Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Emergency Department - my new area

OK, I dunno why I looked for new openings in other departments...maybe because at the rehab, we usually would be RIF'ed (reduction in force when the census is low), or maybe because I was getting bored with the routine no-challenge type of work there (the only challenge was physically because we RNs also needed to help the techs prepare the patient for the rehab day -- i.e., bathing and dressing of patients, which could mean from the independent hip replacement patient to the bedridden stroke patient).

In any case, I looked in the employment opps in our website -- OR nurse. I guess I applied too late. One of my co-workers applied ahead of me and got accepted I guess even before I got the chance for my resume to be reviewed...OK...on to other opps...

Behavioral Health...nah...I always fear for my own sanity. I believe there is a very thin line between sanity and insanity, and that can easily break when you are surrounded by pathologic personalities.

CCU (Critical Care Unit)...too morbid for me...I have never liked taking care of very sick people...that would be too stressful.

MCH (Maternal Child Health)...I would have loved to be here but they required current OB-Gyn experience in any of the areas in L&D and Nursery. I have experience, but whether they are current per their standards, I don't know. I don't even know how to use the fetal monitor, but I can do it manually, including manual monitoring of labor. But they do it here with machines. I heard from another Pinay nurse (old-timer) that they wanted the experienced nurses because they were desperate to find ones who needed minimal training, as they were expecting 400++ deliveries for the month of May. Oh well...

ED (Emergency Department)...well, it's not exactly the kind of stress you would have in CCU, but the kind of cases, the variety, the surprises, the critical thinking, the more practical applications towards my own life...the similarity with my past experience while I was a GP in the Philippines, I guess I don't have much to fear. There may be different equipment that I needed to learn, but I am quite a gadget junkie so equipment do not intimidate me, nor computers. The one thing that almost stopped me from trying that one was the circulating reputation of the ED personnel: that they eat their young. Well, I guess that is not entirely different from the scenario I suffered in the hands of senior nurses when I was undergoing my clerkship and internship rotations before getting my MD license in the Philippines. Given the past circumstances of my life where I have had humbling experiences, and have come to accept that whatever I know now or understand now just made me realize how little I actually do understand (as in, God's work is just so amazing I cannot pretend that I understand exactly how He designed the human body), I have learned to get along well with people, and have converted several toughies into softies when they interact with me. Not that I suck up, I just make them realize I am not someone who will challenge them or intimidate them, that I will willingly accept whatever they can and will teach me and I will be very appreciative of that, because I know I DO NOT KNOW EVERYTHING.

Well, despite the warnings I received from friends and co-workers, I went ahead and applied. Not sure that I would like it. But I did think that if I would get stuck in rehab for another year, I would get stagnant mentally and skills-wise. ER, on the other hand, is such a very good experience to have, because after a year or so (or even less), I can find work virtually anywhere. One thing that attracts me to nursing is the TRAVEL NURSING opportunities, and the per diem rates. The hospital closest to me always have ER openings, both for per diem and regular positions. ALWAYS. And since ER nurses are in demand, I will never fear of becoming RIF'ed. Rather, I might always be called to fill in for one who calls out. Plus, I want to get all those certifications that are a requirement of other in demand departments -- ACLS, EKG interpretation, PALS...

I got an interview, and there was instant feeling of being at home. I had positive vibes with the two interviewers (manager and educator). I got the job (well, according to one of my co-workers, ER's are always desperate for nurses). After learning more about my past experiences, they even went as far ahead as me probably being a mentor, taking the TNCC and other higher trainings. (I was thinking, hey...slow at a time). Anyway, maybe I looked confident enough that they became confident about my abilities, although I was quite upfront about the lack of abilities for the more complicated cases that really warranted a hospital (not clinic) visit, but they knew I could be trained. Ain't that the most important trait anyway? --- trainable. Another area they were concerned about was the use of the new computer system. I assured them I was, as a matter of fact, a superuser back in rehab. I was one of the few who had to walk others through the new system, simply because training for that was a breeze to me.

I started 1st week of May, when I was suffering from severe allergy that I almost feared I would be very vulnerable if I worked in the ER because my skin was so damaged (and on this very day I am posting this, is the first day I saw and felt my skin come back to an almost normal state that now I can expose it to air without sloughing skin and itching). It was a nightmare allergic attack-turned to atopic dermatitis event. Luckily, today I realized I am not that immunocompromised, and I can continue to enjoy the ER.

Why I like it: some days are busy, some days are not. Never boring. Variety of cases and people. Critical thinking developed. My clinical skills will be put back into practice, and they will probably benefit from skills I gained in IV insertion and blood draws (I used to stick even neonates without much problems). What I hated when I was a GP in PI was that I did not develop the skills needed to respond to emergencies such as stroke and acute MI (heart attack), and that I did not really learn much beyond treating common community acquired illnesses, etc. I wanted more...although I would not be the one who would actually treat (doctors would be) at least I would be exposed as to how they do it here...I can easily learn the why's. I can easily follow the rationale for the treatment because of my background, but learning their protocols will be great. I might in the end consider taking the USMLE, or maybe become an NP, who knows?...But this ER experience will surely be a gem in my resume...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello. Congrat's on your new postion Manang !

We would love to have you on board with us as a critical care Travel RN. We have assignments nationwide, and in your home area as well.

All assignments include housing or a housing stipend, premium wages, and bonuses.

Call us or refer an RN to us for a referral bonus!

Thank you Manang!

Southwest SWAT Nurses
America's Best Critical Care Nurses