What’s it like to start a career as a nurse at a bustling urban hospital? Find out as Rachel Ketelaar dons her red scrubs at IU Health Methodist Hospital and experiences the challenges and joys of her dream job nursing sick patients back to health.
- More RN foundations learnings BUT…..I got to start off the day on the floor, A2N, where I will work at Methodist. I attended the morning huddle at 7 a.m. That’s where the charge nurse gives brief updates to the day nurses coming on shift. The “vibe” was light and full of camaraderie. The nurses and techs laughed with each other, told a joke, and then prayed with each other before going to start their busy days.
- I walked to an education building near Methodist to continue my fundamentals training. (It was a miracle I figured out how to get there.) The topics were IVs, medication administration, and blood transfusions. My group went to a stroke unit and a progressive care unit to practice on real patients. The nurses loved being able to give us tasks to lighten their loads and aid in our learning.
- Personally today, I had the opportunity to prime IV tubing, hang IV antibiotics and set-up the IV pumps, attempt the insertion of an IV, remove a Foley catheter, apply a new catheter, and observe a feeding tube placement. I was a little nervous and it was a little overwhelming trying to do everything right. I had to give myself a little pep talk during the day.
- The day was busy but flew by! I loved being on my feet, being busy, and being in the flow of the hospital. Most of all, I loved meeting the patients and getting a glimpse of who they are. I learned that some of these patients are going through some of the worst days of their lives, and it is my job as a nurse to treat them as a person – not just as a patient.
- I’ve decided my favorite part of the day so far is the 7 a.m. huddle and being with the nurses I am going to be working with. I love meeting them, learning their names, and getting to know them better. I feel more confident that A2N is going to be a great fit for me.
- I must say this: at times, understanding medical abbreviations can be like learning a different language. It’s beneficial for nurses and doctors to talk in shorthand to communicate quickly. But sometimes I get confused about what they’re saying! Most of the abbreviations I recognize from nursing school, but some I have to figure out (often by Googling). Examples: CHG bath (bath with alcohol soap), HTN (hypertension) and BKA (below the knee amputation).
- It’s crazy to say this so soon, but things are starting to click. My RN foundations group has hung so many IV antibiotics these past few days that I finally feel confident doing it on my own. I’m also becoming more confident in where to find notes, labs, and orders in the patients’ charts. Now I just need to get comfortable with other challenging tasks that experienced nurses take for granted, like administering a blood transfusion and changing central line dressings and the dressings on a trach.
- My week ended with an evening meet-and-greet on my floor. They fed us dinner and snacks (sandwiches, veggies and dip, fruit, and dessert). People were so sweet and some gave me advice. One nurse, who’s new here, told me that most of what I need to know I will learn in the first month. That’s good to know! We also played a game of “What is your favorite job?” Most of the people said nursing and some of them have been working here for 30 years!
- My RN foundation training is now wrapped up. And I met my preceptor, Ty. She seems very approachable and she’s pretty young, but she seems to know so much. I am SO excited to get on my floor and into the flow of things next week! The learning curve is intense, but RN foundations has taught me so much and prepared me for starting on my floor next week.
New Nurse: Rachel’s Story – Week 1