Moved this blog to rnedu.blogspot.com.
I just submitted my Human Development final essays, which means that I am hereby officially done with summer school. Oh yeah, I took classes this summer, three actually: Microbiology, Micro Lab and Human Development (online). Micro was fun, mostly because the teacher was cool. Human Development made me want to gouge my eyes out, mostly because the teacher was anal retentive and the rest of the class seemed to be there under some kind of mental deficit provision.
But now all that’s passed, and I look to the future. Three weeks of vacation followed by the worst year of my life (oh no, don’t try to argue; I know it’s going to be that bad). How do I know this will be the worst year of my life? Well, you could say I have it on good authority, the authority of ever second year who just graduated and informed us that this last year was the worst year of their lives, therefore predicting within a very narrow margin of error that it will indeed be the worst year of ours. Mine. Seriously, I’m almost having a small stroke just thinking about it.
I’ve just so enjoyed the mental clarity and energy level that is available when all you have to do is take three easy summer courses and work prn at a job you love. I’ve gotten so much done. My house is organized and clean, my hair is cut, my nails are painted – heck, I even learned to play the ukulele! No, I’m serious. And my creative mind has been bursting with fresh ideas, wanderings, musings. I’ve read three books that were in no way nursing related, really great books. It’s been so nice.
But now I know as soon as nursing school starts up again all that freedom of thought is going straight to the farthest recesses of my brain, where it will wait subconsciously for another chance at life! My house will fall apart, my nutritional status will steadily decline, I’ll gain ten pounds and probably develop an irreversible frowney face. It really begs the question: do I really want to be a nurse all that much?
Yes, yes I think I do.
Fine. Then I’ll buckle down and do it. Goodbye, happy thoughts. Fair well, ukulele skills. Aufvedersein, confidence gained by easy summer school A’s. I’m off to have my brain pummelled into submission by a bunch of old nurses and their insatiable desire for my very soul. See you all in a year. If I make it.
Um, so yeah. I haven’t really been doing this like I thought I would. But here’s the deal: first year of nursing school basically wiped the hospital floor with me, and that floor is freaking disgusting, so I was a little put out. However, next month I will start as a second year, my final year, and things are going to be different. I know stuff now. Lots of stuff. And I will hitherto impart any future stuff I learn on to you. Aren’t you so lucky?
Be back soon.
So, I kind of owe you all an explanation. It was my initial intention to do a weekly update on this blog, as implied by the weekly format, but that did not happen. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: nursing school sucks. Truly, truly sucky. It is a drain down which everything I enjoy is pulled into and crushed to bits by some cosmic garbage disposal.
Well, that was depressing. Don’t worry, I’m cool. I’m just being owned by nursing school, and I’m not really used to being owned. You ever been owned? It’s not fun. It’s not even funny, at all, or I’d say something funny regarding the whole being owned thing, but trust me there is nothing funny about it.
So, weekly posts are dead (R.I.P.), and sporadic, random, seldom or frequent posts are in. Enjoy. Or not. Whatever, I have to study.
Yes, this was the week of many an ocular waterworks. Of course, now we’re in the thick of it. No more first week honeymooning – this is for real, and all the assignments that have been thrust upon us are also for real. So many things to do. It’s not just the assignments they give us through the week, it’s the studying, the practicing, the mandatory lab hours, the standardized tests we have to complete and pass on our own time. I downloaded a task managing app onto my ipod just to keep track (for those of you interested, it’s called iProcrastinate, and it’s free). I don’t have a lot of time here, so let’s get into it.
The Water Works
Wednesday was the beginning. I guess in the week where we have our first exam I should have expected some public breakdowns, but I must have overlooked the possibility, because as soon as that girl was walking toward us, her eyes red and running, I was as taken aback as ever by it. I’m not a public crier. In private, sure, why not, but never in front of people. This poor girl couldn’t keep it in, though. She had just failed a skills checkoff (more on that in a moment), and it was devastating. I was sitting with my new friend, studying for our test, and it took us both about ten minutes to calm her and move on to other subjects to help her forget her forlorned state. But she was fine by the time she left, so mission accomplished. The other one was less fortunate. She cried all through our test on Friday. The whole time. I wasn’t quite sure of what to do for that. It’s one thing to cry in front of two of your classmates, it’s another to cry in front of all your classmates. I hope she makes it.
