Wednesday, December 29, 2010

are you ready!?


I am so ready, in so many ways. Then there's one reason that leaves me wanting time to slow way down. I'm ready for this upcoming year. It's a year without me attending classes and studying for endless hours. Ironically though, I'll have a full year without college attendance, at least on my own behalf. LB will take up where I've left off. He'll be attending college, somewhere. harumph.

So, as I start paying off student loans, my eldest son will become an adult, become of age to vote and will be eligible for selective service. All that wrenches at my heart, and it leaves me sad, but it's exciting as well.

He'll be 18 in March. Where has the time gone?

It's going to be a good year; I'm sure of it.

I turn 40 in January.

AW turns 15 and while we're at it, Big B will celebrate his 42nd.

I'm going to Vegas for my 40th birthday. Big B has arranged a trip for us to go out and celebrate, sans the younger guys. I can't wait. It should be a blast.

What else can we look forward to in 2011?

Right now I feel a sense of contentment. It's great to have a family that's healthy and to be employed. Granted, there are things in both aspects of my life that leave lots of room for improvement. Although AW is generally healthy, he's recently been diagnosed with sleep apnea. He was supposed to have a tonsillectomy with uvulopalatectomy January 5th, but just yesterday I found out Tricare (our insurance through the US military) denied it based on "not a benefit". Yeah, that came as a harsh blow, but rest assured I won't lay back and take the denial without a fight.

It is very frustrating because he's made some really bad decisions in the past couple of years and I was hopeful the surgery would 1.) work, therefore 2.) be the answer to some of his problems. He's even landed himself in legal trouble, so we're also dealing with going to court in the near future. In my mind it would help us to work on distinguishing between behavioral issues stemming from organic causes and well, those that are just rooted by teenageritis. Chaos...

As of today I am now on dayshift. I'm still plugging away on the rehab unit. Nightshift was aging me. Who needs that with the regular toils and troubles of life that add gray hairs and wrinkles, not that I've grown any of the former, just plenty of the latter?

Today was a great day, albeit horrid at times, what with the dysfunctionality I've spoken of previously. We have a new unit manager and she's working toward improving upon a great deal, to include adding a 4th pod (that would mean our 60 bed unit would be divided by 4 nurses versus the 3 [when we're lucky]). Today made me wonder if I'm just more comfortable overall in my new-nurse skin, or have I just gotten used to the chaos? Hmmm....

The above photo was taken on my 20th birthday. Friends threw a surprise intimate gathering for me, complete with Garfield cake.

Friday, December 10, 2010

all aglow


As I was sitting here in the great room I looked out and noticed the pre-dusk glow of the sun setting. I thought it looked pretty silhouetting my tree.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

these are a must-make...and soon!

A friend of mine posted this scrumptious recipe on Facebook a while back and I thought I'd share it here, it is all thanks to fellow blogger A Whisk and a Prayer.

I'm trying to channel the negative energy I've been consumed with lately, into some creative energy. It's a great time of year to do so, and so I've done some usual decorating. I even went so far as to buy a second tree. I've been wanting a pencil-slim tree, and finally splurged and made the purchase. Every year it'll be decorated with a theme. I almost went with a nursing theme, kind of an ode to finishing school. I was even going to tear up my old scrub pants from my school uniform and make a garland out of the strips, but decided I didn't really want to be reminded of something that's caused some major frustration and self-reflection lately - that being my dismal career. Instead, "things with wings" popped into my head. The tree has everything I could find that has wings, from angels, to birds, to bees, some ladybugs, butterlfies and dragonflies and even some jets. I tried to find a Batman toy and some other toys of the like, but didn't want to spend tons of money. I can use some of the stuff in future Christmases, but will donate the toys I did buy to a co-worker who has children. They've recently gone through some tough times, so I've been trying to think up different ways to help out where and when I can.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

gobbled up

Seems I'm eating the words I last typed. Ya know the ones? The ones where I spoke of liking night shift and my schedule. Hmmph. In a lot of ways my schedule is great, but then I'm spending so much time in a zombie-like trance, and that's just not compatible with family life. That's not to mention the fact that currently I work alongside one other nurse, whereas on days I'd have more nurses to bounce thoughts and experiences off of.

Soooo...I put in a letter of intent to switch to day shift. I'll hate the early mornings, but in the end of the next three or so months I think better experience will have been gained.

I've been so neglectful of this blog and those of others. A lot has been going on in my family life and it's left me not really feeling like sharing much with too many people. A few weeks ago AW went through an ordeal that has helped him to turn over a new leaf, for the most part. That and he and LB have been spending more time together, which has proven beneficial for positivity's sake since they'd grown so far apart in more recent years. AW has really needed that connection and it's so good to see them getting along.

I've had a lot to be thankful for in light of some frustrating, if not at times dire, circumstances. It's all about growth, connections and faith.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

the good fit

Finally! Finally, I'm on my regular schedule and it's basically the schedule I'd hoped for. One week I work Monday and Saturday, the next I work Sunday, Tuesday and Friday, all nights of course. It goes back and forth with this schedule, through November and I'm hoping it will stay like this for several months, at least for now. I feel like this will give me the best of both worlds. One world I'm a nurse, working and gaining experience to hopefully move on to a more preferable field of nursing, eventually. The other world I'm getting to be a mom and wife. Even during the days of the nights that I work I am able to do what needs to be done and still get my sleep. I wouldn't necessarily be able to do that on day shift without some finagling, as a friend found out recently. Our kids had half days last week and she was working on one of those days. Well, her kids needed to be at the school for their sports, and they don't drive yet. Fortunately another friend was able to help out. I didn't want to have to deal with these kinds of dileemas, so I chose nights. Part-time nights are working out great for me.

Monday, October 25, 2010

blither blather

Ok, so maybe "hate" is a strong word. I still feel pretty much the same way, though. Let's just start by saying that I'm an honest person, almost at times too honest. If one of my fellow co-workers asks me how I'm doing, how I'm liking it so far, what am I supposed to say? I'm doing great. My med passes are getting faster and faster with each pass, and I'm feeling more and more comfy caring for the residents and using my ounce of nursing judgment that I've gained over the past month or so.

That question is easy to answer. Well, so is the "How are you liking it?" if I just answer right off the cuff and honestly. I don't like it. It's not the patients, residents, whatever... It's the disorganized, utterly frustrating chaos (I live with a fair amount of chaos on a daily basis in my family life. That's not the problem.) Basic everyday chaos isn't anything I can't handle, but the kind that leaves a unit having had 16 different unit managers in 4 years, well that's a problem. There is no rhyme or reason to how forms are kept. Need a lab form? It's on the desk in a pile somewhere. Need an incident report? Try the cabinet.




The med room could be declared a local disaster area. The treatment carts? Ugh. There is no unit secretary, person in charge of supplies, wound nurse, etc.

Our job titles: "RN Charge Nurse" or "LPN Charge Nurse" and we are in charge of everything from admission to discharge. Everything. All the everything in between has little to no efficiency in the processes.

Ugh

I've even responded to an in-house posting for a Discharge Planning Assistant. (That may seem contradictory to what I just said, about nurses being in charge of discharging, but there's a lot more to it than the paperwork involved from the unit's standpoint.) I wouldn't mind staying with the facility, but this is how desperate I am to get away from the UFH (unit from hell) and for that matter, night shift isn't all that I thought it would be.

Now I'm going to go find some cheese...

Saturday, October 9, 2010

must confess

I hate my job. I'm trying my hardest to make the most of it, to make it through this adjusment period in hopes of feeling better about it overall. I started nights this past week. One thing is for sure, 8-hour nights are vastly different than 12-hour nights. First, it seems to take forever for 11 p.m. to roll around, whereas with a normal 12-hour shift 7 p.m. comes much quicker. The hours seem to roll by at a decent pace. That's a blessing.

It's more about the environment I'm working in, I think, that causes me the most frustration. This became quite apparent last night. We had a patient that had just been admitted a couple of days before. I hadn't met her yet, but was on that pod (hall/wing/whatever you want to call it) last night. Her O2 levels kept desaturating when she was on BIPAP or during her neb(ulizer) treatments. She has COPD, so when she was put on a regular mask (her NC wasn't cutting it either), she was reaching into the high 80s. All the details aside, I really liked working with the management of the problems. Most of the residents/patients I'm dealing with are sleeping through the nights so there isn't much to do for them until the few and far between times they call out or it's time to pass meds.

