December 31, 2007


Happy New Year to one and all! I hope the new year finds you with great health, happiness and much success. I know I am looking forward to the new year and new beginnings. I hope that 2008 brings more happiness and health to our lives as well. It is my only prayer.
Oh, and please drink responsibly. :0)

December 25, 2007

The Bestest Christmas Ever

Today was the best day ever. From the moment we woke up we've been having fun. For starters, we mysteriously got a Wii donated to us from Santa Claus...thank you Santa. We looked everywhere for one, but to no avail. One day my MIL called and said someone sent her one anonymously just for us. How sweet. Whoever you are...thank you soo much!!! One night after the kids went to bed, my husband and I opened it and played all the sports games and it was so much fun. (Especially the boxing!) BUT there is a downfall to the arms hurt like crazy and it makes you sweat. The workout is unbeleiveable. Moral of the story... if you want your kids to get off their butts and excercise and have fun at the same them a Wii.

We also got my son the game Guitar Hero III, which is the best game ever invented and I have hijacked it from my child. I can play Smoke On The Water like nobody's business so watch out! There is a downside to playing this game, which I am the only one to have discovered makes me feel as though I'm tripping acid. It's not a good feeling. After so long of watching the screen, I looked at my nephew and his face looked like it was shrinking. I thought he was playing some kooky tricks with his eyebrows and I shook my head and let it go. Then....I noticed the couch and my socks also seemed to be coming to life...that wasn't a fun feeling. I asked everyone in a nonchalant way if they saw the walls breathing and the look I got definately told me NO. So, I did what any normal, non drug taking person would do, I googled it. Seems like I'm not the only one with this problem. I started to wonder if this could cause I'm all paranoid about playing. It's too bad too cause I really wanted to learn to play Barracuda...damn.

My poor, unfortunate, deprived little children have complained forever about wanting a new tv for our basement/playroom because they stated that theirs was way too small. I wanted to shed tears for them over this calamity, because a small tv is just torturous so my very sensitive, compassionate husband decided for Christmas they deserved a 42 inch flat know because it's so sad they have to squint and all. Their reaction was priceless. Needless to say, they have a nicer tv then we have in our family room. Sacrifices, sacrifices.

Skyler really wanted a digital camera and so we got him one, because once again they are the best and deserve the best (spoiled) and we just can't say no.

Aidan loves the Food Network which he so sweetly calls the Food Channel. He always loves to help me prepare meals, make kool-aid and the like and has dubbed himself as " the best cooker ever." So this year for Christmas he asked Santa for this:
Notice the boy on the box is holding a cell phone. He probably just walked in from a long day at his high powered job at the office and is expecting some good grub. Oh....and the cell phone was in fact included, because as you know, you can't have a kitchen without a cell. It's just unheard of. Not only does my child revere a career as a chef when he grows up but he also wants to be one at this place:

He loves his McDonalds play set, maybe a little too much, but who can deprive their child from good old imaginative play? He also got a Subway set, but it's not nearly as fun as the McDonald's one.

After a great day of family fun we took Aidan to the park to cruise around in his new ride. Yes, he rolled up onto the play ground like he owned the place and made all of the other kids jealous.

All in all, it was the most perfect day. God couldn't have given us a more wonderful Christmas. My life is so sweet! I hope that your Chrismtas was as awesome as mine.

Aidan's guardian angel:


December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Merry Christmas
More Free Graphics at

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas! I am so excited to see my kids faces tomorrow when they see all of the cool things they got from Santa (wink). OH...and by the way I got a great Christmas present provisional license!!! WOOT! This means I can get nurse pay now and I'm very happy 'bout that. FINALLY, I'm starting to see some good come of all this nursing school business. :-)

December 20, 2007

Orientation or The Twilight Zone?

This week I have been doing the hospital orientation and it's been really hilarious nonsense. In the last 3 days we have learned the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, built a cell phone tower out of K-Nex, worked in teams to determine the right way to grow a world class tomato, written a mission statement for what we want in our lives, watched videos on the proper way to sneeze and cough, which was hilarious by the way and in slow motion no less with judges scoring the techniques, gave eachother massages-YES they made us do that, take an aerobics my high heeled boots might I add, and spent about 1 hour total on actual hospital stuff such as the benefits packages and policies. THIS. IS. NOT. A. JOKE. What the hell? What about learning how to do the computer charting? Infection control? HELLO? Is this a hospital orientation or a group therapy session? I'm not so sure. I'm starting to wonder if I'm in the wrong class...

