Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I'm Loving It

I am LOVING my time off. I get to sleep in (compared to 5:30, 7:00 IS sleeping in), surf to my hearts content, and then try to get something accomplished so that the day isn't a total loss. Right now I am finishing up Christmas shopping. There wasn't much to do, just getting around to the places without loosing my mind was an accomplishment.

I went to school yesterday to help unpack and sort books for next semester. I was thrilled to note that I only have one new set to worry about this semester. We get all of our reference books in first semester and then everything after that are the books specific for the semester (for me, Med/Surg). We got our tentative class schedules yesterday too. During the first week we learn how to start IV's...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It is finished

My 1st semester of nursing school is complete. I received a great evaluation and was told that I am in good shape to go into next semester. The rumor mill is that 4 people will not be advancing with us, far more than I expected.

I can't even begin to describe the feelings of relief I am experiencing at the moment. I think this picture sums it up...

Sunday, December 9, 2007

My Own Little World

I participated in a study group for our final. I knew the people in the group, but really haven't worked with them during the semester, so it was a bonding time.

For most of the semester I have kept my head down, ass up and kept out of all the typical squabbling/cliques that go on in this type of environment. I mostly did it because I immediately knew who in the class I wanted to stay away from, but didn't know their circle of influence.

So naturally in this study group I got to catch up on the class gossip and acted shocked at the appropriate times when classmates antics were talked about (but in reality it was just a confirmation of what I had already surmised).

That being said I received several comments this week along the lines of, "Where have you been all semester - we didn't know you thought that way?" and "How did you stay out of all of this mess?" Each time the answer was, "I was in my own little world." The best reply I got was, "That sounds like a good idea. Can I immigrate to it?"

Down to the final hours

Tomorrow morning I take my final for school. This time tomorrow I will be breathing a sigh of relief or they will be cleaning up the classroom because my head exploded during the test.

That means on Tuesday I go in for my final evaluation with my clinical instructor and I get my grade for the class. I figured out that I need a 5% on this final in order to pass the class, which means I only have to get one question correct. That makes it nice because I won't be feeling the pressure to do well on the exam in order to advance to second semester. Unfortunately, I can't say it is that way for all of my class. Some really nice people who will become great nurses are struggling. The main problem they are having is learning how to think the way they want us to think.

Oh and on Tuesday night... the husband and I are going out for dinner to celebrate!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Squatting at Borders

I have this whole week off in order to enjoy the full experience of studying for my final. Today I'm going to meet up with some of my classmates at Borders. We plan on raiding the NCLEX books in order to practice question answering. While I feel slightly dirty for doing this, there's a very good chance that I will walk out of there with some random book - therefore a win-win situation in my mind.

I'm in love with the man at the liquor store

Last Saturday I stopped by our local state controlled liquor store to pick up some vodka in order to make some vanilla. Anywho, I go up to the counter to pay and the guy asked for my ID. I instantly fell in love. I don't care that he has to card everyone who appears under 35 - he carded ME. I think it had to do with the major local university sweatshirt I had on more than my youthful appearance. Either way, I wanted to kiss the man on the lips, tongue - no tongue, which ever he preferred.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Clinicals Are Over!

This week I finished my first clinical rotation and turned in the last of my paperwork. Yahoo! Now I am studying for the final which is little over a week away.

I loved the second part of clinicals this semester. We were at a local VA rehab facility and I got to see some interesting things and work with some really nice people. Also, I LOVED my clinical instructor. She is a great teacher and no matter what dumb things I did, she was always encouraging, yet correcting me at the same time.

So now I am trying something different while studying for the final, I am actually working in a study group. I have always been against them because I felt that the quality of study wasn't worth it. However, I think with all the time I have available, I am more open to it because I can study with them and then do some on my own. Yesterday was our first session and I think it went well. I also found out a bunch of gossip about things I was completely in the dark on. In fact, one of my classmates said, "Wow, you never seem to be in the middle of this stuff." I told her it's because I completely out of the loop and have no idea of what has been going on.

Oh, funny thing while studying yesterday... the question that was read was about how you insert a tympanic thermometer in an ear correctly. One of the choices was read incorrectly, but nearly had us all on the floor. One of the possible answers was "Move the penis to get into the ear canal." It should have been pinna, but I liked the first choice the best.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Riddle Me This

There is a news story on CNN that has the headline, "Friends, family mourn 'good kid' who died after Taser incident". My question is, if he was such a good kid, why did he put himself into a situation where the police would Taser him? Discuss it amongst yourselves. That is all.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The light at the end of the tunnel

Three clinical days and a final exam are all that stand between me and the end of the semester. I start today studying for the final. There is a huge amount of material to review, so it is going to take me several weeks. I plan on breaking it up with cleaning out the room that will be our guest room. Over break I plan to redecorate it, since I will have the time. I will also be studying for the Nurses Aide I exam.