We also have a patient who has a history of multiple cancers, and currently has multiple abdominal fistulas. I'm talking big holes from inside out. I will admit that when I first went in to watch the LPN I've been orienting with do the dressing change I became a little queasy. Then next time it needed to be done I went right in and did it as if I'd done it a million times before. It was such an awesome feeling to help this woman as I know I provided her care with dignity. She commented on how much she appreciated my attention to detail.


I really think I'd be better off in acute care...in the hospital, in the ER or on a med/surg unit (wow, didn't ever think I'd hear myself saying that, or read it), or maybe even an ICU. Bigger WOW. I certainly never would have pictured or fathomed that!

Tonight and tomorrow night I will orientate with a RN, a very seasoned RN and I look forward to it. I'm hoping she'll teach me some things and put some things into perspective. If after the next two nights I'm still frustrated I will continue to search for something else. As it is I'm interviewing at a local family practice Tuesday morning. It's a far cry from what I just spoke of, but it will be better than putting up with some of the craziness of LTC nights.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

thirty

Imagine working for thirty years and all you want to do once you retire is nothing. You buy yourself a La-Z-Boy recliner, a bedpan, a urinal and hire someone to clean them daily, for $30.00 a day. You pay someone $30.00 a week to buy your groceries. Literally, you want to do nothing, well except maybe watch TV.

This past week we spent time administering flu shots to some of the residents. It was a pretty arduous process; very different from when I did the mass flu shot clinic when I was in the Air Force. Then we didn't need doctor's orders, patient consent, etc. They lined up and we stuck them. Wam bam, thank you ma'am! In a long term care facility it's a bit different. You are required to have the orders, consent and hands that don't tire from all the other documentation.

As we're moving along I go into a resident's room. I didn't exit until 30 minutes later when another nurse came in and saved me. Evidently this particular resident is one of those, that when you are planning to go in you plan to tell someone to save you in about 10 minutes. He's not only lonely, but from what I hear he can also be quite...grumpy. From what I hear it borders on abusive. I wasn't abused. He told me all about how he ended up "incarcerated", his views on war, politics, religion and "the jokers" (the MDs who have cared for him since his incarceration, which is actually what he calls his life in the LTC facility).

Every time he needed them a rescue squad would come pick him up, and he'd pay them $30.00 even if they refused. He has no family. No one visits him.

His existence is a sad one. Who am I to judge, though? What will I take from my 30 minutes? A deeper appreciation for those I do have around me - that and I may have given him 30 minutes of joy he doesn't often know anymore, just by listening.

Monday, September 20, 2010

now just green behind the gills

Today I was left wondering if I'd made the right choice in becoming a nurse. Or rather, it was more like....what the hell have I gotten myself into!?!

Last week there was a certain level of comfort, just sitting at a table, watching DVD movies on topics such as infection control and dementia. This week we're branching out a bit. Today we set out with "rounds sheets", which are a checklist of things that are supposed to be done in a shift. Many items are particular to each resident (O2 tubing changed and dated, A.M. care provided, etc.) and then there are such items as making sure the med cart is locked when you walk away from it.

As I'm walking around I come across a resident who complains of dizziness. She tells me that she gets dizzy in the mornings and it usually resolves as the day goes on. I go and tell her nurse who then asks me to get orthostatic vital signs on her. I didn't even think to do that. I suck. And I'm going to take care of your grandmother or grandfather!?! I'm so worried about the stupid checklist I can't even fathom to think critically.

A career switch to graphic arts doesn't so bad right now.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

seeing green

Soooo, this week has been spent in orientation. I've gone from a job where I basically had no training to one where we're being oriented to the facility and there will be tons of training. I'm loving it. The facility I'm working at - orienting at - is owned by a parent corporation and I like it. I guess you can take the girl out of the military, but there's just some military-type things you can't take out of the girl. I will have no problem working for a facility that actually has their shit together. We shall nickname it the HRC (health and rehab). Once I'm done with orientation I will be on nights, working on the rehab unit.

So far it's been a bunch of training videos. You know the ones, infection control, HIPAA, blah, blah, blah. We're also having to do computer modules for CEUs. We've helped out in the dining room for lunch. It's kind of scary to me, since I don't know the residents and their needs. I'm learning though. That's one thing I like about going through orientation is it gives wiggle room to learn the ins and outs.

I actually had to buy new scrubs for this job, after just having bought the scrubs for the PO. They're what I've been wearing temporarily, but we are required to wear hunter green or white everyday, but Fridays, at which time we're allowed to wear our choice.

In family news I ended up taking both boys in to be seen last week. LB was treated for strep throat. AW has been having trouble staying awake at school for the past couple of years and evidently high school is anymore stimulating than middle school was, or so that was the thought process. Recently, as he was sleeping downstairs on the couch, I had the occasion to hear him snore like a...beast. It occured to me that maybe it was time to see if it was more than teenageritis. We ended up doing a sleep study the night we saw his PCP. As it turns out, the kid has sleep apnea. Poor thing! Soooo, we're dealing with that. We just went yesterday (had to leave orientation early) to have his x-rays done to assess his adenoids. Hopefully we'll hear soon as to what we do next.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

no more crumbs!

I interviewed last week for a position at a local long-term care and rehab facility. I found out today, that I will be working there part-time nights! Woohooo!

No more PO for me!

Buhbye!

No more hunting for the ever elusive nursing job. I am so thankful for this opportunity.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

that's the way my cookie crumbled

It all started oh, about 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, August 11th. Imagine that, something happening on the 11th day of any month. It is a trend in my life. I had just gotten off work and was making my way through rush hour traffic to home. As usual I'd looked at my cell phone to check for messages before I started driving. Big B had left one, "Call me".

Ought oh.

He said he had bad news and proceeded to tell me one of his co-workers had resigned, so we wouldn't be able to go on vacation the following week. Yes, just days away from a vacation we had all looked so forward to, I was hearing it wouldn't happen. I was livid. That's putting it mildly. I am a redhead and do have the temper to fit. Most times I keep it in check, but when you mess with something or someone I care about, watch out.

I arrived home and head straight upstairs to spare my family members of my wrath. I'm embarassed to admit, I was so mad that when I slammed our bedroom door, that has an over-the-door hook on it, that usually keeps it from shutting...well, I slammed it so hard, it shut.

In the end we decided, so as not to waste any money, that the boys and I would go, sans Daddy.

Yes, I'm brave. I not only took two teenage boys on a road trip for a week, but added one of their friends to the mix. ZA had already been invited that very fateful day, and they were all so excited for their Jersey shore vacation. This is all thanks to the show, Jersey Shore. They were hellbent on having their own Jersey shore experience and who am I to not let them have it? Besides, I really needed to "get away". Taking them was the lesser of two evils, those being stay and not go on vacation that I'd been so looking forward to (read as: certain nervous breakdown would surely ensue), or take three teenage boys to the Jersey shore.

Off we went. We left VA on a rainy Sunday and arrived in a splendid locale reserved by my father-in-law. We spent a couple of days on the beach and also walked the boardwalk in Wildwood. One day we spent relaxing around camp, lazing around the pool and "enjoying" each others' company. The next day we were forced to again "enjoy" each others' company since it poured rain. all. day. long. That same day LB had developed swimmer's ear, so we also spent some time in a local urgent care facility. yay.

That evening I suffered with a migraine, but was able to sleep it away that night. Thursday we set out for Seaside Heights, which is the town where Season 1 of Jersey Shore had taken place. We all wanted to check it out and you never know when you might see a cast memeber, considering they still frequent Seaside. Wouldn't you know, we turn up onto the boardwalk and there's a big crowd of people, with some police officers patrolling the scene. It was Ronnie and Snooki! They were standing in the entryway of the Shore Store, which is the store the cast worked in during Season 1.

We walked the boardwalk and bought a bunch of t-shirts. The cast has made some taglines famous and of course the retail world has capitalized on this by way of t-shirts.



