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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Monday, November 28, 2011

National Informatics Project!

I'm writing from an airplane, on my way to Toronto to present at the CASN Informatics Stakeholders Symposium. This is a project I've been working on with the Informatics Task Force since this past summer. Basically, CASN is the body that determines and evaluates the national curriculum to be taught in undergraduate nursing programs.  Over the past few years, they've seen a need for graduates to improve their comfort level and expertise with sourcing and applying knowledge. Of course, this has increasingly come to mean databases, web content, and digitally available reference material, with a healthy skepticism to determine which information is trustworthy. So while workplaces may be excited to get we new graduates in because of our general comfort level with technology, they are finding that we aren't as sharp on information literacy as we should be.

Enter informatics competencies.

This task force I'm working with is developing resources for faculty to learn more about informatics, and specifically, how to incorporate these competencies into their teaching plans. The idea is that there will not be any one "informatics course", but rather that information literacy strategies will be reinforced throughout the full degree program.

I was invited to represent students on the task force because of my portfolio with CNSA. As the Informatics Officer, I've found that the opportunities to get involved with new and exciting projects just seem to fall into my lap these days. On my first teleconference with the task force, I was blown away by the expert knowledge by the other people on the team, and mind boggled when they nominated me to chair the team. Probably just because no one else wanted to do it! But they said it would be a good experience for me and they were right.

So tomorrow I am supposed to lead a small group of stakeholders, which includes a few other students from CNSA, in a discussion around some of the documents we've developed in partnership with our consultants.

Regrettably, it comes in the middle of the busiest week of my semester... Orientation for my preceptorship was today, and I have 2 finals and a presentation on Friday. Wish me luck.... :)

xoxo ugrn
Wednesday, November 9, 2011

One flu (vaccine) over the cuckoo's nest

I'm about halfway through my nth shift delivering flu shots to the masses. Although it is monotonous at times, I've actually found it to be a pretty good experience. I work casual hours which means I can pick up shifts as I like, and I can even cancel a shift if I get too bogged down in school work. I've met all kinds of people, and gotten semi-decent at small talk. I've also developed a mighty smooth IM technique!

Things I've learned from flu clinics: I have absolutely no desire to work with children. Even if the kids are behaving perfectly appropriately for their ages, I find them stressful. Let's not forget the parents who try to convince me that their 7 year old sniveling kid will sit still by himself for the shot.... Not falling for that one again!

I actually find the flu clinic kind of an enjoyable escape from emergency. After the first week, most sites have been VERY quiet. My stress level right now is about -10. After my high-stress city job and a summer in emergency, I almost feel guilty that they pay me to do this....... Alllllllmost :) my favorite part about this is that no one treats me like "a student" here. I'm a member of the staff, I do my own thing unless I have a question. I can make normal conversation with the nurses, for probably the first time ever. It's great.

In other news, it's about 3.5 weeks away from the end of the semester! this semester has been RIDICULOUS. I was walking to school this morning in the pitch black cold and I thought to myself.... Man, 4 years is a long time. I've been standing on this same sidewalk waiting for this same light to change in this same crappy weather holding a coffee from the same Tim's since 2008.

The workload has been a steady insane pace for the last 2 months, and it's shifting into overdrive for the rest of this month. I have 2 more group presentations, 3 more papers, and a bunch of quizzes and minor assignments to complete by December 2. I also have to finish my oncology nursing certificate by the end of November, except that's impossible so I will have to extend it until January.

BUT. And here's the big but.

I have my preceptorship placement confirmed!

I am going to Oncology!

I am so excited!!! The cancer care center here is huge and highly respected. I also had such a good experience with the oncology nurses that I met at the CANO conference in Halifax. With any luck, I will knock their socks off, and be offered a full time line after I am done my preceptorship hours. :)

Assuming I like it there, of course. But I am feeling very, very positive about it.

Honestly, after some months away from full time emergency, I'm starting to wonder if there's a better fit for me. I mean, emerg is AWESOME experience and I can't say enough about the expert knowledge there. The nurses are mostly super kind and helpful. I will absolutely stay there on a casual basis. But, something's missing.....

.... The kind of relationship building that you get with inpatients. The chance to see the results of your hard work. The possibility of being on a first name basis with your client in a real kind of way. The opportunity to really, really talk about health promotion with your clients, the kind of deep talk that happens at 0-dark-thirty.

I mean, those things do happen in emerg, but rarely. The norm is that I'll round on a patient 2 or 3 times and then they'll be discharged. The ones who come back, our lovely frequent flyers, don't usually come for the witty banter or healing presence of yours truly ;)

I guess it's that some of my classes this semester have struck a chord. Especially in my Chronic Conditions class, we really talk about primary health care, and I want to be more involved with my patients in that kind of way. Obviously inpatient Oncology isn't really the place for that. But it's got a chance for that kind of relationship building, and I see a lot of opportunity for primary health promotion at the community level.

I've got my orientation for the hospital at the end of November, and I'm super pumped. It's for the inpatient-side, so I guess that will be a lot of the really-sickies, palliative care, that kind of thing.

Can't wait! Getting so close to real nursing!