Monthly Archives: July 2013

We All Need A Little Sun (In Moderation!!)

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This blog was born from a conversation with my husband about living modestly.  We dress modestly (yes, even he doesn’t show off his body in public), we try to be modest with the money we spend (and I’ve been a student so living the life of a pauper was necessary), and throughout life I try to do things in moderation.  I think that can carry over to almost any area of life and that includes time in the sun (or in artificial sun).

Today I read an article that just made me sad.  Apparently there are people that even after having had skin cancer, will go back to tanning booths.  This has become such an addiction that even when they have had their health threatened, they continue to go back for more.

Please don’t get me wrong, I adore being out in the sun!  I love feeling the warmth on my face and feeling the blues go away as my body produces that wonderful thing called Vitamin D.  When I was in my early to mid-20’s I was also a regular partaker of tanning beds (oh the horror!) and was quite tan.

Here’s the thing though, my natural skin tone is PALE (I mean, scare small children and glow in the dark white) so for me to be tan it takes a pretty good amount of sun exposure.  As good as the beautiful sun feels on my pale skin, there are so many drawbacks that it’s so easy to talk ourselves out of recognizing.

  • Sun exposure causes wrinkles!  This isn’t crazy new news but a recent study came out showing that just putting on sunscreen regularly helps reduce wrinkles.  That is a major pro in my book.
  • Skin cancer is a real.  It’s so real and it’s so scary.  I have friends that have had melanoma and have been lucky enough to beat it but it’s now there and a part of their lives.  Melanoma is the big one but there are other skin cancers that don’t metastasize but do leave a scar when it has to be removed and do increase the risk of the really bad cancers.  Who wants more scars and to up cancer risks??
  • You don’t want to go blind.  Continued sun exposure can result in cataracts, eye cancer, and other eye conditions.  Seeing is a gift, don’t let it be taken away.
  • Damage to your skin has an affect on your immunity.  Your skin is one of the biggest protectors you have to outside invaders.  It is a lot of real estate on your body and damaging it takes out some of your natural protection.  Crazy infections and super bugs seem to be running rampant lately, why damage something that’s naturally there to protect you?

I know we all have vises, I’m not saying that we should shun the sun but how about we take steps to reduce risks?  Sunscreen should be a must for anyone spending more than 30 minutes in the sun (that much allows us to help produce the vitamin D we need), avoid going out during mid-day, wear hats and sunglasses (and lip balm with SPF!), and stop going to the tanning beds.  These things don’t cut out the sun altogether, they just help us all stay a little safer and hopefully avoid something that is potentially avoidable.

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Medical Mondays: I’m a NURSE!

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After two long years of nursing school, and four long years of school in general, I am finally officially a NURSE!  This road has not been easy by any means and I thought it might never get here but I actually made it out alive.

I started back to school part-time in June 2009 and knew for sure I wanted to be a nurse.  My community college has an extremely competitive nursing program.  I knew that if I wanted to have a fighting chance at admission I had to have excellent grades and a very good score on the entrance exam.  I finished my pre-req’s and applied April 1, 2011 for fall admission.  At the end of May 2011 I received notification that I hadn’t been accepted into the RN program but was offered a spot as an alternate to the LPN program.  To say I was disappointed would have been an understatement.  Going the RN route directly meant only 2 more years of school but starting in the LPN program and bridging to the RN program meant at least 3 years in front of me.  I got over the disappointment quickly and praised God for the opportunity to become a nurse, no matter the route it was going to take.

I started nursing school August 2011 and by the second day in I knew something wasn’t quite right.  I heard multiple students talking about their grades and I got the distinct impression something with my application hadn’t been figured right.  After two conversations with the Dean of Nursing it was discovered that a mistake had been made and I actually should be in the RN program.  There are no words for how excited I was and how extremely blessed I felt in that moment.

The feeling was short lived only because the reality of nursing school hit hard and fast.  Tests every week, lab check-offs every other session, and a constant fear of failure were my companions.  Getting through the first weeks felt like some kind of alternate boot camp where we had to leave who we thought we were behind and learn a whole new way of life.  Tests weren’t simple anymore.  There were questions with multiple correct answers but we had to know the MOST correct answer.  Yes, that’s right, the MOST correct answer.  It was like learning a foreign language that had multiple possibilities for one word but we had to make sure we knew the MOST right word.  Yep, like that.  The end of the first semester alone felt like a victory.  We had survived and we might actually get through this crazy thing.

Somehow three more semesters went by and I made it.  I passed every class, loved my clinicals, and made friends who I know I will have for a lifetime.  On May 17th I donned a cap and gown and joined my fellow graduates to celebrate our accomplishments.

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Graduation was one of the proudest times of my life.  I walked across the stage, was pinned as a nurse, and said the Nurse’s Pledge.  I had accomplished a major goal and it was a feeling of relief and pride.  But it wasn’t completely over yet.

To become a registered nurse you don’t just have to complete a program (diploma, ASN, or BSN) but you have to take a national exam to show that you are able to be a competent entry level nurse known at the NCLEX-RN.  The NCLEX was originally the “big test in the sky”.  In August 2011 it seemed like something that would never get here.  In May 2013 it seemed like the scariest prospect a nursing graduate can come up against.

The NCLEX is the road block between a graduate nurse and a licensed RN.  It costs $200 and it’s one of the most stressful and nerve racking things I’ve prepared for in all my life.  The last two years prepared me along with a live review and Kaplan course.  I studied for hours each day to try to prepare to pass a test that many people fail every day.  That’s a thought I tried my best to keep out of my head.

I scheduled my test for June 10th and told very few people about it to try to reduce the stress (yeah right!).  The test is only offered at certain testing centers so I made my appointment and Gabe and I stayed at a hotel the night before the exam.  I started my test at 7:40 a.m. and finished with the minimum number of questions (75) about 45 minutes later.  I walked out of the testing center at 8:30 a.m. feeling relief and fear of failure all at once.

Most people I know were finding out the next day whether they passed but it could be 48 hours before the quick results were ready.  I knew I had a wait ahead of me so I headed back to the hotel prepared to go to breakfast with Gabe and to fill the next day or two with distractions.

I started texting my classmates right away to let them know it was over and the wait had begun.  Less than 30 minutes later at a little before 9:00 a.m. one of my friends texted me to say my license number was already up on the state website.  It was official, I was an RN!!  I could have done a cartwheel, I was that excited.  It honestly didn’t seem real.  Everything I had done for four years was to make this happen and yet it didn’t seem possible when it actually happened.  I shared my news with the world and had so many congratulations it made me want to cry.  The support I had from Gabe, my family, my church, and my friends is truly what got me here.  I am a nurse and could not be more proud to be able to say that.

Now to find a job…

MedicalMonday