Thursday, May 29, 2008

What are you doing now that you've graduated from Nursing School?


Yep, tomorrow at this time I will be in sunny Orlando, visiting the happiest place on earth. I woke up so excited this morning and squealed so loudly that I simultaneously scared both Jane AND the dog. (he thought I was going to take him for a walk!). A whole ten days of Pirates, Dinosaur, Splash Mountain, Expedition Everest, The Festival of the Lion King, Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, Soarin, Snow White's Scary Adventure, Test Track, breakfast with Pooh and friends, dinner in the castle, mickey ice cream treats, walking down Main street, the Castle, riding the monorail and best of all....WATER PARKS!!! SOOOOO excited!!!!!!
Okay, off to pack!!! And I have already checked in at Delta and printed our boarding passes!!! Poor Jane, she has no idea what she is in for:)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Lots of Free Time - not always a good thing

Is kinda freaking me out. After a year of being overwhelmingly overwhelmed, this sudden lack of a schedule has thrown me to for a loop. Sunday was graduation which was thoroughly pleasant and surprisingly quick. (2 hours!!) My awesome mom came down for the ceremony and took us out for dinner at our favorite Irish restaurant. And gave me the sweetest card that made me cry. My mom rocks.
This week I have supposed to have been cleaning the house in preparation for our vacation. And I finally have most of it done, and it has taken me MUCH longer than it really should. You see my procrastinating tendencies get exponentially worst when I have have lots of time, because I can always "do it tomorrow" So instead I have spent 20% of the day being productive, and 80% playing video games, admiring the garden, playing with the animals, doing quiet reflection, counting the ceiling tiles, and obsessively reading Cute Overload, AllEarsNet (disney website), Trip Advisor, and Television Without Pity. I have caught up on this month's Daily Show & Colbert Report episodes, baked a cake, and sleep deliciously late.
It took me three days to clean the bathroom. The first day I brought all the cleaning supplies into the room. The second day I vacuumed the floor. The third day I did the actual cleaning.
So I have been feeling guilty for being a slacker for three days, but I guess I am allowed a few days of goofing off after my intense year, right? And today I kicked some cleaning-butt, although I still have to pick up my study room which looks like a tornado hit it. So, of course instead of cleaning, I am writing in my blog:)
Tomorrow off to Rainbow Tour 2008! Yahoo!!!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

I guess I kinda rock

I just got the results from my final exams...and I have a 4.0 for the semester! Woo Hoo! First time ever for me! Pretty damn pysched! AND I got an email from the head of the accelerated program. I guess they were so impressed with a poster I made for a project for my clinical, they want me to make another copy so they can mount it and hang it in the school. And they plan on taking it to the nest National Nursing of League conference to show as an example of student work. I was pretty psyched about that too. I was very happy with the project (and worked hard on it) so I was glad they were impressed. (The project was a patient education session on birth control. I made a big poster, and handout, and led a discussion at the Women's Center). It actually was a lot of fun to do and I learned a lot about birth control (which will come in handy for the NCLEX, as it is something I don't have a lot of experience in:)

So all and all, a good week:) Plus, Jane bought me some champagne to celebrate finishing my program which was very sweet. And I slept very late today which felt good:)

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Words cannot express. And the fatigue is not helping. More to come later. But now, I must go have a drink:)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Med Surg. With about two inches of handouts to review. Have been studying since 10A, and I got through 2 of them (approx 3/8 of an inch:) And this one has big words like oligodendricytoma and scleroderma and phenytoin and craniotomy. Too many words.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Two down....

Two to go!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Home Stretch (and much rambling)