I started feeling another migraine coming on, and by this time we were all shopped out and ready to head home. We make our way back to the parking lot where we paid to park, only to notice the crowd of people starting to gather. Come to find out, we were parked right across the street from the house the cast had stayed in and are currently filming Season 3. We were right there where all the action was, well, across the street from it at least. I'm thinking a sudden burst of excitement and adrenaline curbed my headache, so I was able to stand by for a while, hoping to catch a glimpse of a cast member. Alas, after about an hour or so, the headache started coming on again and the boys had become bored with watching the commotion of MTV personnel and police officers, with no sighting of any celebrities, so we headed back to camp.

"Camp" was more than a tent. We had the privilege of staying in my father-in-law's RV, and it was a biggin'. It made for a mostly enjoyable vacation, although the boys were, at times,... too much personality... in what could be a small place.

Once again I was able to sleep off the migraine, and awakened Friday with plans to hit the beach. We also headed out to dinner that night for our seafood feast at The Lobster House in Cape May. Sadly, my migraine started in again and we made it an early night. I ended up with chills and nausea and after an hour or so trying to sleep it off unsuccessfully, had LB take me to the local ER. Last time I'd felt like that was when I had mastitis after I'd given birth to AW...14 years ago.

Nine hours and a dose of Reglan, and then a dose of Toradol later, I was discharged. As all good things must come to an end, we headed back to the RV to get packed up. After a ngihtmare of an ER visit where I got little to no sleep and LB slept none, I knew we couldn't head straight back home, so we followed my father-in-law to his house where I was able to get a nap in, and then we made our way home. All the while I felt like poo.

When Monday morning rolled around I was still feeling dreadful, so I had to call in sick. Later I received a phone call from the big boss informing me I'd been taken off, and replaced, of my part-time position, and was being put on PRN status. The person who covered for me during vacation was my replacement. Why? I have yet to get a solid reason. I can say I know it's due in part to the fact that my replacement is awesome. She's a former classmate, someone I considered a friend. I know her well enough to know she's extremely comfortable in her nurse skin, whereas I don't have the experience she does, and so I'm still getting used to mine.

That's the way my cookie crumbled. I'm torn. Part of me is relieved this happened, because I wasn't entirely comfortable working there. There are a few standards of practice I don't necessarily agree with. It was experience and a paycheck though. This has been a big blow to my confidence, even so far as to make me question my worth as a nurse.

Today I have an interview for a local health and rehabilitation center (nursing home). It's exciting and daunting all at once. I welcome the opportunity to possibly be doing more nurse-like work over what I was doing at the PO. We shall see.

Monday, August 23, 2010

milestones


Without a doubt, the next few months will be filled with incredible milestones. Both boys drove off this morning, school-bound. AW was riding shotgun while LB maneuvered their way to their freshman and senior year of high school. These times are truly bittersweet.

It's exciting to see AW start high school. I'm hopeful his HS career will be um...., less dramatic than his middle school career. He is such a great kid, but he's made some very bad decisions over the past couple of years. The middle school he went to was a miserable place to be. It seems that many of my friends, who've had sons that made it out, had similar bad experiences, but their son came around and turned out for the better. This would include my eldest son, LB. He made his own share of bad decisions, but has shoved his way through and is an awesome guy.

They both make me proud. I saw a bumper sticker recently that I loved. It said "Proud parent...period". A child doesn't have to be an honor student or a gifted athlete for his or her parents to feel pride.

AW will be 14 next month. He now towers over me and has given his brother a run for his money, concerning heighth. We always knew AW would outgrow his brother. Right now, at 3 1/2 years (to the day) apart, they're within an inch of one another.

LB is a senior now and he'll be 18 in March, and with that comes many celebrations. We also have "the lasts". Today I took the last first day of school pictures of both boys. LB will head off to college next year, and although I imagine I'll take pictures each step of the way, he won't start off a new year on the same day as his brother again.

I'll have to control myself over the next several months, so I don't lose it. I feel like I haven't had enough time with my sons. Can't we go back and do like shampoo tells us, you know, to repeat? I tried telling him that I was demoting him to kindergarten. He just laughed at me.

Many friends who've had kids go off to college recently have warned me about senioritis. As sure as there are good times, there will be some bad mixed in. They're convinced that it makes it easier to part with the senior who goes off to college, or leaves home for whatever reason.

This past week is a great example of frustration with my near-adult son. That's a whole different blog post though.

Friday, August 13, 2010

sticks and stuck up

Working at the peds office (PO) has had its ups and downs. I told a couple of my co-workers Wednesday that it was indeed my favorite day of the three I work during the week. This is simply because it's just MB and I, and no other "nurse". The term is used loosely because the other person I work in patient care with is not a nurse. In the state of VA it is not required to be licensed or certified to work in a doctor's office. She is, however, certified as a phlebotomist. All that being said, she is good at her job and great with the patients. It's the way she treats those of us she works with and how she expects to be treated that I have a problem with.

We have two computer terminals in our nurses' station. She has claimed one of them, even going so far as labeling it with her name. We have three Thermoscan Ear Thermometers and three handheld pulse/pulse oximeters. Yep, one of each are labeled as well, yet they are not her personal equipment. She's also one of those who will walk into the room and in the most snarky fashion ask why something is the way it is, or isn't.

I realize there's always going to be somebody that we prefer to not have to work with. It's quite different when that somebody is one of only about ten co-workers.

Like I said, Wednesdays are my favorite days. Well, they have been. Evidently she'll be working them after school starts the 23rd. We provider match (which means when three of us are working we each work with a specific provider) and her provider will be dropping her hours down so she (the provider) can be around for her children. So rather than working to 5 p.m. 4 days a week, NFC (not favorite co-worker) will be working five and getting off earlier. Lovely.

I have my intrapersonal battles with all of this. I like my job because, well it is work, and the schedule is great. I don't have to work nights, weekends, major holidays, and so forth. But...is this what I became a nurse to do? It'll have to do for right now, because there just isn't much out there for inexperienced nurses. I figure I'll at least stick with it for the next few months, because yes, it looks like they're keeping me around for as long as I wish to stay.

Days like yesterday leave me frustrated. It was a day spent with NFC, so it was already spent overting outright frustration. Then it happened. I attempted to do a blood draw on a patient, once in each AC and the veins rolled. I'm not extremely well-practiced at this task, so I decided to stop there and go get NFC, the trusty phlebotomist. I had trouble using the safety device on the butterfly needle and going back to the days when there was no such thing, from which I was originally trained, I just decided to discard the needle in the sharps. It bounced backward and caught my thumb. Lovely.

I will say NFC was awesome about the whole event and even talked me out of my devastation over doing something so dumb. Of course, we had to go through the formalities when something like this happens, to include her drawing my blood to send off for HIV testing. Great day...not.

There seems to be a trend when certain things happen. One week was strep week. Everyone that came in seemed to be having s/s of strep throat and were of course swabbed for the rapid strep screen. This past week was let's-stick-something-up-our-nose week. One kid had stuck part of a diaper wipe up his and another had supposedly stuck a foam circle up his. We succesfully removed the former's obstruction, but had to send the latter to ENT. They found nothing.

It's all fun and games in the PO!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

the little buggers

In a self-fulfilling prophecy sort of way, it seems I thought myself into an illness. Maybe I just worked my way into it. It only makes sense that if you work around germs you're going to fall to those germs eventually. I work around a bunch of little buggers, well some of them are not so little. Working in a peds office is a surefire way to come down with some sort of virus or other illness. Wouldn't ya know it, last night I started in with a headache and by this morning was feeling worse. Quite frankly, I feel icky.

It's not bad enough to be totally debilitating, but bad enough to keep from me going into DC with Big B for a Phillies/Nats game. It's pretty disappointing, but I knew I didn't want to end up feeling worse, cutting our trip short. Here I lie in bed, while he's off wandering around enjoying himself and will soon be heading to the baseball game. It figures I'm finally able to live freely, since there are no more studies to keep me down and I'm left stuck at home feeling like crud! Boohoo!

The other guys are, thankfully, amusing themselves. LB went off to a concert and AW is in his room chatting it up while playing XBOX Live.

As far as the job goes itself, it's going well...

