Thursday, December 27, 2007

Firsts

Today was the first day I earned money in the nursing field! We began our two-day orientation at The Hospital of Central Connecticut. Everyone was very nice and very welcoming, and I now have yet another item with the HCC logo on it (a FABULOUS new canvas tote bag with lots of useful pockets and places to hold your water bottles. And it is a nice high-quality bag, unlike the crappy bag we were required to get from Quinnipiac that ripped during the first semster using it. I now have an HCC travel mug, pajama shorts, baseball hat and fun tote bag). Both today and tomorrow are orientation days, meaning we are in the classroom setting. We reviewed all the hospital policies, protocols and procedures, endured yet another lecture about the importance of HIPAA, discussed the importance of handwashing, and learned all about the many pieces of machinery that should be used when moving/lifting patients. Plus more lecturing on pressure ulcers, hospital gases, and oxygenation equipment. We ended the day with some fun vital sign skill validations. I am officially qualified to take your temperature:)

OH, and we watched a video on how to prevent surgeries being performed on the WRONG SITE. I guess it actually happens which is scary. But now there are like a hundred checks in place to make sure it doesn't. So, if you are ever having surgery, don't get frustrated with them when they confirm for the 86th time that you are having a total knee replacement on your LEFT and not your RIGHT knee. Tedious, yes, but far better than the alternative.
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I can't wait to actually get to the floor, but that won't happen until the 30th. Poor Jane, I am working a 12-hour shift, 7a-7:30p on her birthday. But other than that, my schedule is pretty sweet. I have to work the day-shift (7-3:30) on New Year's Eve, but then I have the 1st and 2nd off. My friend Liz is working the night shift 11p-7a on New Year's Eve. :( I have most weekend days off, plus an additional day off during the week cuz I have a bunch of 12 hours shifts thrown in. But most of all I am excited to actually be receiving a paycheck!!! It has been awhile!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Exceedingly hilarious yet undeniably upsetting

http://www.elfyourself.com/?id=1695231991

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Holiday Cheer

I have been thoroughly enjoying my time off. I haven't done nearly as much cleaning as I should (my study room still looks like it was hit by a tornado), but other, more important things, have been accomplished. My shopping is 70% done which is good for me at this point, our house has been decorated, and I am full of holiday cheer. I am looking forward to spending quality, non-stressed time with friends and family. It is amazing what adequate sleep can do for your outlook on life. And a big congrats to Kathleen and her new baby boy!! I can't wait to meet the little guy!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

And the results are in!

I just got the results of my last final exam in! 94 for my Psych exam. Yahoo! Which makes my grades for the semester as follows:

Theory A
Pedi B+
Psych A
MedSurg A-

Not too shabby. And today we went to the mall and managed to actually get some shopping done. Tomorrow we intend on decorating (and cleaning) the house to make it all fun and festive. And watch the Pats game. Yahoo!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Snoopy Dance of Joy!

My Finals are Done!!! Done and more Done! AM soooo relieved and sooooo tired. Just got back from my last final exam which was Psych. The exam was actually done at 10, but it took me over and hour to get home because of in the inch of snow that fell during the last 15 minutes of the exam. The sky was blue when we started and then...complete white out conditions. But I am home safely and plan to make an egg and bagel sandwich and then fall asleep for many many hours. Then tomorrow all my errands and shopping that I have been ignoring will commence. So, what does everyone want for Christmas:)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

I know kitties like small spaces....

...but this is ridiculous, people

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Last Day of classes! Woot!

Yes, today was the last day of classes for the semester. Yay and more yay! Now it is time to prepare for finals which will be a bear. Four exams in four days. Yuck. But because I am a dork, I have figured out what I need to get on each exam in order to get at least an A- in all the classes which is what I am shooting for. We will see how it goes. We have two exams on Monday (pedi & theory), one exam on Tuesday (medsurg) and then the last exam on Thursday (psych). I don't expect to sleep much until next week. But then I will be free to START my holiday shopping, and then relax until dec 27th which is the orientation for my internship.

On Wednesday I had to get a physical done by the hospital. Although it was not a typical physical that one would get at the doctor's office. They did some normal stuff like pulse and BP, but they also did a lot of vision tests (including that color blind test where you have to read the numbers hidden in the red & green circles.) I found it funny that with all the medical technological advances over the last few decades - they were still using a book from 1974 for the color test.

The scariest part was getting fitted for a TB mask. First they put this giant yellow hood over your head and spray some sort of aerosal into it. You then have to stick out your tongue to see if you can taste the substance (which you should be able to). Then they give you the TB mask and mold it to your face. Then they put the giant yellow hood over you again and spray the stuff to make sure you CAN'T taste it. And you have to move your head up and down and side to side while saying the alphabet to make sure that it is air tight. It was all very strange.

OH - and they do mandatory drug testing...and they are totally serious about it. Before you go, they dump this blue dye into the toilet so they will know if you try to sneak some of the toilet water in as your sample. And then when you are done "collecting your sample" YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO WASH YOUR HANDS until after they have sealed the collection bottles and put labels on them. And you are not supposed to let the samples out of your sight (supposedly to make sure the nurse is not tampering with them and adding anything to them that would make it positive for drugs). Again, very strange.

Regarding the eye picture. No worries - I have not gone off the deep end. This was not my creation. It was posted on cuteoverload.com and I thought it was funny. So no, I have not been spending my free time making weird food art:)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

I eye aye

Friday, November 30, 2007

Botox - not just for vanity anymore

Today in pedi lab we learned that physicians are now using Botox to treat patients with joint contractures. How cool is that? The paralytic effects can be used to remove wrinkles AND relieve fixed muscles. We also learned lots of clever ways to treat kids with a variety of casts. Again, there is a lot of thinking outside the box. You can use electrical tape to apply "petaling" along the top or bottom of a cast to help keep it dry reduce irritation on the skin. You can also use moleskin if it is in an area that has lower chance of getting wet. Bean bags are also great for helping little ones sit up to eat or play cuz you can mold it around them. Use benedryl if they are getting itchy and DO NOT stick a ruler or wire coat hanger down the cast to relieve an itch. You can also use a hairdryer on the COOL setting to dry the skin if it gets wet and/or to relieve itching. And of course, if a child is in a spica cast, even though it is REALLY tempting to do so, do NOT use the stabilizer bar to lift the child:)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Happy news!

I hope everyone had a happy, healthy, and safe Thanksgiving! I thoroughly enjoyed my week off from school. I got some much needed rest then made a long list of chores and other "To-Do" items that I haven't had time for during the semester. Then I prompty ignored most of the items on the list and watched a lot of Buffy:) It's not that big a deal that the Halloween decorations are still sitting in a pile in the garage, right? Or that we have 4 laundry baskets of CLEAN clothes just begging to be put away. (not to mention the mound of laundry that needs to be done). I needed some time just to veg out, so I consider it time well spent. I also got to do some snuggling with the kitties, which they enjoyed immensely. (at one point all three of them had joined my on the chaise lounge).

I had 2 wonderful thanksgivings, 1 with friends and 1 with family. Both were amazing, and it was wonderful to spend time with all the peoples I have been missing so much. Best of all there was lots and lots of laughter.

And today I found out that I was accepted into an internship at the Hospital of Central Connecticut!! Yahoo!! Am sooo very excited about this opportunity. It was a competitive application process, and they only accept about 16 students. I will be working one on one with a nurse on a medical telemetry floor. The internship lasts three weeks over the winter break. So big yay for my first nursing job!

And tomorrow we have a day away from classes to attend the Connecticut League of Nursing's "RN Student Day" There will be speakers, a job fair, networking opporunities, and best of all....free lunch!

Okay, gotta go switch the laundry so I have something acceptable to wear tomorrow. I hope everyone had a fabulous thanksgiving!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Most Evil of Exams

Today we had an exam in Pedi. It was pure evilness embodied in a 60-question multiple choice exam. For example, during class we discussed the hematologic disorder Thalessemia, and were taught five appropriate nursing interventions when caring for a patient with this disorder. Then the instructor would go on to say, "The ABSOLUTE PRIORITY nursing intervention for the patient is 'X'".

Then today when taking the exam, I get to question #16 which states: "You are caring for a patient with thalessemia. The PRIORITY nursing inventions is..." And I thought to myself, "YES!!! I KNow this one!!!" But no. Ohhh NOooo. The four possible answers DO NOT include X. So then you curse at the teacher under your breath begin muddling through the less critical interventions and decide which is more important, when really, they ALL are important. Grrrr Arghhh. Why? Why do they do that to us?!

We were allowed the usual 1 hour and 15 minutes to take the exam. I am usually done with an exam within 1 hour and that is AFTER going back to slowly and carefully tackle the questions that I skipped cuz I wanted more time on them AND having reviewed the entire exam to make sure I filled in all the correct answers on the Scantron Sheet. I was still working on the skipped questions at 1 hour and 17 minutes. (Along with half the class).

