Friday, August 10, 2012

I have brains in my head

I went through 16 months for an hour and a half long pinning ceremony?! That happened way too fast. I blinked and it's gone! Now it's time for me to move on and transition from student nurse to novice nurse. My studying is not yet done, however! I still have to study for the big test..the NCLEX. For those of you who may not know, the NCLEX, is the state board exam that every single nurse must take (ADN or BSN) to become a registered nurse (RN). I have a week off, to party; and then it's right back to the books...*sorry mom, I'm going to be 'reclaiming' the kitchen table again shortly*

The pinning ceremony was lovely. There's something very personal and exciting when you know almost every single person walking across the stage. It's exciting being able to cheer everyone on as they walked across the stage and got pinned as Graduate Nurses! There's something very satisfying looking at all your instructors from various levels and stages of your nursing school career and being able to look them in the eyes and say "I did it!" (When really on the inside you just want to say 'hahaha take that I did do you like me now?!'...or maybe I was the only one that wanted to do that?!)

We all go to take the Florence Nightingale Pledge which goes a little something like this:

"I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession, and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care." 

My favorite part of the pledge, personally, "I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous." I was, however, a little sad that it meant I had to say goodbye to my wild and crazy past (hahaha...because you all know how crazy I can get...Going out to the movies and going to dinner is about as crazy as I get). tips for you future nursing students: 

1 - Expect the unexpected...things are not going to happen the way you planned or how your instructor said things would go. You're going to have last minute changes, you're going to have to adapt, improvise, and overcome. It's not the end of the world! Take a deep breath, do NOT complain to your instructor, and go with the flow!
2 - Make time for yourself and your, there's not a lot of free time! Choose a day where you can forget about your upcoming exams, never ending list of required reading, and utter chaos that comes along with school. You'll feel better after spending some R&R with your family.
3 - Go for a's common knowledge that you gain your freshman 15 all over again while in nursing school, however, a walk a day can keep the pounds away! It's also a great time to allow your mind to wander, go blank, or do whatever it pleases as you walk through someone else's green pastures! Also, it's free therapy! I don't know a single person in nursing school that doesn't jump on the opportunity to get something for free!!! :)
4 - Try and get a job as a tech...yeah the pay may not be great, the work is dirty, but it gets you experience working with patients...and it can be an "in" for you when it comes time to find a job as an RN! 
5 - Heed your instructors advice...while some instructors do enjoy the site of weeping students, almost all of them want what's best for you. If they're telling you that you're not doing something right it's not because they're "nit-picking" it's because they're your instructor. They want to see you become the best that you can be and reach your full they realize their lives may be in your hands one day!! :)
6 - Never be above anyone else...we're all in this boat together. Some of us are a little more weird and awkward (and sweat a lot more than your average Joe). But we all have the same doubts, fears, and excitement running through our heads. The sooner we realize we're in this together the better we will be. Nursing isn't a's collaboration (That should sounds familiar)...the moment you think you're better than someone and don't have the time to show someone the ropes...that's when you become the nurse you never wanted to be. 
7 - My advice is never ending...but if I told you everything then you wouldn't learn it for yourself!! ;)

So I will finish this post of the way our Nursing Director did for us tonight at our pinning ceremony:

"You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
You're on your own.
And you know what you know.
and YOU are the one
who'll decide where to go..."
- Dr. Seuss

Thursday, August 9, 2012

I am a graduate nurse!

Nothing I say or do can prepare you or make you fully understand what it's like to go through nursing school. I can try and explain it until I'm black and blue in the face, but if you don't go through it for yourself then you'll never fully understand. But without adequate support system you're screwed! :) To put it bluntly! It was a rough 18 months. But somehow, by the grace of God, I have survived nursing school! HOWEVER, the end to my nursing school career was no without it's drama. We couldn't wrap up our final like any other normal person and then get our grades like a normal class would. No, please, allow me to share with you what my past 18 hours has been like! 

