About Me

undergrad RN
I'm a twenty-something Canadian student. After stumbling through a few years of college, I finally managed to get into the nursing school of my dreams, where I hope to graduate in 2012 with a nursing baccalaureate degree. I want to offer an honest look into how a modern nurse is educated, both good and bad. Eventually I hope to compare my education to my day-to-day career and see how it holds up. Whatever happens, it should be somewhat entertaining. Find me on allnurses.com!
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Saturday, December 27, 2008

'Twas a few days after Christmas

Still enjoying my time off. Just thought you should know.

Random story time!

As a kid (and throughout most of my adolescence) I was in love with Stephen King. Well, not him, exactly - I think he's a little scary - I was in love with his characters. My all-time favorite book is still The Stand. I've read it probably a million times since I was 10ish. I have several versions of the book which seem to crop up in my house every now and then. I think they are getting busy in the bookcase because I can't otherwise figure out how new copies randomly crop up. My favorite character has always been Stu Redman because he is just soooo amazing. I swore that my male children would - of course - bear the first name Stuart. All of them.

Anyway, if you haven't read the book I won't spoil it for you, but basically the initial premise is about a government-engineered superdisease that gets out of control and wipes out most of the population. The bug appears harmless enough with mild cold symptoms at first, escalating into delusion and suffocation, and death within 4 days.

I have always had these elaborate daydreams about what I would do if I was one of the survivors. What kind of crazy fortress I would build myself out in the bush and how I would eke out a perilous existence. That kind of thing.

Part of me has always harbored a teeny tiny paranoia that it could happen for real, that someday a laboratory could lose control of its creation. No, no, don't laugh. I'm absolutely certain that out in the desert somewhere the US government is playing with bacteria as a warfare contingency. And China, and Russia, and the other big players. I'd say Canada, but have you seen our military budget?

Anyway sometimes, when there's a particularly nasty bug going around that everyone seems to get (like now), a little part of my brain slips into that daydream of what if...

No, I don't lie awake wondering about it or listen for a phone tap or anything. No tinfoil hats here. I'm just sayin'!
Saturday, December 20, 2008

I never knew

how absolutely lux being off from school could be. I mean, I've looked forward to (and enjoyed) Christmas break before, but I have never felt SO weightless before. It's like I am 50 lbs lighter. Maybe not in dress size (darn!) but certainly in spirit!

A year ago today I got my acceptance into nursing school and what an incredible journey it's been so far. I was really depressed and felt like garbage for several months at the beginning of this year as my job was on the rocks (and I was subsequently laid off along with 1200 other people) and I hated everything. I was practically climbing the walls in frustration. September was the beacon at the end of that very dark tunnel and nursing school has more or less saved me. I didn't like who I was a year ago. I had no motivation to get out of bed, much less make an effort at achieving something. Life held no mystery and nothing was interesting. It was a "live until I die" feeling. Maybe you've been there. It sucked!

Anyway right now I feel awesome. I'm so excited for so many things! In a few weeks I will find out about my placement (OMG I can't wait) and in my Nursing Practice Foundations class we will start doing real practical stuff - putting all that theory into practice! I'll get to learn baths and transfers and bed-making, and perhaps most interestingly I will get to learn vitals and more medicalish applications after the spring break in February. I'm sure the nurses who read this (or maybe even those nursing students who are further ahead than me) are rolling their eyes at me being excited over bed-making. I'm sure I'll feel the same way after I've done two or ten, but from where I'm standing right now, those are going to be the first concrete experiences of my nurse education. Enough with the theory and models and concepts. Time to get my hands dirty!

Er, preferably not dirty dirty. My level of comfort re: nurse-patient skin-to-skin contact is pretty low. A friend of mine had a testicular examination and the doctor didn't wear gloves. That's a little TOO intimate, in my opinion....

As for previous semester, all of my marks are in and I got A- in all my courses. That puts me on the Dean's list for this semester which is an extremely UNEXPECTED surprise! I don't expect this achievement to last for long. I'll be happy with First Class Standing on my degree (above 3.4 GPA I think).
Tuesday, December 16, 2008

3 Weeks

Of pure bliss.

And World of Warcraft.

I finished my last exam yesterday. It was for English and I just couldn't bring myself to actually study all that hard. Pressure seems to be my best/only motivation so yesterday morning I got to school a couple of hours before the exam, blasted through all of the stories we had read, and put together a rough idea of what kind of essay I wanted to write. The big part of the exam was writing a 700 word paper on one of the topics.

I chose to critique an article written, in my humble opinion, by an idiot. It was a piece that was basically doomsaying about how humans aren't reproducing enough (huh?) and economic crisis is sure to result. It was written by an Albertan for a rural Albertan magazine, if that's any indication. So I wrote and wrote because his article provided plenty of fodder for me to tear it apart. I'm not sure if I stuck within 700 words. Who cares! I actually enjoyed that exam. I wish I could be creative more often... when I hit the groove I really like to write.

So now I'm just kicking back waiting for my exam results to come in. I have to say, this semester has flown by. I'm really excited for next semester though because we are actually going to do some practical stuff! I find out about my placement in a few weeks too so I'm excited/nervous about that. My program recommends that I own a car... not gonna happen. I hope I can get there by public transit. If not I'll have to raise a ruckus and I hate doing that.

My boyfriend bought me the 2nd expansion for World of Warcraft, which is a game that I have played off and on for 3 years now. I did not allow myself to touch it from September 1 until yesterday. When I was in Police Studies I started playing it right around Remembrance Day (November 11) and it completely took over my life, as MMOs are wont to do, and killed my intentions to study for finals. So I am not allowed to play during the school term anymore. Self, are you listening?!

Now there are a lot of people who think that video games, MMOs, and WoW in particular are ridiculous wastes of time. They'd be right on the time-waster part. I used to live with two girls who did not game at all, whatsoever, and could not FATHOM what the attraction was. They often ridiculed me for hanging out with peeps online, for free (well, a monthly subscription), instead of coming out to some lame bar scene. When I finally got to play in Karazhan with a fun guild, one of my friends came over unexpectedly and was all DUDE LET'S GO OUT and I told her I was, like, way busy and she told me to pause it. To those who don't get me, there is no pausing WoW - it's real-time. All the players are online at the same instant you are and stuff happens whether you're online or not. That was a tricky one to get out of. Truth be told I'm glad I stayed home because the guild broke up shortly after that and I haven't been back in KZ, or anything bigger than a 5-man, since.

Anyway I'm sure I'm boring you with my excitement over playing again. I'm okay with people hating on my WoW-love. God knows I get it from almost everyone I know, except when I worked for a computer corporation because everyone there was on one server :)

If anyone out there plays on Kirin Tor horde side, look me up. My main is Scuzzy, a so-far L70 UD priest, spec shadow for levelling but when I'm 80, oh boy, I love to heal. The nurse coming out in me, I suppose!
Saturday, December 13, 2008

Beautiful Cervix

This might be TMI (warning, very graphic photos of a cervix). I found it amazing to see the changes in the cervix throughout a woman's cycle. Who knew!

From her info page:

I am a 25 year old woman who has never given birth.

My intention with this project was to better understand my cycle and the changes in my cervix throughout the month. As a doula and student midwife, I used this project to help me see how a cervix might look different throughout the cycle in the absence of vaginal infections and to understand speculum exams. You may notice on the right side of some photos, some jagged looking skin, which is the remnants of my hy me nal r ing.
[UgRN in: I've broken up this phrase to hopefully help slow/stop the amount of creepy traffic I get from it]   My os (opening to the cervix) is round because I have never given birth; the os becomes more of a slit after childbirth.

