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.


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 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'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'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


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?, 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 makes everything worthwhile


What-ifs, maybes, perhaps I should haves, I ought to have dones, and so 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.