January 31, 2012

Odds and ends

I received something that I had been waiting a long time for....

I am officially board certified. Well, I was when I passed, but I didn't have proof other than a little printed letter. The pin also came with a lovely certificate with my certification number, and a pocket card for showing off. I'm very proud of it...it was a lot of hard work to earn it, but earn it I did.

You know I still sign everything RN-BC, right, even little notes? I'm not sure when novelty will wear off...I'm sure it soon will.

Anyhow...long day at the Y. We have a fundraiser to go to for the little one's school, and since it's being held at a restaurant, I figured I'd better put some extra time in on the treadmill to try to minimize the potential damage. So I logged nearly an hour on the treadmill (about 3.1 miles) followed by a lap around the machines.

I did well on my first paper: 98. I lost points for such as stupid APA error that I can't believe I missed it: incorrect reference indenting. Bah. Still, I'm pleased with my grade. The next few weeks will deal with research and evidence-based practice.

I'm getting the hang of networking at work. I landed an introduction to the lead nurse on one of the inpatient units. She told me to send me my contact info so she can let me know if anything inpatient per-diem or part-time opens up. I also met a few contacts at a APNA meeting and passed my info--and interest--along. I'm still not really looking at applying for anything until I finish my new hire probation but I figure I'd start making the contacts now. Plus, given how busy school has been in the last two weeks (this program is definitely not fluff-work), I'm in no rush to add on lots more hours.

There's a nursing strike going on at a hospital chain in the state. I'm not sure how I feel about that. To be honest, I don't know much about unions and why they're striking in the first place. All I know about unions was that my father was in one, and the years that they went on strike were a mixed bag. On one hand, it meant he spent more time with us during the summer. On the other hand, more time meant no income coming in so it was right. And then when all was said and done with the strike, I don't think it ever made much of a difference. Then again, I didn't know all the details: I was only 10.

January 29, 2012

8 lbs lost so far. I'm not sure if I want to go to the Y today. I went yesterday for a good workout and am a bit sore, so part of me is thinking it's a good day for resting. On the other hand, I think I ought to go since I won't able to go tomorrow. I'll see how I feel after breakfast.

So my first RN-BSN paper (well, the first paper for Current RN-BSN program) is almost done. It is on the table awaiting proof-reading run #2. I'll check the content for a couple more runs, then when I have the words just as I want them, I'll proofread the APA formatting. It's not due until the morning but given the time zone difference I plan to submit it this afternoon so I can watch the Pro Bowl.

It was very interesting to write this paper because I really got thinking about my own nursing beliefs and practices as well as what theories I identified with. I found myself rather drawn to Peplau's interpersonal relations theory. Surprising...or perhaps not surprising if you consider we work(ed) in mental health. I'll have to study her and the theory more.

I really need to start working on my Spanish. There are far too many Spanish-language networks showing far too interesting programs that I could be watching.

January 25, 2012

Dyed sheep, the conclusion

The hair is fully dry...and the final result is a color-changing auburn brown. Indoors, it's a nice shade of warm chocolate brown. Outdoors in the sun, I'm a fiery redhead. The light spots blended in well-enough though.

Still, it's no longer black. It's not quite what I was shooting for...but it's charming enough.

At least it's not that orange red I once had.

Dyed sheep, part 3

Preliminary reports show that it looks like the dye evened out most of the color and did achieve chocolate brown status...except the parts of hair that were originally colored canary from the color remover. Those are now a light/medium brown.

Very minor disaster. But far from the worst that I've had--it is manageable and even looks kind of novel. However, the hair is still damp so the final results are not in yet. Once the hair is fully dry I'll be able to see how obvious the difference is.

Major lesson learned: stick with the other color remover. It may reek but it does work more evenly. But I am now a brown sheep. If necessary, I'll move the follow-up coloring from next month to the next two weeks: I think that with a second dyeing that focuses on those areas instead of the whole head, the light area will absorb more color and darken.

During this adventure, I did get my discussion question posted for class as well as make some notes for the personal philosophy of nursing paper. And that recruiter that found me on Indeed not too long ago wrote to see if I'm still available, so maybe it's time to contact her and make my acquaintance.

Dyed sheep part 2

Well, the color remover is washed out...and so is the black. Primary mission accomplished!

Unfortunately the color remover didn't remove very evenly, so I have tones ranging from a soft dark brown to canary. The virgin area (read: roots) are the canary, even though I tried hard to avoid them. Around my face is the dark brown, since they did tell me to try to avoid the root area and concentrate the color remover on the darker areas (read: ends). Overall, the predominant hair tone is a soft auburn brown...not too far off from the desired final color, actually.

