2.25.2008

Retrieval

So...here I am, about a half-day away from my last ten weeks of clinical practicum. Psych clinicals were a poorly timed vacation. This is where the action is. There's a lot of negative things to say about Med/Surg. The Nurse/Patient ratios are the worst, burnout is prevalent and the stakes are high. It makes sense to put students here, the need for extra help is the greatest, and the patients are sub-acute but need a lot of care, so it's the ideal environment for students.

This is going to be the deciding factor. Can I do it? I'm not sure. The tests are easy, the academics are trivial, the theory is elementary. Taking Care of someone is hard, and clinical practicum is pass/fail.

Anyone can be taught to hang a bag of IV fluids or give an injection or replace a bandage. What sets us apart, I think, is that we understand the entirety of the disease process, and anticipate problems before they occur. At least, that's what's supposed to happen.

I guess what's giving me pause is just being so close to the finish line. Am I really going to finish this or am I just going to sabotage myself? The deciding factor has always been my support system, and the people I've relied on the most are gone. Even the people I've come to rely on recently are absent.

If my last great personal tragedy taught me anything it's that it's possible to provide brilliantly constructed care in the midst of a catastrophe. If the few months that followed taught me anything, however, it's that sometimes the aftermath is worse than the event.

I don't fool myself into thinking there's a choice between walling yourself off and letting other people in. There's only the facts of the matter, and what you tell yourself to feel better at the end of the day. Your proximity to the ones you love is either something you celebrate or lament.

Tonight, I lament.

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