December 6, 2007

I feel like I've been in nursing school forever, and it's only been 16 weeks

The thing about these 8 week classes is that they are very intense and half the time, there is no break between classes, so it feels like you're rolling from one semester to another non-stop.  While we were waiting for our practical yesterday, I realized that it's only been one semester.  One!   Last week, a classmate and I spoke to the next two cohorts coming in and it felt like we were seasoned vets counseling recruits, and we're only two courses ahead of them.


Three glorious weeks off is coming up.  I'm drinking a bottle of champagne on the 11th and plan to wake up sometime on the 13th.

So the practical:  I passed.  I ran through an assessment at 90 mph because I was afraid that if I stopped I'd forget everything, but caught everything I needed to.  Of course, I was subject to teasing...I do get a bit of that, actually.  My classmates are convinced that because I do well on tests that I'm some type of nursing student genius and everything must come easy to me.  They don't realize how much I have to put into the skills portion--when I go in saying that I'm nervous or worried, I'm not saying it to make them feel better or to try to be emphatic.  I truly am terrifed and worried!

Anything involving filling out a Scantron sheet:  no problem. 

Put me in front of a human:  watch me swallow my own tongue and forget how to use basic equipment.  

I had been rehearsing my physical assessment for five days because when we went into the simulation lab the week prior, I stood there in front of the (normal) mannequin and froze.  I went in knowing I had to do a head-to-toe assessment and I could not even speak, could not think of what to do first.  I just stood there and stared at it.  That worried me--what if I do that in hospital?  That's not going to go over very well with my clinical instructors, now is it?   


So anyhow, we lost another student--but this time for a good reason.  This one realized that nursing wasn't for her, that it was making her miserable.  So she decided to get out.  Good for her for realizing that--that's better than wasting two years' of time, money and stress to do something just to make her family happy.   From what I heard, no one failed the practical which is also good.  Several students did poorly on the last test though, so there's pressure on them for the final.  There's only three tests in this class leaving one with no wiggle room.

November 17, 2007

Still thinking about my little old lady

My son was asking about her and I had to explain why I was sad yesterday.  I didn't want to use "went to sleep" or any other euphemisms because that would confuse him, so I outright told him that she died because she was very very very old.  Fortunately, he didn't ask what "died" was yet and left it at that.

I hope I made a small difference in her life at the end.  I think I did, and that thought makes me feel a bit better.  She had almost no one visiting her:  she never married, had no children, and most of her friends and distant family lived out of the area except for a nephew who visited when he could.  But she had me every Friday for a few weeks.

November 16, 2007

The little old lady that I visit in the nursing home died yesterday.  It was unexpected...well, as unexpected as can be for a 90-year old.  She wasn't in poor health, and she wasn't showing any signs of trouble.  The staff didn't see it coming either:  most of them know from years of experience when it's time to "stand vigil" on a client, and they didn't suspect her.  She was cold yesterday afternoon (nothing new really, she is (was) always cold) and asked to be put in bed for a nap.  She never woke up.

I'm all right...kind of bummed, actually--I didn't realize how attached I had gotten to her over the last several weeks until I learned she passed away.  I mean, I expected that it was going to happen soon, especially since at her age she was living on borrowed time.  But it was still a shock.  The last time I saw her, she was still scared of being alone and still thought it was too dark (she was pretty much blind), but she was feistier than usual.  She was all about singing that day--she remembered a lot of words to those songs, and even got me into warbling "God Bless America" along with her (and God knows I can't sing!).

Two things stand out now.  I remember when I left on Friday, I told her "good bye."  All the time I'd been seeing her, I never told her that before--I usually told her "stay out of trouble."  But for some reason, that came out.  And then today, after I dropped my son off at childcare, instead of going straight to see her as I usually do, I felt compelled to run every single errand I thought of, making my visit to her the last thing on my to-do list.  I guess I didn't want to go there for some I know what it was.

I'm comforted by the fact that she went in her sleep and probably didn't feel a thing, and also by the fact that where she is now, there's plenty of light.  Or there better be, because she was afraid of the dark.

