Monday, January 31, 2005

My very own patients

Last night was my second night of work and I had not one, but two of my own patients.  It was a breeze!  Luckily, they weren't difficult patients.  One was in because of a drug overdose.  Just say no, people!!!!!!  I had to take out one of his IV's & he was shaking.  Amazes me that people can do crazy things like drugs, yet be so afraid of a little needle.  And an IV cath isn't even a needle.  Oh well.  My other pt came up from the ER with congestive heart failure.  Other than needing some ice now & then, he was easy to take care of.  I also had the opportunity to start an IV & although I got into her vein, I blew it.  So I got another nurse to try & she blew 2 more veins.  Poor lady!  One more attempt by yet another nurse & she was good to go.  I still can't wait to be on my own completely, but that is about another 7 weeks away at least <sigh>.   It feels like the only person that is happy to have new grads around is the charge nurse.  She is so friendly & helpful & encouraging.  The floor nurses make it seem like I'm a burden.  Have they forgotten that they once were new nurses also?  They aren't really bad, but I certainly wouldn't use the word "friendly" to describe them.  I work again on Thursday with a different preceptor.  Hopefully she'll be happy to have me around.

I have volleyball tonight...yay.  Right now it's time to study for the state exam.  I have had other nurses tell me their dramatic stories about the nclex - I'm thinking if they can pass, anyone can.  28 days & counting until it's my turn.  Ok, time to play a computer game first, then study.  :)

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Fun fun fun on a Saturday night

I am home on a Saturday night so I can study for the much fun.  I better pass this test!  So far about 23 classmates have passed it.  Not sure how many haven't, but that's a pretty good pass rate so far.  I tried to move up my appointment in February - but there are no other test dates available.  So I imagine a lot of my classmates are scheduled to take it.  Only 2 people I know personally have taken it & passed.  I've gotten better grades than they have in school, so I'm hoping that's a good indicator.  I need to do the practice questions.  I am such a great procrastinator!!!

I work tomorrow night, have class on Tuesday & then work again Thursday night.  I have the weekend off...yay!  More time to study...woo hoo.  I took a nap this afternoon, so I plan to stay up most of the night.  I love working nights.  Can't wait until my hospital classes are over so I can maintain a nightime schedule.  My plan is to work 3 or 4 nights in a row, then have 3 or 4 days off.  I rather get them all out of the way & have some free time.  I get my first paycheck on Thursday - I can't wait.  Most of it is going to pay exciting. 

Ok, time to go back to studying!

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Finally a free night/day

I am relaxing tonight - it's my plan for tomorrow also. I've been on the go since Sunday & I will be on the go until next Wednesday - so I plan to enjoy my day off tomorrow. EKG class wasn't bad. I do feel more confident about assessing EKG rhythms, but after awhile, they all start to look the same - the sinus rhythms, atrial rhythms, ventricle rhythms, then the PAC's, PVC's & junctional rhythms. Throw in first degree, second degree type 1, second degree type 2 & third degree heart blocks as well as torsades de pont (sp), unifocal, multifocal, couplets, bigeminy, trigeminy, etc and it's no wonder I fell asleep at 5:30 this evening. My poor mind is worn out.

I'm meeting with Gina on Friday to once again review for the nclex state exam. We were looking up classmates names on the licensing board & saw that 14 of them have passed so far. There was about 85 or 90 in my graduating class - so lots of us still have to take it. I want to hurry up & get it over with, but at the same time - I want to take the time to study so that I only have to take it one time. February 28th is the big day!!!

Ok, time for me to go back to relaxing!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Still awake

I'm still awake when I should be sleeping. I haven't done any of the EKG homework - maybe I should start that, it would probably put me right to sleep. I can't wait for the day when I can come home & not have any class type stuff to do - no more studying, no more assignments - just come home & relax.

I'm watching "City of Angels"....I love this movie. I remember the first time I watched it years ago & cried a few times throughout the movie. I love the song from this movie..."In the Arms of an Angel." Supposedly it's about cocaine use or something like that, but I believe there are angels among us guiding us along the way. It's at the part now where the patient coded & died. Which reminds me - I've watched a few codes now & it amazes me how light-hearted some of the staff working the codes are. Like one doctor kept talking about how he had to go to the bathroom or in his medical terminology "I need to pee." How professional, isn't he? I don't know - I guess it comes with time, where you just distance yourself from the fact that it is a real person laying there dying, but I'm not sure I want to ever be that way. They do get the job done, they aren't slacking in any way - but some of the discussions I've heard as they are stabilizing the patient just amazes me.

