Today marked the first day of my second to last semester of nursing school. I had my first clinical day for my primary care course. In prep, I made sure all my nursey things were packed last night, even lunch, and headed to bed at a reasonable hour. For the first time in a loooong time I actually had to be up early. Miraculously, I did wake up on time this morning, had breakfast, and headed out to the bus. Last semester's clinical was at a VA hospital. My placement had me conducting physicals on veterans coming in for detox from drugs, alcohol or a combination of both. More often than not, when I saw them they were in some state of intoxication. As you can imagine, this made doing physicals quite adventurous. Sometimes they would be on the bus with me in the mornings on my way there as well.
This semester's clinical is on the same bus route. I got on the bus this morning and quickly found a seat. The woman sitting next to me immediately whispered to me, "We have some entertainment this morning". I did a quick scan around me and, sure enough, across the aisle from me was an extremely inebriated man, hugging a giant bottle of Listerine. I'd say he was in his late 60's but have come to learn that it is harder to gauge age in individuals who drink heavily as the alcohol use (and whatever else they are ingesting) ages them significantly. It turned out, according to the woman I was sitting next to, that he was being escorted to the VA hospital for a detox program by two individuals sitting near him. They were not completely involved with him, but would check in with him when he got too loud. The Kid Rock quotes he would yell at us were particularly engaging, as were the moments where he offered to share his ginourmous bottle of Listerine.
Eventually, we arrived at my stop. I wished the driver good luck with the rest of the ride, he laughed and thanked me- he was very close to tossing the man out of the bus a couple of times.
I arrived at my clinical feeling very reflective and acutely aware that just a few monthes ago that man would have been one of my patients. I headed into my new clinical, ready for new challenges. I turned in my required paperwork, met my preceptor, and started shadowing her. Two hours later, the floor manager came and found me. Apparently, my paperwork was incomplete. Part of the routine with clinicals is that you have to have documentation of certain vaccines. The paperwork I had submitted only had a couple of the needed vaccines. I had submitted what other sites have required in the past, but it turned out, this site needed the whole shebang. Since I did not have the documentation on me, I had to leave. I wasn't allowed to be there without it.
I was a little embarrassed and frustrated that I had not been totally ready, and that I had to leave. Like now. I get that the admin part is important, but hey, if they had followed up with me a couple weeks ago, this could have gone differently.
So, I almost had my first day. I did shadow some solid appointments. And I did have enough time there to fully embrace the reality that I need to review a few...OK, a lot of things. I look forward to the day when the ROOKIE sign above my head is not glowing as brightly as it is right now.
But between now and that day, if you see me on the bus with a huge bottle of Listerine, don't judge too harshly:)