I realize I'm going to see a fair amount of death in my job as a nurse.  I was hoping that it'd wait until I actually started nursing.

November 14, 2007

I finally sat down to log in here, and found a draft of a post I meant to post back in early October.  I back-dated it and put it up.

Anyhow, hiya.  It's been a while since I wrote.  I need to fix's been kind of stressful lately and I really should be letting it out in some way, shape or form.  You'd think I'd be knitting more (and I am), but alas, Yet Another Yarn Blog stands barren too. 

 The funny thing is that now I do actually have some free time:  class is no longer 24 hours a week, but every week it's a two-hour lecture one day and two lab/clinical days.  I get two whole weekdays off:  one is still earmarked for volunteer work, but today is a completely free day.  Joy!  I'd like to say I'm filling today with nothing but studying...but I'm not.  I'm catching up on everything else that I haven't been able to do since August.

How things have been going...

Got my A in fundamentals.  People were looking at me like I kicked a puppy when they heard about the A.  I'm getting tired of hearing everyone go on in clinical how they'd rather have the C student for their nurse than the A student, the reasoning being that the C student may not be book smart but will be street smart while the A student will implode on the floor, so now I keep all my grades on the QT as much as possible.  Besides, that's my fear (the implosion) too...I don't know if it's from hearing it so many times and/or my lack of human medical experience, but I do worry about bungling it in clinical.  I haven't yet, but I stress over it.

Had one glorious night off before Physical Assessment and Pharmacology  (Pharm for short) started.  Drank wine and once again, started a class with a hangover.

Now, Pharm...the teacher's nice but they shoved this class on her at the last minute (the previous teacher "retired", I say no more so you draw your own conclusions) and there's so little organization that we feel like the unloved class.  We never know what room we're meeting in, they keep changing the test schedule constantly, they keep changing the course outline constantly, and we lost three clinical days because they couldn't find instructors.  Then they found instructors but not enough so for legal reasons, one or more students at clinical have to (or are SUPPOSED to) sit out and observe. 

Last night was out first Pharm clinical.  I got to sit out--no one wanted me for a partner...that sounds bad.  As far as I know, no one wants me dead.  And truth be told, I didn't exactly ask anyone either.  I was in a strange mood last night and kind of kept myself to myself.  Anyhow, I got to be the Shadow and true to the law, I did not touch a patient.  I did get to learn all of the ins and outs of the floor though, which is handy to know.  I hope the other extra students in the other clinicals did the same...probably not though.  I was kind of bummed...on one hand, I got to hang back and observe since I have to admit I was feeling a but overwhelmed.  On the other hand, my classmates got to do all sorts of fun stuff and all I could do is watch and fetch supplies. 

But I suppose it was for the best in the end because of rule #5 of nursing school:  CYA.  Yeah, I'm coming up with a list of things I learned in nursing school and making a list of them for myself.   When I get them better organized, I'll post them.

October 2, 2007

Long time no post

This is the first day that I feel like I have a bit of a breather, where I can actually sit down and update this blog.

We have our skill practical today. I passed...I didn't think I was going to: when I got to Vital Signs, I couldn't find a radial pulse to save my life. But--and hell must have frozen over because I was able to do this on the first attempt--I was able to take a brachial pulse and use that. To really appreciate that statement, you have to understand that I've spent the past four weeks fighting with brachial pulses...namely, I can never find one when I need it. Not mine, not my instructors', not my classmates'. I can find mine as I'm driving on the interstate, but not when I need it. So for me to be able to go to my classmate's arm and find it (with a little prodding) was a big achievement.

Her pulse was 100. Mine was 95. Think we were nervous?

The rest of Vital Signs went well.

Foley: I did make two contamination mistakes, both minor, and I did catch one before the instructor did so that helped. I passed.

For the random skill: I drew restraints, which had me thanking God because for some unknown reason, I was driven to spend most of yesterday tying quick-release knots on everything around the house. I did that perfectly, even the knot...mind you, I was a bit worried about the knot as most of my practice around the house yesterday wasn't successful. But I got it to go on the first shot.

