Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Trip

I can't begin to tell you how happy I am to be in Nursing School.

It's work. Boy is it WORK!

But it's good work. It's challenging, it's fun, it's crazy, it's hard work...Did I mention it's hard work?

Our classes and experiences have three main components:

Theory: lectures that happen twice a week for a few hours a day. This is your nutrition classes, learning about death & dying, grief, kidneys, incontinence, nursing practice and process, all the book-learnin' part of the nursing world. This is part of the process of training us to THINK like nurses, through sample test questions (we use iClickers to do surveys during the class to see what we've learned).

Then there's Supervised Skills Lab, where we learn how to DO things. So far we've learned vitals and assessments, and next week we have check-offs for intramuscular injections (IMs). You don't move forward until you've past check-offs. Period.

Then finally there's clinical -- Not "clinicals" -- Clinical.

In clinical, we go to an actual facility in our community, and under the incredibly watchful eye of one of our instructors/advisors, we give care to an assigned patient and help the other nursing aides and nurses on the floor. This experience is heavily monitored, and we prepare for everything hours in advance, so we know what to look for with our patient, and are well prepared in knowing what they're taking and what their needs are.

Today my first day was at a local Long Term Care facility. I had a 92-year-old grandmother who initially I was told had heart problems and a thrombolitic issue as well. She has fallen a few times, and as it turns out, the real crux of her problems were more related to her dementia than anything.

What an experience! My patient was very sweet and let me do things I needed to do (like vitals and assessments) and I helped her to breakfast and back, then I filed her nails and just let her talk for an hour and just listened to her train of thought go and go with pretty much nothing but dead ends. She'd say "There was that time I had a job and well, the guy there didn't know but I did. It's always just so...the people were good. They were up the road, and down the road. I never did understand what they were after..." Stuff like that. It just went on forever...and I just wanted to listen to see if there'd be any pattern or lucidity, but there wasn't much.

She reminisced about her childhood a little, and loved it that the LPN who gives her her meds left a post-it with a smiley face drawn on it, "He was HERE!" she kept saying, then would mention who "he" was -- either her husband or another family member, or her son who she said died in "the war" but not sure which one. "The war was over our heads up there," she said a few times. "I don't know what that means."

"That's ok," I said. "I don't either."

Anyway, it was a very interesting day...I was glad she was continent, but her roommate had trouble, so I got to help the CNA with getting her on/off the toilet and wiping up.

Oh! And a 96-year-old lady at breakfast, who was quite lucid and well groomed, came in and talked with the other ladies at the table. When I told them who I was, she said "I like your face. You have a nice face for a nurse."

When I got home I had a few more hours of cleanup paperwork, and we go back again tomorrow.

Fascinating, fun and fulfilling. Really, I couldn't feel better about what I'm doing!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Zoo Day

School has been crazy for me of course, but today I took Nora to the zoo so we could have a little time together.

We had a lot of fun, once she got fed every hour or two. For some reason, my super tall child (now 42.5 inches tall) is hungry all the time, and she asked for food or to go home (or to go home and have food) literally every hour we were gone today!
She had lots of fun though, and I got a few cute pictures.

Today when a boy at the zoo came over and said "HI! I'm Zack! I'm FOUR! How old are you?" and Nora said "TWO!" the parents almost spit their coffee out, since Nora was looking down on their son, literally.

When I clarified that she was three, it helped...but not much. Sorry, we're growing a tower. Or maybe a silo...

Friday, October 01, 2010

School Pix

Miss Nora has been SO good at school this week. I really couldn't be prouder. She went from all day/every day with Mommy during the week, to suddenly being plunked in school with virtual strangers.

I did prepare her of course -- we watched an Elmo video about school, and I think we saw a Barney episode too about it. As anyone with kids this age knows, the key is to pump them up, explain what to expect, and then get them a little more excited about it!

Nora is going to a little school near our house, which she calls "Sunnyside" (see Toy Story 3) and she thoroughly enjoys the other kids in her class.

Today Brian went to get her on his bike with the bike trailer, and they were packing it up as the kids came out to play and Brian said how the kids all said "BYE NORA!"

She is SO ready for this -- to make friends and be around other people -- it's just been an amazing week watching her blossom and come home with new songs and projects.

What a big step for her!

I am IN!

I am very excited to say that I have been admitted into the nursing school for my RN license!

It's been a ton of work so far this week, and on Thursday a guy dropped out who was really struggling...he has a full time job (nights) and a family, and couldn't cut his hours or face losing his benefits. He just really hadn't thought it all through, and the first week just chewed him up and spit him out. I felt so bad for him, just because I talked to him the very first day and he's a really nice kid.

He came in at 8 and was supposed to be in my clinical skills class, and I saw him come in with all his stuff and his uniforms, and turned it all in. I didn't see if he left or what he was doing, but when he didn't show for class, we all figured it out pretty fast.

A couple of hours later, I went to the admin's office in charge of all the "stuff" we need and asked an inane question about not having signed in yesterday, and she said "Jules? Come with me."

So they took me to the dean's office and said they had a spot for me, and out came 12 pages to read and sign, and by noon I was registering for classes and ordering my $600 of books.

I am literally exhausted from all the go-go-go, but I am VERY excited!!


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