September 29, 2012

Where did this baby belly suddenly appear from?  I've gone from zero to 5 months pregnant overnight. Most of my wardrobe no longer fits.

September 27, 2012

Did a little digging around about things to do with my career after the baby and graduation.  Found out about LTACs from another forum administrator...which is the most appealing path to me since there's potential there for me to learn a lot in the LTAC setting.  I also like that it will be less of a revolving door, since these patients will be around longer than your usual med/surg patient.  It won't be easy, but I knew that.  If I can find a LTAC that will do 8s then I'll be in heaven; otherwise maybe they'll consider me for doing 12s on the weekend, so the better half can tend to the kids and I don't have to worry about childcare.

Said administrator recommended I look into IV/lab drawing certification to boost my chances, which is a good idea since that's been my weakest area ever since school.  To date, my average in IV placement and blood draws is .000.  Granted, I've only had one attempt in school, so it's not as though I'm a colossal failure with a needle and a vein:  I just never seemed to land a chance to do one in clinicals despite my (and my classmates') efforts.  Also, in acute psych there really isn't a demand for IV placement, and there's often a separate lab service if we do need to draw blood.  So maybe instead of that refresher course come spring, I'll start with a phlebotomy course and go from there.

The other thing I found was training programs through another hospital chain.  They offer training for experienced and new (to the specialty, not new grad) nurses to train in OR, ICU, women's health and ED.  OR doesn't appeal to me.  Women's health, God no (not me at all)., not really what I want but would be interesting.  ED would probably be the easiest for me to get into because of my psych background--after all, the medical ED is where we in psych get a lot of our patients from.  But I can't say I see ED as my future though, and the fact that I don't have a lot of medical nursing background is also a strike.

The LTAC sounds better.  I think there's more to learn there and it may be easier for me to get into.

But this is all for down the road.  Mind you, I could apply for the next batch of training programs this fall and if accepted start in March, and I was sorely tempted to do that...but there's two problems in that.  Problem 1:  it may be too soon post-partum, depending on when little Timmy arrives (if you're a Shaun the Sheep fan, you'll get the reference).  Problem 2:  I will not have the BSN yet--I will have two classes to go.   And I have delayed this degree long enough.

Or I could just continue in psych where I know I am happy.  They recently posted the psych float pool position.  I didn't apply for the same two reasons above, as well as the fact that I'm getting enough in outpatient for right now.  But I know that position will be back up in the future:  I've already seen it twice since I started working at the hospital.

Decisions, decisions...which I am trying not to make now, instead focusing on school and pregnancy.

Tomorrow should be interesting at work.  The census is down at work, but the kids we do have are feisty ones.

September 26, 2012

The best laid plans...

Shadowing is off.  My nurse leader is still sick...I didn't know that he was out all week with something, but apparently he's still not feeling any better.  At least I got the text before I showed up at the meeting.  I sent my well wishes and asked if I can talk to him over the phone today or tomorrow, whenever he is feeling up to it, so I can get part of my assignment done.  Then I'll just have to figure out something over the next three weeks...shame my schedule is going to be hellish for part of that time, but I'll manage something, I'm sure.

I highly suspect this is because I went clothing shopping yesterday.  I will bet the farm that had I not gone to find a maternity shirt--or had been unsuccessful in finding one--he would have been feeling a hundred times better.

Oh well.  Can't do anything about it, really.

So now I have a day off--in addition to no shadowing this morning, I was cancelled for this evening since census is low.  Plus, I have been on top of my coursework so except for one assignment due today, there isn't anything that I have to do...or even planned to do since this day was already written off for schoolwork because of shadowing and work.

I'm planning to lounge for half of it, and do schoolwork for the other half:  let me try to stay ahead of the academic game while I still can.  And I'm going to returned that ruched shirt today as well.  Even under the cardigan, it's still a no-go.

September 25, 2012

Whoever invented ruching for shirts should be shot.  Seriously.

It only looks good on the size 2 pregnant woman.  I am not the size 2 pregnant woman--I look like the remaining 90% of the female population.  The shirt fits in all the wrong places and does nothing to flatter the baby bump that has seemingly appeared out of nowhere.  It looks really good on that size 2 pregnant model they show who has neither hips nor ass.  But only on her.

I did find a decent enough sweater and a really nice cardigan.  I also bought one of the damned ruched shirts because I figured I could layer it under the cardigan, where it won't look half-bad.  Pants did not work out at all because the Target maternity line is based around size 2 pregnant woman (again, the no hips or ass).  For those, I will have to go to a bona-fide maternity store.

