Tag Archives: nursing

Why I Walk for Cystic Fibrosis

What is cystic fibrosis?

From CFF.org (the website for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation):

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide). A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that:

  • clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections; and
  • obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food.

In the 1950s, few children with cystic fibrosis lived to attend elementary school. Today, advances in research and medical treatments have further enhanced and extended life for children and adults with CF. Many people with the disease can now expect to live into their 30s, 40s and beyond.

As a pediatric nurse, I have the privilege to take care of young people with cystic fibrosis on a weekly basis.  Because of the nature of their disease, and the rigorous courses of their treatment, these children are often with us for weeks and weeks at a time. We have some children that are fortunate, that we see only every six months to a year or so for a general (what we like to call) “CF Tune Up”.  We have some children that are with us five and six times a year for sometimes a month or more at a time.  Either way, you can imagine that we get to know these kids pretty well. 🙂  We know their parents, their siblings, their families.  Their stories.  There are nurses on the floor that have worked there for ten years and have watched some of these children, who are now in their teens, grow up.  Every  nurse on the floor has a story about at least one of them.  We probably each have our “favorites”.  🙂  When I started working at the children’s hospital just over a year ago, it didn’t take long for these patients to become some of my favorites to take care of.  They have an undeniable spirit.

Some of you may not know what cystic fibrosis is.   Most people tend to think it’s just like living with a chest cold all year long.  Growing up, I knew one boy with CF in my high school class, and that is how I remember him.  The kid who coughed a lot.  I had no idea what a toll this disease takes on the entire body.  It affects each and every body system in it’s own way.  So many of these kids struggle keeping weight on because of how it affects their digestive system.  Most of them have to take several pills with every meal to help their body digest food and use the nutrients.  Many of my patients have G-tubes… tubes that go straight into their stomachs.  These kids usually are on tube feeds – meaning a pump feeds them a formula either over night, or at scheduled times during the day.  It can be a struggle to keep these kids at a healthy weight!

The regimen that cystic fibrosis patients must do on a daily basis is intense.  It involves inhaled medications in the form of breathing treatments, chest PT for up to an hour a day, and so many pills and vitamins.  All of these things take a lot of time.

Needless to say, it’s hard sometimes to just “be a kid”, when you have CF.

Watch this video to learn more about living with Cystic Fibrosis!

Knowing these kids, loving these kids and their families…. this is why I want to walk for CF in the Great Strides Event.  The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is a leader in medical research, and with their help – we can find a cure for this disease in our lifetime. Last year they raised over 40 million dollars for the cause!

If you are touched, like I am, by these kids and their stories – please consider donating to my Great Strides Campaign!  I have a little over a month to hit my goal.  Every dollar counts.  With your help, we can make CF stand for CURE FOUND!!!!

Click here to donate:

donate to my cause

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Filed under Pediatrics, Random Stuff

Orientation (AKA: Baptism By Fire)

I love being a new nurse.  I am still fresh, and learning – and I do love to learn. I think that is one of the best things about my career… you can never top out on your knowledge.

Since I am a new grad, I am starting out one on one with a preceptor on my unit.  It’s her job to train me up in the way I should go. 🙂 Give me all the inside scoops as to how to roll on the floor and keep my head above water.  When you are orienting, you usually start out slow and gain more and more responsibilities as time goes on.  Well, on my unit times are hard right now – and we find ourselves frequently understaffed in the evenings by no fault of our own.  They have hired several newbies like me to help pick up the slack eventually, but the hiring process takes awhile – not to mention the training process! As a result, my orientation has started out on the crazy side.  The good news is I am the kind of girl who can roll with the punches.  It’s ok with me that things don’t always go as planned.  And you know what? That is kind of how nursing rolls.  Even the lowest patient census can provide you a crazy night – and you just have to be able to adapt and get on with it. Get the work done.  I am learning on my feet and I am ok with that. 🙂

It’s amazing to me as a new nurse just how much I don’t know.  You think you are really smart coming out of nursing school (hell, I was valedictorian!) but real life nursing creates entirely new sets of challenges and skills that I have never faced before.  Last week I was finally able to get my hands on a central line to draw labs. Guess how many times in nursing school I was able to play with central lines? Zero. Guess how many times I was allowed to draw blood? Zero.  Real world experience is where the real learning and teaching takes place for floor nursing and it’s been a blast for me to get up in it and meet the challenges head on.

I am really blessed with a great, patient, and funny preceptor who stands by me and points me in the right direction.  That’s important.

The great news is that even on these crazy nights where I don’t get to sit down and my lunch consists of cheetos and a Dr. Pepper because the Cafeteria closes at 3am — I still love it.  There is no doubt in my mind that this is where I belong.  I really love nursing. I really love pediatrics.

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Filed under General Nursing Blather, Pediatrics

Why do pediatric nurses need to like kids?

This was actually a search term that someone typed in to land on my blog.  I think if you have to ask the question, this field is probably not the right one for you.

The one thing pediatric nursing has the most of? Kids. Lots and lots of kids.

🙂

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90% Calling, 10% Job.

This is a great video…. inspiring to Nurses and Nurses to Be alike! I really enjoy videos and articles that showcase what nurses really do.  🙂

Enjoy.

