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.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Happy new year, nurses!

I hope you all had/are having a great holiday! I got to spend some time with my fella's family over Christmas and that was wonderful. They have grandkids so they did the whole Christmas Is Magical thing. I absolutely love Christmas. I'm not really into gifts, exactly - the best part for me is hanging out, enjoying family, and listening to carols.... really! I've decided that next year I will, in lieu of gifts, sponsor a needy family.

I did buy myself something a special something yesterday. I've been wanting one for a long time, now, and I wasn't ready to make the plunge..... until I saw they were on sale for 60% off, and I almost-simultaneously got an email from Skyscape giving me a $50 gift certificate for participating in their scholarship contest. I guess some good came from it after all :)

So, when the planets aligned - I bought a BlackBerry. It's a Curve 8530 - last year's model, I think - hence the sale (see below... like my Link wallpaper? ;)

I know, I know, you can all pick your jaws up off the floor - it's not an iPhone.

Reasons I did not buy an iPhone:

-They are ungodly expensive
-They are slightly less expensive if you choose sell your soul to a carrier on a 3 year contract......and I don't do contracts, anymore
-iPhones will be a nice upgrade from this one when I am ready/employed, unless Android makes me happier with less money
-I still love QWERTY!

So far I am quite pleased with it, except for falling prey to the dreaded Disappearing App World Icon. Luckily, there is a metric TON of BB resources around the interwebs and I was able to get it resolved with a few Googlin's and some wasted time setting up the settings I'd lost.

I'm impressed with the integration with just about everything. I had a Palm about 7 years ago, and I spent ages getting it all set up. Then I let the battery die one day.... losing everything. The BB software sets my mind at ease with the Desktop Manager (for Mac, hooray!) and the syncing and the backups. Lesson learned in syncing more frequently AKA before major un/installs or after extensive setting changes.

This model has WiFi and whatever wireless network Koodo offers. It's not 3G, I don't think, and not superfast, but I am new to the idea of mobile browsing so it works for me.

So far, I've installed apps for both of my banks, Dropbox, KeePass, Facebook, Google Mobile,  and Skyscape. I am also SO PLEASED that I can handle my email without being on WiFi or within range of a public computer. It made me twitchy staying over at my boyfriend's house and not being able to instantly access my email. I think I am an email junkie.

I spent quite a bit of time browsing Skyscape trying to decide how to maximize my gift certificate. They also had a deal going that, if I purchased by Dec 31, I would get an additional 25% off. They also suggested I share the link, so here you go: www.skyscape.com/share25off.... offer expires March 31, 2011.

I ended up purchasing a few titles:
They threw in a med calculator and the International Classification of Disease as well.

So far, I am happy with Skyscape. I emailed them a problem with my order last night and they had it resolved by noon. I was NOT thrilled with the installation process, which could use an App World update, because it was hunt-and-peck 24 digit serial numbers to install each title. I'm also not thrilled with the setup of the Skyscape app. For something that I paid for, it sure does spend a lot of time trying to convince me to download other free software.

Anyhow, I am pretty excited to use my BB in clinicals! There is a TON of information in my pocket. The drug guide seems a lot handier than my hard copy - search for drug names and the info is there, no holding books open required. RNotes also has a good mix of L&D resources in it. The med calculator is pretty good too, it has everything from IV infusions to Apgar scoring.

More reviews and from-the-trenches stories of using my BB in clinicals to follow in the new year :)

Best wishes for 2011, everyone!
Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Ten Year Rule

I don't know if I have previously shared one of my guiding life philosophies, but I will now.

(Am I the only person out there with actually-in-words life philosophies? lol)

One of my favorite principles that I use when making tough decisions is my "Ten Year Rule" - hence known as TYR. Meaning, ten years from now, what will I wish I had done?

I've put this guiding principle to use many times in my life, usually to justify spending or saving money, or taking risks on new opportunities, but sometimes to remember the Bigger Picture. I used it when I abruptly left my life in Alberta for the opportunity to live in Ontario, grooming at Millar Brooke. TYR when I had the choice of moving back to Alberta or to Scotland. When I had to decide between pursuing graphic design or upgrading my high school on the off chance I could get into Nursing - TYR.

More recently - using some of my student loan money to go to Thailand? TYR. Scuba certification, bungee jumping, facing my biggest fears. TYR.

Today I faced a dilemma. I have been emailing like a madwoman trying to get clearance from my school to attend the conference in January; trouble being, of course, that it's super close to Christmas break and no one seems to be in the office, and CNSA wants me to book my flight ASAP.

I got a reply from the faculty stating that basically 
a) they supported me going, but 
b) it was going to screw me in terms of clinical hours and could ultimately affect my grade.

