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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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I think my brain exploded

Today was my Orientation.

We spent 7 straight hours going through (literally) STACKS and STACKS of HR stuff, paperwork, and all kinds of tips and tricks for assessing different populations and situations. I have 3 stuffed folders and I think I will take some time to organize them into binders because they seriously gave me some of the best reference material I've come across since starting school - and free!

Orientation was provided by the clinical nurse educator, herself a very knowledgeable ER nurse with floor experience in critical care, trauma, and flight nursing. It was like my assessment course and my acute care course plus lots of extra information all rolled into one day. I was on learn overload. I am SO excited to see this all in action.

I also saw educational videos on some kind of contact-looking-thing that fits over the eyeball and hooks up to NS to flush the eye of chemicals or debris, and how to install/use an intraosseous (IO) infusion set. Then I played with the drill. No needle ;)

So my next step is to book my buddy shifts (2 days, 2 evenings, and 2 nights)... and then after that?? I don't know yet. I don't think the unit manager knows yet, either. It seems like a gongshow-kinda place. I think I've been spoiled for the last 5+ years I've been in quiet offices with orderly HR and management processes...

I sent an email to my other job letting them know what days I was free. I shall see what they say. I am looking forward to not working there anymore, but prudent thinking suggests that I will benefit from working so much this summer, and I can quit with a clear conscience and a full bank account for the Fall term.
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....
Thursday, April 14, 2011

Undergrad RN, UNE


I went in there and blew their minds with my clinical genius!

Okay, I was pretty nervous but very prepared.

FYI - I read a tip about putting baby powder on your hands to prevent clamminess. I suffer from seriously sweaty palms when I am under the microscope so I tried it. It worked very well. No one got grossed out by shaking my hand for a change...

At the end of the interview, they offered me the position, on the condition that I am:

A) not a criminal, and
B) not lying about being a nursing student

So orientation's on April 26 and 27!

Unfortunately the position (like every freakin' position in this province) is only a 0.5 FTE. So I will also be keeping my regular job for another summer. Still, who cares! I get paid to go to clinical! :D

I have been waiting for this opportunity since before I started nursing school. I remember Googling like crazy to learn about what it meant to be a student nurse in this province. I found the UNE position and told myself - that's what I want to do in my 3rd year of school. And here I am!!!

This is a great day!

UNE Interview in T-1.5 Hours

My interview's at 3:30 this afternoon.

My hair is done. My clothes are pressed. I am wearing my STTI pin for awesomeness.

I am browsing my blog archives to try and remember some of my more influential nursing moments.

..........and I am freaking out!!!
Friday, April 8, 2011


From XKCD, one of the greatest comics ever.