Sunday, March 29, 2009

spring blooms

from my garden, crocus in bloom

Saturday, March 28, 2009

mother nature's mess

After the baseball game last night I texted my friend, who happens to be the team manager's (as in the high school girl who assists with various team related needs) mom (yeah, we're friends), to let them know the final outcome of the game...which wasn't pretty. We ended up falling, 8-0, and you could see the heartbreak in each of our player's eyes as they exited the school to depart with us, their parents. My friend let me know that on their way down to NC for a cheer competition that they had come within a half mile of a tornado. Friends of theirs, who were about a mile ahead caught it on video.

During the game one of the moms, who hails from North Dakota, and with whom I have a small bond with because of her hometown, (since we'd been stationed there and LB was born there), informed me that her brother was notified to evacuate (within ten minutes of notification) from Fargo, to get away from the flooding.

Another friend put up her Facebook status as something to the effect of preparing for the blizzard they were about to be faced with, in Oklahoma of all places.

Floods in ND, blizzards in OK...?

I have family in Colorado who was snowed in the other day due to blizzard conditions, and a friend up in Winnipeg, Canada who told me, via Facebook that they'd had something like 25 inches.

Here in Virginia we've only had brief encounters with the sun.

In fact we were supposed to be going to a baseball game today, but it was cancelled because of wet fields from the rain that poured down throughout the night last night. You don't find me complaining because I have gotten a little bit behind this past week, with the new schedule, in my reading. That's what I've been doing today, and am now taking a bit of a break to ponder how depressing the weather has been lately.

Tonight Big B and I are going to a dance that the high school booster club is putting on as a fund raiser. We got our tickets free being that we're both American Legion members and the AL supports the boosters, so they'd bought a block of tickets from which members were able to take from and go to the dance on behalf of the AL. The dance should be interesting. It's being held at some building in our local fairgrounds. The fairgrounds are surrounded by dirt....and in rain that means mud. Oh joy. It's a casual event though, as in jeans, so at least there's that!

I better get back to the books since I did make some pretty good headway earlier!

If you're reading this I hope you're staying warm and dry!!

Friday, March 27, 2009

fourth and first

Nope, we're not talking streets, or football for that matter.

Fourth great thing about clinicals this semester: the mentors! I forgot to mention our mentors. A while back we'd heard that we would have mentors during this clinical rotation as something the program was newly instituting. Second year students would be working with us the first two weeks of this rotation to help acclimate us to clinicals. I have to admit I was kind of leary about it because I didn't know how they would treat us. Wednesday we had two, and yesterday one. As with the rest of the experience they couldn't have been nicer! They were all willing to help when we needed help with tasks, or were right there when we needed help with our care plans.

Oddest thing, besides the nerves I woke up feeling (but will get to that in a minute) like I really wanted to be back at clinicals today.

Today was my first nurse externship interview! By the time I left home I was so shaky and nervous I probably looked like I had Parkinson's. Aside from the fact that it was a firing squad type interview with six nursing directors or HR/education nurses, the interview went ok. It took about 40 minutes and they asked questions about teamwork, priorities, and time management, along with the obligatory "what are your strengths and weaknesses?" They'll have their decision made by mid-April. That gives me enough time to go to my interview next Friday.

Both opportunities have their own merits. The hospital I interviewed at today has more units accepting externs than the other one, but it will be shift-work. I don't mind that, but if I don't have to well then.... The other hospital is opposite. They have less units offering positions but it's supposed to be a day shift position. Considering I am taking classes online this summer I think the latter would be best, but will make do with whatever. Of course, it's a matter of being accepted for either position! I hope to be accepted for at least one of them!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

poo and puke

One week down and five to go! I'd planned on blogging yesterday about my firstday in clinicals in LTC, but by the time I got home I was too exhausted to do so. I'd been awake during the wee hours of the morning yesterday and then went back to bed, only to wake up to the alarm at 5:15. Needless to say I slept like a baby last night, and that would be through the night!

It almost seemed as if the experience at the nursing home was going to be dreadful. Once we were set free by our instructors we set out to go to our residents and start morning care. First great thing about clinicals this semester: come to find out most of us are paired up so that we have a classmate who is taking care of the resident in the same room as us. JL and I soon learned that we didn't have much to do concerning morning routines because both of our residents don't get going until after breakfast. Mine is NPO due to tube feeding by PEG tube and her's remains in bed until after breakfast. So for about an hour we were left to our devices, and were able to look at the charts, or find something else to do or someone to help. I made the fatal error of going up to the nurse whom I figured was in charge of my hall and started talking to her. Not a good idea when she is trying to pass meds. Lesson learned. Duh! Can we say eager beaver gets told off?

Second great thing about clinicals this semester: Nurse K turned out to be an awesome nurse and a great teacher! She apologized and explained why she was abrupt with me. I knew my mistake as soon as I'd made it so all was well with the world. Everyone is great to work with! It's almost too good to be true.

Our LTC facility is an older facility and they still do everything by hand, as in paperwork. Oh well, we'll chalk it up to learning things the old-fashioned way!