So yay, I get to stay in the program until the next practical, whenever that will be. I got the hell out of Dodge as soon as it was over, ran some errands and came home. I was going to get some studying done when I decided to give myself a few hours off to unwind. I think I more than earned it.

As far as the lecture component's pretty intense. We have weekly tests, and one test is hardly over before I have to gear myself up for the next one. I feel like I have so little downtime--if I'm not at the computer studying, I've got the book out; if I don't have the book out, then I'm using notes or flashcards or anything else. I lecture my son constantly on the material. I don't think he cares much for it though.

September 4, 2007

I got a 95 on my first test. I don't know if that includes the bonus points (we can earn up to 3). But damn, a 95...I didn't think I'd do that well.

I'm still in shock. I may actually get to stay in Phi Theta Kappa for more than a week.

September 1, 2007

I survived the first week

Technically, I’ve been a nursing student for 4 days (I'm not counting the first day which was all orientation and no nursing). I feel like I’ve been doing this for weeks, I'm so drained.

Class is very intense. It's 6 hours a day, but there's a half-hour for lunch and they're generous about breaks. Lecture days are just that: lecture, lecture and more lecture, covering 3 to 4 to 5 units’ worth of material. They move fast. They also make a copy of their notes available for download before class, but it's not a verbatim record of what they're going to day--it's just the outline of the PowerPoint slides they're showing. Still, it helps--I take notes on them because if I had to write all the slides down as well as their lecturing, I'd never keep up.

Lab days are more interactive: instead of just sitting there listening (and occasionally interjecting) as we do in lecture, labs let us do some of what we’re learning (some lab days also include lecture units though). Plus, we’re getting divided up into different groups for each assignment so we get to know our fellow classmates better. There’s already a few personality quirks of my classmates that have started to appear. This isn’t always bad, mind you--right now, they're more interesting than anything else.

The reading is never-ending: each unit covered is at least one chapter's worth, often more. Plus, it's the dry medical textbook variety of reading (i.e., a perfect sleep aid, as I found out last night when my half-hour rest turned into 9 hours). Reading the chapters before class does help immensely, so it's not an area I can cut out. At first, I tried to read every word but found myself unable to keep up after day 3. So I’m modifying my tactics to focus on the overview, boxes, charts and chapter questions, skimming the rest of the chapter, then going through the lecture notes and syllabus and reading up further on the specifics mentioned. I don’t know how effective this is going to be…I guess I will find out on Tuesday, when I take my first test.

Speaking of tests…I go to take the chapter or online tests, feel like I’ve done well and got a grasp on things…and I find out I didn’t and feel like an idiot all over again. It’s kind of disheartening. So is the fact that 80% is the minimum passing. I have to admit, I’m having a hard time with the fact that I might not get all As in this, even though it’s OK if I don’t as long as I pass. But I can’t seem to let myself go in that department, not just yet. I really don’t want to have to settle—I want the A. I’ve been studying nonstop since Thursday. I took the list of objectives they gave us in the syllabus, and typed up answers to all of them. I finished a few minutes ago—it’s printing right now. I’m just going to keep going over that and the boxes and charts in the book. What’s also making nursing school challenging is that it’s not solely memorization like A&P was. You need to do critical thinking here, and that's a blessing and a curse.

Some days (hell, some hours!) I feel like, “hey, this is doable! Other people have done it, why can’t I?” Then other days (hours), I see all the reading I have to do and exercises to complete and videos to watch and no break in it all, and I’m like “there’s no way I can do this!”


I've never been so appreciative of a weekend as am of this weekend. Yes, most of it will be me chained to my notes except for a brief outing tomorrow, but it's nice to have time NOT in a classroom being whacked on the head with coursework.

We’re supposed to watch these videos for lab—they finally tell us where they are located…on Thursday afternoon as we’re all about to leave for the weekend. Library hours are limited Friday, and they’re not open this weekend because of the holiday. But they have to be watched, test and life notwithstanding.