I love the people I work with. The work has been frustrating at times. I love working with the kids, far more than I ever thought I would. It's the tasks we have to manage that frustrate me, and my fellow new co-workers. We do labs in house, at least as far as drawing blood for things that need to be sent out, simple Hgb tests, rapid strep screens, etc. It's the outgoing bloodwork that has left me wanting to rip my hair out. CBC's go in the lavendar top tube. Got it. Thyroid tests go in the tiger top tubes. OK. The more simple, more common tests are manageable. It's the crazy odd, rarely done tests that we have to draw for that leave me mad. I didn't go to medical lab tech school. It's all very challenging, but once all the other tasks come easier, and they already are, I'll be able to learn the lab tests more readily.

The frustration was compounded when MB, my former classmate who called me for this job, and I had to call in other reinforcements. Fortunately for us we just graduated with a bunch of people who have yet to find permanent jobs, so any opportunity to gain experience and get paid is worthwhile. I called on CM first, but as soon as she and I figured out we'd be on our own on different days, we decided we weren't comfortable flying solo. We called in CH.

The reason for all of this? That goes back to what I mentioned in my previous post. I was brought on to help out because the two regular employees had been granted vacation and time off for surgery and convalescence at the same time. I had one good day of training and one, um...pretty good day. We've all (not including the regular employees) been thrown in with minimal training. MB has had the most, with me coming in second, CM and CH have had little, except for what they were thrown into. CM has since been hired on at a local rehab and nursing center full-time. CH will now be working at the peds office on a PRN basis. MB is now full-time and I will be 3 days a week for August, maybe less later, maybe more.

I think if I do end up staying on permanently I'll have to come up with a nickname other than "peds office". I love working there, aside from the learning curve...zig zag. It's definitely been an experience to remember! I'll forever be thankful my girls came through for me and MB thought to call me!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

first days


Good....no, GREAT news! I got a job! One of my forner classmates found a job at a local pediatrician's office, that come to find out is in a bind due to short-staffing because of surgery/vacations. I was called to ask if I could help out. Who in the world would pass up such an opportunity? It's not like other opportunities are fruitful, or even exist.

The most recent:
Ms. KLS, RN,

Thank you for your interest in XX Hospital.
I have received your online applications for various RN positions. It appears that you are a new gradute RN with less than 1 year of clinical experience. We do not have any positions currently for new graduates. The next opportunity will be some time in 2011.

I wish you the best in your search.

XX, RN, MSN
Nurse Recruiter


Just the day prior they'd sent me this one:
Dear KLS, RN,

Thank you for applying to XX Hospital.
I have reviewed your online applications, and unfortunately, we are not accepting any more new graduate RNs at this time. We will hold our next new graduate fellowship in 2011.
I wish you the best in your search.

Thank you for considering XX Hospital

XX, Nurse Recruiter
XX Hospital


Yeah, cuz in 2011 I will still be considered a new grad...

Anyway!!!

I started at the peds office today and although I am beyond exhausted, I'm happy. It was a great first day. I didn't make any huge mistakes. All the children left in the same condition they had entered in. I was in awe of the nurse I trained with as I can't wait to just know so much without giving it a second thought. Of course, it'll feel nice to just not feel so "green"!

I am so thankful for this opportunity. It may not be my first choice, but it's better than doing nothing. The people are great, the hours are perfect, and it's experience. I'm not sure if I'll stay on permanently, but it looks like I may, as part-time. That's fine with me!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

hmmm

Not too sure about having a background color...I actually liked having the white background, but was hoping that a colored one would make the banner stand out more.

Should I stay colored or go back to white?

certs & joiners

I'm looking at different certifications and am now pretty overwhelmed. ACLS seems to be the best bet - PALS, too. What other certs are there out there that you've found worthwhile, especially as a new nurse?

Who's joined ANA or any other organizations? I'm just curious, as to the benefits.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

decipher this!

mulchthegardensscrapbookingreadingforpleasureshoppingforshoes,purses,funstuffgoingtothebeachgoingtoKDwalkingformileslosingweightpurgetheboys'clothingcleanthehouseweedthegardensbrushthedogsbrushthecatsgoouttodinnerspendtimewithfamilyspendtimewithfriendstravelclipsnooki'sclawspaintthebedroomsdesignnewblogbannerwatchmovieswatchtvshowstakeresumearoundlaminateIDcardsizedlicensegetajob!


That's my brain on free-time. Since I've passed the NCLEX there is no longer a need to study. I feel like I should be studying though. This is the first time in 11 years that I haven't had any pending school work to do, minus some breaks here and there - but there was still a degree to be finished.

The job market for new grad/inexperienced/newly licensed RNs is still very bleak. I've applied for most jobs I've come across that say nothing more than "experience preferred" or if there hasn't been a specific type of experience or certification required. One of the local hospital's nurse recruiters has called me twice now for a position I applied to, in behavioral medicine. The first call was to inquire as to if I did really want to work in that field. It's not my #1 choice, but I'd gladly take on the challenge. The second call was to inquire about my experience. Other than a degree in psychology and having worked with special needs/emotionally disturbed adolescents (which I forgot to mention) I have none. She said they'd call back if they chose to interview me. Haven't heard from them since.

I have applied for a school nurse position that I would be extremely happy to take even if the pay is minimal. The schedule would be perfect, especially considering some of the things we've gone through this past couple of years with our youngest resident adolescent. That's my silver lining to my jobless situation. I'm home for him this summer. I'm home for all my guys.

So anyway, back to free-time and having an overactive brain. I do better when I have to plan things out and schedule around things. Right now, with no job and the boys sleeping late (I let that become a habit since it helped with my need to study for NCLEX), I have too much free-time on my hands. I got out of the practice of doing a lot of things, like cleaning, and now am having a hard time getting back into doing them. Well that, and it's been hot here. harumph.

baby steps...

Maybe I'll get certified in something...take ACLS...

Monday, July 12, 2010

best news!

RN

in

2010!!!!!

Friday, July 9, 2010

the deed is done




This morning I woke up around 0900 after a pretty good night's rest, thanks to Ambien. I had to take it or I would never have slept a wink. I laid there until about 2245 and finally decided playing Bejeweled Blitz wasn't going to make me sleepy as it normally does. I placed the iPhone on the nightstand, rolled over and was a goner within minutes. Thank you, Ambien!

It was nice to wake up in such a good mood. Big B and AW had returned during the night from their man-bonding trip, so I quickly made my way downstairs to check on Big B. He'd graciously slept downstairs, so as not to disturb my slumber. Aww! He is so sweet! He'd already awakened for the morning and was just tinkering around. AW was still catching ZZZs and LB had crashed at a friend's house.

I actually don't remember much other than all of that. What I do remember is my good buddy, Ethel* picking me up and us making our way up to the town where we would meet our doom - I mean take our NCLEX exams. We stopped for lunch at Cracker Barrel. You know, comfort food..food to feed the brains. It wasn't long before we had to make an, ummm...urgent stop for ummm...my..umm...intestines-that-are-not-liking-the-current-hypernervousness level. And we didn't stop just once.

Then we arrived at the testing center with a few minutes to spare. There was one other nervous test-taker in front of us signing in. Then it was Ethel's turn. After she was done and escorted into the gloom room, I was then checked in. We may as well have been entering the classified materials archive in the Pentagon.

Finger prints AND palm prints? Really? Us fledgling nurse-types are certainly a bunch of dishonest sorts. I mean, what, with our eager need to please and be perfect. Geez, give us time to get develop burn-out and then be suspicious!

Then it was time. I sat there staring at that monitor briefly, hoping it would start blinking with notification that I was the lucky, 1billionth test-taker and had been chosen to receive an honorary license. No need to sit through the grueling exam!

As if!

Nope, through the tutorial I went and then onto the real thing.

You know, I must've completed around 3000 questions in preparation. As time went on, my averages went up.

Today?



















Ha! It might as well have been στα ελληνικά. I hit
next" on the 75th queston and it kept going. Ugh! I thought to myself "Ok, KLS...you're going to be in it for the long haul". Then wouldn't you know it, around question 82-83 the screen went blue! Still, there wasn't any notification of an honorary license, but NCLEX was over. I lived through it.

