Saturday, August 27, 2011

Can't wait...

I do believe these have been the longest 2 weeks ever! However, I've learned some very important things: 1) Remember to love your little brother even when he locks the keys in your car with the car running and leaves the car unattended! 2) I learned where my spare tire is! Hey, you never learn anything if you always get it right. 3) Never hesitate to teach the difference between knowledge and wisdom: When turning onto a one-way street my sister asked me why I looked both ways...I told her that knowledge is realizing that the street is one-way, wisdom is looking both directions anyway!

Another crazy thing that happened this past week is I took my baby sister (she's 15) to the community college to show her around campus because she's starting her first semester of college. She's a sophomore in high school and doing dual enrollment this semester! I told her that there's not much I can do to calm her nerves and prepare her for the college life. But one thing I wish someone would've done with me when I started my dual enrollment at 16 yrs old was walk me around campus to get me familiar with the territory so it's not as intimidating on the first day! So that's exactly what I did. It's not much but it always helps to know where you're going and not have to worry about that as much on the first day of class!

With my time off I had time to reflect on my outlook of some cool situations (nursing school) and not so cool situations (parent's divorce) and some mediocre situations (flat tire). I had a bit of an "aha" moment...and I'd like to get serious for a moment!

 I've always had a struggle with my attitude...I know that blows the socks off your feet because I'm the sweetest person in the entire world right?! :) Well...most of the time. But especially this semester it was hard to keep a good attitude about my clinical situation...I mean really...only 5 days in clinicals and the rest in a clinical simulation?! But I realized that on the days that I went into my clinical simulations with a good attitude how much better it all seemed to be! Attitude is way more important than challenges that come our way because our attitude is what will determine the outcome of the situation...we can choose to be victims of our circumstances or we can choose (one day at a time) to overcome our hardships with a good (or at least better) attitude. It's amazing how having a crappy attitude can ruin a friendship, date, household or family. But if we make a daily choice to have a better attitude..well...I think we'd all be surprised with how much better our days would be! (Anyways...enough of the serious talk!)

I start up level 2 in 3 more days...I'm super excited to be back in class and with my friends again! This semester will focus on Med-Surg and Psychosocial and Behavioral needs of patients! So it should certainly be an intense semester to say the least. I have heard that level 2 is harder than level 1 which means there won't be any room for slacking...but I think I'm up to the challenge! I can't wait to get started!!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Taking it to the Next Level!

 Wednesday morning I took my last exam as a level 1 nursing student. Although I'm pretty sure every single one of us left that exam wondering what in the heck had just happened to us. It was the hardest finals I've ever had. Thankfully, I wasn't the only one that thought that was the case! The exam was at 7am in the morning (100 questions and worth 200 points) and we all finished around 10ish...and then the LONG...LONG...LONG...LONG wait began. Thankfully we have a pretty amazing instructors and the grades were posted before 6pm.

It was so exciting to see my grade posted on blackboard and to see that I made a victory was short lived when the texts, phone calls, and facebook posts came in about friends that didn't make it. I've learned this semester that we nursing students grow, celebrate, mourn, and thrive together...and when one of us falls we help that person get back up. But when we can't pick them up anymore and we have to keep moving on it's one of the hardest things to do. We're taught that nursing isn't a competition; it's not about who gets the better grades or who got to do the most in their clinical rotation...rather, it's about the success of the whole clinical group! I'm sad to see some of my friends that didn't make it and I'll miss them as the rest of us continue on, but I'm certain they're gonna make it and become some amazing nurses!

I was thinking about an old show that I used to watch, I'm sure some of you know it...ER! And I was reminded of something that one of the nurses said (I think it was nurse Haleh)...It went something like this, "I've been doin' this job for 17 years, honey. Doctors come and go, but nurses make this place run. We don't get much credit or pay. We see a lot of misery, a lot of dyin', but we come back every day. I've given up bein' appreciated, but I sure as hell won't let any of us be taken for granted."

Every single nurse and nursing student is a fighter! And we're going to fight to the end until we reach our goals! I can't wait to see what this next level has in store for me and my friends! I'm ready to climb this next mountain. So I'm going to take it easy these next 2 weeks (and try and find something productive to do) as I prepare myself for the best and the hard times that are about to come my way..because ladies and gentlemen..I'm taking it to the next level!