Fair enough. I’m a responsible adult, so I’ve got to make this work somehow. I’m going to arrive early on Tuesday and do it before the test (which is what I’m planning to do, because sitting there with my notes for the test isn’t going to do anything for me anyway) or during lunch (which will be near impossible as everyone’s going to be running to watch these videos). I can’t stay late, so those are the only two times I can do this. I am going to look online for videos as well, just in case Murphy’s Law makes arriving early to school impossible that day. It may not be the same video as the one in the library, but at least I would have seen something and not be entirely at a loss when it comes time to practice.

One thing they are stressing in nursing school is this: learning is OUR responsibility, not theirs. I mean, they’re not entirely coldhearted: they will help how they can, but only to a certain extent as they want us to learn and they have their own constraints to work within. But at the end of the day, we’re responsible for learning. Some people asked about review sessions for the test and if they could give us study guides, and they were told they’re adults, they don’t need it—we just need to know everything on there. Another was intimating that perhaps if we (the students) could watch this video in class on the break…she was told that watching it was the student’s responsibility and we had to work the details out.

Also fair enough.

One of the students in the class took it last year (he had to retake it) told us that next week, it starts getting more "fun." What "fun" is going to be, I don't know...but I have to admit, I can't say it's been dull so far. Overwhelming yes, but not dull.

August 24, 2007

I survived Day 1

Everyone is nice, the instructors are personable, and they've told us flat out that it's going to be a lot of hard work.  I already have 5 units' worth of reading to do by Monday, which is going to be tough this weekend due to significant family commitments.  Also, looking at the calendar (they explained how to decode it), I'm going to have a lot of reading each day that needs to be done BEFORE class or lab.  And oh yeah, I'll need to have reviewed all the lab skills BEFORE each lab too.

Oh boy.  Welcome to nursing school, Meriwhen.  This first class is going to be an 8-week rollercoaster.

I started reading and making notes last night.  They told us about the Cornell Note-Taking system, which is kind of what I had been doing already...the big difference is that I usually end up rewriting all the notes on the computer before I end up summarizing and forming review guidelines, and the Cornell system if done correctly should let me skip that.  With all this reading I have to do, I need to be as efficient as possible...but we'll see how I do on the first test on the 4th to know if this note-taking system will work.

I need to get more binders, looseleaf paper, notebooks and a ruler.

I'm also going to try (ha!) to get all of the week's reading done the weekend before, so then all I have to do is review each night.  But this may be tough as each week's test (yes, a 90-question test nearly every week, of which I need at least an 80 to pass) is on a Monday.

Is it too late to go into teaching? :)

I'll get it done somehow, I'm sure.  I have no choice.

They never mentioned anything about PDAs, so I'm guessing I may be able to hold off on upgrading mine for a while...though I'm going to ask my graduate pen-pal about it just to be safe.

August 22, 2007

Tomorrow's the day

Though it's mostly orientation stuff tomorrow, not actual nursing education.  Still, I can't help but be a bit nervous.  Wish me luck.

August 20, 2007

3 days to go - the uniforms are here

The student nurse uniforms arrived just as I was about to phone the uniform company to ask when they'd arrive. Talk about good timing.

The shirts are white and teal, collared, zipper in the back, long like a tunic but fitted, and with this kind of bib thing that buttons onto the front. My first thought on seeing it was that they sent me the dress uniform by mistake. In fact, my better half was also worried at first until we figured out it was the shirt--it is long enough that it could pass for a dress, though it's a length that would likely be seen in some bad soft-porn movie instead of at clinicals. I think the zipper in the back is what threw us off.

The shirts are not cotton, so I expect to be hot as hell while wearing them. Also, the fabric is on the scratchy size so if I'm wise, I'll wear a white cotton tank top underneath. Pants are basic white cotton scrub pants, thank God. All I need are my shoes and some knee-high hose and I'm ready for clinicals.

Next on my mental To-Do list is PDA shopping. I have an old Tungsten E, which still works well except that the battery life sucks. But from what I'm told, the E won't be enough to handle all of the nursing programs they recommend that we have on it. So I'm going to see if the school has any recommendations as to what model to get, and then start hitting eBay.