Third great thing about clinicals this semester: It's nowhere near as bad as I thought it was going to be. I get myself all worked up, thinking that I'm being thrown to the wolves and am totally responsible for total patient care, when that's not the case. I'm there to learn, not take over. Sure I'm responsible for my tasks and skills I need to learn, but I am not SuperNurse....yet. (chuckles)

It's not going to be extermely easy either. Ever get so relaxed when you're in the shower that you feel like letting loose there? Well, if you're incontinent it happens.

As is said, "Shit happens". Does it ever!

Much of the time the past two days was spent collecting information from our residents' charts for our care plans. My classmates and I have a diverse array of residents, and will surely learn some skills through and through. From PEG tubes to schizophrenia, from Hoyer lifts to accuchecks, from dementia to passing meds, we're going to learn a thing or two!

If that's not all enough, I arrived home to find two huge piles of dog barf on my living room floor. I had to let the dogs out, so in our approach to the back door I see an area where Sandi, and it can only be Sandi, because Minnie is crated when we're gone(she's the "puppy"), had barfed up food no longer, but stomach fluids. Worse yet, I look over to the other side of the room to see a big pile of dog poo! (Nope, no savvy medical terminology reserved for the canine excrement of the house.)

Shit happens? Yes! It certainly does!

The door to our "coat closet", where the dog food is kept, doesn't shut like it should because I have an over-the-door hook that hangs on it, and well, with the cold weather, it's been overly inundated with jackets and coats. So when gluttonous Labrador Retriever sees the door is open, all she sees is something like humans see when they see "buffet"! She ate and ate until she couldn't eat, or hold it in, any longer....from either end.

Fortunately it was way more formed than the recurrent (human) diarrhea I cleaned up after today!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

no rest for the weary

Yesterday we took our 3rd exam for Nur108, Nursing Concepts and Principles. Many of us were left feeling broken and abused. Evidently there were about 5 questions that ended up being, well...questionable because I went from an 80 to a 90. That would be one point away from failing to a high B. I'll take it. From the sounds of it I had one of the highest grades. That sounds pretty crazy to me, even now, because as soon as I'd finished the test and turned it in I thought for sure I was going to see a lot more wrong answers than I did. Even crazier is the fact that I didn't study as much as I should have! Remember, last week....little motivation...

Today we took our 3rd mental health nursing exam and it was a more pleasant experience than yesterday's. I'm extremely happy with my grade, which is also a 90. If nothing else I'm consistent. Once again I didn't put as much effort into studying the material as I should have. I'm not going to complain though, just do better time management and learn from my complacency.

My complacency, lack of motivation, whatever, caused me to have a near anxiety attack on Sunday. It dawned on me that we only have 6 weeks left in the semester until finals week! If final exams aren't bad enough we have two ATI tests to look forward to, one for fundamentals, and the other for mental health. I'm not a big fan of the ATI modules so I've actually ordered a couple of other books to help me prepare. I'm going to have to focus on the end prize. Short-term we're talking the end of the second semester of nursing school, and long-term would be becoming a nurse and living out a dream.

Tomorrow we start our clinical rotation at the nursing home. My classmates and I are somewhat disgruntled because not a one of us feels like we're prepared to walk into our perspective LTC facility tomorrow. I have angst over not knowing if I'm supposed to look forward to the first couple days being spent as basically a shadow or are we supposed to jump right in and take over. If that's the case, well um...hello???

Oh, geez...can we say nervous?

I also have to condition the boys into getting up a tad-bit earlier than usual so I can get out the door and not have to worry about someone oversleeping and missing school. There isn't a lot of parking at the place we'll be working at, and so we've been advised to carpool. A classmate has offered to meet us at the local grocery store parking lot so we can pile in and head over. Well, depending on how the boys do will be the deciding factor in my being a participant in said carpool, at least in the beginning. By skippy the boys will learn after this week what's expected of them on Wednesday and Thursday mornings!

Friday I have an interview at one of the local hospitals for a summer position as a nurse extern. I ended up only applying at two hospitals, the two closer ones to be exact. This summer I also have to take A&P II, since the school only awarded me credit for A&P I from my prior A&P class. When I took it it was a one semester, 5 credit class, whereas now it's a two semester, 8 credit class, so I have to make up the 3 missing credits. I also have to take nutrition and development. My school isn't offering A&P II at all, at either campus. One of the other local community colleges is offering what is probably my best option, considering I am planning to extern, and that is an online A&P course! It may sound somewhat daunting, but after taking the plethora of online courses I have, I know I will manage. One of my instructors also informed me she's going to be offering an online section for the N&D class.

The only problem is with the two classes I need to take I am left taking a total of 5 credits this summer. To keep my student loans from my BS degree in deferred status I have to maintain half-time status. Normally that would mean 6 credits. I do need to clarify that it's the same for summer classes. If it is than I need to come up with one more credit. Other CCs are offering other nutrition classes, for more credits, so I may take that route. I also still need Developmental Psych, (yes, even with a degree in psych, I've never take Dev Psych)! I plan to CLEP out of it.