Each photo was taken at approx 10:00 pm every day starting the first day of my menstrual cycle. I re-used a plastic speculum and macro function of normal digital camera (and a very talented boyfriend with a headlamp). For the duration of this project, we used condoms as our birth control method so as not to introduce semenal fluid into the photoshoot. I did not use tampons or mooncups during my bleeding time either.

Finals are almost over

I had heart palpitations yesterday. You wouldn't even have needed a stethoscope. I think the prof could hear my heart beating from the front of the room.

Anatomy is why.

He was absolutely kind to us by giving us an outline of the exam with the different chapters to study, what kind of figures we could expect, and how long it would be.

Bless his heart, but it was still scary studying for it. There's just SO MUCH!

So Thursday night I started studying a few hours after my Discipline exam and studied all evening and then got to school on the early-early bus to study at the library. I studied yesterday morning from 8 - 12:30. After a while I was like, OMG, I'm not even going to finish all of the material. So I freaked myself out (naturally) and just started skimming the pages... 'cuz you know, skimming is great for retention.

Then I realized that I didn't remember anything that I had just read, so I tried to focus and re-read it all, and that didn't help either. Rinse and repeat until it was time for the exam. I even stood in the line to get in, flipping through notes.

Then we sat down and I was like, okay, fastest exam writing ever....GO! Just because it was a total brain dump and I wanted to get all the answers down before I lost them forever. That's a wonderful way to write a test, no? A lot of what I read over yesterday is already gone. Ask me how the liver produces bile and I'll just stare at you blankly.

Happily for me, I seem to be pretty good at memorizing bone structure, so the labeling portion went well. I don't know why, but when it comes time for me to remember the condoyles and epicondoyles, the fossi and the eminences, and those weird muscle attachment sites, I don't have too much trouble. So I can tell you where your medial malleolus is, or the structure of your tarsals. Just don't ask me about GI tract structure. The basic stuff I get... it's all the million ligaments and stuff that feel completely beyond my reach. Thank God I'll never be a surgeon :)

Anyway, once that was over, my heart palpitations decreased somewhat. I estimate that I got at least 75% on that exam. I'll take it - I was certain of failure before I started.

Then a lot of us went across the street to a cute Irish pub and had a beer or two. I'm not technically done finals yet, there's English on Monday, but it felt really good to not be so stressed over the biology classes! Well, until Micro and the other Physiology, anyway. It was nice to get together with some of the students outside of class. There were even some RPN students there which was fun, 'cuz we never get to see them otherwise.

My boyfriend came back home from residence yesterday.

Life is great right now!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hi again! ... from the midst of Finals Week

Well, it appears I broke my own rule of 1 post every week. Sorry about that. I've been in a funk the last couple of weeks, wanting the Christmas break to come, exhausted from the work/school treadmill, and freaking out over tests. You know, the usual holiday stuff!

So, where did we leave off... at the end of November? A couple of weeks ago I volunteered for a 'play hospital' at a Christmas festival, where a bunch of student nurses (myself included) guided uber-cute kids through different 'stations'. We were supposed to wear scrubs although I don't actually own any yet. I went to the thrift store and got two of the uuuugliest scrub tops - olive green and a loud fish pattern. Let me just say, here and now, I HATE printed scrubs. I think they look like pajamas. I don't think they make kids or old people like you more. I think they're awful.

I also managed to find the most unflattering cut for me. The perfect square shape must be designed for skinny folk. I was uni-boobin' in the front and riding up in the back. Bad times... but at least I know that before I buy my actual clinical scrubs!

Anyway, at the festival, I was initially at the IV station, where, although never having given an IV or learned about it, I told hordes of children all about the wonders of IV and helped them "give" a giant Elmo his IV so he could get allll better. It was really cute and the little ones were like OMG YAY ELMO and everyone helped give him his IV, which consisted of taping down the tube to Elmo's hand. Some kids got creative in where they taped it... lol :)

I was also at the "surgery" station, where there was a Rudolph version of Operation with a few missing parts. Once you put his kidney, femur, heart, and brain back in, his nose lit up. I made it very involved and would call over little kids saying "Help, doctor! We need a trauma surgeon - Rudolph has been in a terrible accident!" and the little kids would just light up and come over and put all his parts back in. There was a little scrubber so they could 'wash' their hands and I would hand them a pair of toy tweezers. The little girls, especially, were really excited to hear me call them doctor. Or maybe it was their parents who were excited. It was so cute.

The last station I was at was the cast (?) station. We had strips of the stuff you make casts out of - plaster, I suppose - and we'd put a cast on a kid's finger and they'd cover it with glitter. Some of the kids were too afraid so we put casts on their parents first. Then there were the hardass (cough) teens who wanted them too. They weren't so cute. But the kids? OMG!

I really do love talking with kids. I think I'm good at it, and I love their energy. Although, I haven't had to deal with them much when they are screaming, so maybe that remains to be seen.

Anyway, that pretty much brings us to last week, which was the last week of classes and otherwise uneventful. and then to this week which has been finals. I've already written 2 - one  Monday and one this morning. 

Monday was the dreaded Health. I got my last assignment back after the test. It was a participation mark. I got 50%. Apparently my self-reflection wasn't reflective enough... I did get the grade back already, and I ended up with 85% in the course which is an A- and better than I was expecting, considering how much I was frustrated by that course.

Today I wrote Physiology. I was totally unmotivated to study last week though. Last night and this morning, before the test, I powered through all my notes. Good thing, too! The test was marathon and all over cardiac/muscle physiology. I think I actually did okay, but I've shot myself in the foot on that idea before.

Tomorrow morning I write Discipline of Nursing, Friday is Anatomy, and next Monday is English. Then... I am done. Until January 5th. Huzzah!

I'm looking forward to 'starting fresh' with my new study tactics next semester. I wonder how I'll fare with actually reading over my notes every week!

One last random tidbit. I was thinking back over the last couple of months, and how crazy they were, and OMG I still love it. I still love nursing, and learning everything about it. Really, truly.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008


are just around the corner! Man, it's already been 12 weeks since I started nursing school. At the same time, it feels like way more than 12 weeks. Weird. It's a good feeling though because I'm still feeling really positive about my choices and about pretty much everything else.

Yesterday marked the two-week countdown until final exams start. I was studying hardcore all last week for my last Anatomy quiz, which was yesterday. It covered all kinds of things (as usual); this week's test was on the autonomic nervous system, the brain and cranial nerves, the spinal cord, and, um, the pelvic girdle. Seems a little illogical but whatev! It went really well I think, because it was only a few chapters the material was more manageable than the one before it. Plus, I started my new study plan of just sticking to the key concepts and I felt a lot more prepared.

So now a few of us are focusing on the Physiology final, which means I am back on material from the first week of September. It may has well as been last year because it's like I have never seen it before. Yikes!

This weekend I am helping out at a Christmas festival for children, in the "Hospital Room". I'm not exactly sure what will go on but basically kids get to play pretend in a hospital room, where we 'nurses' will help them hear their heartbeats, pretend to give them IV's, and put a little cast on their fingers that they can decorate with glitter and stuff. It sounds cute and kind of geared to helping kids become less afraid of hospital stays.

Other than that, I'm sorry for not posting more. I'm getting a little worn out between all the assignments. I'm really looking forward to the break!

Also, the nursing students' union has asked me to do some designs for buttons so I am thinking about that in between studying. Originally I approached them about doing some clothing designs because, honestly, their clothes are boring. But they don't think there's enough interest in clothing (gee, you think?) so they are having me do buttons instead. Still, it's a start!
Friday, November 21, 2008


Chief bylaw complaint of the day:

Somebody broke into my apartment and made their dog rape my dog! She's only 9 months old!

