So much is going through my mind right now. Work is about to make me have a total mental break down. Last Friday I lost a resident…He wasn’t the first person I’ve had to pronounce deceased since becoming a nurse, but he was the first I knew, like really knew him, his family, his dog… I knew he was declining, I wasn’t in denial about that. I just didn’t expect him to go so soon. He had only been on hospice for 2 weeks. I have residents who have been on hospice for years and have more spunk and energy then me some days. It was a complete shock to me when I walked into his room to take his blood sugar and his wife told me he had just passed. I nearly dropped my glucometer. Words failed me. I wanted to comfort his family and be the perfect nurse, but my brain was numb, my throat dry, and my eyes wet with unshed tears. I walked out, and took a few breaths before going forcing myself into nurse mode. Being the only RN means that I have to do the deceased declarations. So I went back in the room to assess for an apical heart rate and respiratory rate. Nothing in nursing school or life prepared me for how I would feel touching and listening the dead body of one of my resident’s in front of his family to make the “official” declaration. There were no holding back the tears this time. I told his family to let me know if they needed anything before rushing into the admissions office and cried while Amanda hugged me and told me that it was ok to be sad and cry. Renewed by the release of emotion I had been holding I went back to his room because I needed to say goodbye properly, I could not let my goodbye to him be a death assessment. I went in and held his cold stiff hand, stroked his mottled arm, and thanked God that he was no longer in pain and prayed for his family. Then I hugged his wife and pet his dog. I was able to care for all of my residents the rest of the night with a smile on my face. I didn’t break down again until I got to Kris’s later, where the second he saw me he held me as I sobbed. It felt so good to be held and let all my feelings out with no guilt for being the one who needed comforting for once. Thankfully I was off the next two days and I had my trip to San Antonio with Kris for my half marathon to distract me and cheer me up. I’ll do my race weekend recap tomorrow.
This week I went into work looking forward to spending time with my residents and leaving work on time. I have been putting in a ridiculous amount of overtime at work like 1-2 hours every single night. Unfortunately Mondays never go well, after being gone for 2 days my resident’s are off their routines and orders are stacked as high as my head. Tuesday-State inspectors showed up. GULP! It has been like being back in clinicals again and having to do skills check offs in front of my instructors. I did ok, I think, but I know I am a better nurse then what the inspectors saw. Having someone standing over my shoulder watching me and taking notes while I do my treatments is unnerving and distracting! I made stupid errors that I would never make. My routine has been off and I have felt rushed and judged. To be honest I feel like the inspectors have been harder on me then the other nurses. I thought it was because I am a new nurse and the youngest nurse, last night it was pointed out to me that it had more to do with the fact that I am an RN, and therefore there are higher expectations because of my higher education level. That seems more fair, but it still sucks. Hopefully today will be the last day that they are in the building, so tomorrow can be back to normal.
Last struggle, I promise. Tuesday night was my absolute worst nightmare at work. I still feel sick thinking about it. I had a resident fall. and hit her head. we found her lying on the floor. unresponsive. a pool of blood around her head. 911 was called. Y’all she is ok. She left with stable vitals, trying to get off the stretcher. I talked to her nurse at the hospital yesterday and she is doing well. Relief flooded me to hear that. Tuesday night I did not sleep because every time I closed my eyes I saw her lying in a crumpled heap with a pool of blood around her head. I was so worried that she was going to die at the hospital. There was nothing that could have been done to prevent the fall. I know that. Rationally. But there is a very irrational part of me that blames myself. I should have, could have ______. Blank. I don’t know what I could have or should have done differently. I just wish that I was a perfect nurse for my residents. One who catches resident’s before they fall, one who has all the right words, one who scores 100% on my skills in front of state. I’m not perfect though, and never will be. That will never be okay with me as a nurse, but every day I will strive for it. I will continue to pick myself up, shake it off, breathe, and carry on hoping that I continue to improve and make my resident’s lives better.
One of my clinical instructors gave me this tidbit on FaceBook last week, ‘if it gets easy, I gotta do something else’. It’s a hard truth that I carry with me that helps me when I feel like everything is too hard. It’s not too hard, it’s just right. I’m going to be ok.