My preceptor

I have no idea how anything works except for nursing and when you graduate and become a new nurse you are assigned to an experienced nurse to show you how things are done. Everyone has a first preceptor and I have remembered mine over the years. Her name was Lisa and I always wondered what happened to her.

It was the year 1988 and I graduated from Deaconess College of Nursing in May. I had been working on 4 north as a student nurse assistant for over a year. That was the isolation floor so I was well versed in wound care, infection and isolation. HIV and AIDS was brand new back then and people were convinced you could transmit it from kissing. I took care of my first AIDS patient on that floor, he was down the isolation hall. I remember after he passed away his call light came on after he was gone from the room and we all swore it was his way of saying goodbye. So my first nursing job was on 5 north. This floor was mainly ENT, GU and all the inpatient dialysis patients. It was a tough medical surgical floor but I was a new graduate nurse and free from isolation so I was excited about the change. My preceptor was Lisa and she lived closed to me. She was awesome. Our first day together could have left me running screaming from the building. We had a laryngectomy patient who coughed out his trach tube just as we walked in his room. I know my eyes bugged out of my head but Lisa just went over picked it up, rinsed it off, grabbed the obdurator off of the wall, put it in and stuck the thing back in the guys neck as if it happened all the time. She was great to work with. Actually I have fond memories of everyone I worked with during those two years. However after two years I found myself ready for a change. The dialysis patients tended to be admitted over and over again and they became like family members to me and then they started passing away. I couldn’t take it and decided to move on to the burn unit at Mercy. So I left Lisa and everyone behind and never saw them again. This was long before the internet, email, texting and Facebook. The only way we had to keep in touch was to call someone on the telephone or write a letter and send it through the mail (oh the horrors)!

I’ve looked for Lisa a couple of times on Facebook and today I finally found her. I heard back from her today and I was very excited. I had been thinking about her a lot recently because we have so many new girls on our floor and so many straight out of nursing school. I have found their newness  refreshing. However I have never been a preceptor. There are a few reasons for this. The hours that I work make it impossible. I have the eleven in the morning shift and sometimes come in as early as eight or not at all. New nurses have to have guaranteed work hours. I also take all new surgeries which is not what anyone in their right mind would sign up to do. I however love it. I also don’t teach well. I have been told by three different people that I don’t think like a normal person which makes it harder for me to teach anyone anything. It totally explained why I understood logic but couldn’t really help anyone with it.  I do tell all the new people they can ask me anything and I will answer and help them. It’s just best not to leave me to educate on my own because I have a crazy way of doing things.


Mole Moral ~ Techonology is awesome because I found Lisa who was so instrumental in my becoming the nurse that I am today!

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