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The Calm Before the Storm

traumaIt’s been a quiet month on my unit.  The respiratory bugs have all died down, school sports are over for a few months, and people are more preoccupied with planning their summer vacations than going into the hospital.  It’s been very strange…. and very eerie.  It’s like we all know something is just around the corner.  And it is.  Trauma Season.  We got a taste of it last week during the Memorial Day Rush.  We had a little influx of it during prom season as well…. lots of motor vehicle accidents involving teenagers.

Soon school will be out here in Carolinas, and the kids will be outside droves.  It’s time for the car wrecks, the kid vs. car, the bicycle accidents, the (ugh) lawnmower injuries, the ATV rollovers.  They will start pouring in in the following weeks…. and while it is somewhat exciting to be a nurse during Trauma season, it’s never easy to see all the kids come up to my floor with preventable injuries.  It’s  never easy to see the child who might lose his foot to a lawnmower, or a teenager who may never walk quite right again because she was on an ATV that slammed into a tree.

So parents, take some time this summer to educate your kids on summer safety… wear seatbelts, helmets, and be responsible. Look both ways when crossing the street, and don’t ride double on the John Deere.

🙂

 

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The Final Nursing Exam

For two years, I’ve been studying.  Working hard.  Reviewing material. Memorizing lab values. Taking exam after exam. Studying rationale after rationale for those aggravating questions that just never made sense.  It’s been one annoying nursing test after another, and it’s all come down to this.

It’s NCLEX time.

I have my test date scheduled, and now I’m just taking it one day at a time… reviewing the material, and taking practice exams.  I’m trying to keep my preparation activities all low stress, because honestly – what will freaking out do at this point? I have worked my tail off for the past two years in preparation for this moment. I have spent the last twenty four MONTHS studying for  the NCLEX.

I will never be more motivated to pass this exam than I RIGHT NOW.

I’m ready to change the title of this blog…. hopefully in the next couple of weeks this blog will be simply: JUST CALL ME NURSE.  🙂 It will feel good to finally drop the “Eventually”!

To all of my fellow nursing students that have traveled this long road with me… don’t stop the momentum yet!

YOU GOT THIS!! 

 

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Countdown to Graduation

Do these people look excited, or what?

Today we had our class photo done. We all dressed up nicely, according to tradition (the ASN program has traditionally worn white, but thru the years when the nursing profession abandoned the starched whites, we moved to black and white), and met in the misty drizzle on the main campus. The school will hang this portrait in the hall along with all the other graduating classes, dating back to the early 1900s. Well, not THIS photo…. but the actual portrait where we all look very serious, very happy, and very…. NURSELIKE. 🙂

In just a little over a week, we will all be graduate nurses…. I can hardly believe it!

Of course, there is the NCLEX to worry about, but I’m going to put that giant dark cloud on the back burner for just a week or so and enjoy this time. It’s GRADUATION TIME!!!!

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Why I Want to be a Pediatric Nurse

I get that question a lot…. “Why do you want to be a pediatric nurse?!?!”  When the question is asked, it’s usually accompanied by a scrunching up of the face, and a look of horror as the person asking it envisions deathly ill children dying left and right on their watch.

To me, it’s an easy question to answer: Taking care of children is what I do best.

This week, I am finishing up my preceptorship at a local area Children’s Hospital.  It has been such a fantastic experience.  I have enjoyed every second that I have spent on the floor, and I can say that it has definitely cemented my beliefs that this is what I want to do. That this is where my passion lies, and where my heart is.  Pediatrics.  I have learned so much from these kids and these families in the brief stay that I have had in this hospital.  It’s definitely where I want to be!

One of my friends said to me recently:

“It’s easy to take care of the sick adult, because they have lived their lives and made their choices.  A sick child hasn’t had the chance to do either!”

There is truth to that, but I don’t see it that way.  When I am on that floor taking care of patients, I know that I am making a difference to that child and to that parent on that day.  There is sadness, but there is also a lot of fun.  There isn’t anything like finally getting a smile out of that kid that has given you the death glare for the past 8 hours, or the exhausted “Thank You” from a worried parent.  I’m not only there to take care of the children, but of  entire families.  That is the one thing with pediatrics that you don’t have to deal with on the adult floors.  These kids come with parental baggage.  That’s another thing I hear quite often from friends and other nurses:

“But you have to deal with the PARENTS.”

