April 18, 2015


I've had a rash of patients with bipolar disorder that are in mania.   I don't know if it's something in the water or the alignment of the planets or whatever.   Usually, I get them on the downside--they're depressed--so to see them dancing as fast as they can takes some getting used to.

Dealing with manic patients can wear anyone out.  They're talking a mile a minute, they're constantly fidgeting and restless, they're impulsive and unpredictable, they bounce from topic to topic as they follow their flight of ideas, and they're so distractable that they need constant redirection.  Then it gets even more fun if they're delusional on top of that--the grandiosity, the ideas of reference...

I feel like I've run a marathon after admitting such a patient.  I ran a lot of marathons lately.

Most want help stabilizing their mood.  The occasional one prefers their mania and would rather stay in that state.  I don't judge, I just make sure they stay safe and out of trouble.

Of course, it's always entertaining when two patients in mania meet.  They can keep each other entertained rather well because they can keep up with each other.  I'll have them hang out near me and let the two of  them have at it.  I just have to make sure that neither one (or both) are hypersexual, lest I have to go break up a romance or worse.  But anyhow, the conversations they have can be fascinating, though a little exhausting to listen to, especially if they try to pull me in.

Or I'll have them help me on the floor.  They're great at folding laundry...heck, they're happy to have something to do to burn up all that energy.  Occasionally I'll ask if they can tidy up the unit, which they're happy to.

Hopefully when I return to work, things will have calmed down.  I'm savoring this weekend off because I'm not going to have a lot of weekends off for a while.  Thanks to having to balance the scheduling demands of Jobs 1 and 3, I am working at least one day of the weekend every weekend for the next several weeks.  I did manage to save Mother's Day weekend for myself though.

April 12, 2015

Long time no type

So let me bring you up to speed.

I'm in demand at work:  a lot of staff have been going out on leave of absences or taking vacations, so I've been racking up days left and right.  Most weeks I have 5 days booked; some weeks I end up with 6 days. I have to be careful not to hit OT though because while I'm in demand, they're not desperate enough to want to pay me OT.

I accepted one potentially long-term assignment, which turned out to only be a couple of months because the nurse I was covering for returned from leave early.  So they were thinking about shifting me to another long-term assignment but they only wanted to book me for a month or two at a time...which meant that when another unit requested me for a long-term assignment coming up this summer, I was available for it and said Yes.

The first unit is now kicking themselves because they had blown their chance.  The second unit is trying to adopt me.  I have a guaranteed assignment starting in mid-June through October, with the potential to continue on to a very long-term part-time assignment past that.

I admit, I am intrigued because of all the units I work on, it's one of my favorites.  But then again, I'm still deciding if I want to accept a permanent position by the fall and if I do, there's a chance I won't be able to work this.

I'm now kind of torn about getting any permanent position.  On one hand, I want the stability.  On the other hand, it'd be a major pay cut and loss of flexibility.  Right now I'm getting enough work to make staying float pool a real possibility...but it wasn't but a few months ago that things were on the famine side.  *sigh*

I'm still working inpatient NOCs at the hospital in town.  I find that I'm liking it very much, and they're liking me very much too.  The shift isn't too bad as far as family life goes either, because they're 8 hour NOCs, not 12s.   Going NOC, either as permanent staff or float pool, is also a real possibility.

And that sums up Job 1.

Job #3 remembered I existed and wants me for three weeks.  I said Yes, of course.   While Job #3 isn't quite my favorite (not enough patient interaction for my taste), I am in Job #3's system which is a very hard healthcare system to crack into.  So I will do whatever it takes to stay in it and maximize my career options.

Job 2...well, I think that's come to an end, though I haven't officially broken up with my agency.  I should do that this week.  I don't want to sever all times, but I do want to let them know that I'm off the market for now and maybe may return in the future.

I got sick.  Laryngitis.  Whee.  And I had to be coordinating nurse on the unit that NOC shift...which was fine until it was time for me to tape report.

The littler one also got sick with a stomach bug.  Not so whee as the child can vomit like the world is ending.  Seriously, he would wake up out of a sound sleep, yack, roll over and go back to sleep.   I had to call out of work for several days.

And then I got sick again...well, not sick sick.  But constantly tired, itchy, rashes on my arms, losing some more hair than usual...so I go to the doctor tomorrow for an evaluation.

Part 2 of the ER nursing class went well.  It would hectic and tough, but I got my A-.  I'm looking at when to schedule the preceptorship.

I ran a half-marathon.  Well, walked/ran.   It wasn't my best time but I finished it...and this year, I got a finisher's medal!  I already registered for next year's version.