This is what 22+ months of nursing school(not counting the past 11 or so years since I decided to go to nursing school) has come down to...80 some odd, mind-blowing, make-me-doubt-all-I-know questions. A friend of mine, who took it Monday, told me of the 78 she lived through, 4 was the total of what she felt comfortable with. Me? zero. Ethel had about the same number of questions as I did.

Now we wait.

We left the test center feeling as if we'd been rode hard and put away wet. We called our other buddy, RG,RN, and complained about the ridiculousness of what we'd just been through. Yes, RG (78 questions, from above) made it.

We're not one of the 48 hours results states. Yeha, that was the other attachment that came with our ATT email. If you live in this state you may receive your results in 48 hours by paying... Those, from our class, who took it this past week, found out the next day. Since today is Friday Ethel asked, after finishing her exam, and was told "next busniess day". One of the other girls we graduated with called the BoN and found out we should be able to call tomorrow afternoon and find out.

Guess it'll be another Ambien night!

*Name changed for privacy...I'm Lucy, and she is Ethel, as we were known in nursing school.

All this and I might have a job! I got a call from a local hospital's nurse recruiter yesterday!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

big gulp

First, let's start off with some shots I snapped of the fireworks from Sunday's 4th of July display...








When I'm tense or upset in any way I like to do things that I enjoy. I love the photos of the fireworks, since they allow me to look at the bursts of color as many times as I'd like. The third one up from the bottom reminds me of sperm swimming in after an ovum.

Why am I tense? I'm tense because I take the NCLEX VERY SOON!

So far our class has been doing very well. Of the 7 people that I know of who have taken it, 5 have passed. I'm extremely sad for the ones who didn't.

I really can't wait to have it behind me. It'll be so wonderful to be able to go out and search for a job, and do the other million and one things I haven't been able to do because I've been strapped down to the old ball and chain of school and NCLEX preparation!

As for the remainder of today, I'm going to go over some pharmacology, and do my last set of questions. LB is the only one at home right now because Big B and AW took a trip up to NJ to get away, and let me have some peace. I think LB and I will go out to dinner tonight and catch a movie.

This time tomorrow I'll be on my way! NCLEX or bust!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

independence '10




Happy Independence Day everyone!

I took these photos during our fireworks outing last year. I got several good shots, and think they're pretty cool for their vibrant colors and designs.



It's great to have the freedom to watch such awesome displays.

I feel freedom and independence are extra-special to me this year, after finishing nursing school. The same day that I posted the last post, I received my ATT and was able to schedule my date for NCLEX. It's coming up pretty soon and I am beyond nervous, more like terrified. I've done a great job studying, and will continue to do so up until the day before I go in to do the deed. It'll be nice to have it behind me, and to have the freedom to spend my days with my family and friends, doing things I enjoy doing without having to worry about studying.

We're getting ready to head out in a few hours to go to a local event center/polo grounds to hang out with some friends, eat scrumptious food, play games, take in some polo and sit back and ooo and ahh over the fireworks display this year.

Enjoy your 4th of July!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

only one blank to go



This morning I woke up in the same basically grumpy mood I've been existing in. It didn't help that I had to do the bills. After finishing that dastardly task I logged onto the department of health professions website to do my first of a kabillion obsessive checks to see if my transcripts had been checked, and wouldn't ya know it...they were! Although, I'm still left waiting for my ATT, seeing that the blanks were no longer blank turned my frown upside down! The only blank left to fill in is the one that says the NCLEX score was submitted.

Friday, June 18, 2010

one month, two days

This would be the reason, or at least a big reason why I'm having to proactively think positively (see previous post):



The blank blanks are still blank - one month and two days after commencement...no thanks to the astounding college I attended (insert vast amounts of sarcasm). Click on the chart to see it larger.

a dose of positivity



It seems there's been quite a bit of negativity seething from my pores lately, and sadly it's been reflected in my posts. This year has been challenging so far, so I'm going to point out some of the more positive highlights in an effort to help me realize it's not all been bad.

☺ First and foremost, me and mine are all healthy
☺ I passed the ATI Comprehensive Predictor on first attempt, and it showed I would have a 97% chance of passing NCLEX first time around
Snooki came into our lives
☺ a dear friend designed a beautiful tattoo for me
☺ we went to NYC for NYE
☺ I had a great preceptorship experience, where I saw c-sections, vaginal deliveries, was able to take care of some wonderful families, and was able to do my first vaginal exam.
☺ I've made some everlasting friendships
☺ I've been able to go out and do some fun things with my family and friends, like the Medieval Times dinner
☺ I graduated from nursing school, a dream of 11+ years (more like 19, it just wasn't realized then)
☺ I've reconnected with some old friends
☺ My husband and I are going on 18 years of marriage
☺ LB and AW* will both be attending high school in the fall (*wasn't sure that was going to happen)
☺ I was able to spend time with my mom



I'm probably forgetting some things, but I really am thankful for the good in my life. It was important for me to point some1 of it out, even if it's for my own realization.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

what could be worse for a new grad nurse?


What could be worse than to find out, nearly a month after graduation, that your transcripts were never sent out to the state department of health professions?

Many of us had voiced to one another that it did seem to be getting out of hand, as far as the time it was taking for our ATTs to be submitted to us. We even called the school about a week or two ago and asked if the transcripts had been sent out. We were reassured that they had been. Interesting.

It's interesting because today one of my peers had to go to the school, after recently receiving the letter telling him that his application for licensure was complete, all that was pending was the transcripts. When he'd originally sent out his application he sent it to the wrong place. It was sent back to him and then he resent it to the right place; hence, the reason he was receiving the before mentioned letter now. He thought for sure they had to have our transcripts by now, but when he inquired he was told they didn't have his. Off to the school he went. Another of our peers was also there, come to find out hers hadn't been sent either. They had the school check to see if anyone's had.

Nope. Nada, Zilch, Zippo. Our whole class was screwed.

We were advised to test as soon as you possibly could, once you feel comfortable to do so. I was hoping to test by the time the boys finished their school year up so that I wouldn't have to worry about studying once they were home.

Now I'm...we're... still left waiting to receive our authorization to test. Hmmmm. At this point when do you predict we'll be able to schedule our exams, considering the hoards of other NCLEX test takers who, by now, are receiving their ATTs and taking up the best test dates?

Monday, May 31, 2010

slumpalicious

If Weird Al Yankovic wrote me a song based on my current life situation it would be entitled "Slumpalicious" and he would sing it to the tune of "Fergalicious". That's where it would end because I by no means make any boys go loco. Well, maybe I drive my male offspring crazy. sometimes.

Anyway...

I've been in a bit of a slump lately. Things have not gone the way I thought they would have at this point in my life. In particular, I thought for sure I would be employed by now - I'm not. I thought I would have a date to take the NCLEX - I do not. It's all pretty frustrating and what makes it worse is I have little to no control over any of it at the moment. My fellow new grads and I, from my school, are still awaiting the entry of our transcripts into the SBN system. There are no new grad positions open anywhere and as the days go on we're further and further from being considered new grads. Without test dates we're unable to test and therefore have yet to be licensed.

It's ridiculous. I know my program was not the only program in the state, but come on! We've heard other new grads, from other programs, have received their ATTs and have subsequently been able to schedule their NCLEX dates.

Aside from all this I'm just feeling down in the dumps. I'm not used to being at home all the time with little to no social interaction. It's like a catch 22. Need to study for a test that I have yet to know when I'm taking it, and I can't get a job...

I've applied many places. Most places want a year or more of experience. If it's not been a requirement I've gone ahead and applied. I've even applied for a couple of non-RN jobs. One position was for an EKG support associate and one is as a medical assistant. At this point beggars can't be choosers.



I'm even considering a job that's not even in the medical field. It would be doing what I did before nursing school and that's working as a teacher's aide. There's also a social service assistant position open at a local nursing home. Honestly, I just want to work. Fortunately the social calendar is filling up over the next month. Tons of stuff is going on and I look forward to it.

Of course, then I still have NCLEX to study for...

Monday, May 24, 2010

gahhhhhhh!

Yep, that's about how I feel at this very moment.

I'm still waiting for my ATT (Authorization to test) and who knows if the school has even sent my transcripts. Part of me wants to call, but then part of me doesn't. At this point, one whole week after commencement, they should have sent them by now. I might go postal if they were to inform me that the transcripts were still sitting there on someone's desk ready to be set off.