I'm so tired I am bailing on the family baseball player for the second night in a row. Last night I bailed to stay home and study, that and the fact that the game was quite far away. Tonight's game is even further and it is still so cold out that I've decided to play the part of the errant parent. I still have drug cards to write up too. I feel horrible though. Last night I misssed two awesome plays made by LB, and will probably miss more tonight. I don't usually do this, but I guess this would be one of the mom-is-a-nursing-student-sacrfices I knew I would be faced with on this journey. Still doesn't make it feel any better.

LB has ended up playing on the JV team, much to his pleasure. I think he got kind of irritated with the Varsity team because they weren't as cohesive a team as the JV group. He'll see way more playing time on JV anyway. Selfishly speaking I prefer the JV team since I know more of the parents, and a couple of them are some of my closest friends. One mom and I met and have become friends because our boys have been on the same teams together for a few years now. She's bailing too, because of the cold. Heck, it's nearly 6:30 p.m. and 48 degrees out! Don't get me wrong, if it were a home game I'd be there!

It's time to take my weary behind and go write up the rest of my drug cards!

stethoscope tag

1) Post a picture of your stethoscope. I have the Littman Lightweight II SE, for which I made my own nametag, and a classmate made little dangles for everyone's stethoscopes for Valentine's Day.

2) Tell what you love about it: I love that it's my first stethoscope.

3) Tell what you hate about it: I can't hear as well as I'd like to.

4) Tell me what your dream stethoscope would be: I suppose I'd like the Littman III Cardiology stethoscope. It sounds like a grand graduation gift! Goals!

5) Does it have a name? Um, nope.

6) Tag all your nursing friends (Including the one that tagged you) and dont forget to leave a comment on their blog telling them that you tagged them!

If you're a nurse or a nursing student, and you've just read this, consider yourself tagged!!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

weathering the storm

We've all heard of thyroid storm on some level or another. It basically takes hyperthyroidism to a heightened level. Well, I'm wondering if there isn't something similar to it, say like ovarian storm? Seriously! If this is what menopause is like than please, just shoot me now!

I go back for a follow-up to my pcp this week and originally the plan was to take me off the birth control pill. She was then going to shall we say, administer (I could say "insert" but I wouldn't want to wig anybody out or anything-haha) the Mirena for an alternate method of contraceptive. I had originally gone on a generic form of Seasonale in an effort to reduce the number of migraines I was getting. Theoretically if you're taking a pill where you only have a period once every three months you should be having eight less migraines a year. Yeah, I wish! These pills are non-formulary for Tricare and therefore we are paying non-formulary cost. In comparison to other insurances I'm sure the $22 I'm paying per pack, so $66 four times a year, is nothing, unless you consider the usual maximum we pay for prescriptions is $9. If it's not working for me why pay extra for nothing?

Next we have the mood swings. I might as well be bipolar. In talking to a friend recently I realized she has gone through this same issue. Her OBGYN put her on an estrogen equivalent. I don't know if that's what I need. What I do know is that it's probably time I ask my FNP for a referral to an OBGYN. It's time to do something about these migraines and my radical emotions. It could be a matter of going off the generic, and going for the real thing. Going off the pill all-together is probably one of the worst things I could do. Prison would probably be part of my future.

I know my mom went through menopause early, but come on.... at 38??? Interestingly enough, I was looking at a website recently about perimenopause and I have most of the symptoms except for heart palpitations.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

too much time on my hands

Honestly, I've done nothing much other than squander away my Spring Break. Sure I've done a little shopping, but as far as being a good little nursing student goes the phrase "not so much" comes to mind. Not so much studying has been done, not so much reading has been done, and all those drug cards (thirteen) I have to do? Not so much. I really do think I do so much better under pressure, like as in when I'm on my schedule. All this free time with not much to do (there's actually tons I could be doing...)during the day to fill it up has left me feeling really unmotivated.

The house (miniscule) and gardens (none) have seen little effort from me as well. It doesn't help that it's been doom-gloomy and chilly. We had some sunshine yesterday, and the big globe of warmth in the sky showed itself for a small while this morning. Now? Just cloudy. I did do some organizing and spring-cleaningish kind of cleaning in my kitchen yesterday. We've been keeping our breads in a basket, uncovered on our counter tops. Part of the incentive to my cleaning was to reorganize how our breads are kept, along with the surrounding area. Why? Because the cat, DC, jumps up on the counter and steals it all. You name it, he gets it, Vienna rolls, bought fresh from Wegman's, loaves of bread, and bagels even. They're always in their plastic bags but he shreds into them with his little feline teeth and then nibbles away!

My solution? Considering we don't have a large pantry, I have to come up with some creative, yet unconventional solutions in my decore and home-organization. After getting the cabinets and such cleaned out that I wanted to, I headed off to shop for my solution for the breads, and also a storage container for our disposable plates, bowls, forks, etc. All that stuff has been scattered here and there, and now it's neat and tidy tucked away in a storage container.This is a much better way for us to keep our breads away from DC's filthy paws. You don't know how many times we've come downstairs to find bags of various breads scattered across the kitchen and dining room floors. Luckily we have our two CanineHoovers to help clean up the crumbs! Not to mention, it's much neater looking.