It’s true. You do have to deal with the parents. I have been one of those parents that the nurses have had to deal with. 🙂 I remember being scared, nervous, and horrified at what was happening to my child.  They have lost control over the one thing that means the absolute most to them in the whole world.  I am sure as a pediatric nurse I will deal with all kinds of parents… I have already gotten quite a diverse sample just in my short time on the floor for preceptorship.  There are the anxious parents, the needy parents, the questioning parents, the demanding parents… but the worst kind for me have been the absent parents.  Taking care of a child who has no parent at the bedside has presented an entirely new set of challenges for me, but I have learned to look at those little patients as the ones that have the biggest need for a true advocate on their side.

I have heard glorious stories from my fellow peers about their experiences during their preceptorship time.  Code blues, babies being born, open heart surgeries…. and while I have had such a great experience, it has been so different from their excitement.  But you know what? I wouldn’t change a thing.

I am truly loving it.  I love kids.  They are so much fun and a lot more fun than adults.  They tell you the truth, and in some ways they are easier to deal with than adults because they don’t come with all that annoying adult baggage that we all have.    I love developing that “Therapeutic relationship” that everyone talks about in nursing with my patients and their parents.  There is something to be said about it.

Recently in the hospital, I took care of a little guy with a horrible asthma issue – and due to all his meds, he spent most of my shift throwing up.  He was so matter of fact about it, too. “I’m barfing.”  He would remove his little Oxygen mask and just heave into his bucket. 😀  But there is something about being at the bedside in the middle of the night, while mama is getting some well deserved rest while you hold her little one’s head over the emesis basin.  That she trusts you enough to be there and that the little guy trusts you enough to lean on you.  It’s a great feeling.  And no, it’s not the glamorous, exciting, “CODE BLUE” side of nursing, but it’s the side that I like the most.  The really awesome part is now I’m at the point that while I’m in there holding his head while he vomits, I’m also able to watch his O2 sat, listen to him , watch his respirations… assess him, just the little things that are important – but I’m able to do those things and not let them overshadow the “being there” part.

I love that.

I really am a pediatric nurse…. I just need the job and the title to prove it at this point.

 

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The Finish Line

When you start nursing school, it seems like it will last forever.  You live dead line to dead line.  Test to test.  Clinical day to clinical day.  You faithfully cross out the dates on the syllabus and check off the assignments as you get them completed.  The semesters seem to be endless.  The stress never ending.

And then all of a sudden you are done.

A couple of weeks ago I sat for the very last “exam” of my nursing school career.  It seems as if I just started this journey, and here I am finishing it up. I don’t think that the reality has sunk in yet! 🙂

Currently, I am in the final clinical push of my nursing education, called preceptorship.  I was very fortunate to get placed on a wonderful pediatric floor at the local children’s hospital…. transitioning into clinical practice.

Clinical Practice!!!

To all my fellow nursing students…. keep your eyes on the finish line.  Enjoy school. I know it seems like it will last forever, but it really doesn’t.  You will make friends that you will keep forever, and have experiences that will shape your ideals about the way YOU want to practice medicine in the future.

My graduation date is December 16.

The finish line approacheth!

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We Interrupt This Life For Nursing School

 

I’ve been pretty slack in updating this blog recently, probably because that time has come in this race called nursing school where I can see the finish line.  I can see the finish line, but I’m tired.  No, scratch that – I’m not tired – I’m downright exhausted.  Every waking minute in my life in consumed with school.  Even when I have a few precious moments that could be considered “down time”, I can’t really enjoy it.  I watched an entire DVR’d episode of Private Practice the other day and at the end of it I realized I didn’t have a clue what I just watched… because my mind was somewhere back on campus or in my textbooks, going over signs and symptoms of increased intracranial pressure.

I have become a stressed out mess. My family hates to be around me. I live, eat, breathe, and sleep nursing.

But this, this state of madness… it’s only temporary.  In fact, In less than 20 days, I will be out of this class and into the next phase of my education.  Preceptorship.

I’m hanging in there. I’m working hard.  I’m praying my family and friends remember the old me, and know that I will return back to a state of normalcy by Halloween.  Until then, you will find me buried in a text book or in my notes, studying the brain and praying that the one that I have inside my own head lasts just a few more weeks.

This hasn’t been a race. It’s been a marathon.  And like my nursing professor told us at the beginning of class last Thursday: I didn’t start this race to quit before I cross the finish line.  Pushing onwards!

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I’m a SENIOR!

So much has happened in the past several weeks that I can’t even begin to get it all down in one blog. This has been an amazing semester for me. I have learned so much. I haven’t had much time to even blog! But I am done with school for a month now for winter break.. so maybe I will be able to catch up a bit. I have had some great learning experiences. Hope my fellow nursing students finished the semester with a bang like I did! 🙂 Merry Christmas!

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