So, pretty much every week we learn a new “skill,” and to prove we’ve learned it we have to complete it successfully in front of a classmate, and then an instructor. These checkoff sheets are then filed away to prove to the state that we can, indeed, perform these tasks. Last week was sterile gloving. Oooh. Yeah, doesn’t sound complicated, in fact I’ve done it quite a few times in my MA career, so I was fairly confident about it. But boy does that change when your being watched like a hawk, especially when that hawk’s name is Smiley Smilington (or so I named her – note the sarcasm). I tried to drop a joke or two just to lighten things up, but she was not having it. This explains to me why it was that a young girl can come out of her skills checkoff crying, when I know for a fact she’s done it perfectly numerous times. That grouchy hawk made her too nervous. It’ll take more than that to get me, though.
So, yeah. It was Friday, and I did it. I answered every question, 100 in all. Not a walk in the park, but also not brain surgery. Somewhere in between, like building a house, or baking a really complicated cake while sleep-deprived. Here’s how I figure the math out for projecting how well I did: there were six questions I marked to come back to, since they were taking me more than 30 seconds to answer. So, if I got all of those wrong, we’re looking at a 94%. That’s the best I think I could have done. That leaves the rest of the questions that I could answer with a fair amount of confidence. Of those, I figure no more than ten could have been able to trick me into answering them wrong, so that would put me at an 84%. So that’s it. Low A, or low B. That’s my range, and you know what? That’s okay with me. If I get a C, I will probably cry in front of all my classmates.
Speaking of Sleep Deprivation
I have not had a restful night’s sleep in two weeks. And when I do manage to fall asleep, and dream, I don’t get to have just one dream. I’m having about four to five dreams at the same time. Like watching four movies at once. It’s trip-ee! I’m not even sure how to describe it. It’s like watching a movie on a window that you can see through, in front of another window playing a completely different movie that you can also see through. And there’s five of these just lined up in front of you. Another evidence of stress: bowel habits. Read no further if that doesn’t interest you, but for those who can handle it, I’ll just say it as plainly as I can. I’ve been pooping, like, three times a day. Three times. Per day. Yeah.
Friday, after the test, I hit the local outdoor shopping plex, and scoured the clearance racks. I always shop clearance racks, and for those of you still paying full price, or even more than 50% off, I pity you. Either that, or you’re rich as a Czar, and in that case I don’t pity you, but you’re still getting had. The result of my thriftiness is as follows:
BCBG Blue pleated knee-length skirt with pocket: $138 (I paid $25)
BCBG Dark Blue knit top with gathered cap sleeves $128 (I paid $30)
Anthropology t-shirt mini dress with empire waist tie $88 (I paid $19)
Yeah! Feels soooo good. Also, movies are a big retreat for me, and this weekend’s release of Inglorious Basterds (excuse my misspelled French), was one of the best movies I’ve seen this year (Cheryl, don’t go see this – you won’t like it).
Nursing School Stats: to date
Hershey’s Chocolate squares consumed: 32 (trying to cut down)
Naps taken due to exhaustion: 4
Breakdowns that include crying: 1 (no increase from last week)
Hours of study time : 10
Moments of regret: 0
Okay, it started. It started, and I’ve survived the very start of it. I had intended on doing a Day 1 post, but that didn’t happen on day one. It didn’t happen on day 2-6 either. It was impossible. I mean, literally, my level of activity has shot through the roof, and I’m not quite sure how to manage it yet. Streeeeeess.
Lecture Me to Death
For real, how many hours am I expected to just sit there and listen. Quite a few, as it turns out. And not just listen, but really hear what they’re saying, make notes, try to make my notes legible so that when I go back later to study I’m not freaking out because I can’t understand my own explanations. Under one note, I wrote “ther.” What does that mean? That’s not a word! It doesn’t even make sense for it to be “their,” or “there,” it is a complete mystery to me. Hope it wasn’t important. I’m just not used to this. Never in my entire life have I sat all day listening to someone else speak. Even in high school they gave us an hour of PE. But this is very much not high school, and I’m beginning to realize that nursing school may in fact be the hardest thing I’ve ever accomplished (should I be fortunate enough to actually accomplish it).
Questions, Questions, Questions!