And if it weren't for the unevenness, I'd just stop here.

I'm supposed to wait until it dries until I dye it my final color. I attacked it with the blow dryer, now I'm going to see how it is in an hour. I'm supposed to pick up the little one right after school today so if it's not dry in enough time I'll throw a ball cap on and postpone dyeing until this evening.

For anyone interested, the final color will be John Frieda's Dark Chocolate Brown, which has a gold undertone. The Dark Natural Brown has a neutral undertone but the swatch is too similar to the Black-Brown that I had been currently using. Although the swatch on the Black-Brown box was not the color my hair had come out: it came out more black than brown. So I am a little concerned that the Dark Chocolate Brown will come out too dark...but even if it does it will be warmer than the Black-Brown is...er, was.

Dyed sheep

Rest day because I'm still sore from yesterday's workout. So it's a day of some schoolwork and...

I'm bored with my current hair color.

I've been dying my hair since I was 17 because...well, because I could. It's been a whole spectrum of colors except blond, though at one point the light brown I once had came very close. I usually prefer the darker colors such as brown, burgundy and black. My current shade is a brown-black that came out more black than brown. I lived with it for a few months but lately I'm finding that as I gain my winter pallor, the tone more harsh than appealing. I've decided that today I'm changing it to a lighter dark brown to get it closer to my natural color, which based on my roots I suspect is a medium to dark brown. I've never really let myself let it grow uncolored long enough to be able to know for certain.

From experience, I know enough about hair dye to know that using dark brown over brown-black will have three outcomes: what little roots I have will take the color; the healthy dyed hair will lighten only a little; any areas of damage will become even darker. Ask me how I know.

So I have color remover in my hair as I type, which will (hopefully) remove all the dark tones in the next 30-40 minutes. I just checked and it seems to be working. Then I have to wash and dry it...and the instructions warn me that my hair will be a red/orange color. Then I can immediately recolor it to the dark chocolate brown that I purchased. I'm not expecting perfect color, but having a de-blacked base to work with will help considerably.

They did have a color remover that just removes the color and restores your hair to its natural (or thereabouts because hair color does make some irreversible changes) color, but I opted against it. It smells like sulphur and requires you to wash and rinse your hair repeatedly over 30 minutes. The product I'm using is more of a bleach, I suspect. I checked a section and it's working--at the least, the hair is looking lighter. Unevenly lighter, but I do have 15 minutes to go.

Hopefully this will work out well and I won't have a hair disaster, but if I do...well, it grows out, and I've lived with some really bad hair disasters before. The most memorable one is when I used a semi-permanent dye to give my hair an auburn hue. The hue was orange and persisted for years until it grew out, even peeking out in various degrees through other dye jobs. And if it's really bad, there's a professional salon around the corner who can make it look good while it grows out.

January 24, 2012

The real work begins

Cardio and machines today at the Y. The trainer was demonstrating the machines to two little old ladies (really!) who he was designing workout plans for, so at least I had some eye candy to look at while I'm lumbering away on the treadmill.

I'm married. I'm not dead.

I shadowed in the dual-diagnosis unit yesterday and while I really enjoy eating disorders, yesterday it felt like I was coming home...and it was nice. I was in familiar territory, working with familiar material and familiar (well, diagnosis-wise) patients. Sat in on one admission, then they cut me loose to do two on my own. No problems there. The program is different from what I'm used to...it seems more laid-back and less strict, but the nurse orienting me told me that their focus is harm-reduction.

I go back later this week for another day, then the following week to shadow on some of the evening CD programs. Then I'll be able to pick up shifts there as well.

The APA week of school ended. Now I'm already faced with my first paper and 6 days to do it in. I need to write my personal philosophy of nursing. And it's not the "keep it two pages or less" kind...it's the "you better be sure to cover all of these points and answer these questions" kind. So this should be interesting. Fortunately, because of Former RN-BSN as well as that darn certification exam, I have already read up on a lot of the nursing theories as well as thought about how I perceive nursing. Now I just need to organize these thoughts into paper.

And fortunately #2, this arrived in the mail today. We're supposed to refer to the nurse practice act of Current RN-BSN's state when doing assignments; if we don't live in that state, we can refer to our own nurse practice act but we need to show references. So...

Every state should take their nurse practice acts and package them like this, instead of making people hunt through the BON websites like they're searching for buried treasure. I am worried though: the book is an inch thick.

January 22, 2012


All cardio at the Y today.