I got out and met my classmates. Half looked like they had been hit by a bus. The other half looked like they had seen a ghost. Personnally I felt like I had been hit by a bus being driven BY a ghost. Then I ate a chocolate frosted donut.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Words Words Words

At the beginning of the semester I started a list of "terms that I keep forgetting the meanings of." Following is a small sample from the list that I thought I would share with you all:) Enjoy! ;)

Dysplasia: bizarre cell growth
Dysphagia: Difficulty Swallowing
Dyspepsia: discomfort after eating
Dysarthria: Disturbance in muscular control of speech (ability to comprehend is intact)
Agnosia: Inability to recognize 1 or more subjects previously recognizable
Aphasia: Inability to communicate via speech, writing or signs
Aphonia: Inability to speak
Apraxia: Inability to carry out some motor activities despite intact motor function
Ataxia: Muscular incoordination
Akinesia: muscle weakness, partial loss of muscle movement
Akathisia: restlessness, pacing
cataplexy: sudden loss of muscle tone
echolalia: repeating someone else's words immediately after they speak them
echopraxia: mimicking someone's behavior
anergia: lack of energy
Paresia: motor weakness
paraesthia: numbness or tinging

Thursday, November 8, 2007

House of Sick

Both Jane & I have the pneumonia. Fortunately, it is of the walking variety, so we can still go about our business and I don't have to miss clinical fearing that I will spread my ick to unsuspecting patients.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Random Thoughts

I have made several steps forward this week in clinical. In Med/Surg, I managed two patients, with meds, for the first time. (And even left the shift smiling!) And this morning in Psych, I got to lead the group therapy meeting. Yay.

Today was the career fair at school. I made rounds to all the area hospitals to see what programs they have available for new grads and dropped off a lot of resumes. I also got a lot of free pens.

I am VERY excited because for the first Thursday in months, I do NOT have an exam.

And Jane is making steak and baked potatoes for dinner. Yum and more Yum.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Light at the end of the tunnel





I am happy to say that for the first time since the start of October, I feel like I can breathe. When we got our syllabi at the stat of the semester, we looked at it and collectively realized that if we could survive October/early November, we would make it through. And I survived. Big Sigh of Relief. Don't get me wrong, things aren't going to be all kittens and rainbows and we have plenty more exams and projects coming up, but I no longer feel the oppressive weight of stress bearing down at me at all times.

Today was my big theory presentation that counts for 30% of our grade. The theory we had to present was Mishel's Theory of Uncertainty in illness. It was very complex and dense and at first made my head hurt when I tried to understand it. Here are our "models" that we came up with to represent the theory. Discuss.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

When smart people get tired (and stupid)

Last night at Pedi clinical things were pretty uneventful on the floor. By the end of our shift however, considering it was 10 PM after a very long week, we all got a little slap happy. Of one our classmates taught us that it is fun to add "-pants" to the end of any person's name. Julipants. Fleenipants. Betsypants. Aleepants. Gogopants. Even better is to add "-arannosaurus rex" to the end of any word.

When we finally got off the unit, it took us 20 minutes to actually leave because we couldn't remember what floor in the parking garage we left the car. Cut to a parade of matching blue&white clad nursing students tromping throught the garage single file, our stethoscopes still around our necks: 4th floor. Up the stairs, through the doors, pacing up and down the aisles. Nope. "Was it the 3rd floor?" "No way, we were much higher" Up to the 5th floor, repeat. Back to the 4th floor for a closer look. Pause. Critical thinking used: Was it the sixth floor? Should we walk all the way up there? Should we split up? "No, there is no way I walked down 6 flights. I don't like elevators, but I have my limits." "Was is stolen?" "Are we sure it wasn't the fifth?" Natually it was the 3rd floor which seemed uncomprehensible to us. But alas we found the car and began the long tredge home.

Credit where credit is due

So that "piece of crap" pedi paper I had been talking about? Well it turns out that my group got a 99 on it. And it was, according to our professor, "One of the best written papers I have read in the last six years." She absolutely loved it. Like, a lot.

This was, of course, really nice to hear. I was happy cuz she had written "EXCELLENT!" on most of the sections I had written. Considering we threw it together in one evening, not bad at all.

What I have learned from this experience it is apparently I know how to write papers. I guess I am surprised only because I didn't have to do a lot of them at Colby with my Bio & Theater majors. There were mostly exams (Bio) and performances. So I credit my paper writing skills to my seven years at CRA. I did a lot of writing, ranging from corportate memos, policy & procedure manuals, and proposal writing/editing. I also must give kudos to my roommate Leora who, the night before the paper was due, came downstairs to say hello to the kitties at midnight, and I made her review the paper. She had keen eyes and lots of great suggestsion, and gently pointed out that I had, in one sentence, used the phrase "in terms of" THREE TIMES. One sentence.
Also kudos to jane who suffered SEVERAL times through my 8 page Integrity paper, catching many run-on sentences, spelling errors and such.

What I also find funny is the only place I lost points on my theory paper was from formatting errors. This is amusing to me because one of my main job functions at CRA was ENSURING that all our reports and proposals complied with designated formatting requirements. Apparently I am not as familiar with APA formatting requirements (for academia) than with Department of Defense requirements. :)

Okay, now off to conquer my theory presentation...

OH and I got a 90 on my pedi exam!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Monday, October 29, 2007

Grade Update...Yay!

I am super happy cuz I got a 97 on my big theory paper!!! Yay and more yay. And I got an 89 on my Med Surg Exam which my fellow classmate coined as "the hardest exam ever!" It was pretty hard, but clearly this student has never attempted Organic Chemistry at Harvard Extension School.

So now onto Pedi exam. And I should stop writing in my blog so I can get my theory reflection paper done for tomorrow.

A note about HIPAA

You many have noticed that I do not write a whole lot about my clinical experiences other than very vague references. There is a reason for this. No, it is not because nothing ever interesting happpens, nor is it that I don't have time to write about it all. (okay, well maybe the last part is true.) The main reason is because of an excellent law called HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). HIPAA is our friend and is very very important because it protects our privacy, gives us rights to our medical records and helps promote continuity of care. It can be slightly annoying only because it is yet another piece of paper that one has to sign before getting actual treatment.

Just wanted to keep you in the loop!

Nursing Fashion 101

Tonight I got to shadow in the Cath Lab and it was pretty darn cool. It is really neat to watch...the screen is all grainy and you have no idea what part of the body you are actually looking at, and BAM, they inject the dye and all of a sudden you have a textbook-perfect image of all the cardiac arteries. Super super cool. Plus it was nice to be away from the floor for an evening.

Although the evening was pretty heavy, and I mean that littorally. We have to wear a set of matching lead SKIRTS and VESTS. Mine was the plain old peacock blue variety, but my friend Sara got to wear the LEOPARD Print set. Yes, they make leopard print protective wear. Who knew. Oh, and to complete the outfit we had to wear those sexy blue shower cap looking headpieces. But yeah, we rocked it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Flu Clinic

Today I had the opportunity to work a shift at the Flu Clinic at school. That means I got to give lots of IM (Intramuscular) Injections. Lots and lots of them. It was a really good experience and I now feel infinitely more comfortable. Plus I let one of my friends practice on me, so I am immunized too!

And you should all get them too!!! They don't hurt at all!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Mish Mash

Today was a very full day of classes. We started out in MedSurg discussing signs & symptoms and treatment options for Congestive Heart Failure. It was an interesting lecture because we get a lot of patients with CHF. As our teacher rattled off the many S&S, I could picture each one. Kinda like the images and tables and figures in the text book coming to life. I felt good about last night's clinical. I developed a good relationship with my patient, had a thorough understanding of his condition and knew exactly what I should have been looking for regarding signs of exacerbations/complications. Fortuneately he did not have any. I also got to do some solid patient teaching which I love to do. All and all a successful evening (except the fact that we got out late, after deciding that we would skip dinner so we could get out early). So we ended up staying until after 9PM and were all hungry and cranky. And then we all had to go home and write out theory reflection paper for this morning. That part was poopy.

Speaking of theory....and I know I complain a lot about it:). We have been discussing the big nursing theorists (you know, the ones who spend years on a subject and come up with a grand theory like "Caring is the essence of Nursing." Today we talked about the Theory of Human Becoming and even the teacher admitted parts of it were pretty far out there. Following is, no joke, an actual excerpt from one of her propositions: "Transforming emerges with the languaging of connecting-separating." If anyone has any ideas on what this might mean, please let me know. Otherwise, if it appears on our final exam, I am screwed:)

And then in Pedi class we discussed fun things like acne, contact dermititis, LICE, AND SCABIES. By the end of the lecture we were all so freaked out that we had bugs on us that we were all itching and scratching up a storm. The amazing power of the mind.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

I am so smart. S.M.R.T....I mean S.M.A.R.T.

(Random Simpsons Reference from when Homer goes to college)

I just had to post that I got a 92 on my Psych Exam. Yahoo!!!!!!!!!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Infinitely better!

Thank you for your words of support! Means so much to me!! I am infinitely better now that this week is done. I survived my Psych Exam (grades are still pending) but I know I did reasonably well. My big theory paper is pretty much done except for some formatting changes. Got my other theory paper done and my pedi paper done. But the best part is that my Pedi exam is postponed until nov 1. Yahoo! That means I only have one exam next week! Plus my clinical tonight got cancelled (which is why I am writing in my blog as opposed to try to attach a pulse oximeter to toddler's wiggly toes.)