It helps to go back and read other people's NCLEX induced anxiety experiences. Here's one at My Journey from a Student to a Nurse.

I've been doing questions everyday, except this past Saturday. I figured it would be a good day to take a break. I've also been going over content and will be putting more focus on areas where I feel I am lacking in knowledge. Right now I feel like that's pretty much everything! ARGHHH!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

pinned

He's been not only my CFO the past several years, and then some, he's been my rock. My name was called, and so was his. Mine was mispronounced, as usual; his being more common, wasn't. As we stride closer to one another he exclaims "Thank God!" He starts to come at me with it as if he's going to poke my breast, but he's only joking. I told him he better not. Then he pins me. He kisses and hugs me. And then the journey was complete.






Then he ended up in my class pictures.

Our photographer showed up late, so we had to wait until the ceremony to have our photos taken.

getting inked

For several years now I've wanted a tattoo, but I haven't ever figured out what I wanted to live with as a part of my skin, permanently, until recently. I knew one thing I wanted was the caduceus and then also something to do with my boys. At first it seemed that having their zodiac symbols would be a good idea, but the thought just didn't inspire any creativity for me. It finally dawned on me, considering how much I love flowers, that I could incorporate the love of flowers into my design, along with making it special regarding LB and AW. Why not use the state flowers from where they were born, thusly creating a concept that is ultimately symbolic.

I'm fortunate enough to have several talented people in my life, one of whom is talented in more than one way. She happens to be an artist. I'd like to thank her for drawing a tattoo design for me that exceeds my greatest expectations.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

newsworthy

PINNING

IS

TONIGHT!!!!!

Friday, April 30, 2010

admissions

My last final exam is Monday morning at 9 a.m. and I couldn't be more nervous than I am right now. I'm on the verge of a migraine. It wouldn't be so bad if I wasn't so close to the edge. This is why I don't go to the edges of cliffs. Even thinking about doing that makes me dizzy. But, alas, here I am with an 81% in my med/surg class. We still have four items to be submitted for a grade; one of our clinical rotation grades is pending, our preceptorship packet, our preceptorship/clinical grade and the final exam. It's a mere 25% of our total grade. I haven't done the math, but figure anything less than 78 and I fail.

These last few months have been extremely trying, even more than anyone will ever know. We've continued to have problems with AW and his academic standing, as well as his behaviors. Some of it's normal teenage rebellion, some of it has gone to extremes. I shoulder a lot of it, since I feel that I'm to blame for it all since I took time away from him to go to nursing school.

I think what makes me most nervous about failing is that it will quash everything we've been through the past two years.

Stronger, Mary J. Blige


We've been through the storm, we've been through it all
We had some close calls but never would fall
We climbed all the mountains, walked through all the valleys but you never left me behind

I found my way through the clouds
No more runnin, scared, closing my eyes
I will be true this love from my heart
I'm laying my life on the line

I will survive, as long as it's you by my side
I will survive, as long as it's you by my side
I'm stronger
I'm stronger
I'm stronger
I'm stronger
I'm stronger
I'm stronger

They said we wouldn't make it but guess what we made it
And we got them wondering how
You were always for me, never been the one t'hurt me
You gave me peace of mine

I found my way through the clouds
No more runnin, scared, closing my eyes
I will be true this love from my heart
I'm laying my life on the line

I will survive, as long as it's you by my side
I will survive, as long as it's you by my side
I'm stronger
I'm stronger
I'm stronger
I'm stronger
I'm stronger
I'm stronger

Sometimes I can't believe that you are with me..
There's nobody lucky as me
So I get on my kness to make sure that he knows that I'm grateful for what he gave me

I will survive
I will survive, as long as it's you by my side
I will survive, as long as it's you by my side
I'm stronger
I'm stronger
I'm stronger
I'm stronger
I'm stronger
I'm stronger

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

maple syrup gums

This is only half of it.





I'd probably be able to figure out which dog was most responsible for the trash strewn across my utility area on into the computer room, if only I smelled the breath of both guilty parties. I kid you not, I came home to a trash trail about 20 feet long and 4 feet wide.







Whomever got a hold of Aunt Jemima took out some real frustrations, if the condition of the bottle is an indication...



...the remnants were itty-bitty plastic pieces of shrapnel as if the bottle had exploded.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

nevermind me


It's nearly 1 a.m. and I'm still awake, on purpose. I'm heading into my last string of night shifts tonight. I've actually liked working nights, since mornings aren't my forte. It's the trying-to-sleep-during-the-days-with-other-humans-living-nearby that has been problematic.

Doesn't the whole world know I'm working nights and I need my sleep like some people need to breathe!?

Seriously.

First, we have the phone. For the most part people who know us call us on our cell phones. It's those pesky telemarketers who call on the house phone and there's really not that many. But just like conception only takes one sperm, it only takes one dastardly phone call to kill a good sleep.

We've considered just cancelling our home phone, but our Internet is tied into it. I don't have the capacity to worry about such things right now, so after school is over I will work on that.

Speaking of that - school being over - 19 days!!

Ahem, back to my rant.

Next we have electricity or rather the fallibility of it. It's not a perfect phenomenon and there are times where it will stop working. Case in point, last Thursday, the power went out at the local high school (the high school LB goes to). First, we have the phone calls and then we have the teenager. He came home and decided it was imperative to notify the sleeping parent of the house that he and some friends would be going fishing.

Great! Did the phone lines go out as well and you couldn't call your father??? Sorry, mommy's grumpy...

Then we have the other teenager who comes home after his regular school day, because thank heavens the archaic building he goes to middle school in didn't lose power. He proceeds to ask me if he can go to a friend's house.

Yes, that was all in the same day. That night shift was so not fun! I was physically ill. Have you ever been that exhausted, where you feel almost as if you're experiencing vertigo, and you most certainly have nausea, and basically feel as if you're green?

Then there's the fact that my 39-year old body is just not used to staying up all night long anymore. I've done it though. Six whole nights so far, to be exact. Because the birthing center I've been doing my preceptorship at is relatively small, and not much has gone on, I've been able to catch up on some of my reading.

Don't get me wrong. I've gotten tons of good experience. I did have to go in for an 8-hour day shift today just to see a c-section. I've come close to seeing vaginal deliveries, but no cigar. I'm hoping tomorrow night might just be the night for it. Hopefully, typing this won't jinx it, but we have three inductions scheduled for tomorrow, and one isn't until 1530.

The other student who has been working nights has seen three vaginal deliveries during her nights, but I don't know about c-sections for her.

Speaking of exhaustion and the fact that I don't have to stay up all night, well the rest of it anyway, I'm going to head to bed and try to sleep through the morning. I'm hoping the teenagers will wake up on time, on their own - which has been a challenge all it's own!

Monday, April 12, 2010

resounding bleakness

Last year around this time I was obsessively looking at the area hospitals' job search pages. At the time you could be sure to find new grad postings.

Now?

Not so much.

In fact, the only thing comparable is the RNA (RN applicant) position open at a local university hospital. It's for a renal/respiratory unit. It's not really my cup of pee, I mean tea, but at this point, I'll take anything! That reminds me I need to check out another university's job postings. It's further then most of the others, but it's better than nothing.



A huge medical center, that is set to open in a couple of months, is hiring for various RN positions and I did come across one on their women's and children's pre/post-partum unit. I applied for it. The chances of me getting that job are so bleak it's funny, but what the hey. It's good practice filling out the applications.

It's so bad in this area that even the people I know who work in our local community hospital as externs or clinical techs (that are also graduating next month) - the one where we're doing our preceptorships - aren't even guaranteed positions. In fact this very hospital just laid off 35+ people in various departments, to include department heads, this past week. All I ask is that they leave the nurses alone! I mean there's enough competition out there with the hordes of all the other new grads that are also currently searching for jobs, without throwing in nurses who have experience.

I will work anywhere...hospital, doctors office, school...I am not picky!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

never say "never", except...



...NEVER leave early, when training.

I started my preceptorship this past Wednesday night. I went in eager as all get-out, only to find out my preceptor was not working that night. It was some sort of mix-up, most likely due to my crazed thought processes. Because we have to get in enough hours to finish our schooling I had no choice, but to stay, as long as someone would keep me. Luckily, someone did.