This is the first time I have ever been emotionally drained after watching a football game. I was very excited for this game because I have two favorite teams: the Ravens and anyone playing against the Patriots...so this game was a double blessing. After an entire game that started with me yelling at the television from the stationary bike on the Y to having to set my knitting aside because I was so distracted by the game that I was making mistakes left and right...the ending was a heart-breaker.

Bah bah bah bah bah!

Still like them though. Grew to like them over the years--our cable network back east decided to carry Baltimore sports channels, so I got to see a lot of Raven stuff. But despite all the Baltimore games I saw, I'm still not an Orioles fan as I will always bleed navy pinstripe. I like them, but they're not a favorite.

So now I'll be rooting for whoever makes it to Super Bowl opposite the Patriots. I'd like it be New York since that's the team of my homeland...well, technically Buffalo is the only team playing in New York as the Giants play in New Jersey, but over the years I've come to accept the Giants. But I can cheer for the 49ers too. Whoever can throttle New England will have my cheers.

January 21, 2012

Decisions, decisions

Cardio and machines at the Y today. I am now down 7 lbs since I started. I was hoping I'd lose more this week--I only lost 0.7 lb. But my scrub pants are fitting a little better than they did at the end of December, so if I'm not losing the poundage I'm at least changing the shape. Hell, I'll take the small victories.

My former DON moved on to an educator role at the RN-BSN program that I had to withdraw from. So out of idle curiosity--and to see if the program did ever get its CCNE accreditation--I popped over to the school's website. It turns out that with the exception of one class, the program is now all online. They also streamlined the curriculum considerably.

I'm mulling over applying for readmission to their RN-BSN program.

I looked and figured out that if I were to re-enroll, I would only need 5 classes to have my BSN (I had already completed the one class that is in-person). That does sound more appealing than settling into an intense program with 10+ classes ahead of me, some of those not even nursing classes. Having to take only 5 classes would be a lot more cost efficient. Plus being a graduate of their program would give me a leg-up when it came to applying for jobs at their affiliated hospitals.

And I have to say that the classes I took were well-designed and thorough. The faculty is very supportive and they are determined to see both the program and its students succeed.

Now here is where things get sticky.

Sticky point 1: I do not see that my former program (let's call it "Former RN-BSN") received CCNE accreditation...well, at the least, they are still listed as candidate status. They were expected to have their site visit this past fall, and I'm not sure if accreditation if earned would have been awarded then or of they are waiting for the first class to graduate and pass the NCLEX. Keep in mind that the RN-BSN program was just one part of a whole new BSN program that the school was doing, and they also had traditional and LVN students enrolled. But there's no indication anywhere that says if they passed or failed the site visit, if it was postponed, whatever.

Now this program is accredited by ACICS, but I'm not sure how this would translate in credits being accepted by post-graduate nursing schools.

Sticky point 2: the state's BON has given them provisional approval, which may have recently been downgraded to conditional approval depending on what website you check. Now, conditional approval doesn't sound bad, until I looked up what conditional approval meant...and in this specific state, conditional approval means that the program was once approved but failed to meet the standards to maintain approval. Whether this was because the program changed from diploma to BSN or whether there were deficiencies--or even whether someone didn't know the difference between provisional and conditional and just used whatever word sounded good--I don't know. Point being, Former RN-BSN is not fully approved by the BON just yet.

Sticky point 3: It may only take me 5 classes to graduate, but if I were to graduate at the same time as in the current program I'm in, I'd have to take 4 classes concurrently. It could be possible that I could spread them...but I'm not sure. I'm also not sure that if I was able to readmitted if I would have to retake any of the classes I had taken.

Now, my current program (I'll call this "Current RN-BSN") is CCNE accredited, regionally accredited, is a well-established program at a well-established state university, and with an excellent reputation. No issues at all with its state BON. I did look ahead past the APA week in my class and found the rest of it to also be well-designed. The administrative staff hasn't been on par with Former RN-BSN's, but the faculty seems to be.

I'm currently in class now; the next cycle of Former RN-BSN classes doesn't begin until May. By that point, I would have knocked off 4 of Current RN-BSN classes and just have started #5. I don't get as much non-class time in Current RN-BSN that I would get in Former RN-BSN, but I also don't have to take 3-4 classes at once. I do have to take 10+ classes (13 to be precise) total at Current RN-BSN, but rarely two at once, and never more than two at a time. If I kept on schedule I would graduate in March 2013, actually finishing earlier than Former RN-BSN by 2 months.

Class for class, the tuition costs are comparable, and both programs are fantastic value-for-money. But consider that I had already taken a lot of classes at Former RN-BSN, whereas I have to take a few additional ones at Current RN-BSN that either didn't have equivalents for transfer or that I never took in the first place. So yes, to finish the degree at Current RN-BSN would cost more because I have more classes to take.