And yesterday the trees on Sleeping Giant were absolutely breathtaking, and I was glad I took the time to notice them.

Phew. Survived another week! Now onto MedSurg....

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I miss you!

Yes you. Everyone. I miss everyone very very much. Being stuck behind a computer/book/IV pump/stethoscope for the last few weeks has made me kinda lonely. So, please know that I am thinking about you, love you, and wish you well. And I can't wait to see you, whenever that will be. And I can't wait until the time I am not so overwhelmed with stress and really just want to crawl under a blanket and watch Bring It On snuggled up with my kitties. But for now I will bunker down and learn about extra-pyramidal side effects of anti-psychotic medications. Blerg.

Just keep swimming swimmingswimming

I'm trying my darndest to stay upstream of the massive amounts of work ahead of me. So far this week I have written three papers (okay, one of the was only 1 page long but still), and have a exam on Thursday that I am feeling Monumentally unprepared for, and then an exam next week and the week after that. If I can get through the next few weeks I should be golden! On the upside, the view from campus of Sleeping Giant Mountain is becoming spectacular as the leaves are reaching peak color. At least I have something nice to look at as I trudge my way back and forth from the library every day! And that's all. Off to read about psychotic disorders. And the medications used to treat them. And the medications used to treat the side effects of the first medications. And the side effects of the meds used to treat the side effects of the first meds. I'm not joking.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Congratulations!

My friend Betsy had her twin girls!! The girls are named Molly & Emma. They are doing fine, mom and dad are doing fine, and I can't wait to meet them!!! Congratulations Betsy!!!

Another Week Survived!

Hooray for another week completed! I survived my Pedi exam (although not as spectacularly as my previous two exams). But still a victory. And tonight I had a great time at pedi clinical. My patient was an adorable little girl who was so sweet. At report, I was told that she did not like any of the nurses and wouldn't let any of them near her without screaming. But I managed to win her over and she even let me take her to the playroom so I could give Mom and Dad a well-deserved rest. (Don't get me wrong - she still screamed when i had to take her vital signs, but after they were done, she was all smiles and giggles.)

This morning in lab it was drilled into us just how scary it is to give meds to children. Because they are so tiny, just the smallest dosage or timing error can have huge ramifications. It was good, because you know, we weren't scared enough already. No exams next week, thank god, but the following two weeks are absolutely insane: 3 midterms, plus 2 papers. Plus all the clincial papers and the accompanying paperwork. Oh and a quiz in Med Surg. I don't expect to sleep next week.

But that's okay, cuz today I made a little girl smile, and that made it all worth it.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

I'm back!

Sorry, sorry, sorry! I took a little blog vacation while I was trying to settle into the fall schedule. Remember all that whining I did about how hard the summer was? Well, apparently I didn't realize how good we had it. This is TOUGH. I don't remember working this hard at Colby, but maybe cuz that I was younger and had more stamina. Also there wasn't a lot of studying for my theater Improv classes.

So what the heck have I been up to? Here is a week in the life of the Nursing Student:

Monday
8-10A MedSurg Lab. We are learning how to interpret EKGs which is pretty darn cool. We got to practice on ourselves, which was fun. Apparently my heart is doing just fine, electrically.

10A-2PM. Frantically try to complete the paperwork due at MedSurg Clinical

2-9P: MedSurg Clinical. At the Cardiac Unit of Hartford Hospital. So far only 1 of the 3 patients I have seen has been there with an actual heart problem.

Tuesday:
8-9:15A MedSurg Lecture. Learn wide range of topics ranging from Chakras to Burn Victims to Hospice Care to Cirrhosis. It is a pretty broad class. Oh, and there was more singing and dancing today.
9:30-10:45A: Pediatrics Lecture. Take home message here is that where adults have more cardiac related emergencies, kids have respiratory emergencies. Oh, and regardless of what illness they have/what the affected body system is - vomiting will be a symptom. Oh, and never tell I sick child that you are going to "take" his temperature. He will think you are actually taking it away from him.

10:45-11A: Frantically run to the cafeteria and purchase lousy premade sandwich to eat during the 15 minute lunch break during theory class. If you wait until aforementioned break, the lines at the cafe are WAY too long.

11A-1:45P. Theory Class. AKA Bane of My Existence.

2-3:15P: Behavorial Health AKA Psych Nursing AKA BEST CLASS EVER. The professor is one of the best I have ever had, and the material is fascinating.

Wednesday:
7A-2P: Psych Clincial. Usually fun, never dull. Often includes coloring, pictionary and/or wheel of fortune. Playing pictionary with the mentally ill brings the game to a whole new level.

Thursday:
Same as Tuesday, minus Theory. The 11-2 slot is filled with lunch, followed by studying. Or napping. Sometimes the napping is disguised as studying. Other times the napping is out in the open.

Friday:
8-10A: Pediatrics Lab. Very cool instructor who told us she wouldn't speak to us again if we ever called her "Professor"
10A-2PM. Frantically try to complete the paperwork due at Pediatrics Clinical
2-10P: Pediatrics Clinical. Bridgeport Hospital. Very cool floor - complete with a well executed circus theme throughout. I am actually really enjoying my peds rotation which was a nice surprise.

Evenings when not at clincial are spend reading/studying. Weekends spent sleeping, cleaning and watching TiVo'd shows from the week. Oh and actually spending time with Jane when we are both awake.

So right now I am procrastinating studying for our first Pedi Exam on Thursday. It is an overwhelming amount of information and I am a little intimidated by it. The teacher actually told us she felt sorry for us. Nice, right! But I got a 94 on my Psych Exam and a 92 on my Med Surg Exam, so that's happiness!!

Okay, I can't avoid Pedi for any longer. But I will try to be better about keeping up with my blog. Fleen - i don't know how you do it. You are in inspiration!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

My theory is...

Tomorrow is the start of my behavioral health clinical. The best and/or worst part is that we don't have to wear our scrubs. This is good cuz it is one less day of laundering them, but on the downside is that I have to actually pick out what I am going to wear. We are supposed to look "professional" which translates into no jeans and no sweats (which is pretty much all I live in). So tonight I had to dig up my bin labeled "Fancy Clothes" and drag out my old office wear. And Jane was kind enough to iron for me which is good cuz otherwise I would have resorted to hanging up my pants in the bathroom while I took a shower hoping the steam would magically make the wrinkles disappear. (I don't like ironing. I know how to do it in theory, but Jane volunteered, so I willingly obliged:) I will let you know how it goes!

Speaking of theories, we had our Nursing Theory class today where we discussed really abstract concepts like the "Metaparadigms of Nursing" and the "Theories of Knowing" in nursing. Oh, and apparently there is a big debate going on about whether "caring" should be considered the fifth paradigm of nursing and what exactly constitutes "caring" and whether or not caring should just be considered a part of nursing or whether it should be considered the "essence" of nursing. Oh and some fear that we should not place emphasis on caring because it is considered a "gendered attribute" and is not valued in our society. But really what I learned today is that I would not care to be a Nursing Theorist when I grow up. Although we did read this great article that amongst other things said that if we continue to have these great debates about "caring" then nursing as a profession will be ridiculed. And I had to agree.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Yesterday was our first day of actual classes. This semester is very different from the summer term in that we are taking four classes at the same time instead of the single week-long marathon classes. It felt like we were on a giant mental treadmill: Lecture, Lab, Clinical...Lecture, Lab Clinical...Lecture, Lab, Clinical over and over again.

But now we actually feel like college students...dashing from one class to another, checking our schedule to make sure we are in the right room, running to the cafe for a quick bite during the 15 minute break between classes. It did bring back lots of fond memories about about my time at Colby. (Except for the semester I had an 8:30AM Statistics class all the way accross campus. That was rough)

But I've noticed some definite changes from my previous academic experience. Most notably is the use of technology. At Colby I went to lecture armed with giant notebooks and a stack of pens so I could furiously write down all the notes from class. And the teachers would either be simply speaking the lecture, pausing occaisionly so we could keep up, or using the GIANT moveable chalk boards with GIANT multicolored pieces of chalk. Remember chalk? Now all the teachers use PowerPoint for the lecture material and we can pre-print the outlines before class and follow along, only needing to jot down an additional talking point. No more hand cramps. I bet the professors can get through a lot more material since they don't waste time writing things out on the blackboard and/or having to wait for the students to catch up.

Another big change is the general student body. Fleen, Mo, Lou - do you remember ever wearing full makeup to classes? Most of the undergrad women I see are attending classes in full makeup and carefully chosen outfits. I was happy if I had brushed my hair and had on somewhat matching clothes. Or am I forgetting? Did we really get dressed up for class? I had that maroon skirt I would sometimes wear, but that was the extent of my fanciness. I saw this one girl who had so much makeup on she could have passed for a drag queen. Is this just a sign of the times?

Oh, and all the students have cell phones plastered to their faces when walking from class to class. I don't remember feeling the need to converse when walking from my Directing class to American Musical Theater.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I'd sit in the quad and think, Oh my god...