All in all it's felt pretty ridiculous, but atleast I'm getting paid now for all of my precious time spent. Is it just me or does it seem like the road to becoming a nurse is more about the BS than actual nursing? I just want to stick people with needles. Is that too much to ask? Luckily tomorrow is my last day and then I go back on the 27th for who knows what. We'll probably be laying on a sofa telling about all the bad things our mamas did to us over the course of our lives. Geez....I'm just ready to work already, well maybe not. LOL

Tune in tomorrow...I'm sure I'll have a good story to tell.

December 16, 2007

The Post I've Waited To Write For Over 2 Years

I have waited over 2 years to write this post. I did it. I FINALLY Graduated!!!!!!! My whole blog was about my journey through nursing school and it's now over. It has been the longest, toughest, most stressful and fun two years of my life. I have learned so much. Not just about nursing, but about myself and the icing on the cake is that I came away from this experience with some of the most awesome friends I've ever had.

Graduation day was really emotional for me. When I woke up on Friday I felt sick at my stomach and anxious. I didn't understand why I was so sad and then it dawned on me that I was going to miss my friends so much. We've been through a lot together and no matter how much I've complained about school, it does upset me that it's over...really over. The night was great. There were so mmany people there supporting me that I felt like I barely got a chance to say hello to everyone. Unfortunately, I didn't get many photos. That's what happens when I am not in charge of the camera. lol My husband did manage to get snippets of video of the actual ceremony, but other than that everything was too crazy for photo ops. The video/slideshow was a success and all of our classmates were thrilled about it. None of them had seen it so it was nice to see their reactions. It was a tear jerker for sure, but it had a lot of funny parts too, as you saw.

I'm glad it's over and it's time to move on, but it's definately bittersweet. There are no words to describe how I'm feeling, but I know one thing...I'm proud of myself and of my family for getting me through it. When my boys came up to me and said "I'm proud of you mom." It was the best words I could have ever wanted to hear. I can't thank them enough for putting up with me.

December 13, 2007

I've posted the video!

Well, here is the video me and my good friend Jill (she has the really blonde hair) made for our pinning on Friday night. No one in the class has seen it so no snitching! lol
Please understand that I had to scale the quality wayyy down to fit it on my blog so it's kind of fuzzy. It will be DVD quality for the ceremony and it's very clear. Sorry about that, but there was no other way. Other than that, tell me what you think.
Peace and Love,
Memories From the Past

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December 10, 2007

4 More Days...

My friend Jill and I have been working really hard on making a slideshow/video for our pinning ceremony. It's finally finished and I think it's awesome. It's 13-14 minutes long, which isn't too bad. I think they can sit there through that when we've devoted 2 years of our time, don't you? Somehow I'd like to post it here for you all to watch, but it's such a big file...I don't know how to. Maybe my geeky technology efficient husband will know how. I will definately try. At first we were getting really emotional watching the video and putting it all I'm kind of sick of it. lol Hopefully it still moves me come Friday night. I am envious of those who haven't seen it (rest of the class) because it is emotional, reminessant, nostaligic, funny and all that ooey gooey stuff that makes one cry and feel sad and happy at the same time. ha. I'm really proud of the work we did because compared to others I've seen I think it's very good, not that I'm tooting my own horn or anything.

We had our pinning rehearsal the other day and I admit, I got a little sad. It's deinately a bittersweet moment.... One that we've waited for for soo long. The time has gone by so fast, yet so slow. I remember the first day of class...everyone looked so anxious and scared and excited and scared, including me. It seemed like soo long ago. I am really going to miss my friends I've made at school and I hope that I get to keep in touch with them. 2 of them will be working with me and I'm very happy about that. It's comforting to know that you'll have other newbies along side you on a different journey. Funny enough, I think I'll kind of miss school too. As much as I complained about, I did make some of the best memories there. If you're just starting out...take photos, write in a journal, cherish every moment...the good and the bad. One day, you too will be graduating and feel this same way. It's funny how this whole blog has been devoted to my nursing school experience and come Friday it will all be over. I will continue to write as I start out as a new nurse...sounds strange... and share with you a lot of crazy moments I'm sure I'll have. I update about Aidan on his site regularly check that out. He is doing well by the way. Everything is going far, so good. :-) How do I manage to do all of these things? I guess by pure will....who knew I was so strong?

