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23 March 2015

Nurse problems

So yesterday, a patient's watcher / daughter went to the station to ask for help. She was looking for her dad's nurse so that the nurse could help reposition the patient to prevent his decubitus ulcer from getting worse. So I stood up and looked for said nurse. Unfortunately, the nurse was taking her dinner break and her nurse aid was helping another patient. The patient has been in our unit for a couple of days now and I know that his daughter has filed numerous complaints about the ward. So I decided to help reposition this patient even though I try to avoid going to this patient's room (so to avoid being complained about lol). I asked for another CNA's (certified nurse aid) help because the patient is quite heavy for me. 

We went to the patient's room and the daughter asked us, "Where is his nurse?" The CNA and I told her that his nurse is taking her dinner break / eating her dinner. Then the daughter told us, "She just came in and she's already on break?" I was quite taken aback by her response... And quite infuriated as well. It wasn't just what she said that ticked me off but the way she said it and that annoyed / smug look on her face. She came from a wealthy family so I guess she's used to having slaves attend to her whenever she wants them to, whether they're eating or sleeping.

Anyway, I told her that the nurse has been working since 3 in the afternoon and that she "did not just come in to work." Mind you this was all happening at 8pm. The CNA and I repositioned the patient and left the room. 

I told the CNA about how I felt when the daughter started questioning about the nurse taking her dinner break. Apparently, she was as surprised as I was.

I don't know if a lot of people know this but nurses are people too. And just like everyone else on this planet, we do need to eat as well. At work, we are entitled for a 30 minute break. That time is automatically deducted from our schedules. That means, regardless if we take our break or not, we will not get paid for that 30 minutes. 

As a nurse, I do try to enjoy that 30 minutes of peace. If my patients call, the CNA will attend to them if they could. If it's an emergency (eg. the patient is having chest pain, shortness of breath, etc), then I will put my dinner break on pause and attend to my patient.

However, if the CNA could attend to the patient or if the what the patient is calling for could wait a little bit (such as repositioning), then I would enjoy my dinner.

Sorry not sorry. 

21 March 2015

RN: Year One

It's been a year since I last posted here. It's been more than a year, to be honest. So here's a quickie! ;)

I am happy to say that I have been working as a registered nurse for over a year now in the Surgical Unit. A couple of days after I quit my job as a Macy's sales associate, I received a call from the hospital and got hired.
Me waiting for the call
(HR called everyone on the same day around the same time)
BF's arm after getting our blood work done.
Did I mention I had a pregnancy test done on that day?
They had to really make sure I wasn't pregnant before I get my chest x-ray.
That is, by the way, my Leadership Project before I graduated in college.
New RNs IMED orientation
And of course, my favorite - overtime! As a new nurse, I feel like I do not make much, especially when I compare my salary to the nurses who work in the states. Even though Guam is a US territory, and our currency is the US dollar, nurses who work here do not even make half of what nurses in the states make. Hence, the only time I feel like I actually make money is when I work overtime and weekend, because on those days, I get time and a half. I think the most overtime I had was 16 hours in ER. Although I have stayed in the hospital for 24 hours before when one typhoon hit Guam and we had to stay in the hospital as "personnel on standby," for which we were paid minimum wage.


Life as a novice nurse was not easy, and I guess the work never actually gets easier. The learning never stops. While I think this part demands another blog post, I'll write a little bit about my experience as a novice nurse in the past year. 

I have made mistakes. I am not perfect. There are times when I have to stay back because I did not manage my 8 hours wisely. Looking back, I think I could have avoided making mistakes and staying back at work had it been easy to delegate tasks to the unlicensed staff (such as nurse's assistants and couriers). But delegating is a challenge in and of itself. People are resistant and do not understand that although RNs have fewer patient load, we have a bigger scope of responsibility. Believe me, I could complain about this topic for an entire day.

I have also been kicked by an agitated patient and had gone to the emergency department for evaluation after I got off work. That was one of the most exhausting days at work because I had zero sleep and I was literally passing out in one of the ER beds.

I have been written up.

I have quarreled with my coworkers. I have also triggered one coworker to resign (long story). 

I have been yelled at by a homeless and jobless patient. I remember her yelling at me, "I'm paying you for your service so do your job right!" That was one of the countless moments at work when I got so angry and frustrated.

I have worked back to back. I got out of work at 7:30 am and came back at 3:00 pm on that same day.

Okay this part is getting a little too long and I could still go on...

But I need to cut this short.

As nurses, I feel that we are undervalued, so it really makes me happy when my patients appreciate what I do for them. A simple thank you, which is hard to come by, is enough to lighten the load of the shift. Although I guess I'll never forget the day when two of my patents gave me gifts on the same day. The cupcakes and calamansi tea were given to me by an older male patent. He told me I'm in such noble career and that he thinks I am set for life. He even invited me to go to his dress shop and said he'll give me good discount. Lol. The fruits on the picture below were given by a patent with advanced cancer... I didn't want to take them but she really insisted. She even told me to give one of the coconuts to my boyfriend, who also happened to take care of her. Times such as these make me happy that I have become a nurse.