I've been doing clinical at a local VA rehab facility. I've had two clients who were absolutely delightful. This last week was the first week for giving medication. My client sometimes is reluctant to take his meds, and he tried to get out of them, but in the end I prevailed. Just before we went to lunch I had to give him some Tylenol and he missed his mouth. He performed quite a dance for me trying to find it (it was stuck in his clothes).

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Shoot Em Up

Now all that is left for skills check off is the injection. School policy doesn't allow us to stick each other, so we have to do it on a mannequin. I SO don't get the policy. We can't practice on each other, but it was acceptable for our first stick to be an elderly person. You would think that we should have given each other our flu shots.

While on the same subject, I got my flu shot today. The hospital conglomerate associated with my school gave us free flu shots. I was especially thrilled that she didn't activate the needle safety device while still in my arm. If you notice on the picture below, there is a button on the end of the shaft. You have to press it pretty hard to get it to work, plus it can pinch the skin when it retracts. Now, I'm not a fan of getting immunized, but I'm not afraid of it. The nurse today told me about a hospital employee who had to have two colleagues hold her down in order to get her flu shot, the employee was an RN!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Cathy can Cath

Today I had my skills check off for placing urinary catheters. I had to place an indwelling cath into a anatomically correct model. I was thrilled that when I opened my kit it didn't smell like grapefruit. I didn't want to have to explain that to my instructor.

The Home Stretch

We only have 4 weeks left for this semester! We have finished all the lectures and labs so all that is left is clinicals, tests and projects.

I had my midterm clinical evaluation. It went well so now we are on to the next clinical site with a different instructor.

Last week we got to go to a local long term care center (the new politically correct term for nursing home) and give flu shots to the residents. I did fine and no old people were maimed. I did feel like an idiot when my instructor pointed out that I couldn't understand my client not because of her stroke, but because she was speaking Spanish. So I said "Hola, como esta?" and wanted to say more, but realized the only other thing I knew to say was to order a margarita.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fruit Violations

Last week we had our elimination lab, which means we got to learn how to put in Foley and In & Out catheters. You really have to watch keeping a sterile field during these procedures and to remember that once you put your non-dominate hand in the field (nice way of saying - grab the penis) that it is contaminated and you can't use it until you are done with the insertion. This is a skill that I need to practice, so I had the husband buy a grapefruit for me yesterday. I figured I could carve it up to approximate the labia and urethra. I will never be a pornographic fruit carver.

Oh and the orange next to it... It had been shot up the previous week in class when I learned how to give injections. No fruit is safe in my house.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Penises For Everyone!

This should have been the name of my last lab. I was such an adult and didn't laugh when I walked into our lab room last week. There, on the table for each of us, was a plastic penis. No, this wasn't a porno, we had to learn how to put on condom catheters.

A Great Name for a Dog Continued

Atelectasis - failure of the lung to expand completely. Now keep in mind that I go to school in a state known for a southern drawl and some of my instructors put this drawl onto some words. So imagine if you will standing outside yelling, "Come 'ere ă-de-LEXUS".

Yeah, Yeah It has been a while

Fall break got in the way and then I just never got back into the swing of writing. But, it has allowed me to stock up on some stories.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Student Nurse All Thumbs

I think that needs to be my nickname. The past two days have been very challenging to my ego. I have quickly discovered that I am a whiz at theory and a klutz at practice skills. Clincials this week dealt with bathing our clients. Let's just say I think there was more water on me by the end than used on the client. Let's just not go into the first time experience of putting on an adult incontinence product... thank goodness we had a client with a great amount of patience.

During lab we learned how to give intermittent tube feeds through a nasogastic tube. It was a great learning experience for all my classmates... they saw all of the things you shouldn't do while giving a tube feeding. I will be practicing that skill next week on my own so that I don't a) pull the NG tube right out of a clients nose and B) cause them to blow up like a balloon from all the air I allow into their system.

Well, off to take a dosage calculation retest. You have to get 100% on it and I did fine with the math (you know - the HARD part)... I just couldn't remember how many milliters in an ounce. Luckily I only have to take a portion of the test again.

Plus this afternoon I have my assessment skills check-off. I feel pretty good about it, so hopefully my partner won't be catapulted out of bed when I start adjusting it for the exam.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Pain in the Pancreas

I didn't fall into a bedpan and get lost... Husband decided last week that his abdominal pain was bad enough to warrant a trip to the ER at {Big Name University}. Turns out that he had pancreatitis, so he earned a 5 day stay a Chateau {Big Name University}. Naturally this put a dent into my free time to blog, but everything is OK now.

For all you medical types you can appreciate this... his lipase on admission was off the scale at 4,000... man he's such an overachiever.