This is the last week of classes. Kinda hard to believe. You'd think that they would let us have it easy this week but oh no. This week we have to to give two presentations on our "Evidence-based practice" project for Research Class, have a class discussion on the presidential candidates positions on health care issues, a paper in for Community Nursing (which, actually we could have done at any point in the semester, but in a very unJulie-like manner, I left to the last minute:), and the MOTHER of all skills exam in our MedSurg class. We will be tested on absolutely any skills we have learned throughout our nursing education. I am actually excited about this exam in my own nerdy way, but am also intimidated cuz we haven't done a lot of the stuff in a while. And it is harder if you have never had to perform any of the skills in clinical, and just have a theoretical understanding of them.
Then, FINALS. Which I am hoping won't be too bad. Two of the classes this semester focus on broad conceptual topics, so I won't need to be reviewing a lot of medication side effects and lab values. For Research classes, I have managed to be completely confused about the material ALL semester, yet have managed to score a 99% average. Kinda like my last statistics class. I can recognize terms, but could not tell you what they do or tell you. But whatevs, I am not planning on going into research, so as long as I get a good grade I am happy. And no one will be hurt if I can't properly identify the "external threats" of a research articles results section. That leaves MedSurg which will require the most amount of studying. And we have covered a lot of unrelated topics this semester. Autoimmune disorders to endocrine disorders to trauma to spinal cord injuries to organ transplants. For our last exam, I studied by far the LEAST amount than I have for any exam thus far. And I got a 100%. I laughed out loud. And the quiz I spent hours on, a 81%. But this exam was ridiculously easy. I think anyone off the streets with at least average IQ could have passed it. And she asked the SAME questions several times, just worded differently. Like, what lab value do you need to monitor with hepatic encephalopathy? Ammonia.
Then after finals, we have fours days of intense NCLEX prep. I was so relieved that they provide this to us, and even more relieved when they told us it was free for us AND they provide us study books! Something free at Quinnipiac!! Unheard of! We had our pinning ceremony a few weeks ago, and get this...we had to buy our own pins!! Almost $50,000 for the program, and they couldn't even give us pins. I was expecting to have to pay for my cap and gown for graduation, but that was free also. They also had good cookies at the 'gradution fair' in the student center where you had to go to pick up the C&G. (I tend to evaulate events by the quality of chocolate chip cookies provided).
Anyway, I am rambling on and on. So yes, NCLEX prep. And that week all the accelerated students are getting together for an evening for our own little graduation ceremony. Am looking forward to it. Plus a few others are having parties, so we wll get to hang out together then too. But it will be weird having spent almost every waking hour with these people for a year to not seeing them at all.
Graduation is May 18th. Woo and the hoo! Then Rainbow Tour, then DISNEY! Sooooooo excited. CuZ I have never been before. We are going for 10 days which is the longest vacation I have ever taken. And the place we are staying looks beautiful and is right next to the animal kingdom. And my poor Jane is already tired of me bouncing around the house talking about the trip. If she thinks this is bad, wait until we go to the Magic Kingdom for the first time. I generally squeal so high that dogs come a-runnin.
Although planning it was a win-win situation for us. She HATES planning vacations and I love it. So she basically gave me her account information for her time share agecny, and let me run wild. it was awesome. And I have already planned a bunch of character meals (including dinner in Cinderella's castle, and breakfast with Pooh and friends). Plus we are going to do a couple days at Universal Studios which is fun.; And of course LOTS of time at the water parks:)
And I start my job on June 16th!

Friday, April 11, 2008

I'm done

With school. Except the problem is....we have another month left. But I'm done. Like, stick a fork in me, crispy around the edges done.

And that is pretty much the sentiment of all my classmates. We're just done. Just can't deal with it anymore. Total burn out. We are so tired of studying and writing papers and journals and working on group projects. Every little assignment, quiz, and exam is a monumental struggle...just to muster up the energy to prepare for it. and we still have so much left. More projects and quizzes and journals. Ugh. Just so tired. We had an exam this morning, and last night studying was like pulling teeth. I have absolutely no concentration ability left at all. But I feel better that absolyutely everyone I talk to feels exactly the same way.

And I guess I am not suprised. We have been running full speed for a year now and have crammed a LOT of info into our heads. It is amazing how much we have learned this year. And we all understand that we haven't learned all that we need to know. We still have lots to learn. In general, and to prepare for the NCLEX. But as far as this semester is concerned, yeah, we're pretty much done.

Which is why I haven't been posting on the blog. Absolutely everything around me is just overwhelming. Definitely need a break. So I am sorry that I haven't been keeping in touch with everyone! I love you all so much and miss you totally!! This has just been a tough semester with a lot going on. But I am almost there! Sunday is the big "Pinning Ceremony" which is a tradition for nursing school. and it's nice cuz it is a ceremony just for the nursing students, unlike graduation which is the whole school. So I am looking forward to it. Even if they made us pay for our own pins. Plus sunday is the induction into the honor society. And I am so excited for my Mom and Jane to meet all my friends and professors and show them around the school. So yay. Now I need to find something to wear...

And take a nap.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Hoppy Easter everyone!

Hope you day was filled with lots of chocolately goodness!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Just like old times

Today I had clinical at the Women's Center. I am still not feeling well, but in our student handbook they make it explicitly clear that you shouldn't miss clinical just because you have a "cold". So I went. The first part of our morning was occupied by a Clinical Quality Committee meeting where they discussed how to improve the Policy & Procedure Manual and make it more standardized across all the departments. This brought memories back to my days at Charles River where I was part of the committee charged with overhauling the company's P&P Manual, how to make it accessible, how to ensure it is kept out of date, how to make it relevant to all company members.

