Ann Geraghty, Clinical Recruitment Manager
“I was on my first placement as a first year student nurse 30 years ago. I was ordered (never asked!) by the ward sister to prep a patient for cardiac surgery.
”Razor and shaving equipment and glycerine suppositories to the ready. The poor patient - about 50 years old big hefty machoman - was faced with me, 5 ft nothing, 18 years old, painfully embarassed.
”He looked at the tray and put my mind at ease by saying “It’s ok love, I can do all that myself.”
“So off I went. When I came back to check on the patient his face was purple from coughing: “God love, these tablets are the worst any one has ever asked me to swollow!” says he.
”Won’t tell you how mant bedpans I had to wash as a punishment!”
Suzanne Hair, student mental health nurse about to start third year
”As a nursing student who had recently completed the theory behind injection technique I couldn’t wait to go out on placement and put my new skills to practice.
”When the chance came to administer a subcutaneous injection I jumped at it.
”As my mentor explained to the patient this was my first injection and gained her consent I was thrilled but filled with nerves.
”I made sure my patient was comfortable with me administering the injection given that this was my first time. She was so relaxed and made me feel the same, I just knew from then this was going to be perfect.
”As I explained what I was going to do I felt confident and professional as I inserted the needle.
“But as I finish and removed the needle my patient was suddenly almost in tears holding her tummy - I was filled with fear! What had I done wrong?
“At that moment she looked up and said “JOKE! Now any injection you do from today will never be as bad as that.”
”I didn’t know wether to laugh or cry but she was right. Now going into my third year I have never had a “bad” experience like that! Something I most definitely won’t forget in a hurry.”
JoAnn McDonnell, now retired, previously worked in ICU, cath lab and cardiac research in the US
“I was taking the pulse of a sweet old lady and watching her chest rise and fall so I could count the respirations at the same time. She asked what I was looking at and I told her I was counting her breaths.
“She misunderstood and thought I said breasts saying in shock: “I only have TWO!””
“A confused elderly lady was on strict bedrest. One night she snuck out of bed to go to the sink and went right back to bed, closing her eyes as soon as she was back in bed.
”The monitor she was wearing was interpreted wrongly to be V-tach so her getting out of bed caused an alarm to go off at the nurses’ station. A new nurse ran into the room and seeing her lying in bed with her eyes closed, ran up and gave the precordial thump (back in the days when a hard thump on the sternum with a fist was thought to bring the heart back to sinus rhythm).
”Of course the woman was fine and the roommate mentioned that she had just been out of bed a moment before so we figured out what had happened.
”I checked on her a little later and asked how she was. She told me, “If they tell you to stay in bed, don’t get up because they really mean it!“””