It was a pretty slow night, especially considering the chaos that had ensued during days, and even the previous several days and nights. One a.m. rolled around and since it was my first night shift in about 18 years, and I hadn't slept well in preparation for it, when my RN said something about leaving early on call, I was all for it. Then we had someone walk in with abdominal pains. Long story, short: she was gone within two hours. So three a.m. rolls around and we're sent packing.

I'd thought to myself that I should stay, as you never know what you might miss in your given opportunities, and well heck I had stayed awake up to that point. Alas, I'd gotten 8 hours in and I knew I could squeeze the lacking 4 out somewhere else, so my exhaustion won out. I don't know that anyone would have let me stay anyway.

Wouldn't you know, when I get in Thursday night I hear about the labor patient that came in breech, and all hell broke loose, after we'd left. They had problems during the labor AND the baby had problems. Now, I would never wish any of that on anyone, but for the purposes of training, experience - good or bad - is like gold.

"Horrible" was the term I heard over and over in reference to the whole situation. I'd say it's pretty accurate, because it's how I feel having missed it.

It's all good though. I survived my first stretch of night shifts and thoroughly enjoyed it. I look forward to the next two weeks and pray, hope and wish to find something in what I now think is my niche, family birthing/L&D.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

days 'n' nights

As of today I have 35 days until pinning. It's incredibly unbelievable that the days left in nursing school are so few.

I was just looking at some pictures from a lunch some of my classmates and I shared one day, in between classes. We'd taken an exam in the morning class. Many of us bombed it and were left feeling very defeated. We headed to a local restaurant to eat and drown our misery. We did just that. Uncharacteristic for many of us, we decided to drink. I don't drink during the day, ever, but decided that day it was warranted. It was a blast and we were able to let off steam. We were responsible; those who drove didn't drink.

Memories. I've not only gained an education over the past 20 or so months, but I've made connections I plan to keep forever. How fortunate is that!?

Tomorrow I embark on a slightly different adventure within this journey. That's the adventure into night shifts. I worked many "mids", 7a-7p, way back when I was in the Air Force. One thing I did like about it is well, for one, I didn't have to wake up with the sun, and also, the muckity-mucks weren't around to be dealt with. It should be interesting to see how it goes for me. I can only hope that my preceptorship in the family birthing center will be filled with many busy nights.

We're done with classes, and all that's left is our preceptorships, filling in holes that are left by some assignments that are still outstanding and then our one final exam. That doesn't include our exit-critical thinking ATI exam, but that's nothing you consciously prepare for.

Wow. I am in such disbelief that there's just over a month left of nursing school. There's still NCLEX to study for, but I really hope to have that done no later than mid-June.

Now the hard part will be finding a job!

Monday, March 29, 2010

never in a million


I have to say, I'm pretty happy I decided to start this blog back when I started nursing school. It enables me the ability to go back through and see how far I've come. This post made me laugh.

I didn't think I would ever get to this point, never in a million years.

Here it is 43 days until pinning and I am in disbelief. The journey's far from over, but it certainly has been quite the trip.

Today my class took the ATI Comprehensive Predictor (CP). I surpassed the benchmark set forth by our program for us. According to my score I have a 97% chance of passing NCLEX on the first attempt. Awesome, right? That's what the test is all about - a prediction. In our program we're required to take the various ATI exams and meet or surpass benchmark. I've successfully done so for all, but the pharmacology exam. Let's just say, "third time's a charm."

So, we have everything that one already has to accomplish in nursing school, what with care plan, unit exams, lab evals, stress, stress and more stress, etc., along with the pressure of passing these ATI exams. We're even graded on our attempts. In the overall scheme of our grades it doesn't take up a large percentage. That being said, you have to take the exams and you have to meet or surpass benchmark. It's not like you can get away with not taking them.

With success on your first attempt you receive 10 points, 7.5 on your second and 5 on your third. You have to do remediation before any successive attempts. That includes the CP. When I remediated for the pharm ATI all I had to do was study from the focused reviews available after each exam. It's quite a bit different for the CP, in that it's a 6-hour session, and you have to do it for the full length. I've heard that it's beneficial to do anyway and some of us have actually talked about sitting in. It couldn't hurt, could it? No.

Anyway. The problem here is it's so frustrating at this point to have this weighing so heavily on us. I'd like to see results of statistical evidence where it is proven that those who do well on the CP, do equally as well on the NCLEX. I personally think it's a load of BS. I mean, sure I passed today, but who's to say that in two-three months when I go to take the NCLEX that I am not going to have some wild and crazy extraneous factor that takes me off of my current game? I don't plan on this happening, but one never knows. It's about as fruitful for me to say, oh I passed today so I will have no problem passing NCLEX on my first try; I can rest on my laurels. I don't plan on that either.

The best thing to do is keep pushing toward the NCLEX. Keep studying. Set up a game plan for the remainder of the time left in school, and then one for post-graduation.

Now that I have that hurdle out of the way I have to write up my resume and cover letter for my professional portfolio, mentor on Wednesday, do our group project on Thursday, do my preceptorship in April and turn in the packet for it, and take the final exam the beginning of May.

gotta love him

Recently, I gave my eldest, who is a 17-year old athlete, his own bottle of One a Day Teen Advantage vitamins. He calls me up the next day to ask me how he is supposed to take them. I, in all of my infinite wisdom, and total maternal grace told him to swallow them with water. He informs me he's supposed to take them with food. Ok, that just means you need to take them when you eat.

DIRECTIONS:
Teens: One tablet daily, with food.


It occurred to me, that because he is a literal-minded being that maybe I should clarify exactly how he did take the tablet.

Sure enough, he took it with food. Literally, with a bite of food he chewed it up.

I just shook my head and informed him of the fact that he should swallow it whole, after he has eaten. This is the kid, that when I offered him acetaminophen for foot pain several years ago, he refused.

"The pain is not in my head!"

Yes, I did laugh. In his defense, all he'd ever taken acetaminophen for prior to that was for headaches.

Friday, March 19, 2010

spring "break"


At this very moment I'm pretty overstimulated, so much so that it's pretty much impossible to do any studying. What better time to blog, than when you're all excited about life's goings on?

First off, there's only 53 days until pinning. If I can survive this next week and a half, it's smooth sailing from April 1st onward. This next week we have a PPT project that is due, we have class on Monday, after which I plan on taking my eye & ear unit exam (or my pharmacology ATI, depending on which one I feel more confident in taking - heck, maybe both!) If I don't take the ATI Monday, I'll take it Tuesday. I have to retake the Comprehensive Predictor practice ATI this coming Sunday as I just took it and didn't quite get benchmark. (We take the CP on the 29th.) Hmmm... Wednesday we have our day in the lab with Sim Man. All the while I'm studying for NCLEX and ATIs, which is pretty much doing the same thing. After the 1st of April all that's left to do is my preceptorship, write up my resume and a cover letter for my professional portfolio, and study for our med/surg final.

What has my adrenaline pumping today? Well, let me tell ya!

I have plans.

I'm taking a couple of breaks from nursing school reality and delving into my family life. This evening LB has an away baseball game. I don't know if I've mentioned it before now, but he made the Varsity team. He started at this past Wednesday's game and played an awesome game. Tomorrow we're heading out to Baltimore to a Medieval Times dinner with some of Big B's coworkers and one of my BFFs from school, and her beau.

I am so excited. I've been working my butt off and have decided to take a little bit of a time-out of my Spring "Break", that has been nothing of a break from studying, to have a little fun and to be re-energized. Rest assured the remainder of the time will be spent with my nose in the books and online doing practice ATIs.

Monday, March 15, 2010

savings time

I seriously don't think there's any time being saved as of late. It's whipping by faster than any hurricane force winds.

Earlier this semester I made a list of the things that needed to be accomplished prior to pinning in May. I'm happy to report I'm nearly halfway down the list. It includes exams, ATIs, projects, discussion boards, care studies, reports and so on.