It was strange to be back on campus again today. For one thing we have been away from the classroom for two weeks on our clinical rotation. But now it is the Fall semster, which means the return of the traditional undergrads. The campus was suddenly a flurry of activity completely unlike the tranquility of the summer term. The parking lots were jam packed and the lines in the dining hall and bookstore snaked out the doors. But the most amazing part - the students looked so Young.

Some of our classes and clinicals are integrated with the regualar senior nursing students. One of my fellow classmates was in the library working on the safety exam due today and saw two girls sitting at one of the nearby computer terminals working on the same document. And she overheard them saying, "I can't believe I have clinical with Some of Them". I am a Them.

On the Menu

The Menu this semester includes:

Theoretical Basis for Nursing
Alterations In Holistic Integrity of Individuals III (AKA Med-Surg II)
Alterations In Holistic Integrity of Families II (Pediatrics)
Alterations In Holistic Ingegrity Related to Behavioral Health (Psyche Nursing)

Return from paradise and the start of a new semester

Returned from beautiful beautiful ogunquit. We had an absolute blast. The weather was perfect, hot and sunny, and both Jane and returned with much color on our faces, shoulders, shins, and feet. The place we stayed was gorgeous - right on the marginal way with gorgeous views of the beach and open sea. There was also a restaurant that we had breakfast at every morning, plus a cute little bar that served yummy frozen drinks. I have discovered a new favorite - Melon Madness which is a combination of Midori and Pina Coladas. Yum and more yum.

I just love the beach there. The sand is impossibly soft and clean and there are GYNORMOUS waves. I purchased a boogie board and had lots and lots of fun riding the waves. My other favorite part of Ogunquit beach is the tidal river. The water is warmer there and there is a gentle current that will bring you along the river and into the ocean. You can also spot little snails, shrimp and crabs at the bottom. We had the best time just floating along - like a natural version of the Lazy River Ride I love at water parks. It was an absolute blast.

But the best part was that my Jane secretly contacted some of my peeps who joined us for a pre-birthday surprise. Saturday morning Miranda drove all the way up and showed up at our hotel room door. My jaw dropped as I exclaimed "SHUT UP" when I opened the door and saw her smiling back at me. I had been wondering why Jane was lolligagging in the room and didn't seem to want to leave when I was gently but clearly indicating that I was excited to get to the beach and to more boogie-boarding. But she just stayed sprawling on the bed saying, "I'm not ready yet!" All was forgiven once I realized what she had planned. So Moses joined us at the beach we introduced her to the joys of tidal river floating. So much fun and so great to see her! Then later that afternoon as we returned to the room, I was surprised again by the site of Ms Alee & Ms Stacey hiding behind the bed. Apparently they were supposed to jump out and say "SURPRISE" but unfortuneately Stacey banged her leg so all I heard was "Sur-OW!" and saw two figures scrambling in the corner. The injury was not lasting so the five of us walked the marginal way and had an AWESOME dinner of seafood and butter, lots of drinks, and lots of laughter. It was a perfect evening.

This morning we packed up and walked around town and did some shopping. I got my traditional bag of chocolate covered blueberries. Then on the way out we stopped at the "Inmate Made Products" store and then Stonewall Kitchen where we got some blueberry jam. We finished the evening by stopping by my mom's for a cookout and were joined by my sister, jake, josh, leah and my aunt diane. Dinner was fabulous as always (THANKS MOM!!) and we had a great time.

Finally home. All our stuff is still in the garage or in the car, and we will slowly unpack over the week. I spent the evening organizing my desk and bookbags in preparation for the upcoming semester. I was scheduled for Med-Surg lab at 8AM tomorrow, but due to some scheduling issues with the hospitial orientations, we won't be starting lab until next week. So I only have to do hospital orientation tomorrow from 2-4PM. Which is actually good because we have to complete two safety tests tomorrow before the meeting, plus reading assignments due on Tuesday.

And it begins....

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ogunqolicious

Jane and I are off this afternoon for a few days in lovely Ogunquit Maine. The weather is supposed to return to summery temperatures, and I am very much looking forward to lounging on the beach, walking the Marginal Way, going to my favoriate art stores and eating as much lobster as humanly possible. I am also hoping that the fresh salty air will help me stop sneezing uncontrollably.

Okay, gotta go pack and finish laundy and stuff. Big thanks to Leora & Julia for taking care of our many four-legged friends when we are away!! Give the meow-meows lots of snuggles!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

If only..


the stupid #$%# @#$#% a$$hole was IN the shirt, then maybe he would be getting what he deserves.

And shame on NBC Sports Center for speculating on when he might return to the sport. And for saying that the "worst"part of the whole story is the "gambling." I hope he gets torn to shreds in prison.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Rainy Day

I have been enjoying my few days off so far. I have not accomplished much other than spending an arm and a leg at both Staples (ink is expensive!) and Walmart (those random movies I bought just JUMPED into my cart, I swear!). I should be cleaning today, putting away the laundry and other such tasks but it is raining outside and it is a sleepy day and I think i need to slowly work up to being productive. So I think I will start by curling up with my Meow-meows and watching one of the bad movies I bought. I am kinda hooked on bad high school movies. Yesteday I watched Ten Things I Hate About You. I had never seen it and was curious because secretly I love those movies (She's All That, Cruel Intentions, etc. And of course Bring It On, but that is more because of the E.D. factor (Elisa Dushku) - which instantly increases the enjoyability of a movie ten-fold.) My friend Julia left me a voicemail message the other day JUST to remind me how hot she is. It made me laugh. Just like when I left Miranda a random voicemail message to say how much I missed Buffy. Anyway, I "justified" watching Ten Things because 1) it is 'based' on a shakesperean play 2) it has Julia Stiles in it and I think she is talented, and 3) it has Heath Ledger in it who would later go on to dazzle the crowds in one famous gay cowboy movie. So today's entertainment: The Brother's Grimm. Then I swear I will do some cleaning.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Another week gone

Hello all,

Again begging for your forgiveness for another week without posts. This last week was a killer, extremely intense and exhausting, both physically and mentally. We were back at Milford Hospital for our rotation in MedSurg Nursing. All the highs I was feeling after my fabulous rotation in Maternity were quickly thrown to the ground as we spent the week calculating IV drips, and fumbling with new equipment under the eye of our new professor who in my opinion was more concerned with showing us how much she knew, rather than being in tune with the students' needs. It was a rough week, but I survived mostly unscathed. I faced some great challenges and made some great bonds) I gave a bunch more injections and finally feel comfortable with the skill. We also did lots of work with IV meds which were tricky at first, but by the end of the week I again feel confident in my abilities.

My issue was with the professor who after the first day on the floor had no positive feedback for any of us and instead disapprovingly told us that "We had to be a lot faster with the IVs or we would never be able to progress to more difficult skills." And I thought to myself, well of course we will get faster with this. And of course it is going to take us longer at first. This was our first day working with these meds on real patients. I went into the rotation assuming we would should take things slowly as we got used to the many new med bags and tubing that we didn't have in lab, and that with each day we would get better and faster. I was not expecting to be reprimanded on speed on the first day and it really threw my confidence level way off. I know others in the group felt the same. So it basically took me the rest of the week to feel better about myself. And I am mad that I let her get to me as much as she did, but it is hard because her opinion of me is what our grade is based on.

And I had other issues with her as well. When I asked her if she had any suggestions on how to communicate with patients with a language barrier, I received a glib response and was told, no joke, " Well, she is obviously fine cuz she is not screaming in pain." And I thought, well I would HOPE that as nurses we are aspiring to a higher level of care than 'patient not screaming in pain'. I was aiming more for 'patient is as comfortable as possible'. But that didn't seem to concern my insturctor. So instead I went home and learned how to say some phrases in Portuguese that would allow me to assess my patient's pain levels and where the pain was coming from so I could treat her as efficiently as possible. And my patient seemed much happier the next day and that made me feel good.

So now I have a week off. Thank god. I spent most of the day saturday and sunday sleeping. I would try to get something done, but was just too pooped. Jane and I would try to watch a movie, and I would fall asleep in the middle. Finally feeling more rested and am hoping to get a few productive things done today. My study is a complete mess, so I need to clean that up before the semester starts. Was also hoping to get some unpacking done, laundry, pay some bills, get school supplies and other grown-up tasks that I have been ignoring. Oh, and to have some fun!!

Friday, August 10, 2007

My sweetie

Also just wanted to mention how amazing my Jane has been this week. She even brought home my favorite dinner from our favorate Mexican restaurant and had it waiting for me when I got home tonight! Okay, now I really need to go to zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Another great day

...that I will post about tomorrow because I am completely exhausted and have another work day tomorrow. But at least it is a "short" workday of only 8 hours. And now I must go and finish my care plan before I fall asleezzzzzzzzzzzzz

Thursday, August 9, 2007

A Day in the Life

Today was a great day. For the first time, I actually felt like a nurse. I had a great patient who needed a lot of care that kept me busy all day. Best of all, I got to perform a bunch of new skills. I removed an indwelling catheter. I removed an IV catheter. I had a full day of strict monitoring of fluid intake and output of my post-surgical C-section mom and all the documentation involved. I tracked amounts of every baby feeding in the three different places it needs to be recorded and tracked the # of baby voids on the 6 different places it gets recorded. I know it must seem that tracking wet diapers is not very interesting, but it is the best assessment you can do to verify that the baby is receiving adequate fluid. Plus I got to do 2 full assessments on both the mom and baby. I worked in some patient education which is a big part of the post-partum care. I was on my feet for pretty much the whole 12 hours with a few sitting breaks to document.

