August 29th, 2017


August 29--From the Gas Forests of Missouri

Today was one of those weird lab-in-the-classroom days, where we haul out some equipment and evaluate how well the students do on whatever task it is. Today was IV start day. Students love the idea of starting IVS. To them, it's the coolest thing in the world. To this instructor, it means the beginning of watching a procession of shaking hands trying to aim a sharp projectile at a poorly defined target and hoping for the best.

Actually, it is probably one of the more difficult tasks in the novice repertoire, and they only really get good at it after they graduate and practice on every single patient they come across who needs an IV. That's how I got good at it.

I would always volunteer to go start whatever IV there was to start. You have to learn how to feel the vein rather than see it, and feel the pop of the catheter passing through the wall of the vein. Eventually if you do it enough times you get the feel for it and you get good at it.

We walk the students through a little script about how to explain it to the patient. One of the patient questions is, "Have you ever done this before?"

We tell them to say "Yes!"

Because the have. On a fake arm in a classroom. I encourage you to let students try things out on you, but if you don't like needles, ask the follow-up, "Have you ever done it on a live human being?"

About 1/3 will get all the necessary (6) sticks for certification. Another 1/3 will get between 1 and 5, and another 1/3 will not even try. I don't push it.

On the weather front, the forecast was correct, and it stayed below 100. It cooled off nicely in the evening, and I took a walk in the park. My daily walking is starting to pay off, and I feel a lot better than I did a few months ago. I like that. My level of fitness seems to run in cycles.


I have taken a similar photograph every semester. I wasn't going to do it this time around, except I noticed that this student was wearing gloves of two different colors. I asked her about it, and she told me, "That's my thing--I wear two different colored gloves."

I kind of looked at her for a moment, and realized she was joking. It's an interesting group.
  • Current Music
    Townes Van Zandt--Dollar Bill Blues