Bump in the Road

26 May

Last semester, I failed one class by just over a point. At this time, I am no longer in the nursing program at my university, but I am asking for readmission. I will be meeting with the Dean on the 6th, and I should know by the 8th if I will be granted readmission or not.

In the meantime, I am working full time as a nursing assistant in a long term care facility, which I love. I will also be studying the material we covered last semester in preparation for retaking the class in the spring. While this may be a pretty big bump in the road, it definitely is not the end of the road. Even if the dean does not grant me readmission, I will try to continue at another college. I’m not going to give up on my dream to be a nurse.

So in the meantime, I’ll be working, studying, and hoping for the best.

Lesson Realized

10 Jan

I am not just a nursing student. I’m also a licensed nursing assistant, and I work as often as I can around my school schedule and homework. I can’t tell you much, other than residents do pass away now and then. Sometimes when I’m at work, they are actively dying. I have never been there when a resident on my floor passed away. 

I recently had a resident that was actively dying. 

I’m new to the medical field, so I haven’t been in that situation before. Sure, they tell you what to do if a resident passes, how to perform care after they have passed, and all those things, but it is very different actually seeing it first hand. I had been told about death rattle, read about it, discussed the process of dying in both the LNA training and Nursing 101, but I actually saw it first hand for the first time. I had to help reposition the resident, which was the closest I have been to a dying resident. We still performed all normal care. We still applied barrier cream.

It was the barrier cream that really hit me. This resident was in the last hours of their life, no longer voiding, their skin was still intact, but we still applied barrier cream, even though we knew they probably would not be with us for more than a few more hours. It seems like such an obvious thing, and I am almost ashamed to be writing this right now, but it made me stop and think.

No matter how close to death someone is, we still provide the absolute best care, as if they are going to live another hundred years. It made me so glad to be a part of a care team that actually cared; to be a part of a care team that loves their residents as much as their family does, just in a different way. 

I am very sad that we lost that resident later that night, shortly after the family left. But I am glad that the family was there, and that when they left WE were the family. I am honored to have been a part of that resident’s life, even for a short while. 

That shift is one I hope not to forget. Not because something traumatic happened, but because I realized a valuable lesson and had the opportunity to really think about why I do what I do. 

Game On

3 Jan

I survived last semester with a B+ in Micro and a B in Nursing 101. 

I currently have access to Care of the Adult and Pathopharm through the school’s online classroom thing. Still waiting on Health Assessment to become available. 

 Classes start next week and I feel like I’m already a month behind. I guess we all know what I’ll be doing starting tomorrow. I’ll give you a hint: there is a LOT of reading involved. 

I also need to go back to campus for more text books, and to print more documents. I should probably pick up a couple more 3 ring binders and some dividers. This semester is gonna be challenging.

As intimidating as the workload for this semester is, I really am excited to start. It’s Game On! And time to kick some more academic butt! (Just to be safe though, can we add an extra 6 hours to every day, plus maybe an extra day between Saturday and Sunday? I am DEFINITELY going to need the extra time.)

Reflections before Finals

8 Dec

Wow, I honestly forgot about this blog. So thank you to those of you that have stopped by since my last post. 

So much has happened since I wrote that letter to my desk. I’m in nursing school, and almost done with the first semester. I have my schedule for next semester (as long as I pass the two classes I am in now) and I’m a little nervous. But let’s not talk about the bad. 

This semester seems like it’s been a year long. It also feels like it has only been a week. I’ve learned so much about nursing, and about myself. I wanna share my top 10 tips for surviving the first semester of nursing school. But since everyone hates reading paragraphs and even I prefer bullet lists, here we go:

1. Don’t go into clinical thinking it will be easy. But don’t think it will be so hard you can’t do it. Go in with an open mind, ready to learn. Ask questions, get to know the nurses and ask them if you can watch procedures. You’ll get to see some things you aren’t allowed to do yet. You’ll learn something. (I also want to say not to tell anyone else before you go to see a procedure because then the room will be packed, but I also want to say tell everyone because you ALL get to learn something new.)