I have no idea what I'm going to wear Friday and haven't had the time to shop for something yet. I'm such a slacker. I'll definately post and tell you all about how the pinning went. Until then.....
Peace & Love

December 6, 2007

One More Week

O-M-G I graduate in a week! Can you believe it? I may have to change the name of my blog. Tomorrow is the last class I will ever have as a college student, well unless I go back one day of course. (Shaking my head) A-Hem. Tomorrow we are going to class to talk about precepting and our experiences. Sometimes nursing school feels a lot like the shrinks office. They want us to talk all the time about our "thoughts and feelings." Honestly, I don't care...I just want to be done. I've seen their faces long enough and we've done waaaaay more than our fair share of work this semester. Is that bad of me? Oh well. We also are suppose to practice for our pinning ceremony tomorrow. I don't know what we'll need to do to practice other than walk on the stage, but whatever.

I'm getting so excited!!!!!!!!! I can't wait until I get pinned. I'll have someone tape a video and take photos and post them here as soon as I can. I hope I don't trip and fall. Oy..that would suck so bad. If you knew me, then you'd know I'd be the one to trip of all my classmates. I'm so clumsy, especially when I'm nervous and for some reason I'm a little nervous about next Friday. Me and another couple of friends are making a slideshow video for our pinning ceremony. I hope it turns out well, we haven't started it yet. Oops!

I finished precepting last Friday and have spent the week doing nothing but relaxing and enjoying time with my kids. It's been nice, but I'm afriad it won't last long. I start my hospital orientation on the 17th...right after graduation. :-( I should have put it off a little longer, but it's too late to turn back now. A piece of advice...I know once you finish school you're anxious to get started on your new career, however....give yourself a little break. You've just finished one of the most difficult programs ever and to relax a little is not a sin. I wish I had thought of this earlier. I'd love to start after the New Year instead...ah well.

Hope you all are staying's cold outside! Burrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

November 30, 2007

Graduation Here I Come....

I'm finished with precepting forever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOO HOO, Hell Yeah, Hallelujah, Bless the Lord, Praise Jesus, 'Bout damn time too! But, I'm kinda too tired to care right now because I just worked 12 hours. Hmmpf.

Today was a booger of a day. We did the nurse job and CNA job because she was sick. It was just a mess, but we managed. When you have 2 people doing work for 4 patients, who does what and who charts what gets really confusing.'s over and I can now retire my white scrubs and apron "bib" forever. I will however miss the 1000 pockets I had though. :-/ I don't think I ever want to wear white again. EVER! Ugh!

I've waited for this day for so long. Now, I just have one more class and we're finished and get to get pinned! I'm excited and ready to move on from school. School is for the freakin' birds. LOL I definitely had a love-hate relationship with it for sure. I loved it when I was on breaks and I hated it when I wasn't.

Precepting for 120 "real nurse" hours has taught me more than what I learned in school. That's kinda sad. I mean, HELLO, they never even taught us how to use an i-med machine. Kinda makes you feel stupid to go through 3.5 years of nursing school and not even know how to hang a primary bag of fluids. Anyway...I know now and that's all that matters. I have done so much. Yesterday I was with the IV team all day and I stuck about 9 people. I got blood return on most, but blew the vein. I did get one stick though, so it was satisfying. Many of the pt's that they see are hard sticks so I wasn't discouraged. I'm just glad I now have a better idea of how to manipulate the IV and get it in the all! Ha ha.

Damn, I'm tired and my brain is fried. I'd better end this post and go relax. I'm off for the next two weeks and am going to enjoy it because I start my new job on the 17th. Kinda not ready for all that yet, but I am ready to be free of school. I feel satisfied. Tired, but satisfied.

November 28, 2007

Snoop is in the hizzouse

Not many people would know this about me, but I love Snoop Dogg. He is the shizz. I have loved him since The Chronic days with Dr Dre. I think he's a genius, talented and the coolest cat in the world and this is why: LOL!

Check out Snoop's Crib. Ya Digg?:

November 25, 2007

Cocky Doctors Are Sucky!

My son got sick on Friday with a fever and our stupid ER didn't know how to treat him. I told them they had to call the oncologist at our other hospital before they did anything but the damn egomaniacal DR thought I was giving him orders and did his own thing to spite me. Prick! He waited for 5 hours to call the oncologist and to give Aidan his IV antibiotic. What he doesn't know, because he wouldn't listen to me, is that Aidan has to have an IV antibiotic within 90 minutes if he has a temperature of 100.5 greater because it could have been deadly. So, what happened was that Aidan had to be taken by ambulance to his hospital 2 hours away all because he thought he knew what he was doing, but he essentialy made matters worse. Unbelievable. Do they not think that I know what I am talking about since I go through this every week? I may give the director of the hospital a call. They need to know how to treat oncology pt's because they may cost someone their life. I'm just disgusted. Anyhow...he's fine and is home now. He had an infection of some sort and luckily his hospital knows exactly what to do in those situations. The oncologist asked why I didn't have them call her and I explained that I tried and she said she worried all night as to what happened to Aidan. GRRRRRRRRRR! I hate cocky dr's and if I ever run across him again I will let him know that what he did was stupid and wrong.

