Yesterday was a looonnnngggg day. I had to meet with a professor about a paper at 8:45, then had class on campus until around noon, met with some other classmates to discuss a project for one of our classes, then ran home, made a tuna sandwich, changed into my uniform and went to clinical for 8 hrs.
This was our first acute care experience in pediatrics. It was also our first experience at this one particular hospital. And it was interesting. It’s located in what was once one of the many booming mill cities in this area. And as with those other cities, it’s struggled over the past century or so as most of those mills packed up and moved to wherever (China?). But it has had less success in that struggle than its counterparts. As a result, this hospital receives most of its funding from federal sources and that fact is obvious from the time you walk in the door. When I first stepped into the lobby I felt as though I had been transported 25 years back. The lobby was clean, but dim, and was probably pretty chic in 1982. The cafeteria had pink and turquoise decor which reminded me of Nurses, that 80s show with Loni Anderson. It was also a ghost town, which seemed odd to me. Granted we were there at an off hour, but in most hospital cafeterias there are still a few people hanging around. Here I thought tumbleweed might start rolling between the tables. The pediatrics ward had colorful images on the walls, a playroom, and kid-friendly wallpaper borders in the rooms, but that dimness remained. I suppose I should admit here that this is my first experience with evening clinicals. My other ones have all taken place during the 7-3 timeframe, so perhaps this facility just seemed dim because it was dark outside. But I’m not so sure. We marvelled at beds that, while not crank beds, looked as though they may have been from the first generation of electrically-powered beds. Our instructor pointed out the scales in the bathrooms used to weigh diapers (to measure baby output you weigh the wet diaper, weigh a dry diaper, and take the difference). She noted that we may find that the scales are missing… there is a fair amount of drug dealing that goes on in the city and the scales work well for weighing whatever illicit substance is being bought/sold. We did get to see a real live working laundry chute, which I thought only existed in myth and legend. We went over to postpartum to see the nurseries. They have a level II nursery at this hospital and if the pedi census is low some of us may get to spend some time over there. But this is no posh post-partum floor or nursery like the one I saw during my maternity rotation.
On the good side, the nurses on our ward were all very nice. I think we’re also at a benefit because our instructor received her diploma from this hospital back in the early 70s, worked there for many years, and has a lot of connections there. But I think that my classmates and our predecesors have helped our cause as well. One of the nurses admitted that when she first heard about our program she thought it was odd, but after seeing the classes roll through she decided that the school must be very selective in who they admit and decided that it’s not such a bad idea after all. Another nurse, knowing that we’re part of this program, asked us to go around and talk about what we did before. They thought that I might have made the biggest change. 😉
It was an interesting evening overall. And despite the slight time warp-y feel, I can’t say that I’d rule out working there, though if I did, I think some Spanish courses would be a must. A classmate of mine and I followed a nurse while she did an intake and the mom spoke very little English. Luckily an aide was able to translate. But I expect you also pick up a lot while you’re there. Just from that interaction I was able to figure out a few words. I think the cultural difference would be the bigger challenge than the language difference. Anyway, I’m excited to find out how our other experiences at this hospital go!