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Just call me… PEDIATRIC Nurse

If you read my blog from start to finish, you will notice one consistent theme. Pediatrics.  When I started on this journey, pediatrics was so far off my radar it’s not even funny.  If you talk to my classmates, many of them remember how much I dreaded my pediatric rotation.  But then I stepped foot into the children’s hospital for my very first pediatric clinical…. and that was that. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I was bitten with the bug.  When you are in school, you hear a lot about finding your “calling” – and you don’t really believe it until it happens to you.  🙂 After my pediatric rotation, I knew that it was what I wanted to do.

So I made it a goal.

Pediatrics was my second semester of nursing school.  I did a lot of rotations and worked on a lot of different units.  Nothing ever held a candle to pediatric nursing.

When the time came to make a decision about where I wanted to do my precepting, I didn’t hesitate.  Peds.  I wanted to work in peds.  I was told that they school I attended didn’t often get many pediatric slots, but I was in line for one if it became available.  I think around this time is where God really started to intervene in a powerful way. Things happened that I thought were mistakes, but in reality it was God paving the way for the career that I was called to do.  I ended up precepting 12 hours nights with a wonderful nurse at the Children’s Hospital.

And I loved it.

I had some amazing experiences, and while I did a lot of watching and learning – I learned a LOT.  It was the best time I have ever had WORKING.  That’s a great feeling, when you don’t dread coming in to work. 🙂

The bad thing about having such an amazing precepting experience though, is that it spoils you.  I couldn’t imagine going back to work with adults on the general med/surg floors.  It just wasn’t a possibility. But I had heard all the horror stories…. new grads don’t get hired into specialties.  New grads don’t get hired straight to units, they have to get in thru residency programs.  But again, God paved the way!

Long story short, I accepted my “official” job offer tonite. I will be working in that same awesome hospital.   I am blessed and humbled.

I am a pediatric nurse.

Awesome.

 

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Filed under General Nursing Blather, Random Stuff

Impostor Syndrome

One of these things is not like the other….

Last week in class, when we were going over what the next few months had in store for us, my instructor brought up a very good point.

We are all impostors.

Or at least, we feel like we are. I had no idea, but Impostor Syndrome is a very real thing… and there are people living it every day. Walking through life feeling like they do not belong there, that at any minute someone is going to figure them out for the fake that they are. They feel as if they have tricked the world into believing they are smart, and competent, and good at what they do – when the reality is they lack a whole lot of self confidence!

I can’t imagine that there are many senior nursing students that do NOT feel this way. If you are one of those people who are just naturally awesome and able to conquer the world, then rock on. I am not one of those people. I spend a lot of time freaking out that I have somehow managed to pass all the tests by some sort of fluke of nature, and I’ve managed to just slide through clinical without someone figuring out that I am a complete and total fraud. Eventually someone will wise up when I ask the wrong question, or do the wrong thing… and they will kick me out.

How in the hell have I made it to the end of this?!

The really scary realization is that I am going to be expected to get a JOB and WORK?! AS A NURSE?! How is that supposed to happen? Will I miraculously have all the knowledge I need in the next three months?

Rationally, I know that I have worked hard and that is how I have gotten to where I am. I do take comfort in my instructors reassuring me that we are BEGINNERS. We are NOVICE nurses. We will not be expected to go out and save the world. So why do we expect that out of ourselves?

So take comfort, fellow Nursing Impostors. We will be ok. We are where we are supposed to be. We have made it this far not by luck or chance or happenstance, but because we have worked our asses off for it. We are going to be nurses, and damned good ones at that – because that is what we have been called to do. We will ask stupid questions and we will do the wrong thing, but such is life on a perpetual learning curve. I have that much figured out already. No one can truly be an expert in the field of nursing, because medicine and technology are evolving faster than we can perfect our skills.

Maybe one day I will wake up and I will no longer be an Impostor. Until then, I will continue to “fake it ’til I make it” and trust in those people who have mentored me along the way. I have some great teachers and mentors paving the way for me… and they believe in me, even if most days I don’t believe in myself. Yet. 🙂

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Filed under Clinicals, General Nursing Blather, Lecture Notes, Random Stuff

The Countdown


The countdown is on!

I’ve neglected this blog over the past few months. I’ll be honest. I was checked out. For the first time in what seems like an eternity, I was able to relax and enjoy my summer vacation. I spent great time with my friends and family, traveled to awesome places, and created a lot of memories. It was nice to be able to put school on the back burner, even if it was only for a short time. And it really did fly by –

I started back to school yesterday. It’s funny how easy it was for me to slip back into nursing student mode. I thought I would have a hard time getting back into the swing of things… but it was like I never left. I think the countdown helped.

The first thing we went over in class on our first day back? How many days we had left until we graduated. Funny enough no one had counted it out yet… I think that we are all still in denial that we have made it this far and can see that light at the end of the tunnel. The number of days left on the calendar was 115. Today it was 114. Tomorrow it will be 113. Before you know it this whole experience will be over and done with and just another blip on my life radar. I have mixed feelings about that. 🙂

I have lots to blog about, and I can’t wait to share this last semester in this journey with you all. It has been a wild ride so far!

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