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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Hey, You! Spam Guy!

I (and every other blogger I know) have been getting a lot of email requests asking me advertise or repost things I do not care about or wish to endorse. I do not make any money off this blog - any endorsements I may make are strictly because I am personally pleased with the results.

I DO NOT and WILL NOT repost anything someone emails me. If I want to link to something, I will find it myself.

If you want to spread the word about something, make your own blog!

All spam received at my blog email is deleted without reading.
Monday, July 28, 2008


Today I set as D-Day to tell my supervisor about going to school, and that I would need to drop to part time.

She congratulated me on being accepted, and told me to forward my new schedule to the department leader.

She didn't even blink!

Well, this is shaping up to be excellent indeed.
Thursday, July 24, 2008

Listen to the money talk!

Paying off my TD student line made me realize that I haven't addressed student loans yet. School is expensive. I am nowhere near rich.

Students generally have two choices for loans: governmental and/or credit lines with a bank. The latter I wouldn't use again if I have the choice. I needed it for my high school upgrading because the tuition was around $1700/term and not eligible for government loans.

This year I reapplied for federal/provincial student loans through the ALIS Student Finance portal. I used them in '06 for my Design program as well, but I wayyyy overdrew what I needed. My reasoning at the time was "less work, more study", but in reality that turned into "same work, some study, more debt". I got about $13,000 in loans that year alone, and that is going to be hell to pay back.

Word to the wise (or not so wise) students who may find their way here and haven't yet realized the following: STUDENT DEBT IS REAL DEBT. Even though it seems like pretend Monopoly money when you take thousands of dollars from the government (technically, from your future self!) and spend copious amounts on books and tuition, and you get stoked because you have an extra three grand to burn... take a minute to work out how long you will have to work to pay that back. So your shiny new RN position pays, what, $25 an hour? I mean net pay, not gross. Say you owe $40,000 in student loans to the Man. After paying off your rent, utilities, nourishment, and all your fixed expenses, you're left with $8/hr as disposable money. that's 5000 HOURS of working at your new job. 125 full-time weeks. Almost 2.5 "volunteering" YEARS!! Without buying anything. And not including interest. All so you didn't have to work during school. Well, you'll be working now! 

This year I've only applied for what I was sure I needed (about $9500, overall). Edulinx and the NSLSC surprised me by throwing in a few bursaries that I was not expecting - about $4000 in free money! My intentions are to use what I absolutely have to, and bank the rest in a high-interest savings account. It would be nice if I could graduate with no debt, but that's quite the pipe dream. Thus, I will content myself with as little debt as possible.

I take debt very seriously (thanks, Gail), and I wish someone had pointed out the simple math to me 3 years ago. Before I acquired $6,000 of bullshit "surplus" loans.

I'm not sure if I mentioned before that I am on my own to finance my education. My parents, bless their hearts, would rather not be fiscally involved. While I sometimes am jealous of other students who don't have to pay rent or get jobs, most days I am exceptionally proud of what I have accomplished. When I get that parchment on my wall, it will be my own.

To that end, I scored a sweet job last winter - working with the municipal government, getting paid (very) good taxpayer money. It's all telephone work, so it will be highly conducive to studying, and it's only a few minutes' commute from school and my house. Most of the people working there do that as their career. Man, if anyone had ever suggested to me when I was a support worker that in less than 5 years I would be making twice as much hourly, without actually accomplishing any Post Sec, I would have laughed and laughed. It'll be very conducive to Operation Low-Debt-Education! I haven't told my boss about switching to part-time for school yet... I'm still working up the cojones.

Anyway, here's the breakdown on what I got approved for. If you apply online they are pretty quick about getting the results back.

Your application for financial assistance has been approved:

from SEPTEMBER 03, 2008 to MAY 23, 2009

You are eligible to receive:

TOTAL $10,585

Yes indeed, I am a lucky ducky. Spending it wisely, that's the tricksy part.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sweet Summer

This has got to be one of the first summers that I can't wait to see the end of.

It's especially weird because of how many good things normally accompany the sunny months of May through August. Albertan summers are some of the best times of the year. Not many places do a complete weather swing from -30 C to +30 C between winter and summer (that's -22 F to +86 F for you Americans). When it gets hot here, it gets Really Effing Hot, and when it gets cold it kills people. We also do not get much Spring or Fall. Spring is that week between the last snowfall and when you can drive with your windows down. Fall is that other week where the leaves simultaneously fall off the trees and the campgrounds freeze over.