I found our new bread basket at HomeGoods. The little, white wire shelf needs to be secured into the basket and it will be perfect!

Ahh well, I guess I better go do something, some studying...something to be the good little nursing student...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

the dark side

After an hour and a half at the beauty salon AW finally had what he wanted, a full head of black hair. They did take it down a couple of notches from jet black to not-so-black....but it's still black. I'm having trouble getting used to it. I'm thinking I really liked his blond hair so much better, not to mention he needs a dye job on the brows and lashes. I figure when a visit to the salon tops out at $199 and some change it's time to call it a day! That was for the cut, color, shampoo and conditioner, and serum so when I flat iron it for him his hair doesn't look flat but only in texture, not color. Heat strips color. Oh bother.

Monday, March 16, 2009

spring anyone?

Here it is my Spring Break and it's cold, dreary and wet outside. It's just as well since I should be inside reading and studying and working on my drug cards anyway. But phooey on Mother Nature! She needs to make up her mind. Cold, hot, rainy, sunny, one day-you blink and it's a differnet climate! I do need to head out in a bit and mail off my package for one of my externships. It came together quite nicely after spending a couple of hours getting everything together on Saturday.

Well I can hardly contain my excitement any longer. I did it. I finally got what I've been wanting for what seems like eons. My Blackberry. Smiles, grins....I thanked the guy at the AT&T store when we left yesterday, and called him Santa Claus. That's how it felt, like Christmas morning. The boys got new phones also. Big B chose not to at this point. He's not into all the gadgetry or anything and is happy with his Samsung. We all had the same phones at one point, up until I broke LB's. Nevermind why or how. I did replace it with a GoPhone, and he's been itching ever since to upgrade and get back to having a camera and multimedia capabilities. The boys couldn't have made it any easier either. Of course I knew what I wanted walking in to the place, since I've not only given my phone/pda some thought, but I'd also stopped by the store last week. Since Big B is the primary person on the account he had to go, and the boys wanted to finally get their new phones. They had them picked out in less than fifteen minutes, if it was even ten! They both chose the Pantech Matrix, one in blue and one in black. Betcha can't guess who got the black one? Yep, AW and all his emo-ness. Yesterday evening was spent playing with our new phones, adding ringtones, and just revelling in the novelty.

Speaking of "emo-ness", I've pretty much decided to let AW get what he wants. One of the best pieces of advice I've received as parent is to pick my battles. AW has been dying to dye his hair black. When he first asked I laughed and said "Not only no, but hell no!" I informed him that there are tons of people out there who try to attain the beautiful blond hair that he grows out of his head naturally. As time has worn on I've come to realize it is his hair and although there are boundaries we will not cross while the boys are under ther age of 18, things that can be replaced, repaired, what have you, tend to be the battles that I choose not to fight to the death over. Tattoo requests, for instance, will be met with an emphatic NO, and there won't be any budging. He has pretty much come around to not dying his whole head of hair black, but maybe some chunks of it, but he also wants purple chunks. (???) One thing is for sure, when your kids make requests like this it's high time to write up behavior contracts. If you are allowed to have your hair will do such and such... The best part about this is the haircut! He wants to get his haircut!! He'll be subjected to having pictures taken along this whole process. You know, I'd never have thought I'd have a son that was more into his hair than I am into mine! To be continued...

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Take the patient who is post-operative gastric bypass, Amelia. Normally, at the hospital where she had surgery, patients stabilize in the surgery suite and then are transferred to their respective room. Because of patient overflow Amelia had to wait in the surgical suite for six hours prior to being transferred. When the technician came to transfer her, he brought what turned out to be a broken bed. He reassured her that the matter would be resolved upon admission to the unit where she would convalesce. Upon arrival the technician gave report to the admitting nurse, and included the fact about the bed being broken. The nurse reassured Amelia that she would have her in a working bed in no time.

The problem here was the head of the bed could not be raised. Amelia had just undergone abdominal surgery and lying in supine position is uncomfortable to a patient with surgical wounds in her abdomen. Initially, Amelia was appeased by the nurse’s reassurance, but as the hours passed by she, in her discomfort, kept asking anyone who came into her room when she would be given a new bed.

At the time of her surgery Amelia weighed in at 270 pounds. She was a very large woman, and that is what the nurses and technicians saw. No one wanted to be the one to lift her onto a new bed. She had even overheard one of the nurse aids tell another aid that she was not going to be the one to lift Amelia.

It was upon shift change, when her new nurse came in to introduce herself that Amelia was finally comforted. It was as if she had been placed on a whole different unit or in a new hospital. The outgoing nursing personnel had treated her with little concern for her comfort or dignity, while she rested uncomfortably in a broken bed. They did not respect her as a person. Their concern was for their own welfare. In particular, the aid that refused to move Amelia must place higher priority on values other than altruism and human dignity. Ironically, when she was finally given a new bed, after eleven hours of waiting, Amelia independently maneuvered herself out of the broken bed and into the bed she rested in comfortably for the remainder of her stay. She was not bedridden necessitating any assistance other than being observed for weakness or syncope.