August 19, 2007

4 days to go

I decided to just scrap all the pre-reading and enjoy the time off while I can, especially since the better half is home on leave :)

August 10, 2007

13 days to go

I'm just savoring the last entirely uncomplicated downtime that it looks like I won't get have over the next two years.

Not much else to say today.  I'm going to crack open a beer and put my feet up :)

August 2, 2007

Childcare woes over/nursing woes (the other nursing) beginning

21 days until school starts.  Almost everything's done except for getting nursing shoes, but I have some time on that one.   Now it's just killing time by reading my textbooks and seeing what's up at

I'm reminded of another old saying:  "Everytime God closes a door, He opens a window."   That very same day, I found the perfect place for my son to go to childcare.  This is the most professional home care provider I ever met, plus Carpetshark loved being there (he accompanies me on all these interviews).  Big added plus:  she's located on the way to work, so I now have only 10 extra minutes of driving time instead of that damned hour.  So today we go and sign the contract.

Now we move into weaning.  I should tell you that my son's 2 1/2, so it's not as though the poor Baby's got to go on the Enfamil just to see tomorrow.  The "poor Baby" knows where the num-nums are and how to help himself to them.  In fact, he's trying to help himself as I type.  If it wasn't for Shaun the Sheep playing on the other side of the monitor screen, he'd be under the shirt.

But yeah, weaning. 

I'm not sure if I mentioned this here before, but I've never had a Hepatitis B vaccine.  I was born before they were mandatory.  It's a series of three shots.  For me to be OK for clinicals when they start, I'll have to start the shots no later than mid-September.  That will put me at having two of the three before clinicals start, and I'll just have to be careful as hell to avoid needlesticks and other exposures until the last one in January.

My doctors and my son's doctors can't give me a definite answer as to whether it would be safe for me to continue nursing while getting the vaccines.  Everything they find is "safe in pregnancy, affect on breastmilk unknown."  So of course, they will err on the side of caution and not give it unless the need outweighs the risks...which, as I'm not in clinicals yet, doesn't.   So I wrotre La Leche League for their opinion, since they are the ones that specialize in all things lactation. 

In the meantime, I've got to get him weaned off.  Cold Turkey quitting is out except as a very last resort--I've suffered through several bouts of mastitis and it is NOT fun.  The husband is home for two weeks starting next week, so I think that's when I'll make the big push:  he and I will try to keep Carpetshark so distracted that he hardly thinks of nursing.   I did finally teach him how to go to bed on his own without it, so that's a big hurdle cleared--it used to be that he'd only fall asleep at night if he was attached.

Until then, I'm putting off any requests for num-num for as long as I can.

July 30, 2007

Childcare woes

Just when I thought I had the childcare sorted, everything falls through. 

I was very favorably impressed with the woman I met this morning, so much so that she would have had the job...if she had the opening for my son.  But alas, the opening she thought she'd have starting on the 6th did not materialize--the child's parents' plans changed.  Damn.

There's still the one provider we interviewed last week and she was all right...not outstanding, but all right enough...but the big downside to her is that she's located so far out of the loop it's an extra hour total of driving.  Plus she had been interviewing others for the spot, so there might not even be a spot there to go to. 

So it's back to the referral lists.  Another two appointments set up for today, one for tomorrow, and I'm requesting a fresh list of referrals.  What does help is the fact that I can easily get him covered for the first 8 weeks--clinicals don't start until October and that's when the hours and finding coverage for them get tricky.

I'm surprisingly calm about all of this.  It's a bit eerie.

July 26, 2007

Mental countdown

Every morning, usually during coffee, a countdown to the day that school starts flashes in my head.  It started on the 23rd, since that was about a month out.

 Today my mind told me:  "29 days to go."  

So much to do and so little time, especially since the husband (who I'm NOT having a mental countdown for, go figure) is coming home in 13 days.  So I'm figuring that the last 15 days of the countdown, when he's home, will be useless since I'll be too busy with him to get much done.

