Wednesday, May 30, 2007

First True Clinical Experience (Part I)

I knew we would have to do some sort of actual CNA-like task eventually.

Day 1 of clinicals was spent in an orientation that included a tour and another overview of HIPAA (in case we didn't get it after watching the video twice in class).

Day 2 we did a scavenger hunt on the floor of the nursing home we'll be working on. They had told us in class how glad the nursing homes are to get students, and especially how excited all the CNA's are to have our help. Yeah... not the case. I should have figured that one out. We don't know what we're doing, and here we are, wandering around their workplace, getting in their way, and slowing them down. They actually seem to dislike us quite a bit.

Day 3, we practiced using the stand-assist lifts on each other. For those of you non-healthcare people, have you seen these things?

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The first time you see a CNA swinging a grandma down the hall on one of these, it kind of catches you off guard... Oh, and they usually don't look as happy as this guy does. Usually they're complaining that the harness is too tight. (They can breathe, don't worry, they just like to complain sometimes.) I've got to wonder how they feel about riding around on these things. It scared us to use them on each other, and we're pretty young and healthy and comfortable with technology.

Today was Day 4. In theory this morning, we started hearing the horror stories from other students about their clinicals. It seemed as though they were all thrown into the job on Day 1, and are way ahead of my group. I don't think I'm complaining about that though, since they have had some pretty rough experiences. One group was sent to give a bed bath to a man in isolation. Not only is he in isolation (which complicates the whole process), but he is also combative, so he tried to take a couple swings at the students, as well as trying to work in some groping. There were also several poop stories.

So, I dreaded going to clinicals today, knowing that we couldn't keep avoiding patients forever... I guess that's not the point of the class. We were assigned in groups of 3 to give one patient a bed bath, and then change all their bedding while they were still in their bed (yeah, tricky business). The residents were finishing up lunch when we got there, so we were instructed to get our linens and supplies ready and wait for the CNA to put them in bed so we could get started.

We spent the next 20 minutes discussing what sort of bedding supplies we needed. "Ok, I guess we need a bedspread. Wait, if they have their own bedspread, we reuse that one right? Umm... Ok, this list says blue striped blanket. All these blankets have pink stripes. Do you suppose they're the same? We're going to need a bath blanket. No, I think the thing with the pink stripes IS the bath blanket. Where did the instructor go? Do you feel like we aren't ready for this? How are we supposed to take care of these people when we can't figure out how to make a bed? Where do they keep the mattress pads? Did you guys find the mattress pads yet? No, where are the fitted sheets? I don't want to ask the CNA's, they're scary."

We gathered up enough bedding to make 7 beds, and headed back to the room to wait for our resident. We waited and waited. You would think that the bedding fiasco would have allowed plenty of time for our subject's arrival, but she was still MIA. Well, we decided to get the bathing stuff together. We opened up the bathroom door to get some water in the basin, and there was her roommate on the toilet. Oops. OK... where is our lady anyway? Let's get this bath over with. Uh oh, CNA flies in the room to get roommate off the toilet and into bed. We manage to get in her way no less than 14 times in the 5 minutes it takes her to hoist roommate up on the lift and swing her across the room into bed.

Finally we ask where our lady is. A CNA is gracious enough to point her out, down the hall in a wheelchair, wearing a blue sweater, then CNA runs off again. We introduced ourselves to her, and asked if we could give her a bath. Nope. She wasn't rude at all, and not uncooperative, but she was afraid that she would miss ice cream at 3:00. We (with the help of a nearby LPN) convinced her we had plenty of time, so she agreed to let us take her back to bed.

(to be continued...)


MonkeyGirl said...

You are bringing back memories! Keep posting! Me likee! ;-)

Scott said...

Huh. You are very cool. After surviving a bad career in locksmithing and a rare form of cancer, I have decided to accept my degree in Journalism is worthless, and I am soon to enter nursing school! Nice CNA stories!

graciela said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


LISA said...

hi my name is Lisa i will be taking cna classes in June i was wondering a few things does anyone kow where to find a pdf of the clinical skills and a list of supplies for each one?[i want learn this before class preparation skills are key !also i have heard alot of horror stories and would like to know from someone with experience it cant truly be that horrible right?