Dealing with disappointment in clinical

Monday, I got to observe a cesarean section. I saw a tiny little peanut enter this world. It was messy and involved more fluids/tugging than I would have thought, but the second baby girl was out none of the “yuck” mattered. The tone of the room shifted as the nurses and doctors talked about how long her toes were, her perfect lips, and her curly hair. It was amazing that there was suddenly this new human being, the one her parents had dreamed about for months. The miracle of birth and experiencing so many new things should have been more than enough energy and excitement to get me through the day. The nurse I was assigned to actually gave me the tasks of 15 min vitals checks, the hourly assessment, and generally helping out in any way possible. My confidence grew because she could trust me and I was competent. That stopped once another nurse told my professor the patient was no longer wanting a student (aka me) to be a part of her care.

I wanted to cry. I didn’t consider any of the million reasons she could have made that decision. Instead, I decided that it was ME. I did something wrong, so wrong that she didn’t even tell me herself that she wanted to be left alone. I was a failure of a nurse. I am not competent. I annoyed her and said the wrong things. I didn’t make her feel comfortable. I was too peppy or shy or awkward. I was so focused on this belief that I had no room to consider other options, even when evidence arose.

I can separate this out better now, so I want to do that. I don’t need to believe these automatic negative thoughts just because they exist and seem true in the moment.

Evidence against these beliefs: my nurse continued to teach me and involved me in med preparation, my professor telling me that I had done a great job today, doing super well on charting and everything, positive responses from patients in the past.

One thing that really helped snap me out of it was a conversation with my mom. I called her, like almost every day, to let her know how things went. I told her about the incident and how down I felt about it. She immediately fought back with other reasons that the mom would request me to leave: emotional, sick of being at the hospital, tired, cranky, had visitors, didn’t want to be touched any more than necessary, wanted to avoid the questionnaire I mentioned. Those few minutes we spent talking about it helped me to realize that there wasn’t just one logical explanation. I’ll never know for sure why she made the decision, but I have to accept that I’m not some terrible person no matter what her reasoning was.

I have to remind myself that I am a student and I will make mistakes, tons of em. That’s why I’m a student. I am learning, not just the book stuff. I have to apply that to real people and situations, which is way different. I’ll have good days and bad, but I have already learned from when things haven’t gone well in the past. I am going to be a nurse one day and I won’t get there without stumbling because it’s part of the process.

I don’t want that small part of my day to linger and ruin the experience I had. Spending time in guilt and shame that I don’t deserve only brings more self-defeating behaviors. I have to move on and keep going.

One thought on “Dealing with disappointment in clinical

  1. In my experience when patients haven’t wanted a student nurse involved in their care it has little to do with the individual student nurse and more to do with feeling overwhelmed by the number of providers involved in their care and wanting to keep that number as small as possible.

    Liked by 1 person

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