This summer I have the honor of interning with Houston Methodist Hospital, the number one hospital in Texas - located in the Texas Medical Center. I work in the Neuro Intensive Care Unit (NICU). In the NICU I care for critically ill patients with conditions including (but not limited to) swelling of the brain, strokes, brain bleeds & hemorrhages, blunt trauma to the head, tumors, as well as spinal cord trauma and patients recovering from invasive neuro surgeries. I have also had the opportunity to assist in an operating room (OR), the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU), and help with medical research. In the NICU, I work directly with an experienced nurse, known as my preceptor. 3 days a week for 12 and half hour shifts we try to help these patients heal.
On a typical day I wake up at 5:30 a.m., throw on my scrubs, and head to the hospital. Around 6:45 a.m. my preceptor and I receive report on our patients from the night nurse. Then then we go into our patient rooms to introduce ourselves and begin our assessments. Although we only have 1 or 2 patients assigned to us in an ICU, we rarely have time to sit down because of all of the work we need to get done! I still have a month of my internship left, yet I have already given countless shots and other medications, inserted IVs, drawn blood, assisted physicians with bedside procedures, and learned and practiced a myriad of other skills.
Although I have learned so much in school, there is nothing that can prepare you for working at the bedside. Nursing is not simply book knowledge and clinical skills. Compassion is a necessity, as your “customers” are only with you due to an illness or trauma. This is the worst day
of their lives, and it is your job to assist them in navigating the medical world, help them feel less pain and more comfort, and advocate on their behalf. Not only do you need to know your anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology, you also need to be able to explain everything in terms the patient and family can understand (in the medical world, this is known as “layman’s terms”). You have to know your facts well enough to stand up to a doctor when you feel as if they are not doing what is best for your patient, and suggest the proper alternative course of treatment. Participating in this internship has strengthened my clinical knowledge and skills, improved my bedside manner, and created so many networking opportunities and connections with other medical professionals.
As we like to say in Delta Gamma, “work hard, play hard!” This summer is not all work for me - there are 11 other nursing students in the internship program, and we all live together in provided housing. Every week we have “Bachelorette Mondays”, and on our days off we explore Houston, use our pull-out couch to watch movies, and try out new restaurants - Local Foods is a must! This weekend we are going to an Astros Game at Minute Maid Park, and in a few weeks we’re driving down to Galveston. I know I’ve found lifelong friends in this program - we are all already discussing living together when we graduate!
I hope y’all enjoyed learning a little bit about the nursing profession and what I’m doing this summer. I love nursing and the medical field, so if you ever have any questions feel free to reach out to me!