As of today I have the pharmacology ATI, along with the Comprehensive Predictor and the critical thinking ATI; an exam for the eye and ear unit, a professional portfolio that consists of my resume, and cover letter; a day in lab with Sim Man, a day in lab doing a group project, a day of mentoring first year students at the LTC facility I did my LTC rotation at, a group project PowerPoint to complete, all to be done before the 1st of April on the respective due dates. Then April 4th-24th I have my preceptorship. I'm incredibly delighted to report I'm going to the family birthing center for my preceptorship!!! I'll be on nights, which I'm hoping I live through, but it is only for 3 weeks. Next week I'll get to meet my preceptor.

Then our final exam is the week of May 3rd. Then May 11th is pinning. Wow. I can't believe how fast it's going!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

she'll be coming around

So, it's been nearly a month since I last posted. "Time flies...", as they say.

What's been up with me?

Hmmm. I have been busy. School has me running ragged and it's about all I can do to make it through these last 69 days until pinning. 69 days?? Yes. Can you believe it? My how time has flown!

Clinicals have been lack luster. I've had some pretty good experiences, just nothing to write home to mom, or to post on my blog, about. That is, until yesterday, I should say. Yesterday I took care of my first cancer patient. Breast cancer that's metastasized all over, and it was heart wrenching. I was at such a loss as to what to do. The woman is in pain beyond anything I've ever known myself. They're working on getting it controlled, so she can go be at home with her family. Needless to say, I cried my first tears as I was overcome by grief for her that went back to my days grieving for my aunt, and then just thinking about my own mom.

It took me back to when I was seventeen and I still remember that night like it was last night. My aunt laid there on her bed, unresponsive, and that was it. She had lost her battle. My mom hasn't had cancer, thank God, but I still worry. It's hard since she lives in Texas, so far away.

I'm supposed to be in class today, but succumbed to another migraine. They don't happen as frequently as they were when I was on Seasonale, but I do get them every so often. It's the first day I missed this semester, of class, so I'm not too worried. Clinicals, on the other hand have been a different story.

I've missed a total of six days. Now don't get your panties in a bunch. Three of those days were acts of God. I'm sure you heard about "Snowmageddon"? Yes, well thanks to being snowed in for days at a time this lovely winter, we didn't have clinicals for three days. The other three days were my own personal reasons, two for illness and well, last week...

Last week, just as I was about to leave my across-the-street-neighbor backed into LB's car. Sooo, I had to take care of that situation and then I headed to the hospital. After I arrived LB calls and says his car won't start. Sooo, I take off to take him to school. In the meantime I call Big B, who then calls LB, who then calls me back to let me know Dad saved the day. By this time I was far enough away from the hospital I knew I would not be able to get back up to the third floor before missing report, which is our end-all-to-be-all for missing a day.

This Friday I get to play make-up and go to clinicals during a PN class time. The instructor, who just so happens to be my current rotation's instructor, told me that our main instructor wanted me to be supervisor for the day, but instead she's just going to give me a patient. That's fine with me.

Over the past month I have missed DC dreadfully. I keep thinking I see him at different spots he would easily be found at, but it's just my mind playing tricks on me. Snooki has fit in like a dream with our family. It's as if she's been with us since she was a kitten. It's kind of funny because she's taken quite a liking to bathing the dogs. They'll look back at her as if she's nuts, but then they just lie there and bask in the glory of being licked (read: given attention).

In other news I converted from my Blackberry to an iPhone. After getting an iPod Touch for Christmas, and realizing how much more they can do, it was a no-brainer. I love it. I just received it yesterday and have switched everything over from the Touch and the Blackberry, and now all that's left to do is search for apps that will help with the remainder of nursing school and possibly just nursing.

I should find out at the end of this month where I'll be doing my preceptorship at. For my choices, I put, #1, the family birthing center, #2, the ER, and #3, the OR. After spending considerable time in med/surg now, I've decided it is not my cup of tea. Any of my choices would be divine for me. As I've previously admitted I do have a pull towards woman's health/labor and delivery, but there's also the trauma junkie in me. As far as finding a job in the next few months I've even gotten to the point that I might be fine with working in a doctor's office, or school if the chance arises. I'm torn in a couple of directions because I do have my career aspirations, but then I do have my boys to think of. We'll just have to wait and see what jobs come open.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

5:5

For the first time ever in my household, we have an even number of females to males.

The loss of DC started a long time before his death. As anyone knows who has had, or has an aging animal, they are often not as frisky as they used to be. The elderly feline won't run spastically through the house in a burst of sudden energy. He won't come lie by your side for a night's rest like he used to. He prefers to stay on the main level and ride out his last months in a sort of solitary confinement.

To be honest I hadn't even missed the spastic runs through the house until I was out visiting my brother in CO this past summer and his young cat went lickety-split as if its tail had been lit on fire.

I did miss him snuggling beside me on the bed.

It would stand to reason I would seek out a new furever friend sooner than later. I know me and I know I haven't lived without feline companionship for more than 3 years in my whole life.

It was a lot easier to talk Big B into inviting a new cat into the house than I ever imagined it would be. He had tried to refuse before we actually set out this past Sunday for lunner (lunch + dinner) out as a family. We had been snowed in Saturday, so the guys weren't able to take me out for my birthday. I picked a place knowing there would be a Petsmart nearby. We went in after dining on crab legs at Joe's Crab Shack, but to no avail. They didn't have a cat that I fell for. Fortunately, for me there was another Petsmart on the way home, and Big B willingly sped over to the right-hand lane to make the exit.

I originally intended on finding a small kitten to call my own, but then thought better of it considering our dogs. The second Petsmart had a litter of 7 month old kittens that had just come in the day before, but they were incredibly spooked. Before the kittens, I had first noticed this chubby, one year old white/black/tan tabby who played with me through the plexiglass. Her face was just too sweet to leave behind. I had the attendant bring her into the little cat-meeting area and I fell in love.

Meet Snooki



Girl power...She's warming up to everyone nicely and even cuddles with Sandi. That's a first, no cat in our house has ever had much of anything to do with the dogs, let alone getting that close to them!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

where am i?

When it was time for me to leave Colorado for Air Force basic military training I hoped and prayed Mother Nature would hold off on dumping the fluffy white stuff called snow. I left December 4th, and I want to say, if I remember correctly, it snowed December 5th that year. That was over 20 years ago. In fact I avoided the frozen precipitation for a couple of years. I went from Texas to Arizona for more training and my first base was in Greece.

Love gets me every time.

Upon my impending departure from Greece I received orders to go to Bergstrom A.F.B, Austin, TX. It looked like I was on a roll. Of course, I'd already met and fallen in love with Mr. Wonderful. He had orders to go to Minot A.F.B, Minot, ND.

Uh oh.

We just had to be together. Can we say "dilemma!"? What's a lovestruck couple to do?

I'll tell you what we did. One of the medics I worked with also had orders to go to Minot. We were the same rank, time in service, all that mattered. Why not swap orders? She was all for it. Who wouldn't be? Austin was a much better fit for her than Minot would be. She was excited beyond belief. I didn't have to twist her arm. If only it were as simple as trading a government form amongst one another. Fortunately we were on a small base where everyone pretty much knew each other. I had a First Sergeant and Big B had a commander that were willing to pull whatever strings they had to to keep us together. We, or rather, I caught a lot of flack for it, too. It must be love to go to Minot!

Come on! It couldn't be all that bad. Could it?

I left Greece one month ahead of Big B. I went home to Colorado to do some wedding planning, because yes, we were engaged by this point. After spending March at home, I made my way up to ND. Upon signing in to my unit I was issued a parka and mukluks. Come on, it's April do I really need these!? During the next blizzard (1992) I quickly learned that yes, frozen tundra gear is definitely necessary in the Great White North. Big B had flown in to his childhood home of NJ, and after spending a couple of days there started to make his way out northwest and was met with the blizzard. He made it into my arms in one piece and that September we were married. We spent three and a half years in ND. He went on a remote tour to get us out of there.

I seriously dislike the cold and even more than that I abhor snow.

This brings me to my current surroundings in sub-Northern VA. In the nearly five years that we've been here we've had a couple of times during January/February when we've had some snow. It's been enough to cause snow days (it only takes one flake around here).

Snow has become my enemy. It ruined a Christmas party we were supposed to have, with the Blizzard of '09. It's dumped on us a couple of times since then, and now it's snowing again, January 30th, 2010!

Happy Birthday to me!!!