Tuesday Aidan gets another spinal tap/lumbar puncture. Let me tell child has been through so much. :-( He is so traumatized by everything, literally. If you try to remove a bandaid he screams bloody murder and gets so worked up he doesn't hear or see anything but fear. I don't know what to do. You can imagine what it's like to access his port. :-/ It makes me want to cry because he is so terrified, but it has to be done. The nurses have the hardest time even flushing his port because he's so scared they're going to hurt him. I try to calm him, but it never works and I sometimes can't even watch him go through it. He tries to bargain by saying things like "wait a minute, I need to tell you something" or he tries to say he has to do something else....anything he can to get out of it. When we try and give him his oral meds he clenches his teeth together and refuses so we usually have to hold him down like a couple of monsters and force it down. Sometimes he throws it back up, but like our nurse said....his mouth is the only thing he can conrol and he wants to prove to us that he has some semblance of control over something. I feel so horrible because all I can do is watch him go through it and hope that one day it will all be over and life will be "normal" again. That's all I want....for my baby to have a normal life.

I finish my precepting this week, thankfully. Friday is my last day. Tomorrow we have class from 8-10 to talk about how Wellness Day went, as if we haven't already beaten that dead horse. (Eye rolling). I think they just want to make sure we're all still alive because we haven't seen them in a couple of weeks. Then after precepting I have class on Dec 7th to talk about our pinning and to turn in a few extra things and I'm all finished! Lord, give me the strength to go on. I want to nursing school to be over for good and I don't want to look back. I'm not sure if I'll ever choose to get my BSN...maybe years later when the memory of how horrible it was wears off.

I'm excited to start my new job and to finally get paid for all of this time spent away from my family. For those of you who are just beginning, try not to let it interfere with your personal lives. It's hard to do because you don't have the time, but you have to make time. My husband and I have really grown apart, but we're trying to pull things back together and when you have 4 kids and one of them is sick, it's hard to focus on eachother. I think after school is over and I have some vacation time we are going to go somewhere for a little while to regroup...ALONE. We love the boys, but parents need time too!

Aidan gets to Make-A-Wish and he wants to go to Disney. Hopefully, this summer he will get his wish. He deserves that and more and my guilt level for being away from him so much is unbearable. Moms deserve metals because they're whole beings are wrapped up in their children and often times they forget themselves. So if you're a mom give yourslf a HUGE pat on the back, because having a sick child or no sick child it's the hardest job in the entire world!

Because I have been so busy my husband has had to take a lot of time away from work, therefore money has been very tight and that never feels good. Cancer or no, those people want their money and that's that. I'm trying to reconcile in my head that these people are just doing their jobs, but you can't help but have a part of you that feels they're all soulless blood-sucking vampire leeches who could care less for mankind. Sigh. All of this because I'm trying to finish school and have MORE money. Sigh. It's a lose-lose my friends.

I'm not throwing a pity party becaus it is what it is, but there comes a point where you look to God and ask- WHY?

Onto the positives:
Precepting ends Friday
Last day of school is the 7th
Pinning is the 14th
New job orientation starts the 17th
I'm free the week of Christmas
My son is home and is OK
My other boys all made the honor roll this term (They're amazing!)
We were able to get our holiday decorations up despite the madness
Santa is visiting us soon
Soon we will have more money
We have a roof over our heads
Good food on our table
We're all together

End of rant!
Have a nice week folks.

November 21, 2007


This Thanksgiving I am thankful for my upcoming graduation, my new job, my awesome family and most of all MY SON'S REMISSION!

I hope you all have a Happy Turkey Day!

November 20, 2007

always smile and the whole world will smile at you

So yesterday I precepted and worked for 12 hours. I got there at 7am and didn't get a smoke break until 5pm. We were slammed, but no smoke break for 10 hours? That's some crazy shiz right there. I have to precept this Wednesday, Friday and next MWF and I'll be finished....and damn glad too! I need a break! Nursing school expects too much of their students. If we had done this precepting all the way through school then we would have learned a heck of a lot more than waiting until the end.

