Friday, August 10, 2012

First impressions

So now that I've had my orientation and a few hours in the ER, I have been able to sort out some of my thoughts and first impressions.

The overall theme? Overload. In every way. I spent 8 hours in HR orientation on Monday, which was long and boring but not difficult. I came in again on Wednesday for the start of ER orientation, although it was still just computer stuff and some emerg-specific learning packets with a bonus 2 hours of following a nurse around since we were done the packets early. I think I'm getting on well with the staff; I was introduced to most of the important people and I seem to have made a good first impression. One of the educators mentioned that I seemed very bright and willing to learn, and that is the most important thing to them. I hope they remember those words when my first shift on my own has arrived and I'm drowning...

I think the hardest part so far has been the computer charting. We complained a lot about the system at the hospital I came from, but now that I've been introduced to another way of charting I can see that we were actually very spoiled. I am pretty good with computers and I'm sure I'll pick it up after a few days, but in the meantime I'm petrified of missing something important like new orders or making a big error like not signing something off because I didn't know to do it. It's also a more complicated and less streamlined system, with a lot of redundancy. I admit I had some snarky things to say about our previous system, but for all it's flaws it really was inherently easy to use. This new one will take some learning.

Second most difficult thing? Not knowing where anything is. And I mean I don't even know my way around the damn department yet. I've gotten turned around pretty much every time I try to walk somewhere. I look like a lost puppy 75% of the time, and the other 25% is only because I'm following after someone. I also don't know where supplies are located, both in the overall department and again in the supply cabinets. There are little details, like the IV carts being locked - I have to learn the codes, to those carts and to everything else. Looking back I knew all the codes in my previous hospital but I did have four years to learn them - this time I have two days. I'm thinking that the most difficult part of locating things will be the not often used items. Oh, you need a Christmas tree for the O2? Hold up, Imma get it for you but first I need to go ask someone. At the previous hospital, I knew where it all was. I knew where shit was that even the stocking people didn't know about. I knew the secret closets, the drawer boxes with random but occasionally very necessary items. I knew where the hidden respiratory supplies were. Here? I can't even point you to the front door. I've never felt so useless in my life. Actually that's not true. I just feel like a nursing student again.

The last major difficult thing to handle is that no one is color coded. Previous hospital had a scrub color assigned to all types of staff - RNs wore royal blue, techs wore maroon, transporters wore olive green, and enviro wore black. While slightly boring, it made life incredibly easy both for staff and patients. You knew who was in your room, you could spot a tech from down the hall, and it was easy on new staff. Here, everyone wears what they want to. Good for individuality, bad for knowing who you're talking to. I spent five minutes talking to someone I thought was a nurse, and then enviro was paged overhead and she was like "hey I gotta peace, that's me." Right on. Good to know. I also had a conversation with someone I thought was enviro because he was wiping down the countertop, and then his badge flipped around and he was actually one of the MDs.

So it's a lot. I didn't exactly think I would waltz in and be a badass at everything, but I also didn't quite expect the complete information overload that I got.

My first full shift is Saturday night. Wish me luck.


Kate the Great said...

Can I just tell you how awesome I think it is that you willingly put yourself in the position of uncertainty and view it as an adventure?! Whether you intended to or not you've certainly "kept swimming". Is it a busy hospital?
It's funny how any job is such an investment in time and knowledge that you take for granted. I have a three year old daughter and she's a relatively easy kid until I remind you that she's allergic to this and doesn't like this and sleeps like this. It all adds up to it's own volume of information but you'll get it pretty soon!
I noticed you didn't say anything about the people you work with maybe because they read this blog. Are they welcoming you in? That can be a huge deal as far as liking a job as well as I'm sure you are well aware!

Shrtstormtrooper said...

Thank you for the kind words! I appreciate it. I'll have another post up soon about how I'm doing, and how the people have been :)

Jessica Georgevich said...

I feel your pain about feeling like a lost puppy. I am two assignments into my travel nursing career. The first assignment I was in the ER and it took a couple weeks to finally feel like I could find most of the things I needed and not get too turned around (it was a pretty big ER with multiple stations, though it pretty much went in a circle, so if you kept walking and making left handed turns, you'd usually end up in a familiar place).
This second assignment I was a float, so I had to learn the layout, where everything was stocked, and the codes to five different floors. That was more of a challenge. But I've made it through.
Don't worry too much, you'll find your way. The staff nurses and other travelers tend to be very patient with the newbies since they get them every few months and they realize we need time to get acclimated. Welcome to travel nursing. :)

smoothmoov said...

Stumbled upon your blog when doing some research! I just started at a new hospital in a different state with a new patient population so I feel you on the overload and feeling like a nursing STUDENT. Also, I too didn't realize how spoiled I was with med drawers for each pt, bedside computers in EACH room, bedside EKG monitoring, the computer charting system we used. I feel like a new grad all over again and reading what you are going through helps me :) Hope we settle in sooner rather than later and gain our confidence back. I miss it :(

Stephanie said...

Lol I just finished my first travel assignment and this is word for word how I felt the first week.