I am finally feeling confident about my assessment skills on the mom. Slightly easier than assessing a newborn who insists on sqiggling, cooing, crying when trying to assess his respiration rate. And listening to the heartbeat is pretty tricky too. Frist of all it beats extremely fast (120-160 beats/minute compared to adults of 60-100). That's a lot of counting. You also need to listen for the full minute (as opposed to just 15 seconds) since baby's heartbeat is often slightly irregular and accelerates greatly if the baby makes a slight movement. The first time I lost count around 84 and had to do it all over again. And of course the parents are watching you do this the whole time and undoubtably thinking, "Oh god, what is this student doing to my baby!!! She is making him cry!!" But my patient was extremely cool and did not get the least bit concerned when I was assessing the baby, so that made me feel pretty good. I felt like when the patient asked me questions, I had intelligent and thorough answers to provide.

Plus we had some great theoretical discussions about episiotomies versus lacerations during childbirth, reasons why pregnant and post-partum moms are at higher risk for deep vein thrombosis, and the therapeutic effects of cabbage leaves on the engorged breast. Who knew?!

Shots all around

Today I gave my first injection to a living breathing human. It was very exciting and kinda scary. But afterwards I felt great because it had been done and was no longer this ominous terrifying task looming over my head. And my patient said, "Wow that wasn't bad at all!" which made me feel good. Although she had just gone through childbirth, so her pain perception was slightly off.

Jane also gave her first shot today. Our dog Barley has been diagnosed with diabetes and will now require insulin shots twice a day. Barley was also a good patient and did not complain in the least. And Jane was an excellent nurse and administered the med with perfect technique.

So everyone should now go do a shot in both Jane's & my honor. I recommend the slippery nipple [shot] of Bailey's Irish Creme and Sambuca. And if you like, I can can go grab some from the nursery for you.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

An unusual request

One funny thing that happened yesterday. We were in the post-partum ward and there were several moms doing bottle feedings. So one of the staff nurses was inventorying the bottle supplies, and she turned to us and asked, "Can one of you run over to the nursery and grab as many nipples as possible?"

I just laughed and laughed and laughed silently to myself.

Yay for Maternity Rotation

I am so happy to report that I am absolutely loving my Maternity Rotation. Yesterday was our first day and it was a lot to take in. A new hospital, much bigger than the one I was at for my first clinical. New procedures, new nurses, new ways of documenting, new medication systems. And that's just the incidental stuff. Such a completely different atmosphere than the Med-Surg Floors. And so much better. Mostly because of my exhaustion, I am having trouble putting into words exactly how I am feeling. But I can definitely say I think I would like to specialize in Labor & Delivery. I got to observe a C-Section delivery and participate in a v. birth today. Both were the most amazing experiences. Women are just amazing and it was wonderful to see life being brought in to the world. To see parents meeting their children for the first time. To be part of such a team-oriented atmosphere (another one of the big differences between L&D and Med Surg.) I promise I will tell more about it, but it is already late and we have another long 12 hours ahead of us. (my poor feet are already killing me and it is only Tuesday!!). Okay, off to finish my homework and then crawl to bed.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Twas the night before clinicals

Tomorrow is the first day of my maternity clinical rotation. Am very much looking forward to this experience and hope to get a lot out of it. I will be at New Britain General Hospital. Our clinical instructor, whom I have not yet met in person, sent us a very friendly email and mentioned that the "Family Center" there is wonderful and that all the nurses are looking forward to having us. That makes me very happy to hear. All of the nurses from my previous clinical rotation were nice, however some appeared more happy than others to have us students around...these were the nurses would actually help teach skills and encouraged involvement. I loved them. So if we are going to have an entire floor of nurses welcoming us...I will be absolutely delighted!! Okay...gotta go...alarm will be going off at 5:15A!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Preset for the top of the show

Once again I find more similarities between nursing and stage management. Yesterday we watched a film entitled "Preparing the Delivery Room for Birth." The film demonstrated a nurse setting up all the equipment and many instruments that will/may be needed by the MD or Midwife during delivery. During this time she also pre-fills syringes of meds that might be needed during delivery and also prepares meds for the baby immediately post partum (like Vit K & antibiotic eye ointment). She turns on the radiant warmer to preheat the blankets & cap for the baby, configures the bed into a position most conducive to delivery & checks the functioning of the oxygen and suctioning apparatus.

It reminds me of presetting for the top of a show. Same critical thinking skills, difference environment. Is everything we need functioning properly and in the right place? Have I anticipated all problems and provided for alternatives? Is everyone and everything as prepared as possible?

Except here, the stage is a delivery room, the cast & crew includes the mom, birthing partner, MD/Midwife, Doula, & nurses and the final goal is not a standing ovation, but a healthy mom & baby. Other differences: the delivery room is prepared using sterile technique; the only time I remember ever having to wear gloves in the theater was handling dry ice. There is not a lot of dry ice during childbirth. Also in the delivery room, the blood is not made up of Corn Syrup and food coloring. The word 'production' takes on a whole new meaning. There is no method acting. Those emotions -- the pain, exhaustion, anguish, delight, joy, exhilaration, love -- are real. Another big difference: In the theater, if the SM forgets something, the situation most likely can be solved by some clever ad libbing on the actors' parts and the consequences might include a break in the action or a missed laugh. In the delivery room, a mistake must be solved by medical heroics on the MD's/Midwife’s part and the consequences can be far more lasting and severe.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

For Whom the Bell Tolls

I like morning labs. I don't like the getting up at 6AM to get there for 7AM, but I like having most of the afternoon off. Today was such a gorgeous day. After lab I went to the cafe to grab lunch and took it outside to enjoy the nice weather while I ate. The Quinnipiac campus is right next to Sleeping Giant State Park, named for the series of big hills/small mountains that look like, well, you get the picture. Apparently the best view of the mountains is from the QU quad. So that was where I had my lunch and it was breathtaking, peaceful, and yummy. I am hoping to take a digi cam to campus so I can take pictures to post so alla y'all can see where I spend all my waking hours.

Like most college campuses, Quinnipiac has a clock tower atop the library. It's also a nice sight, but I still think I favor the Miller Library tower over it. However, the QU tower is more talented. In addition to chimes that sound off on the hour, this tower all plays a selection of chimed songs. I am not sure what the desired effect of these songs is supposed to be, cuz really, I just think they're funny. Up until today I had only heard it play selections from The Sound of Music. I guess it is appropriate next to the backdrop of the mountains, but the first time I heard it, I have to admit I stopped dead in my tracks and said, "Is that...Edelweiss?!” But today, the tower branched out its repertoire to include some Beatles favorites including "Here Comes the Sun." It was just wrong and weird. There are some songs that should not be converted into chime music. Just like it is wrong to hear certain songs in muzak. If I ever hear it playing "My Humps" I think I might have to write to the Dean of Students.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Lab Practicals

Hey all,

So we finally got our internet fixed. Yahoo! So hopefully I can start posting on a more regular schedule. Since we last spoke, I managed to complete my MedSurg Lab, and did quite well on the two skills I had to perform on the lab practical yesterday (Saturday). How evil are they to make us do a lab exam on Saturday morning?! 8:30AM. Blah. (I know for the moms reading this, that 8:30 would be sleeping in:) I just still hate mornings:)

I got a 100% on my blood draw from a central venous catheter. And I remembered to assist Chester Chest (the headless torso nailed to a board) into a supine position with his "head" slightly elevated. I like doing things with central catheters. I find them fascinating that they can stay in your body for years. The Porta-Cath is the coolest. They (i.e. surgeons) place this valve inside your chest that stays in there for up to 10 years. And then if you need to access it, you put a short needle through the skin and subQ tissue that goes through the valve and you have direct access to the veins for blood draws or meds or whatever. Very cool.

I got a 98 on the Nasal Suctioning skill. I forgot to "test the fucntioning of the suction tube with saline water" before sticking up my "patient's" nose. I got all thrown off because I couldn't get my sterile glove on all the way. I never knew this before nursing school, but apparently I have very sweaty hands. And when I am nervous, they get even sweatier. To make matters worse, the room that I was in was approximately 857 million degrees. My poor lab instructor was miserable, cuz she was stuck in there all morning. I only had to suffer for a 1/2 hour. But anyway, if there is any amount of moisture on your hands, it is nearly impossible to put on a sterile glove without contaiminating it. You see, when putting on the glove, you need to pretty much do it with one hand while NOT TOUCHING THE OUTSIDE OF THE GLOVE. Next time you see a rubber glove, try to put it on with one hand without touching the outside. Pretty tricky. So when I had trouble putting my glove on, I got all thrown off and forgot to check the functioning. But as soon I inserted the nasal tube, I remembered the missed step, so I only lost 2 points instead of 5.