Response: comfort citizen who is hysterical over her immorality and ensuing canine abortion. Refer to police department.

Your tax dollars at work, ladies and gentlemen.
Thursday, November 20, 2008

Just cuz, you know.

Overheard in class yesterday while discussing cell phone use while driving:

Girl A: "I think that the UK has legislation against it."

Girl B: "Yeah, but what about the western countries?"

Congratulations to you, mother country, on being relegated to the Far East!
Wednesday, November 19, 2008

8,890 and counting

I've been alive for 8,890 days, give or take. Of these, I can think of probably 100 that stand out significantly.

Today, I can tack on another. Probably almost the best day of my life so far.

Here's the story.

You may recall how a couple of weeks ago, I wrote a paper for my Discipline of Nursing class on the topic of Nursing Education. It wasn't quite a real paper but it was a fleshed out skeleton - outline, summary of the article, introduction, first body paragraph, and conclusion.

Well, my teacher started talking about those today. She was just ranting about how sub-par some of our writing skills are. She had them all in a pile and talked about them for about 15 minutes while we sat in fidgeting in our chairs. 15 minutes, gah!

So anyway, the class average was pretty crappy. 65% or somesuch. There was a huge spread in marks from 48% to 97%. So now we're all feeling REALLY scared. Just hurry up and give us the papers back, lady!

Mine was on top so I got to leave first. I grab the paper with the smiley face and she's like, uh, that one's not yours. Bummer!

So I grab it and I go out side to look and OH MY GOD I GOT 97% ON MY PAPER - THE HIGHEST MARK IN THE SECTION

I was ecstatic. I was shaking. I was speechless, although you'd never know it now! I would never ever have guessed that I would get a mark like that. Might I add, she was not giving those marks away! Some kids failed!

So some of you may remember how I've sometimes waxed poetic about how nice it is to finally be considered an 'achiever' instead of an I'll-take-70% passive slacker. How much I feel like I've accomplished more in the last year than I've ever achieved in high school. Well, I've also said how I feel like the competitiveness of nursing school means that only smart kids get in. So therein lies the source of my giddyness. Of the 'smart kids', I got the highest mark. Me. Too-cool-to-attend-school me. Jeebus, this is a big moment.

Sorry if my enthusiasm is turning your stomach. It's hard to express how stoked I am. I'm actually more excited now than I was when I got accepted.

So anyway, I'll just re-emphasize that this course is my favorite of the semester and my teacher is just awesome (and I'm not just saying that because of today). She's really vibrant and intelligent and loves to teach, that much is clear. She pulled me aside after class and said approximately, "Yours was the last paper out of 80 that I read, and I was so excited that you got it that I had to go and show all the other teachers, and we were all like, 'woo hoo!'" She also thought that I had a 'writing gift*'. Man, I was so honored to hear that from her. Today was just the best day.

At least until clinicals, when I can start actually being a nurse :)

*Probably everyone who reads this blog is like "WTF, writing gift? Have you SEEN how this girl abuses a comma splice?" And for that, all I can say is meh! :P
Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Am I dreaming?

Somehow I got 88% on the anatomy test that I could swear I failed. OMG.

Also 92% on English midterm that I crammed for 20 minutes before the test.

Horseshoes up my butt? Thinkin' so!
Sunday, November 16, 2008


Yay! My research paper-slash-critique on Euthanasia is finished. I'm pretty proud of it. You know when you hit the zone and you just can't type fast enough? That was me.

I hope it's ok. I didn't get a chance to show the prof, but hopefully I can do that bright and early tomorrow.
Thursday, November 13, 2008

Best week ever!

Because I haven't had class all week, except Monday morning. My school coupled Remembrance Day with 2 professional development days and I don't have class on Friday. Sweet!

What have I done with all this Spare Time, you ask?

Sweet monkey fingers, absolutely nothing. Well, close.

Sunday I power studied for Anatomy. Monday morning I had the test, and it was brutal. My mental tally was in free fall from 90%, down to 80%, down to 70%, down to dear-Lord-I-hope-I-pass. First page on the test was on shit I didn't even look at. There was just so much covered on the exam. It was everything from facial muscles and skull anatomy to lymphatic system to heart to carpals. It was nuts. The stuff I knew, I knew inside out, but the stuff I didn't know, I couldn't even guess. 

I, again, shall emphasize that my previous study system SUCKS and I am doing my best to correct it for the final, which is in 3 weeks, or something like that.

So here's hoping that the mark isn't too awful.

Side comment. I took this picture on Sunday, during my power anatomy study. Wouldn't it be weird if this cadaver pic was someone that a student knew? How weird would that be? Some of these cadavers seem recognizable, if you knew the person. Every time you go to study muscles, you see Uncle Joe who's got his larynx ripped out for your viewing pleasure. Super.

The rest of this week I hung out with my boyfriend who came home for the break, and promised myself I would use this time to catch up on stuff. Then inertia set in and I did a whole lot of sleeping. Sleeping's good, right? Like an investment in my future or something? Right?

Today I finally got my ass in gear and went to the University big library to power through my research paper. My topic is euthanasia, and there's plenty of information to go around. The obstacle I'm running into is writing a critique of someone else's essay written on euthanasia and backing up my point of view with other texts. Tricksy. Spent 4 hours today before work at the U, and barely got a summary done and a very, very, rough outline of my paper. Damn. I was hoping to have this done today. It's due Monday.

You might think I'm cutting it a little close by starting my paper a mere 4 days before it is due. For me, this is a huge improvement. I'm normally a night-before kind of girl. I'm proud of myself :)

I'm very excited that my assignments are (almost) over. I'm already planning a study schedule starting Monday to get ready for finals. Another huge improvement, starting almost a month ahead of time.

Honestly, I don't know how people can possibly study more than I'm doing and work at the same time. It just doesn't seem possible! I wish I could quit my job.

Word to future students: Work hard in high school, get a scholarship, and then laugh all the way to the bank.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Cleaning up my sidebar

There are several blogs I subscribe to that haven't been updated in a l-o-o-ong time. So I am moving their links into this post and removing them from my sidebar. I'll link this post in the sidebar so they won't get lost. Just because they're old, doesn't mean they aren't worth reading!

Also some old ones I will leave in my sidebar because they are too good for retirement... I am a Nursing Student, this means you!


Juggling three part time "jobs" as a wife, mother and nurse. These are my stories as I attempt to juggle all 3 roles and maintain sanity.

stories from my career

I'm here to save your ass, not kiss it.

A Clinic RN and a Single Mom blogging through the depths of sanity. My life as I know it started with coffee and conversation in a smoky room. This is where I'm at now.

tales from the nurse anesthesia front, and some other yarns

Trials and Tales of ER and Informatics Mursing

"Fingers and tubes in every orifice" ... It is a tenet of critical care medicine that I learned years ago during my training in Emergency Medicine. It is also a reminder to be tenacious, thorough and leave no stone unturned. You'd be amazed at what can be discovered by a prying finger or an invasive tube.

A new grad in a Level 1 Trauma Center, welcome to America's nursing shortage. Read on to experience it with me.

I'm a nurse executive running a 120 bed skilled nursing facility. Our patients run the gamut from long term care, hospice, short term ortho and complex medical rehab, respite, psychiatric, and everything in between. Every day's an adventure!

"Lessons on life, love and nursing..."

"To do what nobody else will do, in a way that nobody else can do. That is to be a nurse."

The vast majority of the things I do on a daily basis merely require opposable thumbs. But the sarcasm..... now that's a gift!