The above excerpt is from a paper I wrote last semester from the assignment defining values and/or ethical principles paramount to the profession of nursing. Altruism, human dignity and respect are some of the values and/or ethical principles I find integral to nursing as a profession. Over the years I've often found that a person who is really good at their job started out subordinate to what they've become. Take for instance the doctor who was once a nurse, or in the military, the officer who was once enlisted, or even the CEO who once worked in the mailroom. I analogize this to what I can imagine it sometimes takes to be a good nurse is to remember how it feels to be the patient. Sometimes it's just working with a sympathetic/empathetic frame of mind.

You might have figured out by now that I fictionalized my paper, that Amelia is in fact, me. Yes, three years ago I had gastric bypass surgery. Other than switching the name the rest of what you've read above is very much non-fiction, very true to life. You would be horrified to learn where I had my surgery after reading about my surgery considering I had it done at a major university in the Washington, DC area.

I don't share that I had surgery with many people anymore, although I guess now it's out there in the wide open world of the 'net! I wasn't one of the ones who dropped to goal or even near it within six months, or a year. In fact I still have a good 40 lbs. to go to get to my "ideal" weight. I did lose 80 lbs. that first year and a few since. I've battled internally and emotionally with this and have finally come around to the fact that the surgery did give me back a sense of confidence that had been washed away. I take full responsibility for not losing more. I haven't exercised religiously, but did maintain a moderate level of activity. That's what needs to happen, a regular exercise routine, especially considering the loss of tone/excess skin issues. I'm in touch with that fact, but also the reality that if I'm going to do it it is going to have to >fit in< somewhere-no more excuses!

All that being said the main point in me posting this today was my feelings on me becoming a good nurse. The following is another excerpt from the paper on "Amelia."

People are multi-faceted. People are also quick to judge. In nursing it is imperative to use critical thinking, and to not pass judgment on other people. Every person deserves to be treated equally and with dignity. Each person should be regarded holistically, whether they are clients, or other health care personnel. One should always remember that other person is someone’s father, mother, brother, sister, etc., and how one would want their own family members treated.

March 25th I begin my clinical rotation and know there will be good times as well as some rough times. There may even be times when I want to give up. There will be others reassuring me this is what I'm meant to do. Whenever I become frustrated I just hope to remember Amelia.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

the simple things

Both boys ended up crashing over at friends' houses last night, which left me to my own devices today. I had my game plan laid out for my retail therapy, and off I went.

The first stop was Wegman's grocery store. I picked up some rolls and cole slaw fixin's to round off the meal of comfort food I have planned for this evening. On the menu is roast beef I had in the crock-pot all day yesterday. It was intended to be consumed for dinner, but with all the running around our family did, we weren't able to sit down for a meal together, at all yesterday. Meanwhile the roast roasted away all day! When I went to take it out of the crock-pot to package it up it fell apart, that's how tender and juicy it was! Tonight I'm warming it up with some BBQ sauce and serving it on the rolls fresh from Wegman's bakery.

Next stop was Ross. I'm not one to spend tons of money on myself, so I'll opt to buy my clothing at discount stores. I found myself a new purse--love it! Bought a few simple knit tops, as I'm all about comfort and basic wash and wear, most of the time. My biggest purchase was a new dress. It wasn't that expensive though, but it was a necessary purchase. The high school booster club is putting on a dance at the end of the month, to raise money for the school's sports programs. Big B and I are attending thanks to our local American Legion, where he is a member and I am supposed to become a member. The American Legion supports the schools. One of the booster club members told me that it's not a formal event by any means, some people dress casual. But heck! I'm calling it a date and I'm wearing a dress! It's simple, nothing formal, or even semi-formal, by far....but a dress saves me from putting together a pants outfit.

From Ross I went, grabbed a bite to eat, and received a call from one of my classmates. She told me the pharm grades had been posted. Here I am stranded about 25 minutes from home! Oh well, trudge on with therapy! The original reason I set out was to go to DSW as I'd found two pairs of sandals online that I liked, and was hoping to find them in the store. I'm so glad that the first part of the day was successful otherwise I'd have been irritated! Neither pair was in the store, oh well-will just have to order them!

What goes up, (me going north to shop) must come down (me coming home, going south). It was a nice relaxing trip out to the retail world. Aside from not finding my shoes at DSW, the rest of the time was splendid indeed!

Almost forgot to mention, I got an A in pharmacology!!! 91 on the final.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


The rules for accepting the award are as follows:
Put the logo on your blog or post.
Nominate at least 10 blogs with great attitude and/or gratitude.
Be sure to link to your nominees in your post.
Let your nominees know they have received the award by leaving them a comment on their blog.
Be sure to link this post to the person who nominated you for the award.

1. Robin. One of my oldest blogfriends only because she's one of my oldest friends. We went to high school together, and were able to reconnect via the 'net. Robin is the editor extraordinaire of Our Big Earth where you'll find gems of the Comox Valley Of Vancouver BC, Canada, that extend to our big Earth!

2. Lorie. I met my dear friend Lorie before moving to VA. We came across one another on a website for military wives and wouldn't you know it we had so much in common it was a friendship that was meant to be! She's a nurse, and one of my inspirations for deciding to get back on the path to follow my dream of becoming a nurse. She's also a talented cook and dishes up some great recipes on her blog!

