This past summer I was fortunate enough to be accepted as a Professional Nurse Assistant Extern at Duke University Hospital. I spent my time on the Adult Oncology floor specific to solid tumors alongside a Registered Nurse. Using my Nurse Aide II license I was able to assist the Registered Nurse in caring for her patients. Some skills performed were foley catheter insertion, tracheostomy care, hygiene, feeding, assessment, dressing changes, etc.
The Professional Nurse Assistant program organized sessions for all the externs to attend throughout the summer. These sessions focused on different areas in the hospital. Different nurses, nurse managers, or clinical nurse educators in the representing department would present to our program. Some topics included the hyperbaric chamber nurses, flight nurses, a CRNA, and the operating room. It was extremely beneficial to hear from employees of these areas and be able to ask them questions. My favorite presentation came from a neuroblastoma survivor who was cared for at Duke University Hospital. Her story was incredibly inspiring, especially when she talked about the impact the nurses had on her experience.
Shadow opportunities were given to all the externs throughout the summer. I was able to spend four hours in the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit and four hours in the Emergency Department. Each shadow experience was enlightening and all the nurses on those floors were welcoming and willing to teach.
Throughout the summer I was able to witness firsthand what an impact a nurse can make on a patient by being their companion, advocate, and care provider. I gained knowledge in work ethic, critical thinking, and prioritization. Duke University Hospital truly taught me there is so much more to a patient than their diagnosis.