May 2003, Volume 33 Number 5 , p 32hn8 - 32hn8
Foreign and frightening
Afraid of this tough teenager, I never imagined what he thought of me.
By the time I graduated from nursing school at age 32, I'd already earned a college degree in retail management, worked as a department store manager, and had two children. I knew my maturity had helped me through nursing school and felt confident that my experience would serve me well in my practice.
After a lengthy orientation at my first job, I felt I had enough of the basics to do all right and enough experience to know when to ask for help. But my confidence was soon shaken by one challenging patient.
The day-shift nurse had concluded her report to me by saying, Oh, and then there's room 20. (Oddly, I remember what room the patient was in but not his name, so I'll call him Joe.) He has two huge leg dressings that you'll need ...