperature.

If you are a student nurse reading this I have a few words of advice for you. When it comes to kids please be prepared to have things not work out for you. If you have to do something more than twice go get help or wait until later. Enlist the parent's help, they can often help smooth things out with a fussy kid. Parents can be more knowledgeable than you suppose. Don't act surprised when they can tell you all sorts of detailed information about their child.


Kim said...

When I was a student, I had a patient request no more students the day after I was her nurse.

So, instead of being devastated by that I went and asked her how she was doing.

She told me that because of the nature of her gaping, open wound, she had been the patient of student nurses every single day, every shift that she had been hospitalized.

She said some were great and some were bad (always breaking sterile technique) but she was tired of being the guinea pig.

She told me not to take it personally. We had a great conversation. And she did not have to have a student nurse.

If there is ever a specialty that needs flexibility, pediatrics is it! Maybe Evan needs a break from the students!

bella said...

Oh, yes! (Nothing against student nurses, but they have to recognize as well that honestly, the patient comes first, and they have the right to request any changes, and have those requests honored! AFter all, the patient is the patient!)

Anyway... I learned the hard way that no matter who the nurse is, or the doctor, what I say goes in regards to me or my children!


Gina said...

Yes, you have to feel a a bit sorry for them, as perhaps their supervisors expect XYZ, and they are intimidated to tell them they couldn't get the info.

But- a patient shouldn't be made to suffer or be uncomfortable just because they can't figure it out!

Dr. A said...

I actually learned a lot from parents when I was a med student. Good advice!

chelle said...

I had a student OB when I was induced with Becca. She was so excited to "DO my case!!" She talked really loud and drove me nutz! First chance I had I told my regular nurse that I refused to have her. She came in later that day and asked me why and I was in the middle of a contraction so I screamed "This is why!! You have NOOOO bedside manner, you are rude and inconsiderate!!! GET OUT!" I felt bad later but darn it, it was all true!

I can imagine your frustration and you are right they do need to learn but you can state how much student nursing involvement you want.

Christina said...

As someone who hopes to soon be a student nurse, you can be sure I'll take what you said into consideration. Of course, I think student nurses who already have children probably can understand how to work with kids a little better than those who don't.

Tomla said...

Yea, as a student nurse, there is a lot of pressure to fill out the patient info completely and correctly and then get your skills checked off. If someone is young or just not good at people stuff, they can be irritating and sometimes pushy. Nursing school is pretty stressful.
The way hospitals are now (germ minefields) it's nice to have a student nurse looking out for early signs and symptoms of something going wrong, though. I hope if I'm ever in the hospital, there is a student nurse around!