Lady of Leisure once again

There are no classes during summer in my program, so that means I’m spending the summer studying pharmacology and practicing NCLEX questions.  BAHAHAHA.   Just kidding.  I haven’t cracked a book since my finals.  I’ve spent the last month catching up on all the running I neglected during the school year, and hanging out poolside or beachside with the kiddos.  It has been lovely, to say the least.

The day I took my finals I got a phone call from HR at the hospital where I had just finished clinicals, inquiring whether I was still interested in the Nurse Tech position  I had half-heartedly applied for at the beginning of my clinical rotation.  I had assumed the positions were all filled since I hadn’t heard anything in six weeks.  So after finishing clinicals and taking my final, my mind was 100% set on summer when they called.

I’ve been an at-home mom, more or less, for the last ten years.  I LOVE summer.  I live for summer.  The summers in Seattle are spectacular, and I spend them trying to catch up on all that Vitamin D I miss out on the other nine months of the year.

So when the hospital called, I told them I was interested in the position, but that I could only work part-time during summer (the position is typically full-time for summer, and per diem during the school year, which is why I half-heartedly applied).  Apparently they weren’t interested in my leisurely summer schedule, because they never called me back for an interview.  I’ve alternated between disappointment and contentment with that.

I loved the hospital where I worked this quarter, and I especially loved the nurses on the unit we were assigned.  It would be fantastic experience working with them this year, and it would definitely help get a job when I graduate next June.  But I’m a mom.  My family weathered the last nine months of nursing school pretty well, but I think they’d revolt if I worked full time all summer.    We’re prepared for that to happen in another year or two, but not this summer.

One of my classmates was hired as a nurse tech at that hospital.  She starts Monday.

I am heading to the San Juan Islands for a little camping.   This is what I will be doing on Monday:

Maybe I’ll get serious about finding a job and studying pharmacology when I get back.

I hate first days.

It has been 14 weeks since I had my last patient.  That is way too long to go between clinical rotations.

Our clinical rotation last quarter was the first six weeks of the quarter.  This quarter it is the last six weeks.  That is a hefty gap in between when you throw in Spring break.

We actually started back in the hospital (new hospital) two weeks ago, but spent the first week orienting–we were working with patients, but not totally responsible for them.  And then last week I didn’t have my own patients because I was assigned to be a “peer resource”  (basically helping out my classmates, helping them manage their time, jumping in when they were overwhelmed, etc.).  I got to do some cool new skills, but didn’t really get the experience of managing a patient load.  So this week I finally had patient assignments, and it was my first time having two patients–last quarter we were just responsible for one (although we still helped out with other patients when we had time.)

Last night when I was working on my drug sheets and beginning my nursing concept maps, I was feeling pretty confident. I’ve had patients recovering from hip and knee replacements before.  I know what the big nursing priorities are.  My patients had simple medication lists.  It seemed pretty doable.

But when I got to the hospital and got report, both of my patients had hematocrits in the toilet and needed blood transfusions.  And when I walked into the first room to start my assessment my mind drew a blank–what do I do?  What questions do I ask?  It had just been a long time since I’d been through the routine, and it took a while to start feeling it again.  And then although I helped my peers pull meds from the “omnicell” last week, I still floundered a bit doing it all on my own this week.

The good thing is, I set up for three blood transfusions last week, so I at least knew what I was doing with that part.  But overall?  Kind of a crappy day.  Nothing really to complain about, just those first-clinical-day blues.  I’m looking forward to tomorrow when hopefully I’ll be back on my game.

Why I can never do pediatric nursing

It is impossible for me to not see every patient I take care of under the age of 55 as somebody’s child.  And even some of the people over 55.   (I think 55 must be my cutoff because my mom is that age).  This happened to me the instant my first daughter was born.  In the blink of an eye, I viewed the world as a parent.   (Have you read Lord of the Flies since you became a parent?  Holy shit, that is a completely different book now than it was when I was 14 and read it).

Sometimes it’s just fine to remember that everybody is somebody’s child.  It can help bring compassion and empathy to difficult situations.

