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My Experience in E.R.

Nursing/Medical Surgical 222

By Nancy Taji

Upon arriving at the emergency room at 8:00 A.M., I was greeted by a nurse at the desk who asked me if they could be of service. I explained that I was there to a make up clinical day with a staff nurse who was also an instructor at Henry Ford Community College Nursing Department. They assigned me to Sam, short for Samantha. She was a very kind woman, who immediately began to show me the ropes. The first thing that she showed me was how the rooms were set up. As it turned out the rooms were arranged in a circle from one to seventeen. There were only a few rooms open at this hour. She explained that the midnight shift was very busy and that many of the patients currently have been there since late last night. She began to show me how the E.R. charts were put together and the trail of paperwork that had to be followed. It seemed rather confusing to me. I could immediately see how things could get quite crazy as more and more patients were to come in. The first patient we went to see was a young woman in her early thirties who had come in because of chest pain. Sam asked me to do an assessment on her. I greeted the patient and performed a complete assessment as taught in nursing school. Sam, then showed me the med room. What I found very interesting, was that the med cart was activated by fingerprint identification. “Wow”, I said. “This is definitely, high tech stuff.” Sam agreed. She said that this is the type of med cart that you would frequently come across when working in a E.R.. The cart was computerized so that it counted the meds each time one was programmed out of the cart. The E.R. doctor was very gracious in explaining to Sam and I the purpose in ordering a dose of magnesium for the patient. I have to say that I couldn’t understand all of what he said other than that magnesium helped women that were in labor as well as helping the heart muscle. Sam asked me to prepare the magnesium. I had to draw up the magnesium from two vials and then inject it into a I.V. fluid so that it could be given. Sam and I went back into the room where I hung the magnesium I.V. on a pump, while Sam gave her something for pain.
I soon found my self separated from Sam. Though, I am not sure how this exactly happened. I believe that it started when one of the other E.R. nurses asked Sam if she could show me how she wrapped a frost bite burn. So off I went with another nurse to see how this was done. She went into a room where a gentleman was lying on a stretcher, looking rather disheveled with his bare feet sticking out from the covers. The nurse pointed out several of his toes that were a dusky blue. “Not a good sign”, I thought to my self. The E.R. doctor came in just prior to the nurse wrapping his toes to evaluate his condition. “Not bad, you must have some good circulation”, the E.R. doctors said to the man. The man replied in a not so concerned voice as he sipped a cup of coffee, “do you think I’m going to loose them Doc?” The doctor replied, “We won’t know just yet, let’s wait a while and see how this warming blanket works.” After the doctor left the nurse began to wrap the mans toes by first applying Silvadine ointment and then wrapping them with gauze. When she left the room, I decided to say a while longer and talk to this gentleman. I asked him if he a place to stay, when he leaves the hospital. He replied that he did not have anywhere to go, that the last place that he was staying in, which was a shed was no longer an option. This was because someone called the police on him, and the police asked him to leave since there was no plumbing or heat. I thought to myself, “so it’s against the law to stay somewhere that provides shelter, but if it doesn’t have hot and cold running water, you have to live outside.”. I bent down to pick up his clothes that had fallen on the floor and put them back on the chair only to find they were wet to the touch and extremely dirty. Pity filled my heart for this man. He asked if he could have some more coffee, stating that he was a coffeeholic, and that he could sit here all day and drink the stuff. Funny, how something so small like a cup of hot coffee could make someone so happy. Realizing that I couldn’t change the world, I briskly walked over to the coffee pot that seemed to have a endless supply of coffee in it at all times and poured the man a cup. After that, I just kept the cups coming. I moved on to several other patients, completing assessments the best that I could, and passing my information to the nurses and E.R. doctor. I had a feeling of some autonomy while I was in the E.R.. I’m not sure if that was a good thing, seeing that I was there to work directly with Sam. However, I knew that she must have been keeping a close eye on me, of which I was glad. It made me feel secure. All in all it was a good experience for a student nurse. There were a couple of very intense and emotional moments that took place while I was there that day, but I feel that I cannot write about them since they are too fresh in my mind and elicit some very strong feelings. The emergency room is a place were an experienced nurse can apply her expertise and still gain knowledge. I felt very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Sam. She is a special individual.

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