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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Sunday, April 17, 2011


Firstly, THANK YOU for all of the kind words re: my summer placement.

Since Zazzy asked, I'll define UNE - "undergraduate nursing employee" is my province's designation for a 3rd year student nurse; since BSN was made entry-to-practice for RNs in this country, it's how we can get paid experience working in an RN-type role before we graduate.

The UNE position does not fall under the auspices of our regulatory college or union; rather, it is a protected position that is only available to regular-entry BSN third year students (not LPN-RN bridging students, or accelerated BSN students) and it is designed to be temporary (cannot work full-time for more than 3 months, less a day, per UNA guidelines - this is to make sure that a UNE does not take the place of an RN or LPN position).

The UNE takes on a lighter load than an RN, with lower acuity, and is responsible for patient care for anything he or she has been trained to do already in school. For example I can do anything I have done in clinical before - foleys, wound dressings, IMs, bladder scans, etc. Things I have not done before I can watch and learn, such as placing NGs. Things that are outside of my clinical scope I cannot do as a UNE. Such as IV push meds or defibrillation - which is totally okay, I'm in no hurry for that kind of responsibility.... lol

Otherwise I function in my full clinical scope. I can do planning, teaching, skills, and nearly everything an RN would do. I'm not totally sure what I *can't* do, yet, because I think that's probably specific to the type of environment I will be working in. I've never had a rotation in Emerg, or spent any significant time there outside of my volunteer position (which never exposed me to much except where the supplies were, really). It won't be like my med-surg experiences with paging the docs and stuff. I like this particular environment because the nursing station is combined with the physician desks. It will be an excellent opportunity to learn by eavesdropping on everybody, especially because curtains aren't particularly soundproof! :)

So yes, I will be working 0.5 FTE from May through August (that's about 20 hours a week) and mainly evenings and nights. I have never worked overnight before. I've worked late-as-hell (6 PM to 2 AM) and early-as-hell (6 AM to 2 PM) but never crossed that barrier. If you have any tips please share. I am concerned that I will turn into a surly, cheerless, friendless prickle. My plan to also work 3 days per week at my desk job, likely in midmorning-afternoon, kind of hinders the idea of turning full-on vampire. I'm not sure how this will work out. If something has to give, I will stick with Emerg.

Oh! That reminds me. I was going to write up some of the interview questions in case that helps any of you out in the future. I have them scrawled on a notepad somewhere...

At any rate, as per the title of my post, I am technically supposed to be writing a ten-page critique of a research report right now. It's a self-imposed deadline for the research class I'm taking by correspondence. Knowing myself and how I am, I booked the final well before I finished any of the projects, so that I would HAVE to finish it. So now I HAVE to finish it, or fail the course, by Thursday April 28............ but it's only the 17th, and of course you see my temptation :)

Before I get back to the slog excitement of critiquing research, I guess I should also update you about my clinicals, which are (surprise!) still going on until the end of this week.

Yeah! Bet you thought I was done, based on the crappy posting of late...

Nope, I am 4 weeks out of 5 from being finished my Community/Public Health rotation.

Tuesday is our oral report about the agency placement with the preschool kids, and our teaching plan re: toothbrushing and washing hands. Wednesday is our actual presentation to the kids. Thursday is our final evaluation, and Friday is a long weekend, my last before I go back to work.

(For the record, I took a leave of absence from my desk job for the months of March and April in order to focus on clinical, and it was the BEST THING I EVER DID for myself in school. Hands down. Last year my hair was literally falling out. This year I am able to attend my horse-riding classes, work out, make healthy food choices, take on 2 correspondence classes, AND do a decent job on my clinical projects)

In regards to Community Health, well... I have felt like I could fit into every clinical placement I've had so far. Even postpartum which I honestly thought I would hate (thanks CC for helping me consider otherwise :)

But, man, Community Health has absolutely NO appeal to me. It could be that I've worked desk jobs for about 6 years now and I'm numb to the pride I once had about having my very own cubicle. I can't stand office work or office gossip. I hate photocopiers and water coolers and I REALLY hate getting emails from people who don't know what Reply All means. I realize that there is a hands-on component in public health, i.e. when you actually go out and assess babies or teach college kids about STIs or do an immunization clinic for Grade 5 kids.... but that seems to be only 10% of the job. The good 10%, IMO. The other 90% of the time seems to be spent in the office, trying to round up resources and liaise with other people and hammer out meeting times and set up appointments, etc, etc.

Maybe CHN/PHN will be appealing to me when/if I have family responsibilities or am tired of running around all day.... but for now, get me back in the hospital, stat.

I shadowed one day last week in the Hip & Knee Clinic, where people go for pre- and post-surgery teaching and assessment. It was actually a really cool experience, especially given my rotation in Orthopedic Surgery last year. I got to take out some staples and do a dressing change. Compared to the rest of my rotation, it was practically critical care in there! lol!

Okay okay, I'm going to go write a paper now. Honest....


Cartoon Characters said...

Night shift: The day you go into your nightshift...sleep in as long as you can. If you like, nap before going in to work. I worked nights 20 years (or more) straight...it can be exhausting and you feel like a mushroom most of the time. Your social life becomes those at work because everyone you know outside of work has opposite hours. Occasionally you realize that you can go 3 days with no (or very little) sleep... When you come off nights, it's best to try and stay up and then go to bed early to stay on a proper routine for your days off. (gravol works if you REALLY can't sleep between shifts) I tended to sleep between night shifts as much as possible...but then, most were 12s so basically when you were working you didn't do much else but that and sleep. All in all - I quite like nights, as gruesome as they sound. :)

You will find that hospitals, like offices, have the same sort of gossip, cliques, problems with photocopiers/computers (only no one can come to fix them without a production and its all OLD equipment) and there is no "cubicle" for you so you have to find a tiny piece of a desk (that you share with a hundred others plus specimens) on which to do your charting - or wait for whomever to finish with the computer (unless you are lucky enough to work at a hospital that has a nice hand held bedside computer system) and I don't know HOW many times people at the hospital will hit "reply all" and fill up your work email :(
Unfortunately hospital work is getting to the point where a smaller fraction is "hands on" nursing care....

I hate to be negative about it all....but basically it's like office work but with people not at their best thrown in as patients, but in a space that is a lot more cramped with equipment that doesn't always function properly....with a lot fewer bodies to do the work... :(

All in all, I wouldn't have traded nursing for anything! :)

Zazzy Episodes said...

Well thanks Undergrad RN for posting what the UNE is all about. We have similar programs here in the states that we can do during the summer before our senior year. I plan to apply and pray to get a position but who knows what will happen. Good luck to you and post updates on how things go.

Jacquie said...

I feel the exact same way about Community! My Community experience was last semester and it was horrible! Like you, I can't wait to start back at the hospital!! I have an interview for a UNE position, in Vancouver we call it ESN or Employed Student Nurse! Fingers crossed I get a job!!

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