I've been reading a couple of other journals on here about nursing students or graduate nurses. Weird to have so much in common with someone you don't even know. One is talking about her careplans taking 9 hours to complete - I remember those days & don't miss them one bit. So time consuming & the grade is only worth like 10% of your grade. Oh well, those days are behind me...yay!

Kelly came by yesterday. She's working on an oncology floor. She seems to be enjoying it. She is one that has always known from the start of nursing school that she wanted to work in oncology. I have no idea how she knew this is what she wanted to do - especially when she gets grossed out by phlegm & vomit. Meanwhile, both Gina & I thought we would be in the labor & delivery area, yet here we are in progressive care and most likely eventually post-op open heart surgery. How did this happen? I made the decision because I think in the long run it is better to get experience in critical care. It's easy to go into labor & delivery anytime - not much changes in that area. But the demand for critical care nurses in the future is going to increase as the baby boomers start getting older. And if I'm going to be a travel nurse, I need to have the experience that is in demand. I haven't heard of too many traveling OB nurses. I'm sure they are out there, but I think critical care is the place to be right now for me. It still amazes me - I can't believe I'm a nurse. I had a guy ask me the other night "so what do you do for a living?" Ummmmm........I'm a nurse. It felt weird to say

Life is strange with its twists & turns. About 4 years ago (this month) I was laid off from my job at Federal Sign. Then I became a building contractor & now a nurse. What's next??? And one year ago this week Kelly's friend Dave passed away after taking a jog during firefighting school. I still can't believe he's gone. That was the last funeral I went to......I went to the wake to comfort Kelly & I ended up being the one crying & Kelly had to comfort me! They gave him a firefighter's burial - so many fire engines, police cars & ambulances. If you've got to go, that is the way to go out.

So here it is, January 2005, and I am a nurse. Go figure!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Ahhhhh.....EKG strips!

Day 1 of the EKG class is over - it is so confusing....atrial tachycardia, atrial flutter, atrial fibrillation. Tomorrow we learn all the others......ventricular & blocks & much to learn & understand.

Gina & I went to see the woman that handles our schedules. Gina let her know she needed a different preceptor - someone who was a little better with time management. And I volunteered to add an extra shift each week to my schedule (what was I thinking??). I figure the more I work, the more I'll get used to the routine as well as more money in the bank to pay my bills. Especially when I'm with a preceptor as efficient as mine is. I asked to be added on Saturdays....part of the reason is because the differential is 35%. Can't beat that. The cool thing with Gina changing preceptors is that we'll be able to work more of the same nights. It just makes it so much more comfortable having someone you already know around. We saw our 4th semester clinical instructor today. He was like "What are you two doing here?" He was surprised we were working there. He doesn't care for that hospital at all. Needless to say, he wasn't very supportive. Oh well!!!! I'm just looking to get experience - not make a lifelong career at this hospital.

My volleyball team won last night (as usual). We have 2 new players on our time - some guy & Buffy. They are cool. I played pretty well considering I only had 3 hours of sleep.

I should be doing my EKG homework right now. Instead I'm watching "House." I don't know why I watch this show - it is a medical show that is impossible to figure out & makes no sense at all. I should watch one of the movies I rented last week. I'm tired, I fell asleep earlier for about 2 hours.

I forgot to mention on my last post that Gina & I got to witness a code in the ER on Sunday night. The lady would code, they'd revive her, she'd get all fiesty & try to fight them and then code again. They called it "cycling." They ended up having to restrain her. I don't know if she survived or not. I wonder if I'll ever feel confident enough inmy skills to be part of the code team. I do want to get ACLS (advanced cardiac life support) certified - but who knows if I'll feel confident enough to take part in a code.

Ok, time to watch "Dog the Bounty Hunter" - one of my favorite shows. :)

Monday, January 24, 2005

It wasn't bad at all

I had a good night! First, I saw M.B. - the preceptor I had while I was in school & also the world's nicest person. She's Gina's preceptor now. I met my preceptor - she didn't seem too happy at the beginning to have me around, but that didn't last long. She walked me through her routine which is very much my style also - quick & efficient. We had 4 patients who were all relatively easy to care for. One of them made me a little sad - a woman that does not know she has metastatic cancer yet & it seems it has already spread to her kidneys & bones. :( She was so happy & cheerful last night - all I could think is what her reaction will be when the doctor gives her the news. This is the second time I've had a patient like that & it breaks my heart when they are eventually told such terrible news as well as having to go into the room & act like you don't know anything about the pending diagnosis until the doctor informs her. I also got to start an IV which I did on the first try! Go me, go me!