3. Christy. When I first decided to start blogging about my nursing school experience it seemed like a good idea to search out other student nurses. I came across Christy's blog. She had just finished school the year before. After reading her blog for a bit she had me laughing so hard when she wrote about going to take her NCLEX I just had to get to know her! I also admire her for her strength as a mother and I know she's developed into an exceptional nurse!

4. Amanda. If a name can be synonymous with strength, or sheer will, it would be Amanda, maybe it even is. This young lady is a survivor. She's surviving these past few weeks from grief. I came across her blog by way of another blog and I consider myself fortunate for having done so. Amanda is a truly inspirational person.

5. At Your Cervix. The name says it all, does it not? Being that I'm drawn to labor and delivery and such I was, of course, drawn to this blog, and have been hooked since! AYC is forging her way through midwifery school. She shares her stories from school, as well as her work in L&D.

6. Andrea. Love this girl! I once told her that if I had a daughter I'd want her to be like her! Need I say more?

7. Christine. Another nursing student like myself, just trying to make the grade. She delivers tales of her journey, and is always willing to lend support! All that and she's taken on a new family member! I also dig her sense of humor!

8. Jen. Jen incorporates tales of her nursing school days as well as her days spent as a volunteer, and the wife of an electrician/volunteer firefighter. Her blog is endearing and well-read. She's also created a blog especially for nursing students.

9. Heather. This woman is a riot! Too bad she lives across the US or we'd have to hang out and have a blast of a good time! We'll just have to settle for the blogsphere! She's supportive, strong and has tenacity that many lack.

10. Prisca. Here you'll find another one of my L&D heroes. This woman is without a doubt a modern day saint. Read her blog and you'll find out why! She's been a nurse for little over a year, but has had experiences that many have never had in a lifetime of nursing.

11. Undergrad RN. Yet another great place for a great account of nursing school rantings and all the joys that we as student nurses encounter. These accounts are from my Canadaian friend, and it's interesting to "hear" things from the Canadian perspective. You'll absolutely love this witty blog!

12. Becky. A woman after my own heart. I've often said there ought to be an association for mom's of only sons. Becky shares stories of her life, including some of her son who has been diagnosed with ADHD, all the while maintaining a GFCF (gluten free-casein free) household. She posts many scrumptious recipes on her blog! Becky is also one of my oldest, from back in the good ole days of high school, friends!

13. RN2BE. I have a friend in New Zealand. I'll never forget when she contacted me either! How fun is this! It's been great to read her stories, since she's also a student nurse! It's been great to learn the cultural differences.

14. Tiffany. Last, but certainly not least! This fine young lady nominated moi for this delightful award! If you've never visited Tiffany you're in for a treat. She is such a sweet girl, and yes, you guessed it....she's one of my nursing student sisters. Please stop by, offer her support, after all we all need it from time to time! She's also a newlywed. Her husband is in the Navy and is deployed. Cheers to the military wife!

oh what a feeling!

Pharmacology final is over!

We had 40 multiple choice questions on interactions, pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, geriatrics, peds, drug know, the basics. The last half of the exam consisted of the calculations. You can bet I wasn't the only one who flipped straight for the back and started working like a mad woman to finish those problems/challenges. One of the teachers that I worked with at the high school, a math teacher in particular has a motto, "There are no problems, only challenges". It makes sense!

What a good feeling it is to have that weight lifted off my shoulders!

Now we just have to play the waiting game. Our instructor told us she would have the grades posted tomorrow morning if not tonight.

I'm going to keep myself busy by heading over to the high school for the JV baseball game. Normally I wouldn't have much of an interest in this but a friend of mine, with whom I went to high school in Colorado, lives in an adjacent county and her son's HS is playing my son's HS. She and I don't see each other very often with both of us having busy lives, but since I am officially on Spring Break I'm going to take a bit of a breather from my norm and go hang out with her! Besides I'll know plenty of other moms (parents) that will be there too!

Tomorrow I have my big day of retail therapy planned, but I'd forgotten that the kids have the day off, so I'm not sure how that's going to work out. I may end up with a tag-along, but maybe not. LB has plans to stay the night with some of his Varsity buds. They've really taken him under their wings. No joke. Their mascot's the Eagles, and it looks just like the Philadelphia Eagles. He's just like their little eaglet I guess. They have practice in the later part of the morning anyway. AW will be my tag-along if he doesn't come up with some other scheme before this evening is over.

For clinicals my classmates and I had our orientation yesterday and I met my patient. It's occured to me that because I am not anonymous and I am only caring for one patient I am going to have to be extra super-duper Hipaa vigilant and creative with my stories. I will say for now I am looking forward to the overall experience. I'm not intimidated by the care I'll be giving, but I will be sufficiently challenged.