So that's pretty disappointing. It's not like I'm OCD about maxing out my GPA. I'm really not. As long as I get a pleasant 3.3-3.5, I'm a happy girl. Enough for grad school is enough for me. But just the idea of KNOWING that I could be throwing away marks in exchange for the opportunity to attend the conference is pretty tough. I've been thinking hard about it since I found out the news.

Then, today, we had our first teleconference and talked about the presentation. I recognized one of the voices on the line - it was one of the coordinators at the conference I went to in October! He was on the team as well. I was even more excited than before. He is the kind of person who speaks and people listen. I just know he's going great places in Nursing and I'm excited to be on the team with him. Then I realized that if this was the calibre of people on the team, I am even more honored to be a part of it.

Thus, the Ten Year Rule.

Ten years from now, will I be lamenting the loss of a few tenths of a grade point in one class?

Or will I be disappointed that I missed out on an opportunity to present to hundreds of peers and respected leaders of my profession?

With TYR, as always, the choice is obvious.

I am, however, hoping to kiss sufficient ass to make up for my 4 days of clinical absence....

Oh! I found out that I will be going to an inner-city hospital for my L&D rotation with two of my best friends. Orientation on Jan 5!!
Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas came a little early

After a FANTASTIC decompression in the sun (and a pretty fantastic sunburn, might I add), a red eye flight, and return to the snowy northern wastes, I checked my email to find the following -


You have been chosen to be a part of the 2011 CNSA national conference's national team! 

Aaaaannnnnnnd cue heart palpitations. There are only 5 of us on the team. For the WHOLE COUNTRY. zomg. I'm pretty sure I'm the only one from Alberta.

So now I realized that I actually will have to roll up my sleeves and make this trip happen, aka booking even more time off work, sending my regrets to the STTI induction, and pleading my case with the school faculty as I would be missing 4 days of L&D clinical*.

And practice, practice, practice what I am going to say, so that awful presentation Will. Not. Be. Repeated.

In front of the likes of 600+ CNSA members, Tilda Shalof, and Jean Watson, no less!!

* I think I sent a pretty compelling argument to the faculty. I may have indicated that the academic nature of the conference should be valid course credit. I also may have indicated that it would be a pretty sweet name drop to my fairly-recently-accredited university.

** I also checked all of my final course grades and found that I kicked ass on my finals. Especially my Nursing/Acutely Ill course, which was the one I really cared about. Booya!
Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I'm melting...

Into a puddle of joyful, feel-it-in-ma-bones, weightless BLISS. I am DONE! 3rd year is half over! Partying tonight with some of my ladies and then I am flying out to Puerto Vallarta tomorrow.

Interesting substory - as I was exiting my L&D exam yesterday, I checked my Facebook messages on my phone. Picture my surprise when it read "5 friends have commented on your changed relationship status". Um, wot?

So I investigate further and I see "undergradRN is no longer in a relationship" with a bunch of people commenting WTF... which crosses my mind as well... and at the bottom there is a comment from my boyfriend, with a sadface, asking if he was still going to meet me at the airport tomorrow afternoon in PVR! Luckily he also had an email from me from a few days ago that set that record straight, lol! Seriously, what girlfriend would break up with her guy BEFORE the wonderful holiday anyway ;)

Best I can figure is I got sidejacked via FireSheep. My password is 20 characters of upper, lower, numbers, and symbols, so I'd pay money to whoever managed to crack it.

See you kids next week!!
Monday, December 13, 2010

Picking your specialty...

As seen on an AllNurses.com post, and apparently poached from a new (to me) blog - Those Emergency Blues:

A) I enjoyed this tremendously and I apparently am best suited as a Wal-Mart greeter

B) Anyone who lists At Your CervixNurseXY, and Rob Fraser as a must-read is okay by me

C subsect. 1A) YES, I *do* think children are mostly trolls

C subsect. 1B) I resent studying L&D SOOOOOOooo much that I am blogging instead of cramming for my final in 3 hours and feeling no pain whatsoever

C subsect. 2) Fine, I'm getting back to work, I swears!
Sunday, December 12, 2010


My term paper for Healthy Populations went, as you can see, swimmingly. I am sooooo surprised and pleased! This takes the edge off my final for that class, for sure. I haven't done that well on a paper since first year. Yay!

The paper topic was interesting, too. I wrote about the fairly recent decision to do away with the Canadian Long Form Census, performed in the past by Statistics Canada.

I am feeling perked up for my last 2 finals tomorrow and Tuesday. Then, MEXICO!!!!
Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I've been studying too long today

I realized it while I was writing out notes for compartment syndrome.

I got the giggles... which was bad, because I was in the silent study room (and it was actually silent for a change, even with 5 people in there)

And then it got worse. I started crying tears of lol from holding in my giggles to a gentle semi-silent nose laugh, which resulted in me choking on it and making a huge reverberating SNORRRRK sound. I felt the eye daggers fly at me and figured I'd better leave the room to get straightened out. It was just as well because my coffee needed a refill.

