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 books...now 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.