Exploring to me means getting exposed to something new. Whether it’s in your career or schooling, I am an everyday explorer. As a bedside nurse, the night shift is always an adventure. Before I even retrieve patient reports from the day shift nurses, I am already navigating through the electronic medical record system. I start meeting individuals by writing down their name, room number, age, gender and reported allergies. I wonder how this patient found about about their allergy with iguana urine? As a trek through 4 different patients charts, I already can gauge how my night will be. Armed with my trusted stethoscope and caffeinated elixir, I boldly head to the nursing station and start my shift.
It’s interesting how much you can learn about a patient by just observing their personal belongings. For example, if a patient had their cell phone out, you can pretty much assume they are alert and oriented to situation with moderate to strong upper extremity motor functions. If they had their laptop on their bedside table and it was connected to an electric outlet, you not only know the above assumptions, you can also deduce strong lower extremity functions that allowed them to stand up, bend down and plug in their window to the outside world. Observing also what they are watching on the television can be used to build rapport. Maintaining a conversation is easy with a patient if you are familiar with the current headline news or if you have a favourite contestant on Dancing with the Stars. Technological observations and knowledge can smoothen the night shift path.
Once all my patients have been assessed and all their immediate needs have been met, I start to swim through their medication lists. Expected of course, stool softeners for everyone, blood pressure pills for our hypertensives and insulin for the diabetics. Then I come across an unknown: cyclophosphamide and doxorubicin? Do I panic and run home? Nope, I am a brave nurse explorer! Besides, running home would be considered abandonment and I am very fond of my RN license. Instead of losing my license, all I do is utilize the computer and access Micromedex. Which tells me that this is a chemotherapy drug commonly used for patients with breast cancer. Eureka, I get to continue my journey.
There is no separating nursing and technology, the two are intertwined in the complex jungle we call healthcare. As a registered nurse studying to become a family nurse practitioner at the UCLA School of Nursing, world exploration to me is not only getting exposed to new knowledge and experience, but also pioneering the innovative ideas and technology that will shape healthcare and improve patient care. My exploration in advance practice nursing is will not only earn me another degree, but will equip me with the necessary tools to provide leading-edge patient care to the populations I serve. The DirecTV Scholarship will ensure that I will reach my destination.
Matthew, RN (firstname.lastname@example.org)