First, I want to brag a little. Today we had our intubation check off in lab and I passed on my first attempt! The only thing I lost a point on was that I didn’t verbalize the depth of the tube at the teeth but otherwise I did well. I don’t mind telling you that I was nervous because I figured I would do something silly like rocking the teeth or forgetting BSI but thankfully I remembered my steps (except for the aforementioned depth issue). I’m happy that I passed! I didn’t do as well on my test as I had hoped, though. It’s just something to work on improving.
It’s a good thing that I don’t mind a challenge.
I had a clinical rotation at an ICU on Friday and I really enjoyed it. I only had two patients (and one of those went to the floor) but I still got to practice several medication administrations and work on assessments. Ah, assessments: The bane of medic students’ existence. I’ll be the first to admit that when I first started doing them for school, it sucked. Yes, I said it: My assessments sucked. I feel that I’ve come a long way and I want to continue to improve so that I accurately and thoroughly examine my patients to determine a proper course of treatment. The only patient I had who was able to speak (the other was on a vent – more on that one in a bit) was a bit of a challenge but, as I said above, I sure don’t mind one. He put me to the test and I’m glad that he did because it helped that much in making me a better EMT already and a good medic later on.
As for the other patient… she wasn’t so well off unfortunately and I was around when the family got some not so good news about her prognosis. I kept my distance, of course, while the doctor was giving them the dreaded news but I still saw their grief from across the room. I’ll be honest: Seeing the family go through a loss (or immanent loss) is something that is hard to get used to. I think everyone in EMS (or in any other field for that matter) knows how too well what they’re going through. It stinks knowing that, whether I’m a basic or a medic – or even a doctor – there’s nothing I can do to bring back their loved one (last time I checked, there was only one God and I’m certainly not Him). In those situations a family loses their aunt, uncle, granny or whomever they’re grieving for and I don’t think anyone would disagree that it’s tough to witness. We also have to remember that at that point we’re not treating one patient anymore, rather we’re treating that patient’s entire family and friends who may be there to witness you calling the code. I hope that empathy is a skill that I never lose sight of as I learn all of the new ALS interventions I’ll be able to do as a paramedic. May this is true of anyone in EMS now and those who are going to enter the field after basic and/or medic school.
Anyway, sorry to get off on that tangent.
Later on when I went into the room to reassess her and give her the meds she had due, I could tell how much the family loves her. They were telling me about how healthy she had been up to that point and how she hated hospitals. I got to hear them share special memories of her and how much they will miss her. I couldn’t help but think of my loved ones who have passed and even of my mother who was on a vent for 15 days back in 1999. It was a scary time; I know how they felt because I felt that way too.
All in all I had a great experience and I look forward to going back. It wouldn’t hurt my feelings to have the same preceptor because he was really cool and showed me a lot of things in addition to helping me with my assessments and skills.
Next stop: A rural ER! My clinicals up to this point have been in urban facilities but this week I get to go to a rural ER. It’s also in my hometown! Thursday I will spend the night with my mom and step dad and visit with them as I prepare for my day. As always, I’m eager to get in there and get my medic student hands dirty!
Hopefully I’ll be calling it an early night tonight. One thing I’ve neglected on my quest is sleep. Tomorrow we’ll dive into more airway lecture and begin some new skills in the lab so I want to be well rested. With that… goodnight!