December 31, 2011

As 2011 wraps up...

I'm not going to go into a detailed re-hash of the last 365 days...but I will say that there have been a lot of changes, the most notable being a new time zone. Overall it's been a good year. There were some down times but the good far outnumbered them. I hope 2012 continues to be more good than bad--I'm wise enough not to wish for a "better" year because at the first sign of difficult times I'm going to feel frustrated and let down.

We have no plans for tonight other than going for a hike this morning and going out to dinner later. We prefer to spend out New Year's Eve inside and quietly celebrate. If anyone is planning to go out, have fun and stay safe.

December 29, 2011

In Like Flynn

If you've never seen those movies, see them. They're hysterical.

Today I learned that once you're in a facility's system, recruiters will really interact and help with you more. Remember the nurse recruiters from a couple of months ago that rarely or never called me back? Today I called the one at my current facility to ask about updating my profile because I was interested in applying for additional per-diem positions. After all, I want to put this RN-BC to good use, especially considering all the hell I went through to get it. The call went to voice mail (no surprise) so I left a message, making sure to mention that I was an employee there and gave both my desk extension and work e-mail address--in addition to my cell phone--as evidence.

Yes, I know I was supposed to wait until the New Year to begin the job hunt. But I didn't actually apply for anything, I just wanted to know how to update my profile.

Lo and behold, I receive a call back from her within a couple of hours. Not days or weeks, but hours. Granted, I was in the frozen foods section of my local grocery when they called...the point being is that they called. And the recruiter couldn't have been more helpful. They told me exactly what I needed to do, then without my even asking started going over all of the open positions they had and would I be interested in any of them. None of the currently open positions fit what I wanted...well, a couple were all right but not top choices. The recruiter told me that they'd update my record and to please keep in touch because more positions would probably open up after the new year.

Wow!

It kind of makes sense though, because as an internal applicant, I've already gone through all of the orientation training, the compliance training, the charting training, the pre-employment screening...all I'd really need is a bit of orientation and off I go. So I can see why they'd want to go out of their way to hook up internal applicants first. Now that, plus the fact that the nurse who I fill in for knows the head of the inpatient units and offered to find out if they could use me as a PRN...

I did find out however that I am not eligible to apply as an internal candidate until I've passed my 90-day evaluation. So while I may resume looking for additional work in January, I won't be applying for any jobs at my current facility. Which may be a good thing because by the time March rolls around there should be some new postings up.

So kids, the moral of the story is that what everyone says is indeed true: get yourself into a facility in some way, shape or form, even if you're not taking your first-choice position. Once you're in heading towards your dream nursing job will be a lot easier.

Eating disorders is getting fascinating. I've started delving into what they do to the body's chemistry and lab work, and all of the complications of those changes. Just when you think you'd never need the in-depth acid-base balance and fluid and electrolyte knowledge after graduating, ED smacks you with them. And I mean REALLY smacks you with them: refeeding syndrome, fluid loading, diuretic use, laxative use, vomiting, inappropriate food intake...talk about some major F&E shifting and swaying.

I'm kind of sorry I'm only a per-diem there and my hours will ebb and flow, but the pace of outpatient is a little slow for me, so that's all right--it gives me a chance to look for that inpatient per-diem as well as pick up hours in the other outpatient programs.

December 25, 2011

Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas if you celebrate it, Happy Sunday if you don't!

I didn't sleep well last night...just couldn't get myself drowsy enough. I ended up going to bed at 1am...and the little one decided that we were all getting up at 5am. We talked him into 6:30am, at which time we put on Ben-Hur, fired up the coffee pot and started on the gifts. I got a nice watch and some videos from the boys. The better half has enough shaving stuff to last him a lifetime (or at least until next year) while the little one has enough LEGO for a small country. I'm about to tackle brunch-making because we have no idea when the families are going to call us. This time zone difference makes things tough at times. The distance is making it tough too, as I'm missing all of my friends and family right now. Even if I wasn't going to see them exactly on Christmas day, I knew I'd be seeing them at one point this holiday season.

We're having a turducken for Christmas dinner...this was the better half's idea. It is a Cajun specialty: a turkey with a duck with a chicken inside of it. 6 hours of cooking joy. At least most of those 6 hours can be unattended. Then a Julian Dutch Apple pie for dessert. Diet begins tomorrow.

I have to work tomorrow--all next week, actually--so there will be no wild late Christmas partying or playing with the new toys for me.

December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

The little one has been asking when Santa gets here...I tell him he will be here overnight after he falls asleep. He and the better half are planning a massive cookie bake for Santa, then the better half has promised to cook Christmas Eve dinner. I'm not going to say No to that!

The shopping is done. I've wrapped all my gifts except for some of the little one's clothing--I'll do that later. The important gifts (read: toys) are all wrapped and ready to appear after the little one goes to bed. I have to run out to gas up the truck since I'm working on Monday, but otherwise we're planning a peaceful and relaxing day at home, watching Christmas movies and getting into the spirit of the day.

It's a little hard to get used to it being Christmas when it's going to get up to 70 degrees. The little one was distraught that it wasn't going to snow on Christmas, so we had to explain to him that it doesn't need to snow for Christmas, that there are lots of places where it doesn't snow and Santa still visits. I think the little one is remembering last year, when that freak blizzard hit Christmas night and dumped two feet of snow. Of course, he and everyone else got to stay home and enjoy it while I had to work...oh well.

The new job is going well. I'm getting settled into it...it's definitely an adjustment after working inpatient! It's laid-back and slow, and there's quite a bit of downtime, which isn't a bad thing as it gives me a chance to complete required trainings and learn about my new area. Eating disorders is a whole new world: I've had limited experience with ED in the past, but usually secondary to a CD or other psych diagnosis. There is really a lot more to it than the textbook has.

December 18, 2011

Snow in California

It took an hour-plus of driving to get to see it, but I got to see some snow yesterday. We headed into the mountains to take the little one to a train ride/mine tour. Since I wasn't the driver, I got to snap pictures as we drove up into the cold and snow:





Remember, I'm originally from New York, so things like snow make me happy. I was afraid I wasn't going to see any during the time we're going to be out here.

I'm off orientation and will fly solo tomorrow. Well, solo as in the nurse who oriented me/who I'm filling in for won't be there...fortunately the staff is very supportive so I'm not too afraid. A little nervous, yes...anyhow, two days of work this week, five days the next week. After that, we'll see how it goes--the joys of working per-diem. But that's cool with me: school starts back up next month, and I've found that I own 71 miles' worth of wool so I should really start knitting more.

Plus I've talked to the better half and we decided that this is the year that we will try for little one #2. It's a good time and both of our career situations are good right now, so we'll give it ago. I'm still somewhat on the fence about a second child--I could really go either way--but given my age I don't really have the luxury of waiting-and-seeing-how-I'm-feeling for much longer.

I decided that I'm taking a page from my patients' handbook and turning it over to my Higher Power: if it was meant to be, it will happen, and if it wasn't, it won't. No regrets either way.

Going back to work stuff...also, the nurse who oriented me/who I'm filling in for knows the head of the inpatient units and offered to introduce me after the holidays to find out about getting some per-diem inpatient shifts. Again, I'm not going to pursue that until after the holidays.

December 11, 2011

Wires and wool

Lots of family, lots of relaxation, lots of knitting, lots of cooking, lots of eating, lots of fun...I needed this weekend.

Lots of introspection, too. Something that one often does when one gets a year older.

Can't say that I've come up with anything significant with regards to the last year and where I want to go with this year...other than life has changed quite a bit in the last year. A cross-country move helps. Dealing with some crises (personal, family) helps. Achieving a professional goal helps. Entirely changing my work habitat into something entirely different and less stressful...well, the jury is still out on that one.

I'm so hard-wired for working full-time: it's how I've always been. I'm also so hard-wired for working in high-stress chaos: my first nursing job had a lot to do with that. Now that I'm in the land of mandated ratios, working a per-diem part-time outpatient job...it's a hard adjustment. Don't get me wrong: the new job is great and I'm ecstatic to be in a new area of psych because it's a whole new world to learn. Coworkers are fantastic. The nurse I'm learning from and who I will be filling in for on the per-diem basis is awesome. And the salary out here is crazy--the good crazy.

