Thursday, January 24, 2008


So on Thursdays we have to get up at four-dark-thirty. Not only must we get up, but we must then appear, clean, neat, and chipper, by no later than 5:45am, at the Clinicals site assigned to us, where we must then try to worm our ways into our assigned CNAs' hearts, lest they spurn us and leave us to wander the halls, alone and friendless. This morning I followed instructions to the letter, donning for the first time my uniform: white scrub top with Euphemism College Indentured Nursing Servitude Program on left shoulder, white lab jacket with Euphemism College Indentured Nursing Servitude Program on left shoulder, navy blue "Cherokee" brand scrub pants (for conformity's sake, that we might all match nicely one another), and white shoes, no clogs, no Crocs. Naturally all of the CNA's were wearing adorable multicolored scrubs and Crocs. Sigh. At least the pants are blue now and not white which was the requirement until just this term. Thank you, Student Nurse Association of Euphemism College, for successfully lobbying to change the pants color! "At least now we don't have to give you The Underwear Talk," says the program director.

I was compelled upon arrival to ask the kindly, if slightly amused, nursing staff for something with which to cover my one visible tattoo. "But why?" they asked, and I explained that we were told in no uncertain terms to cover our tattoos so as not to offend the largely elderly population we will be working with. They fairly shook with laughter as they found me a gauze pad and clear sticky thingy (which has a name but I forget what it is) for the offending body art. Then I had to ask for a bandaid to cover this weird thing on my inner elbow that I am fairly sure is ringworm.

Yes, ringworm.

I have placed a call to my doctor about it and await further instruction.

If it is indeed ringworm, then the only really plausible explanation for "why there, in such an odd place and not on your hand or scalp or something more typical" is that perhaps I picked it up from the cat at work. She loves me. She loves to sit on me. She loves to stick her wet little nose in the crook of my elbow and try to bury her head under my arm.

Great. Now I've got mange.

At any rate, once we were thoroughly scolded by our instructor for clinicals, who is frankly a bit of a prick, for any tardiness (past present future real or imagined) we were taken to the shift change meeting where the CNA's mostly ignored us. They go through this every three months so one can hardly blame them for failing to break out the brass band, but still, I felt leprous and untouchable for most of the morning. And not just because of my ringworm.

Once we were set free upon the unsuspecting populace, the CNA's loosened up a bit and even put us to a bit of work here and there. In my case, mostly to fetch linens or throw dirty ones in the hamper. But not icky soiled ones, so I'm fairly sure my CNA doesn't hate me. I also got to do exciting things like encourage a patient to eat and fill ice water cups for each patient. Whoopee. I'm paying big money and getting up at the butt crack of dawn for this privilege. (Not to denigrate the importance of caring for our elders, nor to look down upon the work of the CNA -- I just mean it's a bit anticlimactic when you have a shiny new important uniform and a badge that says, "Student Nurse.")

At any rate, as we get more comfortable we will be required to do more tasks, so next week my goal is to actually take the vital signs of two or more patients and perhaps even assist one or more of them out of bed, dress them, etc. Woot! Look out, here I come! I might even warm my hands up first!

Anyway, our instructor was laboring under the misconception that we had to be at library training at 12:30pm, a misconception that interestingly none of us felt the urge to correct him on, and we were out of there by noonish, at which time I sped into town to pick up the larger be-wheeled bag that my sister-in-law brought for me. She lives an hour out of town but happened to be in town for A Day of Beauty. I was also able to eat some lunch while sitting in my car listening to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on CD, (a pastime which I find soothing so stop calling me a dork behind my back. I'm looking at you Mel.) Then to the Euphemism College library for training by a truly marvelous reference librarian about the APA publication style which we will be using for our paper this term, and all terms henceforth forever and ever in perpetuity, and the mistakes that previous students made and which were noted in painful detail to her by the program director, that we might be instructed more carefully this term. She kept saying things like, "Why do they do it like this? Who cares. Just do it this way." I puffy hearted her by the end of the training. I wonder if there is some kind of nurse-librarian hybrid career?

After the training I and my cohort in crime, future roommate Michelle, hung about the library printing the reams and reams of stuff we need off of Blackboard. Another classmate who Michelle finds particularly irksome decided that he would print a powerpoint presentation from one of our classes, using the same shared printer as we were using. One slide per page. Forty nine slides. Oh, and here are some more powerpoints I need to print! The printer was so buggered up from this that I turned to him and said, "You can't seriously be printing these up in this format. It's like two hundred pages and each one is taking forever." At first he failed to see the error of his ways but the dirty looks that other users were giving him soon prompted him to cancel his print jobs, log off and bail from the library altogether, leaving one job still printing, which we managed to get a staff member to cancel. I'm starting to understand why he gets on Michelle's One Remaining Nerve. He's without malice, but utter clueless.

So, I got home around 4:30pm having been gone some eleven hours, and promptly fell asleep on the couch. Now I must write up the various things from today which are due tomorrow by 11:30am (necessitating a trip to campus, grr) and study for the last module test of the week which is also due tomorrow. Only to begin again next week. Yay!

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