Well, I suppose I should start a little before I took the final. I was eating dinner with my mom and all day I had just a feeling of anxiety, nervousness, and fear of the unexpected. It wasn't really towards my final exam because that was going to happen whether I liked it or not, but I was more anxious about the fact that I'm about to be a real nurse, I'm about to take on the responsibility of someone's loved one. Their life is essentially in my hands (not completely but figuratively). And realizing that is terrifying. So, while I was eating with my mom, I experienced a terrible anxiety attack! For those of you who have never had one, count your blessings...I was wishing I had a benzodiazepine to take!!! It started with just an overwhelming since of anxiety out of nowhere...then numbness overtook my body...then my heart started pounding (even though my blood pressure was only 110/62 and my pulse was only 62)...then afterwards you just feel exhausted and can barely lift your arms up..and I just got waves and waves of this attack! So, that's how the night before my exam went. I calmed myself by watching NY Med (LOVE that show!)

So at approximately 0809 I pulled into the CNM parking lot to take my final, nursing school final! I got to the testing center where all of my fellow nursing school students were waiting in line to get checked into the testing center. My anxiety started to go down and I was feeling more "at home" and relaxed! So we all got checked into the testing center and then we had to wait for them to sit us down at then put our codes into Black Board (where we take our tests) so that we could take our exam. Eventually we're all put into our exams and

No joke! Every student was trying to get a hold of one of the test proctors to tell them about the computers freezing up on us, but all that they said was, "I'm sorry, there's nothing we can do." So in an hour and a half I had only completed 30 questions...and we had 2 hours and 30 minutes to complete 140 questions. Yeah right! So the proctors were able to get in contact with our instructor who gave us 2 extra hours to complete the exam. To make things even better there were multiple questions that had grammatical errors, incomplete questions, and none of the right answers. As if we didn't have enough anxiety already! So after about 2 hours and 40 questions the computer finally started to kick into gear and wasn't freezing up on me. It took me over 3 hours to complete that exam and when I pressed submit I just knew I failed it. I was just reading the questions, not really pondering it, and giving my answer and going on!

Normally after an exam we can see our grade right away, however, our grades didn't show up so we knew that meant it would be a while until we saw our final grade. Some of my friends were kicked out of the exam and had to complete the exam all over again! Most of us had an emotional breakdown. We expected to have a sense of completion and the sense that we were finally done...but none of us had that. It sucked. 

I went to lunch with some of my great friends to try and lighten the mood, but things just got worse there, our orders got messed up, some of us got over charged, and a place that normally has great food ended up having terrible food (although it could have just been that we had a bad day). So that just fed our bad moods. I decided to go to the mall and do some retail therapy, yet, even that wasn't doing the trick for me. So I went home and decided it would be a good idea...yeah...not! The watermelon was sliding all over the place and I threw a hissy-fit like a child and slammed the knife on our sink and put a little dent in the knife. My poor mom had to take the knife from my hand and say, "Maggie, just walk away!" Yes, real mature. I went up to my room, cried, and slept for several hours!!

That night around 10 or 11 pm we got an announcement from our instructor saying that the IT problems messed with her system so she was having to go through all of our exams one by one to evaluate them and she said she hoped to have grades posted by 8/9/2012 sometime in the afternoon. 

So this morning I got up at 5:45 and went swimming with one of my nursing school buddies, went and got breakfast, went to the mall (where retail therapy really did happen this time). I then went to lunch with some of my family, then I did it...I check my phone! Grades hadn't been officially posted but I had a total grade showing up, but the awful thing is that my total grade was 72% (which is technically failing). I knew that it couldn't be right because she was still working on our grades and nothing had been released but I let my nerves get the best of me and I started freaking out! I mean, who fails level 4?! That's just not heard of. So I was texting another friend and trying not to work myself into a frenzy so we decided to meet up! There we vented to one another and checked our phones waiting for our grades to be released! The grades were finally release after 1900. AND....I got a 92% on my final and a 90% overall in my class! I'm pretty sure I peed my pants and made the entire restaurant think there was a fire somewhere because I screamed and then cried!!! Every single emotion you can imagine was running through my body! I finally felt what I had hoped to feel yesterday...elation! 