Better half thinks that I should stick with Current RN-BSN because it's proven and a sure bet, whereas Former RN-BSN could go anywhere. It may work out its kinks, upon which I may or may not be kicking myself for not reapplying. Or it may not get accreditation and/or full approval, upon which I'll be glad I dodged that bullet.

To be honest, I'm leaning towards staying with Current RN-BSN because of their rock-solid reputation and accreditations, even though it'll be more work. Plus, I may find that readmission to Former RN-BSN is worth more headaches than it's worth and that I could have had less hassle and stress overall if I stayed with Current RN-BSN. And to be honest, I don't see my entire nursing future at Former RN-BSN's affiliated hospitals, as they just don't have that many psych opportunities across the whole chain...and for the psych opportunities that are there, I already know people there that could (possibly) hook me up.

But I still want to think about this decision...after I finish my homework assignment. I'm not pulling out of anything until I make a final decision.

January 20, 2012


I have a BPD patient that for the life of me I am unable to establish any rapport with. I usually don't have a lot of problems interacting with the borderlines--I can often establish a good relationship with them...at the least, I can get them to interact. But most of the BPD patients I've worked with have been in detox or depressive units, not in eating disorders.

I've tried a few different approaches with this patient and she shuts down every time. I'm also not the only staff experiencing difficulty with connecting with her. Instead she gets very superficial and cagey, and I'm not sure exactly how to proceed...especially as she seems to be telling everyone a different story. We reviewed her history and saw the same patterns of behavior in the past that we're seeing now.

So I talked to the doctor and said that I was having a hard time establishing any connection with this patient, and that I wasn't sure if it was because of the patient's superficiality towards treatment, or if it's me not having a whole lot of eating disorder experience...or both. The doctor felt that it was probably both (I take no offense). Unfortunately for me, I can't force the patient to get invested in her treatment, and my limited eating disorders experience doesn't help me. And only time and work will give me experience.

I should keep brushing up my knowledge and just keep trying to connect. I can't force that either...but I can keep trying and see if she eventually responds.

I actually felt like a green nurse after talking to this patient. Well, I am a fairly young (career-wise) nurse who--while having learned a lot--still has a lot of learn. Fair to say that after a couple of years, I've moved from green to lime...but man, I really felt like a newbie after this patient.

Live and learn. Learn and live.

January 19, 2012


Cardio today: treadmill, seated bike, and some strange thing that I could only do for 5 minutes before I had to call it. It looked like an elliptical/stair-climber cross but boy, did it kill me.

One thing that I have issues with is the better half's use of "we" to really mean "me" (Meriwhen). Basically if he wants something done or said or made and doesn't want to do it himself, yet doesn't want to outright ask/tell me to do/say/make it, he'll state is as "We..." in the hopes that I will volunteer to do it.

Like when it comes to picking up the little one straight from school instead of letting him get an hour or so in the afterschool program. After a whole song-and-dance about how his (better half) mom would always be one of the last kids to be picked up all the time and that he really understood how little one was feeling, how "we" should pick him up straight from school more. Of course this meant me, as knowing him he'd be parked on the couch playing Elder Scrolls V.

"OK" I say. "I may be busy, so you can do that, right?" And immediately the better half stammers goes into his "If I'm out on time from work" excuse. I just smiled and didn't answer further...after all, the man is home from work by 1300 the latest almost every day.

I find that turning it around on him usually works. He'll start off with the "We..." and I'll reply back, "Well, if you want to...go ahead." Most times he backs off. Like when he wanted "us" to call the police and report door-to-door solicitors. They were kids trying to raise money and weren't breaking any rules, and they left us alone once we said we weren't interested. He kept saying this several times until I told him that I'd get him the precinct number so he could call if he wanted because I wasn't calling.

Not a peep more about it for the rest of the evening.

Men. Can't live with them, can't legally shoot them.

January 18, 2012

Interesting facts

Whenever I mention that I work in eating disorders I usually get, "oh, you must work with a lot of skinny females." I think people think that eating disorders just encompasses anorexia nervosa, or that patients with bulimia get as skinny as a patients with anorexia do.

While most are female and I do have a couple of patients who are seriously underweight, most of my patients are just under or at normal weight. Some are even overweight. Some are male. There are more patients with bulimia than anorexia in the program...actually, in general more people suffer from bulimia than anorexia. Anorexia has a higher mortality rate. Bulimia has more stigma attached; at the least, patients are uncomfortable admitting they have the disorder and a lot don't seek treatment.

