It’s been over 6 months since my brother’s death and I have returned to work. The awful anxiety I felt 3 months ago just driving by the hospital, has been replaced by a normal nervousness one would expect after being away from an ever changing job environment for so long. I spent my first day doing all the necessary paperwork to get back into action, and reactivated all my accounts that went dormant when I did last December. The hardest part was the new passwords that replaced the ones that rolled off my fingers so easily after 12 and a half years in use. Parking pass was obtained, benefits paid, TB test applied, schedule checked, and I was ready for patient care on Day 2.
I worked with a preceptor, or mentor if you will, on my first two days of patient care. It’s always a humbling experience for me when I am the one asking the questions instead of the one giving the answers. As a Clinical Resource Nurse on the unit, one of my responsibilities is orienting the newly hired nurses. I took only 2 of the 4 patients the first day (3 of 4 on the second day) in order to reacquaint myself with the barcode machine for medication administration, the electronic medical record for documentation, and changes to the daily unit routine. Having been a nurse for almost 30 years, the routine patient care was not difficult. I entered the room and introduced myself and went on automatic pilot. The new technology, however, was more of a challenge. Passwords I set my first day (only 2 days prior) were already forgotten, and I had to make calls to the “help” desk to reset them once again. The first time I had to type my new password into the barcode machine it was clear that I would be changing that password! It was much to complicated to be typing in each and every time I gave medication in a 12 hours shift!!! The importance of keeping it simple was quite obvious at that point!
Barcode scanning of medication had been in place for some time before I went out in December, though I was not by any means efficient, or proficient, with it’s use. Each time I gave medication I would scan my badge, type in my password, pull the medications out of the pyxis, scan each med and put it in the cup, go to the bedside, scan the patient’s ID band, open the medications and review each with the patient, hand her a glass of water and finally give her the cup of pills to take. And wouldn’t you know it? The first patient of the day had 12 different medication labels to scan on her first round of medication!
At times I found myself doing things as if I had never been gone, and other times I’d find myself staring blankly at a machine or screen and wondering to myself “now what?” Having Brenda there to reprogram me at those times was invaluable. I worked two days with Brenda and was to be on my own the next day. That shift didn’t happen the next day. Maybe I willI share with you why it didn’t happen then in a later blog post. 🙂
Now here it is Saturday night, a week after my last assisted shift, and I am facing my first day with a full patient load tomorrow morning. I am as ready as I am going to be so bring it on I say! I work with a wonderful group of nurses who have been very supportive, and I know that I will be able to go to anyone of them tomorrow with questions that arise. I do not feel nervous, and I am sure I will sleep well (though maybe not enough as 0430 rise and shine comes early!). I think if I just don’t think about things too much they will come back to me again. It’s like riding a bike right?