My adventures and misadventures through nursing school

Labor and Delivery nurse on the verge of something...

Warning: If you have no sense of humor or tend to take things way too personally, this blog is not for you. If that isn't clear enough for you, see the disclaimer.

The stories and experiences from a labor nurse as you never could have imagined. And other humors to enlighten and entertain.

Stories and helpful tips from a health professional

The ramblings of a male nurse mind, combined with a performance poet, and a little bit of crazy old man...
Saturday, November 8, 2008

Physiology mark

76%. Class average 64%. Not that great, but I'm stuck with it. I blame my all-encompassing study strategy... on the final, I will narrow my focus!
Thursday, November 6, 2008

Recap of this week

Because I haven't yet and I said I would. And because I read over my last post and probably everyone who visted today is wondering what the hell I was smoking. I should make a bumper sticker: "yes, you CAN be this tired!"

So on Sunday I was at the U until about 2200, and I came home and died until Monday morning. My Discipline class is the first one of the week and really interesting as usual, this week we talked about ethics. I love a good debate and there were many... i.e. ethical dilemmas, values, conflicts of interest. The best part of that class is how great my instructor is. She really loves to teach and she's really good at class management. Anytime we get off topic she smoothly brings the conversation back to the point, which I love.

After classes on Monday, I spent the rest of the evening cramming for Physiology.

Tuesday morning more of the same, and then I wrote the midterm at 1100. The questions that I knew, I knew very well, but the stuff I didn't know was awful. Specifically andrenergic and cholinergic receptors and their associated info... nicotinic, muscarinic, alpha, beta... WTF. So I was reasonably sure of 80% of the material and I made educated guesses on the rest (a careful deduction process by evaluating all of the answers, and picking the one that sounds most unlike the others)

I need to revise my revision strategies because I just don't have the time to study like I want to. Normally what I like to do is print off a copy of the slides to bring to class, write notes all over it, and then rewrite all of that into my notebook. Handwriting only, because after years at call centers, I have mastered the art of transcribing speech or notes onto the computer without really registering anything in my brain. Handwriting, I remember. So this strategy worked great for the last couple of years when the notes load wasn't so extreme. However, it's just not realistic anymore. By the time I finish rewriting all of the notes, I have a serious handcramp and I don't have time to actually study... hence my not knowing anything about cholinergic or andregenic receptors.

New plan. I am ONLY rewriting things that are on my "key concepts" list that the instructors hand out on the first day. This goes against my instincts since I like to know everything that was in the course but I think I'm going to have to start being more choosy about what I learn.

So, Wednesday afternoon while studying for Anatomy, I followed this strategy and it is working great. I actually remember where the sphenoid bone is. And what it looks like - yeah, sella turcica!

In regards to the presentation from last Thursday, the one on addiction that we got absolutely roasted for in the previously-unannounced critiquing part of the class, we got our mark back. 9/10! I'll take it. I was expecting way worse, from how the critique went.

We watched a bunch more presentations today (yes, I did go to class after all), and I brought an ice cream bar with me as comfort food because it is so frustrating. The instructor *gasp* changed her mind again: now we accentuate the positives and no more than 5 minutes giving feedback. Compared to my group's 15 minutes. I scanned the submitted feedback from the class: "maybe don't go so long", "no hands in pockets or GUM", "don't say 'um' so much", "maybe you should have handouts!". WTF, people, handouts? Are you going to pay for them? Alright, I'm biased, but everyone else's power points sucked ass in comparsion. Stretched clip art, 1000 fonts, not embedding media...

What I'm getting at here in an angry rant is that people made all kinds of great (ahem) comments on our presentation, but their presentations had the same problems if not more. One girl was so nervous I thought she might cry. 'Um' was the word of the day. I may have hand my hands in my pockets but at least I wasn't hiding behind the podium, you know? And I'm just pissed off about this whole thing because the point of the presentation was to MAKE A PRESENTATION ABOUT A HEALTH TOPIC. She didn't give a shit about our content after all our hard work. Her comments were made solely on our presentation skills. It was completely missing the point.

AND, here is my big point, she is fostering a completely negative attitude in the class. Instead of watching peoples' presentation and learning something about health issues, we are ignoring content and just staring at their flaws. Then she pinpoints someone and says "YOU: What could they improve on?" and all it does is make us pissed off at each other.

She is building the eat-your-young attitude. That is SO WRONG.

So I'm trying to formulate a scathing email to the dean but I can't seem to write coherently because I am so angry about it.

Anyway, quick change of topic, I also got my mark back on that awful paper I wrote for English. My strategy appears to be successful - I got one of the highest marks in the class and special mention! My nose is a whole new shade of brown. Also, I picked my English research topic. I'm going to write on euthanasia. If you have any good sources for further reading, let me know :)

I love this place

My bed, of course.

I am curled up with my laptop, reading everyone's blogs, and it's quarter past nine on a Thursday. I must say, my bed is hands-down my favorite place to be. We bought a bitchin' new mattress last January for a mere $900, and it is like sleeping on a big, awesome marshmallow.

So I've been thinking about how a mere year ago, I was just going through the painful early-acceptance rejection from my program and sticking it out so that I finished upgrading with top marks. I knew I was kicking ass in school but you never really know. You know?

That part was unpleasant, but I loved going to school each day and essentially redoing my high-school years. All throughout high school, I thought I just wasn't good at academia. No book smarts here. In fact, I had visions of being, like, the only kid in the world without a college education and somehow trying to spin that positively. There were a few people who tried to tell me to straighten up because I could do better, teachers and my parents and so, but my friends were all the same underachievers as me. We definitely know where the power lies for a teenage girl. So when I went back to upgrade high school courses, and the classes actually made sense to me, and I was motivated to take notes and study, and when I wrote an exam it was not how many questions could I fudge the answer to but how to fit my knowledge into the little box to write a short answer, that was probably one of my personal favorite moments. Not an achievement that would get me recognition by anyone else, but for me, very satisfying to shed that label of underachiever.

Anyway, yesterday I was studying Anatomy for 4 hours between classes. We have a test to write on Monday next week, and then because of Remembrance Day, we don't have classes for the rest of the week! Exciting. I really don't know where to start with homework. Since I'm done almost all of my assignments, I guess I'll get myself started on revising for finals.

The test is kind of intense, just in the scope of the information to cover. There's a lot. Axial skeleton, bones of the skull and vertebrae, upper body muscles, facial muscles, blood vessels and nerves, fetal circulation, the heart, lymphatic system, etc. and so forth. I bought a coloring book to help me study and it's been a big help. Yesterday I focused on bones of the skull and it makes it easier to remember where the crista galli is, when you have to find it and color it in.

Sorry if this post is kinda incoherent... I'm still in la-la land. Need to get up in 30 minutes-ish and accomplish something before my Foundations class this afternoon. If I go. There'll be more presentations to day and that professor makes me want to jab highlighters through my eyes out of frustration.
Sunday, November 2, 2008

This message is brought to you by the letters G, B, and E

Grouchy, brain-dead, and exhausted, that is. E may also stand for enthusiastic, because even though I'm all of these things, I still love the fact that I'm in nursing school.

I don't have any more assignments due this semester, which adds to the sense of ahhhhh-relief.
Well, there is a research paper for English, but that's on a topic of my choice and not due for a couple more weeks so it's completely off my radar. I'm pretty lucky in that my group had to go first for both presentations. Some people don't present for another month. I'm glad there's not really anything left on my plate except studying for exams.