Both disorders are often comorbid with other psychiatric disorders. Axis II abounds; so does depression and anxiety. Not all people with eating disorders also have borderline personality disorder...a lot have it. A lot more don't. I'm learning about the physical disorders that accompany eating disorders...besides the obvious ones, that is.

And for the record, an anorexic who makes themselves vomit is not a bulimic. Her disorder is called "Anorexia Nervosa, Purging Subtype." The purging subtype are those who purge via vomiting, laxatives or exercise. Non-purging subtype patients usually only restrict their intake.

Can't you tell I've been reading up on it?

Anorexia and bulimia are, as I'm learning, two entirely separate balls of wax. I purchased a couple of books that the dietitians recommended, and I still have my stack of books from the library that I'm working through...along with Russell Brand's autobiography. I had wanted to read it for quite a while, long before his marriage imploded.

The RN-BSN class continues on. This week really is all about APA and adjusting to online education. I did all of my discussion posts and responses, read all the modules, and took the required tests. Now all that's left is for me to do a little research to dredge up a couple of nursing articles and summarize them, using correct APA format of course. Next week the class should start to get more interesting.

Treadmill and machines at the Y today.

I ended up picking up an extra day at work this week. This is good, as next month it's time for me to buy a new cell phone and I am eyeing a touchscreen phone. Not the iPhone--while I would love to have one, I'm not paying the $500 that my cell phone company wants me to pay. So why not switch cell phone companies and get the iPhone for a lot less, you may ask? I like Sprint's service more than I like the iPhone.

January 16, 2012

So much for downtime

I had an admission, a discharge and a suicide screen on my work to-do list, and the rain cleared enough for me to get in a 1.5 mile walk at lunch...so I didn't get to log into school while at work. Yes, I sometimes feel weird going for a walk at lunch while all of my patients are required to eat (they are eating disorders patients, after all). I don't tell them what I'm leaving to do, but I do wonder if they see me from the windows. Anyhow, the exercise, getting out to get some air and--most importantly, being able to take the damn break to walk in the first place--makes it worth it.

I checked into class at home and made my initial post, which for a change wasn't the usual "Introduce yourself in nauseating detail" posts that most online courses make you do. I also loaded my school schedule and syllabus into iCal, so I can stay on top of all of my assignments. I thought that was enough for the first day. Tomorrow I'll watch the lectures.

It feels good to be a student again...at the same time, I'm also thinking about how nice and unpressured life was when I wasn't in school and how much I'll miss it. But if I never go to school I'll never finish the BSN. I found out that my former new grad orientee (I can drop the "new grad" in a couple of months) is taking this cycle of classes off. She's not much further into the program than I am. She'll probably finish a couple of months ahead of me, but we should be attending the same graduation in Spring of 2013.

I bet I'm the only psych nurse in my section though...I will find out soon enough, I guess.

January 15, 2012


I logged into my RN-BSN class. So far, so good. Yes, it is true that the only books I will need are APA guides...fortunately for me, since 2007 I have been using excellent software called Dr. Paper that automatically formats my papers into APA format for me. Very rarely have I been dinged on APA in my assignments. Also, I found other people at the nursing forum who are starting with me, so that's kind of nice. At least we can bounce things off of each other.

The one annoying thing about this course is that everything is going to be based on Central Time. I live in Pacific Time...so as all assignments are due at 0800, I should really get into the habit of posting them the night before.

Anyhow, class starts tomorrow. I'm working tomorrow. I'm sure I'll have some downtime to be able to log in. Also tomorrow, I'm going to go over to the dual program to see if their lead nurse was able to talk to their manager and arrange some orientation for me.

I lost a pound over the last week, so I'm now down 6 since I started on Boxing Day. I'm trying to get motivated to get to the Y today to do some cardio. I was planning my 5-mile walk for today but various weather reports are predicting rain. The other day I was wondering when it was going to rain again, so I hope those reports are right.

January 13, 2012


Happy Friday the 13th. It really is just a regular old day. When I worked at the psych hospital, the day would usually pass without incident. It was the nights when the moon was full that would cause an increase in patient feistiness. I never really believed in the power of the full moon until I worked inpatient psych.

I'm taking a rest day from the Y. I did the treadmill and a full circuit of machines yesterday. I'm not sore from the machines, but I am feeling run down. I also am still trying to shake off a lingering cold that I'd had all week--just when I thought I was over it, I wake up the next day congested and dizzy. So I gave myself the day off and made some Theraflu. Weigh-in day is tomorrow, and hopefully starting up at the Y will have helped me make some progress.