In the past few weeks, I have been doing a number of little rituals to keep my mind off of the finger-drumming wait until September. To pay off the last of my previous student credit line, I started a second job at the end of June to fill in a few extra days a week. I then quit that job last Thursday when I realized that they were booking me Sunday through Saturday ad infinitum. Something about working my ass off through the summer, and then through the winter, doesn't really do it for me. Last week I turned 24 (yay!) and celebrated with the fam. My brother gave me a $50 gift certificate to Canadian Tire. Uh, thanks.

I did manage to pay off my student line that was cosigned by my dad. He is breathing easier now, I think! Other than that, I have been picking raspberries, mowing the lawn, cleaning up junk, and enjoying the summer.

Except for that whole agonizing waiting game. Only 7 more weeks! When I started this blog, I had 7 months.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Nursing 'Crisis'

With an aging population and not enough nurses entering the ranks to take care of them all, private and public health-care providers in Canada alike are bracing for a health-care crisis.

Experts say the numbers of elderly people who need help with the daily acts of living most of us take for granted like getting groceries, making meals and keeping healthy are growing and too few nurses are being brought into the fold, especially among young people.

Kaaren Neufeld, president of the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA), says the numbers tell a worrying story — while the CNA recently succeeded in graduating more than 9,300 new nurses in a single year for the first time in three decades, Neufeld says the country needs closer to 12,000 new nurses each year.

“There is a shortage of health-care practitioners in this country and working with the frail elderly in this country is something there will continue to be a strong need for,” Neufeld said.

As many aging boomers develop increasing nursing needs, Neufeld insists more emphasis on continuing care instead of cures will be needed.

“We have to change the way health care is delivered in this country in order to meet the need of the population we’re anticipating,” Neufeld said.

Lisa Wiseman, president of private firm Eldercare Home Health Inc., which sends experienced registered nurses directly to elderly clients’ own homes, says the lack of nurses is a problem not easily solved in the short term, since field experience is such a key part of successful nursing.

“Even if we graduated all the nurses we needed tomorrow, they still wouldn’t have the experience. We’re definitely heading into a crisis,” Wiseman said.

A big problem has been attracting young female nurses, since traditionally few men choose to enter the field.

Before the women’s liberation movement, most women chose to enter either nursing or teaching as professions.

Now that women are increasingly being accepted in the working world, Wiseman says it’s only natural that many are choosing a wide variety of professions. With the average age of a registered nurse hovering at around 47 years old, it’s also obvious that relatively few young women are choosing to become nurses.

Still, with demand high and supply low, enterprising students who feel a calling to care for others like Jenna Hoyt, 28, are putting two and two together pursuing their dream of nursing. Hoyt recently graduated from the University of Toronto’s Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing and says her and her friends were being wooed to nursing positions almost instantly.

“From the moment we started nursing school, hospitals were lined up to recruit new nurses,” Hoyt said.
Hoyt herself is heading to Ethiopia to provide nursing care and do humanitarian relief work and says of her friends who graduated, not one is still left looking for work.

“Anyone who wanted a job has a job. I actually feel a bit guilty leaving Canada because I know there’s a shortage,” she said.

[Article's picture comment:] Demand for nurses, who are already needed desperately in Canada, will increase dramatically in the coming years.

Now, what I'd like to know is why it's SO competitive to get into school? If there are a zillion people who want to BE a nurse, why isn't the government facilitating their education? What ever happened to the nurse program through the hospital, and why aren't admissions handled by a central entity instead of 'to each their own'?
Monday, July 7, 2008

Just to whet your whistle

Here's a fun site to check out:


Lots of American information, but plenty interesting for us Canuck wannabe-nurses too! I've added it to the side nav bar.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Spread the news

that Apple is finally opening a store in Alberta!

July 5

Yes, West Edmonton location, I will be at your grand opening... since the one in Calgary didn't pan out. I'll be shopping for a new MacBook and my free iPod. I intend to leave with a limited edition shirt, too.

I love Apple stuff. I'm one of those "wacky Mac-ies" (sp?) that weirds people out with my enthusiasm.

If you can make it, see you there!