So...this is it! I'm a graduate nurse. Tomorrow I get pinned (and we all get to have a good laugh when my instructor says my name....hahaha). I have to shave my legs so I can wear a dress!! (I know that may be TMI but I haven't had time to shave because I spend all my time studying). I'm also going to sleep!!! But the truth is, I'm never not going to be a student. Healthcare is an ever changing field and you never learn everything. I'm going to be learning something new every single day for the rest of my life, plus I'm already registered for my NCLEX prep course through Kaplan...and...I'm registered for a math class that I'm going to need to be able to go on for my BSN, so even the school part of it isn't done. But like I have said and will continue to say, "one day at a time." Trust me on that one...I'm a nurse!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Don’t let someone else’s experience (good or bad) be your own experience

First I must start this post by saying, “I have so much to share and say and I’m at my breaking point in the semester, so I’m extremely excited, and crazy and my thoughts are scattered…so I suppose my warning is that this post will most likely look like my brain = a jumbled mess!!!!” So…you’ve been warned. Continue to read with caution!

Come on nursing school buddies...we can do this!

I cannot believe that it’s a matter of days until graduation. I just finished my last lecture (so much fun to say), I have one more final (a week from today), and then it’s to the pinning ceremony and a graduate nurse I will be! There are approximately 222 hours or 13,339 minutes until the pinning ceremony. This semester has been a blast. I think level 4 is the epitome of nursing school. It's hard, it's fun, it challenges you, it pushes you to your breaking point, and then it shows you what you can be and what you're capable of. While most of it was organized there were still the moments when you had no idea what time something was going to happen, when a case study was due (or when it would be open), there were times when you had no idea what your instructor was talking about. That hasn’t changed. However, in the middle of my last lecture (I told you I like saying that!) I had an epiphany!!!

This was my great revelation: Don’t let someone else’s experience (good or bad) be your own experience. You have to experience things for yourself for the first time. If you let someone else’s experience define your own experience then you’re missing the entire point. We go through things in life (this doesn’t apply just towards nursing school) that make us who we are. If we let someone tell us what we should feel, how we should act, or what will happen then we’re missing the experience and the opportunity to learn and grow and become a better person. I went into level four just knowing it was going to be rough and hard and terrible because of all the negative things I had heard about our coordinator. When in reality, it was a phenomenal semester. Yes, the material is hard, yes you still have to choose the best answer out of all the correct options, but what else is new?! Before I started level four I had to tell myself that I can’t let other individual’s past experiences determine my own experience. I had to go into this semester with an open mind and knowing that I wasn't going to let someone's past experience rule my last semester of nursing school. I had to experience it for myself and then I could decide what I thought of it, but not until I'd been through it myself. 

Some of you may just be laughing at my realization but honestly feel like I had a huge revelation today. I think of the most common question(s) people ask one another is, “How was it? What was it like? What should I expect? Was it hard?” In some cases those are good questions to ask…but in other aspects if we know exactly what to expect and if we know what is around the corner then we lose our ability to think critically. We lose the ability to hone in on our survival skills. Those are important parts to each person’s existence (and we also don't know what someone else went through to have the experience that they did). So there you have my words of wisdom for the day…and just this once I won’t charge you!!! ;)