July 23, 2007

I drafted a schedule (tentative, of course) of my school week.  It helped--made things look more manageable.  Still, that hour commute (each way!) to school, plus the half-hour commute (again, each way) for my son's childcare...three hours a day are going to be eaten up in the car.

Three hours.  1/8th of my day.

If I'm smart, I'll purchase a digital recorder and tape the lectures so I can listen to them while driving.

Wisdom from an old kitchen sign

Went to a friend's house last night, where we proceeded to kill a couple of bottles of wine, some Indian food and brownies.  We also vented about the stressful weeks we had...I let all of that stress over nursing school out.  It felt good to do it, especially to an audience that will just listen.  Whereas venting to the husband, while also good, is also frustrating because he falls into the "I need to fix it for her" mentality and gets upset when he can't come up with a solution.

Often, all I want is someone to listen, that's all.  Not necessarily to solve the problem or give me the magic answer.  Just to listen.  Anyhow I felt a lot better after last night.  Still worried about everything, of course.

One thing I will have to work on over the next month:  I tend to internalize my stress, always have.  This results in me having a long fuse (since I don't express it) but an explosive temper (when I do let it out, it's like a dam breaking), as well as getting myself physically ill from it,  And the stress just keeps on magnifying in my mind and gets out of control, that pretty soon I'm stressing over things that I have no control over, things that don't concern me, things that haven't even happened yet but I'm convinced will with the way my life is going.

I realized last night, as I was venting to my friend, that I really need to find better ways to manage stress, because for all the stress I'm undergoing now, it's only going to grow exponentially once classes start.  I need to find a better outlet for releasing it, and to release it a lot sooner.  I also need to learn sort things into categories just like in that saying/prayer:  the things I can do something about (change) and the things I can't (accept)...and then learn how to tell which is which. 

Kitchen Wisdom 101.

A few years ago, I had bought some books on meditation and zen that I never got around to reading...after last night, I thought about them and decided to dig them out.   It couldn't hurt to give them a look-see.

July 21, 2007

Another nursing school panic attack

Actually, I'm having about one per day. 

It's all the same basic concerns:

Will I'll be able to juggle it all?  Will I ever have any free time, any life at all outside of school?  Should I enjoy this summer and veg while I have the chance, or should I get a jump on the reading for fundamentals so I don't fall behind?

Should I wait for my better half to get home before I start school, or will it actually be easier for me to do it now while he's away since that's one less person for me to take care of?

What if Carpetshark gets sick and needs me to stay home with him, and thereby I have to miss class or clinical?  What if he gets really sick?  What if I can't find someone to watch him on clinical nights?  And will I have enough time to get from where he's in childcare to where the clinicals will be held--will 20-25 minutes be cutting it too close and I should consider care for him elsewhere even if that means he switches facilities every 8 weeks?

What about all the money I'm spending on nursing school?  Will that ever let up?  Plus all the childcare costs per month...that won't let up, but can we really swing it? 

And what if, having put so much into it, financially and otherwise, I find myself failing out or having to withdraw and wait until later to do it?

And despite all of this, I'm terrified that if I don't do it now I will never get it done and never be a nurse!


I just try to breathe through them, and think to myself that thousands of other people before me have been in similar if not worse situations than I, and they have made through nursing school and started their careers.   That if there's a will, there's a way...and that if I really want to do this that I will find a way to do it.

I mean, so I'm in my mid-30s...there's 40, 50 and even a few 60 year olds going to nursing school. 

I only have one child; my friend is doing it with three...and I just read a post on the nurses forum of one who has 7 and is going to school!  Never minding the one at our orientation with was 8 months pregnant with twins (she's starting in October)--imagine going back to school with not one but TWO newborns!  I remember what it was like when my son was a newborn...i.e., the time in my life when I forsook sleep.

There's nursing students that will have to work part- or even full-time while in school--I'm lucky in that I don't have to work at all...not no-money-worries lucky, but we can manage.

