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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Friday, November 26, 2010

Your children strike fear into my very soul...

I'm pretty sure I will be a terribad peds nurse.

Today our lab focused on the immunizations clinics we will be running during our Community Health rotation in the coming term. We will be giving Hep B series to Grade 5 students.

I quiver in fear - bloodcurdling FEAR - at the thought of being THAT nurse, the one who makes your kid deathly afraid of needles and healthcare providers for the rest of his or her life, or screws them up forever, and they go on to become political leaders with personal vendettas against nurses like me.

As part of lab today we had to come up with some pre-vax teaching for the wee 10 year olds. My group of 4 had some Official Pamphlets on Hep B that was not designed for kids, and we had to present it in a kid-friendly format.

Harder than I thought.

Every time I wondered aloud as to how we could modify the content, my group said "Don't you remember what it was like when you were 10?"

The answer is no, actually, I don't. I don't have a friggin clue how actual informative speeches should be presented to children. Puppets? Skits? Fred Penner? The one thing I do remember about information presented to me at the ripe old age of 10 was that I definitely noticed, and was filled with righteous indignation, if the speaker was treating me like I was younger than 10.

But how to actually achieve that balance? Urrrgh.

The worst part was trying to explain the means of transmission. I looked at the pamphlet and it was the usual. Sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll, son. I would be comfortable presenting these straight facts to people that I am reasonably confident actually KNOW what sex is about. Grade 12, sure. But Grade 5?

It's so weird too because those who know me know I am not a prude by any stretch. I am a sexually comfortable person and very open minded. But just the thought of telling these kids that they should wrap their tools put my stomach in knots. For NO reason! SO weird! I truly have no idea when these kids move from "when two people love each other very much..." to "hey, sex is fun, but watch the Rohypnol!".

Maybe it's one of those things that will make sense one day if/when I have a Grade 5 child of my very own.

Until then, they scare me. Really. Make them stop looking at me.
Thursday, November 25, 2010

Oncology - maybe this is it?

First off - thanks for all of your positive comments on my QQ post. I really just needed to vent about it. I'm still annoyed about it but I'm still alive, so that's a plus. I am suffering a severe case of end-of-semester-itis. This was a long haul - third year is kind of a 'blah' year, IMO. I'm not really close to graduating, and I'm not doing anything for the first time. Still, semester is over in less than 2 weeks and then I am GTFO to Mexico.

Secondly, big shout out to Rob Fraser (RN! congrats!) who probably gave me the best quote ever about STTI:
My philosophy about any professional association, is that it is like a gym membership. You get out what you put in. So take advantage of their resources and the different opportunities for getting involved!

Touche, sir! I just got my STTI pin in the mail today. I can't believe it cost $40. It does, however, give me a certain amount of pride to pin it to my nametag. I haven't heard back yet from my CNSA application. Assuming I am not accepted to that, I will be attending my STTI induction at the end of January.

ANYWAY, to the point of my post. I have spent hours - HOURS - trying to decide what kinda nurse I wanna be when I grow up. I have been strongly leaning towards ICU (even joined CACCN to suss it out)........

....until the last couple of days, in which we have focused on Oncology.

And let me tell you, it's the strangest tug at my heart strings.

I do find it somewhat tragic, of course, but so incredibly filled with hope, and such an amazing release from all the (IMO) pithy doings of functional day-to-day society.

Even when my dad was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, I didn't get really emotionally overwhelmed about it beyond the day I found out. I thought the oncology atmosphere was quite powerful and charged with positive energy. I didn't break down and cry all the time. I was pretty up-front about my feelings and reflected on them a lot with my Dad.

I wonder if that would make me a good Oncology Nurse.

More musings are required. In the meantime, I am going to watch these.

Any oncology nurses out there, or people touched by cancer, who care to share their experiences with patients or nurses?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Happiness Is...

Hearing nothing but falling snow and crunching hay.

Pity Party For One

The 10-page paper received a 10/10 on "matters of style" and did mediocre on everything else.

The instructor's comments included such things as "excellent writing style but missed the point".

The post that went up yesterday about the CNSA conference was typed up last week, while I was still blissfully unaware that my paper earned (?) a B-. I am glad I applied for the national team already because there is no way I'd apply for it now... self-confidence is in a puddle somewhere around my shoes.

I held a pity party for one last night, thankfully distracted by yoga and a dance class.

Amazing how one tiny hitch in the road can bring back all those memories of being the dismal underachiever in high school... Kinda had the rug pulled out from under me, there.

After some self-reflection, I have come to terms with this disappointing mark (it's more that I am disappointed that the mark doesn't reflect the enormous amount of research I did) and have resolved to bust my ass on the final exam.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010

CNSA National Team? Mebbe

From my experience at the conference a couple of weeks ago, I discovered there was so much more going on at the student level than I had ever thought. It really is my nature to get involved with everything (one of my clinical instructors described me as a juggler, tossing around so many responsibilities, and turned it into a moral cautionary tale, but I digress). It was only natural, then, for me to want to get involved with CNSA.

I am interested in running for a position as regional director or maybe higher (!) next year, so I was clicking around the CNSA website trying to suss out some kind of information for the next election period. In my hunt, I discovered information pertaining to the National Conference taking place in Hamilton ON next year. Check out those keynote speakers! Tilda Shalof! Jean Watson! Man, I spent the entire summer before nursing school reading Shalof books and being excited about nursing. Not to mention the 5 page essay I wrote on Watson's Theory of Caring a few weeks ago. A-mazing.

Then I realized that there was (yay!) another opportunity for me to attend a conference for free (yay!) if I applied to participate on the CNSA National Team.