Also amusing was that I had a transgendered "patient" for this skill. As soon as we enter the room, we are given a 1 paragraph health history of our patient that we need to scour for clues to figure out what steps we need to take. So my paragraph said something like "Mrs. K has a history of chronic lung disease and has been admitted to the floor for pneumonia, yada yada yada. So I look over and find one of the male dummies in the hospital bed. So I said, "My, Mrs. K has a very short haircut!" And my instructor laughed and said, "Yes, and very manly features!".

Tomorrow I start my Maternity/Child Care lab. I am very much looking forward to this week. And the best part: NO EXAM! YAHOO! I am so excited to just be able to go to class and learn for the sake of learning. No impending exam constantly lurking in the back of your mind. No constant wondering "Is that obscure fact going to be on the exam. We just get to learn. I am absolutely delighted.

So, amazingly and wonderfully, I am DONE WITH EXAMS for the rest of the Summer. . I just have to complete all the skills for maternity lab this week, and then two weeks of clinicals. (mind you this does not mean that we will not be busy. Our clinicals are scheduled from 7AM to 7PM Monday through Saturday for two weeks in a row. Poopy.) But still...NO MORE EXAM until Fall. I am so happy!!!! I am hoping to actually get more than 4 hours a sleep a night! YIPPEE!! So So So Happy!!!!!!!!!

And my mom is doing great!! Thank you for all the postive thoughts you all sent. It meant a lot! And I just have to send a big thank you to my big sister who has been absoltutely amazing to my mom this last week. She was at the hospital throughout the surgery, picked her up from the hospital and has been helping her out all week. She is awesome and I love her and my mom lots.

And other good news: Leora's dog is doing much much better. Last Thursday, she suffered what we think was a stroke. She and Jane rushed her to the animal hospital where they couldn't do a whole lot except give her steroids to reduce any swelling. At first she couldn't really use the left side of her body. When she tried to walk, she would just walk/stumble around in circles. It was so sad and terrifying. But she has been improving steadily all week. This moring I was outside with the dogs and hadn't put Diggory on her lead and one of Julia's friends stopped by. When the car pulled in the drive way, Diggory RAN down the steps to greet her. She RAN. It was amazing! But then I had to scold her for running away, but wanted to praise her for running. So I was like" DIGGORY, NO!!! but good running! that was good! BUT BAD DOG! but you did so good!!!"

So that was more happiness. And now it is late and I must get to bed. Tales from my Maternity lad will come tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Many many tales

Sorry readers, again, for another long absence. So much has happened since my last post that has prevented me from updating. I will try to catch everyone up as quickly as possible!

Most unimportantly, our stupid internet has been down again, so I am writing this from one of the library computers. The studpid comcast guy should be coming on Friday, so after that, I should be able to return to a regular posting schedule.

The most important recent development was my mom's surgery. She went in on Friday AM to get some large nodules removed from her thyroid. They had done a previous biopsy which had returned "inconclusive." So they wanted to removed them and test them to see if they were benign. And thankfully, gratefully, and with much hoping and praying, they were indeed benign. I was so concerned about the outcome that it was too much for me to process. I couldn't even think about it. Just physcially, emotionally, mentally could not. And what was worse, I had to be stuck here, taking yet another exam and sitting through hours of lecture, and could not be with my mom. It was frustrating beyond belief. But she did amazing through the surgery and has now recovered beautifully. I went up Saturday and spent the night to keep an eye on her and help make her supper and stuff. She is now doing very well, getting her energy back. She even made zucchini bread this morning.

This was immediately followed by the MOST EVIL of FINAL EXAMs ever. This one stupid test was worth 45% of our grade, and literally could make or break our nursing careers. Taking it was horrible, and the teacher tortured us by not posting our grades until very late the next day. I did very well (89%) and apparently everyone else did as well, as we thankfully did not lose anyone from the program. We all let out a collective sigh of relief.

Then of course, came Harry Potter.
NO SPOILERS, but I do talk about what I thought of the book. If you don't even want to read about that...skip to next paragraph!
**********************************************************
Naturally I have finished the book by now and would LOVE to talk with anyone who has also read it. I absolutely loved the book beyond belief. It was more than satisfying, and lived up to my expectations. And part of me is so sad that it is over. I cried more over this book than any other...tears of joy, tears of despair, anger, sadness. You name it. I cried. (At one point I was actually sobbing. physically sobbing. Jane looked at me in disbelief of my overwhelming reaction to the book. So yes, if you are a potter fan and would love to process the story, give me a call!

****************************************************************
And now we are back in lab. This time it is Med-Surg Lab. Which means a lot of IVs. Setting up IVs, giving meds through IVs, setting up piggy-back IVs. We also learned how to do nasal suctioning. We also learned that it is "safe practice" to suction someone's mouth AFTER you have suctioned through their nose! EWWW! we all said, including the teacher. So, even though it is gross....it is safe for your patient. weird.

Today we played with Chester, the chest. Basically a torso stuck on a board with a variety of central catheters placed in him. We learned how to flush them (Wipe before you Flush!), how to give meds through them, and even draw blood. It was pretty cool. We also learned how to install an intermittent bladder catheter. That was kinda scary. To demonstrate, our teacher pulled, as one student described it, "a giant vagina" out of a trunk. Apparently that is not one of the models/dummies they leave on the shelves when not in use. They had also shut all the shades in the room so that the many prospective student tour groups wouldn't be horrified. Actually the parents of the students would probably be horrified. And then we all had another laugh becuase the little packet of lubricant that you apply on the tubing:
Surgi-lube.

And I think I will leave you with that:)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The good, the bad, and the ugly

The good is, I passed my exam! I actually did surprisingly well considering how awful I felt about it. I am very happy with my 88, considering the class average for the test was a 79.

The bad is that we have another exam tomorrow on Maternal/Child Nursing Care (not Maternal Child Care Nursing:)
We covered a boatload of material in two days and I need to find a way to get it all to stick in my head.

The ugly is that we lost another student. While I didn't know the three other students who failed/left the program, I knew this student fairly well and she was very smart and very sweet. The worst part is that you needed to get a 73 grade in the course to pass. She got a 71. Two points short. I didn't get the chance to talk to her after we got our grades, but some other students did, and they said she was handling it well. She may try and complete the two year nursing program instead. Major kudos to her. If that had been me I would have immediately set fire to all my handouts, books, and quinnipiac apparel and gone running and screaming through the woods. If I saw a duck...well...I would smile and pat its head:) It definitely left the rest of us quiet and concerned. Moral is low and we are all terrified. And angry.

The silver lining. I like our new Maternal/Child teacher. She is very clear in lecture (although a little rambly) and I think her exam is going to be much more fair.

Okay...back to the books.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Best. Thing. Ever.

You all know that I am the biggest fan ever of www.cuteoverload.com.
If you have not visited this awesome website, stop reading my ramblings and check it out. No matter how your day is going, a quick trip to cuteoverload will bring a smile to your face.

Disparaged by my recent exam (grade still pending), I went to the site for some daily cheer. And there was an entry about the best new invention IN THE WORLD. Ever wonder what the heck your cat does all day when you are at work? Well now you can find out…
Some dude McGyvered a mini digicam for his cat's collar that randomly takes pictures throughout the day. You can actually SEE where your cat goes, what he does, and secretly follow him as he goes about his kitty-business. How incredibly awesome is that? You have to check it out:

http://www.mr-lee-catcam.de/index.htm

Ugh

So today's exam sucked. And I spend all day and night studying for it. I did not get to see Harry, but really, for all the good the studying did me, I should have. That would have been time better spent. Cuz really, none of the info that we covered in lecture was actually in the exam. I think the teacher got confused and gave us an exam for like, next semester. It was awful. And more awful is that we still haven't got our grades yet. So I will have to spend the entire evening obsessing over my grade. And before you all say how crazy that is, I guarentee you that every other student in the program is feeling the same way. So I guess we are all crazy:)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Choices

So a week has gone by which means we have finished the lecture portion of an ENTIRE course. The final exam is tomorrow. We then immediately start on our next course, Maternal Child Care Nursing. At this point, we are all starting to show wear around the edges. By the end of class on Friday, I actually started to wonder if my brain would be able to absorb any more information. After a particularly confusing lecture on chemotherapy, I felt like I wanted to gnaw my own arm off. Sentiments were shared by everyone in the class. Our heads are simply getting very very full. Fridays in general are very tough. Our brains have reached maximum saturation, our concentration levels have plummeted, and our butts are sore from sitting in the uncomfortable desks all day. Even the professor was pretty cooked. It was definitely time for the weekend.

Now I need to muster up the concentration and motivation to study for yet another exam. I took yesterday completely off, to give my poor noggin a break. It helped a lot. And on the upside, if I get my studying done this afternoon, Jane & I will go see the new Harry Potter movie, which I am VERY excited about.

It just gets overwhelming knowing that after tomorrow's exam, the whole process will repeat, without a long break until the end of August. It like we are running sprints to pass each midterm while simultaneously running a marathon to the end of summer.

