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


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 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 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 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 ( 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.


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 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.