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.