July 20, 2015

I know, it's been a while...been working a lot...really, A LOT.  Usually 5-6 days a week, mostly days and NOCs.  Once the other half retires, I think I'm going to go straight NOC.  I enjoy it.

Will post more when I'm more awake.

May 14, 2015

So I joined the social media forefront

Well, not really.  I just added a Twitter account to this place.  Of course, it's @meriwhen.

Mind you, this isn't my first Twitter account.  My original Twitter account is circa 2007, in use before Twitter even got on the map.  I also have an account for professional reasons.  Then there's this one.

You're welcome to follow me, but don't hold me to high entertainment standards.  More than likely it'll be random thoughts, promoting forum threads, and re-tweets of things I found interesting.  I've seen how dangerous social media can be to one's career and reputation, and I have no desire to kill either of mine by a careless choice of words.  So I plan keep things relatively innocuous there, like I do here on this blog.

The Internet is full of the news articles about people getting fired or raked over the coals for something they posted on Facebook/Twitter/Blogger/et al.  They posted something they shouldn't have, or they posted a bad/tasteless joke, or an inflammatory remark, or something racially/religiously/politically charged, or shared way too much information.  Perhaps it was even something that they thought would be funny or interesting, but the universe thought otherwise.   Whenever I think of Internet missteps, I always think of that nursing student who posted the picture of the placenta.  I wonder what ever became of her.

I recommend reading So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson.  It's a very interesting read about how easy social media makes it to call someone out on something they did:  you can name and shame them in about 10 seconds...and anonymously, no less.  And the Internet being the Internet, once something is posted on it, it's out there forever.  Even if it's taken down right away, it's very possible that it's already been crawled, cached, copied or (screen)capped.

There's several case studies in there about actual people who have been publicly chastised.   It's amazing the damage that social media can do to a person and their reputation,  how fast that damage can happen, and how out of control the stone-throwing can get.  They don't call it a Twitter lynch mob for nothing.
What isn't in Ronson's book--but is a very interesting follow-up story--is that one of the people who called out someone for a rather tasteless tweet (her story is in the book) was in turn shamed for something HE posted.  He make a joke about bullying that backfired on him; he couldn't believe that people would think he was condoning bullying.  But they did...

Of course, he now has quite a bit more sympathy for the woman who he helped bring down.  Funny how being on the wrong end of the bulls-eye will do that to you.

All of this will make you think twice before you post anything online.

In other news, I found a PALS class and registered for it.   I've got just over three weeks to brush up on pediatric codes

May 10, 2015

I'm entering the final week of my assignment with Job #3.  When I started I thought I would struggle because it was so long since I had worked there (6 months!), but I found that it came back to me pretty quickly.  It's also a nice change not to wear scrubs to work...though I'm ready to get back to them.  I only have two pairs of dress pants so I have to do laundry frequently.  And I can't wear skirts because of the tattoos on my legs, which would take quite a bit of Dermablend to cover them up.

After this is the nursing convention which I am working at.  I didn't schedule any work for most of that week, so even though I'll be "working" for the forum, I won't have to work.  Then after that my schedule is rather light until the middle of June.  I kept it intentionally so since I have to renew BLS, ACLS, CPI and a bunch of other things.  Plus do some things around the house before I begin my summer assignment at Job #1.

Then there's the ED preceptorship, though it may not happen right away.  I finished part 2 of the ED course and wrote the school saying that I would like to do the preceptorship.  The instructor, the school and I are trying to negotiate when this can happen.  We're aiming to do it at Job #1 (the instructor happens to work for the same healthcare organization as I).  I had told them that either mid-May to Mid-June, or I'd have to wait until October after this assignment.  I'm thinking it'll probably be October, since it takes time for my organization to get things processed.  Plus in October, I'll have a lot more freedom in the days and shifts I can work.

So in the meantime, I'm getting all of the paperwork and requirements completed.  I may have to take PALS...I think I'll try to do that before the summer.  I took it once before but I had let it lapse, so it won't be entirely foreign territory.

In the meantime, I started working out regularly.  I actually started on April 1.  I've been doing a workout DVD about every other day.  I don't think I look any different, but I do feel better overall.  And on day #1, I couldn't get through the workout without stopping every few seconds--now my endurance has increased to the point that it's rare if I pause.

I also started paying closer attention to what I'm eating because I didn't like my most recent GFR.  Yes, I know that a GFR measurement alone does not indicate kidney disease...and fortunately, all of my other levels were fine.  But I did have the preecplampsia and then post-partum preeclampsia from my pregnancy with littler one, and since then my GFRs have been below normal.  This one is the lowest yet.  Also, my blood pressure still requires a med to keep it under control, and I could still stand to lose weight.   So let me act on a potential problem now before it becomes an actual one.

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.