We have a chatterbox. I mentioned her in Boot Camp: Day One of Two when I had the misfortune of being seated next to her. She can’t shut up. It’s not that she won’t, I don’t think, it’s that she physically does not have the ability to close her mouth. Perhaps she has a septal deviation and cannot breath through her nose, causing her to perpetually have her mouth agape in order not to suffocate, and while it’s in that position she thinks why not make incoherent ramblings come out as long as it’s already open. My friend and I counted in a fifty minute period how many times this girl asked a question. Six. Six questions in a fifty minute period of lecture. That’s more than a question every ten minutes. And I’m not talking about the times she simply raised her hand to ask a question, which was mind-blowingly frequent, I’m talking the times this gesture was successful and she was actually called on. And what questions! I think you know what I’m talking about.
Well, there they are. Minus my Med Surg book, which they are currently out of, but which I need for next week (maybe I should just order it online. Hm). All together, those things cost me a cool $475. That’s all financial aid money, of course. Oh, yeah, speaking of financial aid…
Give Me My Money!
Have you applied for a student loan lately? Yeah, it’s a blast. And then, even after all the work you’ve done to prove you are indeed worthy of a particular sum of money, there’s more paperwork to do of which I was not aware. It was a week before school started, and still I didn’t have any aid in my account. So, I bought my books on a voucher. No big deal. Four days after school had already started and still no money. My tuition hadn’t been paid. This might be a problem. So I go to the financial aid desk to get some answers. Oh, they’re a lively bunch behind the financial aid desk. I don’t know what kind of sedatives they’re giving those people, but let me tell you it’s some first-rate stuff. The guy was barely awake enough to tell me I had to go to the bank website and sign a something-or-other thing (I don’t remember what it’s called, just give me my money!). So I hop on the computer and do all eight pages of necessary steps, get to the final page and it won’t let me submit. Not cool. I call the bank. Apparently, the school uses Firefox, which is not compatible with Commerce Bank’s esign feature. Great. Thanks for telling me before I filled out eight pages worth of information fields. Hey, Commerce, how about letting me know in advance next time, say, on page one of eight instead of page eight of eight! Sound like a good idea? Does it? Greeeeeat.
Tests, Tension, and Time Management
I’ve been to the testing center three times this week to take the same medical terminology test. I need a 90% and I keep getting 85%. There are a number of these little tests that we have to get done on our own; standardized things to satisfy some kind of requisite for the state. They’re really irritating. It wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t change up the questions every time. There’s a math one too, and for that I have to get a 100%. Ha! Never, in my entire childhood, adolescent or adult life have I ever gotten 100% on anything containing the word “math.” I can’t imagine how many times I’m going to have to take that one to pass it. Which brings me to my main source of stress for this week, and that is the difficulty associated with time management when you have no idea how many times you’re going to have to take the same test in a single week. I had planned on taking the med term test one time, and instead it was three, and I’ll have to try yet again next week. So the time slots for tests #2 and #3 were alloted to other things which I had to then move to a different time slot, which meant the things in those time slots had to be moved somewhere else (they’re still floating somewhere above Kansas City, I think). It’s all a mind game. It’s all about deciding what is going to get done, because there’s not enough time in the week to get it all done, so something must be sacrificed and you just have to cross your fingers and pray that you choose to kill off the right thing.
This week, I did a few things to relieve my stress. I took naps – that not so much for stress management as for the fact that I was completely exhausted and unable to keep my eyes open, nor my body erect. I played Disk Golf. Google it, it’s way awesome. And I made this sandwich, which was divine.
The Sandwich (follow these levels to the letter, from bottom to top):
Toasted piece of bread
Miracle Whip (don’t start about that Mayo crap)
Turkey bacon (it’s okay, you can use real bacon. Lucky)
Avocado slices (be generous, you won’t regret it)
Toasted piece of bread
Nursing School Stats:
Hershey’s Chocolate squares consumed: 20
Naps taken due to exhaustion: 2
Breakdowns that include crying: 1
Okay, no more contemplation of quitting. I’m all in. Day two was just what I needed, and I’m feeling good. Two words: sim lab. This place is so cool. It’s like a mini ER set up right in the school. A nurses station, four patient rooms with very crazy mannequins lying in them. These things do it all – they breath, blink, have heart tones, bowel sounds, lung sounds, their pupils dilate and they sing songs (all that except the singing part). It’s cool. So, am I saying that I am completely put at ease about this whole nursing thing because I got to play with a large plastic doll that may or may not have working veins? Yes, yes I am. I figure, if this program is awesome enough to have this, then it’s good enough for me.
And, in addition, I was encouraged by the faculty and all the second year students that they are, in fact, rooting for us. They want us to succeed; it’s not the kind of environment where you will be continually asked to prove that you deserve to be there. And with any luck, I won’t end up doing something that would prove otherwise.