Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Graduation Day

Wow, it has been a long time since I've posted on this blog. I'm happy to announce that I've graduated from nursing school!!! It's been quite a journey with literally blood, sweat, tears and other bodily fluids. I'll tell you all about it in in upcoming posts but for now, here are a few pictures from my graduation.

My Mom and I

My Dad and My Brother

Co-workers that have become great friends from my old job.

My family and I at dinner after the ceremony

Thursday, December 31, 2015

What I've Learned In My First Semester of Nursing School

Headache, nausea, and/or confusion is a side effect... for everything.

Honestly, I still can't believe I'm in nursing school. It took 2 years of prerequisites, no vacations, losing my job, but finally, I'm a nursing student. Now that the first semester is over, I'm more confident that I did the right thing and I'm where I should be. That feels good but it's not easy.

Lonely People
I had no idea how lonely so many people are in the hospital. Like most people, I've can only experience life through my experiences, but working as a nurse I'm able to get a small window into the lives of others especially when they are not at their best. I've seen patients die with no one at their bedside to say goodbye. Some patients would rather lie in a hospital bed amongst sickly strangers, than to be lonely at home. That type of loneliness breaks my heart.

The Killers
Just about every patient in the hospital is suffering with 1 of 4 things: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Diabetes ("The Sugar"), Congestive Heart Failure, or Hypertension. Each of those disease can be completely avoided or managed with corrective behavior. The first time I had to assess a COPD patient struggling to breath, struggling to expel sputum from their lungs, on a dedicated oxygen mask BUT still smoked daily truly dumbfounded me. Addiction is a powerful kind of bondage.

The Balance
Early in our lectures, we learned about the importance of vital signs, lab values, and fluids & electrolytes. If any of those things are not within a very specific range, something is very likely wrong with the patient... during clinical, you see those imbalances manifested. $hit gets real on the floor. Everything you learn about in your books is right there in front of you. Balance needs to be restored quickly. Our responsibility as nurses is to: help restore that balance for our patients but it's not easy. They're so many moving pieces.

And what about your balance? Our expertise as a professional? Our personal values when caring for a criminal or a rapist? Our ability to set priorities with compassion.

I knew nursing school was going to be a lot of work and so far so good. More than ever, I've come to realize just how delicate life is.

Take time to Love each other and Laugh at yourself because Life is a temporary situation waiting to fall apart.

Friday, October 23, 2015

10 Study Tips for Acing Nursing School

Yes nursing school is hard, BUT it's doable. I'm a firm believer that if you are of average intelligence and above average discipline, you stand a great chance at doing well in nursing school. Here are 10 tips to help you ace your next exam.
  1. Read before attending lecture.
    • If you can get the syllabus a few weeks before class read the first chapter before class starts. You are not reading for full understanding at this point. You are just familiarizing yourself with with the content and most importantly, getting past the word recognition phase of learning.
    • Skim the chapter by reading the first & last paragraph, the first two lines of each paragraph. The last line of each paragraph.
    • Pay special attention to bold, italic, or highlighted words.
    • Pay special attention to all tables and graphics.
    • If instructor supplies PowerPoint notes, read this before class, defining all words you're not unfamiliar with.
  2. If permissible, record the lecture. This will come in handy when you are travelling in the car, taking a jog, or doing chores at home.
  3. Take notes during lecture. If the instructor says something during class, it's usually fair game for the exam, even if it's not in your textbook. This is another reason why step 2 is so important.
  4. Within 24 hours, re-read the chapter paying close attention to the areas your instructor mentioned during lecture.
  5. Answer questions at the end of the chapter. Read both the correct answer AND the wrong answer to understand why it's not correct.
  6. Test yourself by doing practices quizzes. This is such a important step because it revels your areas of weakness before your exam. You can find practice quizzes online by doing a search or you can purchase books to test your knowledge. 
  7. Focus on your weakness. If you are strong in a particular area of study, there isn't much room for growth in that area anymore BUT if you focus on your weak areas the potential for growth is much larger thereby increasing your overall average.
  8. One week before your exam, start studying. Focus only on 1 or 2 chapters a day. Leave the last day free to take as many practice exams as possible.
  9. Get a calendar and schedule regular study time. Rule of thumb, schedule for 3 hours of study for each credit of class each week. So if your class is a 3 credit course. Schedule at least 9 hours of study time each week.
  10. Your brain, which weighs only 2% your body weight, utilizes 25% of the glucose in your body and 20% of the oxygen. Proper nutrition, water, regular exercise, and rest is very important. Slow digesting, complex carbohydrates and lean proteins are your friend. Brisk walking for at least 30 minutes, 3 times a week, improves your cardiovascular system which its the way nutrients & oxygen is delivered to the brain and the rest of the body for the sake of that matter.
For more details regarding these tips, watch HERE.