I am keeping to my promise to myself of no searching for a second per-diem spot until January. I did get my resume reviewed by a recruiter who offered a lot of helpful tips, so if anything this month I'll tweak the resume, but that's as far as I go.

In the meanwhile, I'm telling myself of all the advantages this new job has. More time for the little one. More time for my knitting and hobbies. More time for the RN-BSN program which starts in January. More time to get in shape. More time to learn Spanish. Less stress. I figure if I keep repeating this to myself over and over it may start to sink in.

I really do need to work more on my knitting. I've been logging my stash into my Ravelry database and I have A LOT. I've gone from several sheep's worth of yarn to a herd. So next year I've vowed to "cold sheep" (translation: not buy yarn) and start putting a dent into this stash. It looks like I could have a lot of knitted socks in my future.

And I really do want to learn the Spanish, given where I am living. Lots of opportunities to practice, lots of soap operas to get addicted to.

Back to the introspection.

Overall, I have to say life has been good to me this last year, even with the crises and the hassles of moving. I've settled into life out West pretty well, I'm seeing more of the better half and the little one is making a lot of progress. I have good health though I do need to take better physical care of myself and get back into eating right (after today, of course--I am making spaghetti sauce from scratch) and getting fit. Financially, we're in a good place for the first time in quite a while. Mentally, I'm getting there--I've found a good doctor who has tweaked my meds, and this new combination has been a lot better.

I'm pretty blessed and I appreciate it.

December 6, 2011

Sacrifices

Something I posted in response to a thread made me think. The thread had to do with whether the original poster should to pursue her job offer and her husband forgo his, or the husband pursue his job offer and the poster forgo hers as they'll have to relocate. A common response--mine was one--to the poster was a third option: if nothing is holding them back (kids, etc.,) why not both pursue their opportunities and have a long-distance relationship for two years?

Then I kind of wandered off onto my own thoughts. The downside to my better half being in the military is that he can't say no to whatever job they give him or wherever they want to send him. He's had some jobs whose hours were so bad that I'd get only an hour or two an evening with him, if that. He's had some hellacious deployments. He's done a year overseas in a war zone without us. He's missed a lot of the little one's life because of it.

Since he can't say no, I'm the one who has to say no as far as things in my life go. I'm the one who gets to decide if I stay behind and pursue my interests/school/career, or if I go with him and take my chances. Because of the little one, it's a no-brainer: of course we're all moving so we're together. I've sacrificed a career (not nursing) for one move. It took me forever to get through nursing school because of another move as well as his being overseas that year. I've sacrificed my RN-BSN as well as career for this last one. And while my experience and prior classwork do give me a leg-up, essentially I'm starting over in both areas.

And because of all of that, sometimes I feel like I'm behind where I want to be, even though I'm really not. I guess that's from all of the uprooting and starting over. Having to do that sucks. Having to make those sacrifices sucks. I admit that sometimes I resent having to make them. Ironically, I don't resent the better half...just the circumstances that the better half, by virtue of the military, puts us in. But we both knew what we were getting into when he signed up all those years ago, so it's not as though we were blind-sided. OK, the year overseas was rather blind-siding, but even so, we did know that was a remote possibility.

Do I regret all of it? Overall...no, I really don't. The little one is only young once and as much as my insecurity and impatience haunts me, my career will be there for a long time. The better half has agreed with me that once he retires, it will be my career that is the priority and he will have to make do and deal with the blows to any second career he has.

But if I didn't have the little one...would I have made those sacrifices?

Honestly...I don't know. Maybe. Maybe not. Perhaps for a really good opportunity I would have told him, "I'm taking the job, I'll move in a year." Or I may have opted to stay back east to finish the RN-BSN and joined him out here in Spring 2012. Then again, it'd have been a lonely time, and as much as I am a loner, I don't like being separated too long from him. I start to miss him and his habits after a while.

I do think that if it wasn't for the little one, I probably would have chosen the PCU over the psych job, since the biggest reason I went with psych was that the hours were better to work a preschool schedule around. Or I may have taken the psych job and tried to transition out of psych ASAP since nearly no one else in my class was in psych. But if I had done either, then I would not have had the chance to get to know--and fall in love--with psychiatric nursing.

And no, I don't resent the little one. Like with the better half, sometimes I resent the circumstances the little one's existence puts me in, but I never ever resent him. Nor do I ever regret having him, as that was one of the best things I have ever done in my life. On the worst days, that little smile makes the pain go away and my spirits soar...it makes everything worthwhile

*sigh*

What-ifs, maybes, perhaps I should haves, I ought to have dones, and so on...one can take themselves down a long road musing over what might have been. And to be honest, it's a road not best gone down often, as I can't change the past--I can only tinker with the future. And enjoy the present because that's where life--and the choices I've made--has taken me.

December 3, 2011

Meriwhen the RN-BC

It's official. I passed. The test ended three hours ago and I still feel like I want to throw up, but I did it. The test was like taking the NCLEX all over again, so you know damn well I'm NEVER going to let this lapse no matter what I have to do to maintain it!

I think I'm going to go to bed and sleep now.

So today is the day

1:30pm. 4 hours. Instant notification of passing or failure. What a way to spend a Saturday.

Hindsight being what it is, I would really have waited to schedule this exam until we were more settled out in CA and I would be able to craft and really adhere to a good study plan. But my excitement to get it done got the better of me: after all, I was a great student in nursing school, I did very well on the sample/practice tests, so this should be a no-brainer, or so I thought. Plus I thought it would really help with the job search out here: I know the market in CA is tight and I really didn't expect to have a job within a couple of months. I knew it'd be easier than the new grad job search but I also heard how experienced nurses were having a hard time.

And I will be entirely honest and admit this: I wanted to be the first one in my graduating class that had gotten certification. Or at least one of the first ones...OK, I really wanted to be the first one, so I could put that accomplishment up there with graduating summa cum laude. Then I looked in those review books and realized how much I don't know...or know I learned in school but don't remember. Heh. So much for book smarts.

Pride goeth before a fall. Or act in haste and repent in leisure. Both apply here: the former because I feel like I should live up to being the top student even though I've graduated; the latter because of insecurity and anxiety.

I'm not nervous though. I'm going to go in and do my best. If I pass, yay yay yay, and I'll be celebrating with some fine Mexican food. If I fail, they'll tell me what areas I need to work on, and then after the 60-day time-out period I'll reschedule it for the spring/summer. I'll probably still be eating the fine Mexican food, as I'm not the type of person who goes anorexic when they're upset.

I talked with my better half about this, and he felt I should take the exam even if I don't feel ready--at the least I'll get an idea of what it's like. And I have to agree: personally, I'd rather take it, fail and reschedule it than to lose a ridiculous amount of money on a cancellation fee--even though canceling and rescheduling would cost less in the long run--because I feel like I'd be wasting my money if I cancelled.

So here goes nothing. Wish me luck and that I learn from this experience, pass or fail.

November 30, 2011

Of course...

While randomly surfing this morning, I found another psych job that would be right up my alley: in-patient, locked unit, per-diem, local area. I'm qualified for it and then some. But as tempted as I am to shoot them a resume and application...first, I want to tackle this ANCC exam so (hopefully) I can put RN-BC after my name. Second, I haven't even started working at my current job yet and there's a LOT of potential there, both in the job itself as well as the opportunities to pick up other per-diem opportunities in the hospital. Third, I want to enjoy December: it's the month of my birthday, my son's birthday and the holidays.

So I decided not to act in haste this time. No new job applications until January 1.

November 29, 2011

Bad Meriwhen!

I am so unmotivated to study for this ANCC exam...I pretty much stopped studying. The test is Saturday. I'm not distraught or upset over my actions though...I guess that I've just had so much on my plate the last few months that this exam and what may come of it totally unfazes me. Of course, it helps that no matter what happens on Saturday I'm still an employable RN--it's not as though I'm taking the NCLEX again.

