Two Steps Back

I came home from my shift Friday night feeling for the first time like I had regressed. Ick.

Part of it was the fact that we got slammed. When you start the night on a unit that is transferring three patients out and getting an ER admit at change of shift, it sets the tone. We were half-full at 1900 but by the morning we didn’t have an empty room left. My first two patients were pretty manageable but then I got a transfer from the ICU, probably the sickest patient I have cared for yet, with a wound vac and all kinds of drains and tubes, and in contact isolation to boot. I spent the entire shift playing catch-up and only got one 20-minute break.

It didn’t help that my preceptor for the evening was the non-warm and fuzzy nurse from a few weeks back. I don’t know what it is, but we just don’t seem to click. Something about working with him raises my anxiety level a few extra notches, and I think I was even more flustered than I would have been otherwise. Not to mention that it’s been a while since we worked together, and he made no secret of his disdain for the different practices I had adopted with other nurses.

Which brings me to a gripe about the residency program. I know it has got to be hell organizing the schedules of dozens of new graduate nurses. But working with a different nurse every couple of shifts really impedes progress, in my opinion. I spend half the shift figuring out how my new preceptor operates, not to mention the fact that every day I work a preceptor notices some documentation I have failed to complete, even though I didn’t know it existed. If I had one or two preceptors who knew what I was capable of, I believe I would be a lot farther along in the process.

So for my Statistics class, I’m doing research on new RN residency programs and writing a research proposal to examine their efficacy. I won’t actually carry out the research, but now that I’m a resident myself, I’m curious to find out what elements result in successful outcomes for program participants.

What do you think are important elements for an RN residency program? Will you be applying for a residency when you finish nursing school?

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