Those people who work in the hospital setting already have an advantage. For one, they know the ins and outs of everyday things, such as contacting the lab, knowing what to look for with certain patients, charting, etc... However, those of us who are just now getting our feet wet do not know the "little" things and shouldn't be looked down upon because we don't. Some people are patronizing and it gets my goat. I hope if I'm ever in the position to direct someone in the right direction I do not come across as a know it all, or act preturbed because they don't know. How else are they suppose to learn? Nursing school doesn't teach the hum drum things about the job, but only about the patients. I think they need to incorporate these things in our learning experience so we can be spared any feelings of incompetence when we are learning on the job. Just my opinion. My preceptor is really good with the positive feedback. She is tolerant and patient with my newness. LOL However, there are always others out there who don't have the capacity to be patient and those people make me crazy. Weren't they new at some point too? Grrr. Surely they weren't perfect, no one is perfect.

It seems like this journey will never end. I still have a "paper" due on Dec 7th and I haven't started. Haven't we already payed our dues? I mean we are working for free right before the holidays...I think that is enough and we should just be able to graduate already. This semester has made us do more busy work than any other, yet we've been the busiest we've ever been aside from all the extra stuff. This needs to be reevaluated. Stop giving us so many stupid papers and extra assignments to do and let us focus on nursing. UGH!

They train you for 2 + years for a specific career, yet when you enter into the field you feel like an idiot. I think as far as pt care, assessment, med administration and my skills go I have done fantastic, it's just the little stuff, as I said. Knowing what kind of progress note to write, knowing what paperwork goes where etc... That's the stupid stuff and the "easier" stuff, but it takes some time to really get it down pat. I'll get there and I am learning a lot, but I'll be glad when I'm on my own, learning my own way of doing things and feeling more confident in why I'm doing the things I'm doing.

Hope you all have a wonderful day, and OH..don't let others get you down. Some people like making others feel stupid. Just smile, always smile. Stupidity is not lack of knowledge, but knowing better and doing it anyway.

November 16, 2007

She Works Hard For The Money

How do you spell gorgeous? P-A-T-R-I-C-K!

Well, I finally accepted the job that I wanted. It's a general surgery floor, basically anything but heart & lung surgeries and we get a lot of medical too such as pneumonias, diabetics etc. I'm super excited, but scared as all get out. It's a heavy floor with lots to learn, I just hope I can catch on fairly quickly. My official start date is December 17th, but she said she wouldn't make me work the week of Christmas...I'm not arguing with her. lol My new manager seems super nice and we laugh a lot together, which means she gets my twisted sense of humor. I love her already. I'll tell you what my starting pay is because I don't care if people know and I'm not pretentious like that. It starts at $18.65 an hour with 10% differential between 7p-11p and 12% between 11p and 7a. So basically, if I get technical about it, I'm making $20.51 from 7p-11p and $20.88 from 11p-7a. Which means I'm making roughly $250 per shift (before tax of course). Not too shabby. It beats working for free = precepting UGH! I'm not going to complain one bit about the money. I think it's a fair considering I'm so green between the ears. So, now you know what I'm worth. LOL. Between my husband and I we should do fairly well, so I'm excited about that too. I haven't worked in apporximately 5 years so, unless you count school as a "job" and I do because nursing school was the hardest, most demanding job I've ever had! (Notice I used past tense-He Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!)

I'm still precepting and was actually supposed to work today but I have a major case of GI distress. A-Hem! I don't know why I got this, but I have it and it would be very uncomfortable to be working right now. My husband was sort of sick all week and I think he passed his increased peristalsis onto me. Thanks doll.

Moving along...this week we had our community Wellness Day. It's basically a day that the seniors put together for the whole school and community where we have information about everything under the sun and we give free glucose checks, vitals, flu shots, cholesterol screening etc. We also supply refreshments, have giveaways and lots of other fun stuff too. It was nice, but I'm glad it's over, it was so much work putting it together and getting the other clases on board...yuck. Here are a few photos from the day and of some of the booths that were made:


The ending note of this school ever really going to end?

November 10, 2007

Love like a Hippy

It's late and I'm up and unable to sleep. You ever have those nights? I have a milion things running through my head and none of it is coming together. I think I'm feeling sad, yes that must be it. I'm sad for a lot of reasons and tired....tired for many reasons too. One reason is that the 12 hour shifts I've been working are kicking my ass. I never realized how long 12 hours was until I was on my feet the entire time. Thank God for Nurse Mates. I hope this is something I can get use to, because it kinda sucks and I kinda knew it would, but realizing it doesn't make it better.