2. Go get a small hard cover Moleskine notebook, and keep it with you for every single clinical and skills lab. Find things you want to remember and print them out, then tape them in your Moleskine. Breath sounds, med math formulas, health assessment cheat sheet, common abbreviations, etc. Whatever you feel is important to have on you as a reference, put it in that notebook. I suggest a hard cover Moleskine because they’re very durable. I used them in Iraq in the Army and they didn’t fall apart. Almost 10 years later and I can still read everything in them and none of the pages are falling out. They’re available at B&N for like $10. Yeah, it seems a lot for a small notebook, but DEFINITELY worth it. Because you can keep adding to it throughout your entire nursing school career and beyond… at least til it’s full!

3. STUDY. Ohmygawd STUDY. Just because you think you know it doesn’t mean you do. I could have A’s instead of B’s right now, but I’m cocky and decided not to study. I have a feeling it’s gonna bite me in the ass next semester when everything gets more difficult. 

4. Live in the skills lab. Well, don’t actually move in, your lab professors might not like that, but spend as much time in there as you can. Even if you aren’t working on skills every minute you’re in there, you will hear other people sharing how they remember to do things, and you’ll be able to pass that knowledge along. Teaching someone how to do something helps you learn it better. 

5. Communicate with your professors. Communicate with your professors. Communicate with your professors. 

6. Sit toward the front in lecture. You’ll be less distracted if you sit up front. I’m one of the older students in my class, and it drives me absolutely batty when all the younger students spend the class talking. Sit up front because the loudest part of the lecture hall is the back. Plus, being so close to your professor you’ll feel guilty for checking facebook or texting on your phone. 

7. Hand write your notes at least once. If you type your notes, go home and write them. Make them pretty if you have the time. Just write them by actually putting pen to paper. It’s another way to commit information to memory. Great study technique.

8. Wash your hands like 437 times a day. 

9. Buy some really good lotion because you’ll be washing your hands 437 times a day. 

10. It’s ok to cry. This IS nursing school. I’m allowed to cry. If you’re going through it, you’re allowed to cry. Even if you have to hide in the bathroom before an exam and ugly cry for 5 minutes. Cry it out, then go kick some academic ass. 
5 FREAKIN BONUS TIPS: 

– USE A FREAKIN PLANNER. 

– LOOK AT YOUR FREAKIN SYLLABUS EVERY FEW DAYS. (I totally had NO idea we had an exam yesterday. Like, I walked into class and was handed an exam and it was a complete surprise. Don’t be like me. I got an 86%, but don’t be like me. Just… don’t.)

– GIVE ATI A FREAKIN CHANCE. You will probably hate it at first. I did. But now I love ATI. If your school doesn’t use ATI, I’m sorry. 

– TAKE CARE OF YOUR FREAKIN SELF. Take a hot bath, binge watch Grey’s Anatomy, go for a hike, eat the ice cream. 

– DON’T WAIT UNTIL LAST FREAKIN MINUTE. Do your assignments, studying, reading, etc ASAP. 

What did you learn your first semester of school? 

A Letter To My Old Desk

13 Feb

Dear Desk,

You and I have been through so much together. There have been good times, and there have been bad times. You have been there to catch my tears as I cried over papers and study guides and finances. You held me when I fell asleep at 2am still in my desk chair.

You were the first desk my fiancé and I purchased together. We got you almost 3 years ago when he needed a space to work on truck-related projects inside where it was warm instead of a cold garage. You were there for him, and me when I got back into school.

But over the past year I have come to realize that our relationship wasn’t going to last forever. You were the perfect size before we moved, and before I started my journey to become a nurse, but now you just don’t have enough space for me to be productive. I have found myself using the floor to spread out my study material more often than not.

Yesterday I made the decision to move on. But please don’t cry, because you’re not going far. I think the other side of the house will be a better place for you. I even got you a new outfit. Now you can live out the rest of your life as a vanity instead of a desk. We both know you look great in polka dots.

Now, I know you can hear me and my new desk from over there, but I haven’t forgotten you and I’ll never abandon you. And I will still see you every morning when I do my make up and hair!

You were an amazing desk for a long time, and I hope you enjoy your new life.

Love,

stephanie blog signature

 

 

 

 

P.S.

Dear Desk Chair,

So long, sucker! You squeaked WAY too much no matter how much WD-40 I sprayed you with. I am HAPPY to have gotten you out of this house! You kept everyone awake with your squeaking… even the neighbors were starting to complain.

I’m happy with New Desk Chair. Please don’t call me anymore.

With joy,

Me

 

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