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Security-Check-Point-Sign-K-5818In Concepts class there is a practicum component you must fulfill before working in the hospital.  Basically, it’s a skills check off.  Here’s how it works:

  1. They give you 4 skills to learn.  Ours were: wound dressing change, urinary catheter insertion + wrist restraints + catheter removal, IM injection, SubQ injection.
  2. So, you practice these skills in labs on dummies (and at home by rigging old boxes into ghetto wound-like craters or using a coke can for a urethra).  We were given a “lab bag” that has tons of supplies so we could practice whenever we wanted: catheter kit, needles, pretend injection liquids, gauze, tape, etc.
  3. The day of check off, we arrived at school during certain blocks of time, drew a number from a hat to determine the skill we’d do (each number corresponded to one particular skill), gathered our supplies and went into our “patient’s room” to start.  We had a sheet that had “doctor’s orders” on it as well, which we had to check before we started any procedure.
  4. It’s important to note that our school has an entire floor of simulation rooms.  So we have rooms that look like doctor’s offices, hospital rooms, ER departments, etc.  And we have dummies that breathe, have heart beats, can talk, open their eyes, etc.

    Example of a dummy with an abd wound, picture courtesy of Google images

    Example of a dummy with an abd wound, picture courtesy of Google images

  5. I got wound dressing change, which was secretly my favorite.  I practice a lot at home so I felt comfortable.  I walked in and pretended that the dummy was real and I was about to do this procedure on a live person (so, yes, I “talked” to the dummy, asked him his level of pain, etc.)  My instructor was sitting in the room and acted as the dummy’s voice, so she was answering as my patient.
  6. Here’s an example of one nursing school’s check-off skill list (this is what the teacher uses to grade you):Screen shot 2014-04-13 at 3.09.17 PM

I passed.  It’s honestly NOT hard.  You just have to practice!  Nursing is a practicing profession.  Sitting in class and reading about stuff is only so helpful but if you practice, you are going to get better and better.