Friday, April 05, 2013

Something New and Different

I am in training again! No, I have not quit my job, just learning a new aspect. Here, let me explain what I do...

Patients who come to us for surgery or other procedures usually go through 4 different areas, starting in admissions first. That is where I work the most. We go through their paperwork, check health histories, shave and prep surgical sites if needed, start IV's and things like that.

Next, patients are taken back for their procedures, either surgical or endoscopic, such as colonoscopies and EGDs.  I do not expect to be trained to work much with surgical cases, I will be working with the doctors doing the endoscopy procedures.  Basically the doctors are putting scopes in from the top down and/or the bottom up to take a look at as much of the gastrointestinal tract as they can. They look for things like polyps, precancerous cells, irritated areas, maybe ulcers and other things along those lines. The scopes have lights and cameras and so we can see all this on a screen. It can be interesting.

After their procedures the patients are taken to PACU (Post-Anesthesia Care Unit... formerly known as the recovery room) until they are awake and breathing again on their own. Usually they aren't in the PACU too long but it varies per patient. They don't leave there until they are stable. I will eventually be trained to work in PACU as well.

From PACU the patients are wheeled out to the post-recovery area where a family member can join them. There they finish waking up while we monitor pain levels, nausea issues, make sure their surgical site is fine and things like that. When they are ready we take out their IV and wheel them out to their car. I'm already trained to work in that area as well.

I admit I wasn't really excited about being trained as a circulating nurse in the endoscopy suite, but I think I will like it just fine. I have a lot to learn so I can keep up to speed with the doctors but I have my sweet friend, Donna, to help train me.

I guess I forgot to mention that we have to dress differently to work in the operating rooms. Do you like my new hat? I don't think that look is going to catch on. We'd already removed our cover-ups and masks before I thought to snap the photo. Obviously, I couldn't do that during the procedure or at any time a patient was present. 

Although I didn't exactly volunteer for this new training, I think it is good for my brain to have to stretch a bit. Have you learned anything new lately?

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