Tag Archives: school

School Breaks Are Rough

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My kids are creatures of habit. They know what we do and when we do it. They know that they get up, eat breakfast, get cajoled in to getting dressed, and get on the bus to head to school. From there the school takes over the routine. When school is out they get on the bus, get home to their dad or myself waiting (or both) and get inside for an afternoon snack. Homework usually comes next, then dinner, play time and bed.

None of this is ridiculously rigid or timed to the minute but it’s pretty basic and happens Mon-Fri. But not during a school break. School breaks are different.

I still have to work and so does Gabe. That means the kiddos go to grandma’s house or a babysitter. They are both wonderful options but it’s not the same as what they do all other days. When this happens, tiny humans get grumpy. They are off somehow, not quite the same and definitely more irritable.

While I think school breaks are a good thing, I also think they’re rough on working parents and rough on kiddos that are off their routines. I’m ready to sleep in on Thursday but of course, that will probably be the day the kiddos decide earlier is better and my internal clock says I need to be up no matter what l would like to have happen. Ugh, apparently I’m a creature of routine too.

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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

The Mountains Look A Lot Higher From The Valleys

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Monday will mark the official start of my second year of nursing school.  I haven’t talked about it a lot here but I am currently in the middle of my Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) program.  One year left and I will be eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to officially become a registered nurse.

With less than a year left (really only NINE months – WOO HOO!) it actually feels like this goal is in sight.  The next two semesters are not going to be easy but it doesn’t feel as overwhelming as it did last year.

Last year it felt like I was flying blind and felt like I was learning a whole new language.  Now it feels like I have the basics and just have to build on them.  I was looking through my old notes (yes, I keep all my old notes and just about everything else and it drives my husband INSANE – love you babe!) this week and came across things I wrote down on the first day of class.

These may not mean anything to anyone else but to me these are a victory.  I have conquered APA style (I still don’t like it but I can ROCK it) and have no problem writing anything in this format.  I know what PPE (personal protective equipment) is, how to use it, how to remove it, and the rationale behind it.  ROM (range of motion) seemed scary and intimidating and now I could do ROM exercises on any patient that needed them.  I passed every “check off” (completing an assigned procedure in front of an instructor) on my first try and would feel comfortable trying anything from a catheter removal to starting an IV (I did get to do both by the second semester and couldn’t have been happier).

The first day of class felt like I was looking at a mountain that I might never get over.  It was intimidating and overwhelming.  Now I look back at how far I have come and I’m proud.  I can’t say that the mountain didn’t knock me down a few times (there have been very real breakdowns in the hallway after a test) and send me sliding down just when I thought I was making headway.  I can say that looking up the mountain doesn’t seem nearly as high and that I know I will make it to the summit before I know it.

If any new nursing students or prospective students come across this blog please keep your head up, even when you get knocked down a little, and know that if you keep going that you will have your victories too.

Why The Radio Silence??

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I am looking down the barrel of final’s week and it is kicking my butt.  I am buried in things like this:

Chemistry.  Blech.  I absolutely hate chemistry.  I will try to avoid anything in my nursing career that makes me have to break things down to their molecular formulas.  I say that with all seriousness.

This is Med-Surg.  I think my binder may explode if I try to add anything more to it.  Each one of the things in that binder might possibly be on the final.  My head aches just thinking about it.

And finally…

My Pharmacology review.  These are the kinds of things I need to go over before Friday.  My eyes start to cross every time I look at these papers.  I do very much care about medications and knowing what they do so that I can be the best (and safest!) nurse possible for my patients one day.  I get a bit nauseous when I think about trying to get it all out on to a test paper though.

So this is what I have been doing and why I haven’t been giving this blog the proper attention.  Hopefully after this week I will be back and definitely getting ready for more summer fashions and fabulous deals!