Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Cath Lab

Monday was my second week on the cardiac floor for clinical.  We were assigned one patient to do an entire head-to-toe assessment, set of vitals, and chart our findings. 
As I began, my assessment was brief, because my patient had to go down to the cath lab to get an angiogram.  Once the patient and I got down to the waiting room in the cath lab I choose to ask more subjective questions.  My patient was a 35 year old female, only two years older than me.  I tried quickly to gain trust by talking about things that interested her.  Once in the cath lab I made sure to make eye contact and we exchanged glances throughout the procedure.  When she was done, we talked briefly and I felt a connection made, by being near her throughout the angiogram. 
Once we were back in her room, for my three areas of focused assessments I chose heart (because of the chest pains she was admitted for), lungs (because she is a smoker), and skin (because she just had an angiogram in the femoral artery that needed to be checked every 15 minutes).  During the heart assessment I felt awkward placing my stethoscope near the apex because I didn’t want to violate her privacy and go under her gown, but she didn’t seem bothered after I started so I continued.  While I observed my nurse doing a heart assessment later in the morning, I could she didn’t think twice at listening to those areas and I figured in time I’ll feel less intrusive.  What I liked about my nurse and different from the nurse I shadowed for an hour the Monday prior, was that she knocked on the door before entering.  I like this tactic and will use it in the future for my patients.
I was so impressed while sitting next to the CT Tech and listening while he explained what the doctor was doing during the angiogram.  He pointed out major arteries while the doctor pumped dye and the heart was visible on the screen in front of me.  I couldn’t help but gasp and say “that’s cool”.  As I looked out from behind the glass lead protecting windows I saw huge machines on tracks that moved around effortlessly.  Once in awhile these machines banged into each other and I wasn’t sure if maybe it was the doctor operated them or they did that on their own.  Either way I’m still pretty impressed with the cardiac floor.


  1. That's so nice! I know for myself, that I would have loved to have someone with me during my tests whatever they could be. And it helps with nerves and be less scared. And you talked to her about other stuff, just sounds great! Good job!

  2. Hi Zazzy. It sounds like you will make a great nurse!

  3. It is a really good habit to knock on the door or some how announce you are coming in.

    Don't worry in no time you will feel comfortable touching people and putting things in place that would get you in trouble in the outside world, and you won't think twice about it.

  4. Wow! I think it is so interesting how different all the programs out there are. I haven't even set foot in a hopspital as a SN yet and won't until my second semester. We learned to take a health history on a geriatric "patient" (which was really someone we already knew over 65), and have to do a head to toe assessment on one of our classmates before we get to "move on" to the real patients.

    I am hesitant to touch people now too, even my classmates whom I have gotten to know fairly well over the last few months. I'm hoping, just as you are, that it will start to become second nature. As far as knocking on the door is concerned. That is an automatic fail in our practicums if we don't do that.

    Glad to see you had a great experience!

  5. Dominique – The only time I’ve been in the hospital that I can remember was while I was pregnant, and the nurse I had was exceptional! It does matter to have someone near you helping you through the scary parts.
    Unreasonable Sin – Thank you very much for the compliment, I hope so.
    NPO – I’m sure I’ll be immune as early as next semester, but for now I feel I’m violating the patient.
    It’s just me – It’s funny that yes we’re in the hospital setting but haven’t learned about injections or caths. Yikes huh…