But overall, part 1 of the mission accomplished.  Working on part 2 now since the textbook has arrived.

Outpatient offered me four hours later on today.  Since it'll be no-brainer work--I can even bring homework to do in the downtime--I may very well say Yes.

The Shadow

I started my leadership class.  I have my nurse leader to shadow and I start...tomorrow.  Didn't exactly plan on starting that soon, but it's probably better in the end, given my schedule over the next two weeks.  Plus, he is someone who actually enjoys mentoring and said that tomorrow would be perfect for me to start...I'd be insane to let this opportunity pass by!  So today I need to prepare for this so I don't come across as a darn fool.  Prepping my notes, getting my game plan all ready.

I have to go buy a business casual maternity shirt.  By some miracle of God, I still fit into my non-maternity slacks AND look decent in them, so I don't have to stress about pants.  Though if I do come across a nice pair in my maternity shirt shopping travels, I may get them since tomorrow will not be the only day that I do this.  I also have to pack my scrubs to take with me because after a morning of being The Shadow, I have to go to work.  I could wear the same clothing, but no one would recognize me.  Trust me, I'm not kidding on this.

I'm also waiting on my textbook to arrive.  It happens to be the same exact textbook that I used for a nursing leadership class in my first ADN program..but in a cruel twist of fate, the book they want is the 8th edition...I have the 6th.  One edition off isn't too bad; two editions off and too much as changed.  So I ordered it Saturday...expected delivery today.  I'll work on my History homework as I wait for it, then hit the store, then lunch, then shadow prep.

At least the leadership class is all projects, papers and discussions.  No tests to study for, which is a nice break.  Especially since I'm still in the midst of the History class from Hell.

I have to admit, school has been a lot more manageable since I gave up the inpatient job.  It's almost bordering on enjoyable.  It's still a lot of work though, and a lot of my time goes into work for one class or another.  But I don't feel as overwhelmed as I used to.  My mood has been better.  The family has commented that I have been happier.  The little one especially is happy to have me physically and mentally around more.

September 24, 2012

Career musings

Not too long ago at work, I had a long talk with an experienced nurse (30+ years) about what I should do when I grow up.  Said "crusty old bat" (inside joke) has done it all, psych and non-psych.  So I figured that I'd take advantage of her expertise and ask her what she thought about my career plans post-baby and post-graduation

She asked if I liked psych.  To which I replied that I love it, but that part of me feels compelled to go try medical nursing for a year, both for the experience as well as to affirm that psych is where I want to me.

In her opinion, the refresher course--and she had taken it so this also comes from her experience--was a waste of time.  In the course, I'd spend three months of clinicals being a glorified CNA (just like in clinicals!) and that I shouldn't expect a job to come directly out of it.  She added that where we are currently located, there is a very high concentration of foreign nurses (Filipino, Asian, Mexican) and breaking into units/facilities that are mostly staffed by foreign nurses--and that is a lot of them--is not easy as they tend to favor other foreign nurses.  Like it or not, that is the reality.   

As far as working in the medical end itself, she said not to be surprised if I find myself coming back to psych sooner than that year is up.  All the horror stories of medical nursing are indeed true, even in some of the best facilities.   And speaking of facilities, she warned me off of one that I had been considering working at in a psych and/or medical capacity (this facility has the option to do both).   It would be one of the easiest ways for me to break into medical nursing, but apparently it's not very well-run, management is a mess, some of the managers have impossible standards, and turnover is very high.  For the record, she is far from the first person to warn me off of this place, so I am seriously taking that into account.  I have to decide if the risks are worth the benefit.
And last, she asked, if I am good at--and happy with--psych, why leave my area of expertise?  Why not  remain happy?

She did understand when I told her that I wanted to experience all of this for myself.  She didn't deny that the medical experience would be helpful.  I guess a small part of me feels unfulfilled if I don't give medical nursing a go.  She did give me some good advice about how to go about it if I do decide to.

Also, she advised me not to stop at the BSN, that I need at least a MSN.  I explained that I am undecided between education and nurse practitioner.  The practitioner would mean more money but also having to go for a doctorate degree.  She did suggest that I go for a clinical nurse specialist (CNS) role--that would only require a masters--because that would also lead to better income.  However, the trend has been towards phasing them out so that may not be worth it in the end.  

So she gave me some things to think about.  Of course, no action will be taken until after the baby and graduation, but it's definitely things to muse over.

September 22, 2012

I have pretty much given up all hope of an A in this class

Surprisingly, it is a not a nursing course, but US History, Part 1.