I'm going to try to read my review book but whatever happens happens: I'll go in on Saturday and do the best that I can. In hindsight, I think I should have waited a bit before scheduling it...but I was in such a hurry because I thought having certification would help me in my job hunt out in California. Hindsight is always 20/20, oh well. If I fail, it won't be the most expensive mistake I've made.

I heard from my new grad preceptee. She's doing all right. She moved to night shift, which IMO may be the best thing for her while she learns how to deal with the stress and chaos at the same time she's learning the new grad ropes. I'm glad they were able to move her, I was worried that after I was gone she wouldn't be able to cope and she'd be sacked. She's got potential to be a great nurse but right now is so green that she needs to be working with a strong nurse to guide her.

The better half and I spent this morning at school while the special-ed manager for the district interviewed our son for the before/after school program. At first I was kind of annoyed that we had to meet for an interview, especially given the reports from his teacher about how well he's doing and how high-functioning he is compared with his classmates. I almost started thinking that this interview was their looking for a way to reject him---paranoid, I know :) But the little lamb is special-ed so California's got to do what California's got to do.

During the meeting I was impressed with how thorough they were when it came to planning his after-school care and activities. They wanted to make sure all of his needs were addressed and any necessary accommodations made...fortunately, minimal accommodations are needed. They also stressed that he will benefit from the structure the program has, and I agree: the lamb does better when there's structure. It's hard to provide that at home sometimes, with the better half in the military and me working as a nurse.

November 26, 2011

Migraine. Bah.

I woke up at 3am with a migraine. It's now 7pm. I still have remnants of it lingering around, but at least I can stand up and function without blinding pain or nausea. 3000mg ibuprofen plus 1000mg acetaminophen plus several cups of coffee plus a cold wet rag on my head helped get me to a functional state. I think another 800mg of ibuprofen will be needed before bed.

So the migraine kind of killed most of my plans for the day. We were going to climb one of the nearby mountains but there's no way that was going to happen, so the boys went on their own. Studying was out too because I couldn't focus on the print. The only things I could really do today is lie around, listen to the television and knit (since I don't need to see the stitches). I made a lot of progress on a shawl that I'm knitting for my mother.

November 21, 2011

*happy sigh*

Found out some very good news about that hoop I'm concerned about...apparently it is a hoop that for the most part I no longer need to be concerned with. Forgive the vagueness...let's just say that overall it's a very good thing. Maybe one day I'll elaborate, but it's not really that exciting anyway.

So tomorrow is the day I go sign the paperwork and begin the orientation process. My supervisor called me today to line up my mid-late December schedule. I told her that I'm free for most of the month and to put me down for four days a week; she can decide what day I'll be off. After the holidays, I'll probably end up floating a lot...which is fine by me.

Of course, now that I have a job, information fell into my lap about several jobs that would have been up my alley. Good old Murphy's Law as it applies to nursing jobs.

As much as I try, I just can't bring myself to get motivated to study for the ANCC exam. I've been reading and answering quiz questions here and there, but no hard-core studying.

November 20, 2011

Sunday

On Friday, I received flu and TDaP shots as part of my preemployment workup. Saturday was spent in pain. The muscle of the TDaP shot was very sore, though the LVN who gave me the shots was right: massage the muscle as often as possible and it will improve the pain. The muscle of the flu shot wasn't so sore...what was more worrisome was the pain that radiated down the arm to my wrist. But that's gone now and overall I feel fairly good.

They're expecting a Pacific storm to roll in tonight. It's bringing gusty wind and "heavy" rain of half an inch to an inch. I'm not too worried: remember, I moved here from Hurricane Country so anything that's doesn't have a Saffir-Simpson category in its description isn't going to scare me. So I'm planning all the errands for early in the day, so I can spend tonight holed up with my knitting and my review books.

I'm also trying to line up a sitter so I can go to orientation. The problem with year-round schools is that they are generous with the holiday breaks, so instead of being off just Thursday and Friday, he's off for the entire week.

I also ended up losing nearly half a pound during my mom's visit. Totally unexpected but I'll take it.

November 18, 2011

Jump hoop!

It looks like I did clear a lot of the hoops so far. As far as the hoops left--including my one of concern--I'm going by the adage that no news is good news. So far my new employee orientation appointment is still on.

I had my mom visiting me for the last week. It was a pretty good visit as far as visits with family go. I think my father staying behind at home helped since he's often a source of her stress. My better half being home also helped since his presence gave her someone else to focus on besides just me and the little one. It was a comfortable and fun time.

It was also time for the visit to end. You see, after a certain amount of time my mother tries to reassume her role of family matriarch (albeit with MY family) and starts getting controlling and bossy. She also starts trying to mother me again, and considering that I'm far removed from 18 I find that annoying. Yesterday, she started lecturing me about how I need to get out and meet more neighbors and this is how I'm going to do it. At the restaurant last night, she lectured me about eating the appetizer saying, "you won't be able to eat dinner."

Yup, it was time to see her off.

Plus it was time to resume my life. While my life wasn't drastically altered by her visit, it was time to get back to my own routines and habits...such as not eating gigantic egg breakfasts every morning. I did try to offset the damage by skipping lunch (not a hardship since I would still feel full from breakfast), but I'm curious to see what the scale will say tomorrow morning.

So while she's repeatedly saying, "I don't want to leave," "I wish I could stay longer," etc., followed by a pause and a glance at me, I remained noncommittal with my "Yeah, it was fun." replies. And it really was fun. But 6 days was fun. Any longer than that, and the fun would have started wearing off fast. I love her, but sending her off was worth getting up at 4:45am for, and when she said we didn't have to stay at the airport with her I didn't press it.

Today I'm unwinding. I have an episode of Dirty Soap to catch up on.

November 16, 2011

Hoop. Jump!

I received a job offer for the outpatient psych. I accepted gladly. It's per-diem but even though I will be core to one partial hospitalization program, I will have lots of opportunities to pick up shifts in all the units. Plus it gives me an "in" towards getting per-diem inpatient shifts.

Now I'm doing the pre-employment hoop-jumping: drug testing, titer drawing, PPD placing, physical examination, background check, reference check, license verification, work verification, and so on. So far, so good...I'm worried about one hoop, but I talked with them about it and was reassured it should turn out fine. If I clear all the hoops I go in next week to sign the paperwork and begin the orientation process.

Meanwhile, I was contacted out of the blue by a nurse recruiter by an agency. I probably won't pursue anything with them, at least not right now...but it could never hurt to cultivate a relationship.

Just over two weeks until my certification exam. I'd been reading my study guides on and off, but for next two weeks I better be all over those books! I don't want to fail and have to pay for another exam.

November 10, 2011

The cold that won't go away

I'm going on five days with this cold and I feel miserable. We've all come down with it. The little one has had it more than a week (and that's how we know it's a cold--we took him to the doctor), and my better half just started getting hit with it. They're both coughing like crazy and lethargic, and their symptoms flare up at night. Meanwhile, my symptoms are always at their worst in the morning, but they even out to a general malaise that lasts all day. The worst part is how it affects my throat--that is my weak spot. I lose my voice every morning.

So here I am drinking Theraflu, knitting the border onto my shawl, watching old movies and trying to get as much rest as I can. I want to get on the treadmill and exercise because it's been almost a week since I was last on it, but I'm getting winded walking around. Oh well. If it doesn't improve in a few days I'm going to make an appointment with my doctor. I really hope it does go away faster than that: my mother is flying out to visit.

My interview for the outpatient psych went pretty well--the nurse manager called me at home a few hours later and sounded very positive about my getting it. So I'm keeping my fingers cross that I'll be getting a call from their HR department really soon...in the meanwhile I'm still looking, at least for per-diem stuff, because it's not official until I sign the offer. But I'm being optimistic.

