"Where's the lumbar dressing?"
"On his lumbar spine, over his lumbar drain" I replied.
"But where's the lumbar area?" she persisted.
This from a fourth-year, last-semester, about-to-be-released-on-the-world student nurse.
At that point I sat her down with a stack of reading material and told her to research the patient's diagnosis, come up with a care plan, and know what his damned medications are so she wouldn't tell me again that Tessalon Perles were an antibiotic, and to have it done by today. That way, she'd be able to actually take care of and interact with the patient.
Which would've been fine, had she not kept wandering around, asking if she could *do* stuff. As in, "Can I watch you admit this patient?" "Can I open that lumbar drain for you?" (NO!!) "Can I ride this unicycle down the hall while singing 'Tosca'?"
Finally I wheeled around in the hallway as she followed me like a puppy, levelled my finger at her, and, reverting to Theater Geek/Abortion Clinic Jo, said, "You do not have the chops to be following me around. You need to do what I told you to do two hours ago so that you can be productive and safe tomorrow. Right now, you are neither safe nor productive, and you need to fix that."
So she, predictably, took herself into the bathroom and cried. She's afraid I'm going to fire her and she won't graduate.
She's right to be afraid. Very afraid.
Frankly, if you're in your fifties, dedicated enough to get a BSN, dedicated enough to go through all the crap that comes with being a "nontraditional" student, then you're old enough and tough enough to do what you're told by somebody who wants you not to screw up irretrievably.
All of which paled in comparison to the question asked by another of the students.
I'd asked her to catch a set of vitals on a patient, a fresh post-op, who'd had a right arm and shoulder amputation. This is a beautiful girl in her early twenties with an advanced and atypical case of chondrosarcoma.
So there's nothing to the east, shall we say, of her right collarbone. Nothing, that is, but a big slanty white gauze dressing with three Jackson-Pratt drains hanging out of it. No arm, no shoulder, no nothin'. There. Is. Nothing. There. Except an obviously fresh postop dressing.
Nursing student first tried to take a blood pressure on the patient's non-existent right arm. I had to redirect her to the left.
Then she asked me, as we left the room, "So...what did she have done, anyway?"
There. Is. No. Arm. There. What the hell do you *think* she had done? Rhinoplasty?
Sweet Christ on a pogo stick, I need a drink just retelling it.