Lifelong Learning Programme

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Training > Experiences

Personal Experience

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My career choice

Language: English
Country: Lithuania
Typology: health care professionals
I am currently working in neurological department of Lithuanian multiple sclerosis center in Vilnius. But I never forget the first days of my practice of nursing studies when I thought of day in and day out in nursing. It invaded my dreams, dinner conversation, and even occupied my mind when I was driving a car. I love nursing and I love learning about nursing even more but a few years ago I had the worst days I have ever experienced. he day began ominously when I received the message from my employer that informed all the staff that there was an issue with our payroll and it had not been delivered, from there it was all downhill. I, eager to both impress my instructor and get a leg up on my work, arrived to the hospital setting more than an hour early to prepare myself for the client that my teacher had selected for me. This particular client needed complex care and I was excited to give it to him! As the shift change came around at 7:30am I sought the nurse whose client I was assigned to and eagerly introduced myself and my purpose. Instead of a friendly hello or even a weary welcome I was the recipient of a genuine tirade of “I don’t want a student” and “nobody asked me” and so on and so forth. I was appalled to say the least! I had heard of this situation before, the one where your teacher assigns you to a nurse and the nurse turns you down, but wow, this nurse did it with flair, with panache and especially with volume, and she did it in front of a lot of staff. To some thankful degree my instructor was nearby when she heard this refusal; I say thankfully because she wouldn’t have believed me if I had repeated to her what happened (she even admitted that to me later!). From there I was assigned to a client on this general surgery floor that was admitted with nausea and vomiting; a person who needed care, but a case that wouldn’t really teach me anything new. When it came time for a much needed break I had the good fortune of banging my face into my locker, the only solace I took was that at least this time there was no one there to see it happen. I swallowed the hurt and gave that client the best darn care she’s ever received in the hospital and took any opportunity I could find to learn something new. To finally sew up a ’wonderful’ day of learning, our clinical group left an hour late which made me late for my job as a community Personal Support Worker. I spent the hour long drive home fighting off tears of frustration and anger, and tried to imagine that my first client of the evening wouldn’t be disappointed that I was an hour late and wouldn’t have her meal timed with Vytautas Street. When I arrived at my first client’s home, she wouldn’t answer the door. It turned out, as I later learned, that she fell asleep with the phone off the hook and had double locked the front door so that I couldn’t enter the home with the just the one key I had; a common occurrence apparently. Because I was in the area for my next client of the evening I decided to head over there early. When I arrived to this elderly client’s home I could tell something was immediately wrong. She was lying on the sofa with a thin blanket covering her and a moist cloth on her forehead but she was trembling from head to toe. I made an excuse to go back to my car to grab my stethoscope with I thankfully had on hand because I had worked in the hospital that morning. When I got back inside I sat her up and proceeded to do a head to toe assessment; the very thing that is drilled into my tiny nursing student brain on a daily basis. I found the client had decreased lung sounds, shortness of breath, her pulse was racing, she was pale as a sheet and her nails beds looked off color. My client insisted that it would pass and that she was well enough to head to the bathroom. There I could see that she was having difficulty walking so I transported her there via her own walker all the assessing the seriousness of the situation at hand. While resting in the washroom she started to complain that she had to burp but couldn’t, when I asked her how she knew, she simply stated “because my chest hurts.” That’s when I grabbed the phone. I called emergency for help and gave them a detailed description of my client’s status and that I believed she was having a heart attack, funnily enough the emergency operator asked “Are you her nurse?”; after the day I had it was pretty tough holding back my laughter. Between the arrival of Fire and Paramedics I had to return my client to the sofa from the washroom because as she insisted if she must go, then she would be picked up like a lady. I also had to organize a list of all her medications, move bulky furniture out of the way to make room for a gurney, get her increasingly panicking husband organized and calmed, and talk to two of their adult children on the telephone to explain the situation and encourage them to meet their mother and father at the hospital, all while keeping a very close eye on my client. By the time emergency services arrived to help, the client’s nail beds were fully cyanotic and she was in an increasing amount of pain. When I started to detail the situation to them, again I was asked, “Are you a nurse?” I replied with, “Not yet, in a year, just here as a PSW”. To my surprise a paramedic turned and said “Well you sure know what you’re doing; good job”. That made my day. It made my career choice. At that very moment, it made my year! I watched as the emergency workers took over and I stayed until they all left the home. Although I appreciate the seriousness of the situation I was, and am so proud of myself. I stayed calm, I acted appropriately, and I used all my knowledge that I have been filing into my head day after day for the past three years to help save a life. After I had spent the better part of a day lamenting my career choice and all the money I had invested in school, I got the validation and confidence boost that I needed to know that I had made the right decision in life.

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