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New Nurse: Rachel's Story - Week 7

IU Health Methodist Hospital

New Nurse: Rachel's Story - Week 7

New IU Health Methodist Hospital nurse Rachel Ketelaar tackles 12-hour shifts and the PCU.


  • My first week working three full 12-hour shifts straight. I am going to find out: Will I enjoy having four days off in a row? Or will working three 12-hour days in a row be too mentally and physically exhausting?
  • Today I worked with a nurse who’s been here for many years. She was so thorough in her work! She taught me about the floor's quality improvement projects, including reducing catheter urinary tract infections, central line infections and patient falls, and increasing the use of spirometers to aid in breathing. She also shared a lot of the reasoning behind what we do as nurses, like making sure everything you do gets charted. I appreciated the insights of this veteran nurse.


  • My first week in the PCU side of my unit, where patients are sicker. Instead of having 4-5 patients to care for, I had three. These patients require more assessments, vital signs checking, dressing changes and typically more medication. The PCU is not as scary as I thought. But on the other hand, with more dressing changes and alarms and equipment, I have a lot more to learn!
  • I definitely feel I am becoming more independent in my work. Which means my mind is constantly running -- thinking about what I could have missed, what I need to do next, and how I can be more efficient in my work. It was much easier to rely on Ty telling me what to do next!

With my preceptor, Ty, who’s teaching me the ropes. (She’s garbed up to care for a patient in isolation.)


  • We have some patients on our unit who stay for months and months. Today, Ty and I and another nurse took 3 of these patients outside for 30 minutes. This was a huge task! These patients cannot get out of bed on their own and need lots of help to go outside in wheelchairs, along with monitors and IV poles. It was definitely worth it, though. The fresh air and sunshine were so good for these patients who’ve been cooped up inside.
  • What’s my verdict on working three days straight? I think I’d prefer to avoid it. By the end of day 2, I was completely wiped and went to bed at 9 p.m. so I could get 9 hours of sleep before my last day. But at least I have lots of time to visit my family in Chicago this weekend. It will be a great break to relax and see my parents and siblings.

Read more:

New Nurse: Rachel's Story - Week 1
New Nurse: Rachel's Story - Week 2
New Nurse: Rachel's Story - Week 3

New Nurse: Rachel's Story - Week 4
New Nurse: Rachel's Story - Week 5
New Nurse: Rachel's Story - Week 6
New Nurse: Rachel's Story - Week 7
New Nurse: Rachel's Story - Week 8
New Nurse: Rachel's Story - Week 9
New Nurse: Rachel's Story - Week 10

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