From the briefing:
It will be the goal of the 2011 CNSA National Team to explore and debate contemporary issues in nursing and how diversity affects, and may affect, the next generation of nurses.

As nursing students it is never too early to advocate for change and challenge the present and future state of healthcare in Canada – the 2011 CNSA National Team will address the challenges of the contemporary nursing student, how they may be effective in the promotion of change, integration into an “old school” health care culture, and how to effectively manage these diversities.

It is our personal challenge this year to hold a debate on the changing healthcare system and to provide insight into the issue of public versus private healthcare in Canada and the affect it will play on the role of the nurse.
They have assigned a few interesting topics for discussion, and there are some other ones on the table.
  • Public versus private healthcare in Canada, and what it means to us 
  • How we are different or the same as generations past; i.e. technology, traditions 
  • Some of the barriers we face as nursing students, i.e. stereotypes 
  • How can we maintain or improve the quality of health care and advocate for change as needed
  • Our diverse opportunities for work and how can we use them to make a difference in the health of our society 
  • Globalization in nursing

I've never met an essay question I didn't like, so this was a fun and interesting spin on my comfort zone. I can write persuasive position statements without too much effort but the very idea of PRESENTING and DEBATING and DEFENDING those - now that's exciting! And a little nervewracking terrifying!

Those of you who have been longtime readers may remember my philosophy on life - if it scares the shit out of you, DO IT. I try to tackle my fears head on. It's the only way to know exactly what you're capable of. This is the philosophy that got me through solo skydiving, scuba diving, BUNGEE JUMPING (my all time greatest fear - the video isn't mine but it's where I jumped), and the various other questionably-risky behaviour I have engaged in with the intention of figuring out just what I'm made of.

I guess what I'm getting at is this is something that I am, yes, passionate and curious about. I want to discover more about the professionalization of nursing and see how I can be involved. However, and I think most would agree, it's a big jump from idly pondering the future of nursing to defending your ideology in a debate in front of hundreds of peers and nursing leaders.

It freaks me out.

Therefore I applied.

The only real downsides to this opportunity being the giant potential for failure, the fact that I will miss some clinical time, and I will also miss my STTI induction ceremony, qq.

Wish me luck... and feel free to pass on your views!
Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cranial Nerves

Ah, Cranial Nerves. Beyond amusing mnemonics, I have trouble remembering which does what, and I found this link while clicking around AN today.

This was probably the most helpful way to remember them that I've run across so far. I wish I had seen this picture while I was still in my assessment class... so I shall post it here for you :)

Full article is here, from americannursetoday.com

Useful videos:

Full-size cranial nerve assessment (we were taught to have the pt smell coffee grounds through each nare to confirm olfactory nerve intact)

Or a shorthand version, probably more useful in the clinical setting:

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sigma Theta Tau

I got an invite.

After some consideration, I accepted.

There aren't many people from my school who have joined, so far anyway. My thought process ranged from "That seems like kind of an elitist thing to do, especially as an undergrad" to "What harm would it do me to join?".

I decided to join based on the idea of supporting nursing research, the membership/networking perks, and the fact that almost all the faculty at the university are also members. If my desire is to improve nursing through leadership, then it would benefit me to rub shoulders with nursing leaders. But it still feels like Ivy League elitism, or like some spooky cult, what with the whole "Induction Ceremony". In fact it was this post at Allnurses.com which encouraged me to accept. It's a few bucks, for sure, but the opportunity may not be there again until I pursue and qualify through my Master's education.

Wow, 5 years ago, nursing was a pipe dream for me. I thought I was going to work for a computer corporation for the rest of my life.

Now I could be a member of the Nursing Honor Society.

Do you know any STTI members?
Sunday, November 7, 2010

What do we want?

This made me giggle, especially in light of the paper I'm writing this week.

Thanks for the awesome feedback on my conference summary, you guys made me feel like I was heading in the right direction. In fact, last Friday I had a faculty meeting about setting up a big pilot project for our school. I don't want to speak to it too much just yet but it would be very exciting. I met with some 4th year instructors and they gave it a huge thumbs up.

Re: L&D.... thanks to availability heuristics, I now fear for every couple in their reproductive years. If you see a crazed third year nursing student running down the street yelling about folic acid, teratogens, abruptio placentae, or the importance of colostrum... rest assured that the police already know about me and have likely sent the squad car to take me home again.

Sociological Images is a really interesting blog that I found purely by accident and now enjoy regularly. The discourse is particularly engaging and thoughtful. Actually, that's not really something I'm used to - most of the medbloggers out there have a steady supply of Angry Layperson Commenteurs who rage unintelligibly against any post they might make. So it's nice to see comments that are as educational as the post itself.

In other Interesting Things Found While Googling Research Topics, a fun diversion to learn about all kinds of different biases can be found here. Be prepared to win any argument by saying, "Well, sure, but your logic is flawed, due to the ________ fallacy."

You're welcome. ;)

Have a great week everybody!

Also - you're looking at a Couch to 5K graduate! Over the course of my C25K experience, I have run more than 19 hours, totalling 73 miles, and burned approximately 8100 calories (yep, I track every run!). I can run for over 30 minutes without stopping. I don't run very fast, but I run. I do get bored as hell, and I'm looking forward to running out on the trails next spring. BIG thanks to NurseXY for inspiring me to start :) When I looked at the C25K training plan in those first weeks I could never have imagined running (and enjoying it!) like I do now.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Punched in the box

Another L&D lecture, another class full of wide-eyed stares and quiet gagging.

Dear L&D nurses, I admire your fortitude.

I'm going to point out that "uterus massage" is such a nice, happy, relaxing, soothing term....


Or how about this? A little manual extraction?
I am praying for my own L&D nurse to have tiny, tiny hands...