I went on vacation to see my closest friend and her family.  I got another tattoo while I was there.

And then NTI is coming up.  I will be there in a working capacity for the forum, so if you're going and want to see what a Meriwhen looks like, here is your chance.   However, it's on you to figure out which one there is me.

Busy indeed.

I'm enjoying this weekend off because next month I won't have a single weekend free:  because of the scheduling requirements for Job 1 and the fact that Job 3 is strictly Monday-Friday, I had to put in for several weekend shifts just to meet my required availability.   The joys of per-diem life...

March 3, 2015

Very very busy lately.  I've been covering a lot at one site and pulling some NOCs at another...this is all for job #1.  Jobs #2 and 3 I haven't been at in quite a while...I think it's going to be time to finally part ways with Job #2, though on the most amicable terms possible.  Job #3 is per-diem so I'm just staying active enough to remain in their system.

NOCs are growing on me.  NOCs in psych are fun.  Enough patients are awake to keep it interesting, administration is out of our hair, and the hours fly by.

I think the NOC site is wooing me.

I asked for a set of keys:  I got two.  I asked if they could sign off on one of my competencies, and they gave me a whole stack more to complete that were just for them.  The last time I was there, I found they made me a mailbox.  Today, I learned they started including me on their staff lists.

I admit, my head is turned.

But I have a few more months to decide where I want to land.  I'm still finishing up the emergency nursing class, and then I have the preceptorship.  After that, I'm going to go to Job #3 to see if I can land a position in that area, either ER or urgent care.  Then I'll do that 3 days a week and keep Job #1 for 2 days a week.

January 17, 2015

I think I could do NOCs

NOC #1.  I was on the open units.  Great group of nurses, interesting mix of patients.  Actually got to see the supervisor/charge nurse in action on the units all night instead of them holing up somewhere...I like that.  The routine at this facility is different than what I'm used to at my regular facility, but not drastically.  Still, those little quirks will take some getting used to.

It was peaceful (not always a bad thing in psych), but there was enough to do that I wasn't bored.  In fact, the first four hours flew by--before I knew it, it was 0300 and I was told to go to lunch.  Around 0500, I started struggling in the staying-AOx4 department, but revived by going out for some fresh air.

I was home before 0800, though not in bed until nearly 0900...that was because two little ones were excited to see me when I got home, so they needed some love and attention.  I slept until 1400, then took nap this evening.  I'm feeling pretty good about doing it all again tonight.  I'll be on the locked units, so there promises to be some excitement.

January 16, 2015

Well, I made it to 0300...kinda sorta.  I dozed on and off, in between catching up on music videos on the On Demand service.  I had to get up at 0600 to get the little ones off for the day, so I'm feeling semi-groggy right now.

On an semi-related note, I finally got to hear what Iggy Azalea sounds like.   She's good.

I'm going to go for a run in a bit, then get more sleep later this afternoon.  I'm not too worried about being able to stay awake...I know that once I'm on the job I can do it.  But there is also a difference between being awake and being coherent, and I want to be the latter.

January 15, 2015

Usually, most nurses have to do this during their first year, but I like to do things differently

NOC.  Tomorrow is my first NOC shift ever...well, ever as a nurse.  It only took me several years to get here.

You know that informal interview I had earlier this week?  Well, they liked me enough to decide I'm worth training and are going to spring for the training .  They talked to my manager, who authorized the crisis management course I'll have to take and will pick up that cost.  I'm being invested in...it's a nice feeling.

I train this weekend, and if they're satisfied with my performance, I'll be able to pick up NOCs there whenever I want.  There's a few psych units with a nice mix of populations, including that psych-medical unit that I've been trying to get on for a few years now.   I won't get to choose where I go--I'll be sent wherever I'm needed...which is perfectly fine with me.  It's just nice to have a new location to get work at.

So I need to get myself into the NOC time-mindset...guess I'll be staying up a little later than usual tonight.

January 12, 2015

Wish me luck

I have an informal interview with a nurse manager at the hospital in town.  Informal in that I'm already an employee of the organization, she knows I'm part of our float pool, and she wants to meet me to see if I'm worth training for floating over to the psych units at her facility.   Actually, I think I may have already met her three years ago when I wasn't an employee and first interviewed there...or I was supposed to going to meet her but the hospital was no longer interested in me.  I can't recall.  But let's see what happens.

I treat any encounter such as this very seriously because you never know what may come of it.   So out comes the dress slacks, portfolio and updated resume.