My friend ended up not getting admitted. After all of her bloodwork came back normal, they told her they think she has a sleep problem and referred her for sleep studies. Then they ceremoniously discharged her from the ER...at 1am. Neverminding that they had originally told her she was going to be admitted for a few days, so she packed a bag and went prepared to stay--it's not as though she had her ride waiting in the lobby all this time for her.

The better half asked me why they wouldn't just keep her in the ER for the night and let her out in the morning. I told him it was financial reasons--while she was there she was taking up an ER spot that the hospital could have been filling with a new patient. "But what if a patient didn't have a ride?" he said? "They don't care," I replied. "They don't have to get patients home. They discharge them so they can fill the bed."

Anyhow, good in that she's not admitted to the hospital and the tests are normal. Bad in that there's still no definite answers to why she is feeling so craptastic.

I have another one day work week next week, and then I've been booked for a week in February. I'm still making myself available should anyone in outpatient have extra hours to throw my way.

Since it's a rest day, I think it's a good day to get back into bed with some of my books and a cup of coffee.

January 11, 2012


Found out today that my close friend and half-marathon partner is getting admitted to the hospital for testing. Reason: excessive sleeping. She's been having medical issues of all sorts over the last few months (yes, her thyroid is one of them), as well as issues with her psych meds. She has been undergoing battery after battery of various testing. This admission is the latest battery. Estimated stay: maybe a day, maybe a few. They haven't told her much other than that she's checking in.

Being across the country, I feel rather helpless. At least if I were back east I could be there with her as she went for tests and the company could have made it more bearable for her. I could be visiting in the hospital so we could both knit the waiting away. I could be helping with the kids. I could be using my nurse ninja skills to find out information from the other nurses and hospital staff (after all, nurses love to talk clinically to other nurses, especially when said other nurse is listed on the release of information form by patient as OK to give info to). I could answer--or find her answers--all the questions that she had, though my expertise is more with psych issues and meds than medical pathophysiology.

So she and her better half will keep me posted--I told them to call or text regardless of what time it is by me. In the meanwhile, I'm going to dig out the rosary and fire it up for her. I'm not the best Catholic in the world, but I still know how to pray a rosary.

It was an all-cardio day today: treadmill and exercise bike. I've decided to alternate the workouts between all cardio and treadmill plus machines. The long walk days for the half-marathon training will need to be pushed to the weekend. I need to work rest days in there too.

January 10, 2012

I'm waffling about filing the government psych nursing job application.

Truth be told, I don't really want to work full-time...strike that. I don't want to work full-time as a full-time employee, at least not right now. I'm not a fan of the rotating shifts or the possibility of having more 12-hour shifts than I'd like. I have no problem working full-time as a per-diem because I always retain control of my scheduling: I may not always like the shifts they want to give me, but at least I'd have the option to say Yay or Nay to them.

Also, if I am going to work nights or 12s, I'd rather do so at my current facility or at #1 Hospital...and after February, I could apply for additional positions at both. Perhaps taking it easy on the work front for another couple of months may be worth it if I can land another one in my current hospital chain.

So for right now, I've stopped the application process. I may change my mind later or tomorrow. We'll see.

After my treadmill time, I tried some circuit training for my legs today. I also tried the stair climber but had to quit after 5 minutes because even on the lightest resistance it felt like I was mountain climbing.

January 9, 2012

On Ys, borderlines and job applications

I forgot that the YMCA was the mecca for older adults. That's cool though--I'd rather be working out with them than with a crowd that is younger but is more interested in showing off on the machines and trying to pick each other up. Plus it's kind of inspiring to see these older adults work out...some could bench-press me under the table if they wanted to. Anyhow, I had a good workout. I focused all on cardio today. Tomorrow after the treadmill (I plan to walk every time I'm there), I'll try some of the machines.

Get Me Out of Here by Rachel Reiland was a fantastic book. It really shows what it's like to be a borderline from the borderline's point-of-view. The emotions that she writes about are so raw and gripping that I couldn't help but be pulled into her feelings. It helps to explain what drives people with borderline personality disorder and why they behave as they do--and that it's not as simple for them turn their behaviors and feelings off as we as psych nurses wish they could do at times.

Yes, I know that to refer to a patient with borderline (or any other) personality disorder just as "the borderline" (or "the antisocial", "the histrionic", etc.) is not the politically correct term, and for the most part I try not to do that. But when it's shift change and you're giving or getting report from the other nurse--or when you're jotting down thoughts in your blog--it's just more succinct to say "the borderline" or "the borderline in room 2."

