The Life and Times of a Busy Woman

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ten Things I'm Looking Forward To After Graduation

Everyone seems to be making lists lately.  I have a list going in my head ... so now I'm going to try and organize it.  I have been in college since the summer of 2007 and I'm looking forward to the freaking END of it.  So official Graduation is in December and I've been asked, "What are you going to do when you actually have free time and no classes to complain about?"  Plus, the statement has been made, "You're not going to know what to do with yourself when you don't HAVE to run ragged anymore."  Hmmm ... here are my thoughts - in list form - about life beyond graduation.

1.  Graduating from Nursing School traditionally involves a Pinning Ceremony.  I'm looking forward to that and I'll probably cry when I see my parents in the audience.  I screwed up my teenage years [long story, hence why I didn't start college until I was 25] and it will be more than emotional that I will have actually earned my Bachelor's Degree in Science - Nursing.

Mine will have my school on it ... but you get the gist.

2.  A whole NEW role.  Currently, I am a highly trained CNA/Paper Pusher.  We joke in my department that I am "trained to every except diagnose and give meds."  I have been a CNA since 2006, before that I worked in home health as a PCA.  I have been doing the dirty work of nursing for 9 years now.  I now do a lot of desk work as a Unit Coordinator and fill roles as necessary due to call outs.  I have learned a lot and I value my time as a CNA/UC ... but I am B-O-R-E-D and ready to move on.  I spend most of my work days working on NCLEX-RN questions to prep for my boards in December/January (whenever I can land a date). 

I already have one of these

3.  Giving an answer to a nursing question and not hearing, "You're a CNA, I better look that up."  Recently, a nurse openly asked a question about a drug.  She'd never heard of it.  We had used it A LOT in my Maternity rotation.  I said, "Oh, it's a pain drug.  Safe for pregnancy [patient was pregnant].  Dilute it in a 10 [ml syringe of saline], and push it over at least 2 minutes, but less than 5."  The answer I got [above] and her look was incredible.  If I'd been an RN, she wouldn't have given it any thought whatsoever and would have just done what I gave her for an answer.  Back to my desk.

Funny Workplace Ecard: I may not be an RN yet .... but I'm not stupid.

4.  A job.  Granted, I love where I work now, but as a New Grad I really won't be able to be picky.  I'd love an ER job while I'm young and can physically handle it, but I'll have to take what I can get.  Everyone asks me where I want to work.  My preferable criteria:  ER or ICU; benefits; reasonable drive from home; and, loan reimbursement.  Some hospitals that are Critical Access [small, rural] offer student loan repayment for each year a New Grad contracts with them.  That would be substantial since I'll have an estimated $400/monthly payment come June 2013. 

5.  Making double the hourly wage I am making now.  I value my CNA experience ... heck, that's how I made it through the cardiac section in both Pharmacology AND Med/Surg ... but CNAs aren't paid what they should be.  Granted, CNAs don't push medications ... but the grunt work we do is amazing.  I don't plan on being the grouchy nurse who's attitude is, "That's CNA work, have them do it," but it will be nice to get paid more.  Nursing scope of practice is everything a CNA can do, and more.  Just because there's an RN after someone's name does not make them better than a CNA, it just gives them more legal responsibility.

Funny Workplace Ecard: The best RN's worked as CNA's *first.*.

6.  Vacation.   My graduation present from my husband ... to all of us ... is a well-earned vacation.  Since the 3 of us have been through (and still have 1 more semester of) a hellish schedule, all 3 of us are going on a Disney Cruise.  One week in the Caribbean in January ... yeah, I'll take that!  When I'm interviewing for jobs, I'll just have to mention it.  It will be without pay since I won't have worked anywhere long enough ... but that's ok with me.  The relaxation, partying, and excursions will all be worth it.

7.  Days off.  Granted, I will need to work at least 3 days a week ... maybe pick up a per diem slot for another day in the week ... but it won't be a 7-day/week schedule like it is now.  It would be nice to be able to say to my daughter, "Yeah, we can do that," instead of, "I'm sorry, but I have class."  Sure, I'll have my shifts, but I'll have a bigger pool of people to possibly trade with, too, if something comes up last minute.

8.  Ambulance Shifts.  My volunteer job that is just down the street [that I am keeping] is rewarding.  More experience is great.  Prehospital care is a realm that I love and want to learn more about.  Plus, I can be home while I'm on call.  Amazing how clean the house is getting/staying with me being home on duty this summer!

9.  "Leveling-up."  I cannot believe I'm writing this, but I will have to go back to college to get my Intermediate EMT license.  I'm going to wait for a bit, though ... give myself a break from studying.  EMT-I will be easier with my RN experience and my last 2 years [thus far] as a Basic.  I plan on staying at EMT-I for a while.  I like my Basic instructor's idea, "Stay at a level for a while and get comfortable with your skills before you pursue the next step.  Good BLS [Basic Life Support] saves lives prior to ALS [Advanced Life Support] even showing up."  She always preached that ALS providers needed to remember their BLS skills if they were going to be effective at all.

10. Traveling ... I love to travel.  I used to do a lot of trips with my mom as a kid and the recent trip I just took reignited the fire.  It was the first time that I'd gotten on an airplane since 2002.  I'm ready to go again.  I'd like to take my daughter to meet her family on the West Coast.  I'd like to do the tourist stuff in NYC [again, for me].  My husband isn't quite the traveler, but I'm sure he'd go on a few trips with us.  I want to go to the Grand Canyon.  Hmmm, maybe I should make a list of travel destinations.

I'm sure with more thought, I could add plenty to this list ... but 10 seems to be a good amount right now.  I hate to wish away time [and this summer weather], but September brings the start of my last semester ... and I could definitely get going right now.

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