November 8, 2011

Continuing on

I have an interview tomorrow for outpatient psych. I have a cold right now so I'm resting and taking it easy, so I can be the best that I can tomorrow. Still no word on the other interviews/jobs I've applied for.

I have been having an actual e-mail conversation with a nurse recruiter at a facility. I'm impressed that one person is taking the time to talk to me about nursing jobs, especially knowing how swamped they must be with job seekers...and that I haven't even applied to that facility. And while the news from her wasn't exactly good, the fact she's responding is encouraging. It restores my faith in the hunt.

November 6, 2011

Falling back

Hope everyone remembered to turn back their clocks (if applicable) and checked the batteries in their smoke/CO detectors. Mine has been chirping at me so I need to get new batteries for it today.

I crashed early last night. I've been waking up sore and fatigued the last two days, and figured I was coming down with the same bug my little one has. He sounds like he's going to wharf up a lung, but the doctor told us it's just a cold. So I decided to take advantage of the extra hour's sleep.

But the time difference through the boys off: the little one came into our bed at 4am to actually try and wharf up that lung. After 30 minutes of this (and cough medicine doesn't help) the better half, who was up anyway, tended to him and I hid back under the blankets. Then my other cat (also 16 and I think pining for her sister) decided to groom me awake this morning...and there's nothing like waking up to a cat licking your elbow. So much for lots of extra sleep. Little one is running in circles all morning, remarkably cough-free.

Despite that, I feel better today...still a little tired and achy. Thank goodness it's a rest day as far as my running (ha!) goes. Today promises to possibly rain again, so we don't have any big plans other than the boys going to to get some stuff for their model train layout. I'll probably treat myself to some sock yarn while we're there...as though I don't have enough yarn already. But you can never have too much wool.

Of course, I should be studying for that exam...I just can't bring myself to. I know I'm taking my chances.

November 4, 2011

Another interview (almost) lined up

I got a call to interview for outpatient psych services in the same hospital chain as #1 Hospital. I admit, I was hoping for inpatient somewhere--preferably #1 hospital but any place would be fine--but this might not be too bad. First of all, it would get me into the hospital chain's system, and we know that as a general rule, internal candidates get priority when applying for internal positions. Second, no one says I can't pick up a PRN inpatient gig somewhere else and have the best of both worlds.

So this outpatient place wants to get me in as ASAP for an interview (a good sign) so the manager I just spoke with is going to talk to the other managers (more than one manager wants to speak with me, another good sign) and call me back to set a date next week.

In the meanwhile I did call #1 Hospital and left a "remember me?" message. And that's all I'll do on that end. I've interviewed and I've made my follow-up call, anything else beyond that is in my opinion being stalkerish. I just have to wait and see what's going on. Later on I'll work on that cover letter for the crossover jobs. No response to my emails--from either hospital chain--inquiring about training.

I also need to study for the ANCC exam. I have REALLY been slacking off on it, and the test is in less than a month. I need to get my rear in gear and get cracking. I should get it done early today, since it's Benny Hill night on one of my local TV stations.

November 3, 2011

Getting up and moving...in a few aspects

I packed up Meriwhen the RN and moved it here (moved it back here, actually) to Blogger. I have more control over the HTML and layouts here than I did at WordPress. I was also able to import all of the posts from the blog I had as a nursing student (carryonnurse.wordpress.com) so everything is all in one place. I like that :)

No news on the job hunt front. I'm going to give the first place a call tomorrow after my coffee date just to touch base and see if they need anything else for me...and basically to remind them I exist. This is my number #1 hospital here and I'd really like to work for them, if not in psych then in some other way, shape or form. I also applied to a couple more jobs on the hospital chain's website--all psych but at different locations than where I interviewed. Then something caught my eye in one of the listings generated from my job search agent at hospital #1. They were posting about a critical care nurse training program starting in January.

Really?

I read some more. Twelve hour shifts, but I'm starting to reconcile myself to the fact that I'm probably going to end up having to work 12s--I'm just going to take charge of the childcare issue on my own and if the better half doesn't like it, he can step up to the plate or shut up. You need to have at least a year's acute care experience and BLS/ACLS, both of which I have (and I even have PALS too!)...of course, critical care experience and a BSN preferred. I'm debating about throwing my hat into the ring. It would be a great chance to scratch the medical itch as well as get some great training, but I'm also coming from a psych background so I'm not sure how much of a chance they want to take on me.

I can sell myself the best that I can though...but I didn't have a good cover letter selling myself as a specialty crossover candidate on hand, so I decided not to apply today while I work on one. I did drop an e-mail to both the nurse recruiter and my contact person in HR (the one who does write me back) to ask if they had other training programs and that I'd be interested in them. Nothing to lose there, right?

And since I am feeling so spirited, I am going to write another hospital chain's nurse recruiter to ask about their training programs, since I've seen them mention them in their job listings: "X year's recent experience or completion of our training program required." So let's find out how to get into one of those training programs...if I can find a contact address for me to send a message to, that is. And to help increase the odds that my e-mail does make it through, my first sentence is that I'm an experienced nurse, lest they think it's yet another new grad.

This spirited feeling won't last long though. I still miss my cat.

November 2, 2011

Another phone interview and an interesting find

I just got off of the phone with another hospital...I had an hour-long interview for a PRN gero-psych position. I was surprised they got back so fast to me: I completed the application on Monday, and on Tuesday I got a call scheduling the interview for today. I figured it'd be a 15-minute "how do you do?" session, but she was very thorough. I think I handled it well...it seemed like I had a good rapport with her. I never worked in gero-psych per se, but I've had a good deal of experience with elderly patients at my last job, and I'm excited about being able to do a bit more medical nursing (she called it "med-surg lite"). Guess I still have that itch :)

So we'll see what happens. If I progress to the next round, it'll be an in-person interview.

Meanwhile, I'm still waiting for the next round of in-person interviews at my local facility. Nothing from them yet...I'm not going to stress. The wheels of HR and nurse managers move slow at times, especially in psych as they'll do background checks and what not during or even before the interview process, and not wait until they hire you.

I'm getting over the recent loss of my 16 year old cat--she had to be euthanized due to her poor health. I stopped crying but I'm tired since I didn't sleep well. I keep seeing her around the house, I keep expecting her to yell at me for this or pound the door in for that...ah well. Mourning sucks. The other pets realized that something isn't normal: the dog looks positively depressed, and the other 16 year old cat (who is far healthier than my other one was) is now very clingy.

While tweaking some of the settings here at Wordpress so I can categorize my old posts, I found the blog I had from nursing school. There's less than 20 posts because nursing school made it hard to keep up with blogging, let alone anything. I'm debating about merging it with this one, but I don't know...anyhow, here it is: Carry on Nurse.

I can't believe how long ago nursing school seems...and how far I've come since then. Enjoy.

October 30, 2011

80

As I'm sure a lot of people know, the weather in coastal California is beautiful. Today is going to be sunny with a high in the upper 70s. Lows get into the 50s, maybe 40s. It's delicious weather, though it does mandate more frequent leg-shaving. Meanwhile, back where I used to live, it's 54/30 and sunny albeit soggy from a few days of rain. Where I grew up, they just got hit with a snowstorm.

While I am enjoying my current weather, I am missing the change in the seasons. Everyone says that there really aren't seasons out here. But I grew up with the seasons. I love the feeling when the weather starts turning cooler. I love when the leaves turn into fiery colors before they drop off. I love the smell of snow in the air. I love the snow itself even more. I love rain. I love being able to enjoy a freak warm day in the middle of the winter. I love the lazy days that the weather can force--or encourage--on one.

But seasons are not in my future for the next few years...oh well. Can't change that, can only accept what I have.

There are nice things about California weather, though. It's always a nice day to be outside. The nights get chilly enough that my knitting gets put to good use. I rarely have to worry about things being rained out. The weather is rarely grey and depressing, though there does tend to be stretches of foggy mornings where it's overcast until noon or so. And if I really want different weather I'm only an hour away from the mountains.

Need to clean out my car today. The little one tends to think of it as his own personal toy depository.