Anyhow, to augment that book I took out a couple of more clinical books about borderline and other personality disorders, as well as a book about dialectical behavior therapy, which is one of the more effective treatments for the disorder. Hopefully from this homework I'll have more understanding--as well as more patience--when it comes to dealing with Axis II patients, especially since they often frequent eating disorders and dual diagnosis.

I'm working on the application for the government psych nursing job. I decided to give it a shot--after all, applying for it doesn't commit me to anything. The problem is that the application isn't really a "fill in the blanks" except for the standard government application that everyone has to fill out. Instead, the job application is more of "tell us about yourself and why you would be a good candidate." There's good and bad to that. Good in that I can elaborate on my strengths as well as explain stuff more fully than I would by filling in the blanks. Bad in that I have to get creative so I present like a strong candidate without sounding over the top.

I have until Friday to get it in. The resume is already brushed up, so it's mostly completing the government form and the "Introducing Meriwhen!" advertisement.

January 8, 2012


I joined my local YMCA. I figure that if I really want to get into shape, I really need to exercise. Common sense 101, right?

The better half and I have been hit with bad head colds. He's losing his voice. My head is constantly spinning. We're running through TheraFlu like there is no tomorrow.

I decided to give myself permission to stay in bed and read today. I'm also giving myself permission not to feel guilty about it.

January 7, 2012

Getting geared up for school

My under-eye rash is better.

So I've just paid my tuition for the first RN-BSN (take 2) class. I'm a little concerned that a Professional Nursing class requires only a APA guidebook as its textbook, but maybe something will be revealed. I'm guessing that since we're all already nurses we won't need a book outlining every single little about nursing in general. Still...if we do need another book, they better tell us soon so I can order it. I'd write the instructor but their name isn't posted yet.

The last Professional Nursing class I took in a RN-BSN program did require a book...then again, the class itself was a mix of RNs, LVNs and pre-licensure students.

My course map has me graduating in early spring 2013. I will double-up on a few classes, but it'd be a nursing class with a history class. I thought about doubling-up even more to try and finish it faster, so I can have the BSN faster, so I can apply to #1 Hospital faster. Then again, the last couple of years have been a lot on me, with working full-time, going to school, managing the little one and preparing to move across the country. After being forced to downshift after the move, I'm kind of thinking that perhaps a more relaxed pace in my life is called for, at least for a year or so...by then I'll want the insanity back.

This time, I'm not going to stress over the 4.0, simply for the fact that it's impossible for me to get the 4.0: unless I read it wrong, they considered the grades of all the coursework I transferred in, and some of the grades from the BA are not A's. I haven't even taken a class yet and my GPA is apparently a 3.6. If it wasn't for that, I'd shoot for the 4.0...who are we kidding? I'm still going to kill myself for the A's. That's how I'm wired.

Oh well. One more week to relax before I become a RN-BSN student...again.

Picked up a few more shifts at work...some in January, some in February. Also, I found out that the dual PHP wants to orient me so I can per-diem there. The nurse who I fill in for gave me their nurse's number, so I'll call next week.

Finished knitting a pair of socks last night. I'm happy with everything but the cuff--I don't think I should have switched to the larger needle size because they look kind of weird. But they fit well and make good bed-socks...because even out here in the land of sun and palm trees, it dips to the 30s and 40s at night.

January 5, 2012

I developed a rash under one of my eyes. I think it's the new brush head on my Clairsonic face brush since that's the only new thing in my washing-up routine. I have sensitive skin and rosacea so I have to be careful what I use on it. I opted to try a deeper cleaning brush head instead of my usual sensitive skin one...guess it wasn't a good idea.

I also have dark circles under my eyes that are unfortunately hereditary. Most of the time I can minimize their appearance.

Now combine the red rash and the dark circle...yup, it looks like I lost the fight.

Even my best make-up tricks aren't working to conceal it--plus the skin is irritated and anything I apply to it stings--so I'm just sucking it up and living with it. Unfortunately this is the day the little one and I have an outing planned, so hopefully I won't get too many funny looks.

I'm perusing a job listing for a psychiatric nurse with the government. It sounds good (though it is gero-psych, not my #1 choice but doable), I do have military spouse hiring preference, and you can't knock GS job benefits. Problem is that it's full-time rotating shifts. I have a week to decide if I want to throw my hat into the ring.

January 4, 2012


After reading somewhere that I couldn't use "RN-BC" because I didn't have a BSN (yet) and should use "RN-C" instead, I wrote the ANCC to get the official ruling.

The official ruling is that I am indeed Meriwhen, RN-BC.