Speaking of exams, I have a Physiology midterm on Tuesday that I have spent the past 6 hours studying for. A lot of it is rehashed senior biology, i.e. special senses. Every day I'm in that class I feel deeper gratitude for my high school biology teacher from a year ago. Everything he taught me has stuck like glue, so I'm really confident this year. I'm probably going to send him an e-mail saying how awesome he is. Maybe. If I get around to it... :)

It seems that the only way I can seriously study is if I'm completely removed from distractions. Today, my boyfriend and I went to the big library at the university and brought a picnic, and we've been here since 14:30. I'm not leaving until 21:30, and I've accomplished a lot! I'm only taking a break now because my hand hurts from writing. 

Anyway, sorry for the short post, but I should probably get back to studying. You shall hear more from me later this week, once I am all caught up on sleep, readings, and studying! A small point of interest, the fantastic Sue Johanson (warning: NSFW!), RN, senior citizen, talk show host, and all-around sexpert is hosting lectures this week. I'm so excited. I grew up secretly listening to the Sunday Night Sex Show after bedtime when I was 10 through 13.

Here's a little glimpse of my evening so far (sorry about the reverse image... gotta love Photo Booth):

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Addiction Presentation, done

Ahhh, at last.

I had another nutty day today. I worked until 2200 last night and came home and died for 8 hours. Then I had to get up earlier than I normally do on a Thursday because my job was sponsoring flu shots that I almost forgot making an appointment for (whoops). So I was at school about 4 hours early.

My nurse was really nice. She asked what I do, and I told her where I worked. I also told her that I'm in nursing school and she started explaining all the information about what she was doing, what kind of wipes she was using, how the WHO comes up with the flu shot (I think that's what she said), and all kinds of interesting info. I told her my school, and she said that was the best choice I could have made. So that's encouraging! She gave me the jab and was like, "Wow! you didn't even flinch!" and I LOL'd and said that after tats and 4-gauge needles, that little syringe was practically soothing.

From 1000 - 1200, I worked on our references. There were 5 pages. Of references. Total project, including printed slides, notes, and references: 25 pages. I am killing the rainforest.

From 1200 - 1400, I tweaked my presentation and read it aloud.

From 1400-1430, I willed my churning stomach and heartbeat to STFU.

At 1430, we gave the presentation. We blew minds with the videos, as I knew we would. I was praised as a computer genius, which is inaccurate but nice. And then we got endlessly critiqued on the presentation and then went home (but we didn't get applause.. boo-urns).

Then I worked until 2200 tonight.

And here I am.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I'm a slack blogger

Sorry about that. This past week has been back in the pressure cooker. 2 big assignments and a quiz were simultaneously due this week. One was a paper for Disc due this morning, the other is a presentation in Foundations due tomorrow morning, and last night after the paper I tackled the quiz. I was up until 0100 doing that, then up again at 0600 for class, and I'm working here until 2200. I hate Wednesdays, FYI.

My paper (my first nursing paper!) was on the topic of Nursing Education. The assignment was sweet. We had to go in the wayback machine and blow the dust off the historical Canadian Nurse periodicals, and pick one to write the paper. My article was rockin': "The Tragedy of Nursing Education" (Badgley, 1963).

I wish I had an at-home blood testing kit so that I could see just how much cortisol I've been producing over the last 8 weeks (holy shit, has it been that long already?! ...but on the flip side it already feels like forever)

Nursing school would all be about 1/3 as stressful if I didn't have to work 22.5 hours on top of everything. Damn you, rich kids with your no-rent-parent's-basement-homecooked-meals!

The presentation (Addiction) due tomorrow is pretty nice now that I've beat the hell out of it. I put in some shock videos like those found on methproject.org and Faces of Meth. IMO, sometimes having cool videos and transitions and doing fancy shit with my computer can make my project seem better than it is. Not my fault if the teacher gets caught up in the shinyness and doesn't notice that there might be content missing :)

No, no, I jest. I think we did a pretty comprehensive job. I might look into volunteering at a inner city health centre/needle exchange program... I really do need to volunteer on top of everything else. Scholarships are nigh unavailable unless you "show an interest".

Please, please, do not take any of my mumblecore too seriously. Yes, I am stressed. Yes, there are a lot of intense assignments, and very theoretical... but yes, I love every second of it!! Some of the instructors aren't that great, but some of them are amazing, and my classmates are just. like. me. It's definitely where I belong.
Monday, October 27, 2008


2 of my cousins are autistic and I did a lot of work with the mentally handicapped... this woman's video blew my mind. Completely and utterly. http://www.cbc.ca/national/blog/special_feature/positively_autistic/

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Working on our addiction presentation

and watching "17 Kids And Counting" in a state of morbid fascination.

Went partying last night for the first time in ages. A friend of ours bought his first house, so we had to have a housewarming! Started on the spiced rum at 2100 and sleeping by 0100... yes, my hard core party days are well behind me :)

I like the presentation I'm making. methproject.org has got some incredible resources. The only obstacle I'm facing is that our prof is making the weirdest requests... the presenter's notes area of Keynote is supposed to be filled up with a "mini paper" of what we want to present, in APA format. As if putting the presentation together isn't enough work... sigh.
Thursday, October 23, 2008

Grouchy mood

Instructor takes basic concept and spends 10 minutes elaborating on it, saying the same thing in about 7 different ways.

Receives blank stares of boredom from class.

Interprets blank stares as not understanding the basic concept, continues to fumble with trying to explain it, muddying the point further.

Receives even blanker stares of boredom.

Interprets this, not as class-wide apathy, but as a personal mission for her to pound this basic concept into our heads with a half-hour explication complete with web searches.

Listen, lady, if you're going to just change all of the requisites for the group presentation a week before we present, I'm not going to be very sparing with the criticism.

Heading to class early

To break free of my procrastination. Seriously, when I sit on the couch, I could sit for hours in a state of contemplation. It's comfort-induced paralysis.

We are presenting our second group project next Thursday. It's on the impacts of addiction (specifically, crystal meth) on public health. I think the topic is interesting but I am so burned out from all the other projects that I just kind of say "meh" every time I think about it. Can you tell how inspired I am by the thought of another presentation?

I must say, though, our group has gotten fantastic support from other sectors. One girl sat down a few times with a drug inspector for the city police, and I played phone tag for a few days with AADAC and now we have a ton of information.

Next process is actually compiling all of this data. Hence, I am going to school early to try and get a start on the project. Even if I just throw something together in Keynote, it will feel a lot less nebulous.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Second thoughts

On the whole military thing. I'm not going to get into it too much right now as I need to go to class, but suffice it to say that I'm not especially interested in going through nursing school and then losing all of my nursing skills in the army. Apparently they let those atrophy pretty bad. 

From one post, 
"NOs [Nursing Officers] in the military do more administration and other military activities then actual patient care nursing. We (medics) tended to joke that if you hate taking care of patients as a (civilian) nurse, join the military".

This is all supposed to change in 2020, but I don't see that affecting me.

If you're interested, here's the link for the forum post that I was reading.

Maybe it's just me, but I want to be a nurse who cares for patients. Administration is fine maybe 15 years down the road... but right out of the gate? How will I integrate back into a civilian setting if the last time I used clinical skills was in 4th year university?

No, I don't think I want to go back to school to re-learn nursing after I have repaid my debt to the CF.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Foundations in Health midterm result!


Better than I expected - I'll take it!
Monday, October 20, 2008

Cautiously optimistic

I am confused by how my prof put the marks up on Blackboard, but I think I got 90% on the Discipline of Nursing midterm! Class average was high, 75% I think.

Edit: 88%, which is pretty much my mark across the board so far.

