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Reflection. Fluid and Electrolyte Balance, IV fluids & therapy

Reflection. Fluid and Electrolyte Balance, IV fluids and Therapy

Professional Learning Outcome

Fluid and electrolyte balance is an essential element of the human body as it is in instrumental in keeping the various body organs such as the kidney functional and in maintaining the homeostatic fluid and electrolyte control of the body (Hatfield, 2008; Chow, Leung & Hon, 2010). In one of my clinical placement where there was a patient who had been diagnosed with gastroenteritis where she was at risk of fluid and electrolyte losses due to her diarrhoea, vomiting and nausea. I was tasked with managing the patient to ensure that her fluids input and output are balanced to prevent her form getting dehydrated due to fluid losses (Torpy, 2012). Therefore, I was tasked with the administration of different types of fluids including colloids and crystalloids to enable the patient restore her body-fluid balance.

How I felt from the Learning Experience

I had never administered or monitored a patient with fluid and electrolyte imbalance before even though I had come across literature regarding the same. I felt anxious because I could not remember all the details regarding the significance of the fluids that had been prescribed for administration and therefore it could be difficult for me to explain the details regarding why I was administering certain types and volumes of fluids to that patient. This was necessary because the family member who had accompanied the patient was getting nervous seeing the patient diarrhoea and vomit profusely. I tried to relate the fluids administered with her condition and I briefly told the family members that the fluid administration is a supportive treatment with to replace the fluids lost during diarrhoea and vomiting. One family member asked about why the patient was vomiting and yet they stayed together and consumed the same meals and drinks. I was not sure of the answer to that question considering that I had not previewed the patient’s full history so I was a little bit worried about giving an untruthful answer. Nevertheless, I told them that the patient may have ingested something form somewhere that they may not have been aware considering that the patient was only 11 years old and they lived close to a lake. The family members acknowledged hesitantly but it made me feel relieved as they never asked me any more questions.

Positive and negative Learning aspects

Among the positive aspects associated with the experience is that I had some background theoretical knowledge regarding fluid and electrolyte replacement and management of patients with the fluid and electrolyte deficiencies. This knowledge assisted me to explain to the family about the need for the fluid and electrolyte replacement and for their patient who had been diagnosed with viral gastroenteritis. The administration of the fluids as it had also been prescribed went well including the monitoring of the same.

The negative element about the experience was that I was not able to give the patient and his family members a comprehensive explanation regarding the pathophysiology behind the gastroenteritis and the details of the significance of the interventions that were been administered to the patient.

Analysis of the Situation

A reflective analysis of the situation revealed to me that the family members and the patient had the right to understand the patient’s conditions and why certain interventions are being administered to the patient. I was supposed to deliver patient education regarding the condition and its consequent management something I did not do comprehensively since the family members’ faces did not express satisfaction with the information I gave them. I was supposed to explain to the family members and the patient to such an extend that they understood what they needed to know about the gastroenteritis and its specific fluid and electrolyte replacement interventions.


This experience has taught to me the need to be cognisant of facts and information regarding the care provided to a patient. Patients and their guardians a have a right to appropriate information even regarding simple care aspect such fluid and electrolyte administration. The experience taught me always to do sufficient research related to conditions am tasked to implement care interventions. I also learnt the need to be familiar with the pathophysiology behind conditions that am tasked to manage and the logic behind the use of various intervention. I now understand the need to balance the volumes of fluids the patient is taking through routes such as intravenous and the fluids been excreted from the body through urine and estimates from diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting (Tablang, 2014; Bonheur, 2015; Hatfield, 2008).


Bonheur, J.L. (2015). Bacterial gastroenteritis. Retrieved May 3, 2016, from

Chow, C.M., Leung, A. & Hon, K.L. (2010). Acute gastroenteritis: form guidelines to real life. Clinical and Experimental Gastroenterology , 3, 97-112.

Hatfield, N. Broadribb’s introductory pediatric nursing (7th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Tablang, M.V. (2014). Viral gastroenteritis. Retrieved May 3, 2016, from

Torpy, J.M. (2012). Viral gastroenteritis. Journal of American Medical Association, 308 (5), 1-4.