Monday, October 31, 2011

Life as an Emergency Nurse

I realize it's been quite awhile since I last posted on my blog. Life has changed quite dramatically since I started my new job in the ER at OHSU. I have been working 3 twelve hour shifts on average per week. I'm still in "orientation" which means that I have a nurse who is dedicated to me that will teach me everything there is to know about being an ER nurse. My preceptors basically show me the ropes around the department and are a great resource when I have questions, etc. I have been working 3pm-3:30am shifts for the last 4 weeks. I will switch to my permanent 7pm-7:30am shift next week (eek!).

The biggest change has been switching my time clock and getting used to being awake at weird hours and eating at even stranger hours. My body definitely get confused when I have "dinner" at 2:30am. I don't know if I can even call it "dinner" since it feels just plain weird eating at that time. I know I will get used to it once I get used to working in that time frame. I've done okay with switching my "sleep" clock to sleeping in the day and staying awake all night. I am fortunate that I can switch back to day time on the days I'm not working. It can be tricky to see Brandon some days since our schedules are completely opposite of each other. All things we will learn and adjust to eventually :)

Even with the crazy schedules, being awake through the night and sleeping from 8:30am-4pm, I am loving this new job. It's definitely a steep learning curve and each day I work I feel like I'm a dry sponge trying to soak up everything around me. Sometimes it is quite overwhelming but I work with an amazing team who supports each other at the drop of a hat so that makes it so much better. God is watching over me and I know that this is the place where He wants me. I am excited to be His hands and care with His heart to all that He brings seeking help in a very stressful, scary time.

I am excited to continue to learn and grow. Emergency Medicine is fascinating. To see the complexities in God's design and how everything is so connected and meaningful - it just continues to blow my mind of how big and great God is!

More to come is a picture Brandon took of me as I was on the way to my first day in the ER.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Dinner & DIY: Soy candles

Brandon and I went over to Andrew & Jenna's apartment last night for some dinner on the rooftop. We had a yummy dinner on their apartment's rooftop. There were quite a few cozy sitting areas for hanging out, having a meal, or sitting around a fire pit. The weather was perfect for an outdoor meal, however it did get a little chilly after the sun disappeared behind some buildings. 

view on the rooftop
our yummy dinner
After dinner, Brandon and Andrew had to go to lab to do some studying for the test that they have on Monday, so Jenna and I decided to do a little crafting while our hubbies were studying away. 

Jenna had supplies to make soy candles and we had been wanting to make candles for fall so we decided to try it out. They turned out great! It was fun experimenting with different scents and colors (we tried food coloring and that definitely didn't turn out so well...haha). It was pretty simple to make. 

All you need is soy candle wax, scents (be creative), double boiler (or a big pot with a small pot placed inside), wicks, candle holder (we used mason jars which turned out really cute), something to hold your wick in place during the cooling process, and decoration material (fabric for the cover, labels, markers, stamps, etc.). 

soy candle cooling -- we used skewers to hold wick in place

Let the decorating begin
We made our own labels
Finished candles
We were very pleased with how they turned out

We had fun creating and crafting together. Stay tuned for more Jenna & Catherine creations :)

Orienting to OHSU

My first week of orientation has finally come to an end. It was a new experience for me. I have never had an orientation to a hospital so there were lots of things to learn and that were new to me. Outpatient and Inpatient is very different, so I had to switch my mind over to inpatient care.

Each day was packed full with various lecturers and activities. The first two days were the generic orientation to the hospital -- going over the basics like benefits, payroll, eating locations, how to clock in and out, etc. Of course we also talked about teamwork, diversity in the workplace, and the culture of OHSU. It was very informative. I'm looking forward to joining the healthcare team at OHSU and participating in all the wonderful ways they care for the community.

Wednesday and Thursday was for nurses. The training was geared towards nursing -- how to operate their IV pumps, equipment, restraints, etc. We also were trained on many different point of care tests (POCT). POCTs consist of tests that can be run by a nurse at the patient's bedside, i.e. blood glucose, H&H, strep test, pregnancy test, urinalysis, stat troponin and chemistries levels, etc. It was very interesting and I learned  a lot and was happy to have "hands on" activities. These skills will be used all the time in the ER so I will get lots of practice.

On Friday all the nurses took core competency assessment tests specific to the units we would be working on to test our knowledge and skill level in those areas. I took the critical care competency test. It gave 3 case scenarios that I had to go through. They will analyze it and it is used as a tool to give the unit educators and preceptors an idea of what needs to be focused on during orientation.

Speaking of unit orientation, I will be starting my first shift in the ER this Monday (in 2 days). My schedule is kind of crazy for the next 2 months as I will be working various shifts (7p-730am, 3p-330am, 1p-130am, 7a-730p). I just hope my body can keep adjusting to all the different time zones I will be operating in. Eek. This will be first time ever doing a night I hope I will be able to get through it.

I'm nervous about starting in the ER just because of all the stuff I need to learn and know how to do. I have a huge learning curve ahead of me and I am praying that God will help me not get overwhelmed and just help me step by step. Pray for me!