October 29, 2011

5

I lost 5 lb over the last three weeks. I've been making a serious effort about watching what I eat (I'm keeping an accurate food diary!) and I've been getting on the treadmill to run/walk three times a week. None of my clothing fit any better yet, but it's a nice feeling to know I've lost a little weight. Many more pounds to go...

I need to put that lost weight on my cat. She's dropped more weight, so much so that when I pick her up I feel individual rib bones. She eats with no problem and isn't in any distress...then again, she is 16. I should get her to the vet soon.

Applied to a few more per-diem psych positions. Waiting to see if they do call me back for that second interview. Studying for the certification exam. Same old, same old.

October 27, 2011

A little rant about trying to have it all ways

My better half can be very annoying at times.

He's in the service, going on 15 years. We've been together for nearly 17 years so I know the drill of how it works: basically I can't rely on his schedule for anything. I've known this for 15 years and accepted it, hence the going on 17 years.

However, he is convinced that even after all these years, I don't understand this concept, as any time I many any remark about his work hours I get the whole speech of how they're unreliable and can be longer and there's no promises and he has no say in them, etc., etc., etc., inc. I tell him that I understand that, and he continues to lecture me on and on...the man's a pro at beating dead horses.

So I look for childcare arrangements so I don't have to rely on him and his schedule...and I get resistance there too. Then it's the speech of how our son shouldn't be in childcare so much, he's there so late, he's with someone he doesn't really know, etc., etc., etc., inc. Again, dead horses beaten to death.

To add insult to injury, over the last several years I've seen lots of active-duty parents able to drop off/ and pick up their kids from school or daycare, as well as see them make arrangements to cover childcare in emergencies. Mine can't seem to be able (read: willing) to do it...yet if he needs to take his car to the garage or pick up something for himself, he has no problem is being able to get out early. Right now he's on shore duty so the hours are generally better, but yet he continues to throw up his hands in protest.

What my better half doesn't get is that nursing is not 9-5...at least not the nursing job I want. I could sit in some doctor's office--if I can find one that will hire a RN over a LVN or MA--but I wouldn't be happy. Nor does the better half understand that the plum shifts are not automatically handed out to new hires...guess he's forgotten all of the evenings and weekends I had to work at my last job before I was able to move to straight days with no weekends. If I want to be hired full-time evenings or nights, no problem: I can do that instantly...but he won't like what I have to do to make it happen, nor will he step up to plate to help out.

There's a history behind my drive to work that I won't go into here...suffice it to say that I decided a long time ago that not working is not an option for my well-being. So I'm deciding that I am going to make that happen and if I need to engage childcare to do it, then so be it. I won't go out of my way to get the world's worst hours, but if that's all I can get then that's what I'm going for.

And my better half will have to make a choice: if he doesn't like the idea of childcare than he needs to make changes to be there. If he is unwilling/unable to make that effort, he'll just have to accept it.

If that sounds selfish on my part...well, as a military spouse I've made a lot of sacrifices for him over the years. I have not asked for much over the years. A little support right now would be nice though.

October 26, 2011

The first interview in the new job hunt...

It actually went pretty well. What a difference from having to interview as a new grad a couple of years ago. I felt more confident in myself and my abilities and I knew what I was talking about. They seemed impressed with me, I think...at any rate, they spent almost 2 hours talking to me, showing me around, and introducing me to staff. Of course, a few patients came up to make their own introductions.

Then the dreaded "M" word came up...Magnet. Not having a BSN disqualifies me from a lead nurse position, though they did note that I was in school for my BSN. We addressed that early in the interview, so I'm reading that as I still have a shot. I explained my situation with my little one and we decided that PRN might be the best for me. And that's fine: the last PRN job evolved into a full-time position when I was ready for it to.

They have several different units, both inpatient and outpatient. Their higher functioning units aren't locked...I mean, the outside door is shut but the whole unit is not as restrictive as a unit at my last job was. I saw an open patio door and my first question upon entering was, "should that door be open?" My escort laughed.

They do have a locked unit...that felt like coming home :) They also have something that really caught my attention: medical psych. It's a unit with patients with both medical and psychiatric diagnoses. No telemetry or stepdown patients, but there's medical issues there. That appealed to me because that may help me scratch the med/surg itch that keeps rearing its head from time to time. It will also give me non-psych experience which will help me be more well-rounded when I decide to go back for psych CNS or NP.

They said that they want to bring me back in for another interview next week with the director and that they will call me. I'll just have to wait and see. I'm optimistic and think I have a really good chance, but I'm not calling off the job search just yet. In the meanwhile I've applied to a couple of other psych positions, and will start checking out the other major hospital chains. I'm also working on the portfolio.

I rescheduled my certification test to December 3rd. I decided to do it on a Saturday so I have the weekend to celebrate...or mourn. I made sure the interviewers knew I was planning to take that test...anything that can help the ADN along.

October 21, 2011

What a week

On Wednesday I got a call from a nurse manager who was forwarded my application. So what began as a day planned for doing laundry turned into a laundry day with a 20 minute phone interview. A formal interview is set up for next week, which gives me a few days to get my nursing portfolio in order and find something in my closet that I can still fit into...stupid weight gain. Meantime, I'm still brushing up the resume and getting cover letters ready. I found several (more than 10!) major hospital in my area and bookmarked all of their career websites. Starting on Monday I plan the attack.

Then my advisor from the RN-BSN program finally got in touch with me. Seems there was an error with something on one of my older transcripts but it is in the process of being ironed out and she will get my course plan to me as soon as it is updated, so I can begin. Of course, this was after I had contacted several other RN-BSN programs and one RN-MSN program for more information, as I was getting so frustrated with my current program that I was considering moving on. But now that my advisor is apparently alive, we'll see. I'd really rather stay in this program and I hope the communication (or lack thereof) issues were the rare exception and not the norm.

I've been eating better and because of that, I've been feeling better physically. Need to cut down on the wine a bit...I'm not excessively drinking at all--maybe a glass or two here and there--but it's not going to help my weight loss. I also got on the treadmill three times this week to do some serious walk/running. Strength training only happened one day and I'm STILL feeling the soreness from doing 10 jackknife crunches and 6 complete chest presses. Darn you, Wii Fit!

And as mentioned before, I set the date for my certification exam for December 1st. So my bedtime reading every night is one PMH review book or another.

Next week the little one goes back to school...thank goodness. I loved spending the extra time with him but I think I've hit my limit. Plus he really needs to get back into a regular routine, since he's been out of school for almost a month thanks to the move.

October 19, 2011

I set the date

I set the certification test date: December 1. I had a good feeling about that day, plus it gives me 6 weeks to study my head off. I'll be honest and say I wanted to do it ASAP, but after hearing lots of feedback about what the test was like, I decided that a comprehensive review was in order.

Today's job hunt task is working on cover letters. I also plan to get on the treadmill in a bit.

October 18, 2011

So!

That nurse recruiter did write me back about the job I applied for. I filled out a qualifications screen and today received a reply that if I'm considered for the position that HR will contact me in 2 to 4 weeks for an interview; if I don't hear back then they like someone else's qualifications better. Not bad for a spur-of-the-moment application.

I think I have a good shot at being called for an interview; I meet most of the requirements for the job. The only things I'm lacking is the BSN preferred and Spanish-speaking preferred. But we shall wait and see. In the meantime I'm getting the resume in order and making a list of places to apply to. This hospital is not the only chain in town, fortunately...there's a few big hospital systems to choose, from plus governmental jobs, and--if I'm feeling particularly up for a long commute--a couple of facilities from the last hospital system I worked for. Though don't know if that would give me any advantage or preference in the hiring process.

I'm trying to figure out what the deal is with my RN-BSN program. It's a program that is 100% online, well-thought of and CCNE accredited, so I hesitate to drop it. At the same time, it's so frustrating trying to get someone who can give me answers on my status and enrolling. The administrative assistant in the office said that should would try to track down someone who can help me. This was yesterday. Nothing from her today. I'll probably skip tomorrow and drop her another line on Thursday--from how things are going so far, I need to keep prodding and poking to get them to remember me.

