This week, after a little more classroom training, it was time for actual patient care! Two twelve hour shifts on the floor. I've heard this fellowship starts out easy, and only slowly ramps up to a full patient load, so I wasn't worried.
On day one, my preceptor had six patients and assigned one to me. When not busy with my patient, I followed the preceptor around to observe and assist.
Day two: "Ninj, here are your five patients. The preceptor will be here in case you need help. Go."
That's slightly less gradual than I was expecting.
I think I did really well. I managed the routine stuff on three patients by myself without needing much prompting, and the other two with assistance. When non-routine things happened I either handled them myself, or went to get the right help. I delegated tasks when necessary. Since I'm not yet very fast and I don't have my routines down, I had to delegate more than a few times.
I need to work on my time management skills.
In fact, that's probably why the fellowship has switched away from the gradual ramp-up. Time management is the hardest part of this job, and caring for five or six patients is at best an exercise in controlled chaos. A minimum load just wouldn't pressure me to learn all the necessary skills. An easy first day was helpful, so I could learn the unit layout and stuff like that, but after I got oriented I'm kind of glad to start the real work right away.
I may have been kicked into the deep end, but so far I'm treading water just fine.