    Wednesday, September 16, 2015

    My First Week Of Nursing School

    Two year ago I started on a journey find a career that mattered. That's not to say what I was doing before doesn't matter, it just didn't matter to me.

    I was very grateful for my job. It was the way I payed my mortgage, put food on the table, and afforded somewhat of a comfortable life, but it was time to go.

    Today, I can officially say that I am nursing student. This first week I was a nervous, excited, and overwhelmed. Walking into lecture, I felt comforted seeing a wide age range of students. There's something about diversity that makes me feel relaxed. The instructors are all Registered Nurses, with teaching accreditation. Love that. Some of them are even graduates of the school.

    Our first assignment on the floor was about Professional Communication. My first patient was talkative which made it easy for me. We asked the patient a few questions and observed their verbal & nonverbal response. We also had to be aware of our personal contributions to the conversation (appearance, body language, tone, etc.) and how that plays a role in communicating. Being an introvert, I didn't realize how many people simply long for someone to talk to, even if it's a complete stranger.

    This is just the beginning and I have a lot to learn, but I'm also grateful for this opportunity and plan on making the most of it.

    Tuesday, July 14, 2015

    I'm A Woodworking Newbie

    Many of you know that I've been trying to get my house properly furnished for a while now. When we first moved into this house, we made due with the furniture each of us had from our separate apartments. None of it properly fit the layout of our home and none of it really blended well together.

    Long story short, I've been able to find good deals on living room and dining room furniture, but I'm most proud of the fact that I've made a few pieces myself. Yes, I'm actually woodworking. I found free plans on Ana White's Blog and I've been deep in sawdust for the last few weeks.

    I've never done any woodworking before so it was a challenge, but I was determined. I knew what I wanted, but the price tags for new pieces was way more than I wanted to spend. With a few tools and some time, here's what I came up with.

    Interested in the details? 

    Major Tools I used:
    Dewalt DWE575 7 1/4" Lightweight Circular saw
    Kreg K4MS Jig Master System
    Random Orbital Sander
    Powerdrill (I borrowed Hubby's)

    The Finish
    Coffee & Console Table
    Bottom: White Interior Paint (Eggshell finish)
    Top: Use a ratio of 1 part gray paint to 3 parts water. (2 coats and must dry completely b/w coats)
    Everything: Varathane Clear Satin Polyurethane (3 coats)

    Printer Stand
    Minwax Red Mahogany stain
    Clear Satin Polyurethane (3 coats)

    Wednesday, June 3, 2015

    Summer 2015, Let's Go

    A few weeks ago, I took my final for A&P 2. This completes my nursing prerequisites. I got a 92 on my lab final and 97 on my lecture final. Completing this last requirement is a huge sigh of relief for me.

    Working and going to school is never easy, but with focus and dedication it's possible to do well. My philosophy was to just go hard until the very end. That being said, I'm finished with this leg of the race and now, I'm on vacation.

    Hubby planned a little road trip to Maine and it's the perfect place for me to decompress. This is the first time that I don't have to be in class all summer long. It's kinda weird going so hard studying and then suddenly just stop.

    During the summer, I plan on making personal improvement: reading the science section of the NY Times, making two pieces of furniture for our living room; and reading about entrepreneurial projects.

    At any rate, this post is just a quick hello to let you guys know that I'm here, I'm well, and I'm looking forward to writing all summer long. It's going to be a great summer.

    Monday, February 23, 2015

    The Moment You Stop Caring

    Sunrise follows every sunset.
    I remember screaming at the top of my lungs about the letter I found cleaning up. I was beyond angry. The next minute, everything changed. He hit me. That was the moment, everything changed for me. I never felt the same and the decision was made right then and there.

    As I sit and write this post, common sense warns me not to be too detailed, but the other side of me remembers all the bullshit I want to discuss in vivid detail. Often time, too much is unsaid for fear of how it will make us look to someone that wasn't there and doesn't know exactly what transpired. How are people suppose to fully understand where I'm coming from if I can't give them the entire background? But I've also come to realize something else. I stopped caring.

    Have you ever been in a relationship and you've gotten to the point where you've decided that it's time to move on. You don't care what happens when you leave, you just know that you have to go. The consequences of you're departure is going to be difficult but you still have to leave. Your sanity is on the line. There is no other option other than to get out. That's where I'm at with certain parts of my life.

    It's freeing to know that no matter what happens, I don't care how slow I move, as long as I don't stop moving closer to my goals.

    On Thursday, I took the Teas V exam and passed. That exam was my last outstanding requirement needed for my nursing school application. Now I have to wait for a decision. I thought I'd be really nervous about waiting for the decision letter to come in the mail but surprisingly, I'm not nervous at all. I'm confident about one thing: the fact that I'm moving on. May it be this Fall or next, I'm moving on.

    Just like that past relationship, it's clear to me that I have to move on and I'm looking forward to the journey.

    *Fingers crossed that I get in though.*


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