But today I had a patient with a pretty rough history and a self-admitted “wicked heroin habit.”  The minute he said those words to me, I immediately envisioned the curly-haired freckled 12 year old he was 30 years ago and I wondered at what point his momma’s heart started breaking.

It’s one thing for me to imagine it while working with adults.  But I know that for me,  walking into a room with a sick child and grieving parents would bring me to my knees every time.  There are some things I know I can toughen up and handle.  But sick kiddos and heart broken parents are not one of them.

A very boring update

Whenever I see another nursing student’s blog abandoned I think the worst–they must be slammed and don’t have a free minute to update.   Well guess what?   Turns out the opposite could be true.  This quarter has been slooooow for me.  Just not a whole lot going on.  We have spent minimal time on campus, and we are just starting clinicals this week.

It’s been great.  I’ve continued to get my family settled in the new house.  I’ve spent a lot of time with Thing 1 and Thing 2.   Funny guy and I have had some dates and mid-week lunches.

And I’ve gotten by with a minimal amount of studying.  Shameful, really.  I’ve studied about 4-5 hours for the last 2 exams and I got 98% on one, and 102% on the other (extra credit question).   I actually wish this quarter was more challenging because doing so well on exams I’ve hardly studied for does not do much for my motivation.

But tomorrow clinicals begin again, and as usual, my stomach is all knotted up about it.  I’m fine once we begin, but I usually have horrible anxiety leading up to it that I will really screw up in clinicals and get booted from the program.

Anyway, what are you all doing over the summer?  I opted against getting a nurse tech position because I didn’t want to work all summer.   But now I’m starting to think I should have.  It sounds like there are no jobs for new grads around here.

Spring Fever

Oh, hello there, Blog.  I kind of forgot about you.

So despite my horrible nightmare, I did pass my final.  I did pretty well on it, actually.  And then I went home and started packing up my house, and a month later I’m just now catching my breath.  We bought a new (to us) house in the middle of last quarter, and spent the last few weeks of the quarter having some work done to it before we moved in, which was incredibly distracting and I’m sure the source of my nightmare.

I spent my 3 week break moving us from one house and unpacking in the new house.   Just as I started feeling less crazy,  Spring quarter started up again last week.   It looks like it should be easier going than the last two quarters.  We’ll see how that pans out!

I didn’t think I was that stressed

I sat down in my regular spot.  My instructor handed me the final exam and said we could begin.  I started to read the first question, but I just couldn’t make sense of the words.   I could see them, but I couldn’t stay focused long enough for them to mean anything.  You know how  that goes when you are reading and you realize you’ve read an entire page, but remember nothing?  That’s how the exam questions were.  When she said the hour was up and it was time to turn in the exams, I looked down at my scantron and I’d only answered 3 questions.

Quickly, I did the math in my brain.  (How I could do the math to calculate my score, but not answer any test questions, I have no idea.)  I’d pull a 71% average if I got  6% on my final (assuming I’d gotten those three questions right–which was unlikely.)  Seventy-eight percent is needed to pass.

So I went up to the front of the room to beg for mercy.   I’ve done well so far.  Maybe I could convince her I had a TIA during the exam.   She opened her grade book (circa 1984) and looked at my scores.  Yes, I’d done well on the three previous exams, but I’d gotten big red D’s on every other quiz or presentation this quarter.  “Sorry girl.  It looks like you flunked out of nursing school.”

Just then my dog barked and I opened my eyes.  My bed sheets were twisted and  drenched with sweat.  It took a few minutes to convince myself I had not actually failed my 2nd quarter of nursing school.

Finals are a week from today.

Quitting nursing school and joining the circus.

So there’s a reason why “Flying trapeze” is not listed as a career option on the aptitude tests we took in high school.  That reason?  Because it’s so goddamn awesome that I would have joined the circus instead of going to college (twice) had it shown up on my results.  The flying trapeze kicks nursing school’s ass.

And despite my motion sickness and fear of heights, I believe I would have been a great trapeze artist.

I celebrated the end of clinicals by “flying” for the first time today, and I think it’s going to be my new tradition.