In the meanwhile, I'm knitting like crazy. I'm working on a shawl that I've been working on since nursing school and will hopefully finish by the end of the year. I've also got some socks fired up because I've found that despite this being California, it can get darn cold! The Reynaud's struck last night...a mild attack, fortunately. But it means I need more wool socks!

October 17, 2011

The job search begins...at least part-time

Today I start looking for that next job...at least on a part-time basis. The little one isn't in school yet due to the school having fall break until next week (I must get used to these year-round schools), and there's still a lot to be done around the house. So my efforts aren't going to be full-time just yet. This week I'll get the resume brushed up, find facilities to apply to, and get my RN-BSN program squared away. Once the little one is in school I'll step things up.

To be honest, I like being able to spend time with my little one. We're going to have a couple of outings this week. He's been dying to ride the tram system so we're going to plan a little trip somewhere for our train date.

The one thing I must do today is get that kitchen tackled from top to bottom, and get the extra packing boxes into the spare room, so at least the living room looks finished. While I'm a packrat at heart, even I can't stand this mess.

October 14, 2011

Still nothing has changed

The nurse recruiter never e-mailed me back :)

Neither has my RN-BSN advisor for that matter, which is making me wonder if I'm better off removing it from the resume right now, since I seem to be in this state of limbo as far as where I am in the program. At this point, I'm wondering if I'm even if the program since all they seem to be doing is studiously ignoring me--I mean, I'm officially admitted to the school and I was told I have a nursing program advisor, yet I don't seem to exist.

I am debating about either switching programs or scrapping the BSN and going straight for the MSN. The problem is finding an RN-BSN which is primarily online and which is NLNAC or CCNE accredited (as the program I'm currently in is). The other problem is that should I go straight for the MSN that will cost big bucks...which considering I don't have a job in CA yet, I should probably hold off on doing.

The job search will begin officially on Monday...at least on a part-time basis anyway since my son doesn't start school until the following week. Going on interviews with him in tow is probably not a good idea ;)

October 12, 2011

Some things haven't changed in the last two years

I still haven't started the job search in earnest yet, but out of idle curiosity, I called the number of my local hospital's nurse recruiter. Of course, I didn't get a human being: I got a recording that started off with "If you are a new grad, blah, blah..." with instructions to go to the hospital's website. And if you weren't a new graduate, you also got instructions to go to the website. Either way, there was no chance to leave a message...yet the website states that if you want more information in nursing careers at Hospital X to call the nurse recruiter.

So I shot them an e-mail because I'm curious to see how that will be handled :)

October 10, 2011

We are home, and the job hunt begins

We've been in the house since Wednesday. The basics are set up (read: utilities and the beds) and now it's a lot of unpacking and organizing. I'm currently taking an unpacking break to have some tea.

The trip across country has not been kind to my waistline...in fact, my weight is downright hideous. A lot of driving (no physical exertion involved in that!) and dining out has caught up with me. So as of yesterday we've forsaken eating out and have been eating in. I've given up diet soda and been drinking more water and herbal tea. I've been watching what I eat, both the types of food as well as the portion sizes. I'd like to say it's been working so far, but I seem to have put on 2 lb since then! I'm hoping it's just water weight. Once we get things organized in the house I'll start getting exercise in.

So...

I applied for a job here--inpatient psych at the local hospital. It was a spur-of-the-moment application: I wasn't really ready to begin the job hunt in earnest, but the job itself sounded so perfect and exciting that I was swept up in the rush and so I did it. What a drastic difference from the first nursing job hunt two years ago! I have a detailed resume at the ready...and the resume actually has some meat to it. I've also got references in hand, both written and telephone. I've got certifications and memberships to back up my credibility. Last, I don't feel as hopeless as I did the first time. I feel more confident in both my interviewing and nursing abilities, and less desperate to grab anything that comes my way.

Last, looking for work gives me more motivation to get this certification exam scheduled and done with.

October 4, 2011

So the move to 2731 is completed

Well, almost. We're still living in the motel that we've been in for the last three days. Tomorrow we should get the keys to the house. In a few days after that our furniture and stuff should arrive. Next week I will get the little one enrolled in school. And then, perhaps then...I can start looking for that job.

I'm scheduling my certification exam for November. I had really wanted to tie it all up before I started the job hunt so I could add that extra RN-BC bullet to the resume, but I've got too much going on with setting up a new household from near-scratch. I can't stop and spend all that time studying. Besides, with the way the job market is, it may take so long to find something that I'll have that RN-BC bullet before I go on actual interviews.

I started making a list of the psych (and non-psych) facilities in the area. I really haven't done much more than that: my internet connections are so sketchy right now that I don't want to start an online job hunt that I can't keep up with. My printer is in storage so I can't print out the resume. And my interview clothing is in storage too...though I have been debating about making an investment into a suit for interviewing. I was smart enough to keep my RN portfolio with me during the trip so I have all my important paperwork. If I was truly smart, I should have printed out a few copies of an updated resume before we left. Oh well.

We should have internet in the house by Friday, so I can start doing more job-hunting work online. Worse comes to worse, I'll find an OfficeMax and bring them my resume on disk, and they can print out some copies for me.

Part of me keeps saying to relax and enjoy this time off, since Lord knows when I will have this opportunity again. My better half says that there's no rush for me to get back to work, because we really want to get the little one settled. He's been through a lot with this move, and then we have to get him set up in Special Ed once we arrive, so the better half would rather we (me and him since his new job will have him home more) focus on that. We've even talked about possibly having a second little one while we are here...but I'm neither one way nor the other on that one. There's plusses and minuses for each side...though I did tell my better half that it will only happen after I drop some weight and get to my pre-pregnancy weight because what I'm at right now is not good. That's only 30 lb.

The weather is beautiful...well, it rained today. Everyone said it doesn't really rain out here in California, and I'm here to say they are wrong. In fact, it rained as we crossed the border three days ago: we were driving through sand dunes and no vegetation whatsoever when the skies opened up and a deluge fell. Go fig.

September 11, 2011

September 1, 2011

Wow

I am officially eligible to sit for the Psychiatric-Mental Health Certification exam...so says the email that I just got from ANCC. Pretty impressive since I only applied this morning. I decided to wait until I hit the "2 years as a paid nurse" mark before applying. Two years...if that new grad stench isn't off of me by now, it never will be!

I won't be testing for a while though...I'll probably end up doing it in California. I could try to rush it in before we move, but there's so much going on that I don't think I'd have enough time to really devote to reviewing. Of course, there's not a lot that is terribly new as I live and breathe psych nursing every single shift I work. Still, we all know there's a BIG difference between real world nursing and the ivory tower world of nursing that these tests are all designed around :)

August 24, 2011

Differences between the job hunt then and the job hunt now

Then: all I had was ACLS
Now: ACLS, PALS, soon RN-BC

Then: no experience
Now: 2 years' experience

Then: underestimated the value of networking
Now: learned how to cultivate (and am trying to maintain) contacts.

Then: had the "you'll have no problem finding a job" mentality that they spent two years of nursing school drilling into our class' heads.
Now: even with two years' experience and better preparations, I know it will be a hard fight.

August 16, 2011

The itch is back

I'm now PALS certified. It was a fun experience: I was the only psychiatric nurse in a sea of ED nurses and a PA student. They taught me just as much as the course instructors did.

So that itch is back. I figure that since I am getting ready to move across the country that this would be the perfect opportunity to try out something new for a while. Not that there's no psych in California--God, there's tons of it! But lately I'm feeling like a complete and utter change of work to go with my change of scenery. Plus I feel that some time in a different area will help make me a more well-rounded psych NP down the road.

I'm eyeing a move to ED and tele. ED because I think that as a psych nurse, it wouldn't be a horrible transition--I'm used to dealing with patients in crisis and psychiatric emergencies...and after all, a good portion of my patient population comes from the ED. Tele because the last two days in PALS class reminded me of how much I love playing EKG sleuth. Or I may just go flat-out for the med-surg. So I got my ACLS renewed, added on PALS and plan to start boning up on my medical basics.

