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, May 10, 2008

At long last, an update (Including Immunizations, pt. II)

It happened yesterday.

What is "it", you ask? It's the searing excitement in my chest - I am going to Be. A. Nurse. After so long trying to find a place for myself in the healthcare industry, this is it. I am standing at the very beginning of my chosen path and I am so incredibly ready.

This change was brought about by a newsletter I received from my school about a month ago advertising a tour of the facility and a chance to meet some of the faculty and hear them talk. My initial thought was meh but I'm really glad I went. I'll go over it in a minute. First, a little preamble:

Yesterday started with quite the bang. Remember that old friend suffering from depression? Well, she was admitted to a psych ward here in the city back at the end of March. While they were giving her an MRI (for depression? I was surprised) they discovered she has localized lung cancer. So they set her up for a lung-ectomy, of which I don't know the official name but ask me again in 4 years and I'll probably tell you. They removed the lower lobe of her right lung yesterday. So for all you universal health care skeptics who hold tight to the notion that we Canucks wait months and months for our treatments, there you go. I think less than a month for a free surgery is acceptable. Anyway, this is not a political post - back to the real story.

Yesterday morning she went in. Surgery was supposed to start at 7:45, so I rushed to the hospital to see her. Lo and behold, she was not there yet. So I sat around and waited, then went through the extensive line at Timmy's (Tim Hortons, which is the much better/cheaper/less stuffy Canadian version of Starbucks, for you non-Timmy folk) for about 10 minutes, at which point I discovered they don't take debit. Ugh. Anyway, my friend showed up about 10 minutes late and we scampered into pre-op** and got ready to go. She changed into her hospital gown, which is not the assless kind I was expecting, and sat in her bed.

**I probably don't have any of the terminology correct. Please bear with me.

There were about 4 of us to keep her company: myself, her husband, her sister, and her son. All the nurses commented on her "posse" as if they were surprised to see so much support for one person. Then again, most of the other patients had only one or two people with them. But we laughed and talked and shared stories, and kept her from sitting and thinking about her cancer. It was nice. Turned out she was due at 7:45 AM for the pre-op portion, which included writing "yes" on the side to do the surgery as a consent, signing some forms, and getting vitals. The actual surgery part wasn't for another 2 hours. So it's a good thing she had so much entertainment, cuz we sat around for quite a while!

Anyway the point of this little story was a) to further develop the story of my friend, and b) to describe how I explore the healthcare industry every chance I get. I'm always watching nurses in different settings, trying to get a feel for where I might fit in one day. My friend's pre-op nurse, Colleen, was the first Nurse Nightingale that I can remember seeing. By which I mean, she did all the things I want to be able to do. She swept in, took all the vitals while chatting with my friend, and managed to get her job done, answer a plethora of questions, offset some misinformation, comfort the patient, and reassure everyone about the surgery, all in one fell swoop. She was amazing. And, she wore one of those old-fashioned white skirts with stockings. One day, I want to be just like that... skirt included.

So after she went in for surgery, I had to go, because of the Faculty of Nursing event. I showed up to the school about 20 minutes early, with time to go to the top floor and hand in a couple of the forms I'd completed. So I sat up at the administration office while the administrator talked on the phone with a very desperate-sounding person, and a very familiar sounding situation. This person on the line was calling the school seeking information about applying for the Fall semester (a scant 4 months away!) because the deadline was that day. She was obviously being very determined to get the answers she felt she needed. It reminded me of one of the times I applied to the program, desperate because I thought This is it, this is my shot, I need to make this happen. The administrator put her on hold and heaved a sigh, and called over one of the other administrators to discuss the issue. The issue was, the program was full, but they were bound to avoid saying that. So the administrator talked around those words, implying heavily that the caller should just apply for a different intake.

I'm not sure how that ended, because I sat there for 15 minutes waiting for them to take my forms from me, and I was concerned because the tour was supposed to start soon. Thankfully someone did take my forms just in time, and I made it to the main floor where the tour began. The admissions advisor was the one doing the tour, although I don't think she recognized me. I had pestered her over New Year's to determine whether my marks were high enough for me to drop my upgrading for the semester. Maybe it's a good thing she didn't recognize me!

The tour, condensed version: We toured the "smart" labs which had simulated beds with a highly functioning dummy who had a heart beat and breathing ability. They were identical to the hospital rooms I had seen earlier that day while waiting for surgery. The instructor can monitor the student through a one-way mirror and can also watch and listen via camera and microphone. I was totally impressed. The other labs were just as accurate, including a "Home Care" lab with a simulated home environment including a bed, lifting bar, tub, sink, living area and functioning kitchen. With the experience I've had in home care already, I can vouch for it being a very intelligent addition. Plus, the bed looks like a great place to catch a nap between classes :P

So after completing the tour and being perfectly gobsmacked with the whole facility, we sat down and listened to several of the faculty discuss the program and also congratulate us on our successful applications. They said something to the tune of 1,100 applications had been processed, and there were only 70-ish accepted students sitting around me. I was sooo amazed that I was finally here, and that's when the slow burn of excitement and anticipation started in my chest.

It's only 4 months to September, and now I've really got my eyes on the prize, as it were.

And, the much-anticipated (lol) ending to Immunizations: I took my form to a lab to get some bloodwork done, to detect the presence of sufficient Hep B  antibodies. And sat in the chair while the tech hunted for a vein. Up and down one arm, up and down the other, and back. and forth. She must have stuck me 15 times, each time fishing the needle around under the skin. I've had a few piercings done, and a tattoo, but that... kinda hurt! Plus my pride was a little hurt that I was such a hard stick. Kind of like when you go to donate blood and the little drop doesn't sink to the bottom of the blue stuff. You want your blood to perform well :P

But in the end, my blood looks immunized and ready to go. Last things on my current checklist: Get a security clearance and get my First Aid certification again.


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