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 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!!