I have been through a lot of things in my life... I sometimes wonder why God would think I can handle all of this. I guess you could say I'm "handling" it. But what does that mean exactly? What I take from it, is that unless I'm insane or dead, I'm handling yea, I guess I am. Do I sometimes feel like my life is falling apart...uh huh, yep. Cause you know what? It sorta is and I can't control it. How 'bout them apples? So you know what I do? I breathe. I breathe and I try to think of something positive to shove all the ugly thoughts away, because what else can I do? This is the roller coaster I ride daily. I go up, then I come down....sometimes I'm upside down and then I do it all over again. Is this unstable? For my situation, I would consider myself pretty stable...I mean...I'm not insane, or dead and I'm functioning, which means I'm "handling" it right? I want things back to the way they were...before the cancer. I sometimes feel like I have cancer too. I'm being eaten up by the realities that is my life, my fears.....then I breathe and remember that I am alive, we are alive and I force myself to believe that he will live a long life, because any other thought just isn't freaking suitable!

I try and remember the days when my biggest problem was getting through a stupid test. Please, thank your lucky stars it is one of your bigger issues. I know they suck so horribly bad, but I wish those were my only problems now. I would take a million more tests over this battle. My biggest enemy is my thoughts. If they would just leave my mind alone, I could find some peace. I don't mean to be a depressing, raging, sad little crybaby, but you know lack of sleep, a few beers and worry will do that to a person. I see my friends go on about their daily lives, and sometimes I do too, and then I think...damn....

Sometimes I can't even say the still seems so unreal, so foreign, so unbelievable... I pray to God to PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE take this away, take it all away and give me and my family some peace. Give my child his innocence back. That is all I want...
In my heart, I know he will be ok, I know this. I guess I can't help but analyze it in my brain and worry until I'm sick. I wish my heart could tell my brain to shut the hell up. I just pray I, we can get through more day. One day at a time.

Hold on tight, don't take anything for granted, don't let go of those you truly love (EVER), follow your instincts, follow your heart, don't sweat the small stuff, laugh a lot, pray a lot, live life, love hard, dance as if no one is watching, apologize, forgive, take in the sunshine, smell the flowers, hug tighter, kiss sweeter, call more often, and don't do as I do...only do as I say...stop worrying! Life is so precious and we take advantage of way too much. Get off of your cell phone, turn off the tv, rest your mind, ease your soul and live life in the moment, love like a hippy and let the rest fall away.

May you all find peace and love in your lives,

November 8, 2007

Animal Antics

Have you seen THIS? The skateboarding dog.....seriously, this is awesome. He even knows how to turn his board. This is the nuttiest thing ever!

November 7, 2007

A first time for everything.....

Hey bloggers. I've been so busy I haven't had time to write, so here's an update for ya. BTW..whoever visits my blog from Austrailia, England and Japan....Hello from the US!!!!!!!!! It's so cool you read my stupid little blog, but 'Welcome' and leave me a message sometime too! Anyway, moving on... so Monday I was all nervous because I had 2 interviews back to back. I was suppose to have 3, but the position was filled, so I only had 2. Both interviews went incredibly well. I liked both managers a lot, but wanted one job more than the other and guess what??!! I was offered both positions! Yay! So now, I just have to think on it and let them know which one I want. Here are the pro's and cons of both jobs:

Job A: Pay's almost .65 more per hour
Job B: .65 less on the hour than job A (ha!)

Job A: 36 bed (mostly detox) unit
Job B: 26 bed general surgery unit

Job A: Can practically make my own schedule
Job B: "We'll do the best we can"

Job A: 5 to 1 nurse to patient ration
Job B: 7 to 1 (they're smokin' some crack) nurse to pt ratio

Job A: Super sweet manager
Job B: Super sweet manager

So job A I think, right?

Anyhow...that's where I'm at...makin' decisions and I hae decision making because I over analyze everything to death!

Tonight I worked my very first 12 hours shift...EVER. It was brutal, but time flew pretty quick actually. We were slammed and I had 4-5 pt's all day, another first. My preceptor is as sweet as can be, but I know I have to get on her nerves at times. I mean, I'm new at this and she knows it blind, so she wants everything to go fast, fast, fast, like she's use to and I want rationale. Why am I doing this? I can only learn something if I know the "why". Thank goodness she's patient, or I'd be screwed. I did some stupid things today, it's not the first and I'm sure it won't be the last time. How else are you suppose to learn, right? You know something else that threw my off? It was that the same nurse that I got report from in the am was the one I was giving report to in the pm. That will mess with your head right there. Basically... a 12 hours shift is a loooong damn time! Thank God I only have to do this 3 days a week.

