Student Nurse, Senior Baccalaureate Preceptorship
In April 2010, I worked one-on-one with a Registered Nurse preceptor (see Susie Messina, left column) in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) for 144 hours as a component of my senior Professional Nursing Practicum. Under supervision, I took charge of one to two patients each shift, providing total patient care to critically ill children and babies, calculating correct medication dosages, becoming proficient with hospital equipment and electronic documentation, and giving end-of-shift reports to oncoming nurses. I was provided with unparalleled clinical skills opportunities such as feeding tube and foley catheter placement and removal; care for intubated patients; care for patients post-cardiac and post-craniotomy surgeries; dressing changes; monitoring peritoneal dialysis; performing postmortem care; adhering to different isolation types; and administering and monitoring IV infusions, just to name a few. I was presented with a wide variety of patient problems and diagnoses, ranging from multiple patients with congenital heart defects, to Down syndrome; pneumonia; psychiatric cases; victims of motor vehicle accidents; bowel obstructions and subsequent bowel resections; the need for a child of a Jehovah's Witness background to receive blood products; patients with severe developmental delays; end stage renal disease; sudden infant death syndrome; and shaken baby syndrome. I monitored electrolyte levels, performed thorough hourly assessments and computerized documentaion using MediTech, and continuously referred to a report sheet to prioritize care. I collaborated with other nurses as well as other disciplines such as respiratory therapists, physicians, radiologists, surgeons, care partners, and nurse practitioners. In addition to developing therapeutic relationships with patients and their families, I built relationships with members of the PICU team, which for that month, I was a part of.