For some reason I found my notation of compartment syndrome absolutely and ridiculously hilarious as I transcribed it - using the very same descriptors as the text--

"COMPARTMENT SYNDROME: Occurs when the muscle is swollen and hard on palpation and the pain is deep... throbbing... unrelenting... inside the tight fascia. "

OMG, I might as well be writing some torrid ladyporn romance novel.

I am officially going nuts. Thank you and good night.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Death, taxes, and finals week

3 things the average student can count on.

I am stressed, major stressed, about these finals because this is the first year there aren't any cut and dry answers. Science is cut and dry. Nursing answers are about priorities, and I am never sure if my priorities are the same as my instructor's.

In that vein I borrowed a bunch of practical knowledge books from the library. You know the ones. Not blue-skying theorizing about pathophysiological processes, but real-world nursing interventions for real-world situations, like RNotes and Medical-Surgical Nursing Made Incredibly Easy. I am hoping these will help me... if not for the test than at least for clinicals which are starting in < one month!!

Rnotes: Nurse's Clinical Pocket Guide [RNOTES 2/E]Medical-Surgical Nursing Made Incredibly Easy! (Incredibly Easy! Series)My first rotation for clinicals is L&D. Yup, I am going to catch a baby. Just kidding. I am actually planning to be that wallflower student who presses up against the door looking terrified. I actually think childbirth might be scarier than my OR follow-through. Some people know they were born for L&D (nyuk)... I can say, with certainty, that I was not. Pleased to meet you, moms of Alberta!

In other news, and because my brain needs a break from school, I was in my jumping lesson yesterday and rode a (low) crossrail and bounce jump** for the first time. The geriatric schoolmaster I am on, Breezy, is absolutely wonderful at flat work. He is light and responsive and forward, and I get a pretty good feel with him on aids, which is good for me because I am pretty new to formal lessons and proper aids. Anyway, I've been lol-riding him over jumps for about 5 or 6 weeks now and he's been very patient with me, until yesterday. When he decided he ABSOLUTELY LOVES JUMPING ZOMG.

Dear sweet Breezy, while I understand you loooooove jumping because it's fking cold outside and you are fresh as all-get-out, rearing and crowhopping and crazy random rollbacks while I'm trying to set up for the fence is REALLY FRUSTRATING. What's even more frustrating is how my instructor (who really doesn't think much of my riding ability) praised me endlessly for sitting that crazy rollback without getting turfed, and putting you in a tight circle and firm WHOA, without losing my head. It's frustrating because I am not that confident in my riding ability to start with and, while I am not afraid of falling off (lord knows it's happened plenty-o-times), the dirt is frozen and my back does NOT want to be laid up for a month again like last time.

It's also frustrating because sitting a naughty horse is the first/only time my instructor had anything decent to say about my riding ability. Well, there's something to be said for being a country girl riding greenbroke horses out in open fields, I guess.

Still, dealing with another horseback-related back injury is sooooo not on my To Do List.

Here's hoping that next week they give me the most bored, I-only-canter-for-food geriatric equine they have next week.

If any of you nurse-types are also horse-types, I would LOVE some advice on Mr. Poppin-Fresh.

**This is a bounce, for the uninitiated - the horse does not stride between jumps, instead it lands and immediately jumps again:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Well, that was fun.

Diaphoresis++, blurred vision, tachycardia, fearful affect, agitation, alogia....

What are these symptoms related to?



Public speaking....

Yes, in an entirely safe environment filled with people I know, I completely flipped shit on my part of the presentation.

I don't even know what happened but I couldn't WAIT to get out of there.

Oh, I hope the end of the semester comes soon.

In other news, and except for my performance, the presentation was pretty good. It was for our topic "Poverty and Pregnancy" I bought $5 of McDonald's and $5 of a healthier lunch food. It was a cool comparison. The healthy lunch was a small salmon filet and a side of low fat pasta salad. At McD's I was able to buy a small coffee, a muffin, 2 blueberry pies, and a McDouble burger. Then I highlighted the nutritional and (ginormous) caloric differences between the two lunch options and the importance of patient teaching.

I also found this video which was a total gold mine. Thank you, Google. Again.

13 days until the end of finals and a few days' stay in sunny Mexico... *stares wistfully at calendar*

World News: Stranger than fiction

Well OBVIOUSLY we have a WHISTLEBLOWER up in Sweden. He's raidin' ya government documents, he's snatchin' yo internal emails, try'na post 'em on WikiLeaks so y'all need to hide ya government officials, hide ya diplomats, and hide ya state secrets, cuz they're releasin' info on errbody up in here.

You don't have to come and confess, cuz Interpol's lookin for you on unrelated sexual assault charges and we gon' find you. Sarah Palin says we will hunt you like Al Qaeda and we gon' FIND you. So you can run and tell THAT, Julian Assange.