Now I'm exausted and can only think of my bed....sweet dreams!

November 2, 2007

My Tips and Tricks for Nursing School

Oh my gosh, I don't have to study for exams anymore. Yes, I know I've said this before and I will probably keep saying it until I believe it. It's so awesome not having a test to prepare for. Ahhhhhh, sweet freedom.

Today was my precepting orientation. It went well and I can't wait until I get to handle some patients on Wednesday. (See the previous post for other updates). The floor I am working on is a women's unit which deals mostly with hysterectomy's and general gynie issues. It's a small unit, so it's a very good floor for learning. I like my preceptor..she's very patient and loves to teach. Hopefully I get as lucky when I start on my real floor.

I decided to compile a list of tips and tricks for new nursing students. I get a lot of questions about what to do and what not to do, so I'll post some here.

Inform your family that you'll need their support. Nursing school is like no other program. You will be busy, no matter how organized you are or how well you plan. There will always be something to do so getting some extra help will be a life saver.

NEVER get behind! Remember that old saying...don't put off tomorrow what can be done today? Live by this code. Stay on top of everything or you will get behind and catching up is hard to do!

Find a note taking style and stick with it. It took me almost a year to get a good note taking style down pat. I found that if you follow the same pattern it helps your learning and helps you remember come test day.

Buy a digital recorder. Instructors talk fast. They have a hellacious amount of info to teach you and really don't care if you're keeping up or not. If you have a backup (recorder) write down the time on the recorder of the info you missed and return to it later for clarification.

Understand the theory, patho and concepts. Don't memorize info unless it's required, Ex: immunizaition schedules etc... If you UNDERSTAND the material then you'll be able to answer most any test question about the topic. Example: Diabetes: know that the insulin is what drives the glucose into the cell and without it, your blood sugar will be high. When your blood sugar is high you become thirsty. One of the S&S of diabetes is thirst. If you have a test question on this topic you can think of the patho and answer accordingly. It also wouldn't hurt to learn mnemonics for certain disorders. One I clearly remember for diabetes is the 3 P's: Polydipsia, Polyphagia and Polyuria.

Make friends! Your classmates will become your family. You will see them sometimes more than your family and they will be the only ones truly understanding what you're going though. Besides, when you're sitting at home banging your head against the wall trying to understand Increased Intercranial Pressure, it never hurts to call a classmate and ask for some clarity.

Organize your time. This has to be one of the biggest issues. I always planned time for study and time for home and you have to stick to it! If you're on your "home" time, leave thoughts of school alone and save it for your "school" time.

Buy a backpack with wheels. Yea, it may look stupid and nerdy, so what! It will save your back. 300 lbs is no fun to carry around. Don't worry about standing out, most every nursing student has these bookbags. :-)~

Don't beat yourself up! I went into the program with a 4.0 and am leaving with a 3.4, and guess what? It's ok with me! Only do your best. If you fail a test... don't be too hard on yourself, just do better next time. If you fail a skill...practice, practice, practice until you are confident enough to retake it. Don't freak out...take your time. There isn't a time limit on the majority of the skills. Everyone has had days where they have felt like they's ok, but don't dwell because you don't have time to. lol

Turn off your cell phone. Instructors hate cell phones and some will make you leave juvenille as it sounds, they do. We had one girl whose phone went off during every test and it really is disruptive. Just leave it off during class.

Take pictures and journal your experiences. This is something I am glad I did. Whether you write in a diary, or in a blog, you will love having this for later. Nursing school is an experience and sometimes it's best to vent to someone. My someone is my blog. Plus, it's always fun to refer back to a year ago and read what I was going through at the time. I recommend this to everyone.

Keep all of your notes. Don't the end of this journey there is a much bigger, more important exam called the NCLEX. You will want to have your notes for reference, even if you do buy a gazillion NCLEX prep books. (grin)

Get some sleep and eat right. I wish I had followed this advice. Vending machine food DOES NOT keep your body fueled. I repeat...STAY AWAY FROM THE VENDING MACHINE!Go to bed'll regret it in the morning if you don't.

Don't miss class. In one day you could cover a variety of topics. Other's notes are nice, but if you don't hear the subject yourself, it can be harder to understand. Also..don't be late...instructors hate that and many will not let you in and will give you a 0 for the test or quiz if you're late.

Be prepared for clinical. There is no worse feeling than when your instructor asks you what a drug is for and you have no clue. Double check everything before you enter a patient's room. Drug errors are scary...cover your ass!

