The Life and Times of a Busy Woman

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

It's amazing to think that in only 6 weeks ... *6* WEEKS ... I will be a Nurse Graduate.  The ultimate end of 5.5 years in college.  It's amazingly terrifying.  I have confidence, yet I don't.  I have so much to learn and it will only be the beginning of my career.

First, I will have to find a job.  I had thought my current employer was game with transitioning me from CNA to NG to RN, but now I have my doubts.  My Nursing Director has been very evasive and vague with answers.  The Medical Director of my department, as well multiple Providers and Nurses, are expecting me to be hired, but unfortunately I don't have an answer for them.  I don't want to stir up controversy if they start asking my Director "WTF?" but I cannot control what they do.  I do have to say, that it would be nice if they rose to support me on their own.  They have been there to support me all the way through school and I would like to start in a place that I am comfortable while I take the leap from Student to RN.  We'll see.  One Nurse did offer to write me a letter of recommendation for my job search.  That will be greatly appreciated.

Meanwhile, I have sucked it up and started applying elsewhere.  It's been a week since I submitted an application to another hospital and I haven't gotten a phone call, so that makes me nervous as well.  I'm going to take the opportunity on lunch break between lectures today to call their HR Department.  It's been a long time since I've been in this position and it's more than a little nerveracking.  I've been at the same hospital for over 6 years, and like I said, I'm comfortable there.  I have built a great rapport with Medical, Nursing, and Ancillary staff that I would be greatly saddened to leave behind.  But, one thing at a time ... I just have a tendency to jump to the worst case scenario.  It's a hazard of working in EMS.

This week won't be all that eventful school-wise.  I have an exam 1 week from today and a paper due a few weeks from today.  The paper is almost done, it's a self assessment (and I DETEST those).  I have 6 shifts left with my Preceptor.  She's amazing and I have to say that I hope I make her proud as a Nurse.  She's very concerned with my progress and how I feel about my work.

On a side note - I've spent the last few days watching the pictures roll in from my EMS family regarding Sandy.  Here I am counting my next 6 weeks while NYC was flooded and burned (in places).  A fellow nursing student's family is on Long Island and their home is now condemned.  I never watched "Jersey Shore," but I cannot help but hurt for those affected.  All of this right before the holidays.  So as I sit here counting down, I'm also counting my blessings.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Adventures in Nursing

Just a quick blurb about Partnership progress.  I am now officially over halfway through my 16 shifts, I have 7 remaining.  I spent my first "stretch" there since it was the first time my partner worked the weekend in a few months.  I worked Saturday/Sunday/Monday nights ... and didn't we have fun!  Okay, that may sound sick since my job revolves around people not being well, but it's a fact of life.

Sunday night was the most interesting.  A patient wasn't doing well that was already admitted into the hospital.  The floor called the ER, my partner and I went up since we didn't have any patients, ended up taking over care of the patient, then turned over care to an ICU Nurse (and still assisted) ... all while still in a Med/Surg patient room.  The patient was then transferred to a higher level of care facility about an hour later since our ICU was full.

All the while, it was movie/song innuendo night.  I have dubbed my Nurse partner "the female version of Tony DiNozzo of NCIS."  During key times of the night, she would say a line from a movie or, at one point, even sing-song "it's getting hot in here."  That phrase abruptly gained a simultaneous response of booty shaking by both myself and the ICU Nurse (all without stopping what we were doing with the patient).  It will give you a better picture if I tell you the ICU Nurse in question was a man. 

By the end of the night, two phrases had been born:

1)  Welcome to the Med/Surg wing of the ICU.

2)  "It's Med/Surg.  No!  It's the ER!  NO!  It's I-C-U!!" (inflection of "it's a bird, it's a plane ...")

Wow, what a great Partnership.  I'm loving it!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Score 1 for the Home Team

So many things have happened recently, I don't know where to start ...

I guess I'll start with the fact that I got a *90* on an exam that was primarily Neurological content. 


The Professor has prided herself that she gives difficult exams (she actually teaches a graduate course on how to write exam questions) and the typical class average grade is 75-80 on this particular exam.  Difficult exams, yes, in the manner that the students actually have to think about the content and apply their knowledge (like any good nurse).  I spent most of the summer working on Neuro content just because she gave us fair warning in the Spring - this is the second part of a two-part Senior class.

I do not test well ... at all ... so this exam gave me anxiety like never before.  Neuro is a tough subject no matter who you are.  The next exam will be over endocrine, liver, and pancreatic disorders along with the topic of burns.  The last exam will be cumulative, but primarily cover musculoskeletal disorders and care of HIV/AIDS patients with a particular focus on the elderly.  I am 2, count 'em, *2* exams away from graduation.  Sure, NCLEX-RN boards are after that ... but one hurdle at a time!

On the Partnership front ... I am 5 shifts into 16, and Monday night it all seemed to "click."  That's the only way I can describe it.  Granted, there were still a couple missing pieces of documentation, but I know seasoned nurses who leave holes.  That's why the staff nurses at my ER do chart audits monthly.  It's to help them learn and evolve their own charting.  They audit 2 of their own, and 2 of someone else (randomly).  So, the charting piece will evolve continually, but the care I was giving was nursing care - not just CNA care - and it all FLOWED.  I knew what was needed, I knew what I wanted to do next.  It also was a slow night, so I had every patient that came through the doors (since no one overlapped) from triage to discharge.  My Preceptor would introduce herself to patients, then leave to let me do "my thing."  She would check in with me when I came out of rooms to ask, "What's going on?" and "What's your plan?"  It. Was. Great.  The patients knew I was a student, but they gladly accepted me. 

All the pieces falling into place ...

The highlight of my night was a cardiac patient brought in via EMS.  I ran the "show" with only a couple questions to my preceptor.  Unbeknownst to me, the patient's wife works within the hospital organization.  Prior to discharge, she told my Preceptor that they "need to work on retaining [me], [I'll] make an excellent Nurse and asset to the department."  I always appreciate positive feedback, but I didn't realize how much it made me smile until I was telling my husband about it.  That's the response I'm looking for.  I work my butt off, and have worked for 6 years as a CNA with 5.5 of that while I've been in school.  It's nice to have my hard work appreciated and validated.

The rest of my school work is falling into place also.  I've been writing papers far ahead of their due dates since I love checking things off my to do list.  I have a few more to do, but I gave myself tonight off ... I'll start again tomorrow.