After that meeting we were scheduled to be back in the Women's Center. There was not a lot going on, no procedures were taking place, and since I was a giant snuffling congested mess, my preceptor decided it would be best if I was NOT in contact with patients. So she quarantined me in her office where I prepared an Excel bar graph on the age distribution of positive pregnancy tests over the last four months. After 7 years at CRA, creating a chart was an easy task, but my preceptor was amazed at my computer skills. For once in over a year, I actually knew more about something than my instructor! I was a nice feeling considering most of the time I still feel like I am playing catch-up. After that she sent me home to avoid me spreading my ick to everyone in the clinic. I think it was a wise decision. So now I am home. On my schedule: lunch, nap, and then studying for my dreaded Research midterm tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Sniff Sniff

I have finally caught the nasty cold that has been going around all winter. Not so much fun. Woke up and felt like my head was in a vice grip and like someone had poured hydrochloric acid down my throat. Blah. So not so much to post tonight. Bed now.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Just read a chapter of my "Issues in Nursing" book entitled, The History of Licensure in the US. And I thought my theory book was dull...

Friday, February 29, 2008

Latin praise

I am delighted to report that I have been invited to join Sigma Theta Tau, the International Honor Society for nursing! I am very very happy about this as it was one of my goals in completing this program. All my hard work and studying has paid off! Yahoo! The Quinnipiac chapter of the honor society is called Tau Rho. If you care to learn more about Sigma Theta Tau, go here:

Thursday, February 28, 2008

This week escaped me

Hi all,

So this week flew by faster than the blink of an eye. Classes have really heated up and we are in the middle of midterms, so most of my time has spend reading and studying and not sleeping. But now I will in fact go to sleep, and hopefully tomorrow I will be more coherent and have something slightly more meaningful to post!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Oscar Watch

Tonight is the oscars. I have always enjoyed the oscar telecast and look forward to it every year. This year I have only seen one of the movie nominated for Best Picture (Go Juno!!!) but I am sure I will enjoy the evening none the less. I just to get really really into it, having oscar parties with home-made ballots and would serve food "inspired" by the nominated films. Sometimes this was easy (Chocolat) and sometimes more difficult (A Beautiful Mind). And Jon Stewart is hosting, and he is my hero, so I am very excited about the showing. Now I just have to get some solid studying in before it starts. And because of the snow day, I have class tomorrow at 8AM, so I hope the show ends before midnight. Okay, wish Ellen Page good luck tonight!

Friday, February 22, 2008


Yahoo! No classes due to large amounts of snow on the ground. But poor Jane had to go in. You know the saying, "Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, not gloom of night..." And I guess I should enjoy it while I can cuz you certainly don't get any snow days at the hospital. Sometimes they don't even let you leave. Okay, I think some hot cocoa is in order!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

What I learned today

I learned a new term today. For severe pain experienced during ovulation. Ready for it? Mittelschmerz. The pain part, that's not funny. But the name? Makes me giggle.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Another day, another clinical

So today I actually got to see some patients in my community clinical. What's nice about community nursing is the schedule is a LOT more flexible. In the hospital, you have to be there 7 on the dot, and then are frantically going about your day trying to give your meds on time, get your assessments on time, your reporting on time so that you can finish everyone before the next shift comes in. In contrast, today we got to the office at 8:30, chatted for awhile, left around 9-ish for the visits and took our time. There was no mad rush, no frantic thoughts in the back of your mind like "I need to go hang that blood in the next room, and then Mr. Smith is due for dialysis in 10 minutes" while your patient goes on and on about their granddaughter. With community, you have the time to listen to their stories about their grandkids. And it's nice. I love the stories. Cuz the stories are funny, and moving, and heartbreaking, and frustrating. But they are all about people, and sometime what they need most in the world is someone to talk to. And that can inspire us to do more good.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Exciting news

With all my venting and catching up I did on my last post, I forgot to mention some happy news!
I am delighted to report that I have already been offered and have accepted a nursing position for after graduation!! I will be working at The Hospital of Central Connecticut on the Medical Telemetry floor (meaning they have been diagnosed with some medical condition like pnuemonia, GI bleed, DKA, organ failure, etc but also have an underlying cardiac condition that requires them to be on a heart monitor.) This is the same floor I did my internship at over the winter break and absolutely loved it there.
I guess the feelings were mutual cuz on my second to last day, the Nurse Manager tracked me down on the floor to ask me how I had enjoyed the internship. When I told her I had a great experience, she replied, "Good, because I set up an interview for you tomorrow with me and the Director." And that interview went well, cuz 15 minutes after, the manager tracked me down again to tell me "to be sure to call HR to set up a follow-up interview to discuss payroll and benefits, and that they would be expecting my
So I did, and had a great chat with HR and left with a job offer. Which I have now accepted. And let me tell you, it is a HUGE relief already knowing I have a job lined up. And now I can sit back and relax as most of the other students are frantically getting letters of recommendations and updating their resumes. (Kinda like the feeling I had when I got accepted into Colby's early decision program).
So that makes me happy. I really love the hospital. It is the perfect size for me It is not gynormous and overwhelming like Yale or Hartford (or Mass General) but not a tiny rinky-dink neighborhood hospital. Everyone on my floor was really friendly and supportive (which sadly is not always the case with new nurses), and the hospital really values education and has a great tuition program. So I am very very happy about this. Plus several of my friends from school who also did the winter internship program also got job offers (on different floors). So i will have some freindly faces with me throughout the orientation. Yay for me!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Long time no blog