Now, you poor curved people may feel that my marks are, well, mediocre, but so long as I'm ahead of the class average, that's all the encouragement I need. Wow, 5 commas in one sentence!

Today I embarked on my bootcamp regime. Many moons ago when I was in Police Studies, I had buns of steel and could run on the treadmill for over an hour. 2 years of call centre jobs later, I am seriously muffin-topping out of my fat jeans. This will not do for the whole army thing!

I joined a drop-in step class to see what my fitness level was like - yikes is the word.

  • 17:00: step class began. Huh, no one else is covering their midriff. WTF?
  • 17:15: I ran out of steam. 
  • 17:17: My feet would just not move fast enough to keep up with the steps and this girl in front of me was actually smiling the whole time. Not smiling at my crappyness, but like she thought it was fun or something! Sadistic harpy
  • 17:23: I might have audibly farted, but I was way too tired to care.  
  • 17:25: I got my second wind which died at 35 minutes when I thought the class was over. No such luck. 
  • 17:40: I mimed along with some of the less complicated steps and felt like grim death. 
  • 17:50 was some strength training, which was a Godsend 'cuz I sure couldn't take too much more of the cardio part. 
  • 18:00: I staggered down to the changeroom and wept at my inadequacy.

An hour and change later and here I am, feeling actually pretty good now that my pulse has returned to its normal speed and location (i.e. not in my fingertips).

So after embarrassing myself with all the pert, happy shiny, size-XS-Lululemon-wearing, boobs-still-in-the-original place, I do yoga and pilates doesn't everybody hard bodied ladies...

...Competitive streak, engaged. Oh, it's on!
Saturday, October 18, 2008


I will never, ever, forget how fast to do chest compressions again:

The Bee Gees' disco anthem "Stayin' Alive" from 1977 has 103 beats a
minute, close to the number of chest compressions needed for cardiopulmonary
resuscitation to work, according to a study at the University of Illinois
College of Medicine at Peoria.

Video here
Thursday, October 16, 2008

Lord help me, I applied for the military.

Yes, it's true.

Here's the scoop: if I get selected, the Canadian Forces will pay for my tuition and books, and pay me a salary to go to school. During school, I don't have to do anything except school. During the summer they will fly me out to Quebec for military training. I can finish my education at my wonderful college and I will graduate with no debt.

The catch? 5 years mandatory service. That, my friends, is all.

Let's weigh the options here.

Civilian: Graduate in 4 years with approximately $50,000 in debt, before interest. Work 22.5 hours a week while juggling school and those f'ing "extracurricular activities" that might make me worth a scholarship. Work for 5 years to simultaneously pay down said debt, put money to RRSP, put money to first house and car, and cross my fingers that I don't get knocked up in the process - 'cuz wouldn't that just be ducky!

Military: Graduate in 4 years with perhaps $25,000 in savings. Be in awesome shape from Basic. Be an f'ing Nursing Officer. Be deployed to various awesome places to administer medical aid to those who need it. Work for 5 years getting experience in floor nursing, and then either love it or leave it.

Now, some of you may be thinking yeah, ugrn, the perks are because you might, uh, die.

A valid point.

However, I might also die in a tragic car accident next week and/or get a stingray to the heart when I next go snorkelling. You just never know!

But really, Canada's bloodlust isn't exactly roaring these days and the Tories say we're supposedly pulling out of Afghanistan by 2012. Even still, I would be second-line and pretty unlikely, by military standards, to bite it.

So that's my news for today.

Finished at last

Midterms, that is. I technically have one more on Monday, but it's English and therefore impossible to study for.

On Tuesday evening, I ended up writing that damn essay for hours. The words just would not come. I finished at 21:00 and then hammered out a few hours of Discipline of Nursing studying, which worried me.

There's a lot to know, like all of the founding women of nursing... Florence of course, Jeanne Mance, Snively, d'Youville, Gunn, Shaw, Mussallem, et al. Also many theories of nursing - we are expected to use the McGill model in our practice.

I left for school at 0640 and arrived at school way early to print off my notes and study for my test, except that the computer lab was not open until 0730! So I grabbed a coffee and waited for about 20 precious minutes. The lab opened, I grabbed a computer (which, of course, had to run its little updates and took about 7 minutes for me just to log in), and hit print... out of toner. Asked the girl to change it, all the while looking at my watch, and she didn't have the key. So I didn't get too much studying done yesterday morning.

But it was ok, because I kind of winged the test (I mean, I did study all weekend and the night before, but I didn't feel like I knew the content cold) and hey! This test was really easy! It was just the kind of test I was expecting on my last midterm. "Which is an example of a theory?"


And as for the essay, I showed it to my prof 4 hours before class and she said it was crap. She told me what to rewrite, so I basically spent another 3 hours on it, and I handed it back in. Here's hoping it works! I have learned to DO MY ASSIGNMENTS as soon as they are assigned because if I put it off, it tends to get in the way later.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008


...While watching 101 More Things Removed From The Human Body.

Today, I:
  • Voted in the Federal Election (NDP, woo!)
  • Wrote a brief essay on why unions kicks ass, as part of my submission for a $750 bursary
  • Skipped Foundations in Health to write the union essay

Today, I still need to:
  • Write a crappy English essay
  • Study my ass off for Discipline of Nursing midterm

You may remember my angst regarding my English professor. I have determined that the only solution to this issue is to write my paper, and then bring it to her for inspection. Whatever changes she makes, I will submit. Standing up for myself and my opinion? Nah. Kissing ass? Probably. Better mark? Better be!
Monday, October 13, 2008

Still in Midterm Madness

Studying hard this weekend for my next midterm on Wednesday, the Discipline of Nursing. I got my marks back in Anatomy - 89% and Physiology - 88%! (Class average was 68%!) I earned those, and I'm very happy. Foundations I'm a little concerned about because it was a whole lot less 'fluffy' than I was thinking... instead of questions like, "Which is an example of epidemiology?" it's more like, "The LaLonde report identified the need for what?" and gave 4 very-plausible-almost-identical answers. So yeah, it was tough; and no, I didn't study nearly as hard as I needed to.

Yesterday was spent going over half of the readings that I didn't do for class, making notes on them, and sharing them with another girl who is doing the other half. Whilst doing the readings, I was thinking huh, that abstract concept makes a lot more sense now that I've read this about it.

I have learned important lessons from this set of midterms:

  • I need to be doing my readings before class, ergo, I should do the next one on the day of the previous class, and then they are done. Saying Sweet! No anatomy for another week! does not facilitate reading the night before the next class.
  • Some concepts were not explained in class because they were so obviously written out in the text. Going into the class on those days was like going in blind, and leaving bewildered. Reading = important.
  • Making notes on what I read. I've never done it before, but even just capturing the gist of the chapter will make it a lot easier to review for a test.
  • Highlighting is good. Going back to read over a solid block of text is intimidating; a highlighted block of text is not nearly as scary!

Anyway, here's hoping this week turns out better. 

I just got back from my grandparents' place where we had a supergood non-turkey Thanksgiving dinner. There was oodles of pie and yummy things and so. much. food. I got lots of leftovers! :)
Friday, October 10, 2008

To your left,

you will see me, wearing a mask and snorkel. 

I figured that my nouveau-Florence above is getting a little worn and isn't all that personal. So I changed it on Twitter and then I put it here too. Please don't be a creeper and stalk me like that one guy did. I'd put up a more, uh, normal picture except that I'm planning on being honest on this blog and don't want to deal with any instructor drama if I'm ever 'outed'. After all, Not Nurse Ratched, whom I have a huge Apple crush on, has already been down that very unpleasant road... I'd rather not go there too.