And let's face it--if I wait for the "perfect" time to go to nursing school, it'll never happen.  Something will always come up.  The husband will get home, but be on the late shift and not be able to help me much anyway.  The son will start grade school, and I'll find myself accidentally pregnant.  I'll wait and find out that our financial situation will be worse a few years from now, that I should have gone now when we were able to afford it.  I'll wait and reapply to school to find that they won't accept my pre-reqs and I'll have to retake them...I can go on and on.  The only "perfect" time is in the past, because I can look back on my life with the clarity of hindsight and say to myself, "oh yeah, that would have been the perfect time for me to have gone to nursing school, why didn't I?"

Anyway...I feel better having let all that out.  I don't think it'll prevent me from having daily panic attacks though--I should be so lucky :)

July 18, 2007

Setting up shop

I moved the home office out of the bedroom and into the spare spare room, so I could have a private area to study that wasn't overrun by a child or spouse, and where I could leave all of my nursing school stuff out wherever I needed it. 

I'm sharing the space with storage boxes, but I do have a cozy little corner that I can call my own.  The husband's jealous of it, actually, because he shares his cozy little corner with the guest room.  Nor does he had the spiffy lamp, bookshelves and wall calendar.

The rest of my nursing school books arrived today...well, all but one.  I felt bad for the UPS guy.

July 17, 2007

I went to B&N to pick up a study guide

I look around and can't find the nursing section.  So I ask the first sales associate I could find for nursing books. 

 She leads me to breastfeeding books.

 "No!" I laugh.  "The OTHER nursing."

I'm sure this has happened to many other nurses and nurses-to-be, especially if they show up asking for nursing books with a toddler in tow.

July 16, 2007

My first textbook arrived

Pharmacology for Nursing Care.  It's enormous.

8 more to come.  If they're all this big, I'm going to have to invest in a suitcase for bringing them to and from school.

July 14, 2007

First nursing-school related panic attack

While sitting here with the kids (my son had a slumber party), I started spazzing about nursing school:   how hard it's going to be, how much time it will take up, getting childcare for my boy, occupational health hazards...just everything.  It was rather overwheming.  Part of me wanted to say, "maybe I should put this off a bit longer" but I know if I do that, school will never happen because there will always be something that comes up that'll make me say "maybe I should..."

My biggest cause for panic concern is childcare.  It's just me and the Carpetshark until February.  The first half of the semester won't be too bad; it's when clinical start with the late hours that I'm worried about.  I don't really have anyone at home to say, "go pick up Carpetshark, I'm stuck here until 9."  At least the military has childcare resources I can call upon, including providers that offer care at odd hours.  I'm going to get a list of referals on Monday, and hopefully I'll find someone on one of them.  I know, I've got more than a month until school starts and another month or so after that until the first clinicals start...but let me get it squared away now.

They recommend that you spend 3 hours a week studying for each credit hour you're taking.  That will be 27 hours for me.  27 hours a week on top of everything else in my life.  I'm going to have to be very resourceful with my time.  Once those books arrive I'm going to start getting ahead on my reading, since I can't afford to be behind at all.

My graduate pen-pal gave me the advice that as long as you're passing you WILL become a nurse, and that the grades you graduate with don't mean that much in the end.  It is encouraging to know that I don't HAVE to be perfect, that I'll just do fine as long as I pass.  But that doesn't mean I won't let my guard down and stop shooting for the A.  First, I want the 4.0 GPA to live just a little longer.  Second, if I shoot for the A, then I know I'm more likely to get the B as opposed to shooting for the B.  But it's pretty tight to get an A:  you need a 94 or better. 

I debated with myself about keeping this blog to document my experiences, especially with all of these instances in the media of "private" blogs and websites coming to bite people in the ass, I'm hesitant to.  But then again, I would like a record of this to look back on, and yes, I would like to share it with others.  So I'm going to keep it for the time being, but don't expect any pictures or a lot of specific details about who/what/when.  I might be annoyingly vague about things, but at least I'll feel comfortable doing so.

July 13, 2007

It's depressing to see your body in measurements

At least if it's my body.  I was measured for my nursing school uniforms today.