I have a 16 hr EKG class on Tuesday & Wednesday. I'm hoping after that class I'll understand exactly what a rhythm strip is reading just by looking at it. So far it still seems like a foreign language. Then I'm off until next Sunday night. I plan to spend a lot of my time off studying for the state exam. That day will be here before I know it.

I get to play volleyball tonight - yay!!!

Sunday, January 23, 2005

First night on the floor

I should be sleeping right now since I am working from 6:45 tonight till sometime after 7 am tomorrow. It's my first official night on the floor as a grad nurse. I will be meeting one of my preceptors. I'm not sure if I met her while I was in school or not. I guess I'll know in about 4 hours. I have no idea what is planned for tonight. Our schedule says we will shadow our preceptor. I'm nervous - not exactly sure why because it's not like I have no clinical experience & it's not as though I'll even have patients of my own. Not to mention I wish I didn't have to work tonight - I'd love to stay home & relax (my favorite hobby). But since that isn't reality, I should at least get a nap in before work. It is so nice working close to home as opposed to my job as a tech at a hospital that was at least 45 min away. Gina is starting her first night also. It's about one of the only nights we'll be at the hospital at the same time. Well, at least until our preceptorship is over in about 2 months. I am happy that I don't work on Monday nights. That means I can continue to play volleyball - my favorite sport.

Ok, nap time for me - I'll catch up on the details of my first night tomorrow!

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Orientation is over!

Ahhh, my hospital orientation is over. It has been a long week, but at the same time - it went by rather quickly. I got my schedule today - it covers the next 5 weeks. I'll be working two 12-hr shifts a week & have one day of class a week for new grads. I guess that's about 32 hrs a week. My first official day with patients is this Sunday night. I will be shadowing my preceptor (I think). Then on my second day I'll have more responsibilities. I'm a little scared which is probably normal. I can't wait for the day where it all just feels like second nature. I should (hopefully) pick it up rather quickly since I have had 2 years of clinicals during school at this hospital.

In our class there are only 4 of us - Gina, Tami & some guy on med-surg who is also a physical therapist. I have no idea why he would rather be a nurse than a physical therapist, but he is. He's pretty amusing - I think his name is Sonny. Class should be interesting & fun since my two "classmates" will be with me through it all. Tami scheduled her nclex exam for Feb 16. Gina & I are scheduled for Feb 28. We wanted to see how Tami did first. A couple of other classmates are taking it soon also. I'm so curious to see how they do. I just want it over with, but I didn't want to schedule it any sooner because I feel like I need to study a lot more first.

I saw my second semester instructor this morning - Mrs. Tucker. It was the first day of orientation for her new class. Ahhhh, the memories. It wasn't too long ago that I was a part of that. It's neat to look back & see how much we've learned after only a year & a half.

That's about all for now.

p.s. For the record, I don't believe the hype about the Brad/Jen separation. I think it's all a front so the pressure to have a baby is off of them. Gina disagrees - but we shall see what happens. As in everything - only time will tell.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Tomorrow's the Big Day

Well, tomorrow is the big day or should I say it's only 10 hours before I'm sitting in my first day of orientation as an RN. My mom decided to spend a few days here with me - helping me get the house organized & just catching up on things. I love having her around. We went to Red Lobster & had some "Rockzillas"....yummmm! For those who don't know what that is - it's a giant rock lobster tail. One of my favorites.

As well as starting a new job, I am also trying to get in better shape. I have been doing the Atkins thing for the last 2 weeks & managed to lose 8 1/2 lbs. I plan to start exercising tomorrow to get that metabolism working better. I've also stopped biting my nails (thanks to Gina's nagging). So many changes going on right now, yet I am feeling pretty calm & cool.

To those that left me comments on my first entry - thanks! I love y'all!

Ok, time for me to get some sleep!!!

My Last Free Saturday Night!

I guess technically it's not really Saturday night since it's 1 am on Sunday, but who really cares? It's my last free Saturday night before starting my nursing career (why am I sitting at home???).

I graduated from nursing school last December. I got the job I wanted, at the hospital I wanted, on the floor I wanted - woo hoo! Gina & Tami ("classmates") will also be starting there too - we are all on PCU - Progressive Care Unit. Orientation starts on Monday & lasts all week. Gina & I are trying to decide when to take the nclex exam. We've been studying a lot - so far we feel pretty confident in everything but neuro. I don't know if there will ever come a time where I feel totally prepared. I've heard plenty of not-so-good stuff about the nclex exam. Anyways, this is my first entry, hope you enjoyed it!!!