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.