It's been kind of tough getting back into the workflow after a week of looking for a new place to live out west. I almost want to submit my letter of resignation now and enjoy some time off as well as be free to tie up the loose ends and get this move organized...but I promised myself that come hell or high water I would make it to my 2nd year anniversary in psych. Besides, the extra cash will come in handy since I don't know how long it will take me to find work.

August 11, 2011

Miss me?

According to my blog statistics, probably not :)

Busy few months...the promotion at work is keeping me on my toes. The increased census is keeping me on my toes too. I had to finish classes at my old school, then withdraw, then apply to a new school. Summertime is also the time of certification renewal: ACLS, BLS, PALS (ok, that one will be a new one). Then there is the hassle of moving across country: finding a house, coordinating a move, coordinating school for the little one, finding a job. And let's not forget studying for the psych certification test.

Now I'm tired again...going to go to bed. More soon.

April 21, 2011

Hmm

Now with the in-laws for a few days. I'm blessed in that I have a really good relationship with my in-laws. If they're critical of me, at least they keep it to themselves 95% of the time...whereas my mother will tell me about it 95% of the time.

MIL is a psych nurse, so of course we discuss the trials and tribulations of our respective jobs...and of course, I seek her feedback on the workplace drama. I've been kept posted while I am gone and from the sound of things, it's really going downhill. Then I saw my next schedule and noticed that they've got me working constantly with the unit's new day nurse. This means one of two things: I'm either training her (possible but not likely) or I'm going to get floated more. Neither of which is really bad, IMO, and I think it's probably more me being floated. The remaining old staff have a theory--and the more I see the more I agree with it--is that they are trying to break us up and displace us. Reason being: they want more malleable personalities there and a majority of the old unit is not so malleable.

However, looking at all of the massive gaps in the schedule because of this, I wonder if staffing isn't shooting themselves and our unit in the foot. Then I remind myself that it won't be my problem anymore in three months, and just roll with things.

I decided that I am not going to stress if I can't complete my BC before I go. What helped me decide this is that I can't even schedule my test without the requisite two years' experience...and given the drama going on at work lately, I'm not even sure if I want to stick it out to make two years. Oh well.

April 18, 2011

Chilling in NYC

Home with the parents for a few days, then to the in-laws for a few days. The visit is going better than I thought it would...still some stress from my mom, especially when she tries to take control of everything and tell me what I'm doing wrong in life, parenting, eyeliner, etc. But I'm trying to let it all roll off me, like my therapist suggested I do.

It's nice to escape the drama at work for a while. I had made an innocent remark that was misconstrued by someone who got upset. No offense at all was meant by it; in fact, I can't even see how it was offensive in any way...anyhow, I left an apology message and then decided that someone is always going to be offended by something so I can't lose sleep over it. I made my amends, I'm letting it go; if they still have issues with it that is their problem.

April 5, 2011

Licensure by endorsement

It's raining cats and dogs, so I decided it would be the perfect day to work on getting my license endorsed to 2736. Thanks to modern technology, I did almost all of it while in my pajamas from the comfort of my home. I filled out the initial online application, faxed my transcript request to my school, and submitted my NURSYS license verification. All that I have left now is to get fingerprinted--and after two weeks I FINALLY found out where and how I can get that done--and get a passport photo, and then mail those two along to 2736's BON. Not bad work for a rainy day.

I am still hoping for a last-minute change-of-plans where I'm told that we don't have to move to 2736...but I know it'd be foolish of me to pin my hopes on that and not do anything. Things will move fast this summer and I will have a lot that I have to do for the move so I better start now. And if that last-minute change-of-plans does come through...well, I'll have a cleaner house and a RN license in the state of 2736, so travel nursing there would be an option.

I was supposed to film my last speech tonight, but I have to take my little one to a last-minute doctor's appointment. I decided to take my chances on seeing if any of my family that I'm visiting has a video camera that I can use, since it's not due for a couple of weeks. Otherwise I'll film it when I come back and turn it in late and accept the penalty. My grades are good enough that I can take a subpar speech grade and probably walk off with an A.

I'm trying to decide whether to pursue the BSN in 2736, or wait until I return home and go straight for the MSN. If I do that BSN in 2736, I will have to start from scratch as my nursing classes won't transfer over (the non-nursing ones will, of course). On the other hand, I'd really like to pursue the PMH-CNS and it'd be better if I could work for a while without the hassles of going back to school, and save up some cash in the process. Then I can return and focus on the PMH-CNS (or even the NP!). Decisions.

We also talked about having another child while we're out there, because at my age it's now or never. Well, not really, but I've no desire to get pregnant after 40 so it's now or never. Again, another thing I have to think about. One hand, it'd be nice to have two kids and give our current one a sibling. Other hand, current one has a lot of issues that he's about to start treatment for and I don't want to shortchange him by having my attention focused on a new baby. More decisions.

March 16, 2011

Pseudosenioritis

Now that I know I'm withdrawing from school at the end of the semester, I have a really bad case of senioritis. Zero motivation whatsoever.

I decided to spend the next several months brushing up on my Spanish. First of all, where we're going has a high population of Spanish-speakers and some knowledge of Spanish would probably help me personally as well as professionally. Second, I can get back into those soap operas that I got hooked on when we lived on the Gulf Coast. Funny though...when I was watching those soaps, even though I only knew every fifth or sixth word I could tell you exactly what was going on. It'd be nice to move up to knowing every other word.

March 13, 2011

2736

2736 is the precise number of miles from our front door to the city limits of our new location.

I looked at the BON site for 2736. They are a lot more demanding than my current BON. It'll take a few months to get the endorsement, which is why I have to get the ball rolling now. But then there's a CEU requirement...not a problem this time as I have a whole bunch already from the pursuit of my RN-BC. But I'll have to stay on top of my CEUs for renewal time.

Lots of job listings come in from my indeed.com and CareerBuilder searches, and not just in psych nursing. IN fact, there are a lot of opportunities out there for nurses. Granted, I can go to the state forum for 2736 and read all the horror stories of how even experienced nurses can't find employment...and at the same time I also see a lot of success stories too. I'm not a new grad--I'm lightly seasoned, so I can apply for a lot more.

This raises the question: do I want to take this opportunity to scratch the med-surg itch?

The itch has been pretty quiet lately. Our unit is undergoing some changes and increasing in acuity, and we've had more than enough medical issues in the last few weeks to keep my interest up. But now I'm going to a place where there are lots of non-psych jobs abounding, and as a nurse with nearly 2 years' experience, I will be more competitive for them than the new grads are. And I could use a good year or two of med-surg to help with my psych nursing.

Decisions.

The other question is: do I apply for jobs now, or do I wait until I get out there, get settled and I can find childcare? We do have savings set aside, so it's not critical for me to have a job the minute I land there. Worst comes to worst, we'll go back to the budget tightening we did when I was in school so I could attend class and not need to work. But the cost of living in 2736 is much higher than where we are now. And the little one is in school, so it's not as though he would be home with me all day. So it'd be me at home alone...I could find things to fill my day, and not all of them would be good things. Such as drinking the day away, a not uncommon epidemic in the military community.

Decisions, decisions.

I did find that I already have one friend in 2736. She's been there for a while, so at least I'll have someone I know and can hang out with while I get my feet wet. And she is also a nurse, though not in psych. In fact, she was very excited when I became a nurse...so perhaps she can help me find something. I should drop her a note and let her know we're coming out there.

March 12, 2011

2800

Long time, no write. Work and school are busy. I gave up on Weight Watchers for now...not that I'm embracing my weight. A lot has been going on in the last two months that I decided my weight was the least of my concerns. I had some mental health issues that are now under control. Then we'll discuss the 2800.

I decided it was time to see a shrink to deal with stuff. Fortunately in my line of work, I knew when I needed to seek help, what I need to do to tackle the problem and what medications I need--and didn't need. I also knew which doctor was the best for me to go to: I know enough about them from work but I don't see them that much at work that it could lead to awkwardness at work.