The dentist went well for the little lamb. We're off to the doctor for his school physical today. I also hit the library to get a book by someone who's recovered from borderline personality disorder: Get Me Out of Here. Figured I'd get the first-person perspective of the disorder.

January 3, 2012

Tune up

My work week began and ended yesterday because I only got one day this week. No worries though: since the little one is off of school, it means that I can sleep in for the next four days. It also means I can get a lot of my errands done. Plus the little one is ecstatic to have me to himself all week...we already have a special outing planned later in the week for just the two of us.

And I'll admit that I'm kind of glad that I only had to work one day this week because while my job is a lot of fun, it's also the land of Axis II. From what I've read up on as well as what I've experienced at work, personality disorders--particularly borderline and obsessive-compulsive--and eating disorders often run hand-in-hand. Don't get me wrong: I don't mind Axis II patients at all. But after a while, one needs a break from it.

So now that the nurse who I fill in for is back, I don't know what hours I'll be getting. I did tell her to let me know if she needs me as well as let the other outpatient units know that if they need a per-diem I'm available. Meanwhile, I'll keep educating myself on eating disorders. I also brushed up my resume and portfolio, and have started looking around at other facilities for another per-diem job. Haven't applied to anything yet though--I'm kind of passively looking right now.

Truth be told, I'd rather stay in my current company since I really like working there, the company has an excellent reputation, my ID picture isn't too bad, and it would be easier to get a position since I'm already in the system. Then again, having a foot in another door elsewhere may not be a bad thing either.


I started training for the half-marathon that my friend and I walk every year. It's in March and we follow a 12-week training program that conditions and gradually builds up distance: most days of the week are shorter walks, with only one long walk each week. The problem is that where I used to live back east is relatively flat, and where I live now has lots of hills...so after a week of daily walking including the first week's long walk (3 miles), I've got killer shin and calf soreness. As much as I want to go out and walk right now, I'm making myself take a rest day today. I'll look up some stretching exercises.

I also started tackling the weight more seriously. The nadir happened on Boxing Day, when I stepped on the scale and saw that a 1 joined the 2 in my weight. 210. The last time I was 210 I was eight months' along. No one believes what I weigh: I'm 5'8" and large-framed so I carry it well. But it still has to come off. So I started tracking what I eat through My Fitness Pal, aiming for about 1200 calories a day. The exercise is coming from the half-marathon training. So far so good: I lost 4 lbs. I know not to expect that every week though...I'm aiming for 1.5 to 2 lbs a week.

I do think it's ironic that I've been working in eating disorders and here I am trying to lose weight. Of course, I will say nothing about it to either patients or coworkers. I also find it ironic that almost all of the rest of the staff in the program are on the thin side as well. I don't know if that is by accident or by design.

Need to bring the little one to the dentist today. Also need to make some headway on the sock that I'm knitting.

January 1, 2012


Happy 2012.

We discovered a new advantage to being in the Pacific Time Zone: we can watch the ball drop at 9pm. We did that since the little one was up, so he could see the new year ring in, at least in New York City. We also figured that since we saw the ball drop at 9pm we didn't need to stay up until midnight here...guess what we ended up doing. Yup, saw the ball drop yet again.

I use Facebook to keep in touch with my former classmates and coworkers...and to be honest, if it wasn't for that I don't think I'd be in touch with any of them, nor them with me. The few people who I were closest to do call/text/e-mail me and I them. But the rest, it's mostly staying in touch through status updates...and even then, there's two levels of contact. There are the level where we actively interact with each other, and then there's the level where we just watch status updates go by, occasionally throwing out a "like" on a comment or picture.

It's funny how we all promise to "stay in touch" once our ways are about to part, yet usually fail to follow through with it. Not including those who I consider in the "close" category, there's very few people that have stayed in touch with me. And to me honest, I haven't exactly done my share with them either.

All of this doesn't really bother me, as I'm not a person who makes close friends easily anyway. Never was. Just how I was programmed, I guess.

Still, as the New Year turns over, I was reflecting on this. Perhaps I should make a better effort to connect with people and keep in touch. After all, staying in touch is a two-way street: I can't lean back and expect everyone else to do all the work. Then again, for me to try to do that seems strange...and I think they would think it was strange for me too.

Oh well.

Not much planned for today...the advantage of working outpatient is that weekends and holidays are automatically off for me, which took a little getting used to after 2 years of working either/both. We're having a quiet day in watching sports and making homemade spaghetti sauce, though I plan to sneak out later for a 3 mile walk of my own. I am working tomorrow but after that I have no hours scheduled. So I'm taking the rest of the week to get some personal things done and spend quality time with the little one.