I am officially on my own as an ED nurse. No preceptors, no mentors... just me. And thank goodness there are lots of supportive nursing staff that are there willing to help out.
And boy did I need it tonight. I had one lady on bipap and another working his way towards the ICU, as well as a confused aggressive patient and a medicine patient.
By the way, in the hospital where I work there is no support staff to do your vitals for you, or to help people to the commode or do the bedpan stuff. It's all on the nurses. So not only was I prepping for an adenosine cardioversion, I was also wiping people's asses, getting vitals, prepping beds, reassuring confused people, etc.
It was a great experience to learn to organize, but still I have my doubts about my shift.
Questions run in my mind: Did I miss something that we could have noted earlier about the patient going to ICU now? Is there something subtle that I missed? How can I improve for next time? What would I have changed?
Am I ready to be an ED nurse? I think I am.. I have a lot of knowledge now that I'll carry with me to inform my decisions. Do I still need to learn? Absolutely. I have spent a year in Emerg nursing, and there is still more to learn.
I have absolutely no idea how some nurses can carry a patient load of 12:1. No idea. Kudos to them.