As far as the question I posed yesterday about people's thoughts on the statement "If you are meant to be a nurse you will do fine",this was a closing statement in an email from my husband. We had been having a discussion (heated, aggravated, angered, irritated...) and my last statement had been something to the effect of "...and I'm supposed to take care of someone else's family member???" I said this because I have been frustrated because, well let's just put it this way: in life we have peaks and troughs (yeah, a little too much pharmacology as of late), and my family has been going through what seems like more troughs than peaks lately, and as the mom/wife/caregiver I have been feeling strain to the enth degree....all that with school on top. When I read that statement on his email it struck me funny. I would have expected something more to the effect of "Oh, honey! You are going to be a wonderful nurse! blah, blah, blah" Now in reality the former statement is more like my husband, and especially so when you consider the context with which it was made.

Live, love, and learn.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

something to ponder

If you are meant to be a nurse you will do fine.

If someone said this to you, what would you think? Really. I want everyone and all to share any thoughts you might have on this statement.

Monday, March 9, 2009

indications for retail therapy

I should really be studying for Wednesday's pharm final, but it's been a few days since I've posted so here I sit typing away to my heart's desire. This past weekend was spent studying and it was fruitful to say the least.

Let me back up for a bit though. Last year I had to take basically a full year of math. First it was Introductory Algebra, since I placed that low on the university (where I recently graduated with my B.S. in psyc) placement exam. It wasn't good enough that I had taken remedial-get-your-high-school-equivalency-credit when I first returned to college in 1999. Nope, not for this brain--too much time had passed. Then after Intro I had to take Intermediate Algebra. I actually went back to the U after finishing Intro and attempted the placement exam again in hopes of placing into College Algebra. WRONG! I had yet another grueling semester of algebra to look forward to, fortunately I had one of the best professors ever. Mary D was one of the most positive and inspiring people I've ever learned from...ever. Mind you, since we've been back to the states, up until I started my nursing classes, so from 2005 until 2008 (in finishing my psych degree) all my classes were online and a deadbeat Prof can make or break a class! Finally last spring I was able to take College Algebra, which I finished with an A, and in the summer I took Statistics for Psych (that Prof left a lot to be desired in a prof), but I believe I came away with an A or a B in that class so what the heck, who gives.

Anyway. What's with all the mathematical babble? I obviously somewhere in all those semesters of algebra learned about ratio and proportion. For the life of me I could not figure it out the other day when one of my classmates tried showing me how to do it in relation to a heparin drip problem. I basically (iffy, to say the least) got it. I sat down with my textbook, which was no help. It just further confused me. I have the book, Math for Nurses and found my lightbulb moment contained within. Seriously. It's as if the lights all over the country went out...and came back on all at once. Originally our professor had shown us a different formula for heparin drips, that was just little bit more labor intensive, and well once my classmate had pointed out the ole ratio:prop method, I had to give it, and him, well...props! Now that I am hip to the whole scheme of things, I'm cool!

Friday, we didn't do anything over-the-top for LB's birthday, even if it was his 16th. All he wanted to do was go skating. This was much to my displeasure even if it was the much less expensive option in comparison to what we (I) had originally planned, which was taking him and some of his friends out to dinner, restaurant of his choice, of course. Whatever. I will give him tons of credit for what did happen in the later part of the night. He and his one friend made an extremely wise choice. He intended on having three friends stay over, only two ended up staying through the whole night. To make a long story short, and what's turning out to be a novel, even shorter, two of the boys decided to sneak out with a fifth boy who had come to pick them up, unlicensed, in his own parents' car. They were out past curfew and got busted. One of the two who snuck out, and also lives across the street ended up at home, the other ended up back in our house. Kudos to my son and the other kid who chose to stay behind. Good on them!

Saturday was the first varsity "game", in all actuality it was a scrimmage. Our team lost. LB played the last two innings. He's the only sophomore, so it's what we expected. We hope for him to play more as the season goes on. One of his previous coaches gave him a glowing compliment on how he has improved over the time this coach has known him. Tomorrow I will take a short break from the studying as we have "Meet the Coaches" night for all the spring sports at the high school. We'll get to meet all the coaches that are working with LB. We've only really met one of them. We'll also do all the parenty (yes, I meant "parenty") kind of stuff like assign meals and such, whatever that means.

It's also a big day tomorrow because it's our orientation for our clinical placement at the long term care facility. I'll be ironing my uniform tonight (sorry, you can take the girl out of the military, but not the military out of the girl-besides it's that stiff-ass white scrub material crap). I have my notebook, 4x6 cards to write up my drug cards, because we have to write them-grr- and all my other little supplies, not that we really need anything tomorrow other than our notebook and pen, oh and our badge. I'm the nerd who's had her's in her purse since, oh, about day 15, first semester.

Wednesday's the big Pharm test...might've mentioned that a time or a hundred...and ten.

Thursday I am partaking in some much needed retail therapy. I want some new shoes of the sandal variety, and some new tops, and maybe some new capris also. Oh, and maybe a new purse too! Besides school I've been putting up with a lot as far as dealing with living in a house full of b-o-y-s-es, and I deserve some mommy/girl time!!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

dude! sweet!

LB in his makeshift, portable bassinet we made out of a laundry basket.