The snorkelling was in some Cuban waters... my first time in the sea! God, diving is hard when you are buoyant. I'm holding a shell in the pic, which you can't see, and I was very proud of actually getting to the bottom to grab it.
Thursday, October 9, 2008

Today's incredibly epic run-on sentence...

...is brought to you by Foundations in Health:

"Primary health care is essential health care based on practical, scientifically sound and acceptable methods and technology made universally accessible to individuals and families in the community through their full participation and at a cost that the community and country can afford to maintain at every stage of development in the spirit of self-reliance and self-determination."

Didja get all that?

Midterm #3 fast approaches

So this week has been craaazy. I completely burned myself out after studying for anatomy, so that I didn't even want to pick up my notes for physiology until the morning of the test. A lot of the information from anatomy also corresponded to physiology though so I didn't feel too bad about it. One of the questions was identical: Which order do body structures go in? Cells, tissues, organs, organ systems, organism. That was an easy one. The rest of it was kind of challenging because it wasn't just regurgitated information, it was applied to different scenarios. I was reasonably sure of my answers on 49/60, and had to rethink the rest before I turned it in.

Today is my Foundations in Health midterm. I've been a little (a lot) bored in that class because it is just so much fluff... I go twice a week for 1.5 hours, there's about 10 slides of actual content, and then a whole lot of discussion. I could care less what my classmates have to say about the topic, because they're coming from the same point of reference I am, mostly. So when the instructor asks if anyone knows something, and a few people take stabs at it and she's like, "Well, not really. It's actually this," it's not really serving to enhance my cognition.

So I've been rewriting all the useful slides into my notebook and it's actually pretty interesting stuff when you strip away all the froofy-let's-talk-about-it excess. It's about different models of thinking about society, i.e. capitalism or colonialism and how that applies to the healthcare provider's care.

And I got my first paper back from English. You may recall the tension between the prof and me. WORST SCORE EVER. Okay, I'm not trying to say that I'm the Canadian literary protege out to set records in the marks department. You read this blog, I'm sure a bazillion grammatical errors jump out at you (not that I write this casually in a paper, mind you). No, I've taken several English courses at the college level, and this one is supposed to be ENGL 108 - first year. I know what my writing's like, and how I'm likely to score. I got a 7.8 out of 10. First of all, wtf, .8? That seems, um, arbitrary. Secondly, 7.8? What do I have to do to write a '10' paper? All of the people in the class that I saw got 7.something. So out of the class I did above average. But still, scholarships don't give a rat's ass what the class average was. Either you make a 3.5+ or you miss out. I'm a little concerned.

Anyway, enough griping, I need to go and master this test.
Monday, October 6, 2008

One midterm down and another out of the way

Wrote Anatomy midterm #1 this morning at 1100. I had been studying feverishly for it for the past week. Wayyy overstudied - we had 1h 20 minutes to complete the test, and it took me (and most of the class) 30 minutes. On almost every question, I was high-fiving my brain. I don't feel annoyed though at over-studying, because I really learned a lot this week and even if it's useless to me now that I can name the carpals, at some point the information will be useful.

I'd say that I got at least 85%, including two diagrams to label (nail/distal phalanx and scapula). Of course, I may have to extract foot from mouth later on when we find the marks. But I am feeling positive overall.

Things that I studied that I needed to know:
Anterior structures of the scapula
Layers of the epidermis - Can Lucy Give Some Blood?
Organs of the nine abdominal regions
Structures of osteons
Arterial flow to the upper limb

Things I should have studied more:
Hyaline versus fibrocartilage
Holocrine glands (I know merocrine and apocrine, but they weren't on the test! rrr)

Things I probably didn't need to study as much as I did:
Features of the bones of the upper limb. Did not need to know at all, sigh...
Anything to do with muscle contraction & microscopic muscle anatomy
What epithelial cells were located at different structures in the body

So while there was some information I probably could have glossed over or read more on, our class did way better than the other section of first years. They have a different instructor who wrote purposely ambiguous questions to try and trick them! I guess (and this is just one person's feedback) that the instructor told the class what to study for the test, and then tested on entirely different material. Yikes

Regarding the midterm out of the way - it's not really out of the way. It's just that I thought it was this week when it actually isn't until Wednesday of next week! Sweet!
Sunday, October 5, 2008

Quite possibly, my new best friend...

...Is this book. Yesterday I spent 6 hours around town at various quiet locations studying anatomy. I was mostly studying the bones of the pectoral girdle and the upper limb. My eyes started blurring around the coronoid fossa, but I whipped out my handy Analogy Guide To Anatomy, that then took what I was trying to learn by forced memorization and spelled it all out so nicely:

So as you can see, it quite resembles a workbook from Grade 2. But I could care less, because practically all of the stuff I read last night, I can still remember this morning! I can name most of the major structural features of the clavicle, scapula, humerus, radius, and ulna, I've got a handle on the articulations, and I can name/identify the carpals, metacarpals, and phalanges. It's like a flippin' miracle.

If you're struggling with anatomy, go now. Run. Purchase this book and then love every second of reading it. It's just one Ohhhh, that's how that works moment after another. Anatomy midterm, I shall conquer you yet! (Midterm begins in 27 hours)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Nursing & Information Literacy

Yesterday we had an interesting workshop on researching information and how to find what you want. Since I've been a student for a few years now, I've already attended similar workshops and I thought it would be boring to go again. My prof, however, told us: Even if you've already been to an information literacy workshop, I highly suggest you attend this one.

Part of the attraction was that it's integrated with a research paper for my Discipline of Nursing class. The assignment is to pick a historical article from the year you were born or earlier, addressing some facet of the nursing discipline. Then research what's going on with that issue today. The nice part is I don't have to write a full paper - just the introduction and first paragraph, and include the reference list.

So the night before last, I attempted to get into the databases provided by my school library. I particularly wanted the Canadian Nurse journal, seeing as that would be probably the most relevant source. To my dismay, almost all of the databases only have full text from 1999 to present. Not very handy for my historical article! I spent a few hours digging around and found an article dated 1984. Not what I'd call "historical" (that means I'm historical!) but it just barely met the year qualifications. The title is "Do Nursing Educators Promote Burnout?" and it addresses nursing instructors setting impossible standards for students in the workplace. I figure there should be plenty of research on burnout!

We brought our articles into the workshop and we learned about using boolean operators to expand and narrow searches. I knew about most of them, i.e. '"Canadian nurs*" NOT Ontario AND "licensed practical"', but some were new. Did you know you can use parentheses? Cool! You can pretty much do your whole search in one go:

Nurs* AND (student OR undergrad) AND (instructor OR teacher OR professor OR educator) AND (burnout OR "compassion fatigue" OR exhaust*)

Plug that in to a search engine and, theoretically, you should come up with a subject that combines nurses, students, teachers, and burnout. Theoretically. It's pretty specific and it might exclude some otherwise-relevant information. But still! Parentheses!

We also saw a video with some scary statistics:

So, yeah. I like researching. I think the big obstacle for working nurses is probably finding the time to actually research! You can easily blow a few hours absorbed in the depths of Google or some article database, sidetracked from your original topic of interest. I don't know how likely it is that you say "Ok, I'll be back in half an hour, I just want to look up the latest evidence-based research regarding care of pressure ulcers".


Anyway, information literacy, I has it. Now to actually use it... can't I do that after midterms? *whines*

Anatomy, Physiology, Discipline of Nursing, and Foundations in Health - midterms next week, in that order. I guess they wanted to squeeze them in before Thanksgiving, awesome! I'm up to my eyeballs in reading and studying. I'm focusing on Anatomy and Physiology because those ones are rote memorization, where Discipline and Foundations are a little more, shall we say, fluffy. 