I am still enjoying the program and the experience, don't get me wrong. And I know it will all be worth it in the end, and I would rather have this crazy schedule and have it done in 1 year, than spreading it out over two years.
Okay, I feel better. I just needed to vent. Phew. Thanks for listening to all my whining! :) Back to the books!!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Another day, another test

Sorry all! I haven't been posting as much...this week has been pretty busy. We have another test tomorrow so this will be short. Yesterday was very surreal. In addition to the usual lecture, our classtime included: a game of Medical Jeopardy, a skit about brain attacks, lots of little slips of paper, our professor dressed up as Dr. McFaatipahnts, and, no joke, a dance/kickline with bedpans to the song "Bedpan Blues". An actual song called Bedpan Blues. I guess you can really find anything on the internet. Both the skit and the dance involved reluctant "volunteers" from the class. I was not in the skit, but had the pleasure of joining the kickline routine. Naturally many of the students recorded it with their camera phones. And I told them I would hunt them down if I ever found it on You Tube.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Familiar Faces

It was nice to be back in the classroom, not necessarily for the 9 hours of lecture, but to see everyone's faces again. We had been split up for two weeks in our small clinical groups, and it was nice to be back together and hear about everyone's experiences. There were some horror stories (one student told me she cried 3 times on her first day) but mostly everyone had a positive experience.

However, three students have left us for good. Two failed out and another quit the program after 1 day of clinicals. It just reminds me of how scary an experience this is, how much is at stake, and how proud I should feel for making it this far. It's good to keep things in perspective.

Okay, back to the books. We started a new semester today and Wednesday is the midterm. But I learned a fancy new big word today: endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatiography which is a test physicians use to diagnose problems with the gall bladder, pancreas and bile ducts. And we talked about two of my favorite anatomy terms: the ampulla of Vater and the sphincter of Oddi. Maybe someday I will discover a new landmark in the body. The ampulla of Gerry. I hope I discover an ampulla or duct rather than a sphincter. Cuz really...sphincter. It's kinda funny.

Back to the classroom

Tomorrow is the first day of our second semester! Which means this past weekend was our winter break. A whole two days. And I thought the Colby winter break was short:)

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Fluff

I was recently introduced to the wonderful world of Fuffernutter sandwiches. I never had one growing up, but don't really remember ever having the interest to do so. My best friend Diane would eat them all the time. I remember being slightly curious about the mysterious white gooey spread, but not enough to try it on my sandwich. Diane and I did share a liking of Frosted Flakes, and I remember one breakfast at her house before school where she made me laugh so hard that I spat my flakes all over the table.

I was always a PB&J girl. White bread, welch's grade jelly and creamy peanut butter. Later on I would branch out to raspberry jam and crunchy peanut butter. I will even eat it on wheat bread. Shocking, I know. When I went away to Ecuador for a month during my junior year at Colby, we ate a lot of rice and beans. I mean, a LOT of rice and beans. And trout. There was a lot of trout. And this weird starchy root vegetable that if you mashed it and added 865 lbs of butter, it almost kinda slightly reminded you of mashed potatoes. But a lot of time it was just served to us boiled. A big boiled root served over, yep, you guessed it, rice and beans. Naturally by the end of the trip, we were all having major cravings for our favorite foods from back home. Some people were craving pizza, others steak and potatoes. French fries were also popular. Not me. Nope, given a choice of ANY dish in the whole entire world, all I wanted was a peanut butter & jelly sandwich with a BIG glass of milk. Which my awesome mom greeted me with at Logan Airport when we arrived back home.

So although I will always love a good PB& J, I have to admit, Fluffernutters rock.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Falling into place

Today was a great day at clinicals. For the first time, all the many pieces of the puzzles were falling into place. Rather than each student providing part of the care for our own individual patient, 3 of us got to shadow our clinical instructor while she provided full care for three students. So while each of us still had our own patient, we got to see how an actual nurse would go about prioritizing patients needs, delegating, making decisions etc. It was a really good experience. Plus we got to view a lot more procedures that if we would have only been caring for our own patient. We got to participate in a blood transfusion, and I even learned how to flush a central IV line. Pretty cool stuff.

The best part, by far, was getting to see the big picture. And most importantly I saw how absolutely amazing and rewarding nursing is, and how much I am absolutely going to love it.

Tomorrow is the last day of our first clinical rotation. And we all got to choose a specialty outside of medsurg that we were interested in shadowing. So tomorrow I am going to shadow in the Emergency Department. Because my current hospital is smaller, it will be a great place to get introduced to how the ER operates. For me I think it will be a bit more manageable first step into emergency medicine than at big city ER where there will be multiple major traumas coming in every second (and explosions and helicopter chopping off surgeon's arms like on the show ER:)

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy 4th of July everyone!

I am very excited because fireworks are legal in CT. You can actually get them at Stop & Shop!!! And so we did! And I am very excited to let them off tonight once it gets dark.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Clinicals in a Nutshell

So a lot has gone on these last two weeks that I had not been able to keep everyone informed of.

I am almost through my first clinical rotation! I started last Wednesday and it has been an exciting, terrifying, educational and satisfying experience. We all arrived at the hospital on Wednesday morning looking like deer stuck in the headlights. All of a sudden, all the "practice assessments" were being done on real patients, and our results becoming part of their official medical record. Scary! Mr. Injectipad suddenly had a face (and arms and legs etc that we could provide privacy for.) It was all exhilarating, nerve-wracking and intense. But I had a great first patient who was very agreeable, and didn't laugh too hard when I couldn't figure out how to operate the hospital bed (or the bedside table). It was funny, all the things that I thought we going to be challenges for me, I soared right through, while the little details I didn't even think twice about in class were much more difficult. Most difficult has been getting up at 5:15AM every morning (you all know how much I LOVE mornings:) The days have been VERY long. We have done 12 hours shifts at the hospital, followed by at least 2 hours of "homework" while we complete our daily care plans for our patients. But so far I have received good feedback from my clinical instructor, the staff nurses, and the patients. We had a mini evaluation today with our instructor, and she told me that me biggest weakness is that I need to stop being so hard on myself. Apparently I do NOT need to know absolutely everything after only 4 days in the hospital.

We thankfully have a couple days off which I plan to spend sleeping as much as possible. (And trying to get a jump start on the reading for our next course.) They (the teachers) are absolutely insane. We are in class for 10 hours a day, and then are supposed to go home and read 500 pages of textbook material. A night. So I am going to try to use the time as productively as possible. But also try to have some fun time for me so I don't go insane. A happy medium: I am going to lug my gynormous Med-Surg textbook to the beach tomorrow:)

And more kudos to Jane who has put up with a very cranky Julie, my snooze alarm starting at 5:00AM, and nightly laundering of my scrubs.

PS Niknup just climbed in my lap and said to say hello to everyone.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Punch Duck Love

For last Sunday’s exam, they asked the students to arrive at least an hour before their scheduled “appointment” because they usually run way ahead of schedule. Although we were 15 minutes to perform each skill, usually the students don’t need the full allotted time and so things move quickly.

So when I arrived at 10A for my 11A time slot, I was greeting by a gaggle of white lab coat garbed students and told they were running WAY behind schedule. At that point, none of the10a students had gone. At first I was grateful for the extra time to review my notes one last time. Periodically I would steal a look around the room to see how the other students were using this time. I think it would be an interesting sociological study to be in a room with a bunch of accelerated nursing students waiting to take an exam. We are a strange strange bunch.

Some sat in the big comfy chairs silently rocking and muttering to themselves, occasionally letting out an expletive when they realized they had forgotten a step. Others quietly paced the room making large circular gestures with their arms. Others stood in the corner silently acting out the motions of a dressing change like a crazed nurse/mime.

Frustrated that we were trapped inside on a gorgeous Sunday morning, a few of us decided to take our mutterings outside. We looked out over the expansive green lawn surrounding the health science building and were treating by the site of a momma duck walking proudly across the lawn followed by a little baby duck, waddling back and forth, his short little legs struggling to keep up. Papa duck took up the rear looking surveying the scene for signs of danger. The little family got 1/2 way across before they got a look at us and decided to return to the safety of the bushes. (They apparently had no desire to receive a dressing change. Kinda like that scene from One Crazy Summer when the boy scout troupe finds John Cusack lying in the sand dunes and they cry out “SAVE HIM” and in the next scene he is covered mummy-like with gauze and bandages and slings.)

As time wore on, our anxiety slowly turned to agitation. “I could have slept another 45 minutes!” exclaimed one student. Sleep is rare and precious item. “The more I sit here, the more I am going to psyche myself out” exclaimed another. “I am so stressed right now, I want to punch something!” said a student sprawled across a table. “I am so stressed, I could punch a baby!” said another. So I said, “let’s go get that duck!” Then we all laughed at the ridiculousness of it all. I clarified that I was indeed only joking about wanting to punch the little baby duck, and they all laughed and said, “Oh really Julie, cuz we thought you were serious.”

