Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Starting IV's and Dropping the Ball

If you've kept up with this blog, you know that I've been in the Emergency Room for the past few weeks with an internship-type position as a student. One thing that becomes necessary as a nurse in the ER is to become skilled with starting IV's. Ah yes, the dreaded and most-famous of all nursing skills - the ever intimidating intravenous line. It's got all the necessary ingredients for an exciting experience: sharp pointy needles, a considerable amount of pain, and most of all, blood!

I know that some people have a really hard time even thinking about IV's, so I won't go into any gory details, but I will tell you this: it is a scary skill to start practicing, no matter how much you've done it in a lab on a dummy (whose skin, no matter how "realistic," could never match the qualities of human skin and vascularity). It's even worse that, when you first start practicing, you have to do it with someone's head directly over your shoulder, watching every move you make for mistakes.

Something about the fact that you have a patient whose bulging eyes are darting back and forth from your face to your nametag that says "Student Nurse," combined with a room full of people watching you, along with the sweat beading up on your forehead makes this a difficult task. Well, in the course of doing this many times, you're bound to mess up a good amount, especially when you're first starting. This means that, many times, the instructor or nurse who is watching you must be ready to take the needle from you and correctly perform the task with their own skilled and experienced hands.

Notably, there was one time where I had screwed up twice on the same man. The second time I foibled with the needle, the patient said, "I'm sorry, but you've really gotta work on these." I then went, my soul's head hung down, to grab a nurse who could do it, for I could not.
“For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness." (Ezekiel 34)
God had to take the staff. He Himself had to herd in the sheep because the people who He'd given the responsibility to do so had thoroughly screwed it up. Ezekiel here is prophesying to the leaders of Israel, whose gluttonous and self-serving actions had come at the cost of the starvation of God's flock. The weight of responsibility that rested on the shoulders of the leaders of Israel had been dropped in a devastating way, and so God Himself had to pick it up.

"Gotcha! I'm not a leader! This doesn't apply to me at all."

Well, maybe you're not a leader, but everyone is in the process of influencing someone, whether they know it or not. And in this way, we are all leaders. One never knows how many little eyes are looking up at them or how many broken souls are looking to them for guidance. And we've all dropped the ball. God had to take the staff. He also took the needle. Three big ones, in fact. 

There is weight that rests on you. There are those who look to you. You will always lead. The only question is, which way will you lead?

I've since gotten a lot more comfortable at starting IV's. God's been gracious in this way. Someone even told me recently, "Oh, you're very good," right after I had successfully gotten their line started. I guess it's a big experience thing - you just gotta get in there and do it, asking for forgiveness when you mess up and learning to accept responsibility for your actions.

Maybe life isn't so different.


Post a Comment