Monday, August 8, 2011

78 Days Ago...

I can't even wrap my mind around it...78 days ago I was a newbie...I was just getting started as a level 1 nursing student. Sitting in the front row with my friends that I'd taken my pre-reqs with; and others that I had never seen before. Mumbling amongst ourselves what we thought it would be like...what we thought our instructors would be like. We pondered how difficult the (much talked about and dreaded) exams would be. And who can forget the horrifying things we had heard about Care Plans!!!! :O We discussed how we thought our clinical rotations would be. So much excitement, nervousness, and anticipation packed into each of our bodies...our heartbeats pounding, our blood pressure increasing, stress shooting through the roof...

But that was 78 days ago.

Here I am 11 weeks later and almost done with level 1...yet somehow that same excitement, nervousness and anticipation is pulsing through me. Two more finals (lab and lecture) and then I'm no longer a newbie. How does the time fly so fast? I can't even begin to tell you what an amazing journey I'm on. I've made some of the best friends in this program. I've learned so much (more than I knew my brain could handle) and yet I'm just getting started.

Before I started the program I actually hesitated with fear wondering what I had gotten myself into. All my life I've known that I've wanted to be a nurse and I was suddenly worried that I had pushed myself into this career because of my other family members that are nurses...but all of that diminished as soon as I stepped foot into the JS building. There's not a lot in life that I'm sure about...but I'm sure about these things... 1) with God all things are possible and I can make it through any situation, 2) Nursing has to be one of the hardest yet most rewarding thing I've ever done, 3) Nursing school has to be one of the greatest and most challenging thing I've ever experienced...and I can't wait for my next 3 levels (that is of course after my final!!!) :D

So 78 days ago if you asked me what I was doing...I would have told you that I was starting nursing school; with next to no idea of what I was getting myself into. But if you asked me (78 days later) what I'm up to...I'd tell you I'm on the greatest journey of my life...I'm no longer just a student, no, I'm a nursing student. Learning new and great things every day and meeting some of the most amazing people along the way...So the next time you see something that's not the me...or as one of my patients put it, "If you see someone with a little extra something...I wanna see!!!"

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Do you have a minute?

In my last couple weeks of nursing school I had my clinicals on-campus. Due to insufficient funding and not enough instructors we had to split up our clinical experience between the hospital (VA for me) and our "clinical simulations". Now if I'm being honest I went into the clinical simulation with a horrible attitude...which I'm sure surprises you! I knew that nothing could compare to the hands-on experience that you get with a "real" patient. But if I'm being honest, which I am because I'm a truth-teller; I'd tell you that our instructors made the best out of the worst situation.

One of the greatest things about this clinical simulation was our "passing meds" simulation. Of course we were given the worst case patient had meds that had drug-drug interactions with every med she was on, there were wrong doses, routes, times, etc. It really made you think about the reality of passing and administering medications...peoples' lives are in our hands...and if we don't take the time to correctly and accurately look at what we're doing we could kill someone. For me that's the scariest part of nursing...give me blood, vomit, poop, urine, pressure ulcers the size of my fist but there's something about administering meds that's extremely intimidating.

At the VA all of us couldn't help but notice just how much time all the nurses spent at the med we know...they're taking a minute to block out the distractions and put their patients best interest at hand. My patients' life and well-being is in my hands and if I just take an extra moment to look through and "read the fine print" I could have just spent the best 60 seconds of my life.

So the next time your pain meds are a couple minutes late, or your nurse seems a little frazzled because she's running behind...look them in the eyes and thank them..because you'll never know if they just caught a med error and saved your life!

So even though I would have rather spent my last couple weeks as a level 1 nursing student at the VA working with real scenarios...I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to practice administering medications. I'm thankful that my instructors took the time to set up a situation that really made me use my critical thinking. I'm thankful that I've been pushed past my limits and past the line that I had drawn in the sand; that line that said, "this is the stupidest thing ever...ugh...why do good things always get cut short for me, why do I have to do this stupid fake simulation". Because if it wasn't for this simulation I might have never thought twice about administering 1,000 mEq of K-Dur crushed along with 500 mcg of Digoxin and 80 mg of Lisinopril...