I'm back. Apologies for the lengthy vacation I took from the blogosphere! I have lots of catching up to do! Warning, this is LONG!
All is well for the most part. School has started up again, and I am going through my usual early-semester anxieties of trying to settle into a schedule, figuring out how the professors like to teach, what their priorities are, and most importantly if we REALLY have to do all the readings they assign. I try to do as much as possible, I do. But sometimes I'll come across a textbook that no matter the time of day, how much sleep I've had, whether I'm hooked up to my coffee just makes me fall asleep. Like, within minutes. Like, at the desk, hunched over the book with my highlighter still in my hand. And then the drooling starts and blurs all the words on the pages.
But things are starting to settle down and I am getting into a groove. Exams have already started. We had our first exam in MedSurg III last week. I think I did okay. Next week is our "Issues in Nursing" exam. I am a little concerned about only because I don't really know what we are going to be tested on. I really like the class, don't get me wrong. It is taught by my favorite professor here and is primarily a discussion class. We discuss things like the state of nursing education, and the differences between associate-prepared nurses and baccalaureate-prepared nurses. And how nurses are the only health care professionals that don't require a minimum of 4 years of school. We discussed issues of leadership, teamwork, management and conflict resolution. Which is all great and makes for an interesting class discussion, but I am not quite sure how this will translate into a multiple choice exam. But I have been keeping up with all the readings for this class, as I know this prof. tests material covered in the readings that does not get covered in class.
Then there is the community-nursing class. It is generally very interesting class, and I really like the professor. It's just that the material can get a little dry at time. We spent an entire class discussing the economics of the healthcare system. And it is an interesting topic considering the disaster that is the US health care system, but then when we start to discuss the history and which law passed in whatever year created the basis for the HIPAA law. I am a little freaked for that first exam which is in two weeks. Cuz that text falls into the category of "sleeping-aid". The clinical portion of the class should be interesting though, if we ever actually get to practice some nursing. The clinical is run out of the CT VNA (visiting nurse association) so we will be doing home visits. This presents a whole new level of problems, caring for patients in their homes. But we have had three weeks of clinicals, and still haven't seen any patients, as they keep making us go through various orientations. I feel very oriented and would like to start doing some nursing. Plus, I got a fancy new stethoscope that I can actually hear heart and lung sounds from. (Unlike the student stethoscope that is included in our "nursing kit" they make us get at the beginning of the program.)
But really, my main concern is the giant monster looming over me at all times...the NCLEX exam.
I have never been so freaked out by an exam, obviously because the ramifications involved. And it is hard. Really hard. Which it should be, absolutely. We are going to have people's lives in our hands and this exam makes sure we can demonstrate the minimum requirements of safe and effective nursing care. But man, is it difficult. Not only is it like the mother of all final exams, testing everything we have ever learned about nursing, it also tests things we haven't learned. And it is all at the application level. So not only do you have to be able to recall the information for each question, you need to be able to apply it. I did a practice exam last night and got a question about the therapeutic serum levels for theophylline. I have never heard of theophylline. So I had no idea what kind of drug it was, what it is used to treat, what the side effects are, and I most certainly did not know what the therapeutic serum level was. But then even if I did miraculously remember the details of this drug, I wouldn't necessarily have been able to answer the question. Cuz it asked, what is the MOST appropriate nursing action if the serum level is X. And all the answers are correct. You have to figure out which is the best answer based on the other circumstances in the question.
So I have a lot of work cut out for me. I studied for about 12 hours yesterday just on lab values. And then I took the practice exam, and still failed. Plus, we have a “lab” portion of our med-surg class that is dedicated to NCLEX prep. And each week we do a practice exam. The first two weeks I got “warnings” (i.e. failed the exam). But I moved up last night and got an “average” ie I just squeaked by. But it seems like everyone else is that the same boat as me at this point. But at least I have already started studying. This is good for me considering I could be president of the EPC (Elite Procrastinator's Club). And the exam is not until July, so I have time. I am sure I will master all there is to know about theophylline and pheothylline and all the many, many other drugs out there. And their serum levels and side effects and contraindications and mechanisms of action and signs of toxicity and the antidotes for toxicity. But it is a long dark road ahead.
Okay, off to do my Research homework. Grr Argh.