Thursday, August 30, 2007

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


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


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.