You all know how I did on the exam, but I wanted to add one last item about the day. So after completing the skills, the instructor, Professor Love, told me that I was going to be a great nurse. She said, “You have a great manner about you. You are very business-like and efficient and competent in your skills, but you also manage to have a very calming and pleasing manner. I don’t know how you are feeling on the inside, but on the outside you are very soothing.” She then asked if I had thought about what specialty I was interested in. I told her that I still wasn’t sure, having absolutely no and wanted to approach each field with an open mind. Then I told her that I would welcome any feedback from the staff, if they thought that based on skills they thought I was better at than others, and/or based on my personality, if they thought there was a specialty I was more suited for. I told her I was possibly thinking about OR nursing, and she said “Oh no…you need to be with patients who are awake. You will be excellent with them.” She asked if I had ever though about nursing midwifery. She said if she ever had a baby, she would want someone like me to be her midwife. That made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Technical Difficulties

BIG apologies to everyone for the lack of posts this week. We were having internet problems and did not have access all week. I have a lot of catching up to do!!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

My patient patient

So...hooray! I ended up getting a 100% on both skills they selected for me to perform on the practical. I ended up having to do an insulin injection and medication via nasogastric tube. All my fussing over forgetting to open my biohazard bag was for nothing. But for the record, I DID remember to provide Mr. InjectiPad with adequate privacy, assisted him to a comfortable position, and only exposed the area I was working on (even though he was a naked, lifeless blob of liquid).

Big thanks are in order to Jane, my very patient patient. For both this class and for Health Assessment, she was a very willing victim for me to practice my skills on. The poor thing had "wounds" all over her body that I did dressing changes on, and during Health Assessment lab, she sat through nightly "Head to Toe" assessments, as I peered, poked, prodded, and listened (clinical terms being inspected, palpated, percussed, and auscultated) all over while she calmly reviewed our practice sheet to make sure I wasn't forgetting something (I kept forgetting to do the ears). Overall jane is in good health, although her tonsils get a grade "0." They like to "grade" things a lot in health assessment. Like pulse (0 is absent, 1 is weak and thready, 2 is normal, up to 4 which is bounding). With tonsils, 0 means they are not present, 1 means they are present but not swollen, 3 means they are toughing the uvula, and 4 would be when they are so swollen they are actually touching each other in the middle of your throat. Apparently with tonsils, less is more.

Act I Scene 1: Hospital Room

This will be short as it is after midnight, and I still have to finish studying to tomorrow's big exam. Today in lab we had a lecture about the wonderful world of ostomy bags. Actually it was more like a whirlwind drive-by lecture so they could give us more time reviewing the skills for the practical. Tomorrow, when performing a wound dressing change, I will remember to open up my sterile biohazard bag BEFORE I remove the bandage. Doing these practicals is tricky. It's like...I know how to perform all the actual skills (preparing and administering the injection, administering meds via nasogastric tube) but in addition to performing them, we need to verbalize certain things in a certain order that we would do in real life with real patients, but can't do in lab with the dummys. Things like "assists patient back to comfortable position". It's hard to remember to do that when the "patient's" leg comes off when you move it into the correct position for the injection. So it's a lot like learning a script for a play set in a hospital.

Fortunately, it is pass/fail tomorrow, and we only need to get a 75 on each skill to pass. But if you mess up on something major like breaking sterile field, or administering the wrong dose, you loss an automatic 25 points. So then if you mess on on something minor (like forgetting to SAY "I would be sure to provide adequate pricacy for the patient") you would fail. But towards the end all the instructors kept telling me "You know you are going to do fine tomorrow, right?" as I asked them to observe my technique for the 32nd time. So I guess I should feel good about that.

Okay, I said this was going to be short...but I lied. Back to my nasogastric tubes...

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Tired baby

So I was planning to write about the beautiful quinnipiac campus so y'all could see where I spend most of my waking hours, but fatigue has gotten the better of me, so I will postpone that until another day. Lab today was chaotic and stressful due to the looming practical exam on Sunday. Yes, we have an exam on Sunday. And we have lab from 1-6PM all afternoon tomorrow (Saturday). And then the final exam for the course is Monday AM followed immediately by our first clinical. I do not expect to sleep much between now and then. Except for right now. I think I need to sleep right now. And a brownie. I need a brownie now. Chocolate therapy.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Ouchie!

Today was "fun with injections" day! We learned all about giving every sort of injection under the sun. Intradermal (like the TB test where they inject a small amount of fluid in bubble under your skin (called a bleb FYI)), intramuscular, & subQ (like for insulin or heparin). Scary, scary scary. At first the syringe felt like a foreign object in my hands which suddenly felt large and amazingly clumsy. But within no time, we got the hang of it and were drawing fluids out of vials like experts. Okay, maybe not experts, but not bad for our first day. And surprisingly, no one in my section managed to stick themselves with the needle. At the beginning of lab, our instructor told us that if anyone did stick themselves that they would receive "a stern look from the teacher" and then the shame of having to wear a Mickey Mouse bandaid for the rest of class (which she displayed proudly to show she wasn't joking.) She rocks. So, yes, I escaped unscathed, however I did manage to spill a large quantity of reconstituted 'demi-dose' down my lab coat. But I didn't feel so bad, cuz several other students did them same, and the teacher said that the vials had most likely lost their suction.

I am still kinda afraid of having to reconstitute fluids. You do that when the actual medicine is too unstable in liquid to be pre-mixed. So then based on the concentration conversions listed on the vial and the dosage prescribed by the MD, you need to add solvent (usually sterile water or saline) to the med, and then figure out how many mL you need to administer the correct dose. Again with the scary. And just think....I will have to do this to a real live patient on Tuesday when our clinicals start. Hold me!

We did not have to inject ourselves (or our lab partners) with the syringes. Instead we had "Mr. InjectiPad" (Mr. IP for short) which was a small tan rectangular cushion filled with some unknown substance meant to imitate skin and the underlying dermis and subQ fat. Poor Mr. InjectiPad had a rough day.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

On the bandwagon

I have finally jumped on the Crocs bandwagon. I never knew what all the fuss was about until I got my own pair, and let me tell you, they are frickin comfy. Jane bought me a pair yesterday because 1) she is awesome and loves me; & 2) because I kept stealing her Reef slip-on sandals. She would go to look for them and inevitably find them downstairs in my study, buried underneath a massive pile of nursing textbooks, med calculation worksheets, empty water bottles, and cat hair.

Speaking of cat hair, I think Didi is interested in pursuing a nursing career as well. I will be downstairs and she will want absolutely nothing to do with me until the MOMENT I open a textbook, at which point she will not leave the desk. I think she likes the pictures. Gogo and Niknup are also doing well, but have not confided any career changes to me.

Today in Lab...

I knew my theater training would come in handy someday. Today in lab I got to play the part of "fainting patient" so the instructor could teach us how to lower someone to the floor if they pass out. We also learned lots about administering meds safely, which is good cuz I don't want to accidentally injure someone by giving them the wrong dosage. Or giving meds to the wrong patient. Apparently these things happen fairly frequently. So if you are ever in the hospital and they give you meds, make sure they confirm your name AND your wrist band!

Yesterday in lab, we learned how to change the bed sheets WITH A PATIENT STILL IN THE BED. Pretty tricky, I know.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What I am learning

We learn a lot of very valuable information in lecture and lab. Following are some of the more interesting/odd things I have learned in the past few days:

1) the term "cheesy smegma" was in one of my nursing textbooks
2) a fancy way of saying that someone is overweight: imbalanced nutrition related to excessive intake relative to metabolic needs
3) potassium imbalances can mess your body up in a major way, so for god's sake, STOP READING THIS AND GO EAT A BANANA! (seriously we should all be taking multivitamins...)

Exam Anxiety

We take a lot of exams. And they are all multiple choice questions to prepare us for the NCLEX. I am not particularly good at multiple choice, mainly because I tend to overanalyze the question, read too much into the details, rather than simply choosing the best answer. But now that I am taking at least 2 a week, I am getting better.

Yesterday, which seems like 7 weeks ago due to the long hours of our work day, we had the second exam for our Fundamentals of Nursing class. (Based on the name, you would think this would be the first class we took this semester, but actually it is the third, following Community Nursing and Health Assessment. Health Assessment was fun. We learned to take vital signs, play with fancy equipment like pulsox machines, ophthalmoscopes & otoscopes. I have seen the inner workings of my lab partner's ears. But I digress. Back to the exam.

Being an accelerated program, most of the students are academic overachievers, much like myself. An A- is not good enough. So yesterday we had an exam. And it was VERY difficult. I usually leave an exam sure that I passed, confident I at least got a B, and hopeful that I got an A. Not so much after yesterday's exam. My feelings were shared by everyone else in the class. Our post exam break is usually filled with laughter, joking, and some obsessive answer checking: "What did you put for #34? Was it A) skin turgor or B) mucous membranes?" (Q: what is the best way to assess dehydration of an inhouse patient?) And a lot is at stake for us. If you don't pass a class, you are out of the program. End of story.

But after yesterday's exam, we were all strangely quiet. No one wanted to review the questions, because that would just confirm the number of questions answered incorrectly. But my favorite coping strategy came from this student: "I am taking a poll of everyone in the class. What are you going to be now that you are no longer going to be a nurse?"

It brought a much needed smile to my face.

And it turns out that I got an 88 on the exam. Not an A, but considering I left the exam not sure if I passes, I am relatively happy. Oh, that the best way to assess dehydration in your patient? C) their weight.

Episode 1

Hello all,

As many of you know, I recently returned to school full time to pursue an acclerated BSN. Many people ask how its going, and lots of funny things happen that I would like to be able to share with people, so this seemed like a logical solution. Here we go!