The class is poorly organized.  The readings are overwhelming in number.  Lectures are often of sketchy quality.  The online resource that they use for the classes is riddled with glitches, and often their videos, links. etc, are non-functional.  Assignments are not easy to find, that is if they are posted on time.  Then the assignments have minimal guidance or instruction:  make a PowerPoint, write a letter, work on a project.   Some instructions, right?  I'm not expecting spoon-feeding but a little more structure would be nice, especially when I'm trying to meet grading criteria that I know nothing about.  It is only when students start asking questions in the forum that all of the details--including what they are looking for--are revealed...and that's often near the deadline, when most have already submitted their work.  Grades from the instructors is frequently very late:  I have assignments from two weeks ago that are waiting on grades!  Last and most is often absent.  No explanation of where you went wrong or why, just that you went wrong and better luck next time.

So if I don't get an A on this course, it's not for a lack of trying because I'm doing all that I can.  Right now I'm holding onto the mid-90s, but I see that fading fast.

Fortunately, I will NOT be having this instructing team for History Part 2.  I hope.  The professor will be different, though I have no idea if the assistants will cross over.  I hope not.  I can't even hope I get a different assistant because this does not seem to be a good batch at all.

What is really a shame is that the material itself is exceptionally fascinating.  I just have to slog through Hell to learn it.

Oh well, 3 more weeks...just have to make it through.

September 18, 2012

Since I couldn't sleep last night, I pulled out my knitting (still trying to finish the blanket for my nephew) and watched The Curse of the Golden Flower.   You know what irked me about that movie?  

Spoilers below if you haven't seen it.



No one ever called the Emperor on the gradual poisoning of the Empress.  I mean, he was a grade A bastard:  tried to kill his first wife and her family, so he could marry the Empress, kept the first wife's son and told him that she died, ignored his third son in favor of the other two, then when he found out the first wife was alive tried to kill her and her new family...granted, the Empress and the three sons were no angels either.  But even after they found out, no one ever went up to his face and said, "I know what you're doing to the Empress."

Excellent movie but left me feeling unfulfilled.  Oh well.

Lazy day of schoolwork planned for today.  

September 16, 2012

As much as I hate to do this, I've come to the realization that something has to give.  The pregnancy is knocking me out.  School is knocking me out.  Two jobs are knocking me out.  So it basically comes down to this:  either give up the inpatient job, or postpone school.  Either one I cut I'd resume after the baby's birth.  I decided that of the two, I can handle school more easily than the second job.  So I've haven't given the agency any hours...actually, haven't done so in over a month.   I've only been working outpatient, which has been busy enough that I bring home a decent paycheck.

It turned out to be the better decision:  taking history and a nursing class together has been brutal.  My days off of work are spent chained to my computer.  Plus, I'm far less likely to be caught up in a violent code at the outpatient job, so there's less risk of danger to myself and the baby.

Plus, I'm so close to finishing this degree that I could almost taste it.  After this semester ends, there will be just two more classes left, and I have to take them separately so there will be no masochistic doubling-up on my part.  The thought of having to extend school any more than I have is painful.  I'm tired of not having the BSN.  I'm tired of being in school.  I'm tired of having my job options limited.

And I'm tired of feeling like the odd one out at nursing association meetings where everyone is either an APN or in school to be one.  Meanwhile here I am with my little ADN (of which I am not ashamed of), as well as being one of the few bedside nurses with any degree...and while I'm learning a lot from these meetings, I also feel terribly out of place.  It's funny:  at the meetings they talk about how they can get more bedside nurses to attend, but during these meetings they talk mostly about advanced practice nursing issues.  I see very few bedside nurses with repeat attendance at meetings. Go fig.

Anyhow...since stopping the second job, I am feeling a lot better.  I'm not as tired as I used to be, though I do sleep a lot more than usual.

I've had to adjust my diet so I can still control the weight gain.  I'm in my fifth month now and have gained 5 pounds to date...which may not seem like a lot but considering I was overweight to begin with, is actually par for my OB's plans for me.  I asked all my dietitians what I should do to keep pregnancy weight gain reasonable--a perk of working in eating disorders is easy access to dietitians--and they said to just eat normally.  So I'm not running out supersizing things or indulging in extra food because I'm eating for two.  I pay vague attention to calories but don't count them.  I just follow my doctor's (and the dietitians') recommendations.

I have to find a way to work in more exercise though.  Since I spend my days off chained to the computer, I am not as active as I have been.  And with the heat wave we've been experiencing, when I can be out for walks is limited.   But I'm going to try.  Maybe I'll start taking the dog for evening walks around the block.