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the story of the student nurse and postpartum bleeding

April 21, 2012 Leave a comment

About 2 weeks ago, I was very lucky to be a part of a scheduled c-section delivery of a multiparous mom. When I say “be a part of”, i use this term very loosely, since all I really did was count the surgical equipment with nurse I was preceptoring with, opened about 2 sterile bags of things I really don’t have any idea of, plus I got the job of counting all the used sterile gauze for the operation. Most of the time I was standing on my stool and making sure I didn’t touch anything blue (sterile field). It may sound like a dull day for someone who is in and out of the OR on a daily basis, but to me, I WAS IN CLOUD 9!  It was a good thing I was wearing a surgical mask, because if I wasn’t, I am convinced that OB would have asked me to leave for the simple reason that I had this fixed silly grin on my face the whole time I was in his OR.

The surgery was uneventful, but I had the time of my life. After I helped my nurse wheel the mom back to PACU and I was trying to sum up all the questions I have in my head to ask my nurse after she finish with her assessment, my uneventful multiparous mom suddenly started hemorrhaging.

It would have been great if someday, I’ll be able to see from a distance how I reacted. I knew my eyes were bigger than they already are as CHUNKS of blood clots were coming out of this mom who just delivered a healthy baby boy. My nurse, without even changing the tone of her voice, asked me to look for another nurse because she needs help and she instructed me to go back to OR 1 to get more padding. I bolted out as quick as I can, asked the nurse in the station to go to my patient’s room and then I walked back to OR 1. As I was trying not to run, the one thing in my head what that: “what padding??!!”. So I just went in and with my luck, no one was there. I tried going through the sterile cabinet that contained most of the surgical disposables, nothing there made sense. So I went to the cart next to the surgical bed and there I found blanket like pads. I just grabbed 2 of every sizes and prayed I had the right thing. When I came back, there were 2 nurses with my patient. My nurse was massaging the uterus while the other was cleaning up the mom as BASEBALL SIZE clots came out of her. My nurse couldn’t get hold of the doctor, so she asked the other nurse to just grab any doctor on the floor because meds are now necessary to stop this bleeding. Anesthesiologist, I know they get a lot of “not so nice things” from OR nurses sometimes, but they are always the last one to leave the floor. From her we got the necessary meds and a few minutes later, the charge nurse came in w/ another set of back-up meds. A few more minutes of continously massaging and as the medicines perform their function, the bleeding slowed down. The nurses did everything (EVERYTHING! not a single intervention by a physician…well the anesthesiologist prescribed the Pitocin) by the book with calm and grace that I can only ASPIRE to learn.

The whole time this was happening, I was semi-embracing myself for 2 reasons. First, I didn’t want to get in the way and 2nd, I want to control myself and I felt the physical restraint was necessary. I didn’t want to be that student nurse who went frantic, or who was more scared than the patient who was actually bleeding, or much worst – fainted. I told myself, no Angel, you won’t be that student nurse.

As soon as the situation was stable, I decided that it was the right time to leave since I was supposed to have left the floor about 30 minutes ago and I didn’t want my instructor to worry about me. My preceptor thanked me and complimented how I handled the situation. I said goodbyes to my patient and her family then I left the room and I headed to the sink on the floor to wash my hands before looking for my instructor.  I went back to my preceptor after our afternoon huddle to check on our patient and I was glad when I found out that she was doing well and that she is to be discharged to postpartum care soon. My preceptor was very kind as she asked if all my questions were answered by my instructor. She even told me that if there is another time that I’m back on the floor and she was there, she would try to make sure that she’ll have me as her student nurse for the day.

I wrote the events of this day because I want to remember it, cherish it, and look back at it someday.

I want to be a nurse. I know I’ve wanted to be so many things in the past and this realization is like the boy crying wolf for the 1ooth time. But I really do. Please let me be one. Please?

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