Our clinical coordinator who does the majority of our lectures is phenomenal. I love her lectures. I feel that they’re excellent, they make since, they’re organized, and they do help us prepare for the exams. Well, anyways, before class started we had a presentation by the people of Hurst who do an NCLEX preparation class. After our presentation our instructor said she was going to call roll, but that this was important because she was going to be double checking that she could pronounce our names correctly for the pinning ceremony. So my dear friend leaned over to me and said, “I dare you to ask her to call you by your full name (with a huge grin on her face)” *side note…for those of you who may not know my full name is Margaret Sarah Elizabeth Rosecrans…just a bit of a mouthful, but a great name regardless*    So not one to shy away from a challenge I accepted. (I had the full intention of telling her after I gave her a hard time that I was just kidding and wanted to see her reaction). So she called my name and said the usual, “Margaret Rose”N”crant”z” …I politely corrected her and told her “Rose-crans” and then she asked if I wanted my middle initial “S” to be announced which I replied with a stoically straight face, “Actually I was wondering if you could say Sarah Elizabeth…Margaret Sarah Elizabeth Rosecrans”…and she smiled and said, “oh of course” and starts putting it into the computer…now by now all my friends are laughing and the class is kind of giggling and I tell her, “I’m just giving you a hard time”…the only problem is that she didn’t hear that part!!! Yeah, who’s the funny one now?! And she continued on down the list. I decide not to make a big deal and just go with it because it would give us all a good laugh anyways right? Well, after lecture I decide to just go tell her that I was pulling her leg and that she didn’t really have to say my full name. When I tell her that I was joking she says something along the lines of, “ARE YOU SERIOUS? NOPE! I’m going to say your full name, add a couple extra names and the end and maybe even throw in the third somewhere…you better be at pinning ceremony!” hahahaha…and a little while later she said, “Oh you made my day, I can’t wait for the pinning ceremony” So there we have it. I left my mark in the world of nursing school! I can’t wait for pinning ceremony. I think it will be perfect since I am at the end of the alphabet, so everyone will be in need of a good laugh! :D

Oh what else?! Well, I’m attempting to overcome the overwhelming anxiety that I feel knowing that I have to start putting in my resume! I was looking at jobs yesterday and it just blew my mind that in a week I’m going to be eligible for an endless array of opportunities. The sky is the limit…and let me tell you…I’m more than ready to turn in my two weeks at Target. While I’m grateful for the fact that they worked with my school schedule and it paid my way through nursing school, I absolutely abhor the world of retail. I’m praying I will be blessed with a job as soon as possible so I can go turn in my two weeks and kiss that part of my past goodbye!
I think the general consensus going around is that everyone is in complete and utter shock that we’re graduating. It still hasn’t hit me and I don’t know that it will until I take (and pass) my NCLEX and start working! It’s intimidating and terrifying and exciting and a complete miracle! Aside from the anxiety attacks that hit every once and a while we’re all on cloud nine. I think the saddest part of finishing nursing school is saying goodbye to the friends we’ve made. I love going to school and learning with my co-students, I love the friendship and the strong bond we’ve all made, I love every aspect of every individual I’ve met along this journey. I can’t wait to cheer each one on as they call their name at our pinning ceremony!
What is it Dr. Seuss said, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened” or something along those lines! I’m smiling because I know it’s just the beginning of amazing friendships, adventurous career, and knowing there’s never going to be a dull moment in this career.

I suppose I have one last thing to say…I know you all are wondering what I’m like when I’m at my breaking point right?! Well, let me just give you this little look into the life of Maggie during finals…yesterday I was walking with my friends to our vehicles and the entire way I just broke out into song for every reply I had to say, I used my obnoxious “target lady voice” (from SNL by Kristin Wig), I broke out into a couple of dances…and during my last dance routine I went to jump…and my backpack strap snapped…thankfully nothing (and no one) went tumbling down. It was just another one of those hysterical moments shared with some amazing friends when everyone so desperately needed a good laugh.  

this is how I felt I looked as I danced! ;)

Ahhh…I suppose that brings me to my last bit that I have to share…if you’re going to survive life…be able to laugh at yourself. I could be a big sourpuss right now after all the laughing that has happened on my behalf, but the truth is…life is funny…and if you can’t laugh about it you’re in for a miserable time! :D So go laugh!