Know your ABC's. No, I'm not talking about the alphabet. The ABC's are: Airway, Breathing and Circulation. Airway is alywas your first check...if their airway isn't patent, more than likely they aren't breathing, now are they? Know that is it the FIRST assessment....exceptions... if your test question is about blood circulation, more than likley the answer will also be about circulation too.

Understand test questions. Nursing questions are different from any other test questions. Sometimes it will make you want to pull out your hair. Many times you will have more than one right answer, but you need to know the one that is the MOST right. Ex: A pt enters the emergency room complaining of chest pain and he states his left arm is numb and tingling. The most important thing the nurse should do first is:
a) Assess the patients arm
b) Start an EKG
c) Assess the patient's pain level and administer Morphine
d) call the doctor

All of these are the right answers, but B is the correct answer because before you do the other things, the EKG takes priority. Also notice in the question it asks what the MOST important thing that the nurse will do. Assessing the pt's pain is a nursing action, but it's always one of the last things a nurse will do. It's considered psychosocial and his physical needs outweigh the pain at the moment. (Understand Maslow's heiarchy of needs and you can answer these correctly). Call the doctor is rarely the right answer because the nurse can always do some kind of pt care before the doctor has to be called. Think about it..if a pt is having a seizure before you call the DR (which some might want to do-inlcuding me-HA!) you want to make sure they aren't going to hurt themselves or choke on their tongue. There is always something the nurse can do...according to the textbook anyway.

Understand the test questions: Part deux! Look for keywords in the stem of the question such as: All, Never, Can't, Always etc... rarely does something NEVER or ALWAYS happen. Anything is possible. Avoid answering questions with these words in them. Another lesson I learned the hard way was answers that had part of the right answer in them. Example...the pt has increased intercranial pressure. The nurse should: Raise the HOB and administer a vasopressive. Well,...yes you will raise the HOB, but you won't admin that med...just use your common sense and don't fall into this trap. They say they aren't our to trick you, they lie. Opposites....if you see opposites in the answer bank, generally one of them is the answer. Ex: answer: use cold compresses Answer 2: use a hot pack. It's is usually one or the other.

Help your classmates. If you are at clinical and you aren't that busy and you see your friend buried up to her elbows in work, lend a hand. They won't forget this. Teamwork really is the best way to work. You scratch my back....

Make clinical cheatsheets. Make a document in Word, or whatever, for your pt's meds. Put times (military) on one side and meds on the other and make boxes. This way at clinical you can keep up with your pt's meds and when they're due incase the "real nurse" (haha) has the MAR (medication administration record), which often times they do and you have to pry it from their cold, clingy, more expereinced hands.
Make a physical assessment cheat sheet. You aren't going to be able to do a top notch assessment for a long time. I am still weak in that area, but what you can do is save yourself time and face by making a cheatsheet about things you need to assess. Go from head to toe. I can't tell you how many times I went to chart and totally forgot when the last time the patient voided was....didn't I feel stupid?! Find out when the floor does routine vitals, baths, I&O's etc... You shouldn't have to be told these things twice.

If you don't know the answer, ASK! Ask as many questions as you need to, it's better than fudging and finding out the answer later.

De-stress. Don't let yourself get so overwhelmed that you need a straight jacket. Ask for help, you can't do it all. Find ways to let off steam...running, walking, a hot bath, a bloody mary. Ha! Hey, if it works...

Don't worry about your household chores. Unfrotunately, the housework takes the least priority during school. Remember, you aren't in "regular" college classes. When you get home, the majority of your time will be spent working on things for class. Let some things go...if you don't, you will be too wound up to function. I learned this the hard way too. As long as you have food to eat, clean clothes (sometimes-ha), then you are doing ok. ASK FOR HELP!

Remind your family and friends how much you love them. It's easy to get caught up in school so much that everyone else gets tuned out. Make time for them, even if it means sacrificing for school. Keep in touch with your non nursey friends. They love you too and will feel like you're brushing them off. Remind them of your time constraints and plan a day together when you can.

Take care of yourself. This is the most important tip. As stupid as this will sound...sometimes you barely have time to bathe...make time. Get a mani and pedi too! Don't forget about your health, because without it you will have nothing.

Have fun! As stressful as nursing school can be, don't forget to enjoy it. There WILL be days when you don't think you can go on another moment. You will and it will be worth it...I hope. You will be learning so much that your head will spin, but in the midst of it all there is a lot of fun involved. Make sure to take things in stride as much as possible and don't join in on the gossip.

Hope these help. I've been saving these up for a while.
Have a nice weekend, I'm spending it with my family and I can't wait!