If you haven't checked out my sidebar, www.studystack.com is completely fantastic for making speedy flash cards and exporting them. I have them on my iPod Touch and whenever I'm standing around, I look through a few. Also, and this is flippin' sweet for Mac users, this link provides a small AppleScript file that allows you to highlight text, go to Services, and choose to have the text converted into speech (using "Alex", if you have Leopard), and then it gets imported into your iTunes Audiobooks. Since I have some books with online text, I have converted my readings into "speakings" - makes it a lot easier to get the readings done when you just have to lay down and stare at the ceiling!

That's my spiel for today. Happy studying, fellow students!
Monday, September 29, 2008

Last break I'll get for a while

So wow, my road trip was fabulous. I shall detail it shortly... But first, the information you nursing-students-to-be are clearly dying to hear about: how the N95 mask fitting went!

Ok, so this isn't a pic of my group, but it was essentially the same thing: standing around with spaceman bags on our heads, with the masks on. There was a hole in the front of each head-bag that the tester would spray some Bittrex (super bitter airborne chemical) into, and she instructed each of us to breathe deeply through our mouths with the masks on.

There were 3 different sizes to choose from. I originally had the medium sized one on, but it was really hard to get a seal around my nose and my glasses kept fogging up. It was weird, none of the other people had an issue (or appeared to have an issue) with their masks, so I felt a little self-conscious with all my trouble. I just kept in mind that one day I would be caring for a TB/SARS/H5N1 patient and I would be sorry then if I wasn't honest now!

So the tester downgraded me to the small mask, 3M 8110S. That was a much better fit and I was able to wear my glasses comfortably. And I didn't taste any Bittrex, hooray!

So here's my $40 mask. As in, it's technically worthless now that I've worn it, but they let me keep it, and I paid $40 for them to spray chemicals in my face. Cool, huh? The warning label is a little scary: Misuse may result in sickness or death.

Now for the road trip details: I went to work until 9, and came home to pack my bags. The list was a little exhaustive, what with the changeable weather in the mountains, but I have a gianormous backpack that I used while traveling through Europe. It can fit pretty much my whole life in it when packed correctly. Well, I ended up taking so long with the packing that I didn't get to bed until midnight. I had to set my alarm for 0345!! We had to meet at the school for 0430 and the city buses weren't running that early, so I ended up taking a cab. The cabbie was really nice and I was kind of pumped so I kept chatting away and I'm sure he was just thinking God, I hate college kids.

There ended up being 30 students on the trip, and we took a charter bus to the teeny-tiny-town of Nordegg, where we dropped off half of the group to go rafting and the rest of us headed to the rock climbing place. Turned out there was a good hour's hike to get to the actual spot, which I was sooo not in shape for but was game anyway, up through a canyon and along a mountainside. It was incredible how the weather changed so dramatically. When we were in the canyon I literally was dripping sweat from under my helmet, but we then got up to the rock face and it was raining and hailing and freezing in general. I had a lot of fun with the canyoneering part but when it came to do the actual climbing, I wasn't so into it. The rain and sleet made the rock face slick and freezing cold, and even though I was wearing triple-layer snow gear complete with toque and skidoo mitts, I was drenched and pretty much miserable. I did give it a fair shot though; I belayed someone up a climb even with hail falling into my eyes. I also took a stab at the easier climb (I am deathly afraid of heights, and climbing a real cliff is not quite the same as a climbing wall) but I slipped while making a big step and fell. That was a good enough try for me :)

That night at the hostel, there was a great deal of drinking and rabble-rousing by most of the students but I pretty much hung out in my room and studied Anatomy. I crashed at 2230 and that was all I remember, except one girl in my room (who, interestingly, is also in the Nursing program) somehow rolled off of the top bunk, over the rail, onto the floor. She was pretty drunk, lucky for her.

The next day it was a little warmer and we went rafting down the mighty North Saskatchewan. The water was pretty much hypothermic and, even though I love rafting (in the summer), I was not feeling it. We went down once and I was in the front, which is splash central. The run took about an hour and we got back to camp, where there was a fire and a picnic. They wanted to go again but I stayed at the camp and had a nap in the sunshine on the beach - somewhere along the way, it got super nice and sunny outside! I was there watching some kayakers and snoozing for a couple of hours until the group got back and said the water was way better now that the sun was out, and I should go for the third and last run. I agreed and got all of my gear back on, and down we went again! It was so much fun when I wasn't freaking about the water temperature! Our two raft crews were feeling pretty goofy and we had a guy on each raft stick his head out the front and bashed them together. They then went face first into the rapids. It was really fun and a great way to end the trip.

All in all, I can't believe that only cost me $50 because it was a fantastic escape from the city and cheap-cheap-cheap.

Anyway, I have midterms coming up in a week and I'm pretty much just going to study hardcore for the rest of the week.

AND, I thought I was all ready for class today because I stayed up last night, after getting home, in order to finish a paper for English (yes, that English). Picture my expression when I discovered that I missed one of the five online reading exams for my Discipline of Nursing class!! It had closed at 0700 this morning. I am so ashamed - that is 2% off of my final grade. Believe me, that's not a mistake I will make twice.

Forgotten test notwithstanding, I hope your weekend was as good as mine!
Friday, September 26, 2008

N95 mask fit test, and a road trip!

The mask fitting is today, and the road trip is this weekend.

My fit test was originally scheduled for October 1, but they called me and needed to reschedule it for today at 10:10. I had heard from some of the other students that the test is kind of gross, I guess they spray some super bitter chemical in the air and ask if you can smell it. You aren't supposed to eat or drink for half an hour before the test, to try to preserve your sense of smell.

The road trip should be fun (I hope); it's a school-subsidized trip out the mountains for some rock climbing and white water rafting. Total cost for the weekend, including everything except food, $50! The only thing that concerns me is the fact that it's the third weekend in September. In Alberta. And we're going to the mountains. I will probably need to pack some super winter gear!

Anyway, off I go to the mask fitting. I shall report all later.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008

General malaise & it's all my fault

Ok, I seriously need to take better care of myself. I have slipped into the UgRN-Diet (tm) which consists of whatever carbs are handy if I absolutely need to eat something, supplemented with a daily Centrum Junior multi-vitamin (colors and flavors and shapes, oh my!).

Clearly, this is not adhering very closely to the Canada Food Guide.

So yesterday I felt kind of dizzy and spaced out. I called up my mom, who is good with distance diagnosis.

Mom: So describe this feeling?

Me: I don't know, like I'm pumped on caffeine, but without the energy. I can't sit, I can't think, I'm sore all over, and I could probably fall asleep right now!

Anything else?

Yeah, one of my tonsils is, like, 4 times its normal size and hurts like a bitch.

Hmm. How have you been sleeping?

Good, for the most part. A solid 7.5 hours a night, I'd say.

How have you been eating?

Um, I forgot to bring my lunch so I had a bagel today and a bag of Sun Chips from the vending machine. Then I got tired so I had a coffee.

What?? When's the last time you had PROTEIN?

*thinks* Probably on... Saturday? We went out for sashimi.

Maybe, just maybe, that is your problem. You know, if you want to do this whole vegetarian-except-for-fish thing, you actually have to compensate at some point.

Oy, moms are always so right. Happily, I received a call from my dad about 10 minutes later insisting that he take me out for groceries. Hooray!

So, here's hoping that I feel better soon. I called in sick to work today, which is a big no-no, and plan to just curl up with my homework all night, feeling sorry for myself. 

Goal for tomorrow morning: Cook vast amounts of balanced meals to put in freezer.