Sixteen years ago I did the last thing I thought I would've done if you'd have asked me about two years before, I gave birth. Fortunately it was one of the best things I've done, as he is my sunshine and one of the reasons I have for living and breathing. He greets you with a warm smile, and is always willing to wrap you in a big bear hug. LB was born March 6, 1993 in Minot, ND. He works hard to do the right thing, always doing his chores when asked (even if it takes a few minutes to get started), maintains good grades and is just a nice kid to be around. He's the kind of kid that makes a mom and dad proud!

Happy Birthday LB!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

you know you might be a sicko when...'re excited about writing your first care plan...

Today in lab we went over our first clinicals, which was basically a run through of orientation, then we went over care plans and we ran through some nursing diagnoses. It was kind of fun.

Am I sick?

Our care plans seem like they're going to be kind of simple(yes, I realize I very well may be eating those words in the weeks to come.) The Plan is a stapled packet that starts out with demographic info that we need to enter in about our client, and then do a brief write-up on said client, this is followed by a summary of the primary medical diagnoses, after which a table is to be filled out on any applicable treatments, therapies and activities, next is a table on lab/diagnositc studies, next is a table on discharge teaching/planning, several copies are attached of the drug form to be filled out for each drug the client is on, then we are to do our nursing diagnoses. Because this clinical assignment is in LTC we will not be so concerned with discharge teaching/planning, but will write it in as if they were to be discharged hypothetically.

We do not do a formal mental health rotation so we are to do one mental health nursing diagnosis on our client, as well as three medically related nursing diagnoses, all with four interventions/four rationales. Each component will be turned in separately for review. Then in the end we will turn in a typed, final draft for a final grade. This isn't so bad because we have no major papers to do this semester. In Mental Health Nursing we have two minor assignments and that's it besides our unit exams in that class and our Nursing Principles and Concepts class.

One thing I have found out, and am not sure I have mentioned here or not, is we have to write out our drug cards. That isn't so bad, since we only have one patient. Granted that one patient may have twenty drugs. We'll be given our patients on Tuesday and will then have spring break to write up our cards. I'll just copy straight from my Mosby's cards. I'll still get my money's worth.

back to IV drip rates and metric conversions!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

this time next week

Next Tuesday we orient to our first clinical site. Yikes!!! I am both nervous and excited, all rolled up into a boundless, near mindless frenzy of energy! This semester we'll be spending six weeks in long term care, working one-on-one with one patient (I'm not too sure I like being limited to one patient, but think there will be opportunities to help where help is needed). The following week we have spring break, and the week after we actually start patient care. I am soooo nervous because aside from the free clinic I volunteered at for two hours this past semester I have not interacted with patients in oh, about ten years!

One thing I am not looking forward to is the insanely ugly uniform we have to sure to follow. After leaving class today I dropped it off at the cleaners to have the patches sewn on. I'd try myself, but decided to go for the straight option. Little did I know it was also the rip off option, at $30 a pop!!! That's the total for three rockers, three rectangulars on two shirts and one lab coat!

This all hinges on passing the dreaded pharmacology final/class. Back to the books...

Monday, March 2, 2009

oops! it's doing it again

It's snowing, again. It's Monday morning and when I'm supposed to be on my way to class to hear lecture about the nursing process, again, this time a more in-depth take on it, I'm sitting here at home, with my kids. Yippee! Snow day! Can you read the sarcasm??

Sunday, March 1, 2009

one and a half down

The end of this week will mark the half-way point of this semester, thus one and a half semesters of nursing school will be o-v-e-r! Two and a half to go! Who's counting? We're not counting summer, because well, it's summer and although I'll still be taking a couple of classes, I'll be externing (hopefully), spending time with family, going to Colorado for my 20 year high school reunion and time will fly by!

I've been busy studying, trying to fit it all in, to include the regular material along with all the ATI stuff. We have ATI testing for RN Fundamentals and Mental Health this semester. For those that aren't aware, ATI testing is a prepatory program for NCLEX. It is the company that deals with the TEAS exam. If you're familiar with HESI it serves the same basic purpose. My program uses ATI, some use ATI, some use HESI. Each semester you are required to pass ATI/HESI tests along with your regular course tests to move along in your program. If you do not pass you may seek remediation, and try again. Depending on your program requirements you may have a couple of chances, after which if you do not pass, you are out. In my opinon the ATI books, also known as "modules" are simple. They may be too simple. I've taken three practice tests and have had varying results with each. I must say, I'm thinking the "modules" are worthless. I'm all about being prepared for NCLEX, especially considering I'm in a weaker program, but give a nursing student a break!

Are there any nurses/recent graduates/soon-to-be graduates out there who feel they went to a good school and/or feel they were well-prepared for NCLEX? What were some of the materials you used?

I know I shouldn't be worrying about the future so much as just studying and working on the here and now, but I can't help but worry that I'm not being prepared. I really ought to sit down with a couple of the second year students and pick their brains.

I mentioned to one of them that I was thinking about transferring and the school I was thinking of transferring to. She looked at me as if I had been smoking crack. She said she knows students who go there and they absolutely hate it. Now this is heresay. I've communicated with one student who gave it glowing recommendations.

So I still find myself at odds as to whether or not to transfer, the decision's just not that easy to make. There are so many things to think about.