The funny (ha!) thing is that I've spent the last two months at the Y, working out 3-4 times a week.  I hadn't lost much weight--only about 4 pounds--because I have to admit:  I could be eating a lot better than I have been.  But everyone's been commenting that I look like I've lost weight, especially in my face...I guess that's the only place I lost it from, because when the dressmaker gave me the numbers I was shocked.    They make me sound enormous, and I'm really not.  I'm tall and only a size 14...sometimes 16, but I can usually swing a 14.

But measurement numbers do not lie, so I ordered the appropriate sizes.  I think the shirt's going to be a bit large, especially as the "girls" are large due to nursing I do...the OTHER nursing. 

They said during orientation to get our uniforms on the larger size as nursing students "tend to spread".   That made me wonder if I'm ever going to see the inside of the Y again, what with this schedule coming up.

July 12, 2007

So I went to my nursing school orientation yesterday

They told us basically what I've heard from every other nursing student and read on any nursing forum:  that this is a lot of work, that this will consume a lot of time, that we need to prioritize and learn to let go and live with messy houses and delegating chores to other family members.  No surprise there...except that I do wish I had someone to delegate chores to.  My toddler is not exactly ready to do laundry and cook dinner.

The cost of the THERE was the surprise.  Not a great surprise, but sticker shock nonetheless.  I ordered through B&N instead of the campus bookstore because a.  I can use my B&N membership discount, and b.  the campus bookstore quoted the price for all the books that were "required" as just over $1,000.  I followed the list handed out in Orientation:  the bill was just under $500.  That's just for one semester too.  I now understand why, when I was in college the first time around, my mom would be outraged every time it was time to hit the bookstore.

Between the books plus tuition for the fall, I dropped $1200 before lunchtime.  This does not include the uniforms I've yet to order (another $200 as we have to have two complete sets), plus shoes (whatever they run), plus school supplies (whatever that will run).  At least I already have a working PDA.  It's old, but it's working.  Next year I'll upgrade it...I really need a new cell phone first, as I've now resorted to praying over this one every day so that it'll make it until August. 

Students--well, the female ones--have a choice between a white dress and white scrubs.  No way in hell am I wearing a dress--I'd feel like I was playing "pretend" nurse for some movie (Carry on Nurse?).  I don't think any of the women are going to choose the dresses from what I heard.  But we'll see how right I am when clinicals start.

Five semesters of fun--we work through the summer too.  Whee.

I did find a graduate of the school's program on a nursing forum and dropped her a note asking if she had any advice/warnings for me about the school and the program.  She sent back a fantastic message full of information (especially helpful was which instructors to avoid if possible) and told me if I had more questions to let me know.  It's nice to know I have a contact I can go to for info, as getting through to my nursing school's administration office on most days is just short of impossible.

July 10, 2007

About the title

Carry On Nurse has always been one of my favorite movies. The first copy of the student handbook I read said that females had to wear dresses and a cap--it was an outdated copy and didn't have the option for pants listed. After reading that, my first thought was that it'd be just like the movie, that I'd have to go around like their nurses in the student apron and big floppy cap and get called "butterflies" (as in the movie) or "candy-stripers" or whatever they call student nurses nowadays.

So hence "Carry On Nurse" for the title.

That's it, really. I know it's a boring tale, but occasionally things in life are boring.


I figured I’d do like everyone else in the world and start a weblog, this one to write about my experiences in nursing school.  I’m a nursing student…well, I shall shortly be one:  my classes begin in August.

I’m pursuing an ADN at a community college located in the boondocks of where I live.  I’ve already got a BA (not in nursing, but still, a BA’s a BA) so I figured the associates’ was the best option for me.  I’ve heard mostly good things about the school…I did read one person posting negatively about it, but when I asked him/her for more information, he/she never responded.  So I’m guessing that their post was more releasing steam than anything to worry about, but we shall see. 

My first orientation is Wednesday.  Dress code is business casual.  I’m not sure if I own any business casual wear anymore.