2800 is the rough number of miles I will be moving in the next several months. That's about the width of this country...so yes, I'm switching coasts for at least 3 years. It's not my idea. In fact, I was outright depressed upon hearing the news because that meant I'd have to leave my friends, my career, my school...and I'd be leaving right as I'm about to test for RN-BC. Our families aren't going to like it either. They just got one grandchild back within driving distance and now we're about to take the other one a country away. But when your better half is in the military, home is wherever they send you.

I have always had a bit of wanderlust in my soul and even with friends, family, etc., I always used to jump at the chance of moving to a new locale. But for some reason this time I'm not as enthusiastic. Maybe I'm getting older, more settled? Oh well. I passed through the five stages of grief pretty fast--one evening--so I'm starting to accept it. I don't like it yet, but I accept it's what I have to do. The Serenity Prayer is in my mind a lot lately and I'm not even an alcoholic yet.

I don't have anything official yet but the better half tells me it's a done deal, so I'm starting to prepare. I haven't told my job yet...I figure I have about 4-6 months before we go so there's no rush. I'm hoping it's closer to 6 because if I can make it to September I'm eligible to test for RN-BC. Otherwise I'll get the job first and then test. I did start looking at jobs out there and was delighted to find several psych facilities. And since I have to drop out of school, I started looking for other RN-BSN programs and found a couple that might work. I also need to get my license endorsed over, which will take several months. We do plan to return here so I'm not letting my current license lapse; I'll make it inactive if I have to.

I am finishing my current semester for two reasons. One, I'll need Public Speaking for any RN-BSN program I apply to so let me finish this puppy and get it over with. Second, the other class I'm taking is full of helpful information that I can use as a practicing RN, and there's also no tests or papers involved--the grade is strictly participation based. So let me finish it out and learn from it.

January 29, 2011

Finally broke 190

189.2. After about two weeks of trying to eat better, I didn't think I was ever going to break 190, but today I finally did. Partially due to smarter eating, and partially due to not eating at work since it's so busy and I don't get a break. I'm trying to break that habit though since it's not a healthy one. At the least, I'm no longer using not eating as an excuse to pig out with drive-through Wendy's after my shift...though some days I am very tempted.

I'm not exercising anywhere as much as I should be...though I am playing a lot more on the WiiFit with my son. He's discovered all of these FitPlus activities that are pretty fun and after watching him play them, I was motivated to try them out. I'm not exactly breaking up a sweat while playing them, but I am moving more.

I'm supposedly going to have an orientee nurse this coming week. I'm trying to be optimistic, especially since I briefly met her and she looked entirely non-plussed to be assigned to my unit. We'll see what happens though...hopefully it'll turn out better than I hope. My unit tends to scare a lot of nurses off...those who survive do very well, but not many survive long. It's usually the staffing issues and the workload--as in they'll be doing a lot more than they would on other units--that scares them in the end.

January 23, 2011

Not my problem

Week 1 of the diet...er, lifestyle change resulted in me going down nearly 4 lbs. I haven't broken 190 yet--in fact, I was at 190.0. But it's a start. I give myself one day to sin (i.e., no point tracking whatsoever) and behave the other 6. Now I need to start getting more active.

We're short-staffed on our unit and work's answer is to call asking me to fill in all sorts of shifts. They left two messages in less than one day about different shifts, always going on about how it's a "crisis" and can I come in. I've declined politely explaining that I already have plans...which is true for the most part. Some of those plans may involve me flopping on a pillow with a good book, but they are plans nonetheless.

But seriously...the staffing problem isn't mine to fix. I'm not a supervisor, management, etc...I'm nothing but a staff nurse. I'm fulfilling my hourly requirement and then some, so why should I kill myself to do more because there is a "crisis"...which a majority of the time isn't really a crisis, but some PRN nurse whining and pouting because she doesn't want to be on that unit. I'm doing what I've been paid to do and I'm doing it well, and IMO the time away from work should be mine. They need to get more nurses assgined to our unit staff, and that's all there is to it.

January 11, 2011

Bah

One of my courses was cancelled for reasons unknown--apparently the school was as surprised about it as we were--and rescheduled for the fall. My other class is really more of a one-credit weekly meeting of the minds (i.e., no tests, no papers) than a class. I looked at my schedule for the next four semesters and realized that with this cancellation, this semester would be the perfect time to knock off one of the two non-nursing classes that I am still required to complete.

So I enrolled in an online public speaking class at the local CC. There was one class open with one seat left, and I grabbed it. I'm a day late since it started on Monday, and I may not have access to the class itself until Thursday, so I'm already going to start off at the rear of the pack. Fortunately it being an online class there is a degree of flexibility, and I'll have the textbook by tomorrow.

I started walking on the treadmill on my days off. Of course, I'm still getting horrible chub rub, but I'm using lots of protectant on my thighs at each walk and hoping for the best. I have also been trying to eat better...I'm trying not to say the word "diet" since that immediately makes me hungry.

The work environment has become more stressful...for whatever reason management is on edge and is taking it out on the workers. So far my struggles have all been with staffing, as in I never get enough to help me out.

As far as myself goes, this week--the whole month, in fact--does promise to be stressful personally. Family seperation. I've been doing my best to keep a stiff upper lip for everyone and save the sadness for when I'm alone. I guess that's the other reason why I jumped at taking another class online: something else to keep me occupied, Also, there is the fact that I don't want to be slammed with classes and clinicals in the upcoming semesters, especially since the one class being moved to the fall killed my plans to take a non-nursing class at that time too.

At the same time, part of me says to just not worry about taking any class now or the extra classes later, and focus on the little one, myself and work for the next few months. And that does sound tempting. But I compromised and took a whole-semester class, not a condensed half-semester one. That way, everything is spread out over several months and I'm not going at breakneck speed through everything. And I have until Monday to decide if I want to drop it and retake it later.

January 3, 2011

Getting ready to do this student thing again

I just ordered my textbooks and clincal uniforms for the upcoming semester. I got the top in two sizes as I'm not sure which size will fit me, and as much as I am flattered by the website's guestimate of my size based on my measurements, there is no way in hell that I am a Medium. For starters, the guesser only goes by bust sizes--which may be a Medium--and does not consider hip size. And hips I have!

I got a Large and Extra Large tops (I'll trade the loser in), and Large unisex pants (I know from experience purchasing unisex pants that I'm not an XL). Lab coat is supposed to be larger so I went with Women's Extra Large.

The last of my family leaves in two days. A thorough reassessment of my diet and exercise habits will commence in 3 days.

January 2, 2011

Hmm...

Happy new year!

Someone asked me if I might have said anything to my PCP that could have been misconstrued as SI. No, I didn't say anything to my PCP, even in jest, that could be construed as being SI. I was too busy trying to stay warm while fantasizing about a Wawa breakfast sandwich.

Anyhow, followed up with the PCP. More SI interrogation...no, they didn't hand me the Zoloft script, but I was told that if I felt down or needed anything to not hesitate to call them. I'm not sure if they're convinced...I mean, it's nice they are so concerned but I did say I was fine. Several times.

I have to admit that I have a deeper insight into some of my patients now. It's kind of weird being asked these questions, especially when SI was the last thing on my mind...and then feeling like people don't believe me when I tell them I'm fine. Not that I'm going to start taking my patients' word automatically, but I will remember how I was feeling when I was on their end.

Interesting note: they quizzed me on antianxiety medication use (no), psych medication use (no), and sleep aid use (occasionally diphenhydramine but even then, once a month max)...but didn't ask me about alcohol or illegal drug use. An omission that as a psych nurse I couldn't help but pick up on. Mind you, if they asked, I'd have had to answer "yes" (alcohol only) and I'm sure that would have really sent them over the edge. Oy.

Work changes...staffing shakeups. The new year has not gotten off to a smooth start at my facility. Fortunately, I have a schedule that is giving me some nice long stretches off.