Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Guilt TripsI think that's enough messing around with the template for one day! Still lots to do, but we're getting there.
I had one of those shifts yesterday which involved lots of TASKS. Gotta love those nursing tasks. Let's see if I can remember them all:
- 12 sets of hourly vitals, including complicated fluid balance.
- Primary assessment (A,B,C,D,E)
- Secondary assessment (body systems)
- Four antibiotic doses
- Six sedation/analgesia boluses, and one muscle relaxant
- Eight or nine doses of various oral medications
- Three blood gases, gentamicin level, thyroid function and cortisol levels
- Four ETT suctions
- One sponge bath and linen change
- Concentrate frusemide and milrinone infusions to reduce volume
- Switch three other infusions to 10% dextrose to offset lack of nutrition somewhat
- Switch feeds to more concentrated formula for same reason
- Re-tape ETT (tapes get a bit wet with secretions and loose, which is a safety issue)
- Position for mobile chest xray
- Change arterial line transducer set and infusion.
- Cardiac rounds
- Unit rounds
- Multidisciplinary rounds
- Assist colleague to complete checks on a ventilator she was unfamiliar with
- Assist colleague with extubating her patient
- Assist various colleagues with various drug checks
- Troubleshoot, then remove a peripheral cannula that was leaking
- Wean ventilation ever so slowly, due to patient's overall fragility and history of not tolerating sudden changes in treatment
- Handover, one at each end of shift.
The above list doesn't even begin to cover it, because it's TASKS. This is something healthcare management often does not comprehend when considering nursing staff ratios, although I will say for the record that I am extremely fortunate to work in a facility that very sensibly staffs ICU patients at one to one, or at most one to two.
What is the list missing? Constant assessment and monitoring. Do I do an assessment at the start of the day, then stop? Of course not. Critical care nursing is about watching for change, watching for trouble, looking for the previously-unnoticed problem. Planning (I almost want to say, scheming.) Talking with the family, since you're sharing space with them for 12 hours. Speaking with the team behind you. In yesterday's case, negotiating between them since everybody seemed to have a different idea of The Right Thing To Do. Supporting. Seeking confirmation. Seeking reassurance. Answering question after question after...
These things are difficult to quantify, and difficult to time. Often impossible to plan for. I know I have time management issues, always have done, even after seven years as an RN and five in intensive care. Can't do much more than try to improve, every day.
Nurses guilt trip themselves a great deal, it seems to me. The good ones get over it. I felt bad about the way the shift ended yesterday, but it's breakfast time now and I'm over it.
Posted by PaedsRN at 1:20 PM