It Depends

I have some very funny and creative classmates. For the Rat's Ass class we have to read journal articles and present them, which we do in groups. One group today did a little skit about the various causes of bed wetting. Two people played the parents and the remaining four were children representing the various reasons. The four came into the room wrapped in a blanket and then the parents woke them up and the blanket was removed... they were all wearing adult diapers. Now that I type it, it doesn't seem as funny - but let me tell you - I will remember the article.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Laughed Until It Hurt

Last night the husband and I went out on a date (gasp!). Yes - we were out past 7 pm and it didn't involve a drive through window.

We went to see Emo Philips last night. If you don't know who he is, check out the website. He's on the order of Steven Wright... and if you don't know who he is, then I can't help you. The husband mentioned that if Bobcat Goldthwait and Steven Wright had a child - it would be Emo Philips.

Anywho - we went to dinner at the comedy club and then to the show. We were seated next to the stage so we knew we could possibly be part of the show, and we weren't disappointed.

Several times Emo said something about being weird and maybe it was just coincidence, but he looked straight at the husband. Later Emo asked him what he did, to which he replied "Software Engineer" and so Emo followed up by asking, "So are you a musician?" The husband said, "No (but the bastard pointed to me and said I was)", to which Emo replied, "I've heard that genius and music go together, but obviously not in your case."

Later Emo asked me what instrument I played and I had to reply that I sang (which I did about 15 years ago). So he asked me what my favorite note was.

Then Emo asked how many children we had, I said none. He told the husband, "Flip her over next time."

It was a great night and Emo is someone we have wanted to see for a long time. I will leave you with a couple of things he said last night that stuck with me.

"I always wanted to teach spastic children, but then I realize they learn it on their own."

"I like a smart audience. If they don't have a good time they think it is their fault for not researching all their entertainment options. A stupid audience just blames the comic."

And my all time favorite...

"My ex-wife who shall remain nameless.... if I am ever alone with her tombstone and a sand blaster."

A Leg to Stand On

During class the instructor was going over what would constitute nursing negligence. She gave an example of a double amputee falling out of bed and then suing for negligence. Naturally someone had to ask if the client would really have a leg to stand on.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Nursing Informatics: A Topic Close To This Geek's Heart

I did a quick gander this morning to my syllabus to see what is in store for today's learning excitement. Our schedule is set up that Monday-Fridays we have Fundamentals of Nursing and on Fridays we have what I like to call "The Things the State Says We have to Teach You, but We Know You Don't Really Give a Rat's Ass About." This has no reflection on the instructor who is highly opinionated and very funny at the same time. She does a great job with really dry material.

So as I was saying, I saw that today one of the topics is Nursing Informatics. I had NO CLUE what this is so I looked it up and found that "
“Nursing Informatics is a specialty that integrates nursing science, computer science, and information science to manage and communicate data, information, and knowledge in nursing practice." (ANA Scope and Standards of Nursing Informatics Practice, 2001,pg vii)

Here I was set to completely make fun of something and I ended up educating myself... not to mention the fact that we get to talk about data collection, computers and nursing - my trifecta!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Dr. Nurse

Last Friday, Dr. Whirlwind (the head of our program) came into class to go over the many educational choices we will have after we graduate from the current program. You see, I am attending a school where I will get a diploma from the school and an Associates in Health Something or other from the school where we did the pre-req's.

She covered the RN-BSN route - which she said was good if you don't have another degree. She recommended that if you already have a degree, such as myself, then going into an RN-MSN program is the better choice. I was already leaning in that direction until she mentioned that there are more RN-PhD and RN-DNS (Doctor of Nursing Science) programs starting up. Naturally that got my attention since I eventually want to teach at a nursing school.

Time will tell which route I will go, but the Husband said, "Hmmm... Dr. Nurse - I like the sound of it."

Meltdown Avoided

Since we had Monday off it has been a short week for us (like almost everyone else in the country). I anticipate that my normal Friday 11 am meltdown won't happen. It seems that I just hit the wall on Friday's around 11 am. At that point I have had enough and all I want to do is crawl under my desk and cry. Nothing sets it off - I'm just overloaded by then. I thought I was the only one doing something like that, but a classmate yesterday mentioned that by the end of the day on Thursday's and Friday's she and the people sitting in her row get really giggly and can't stop. I'm not in a "giggle kind of row" so my sign of being overwhelmed is the intense urge to cry for no apparent reason. I'm hoping that this Friday will be different and I can make it at least until 2 pm before it hits.

Don't worry, I'm fine - this is just the reality of nursing school. We have so much information thrown at us that after a while it gets a bit too much. The head of our program, Dr. Whirlwind (not her real name, she is just like a whirlwind - always around and doing something) said that if we can get through this program, everything else will be much easier to us.

The Uniforms are Here! The Uniforms are Here!

OK, so it doesn't have the same ring as Steve Martin exclaiming, "The new phone book is here! The new phone book is here!" in the movie The Jerk - but we did get our uniforms yesterday. Mine are proudly sitting right were I left them yesterday when I got home. I like my lab coat and am not that thrilled with giving it up to look like a glorified hotel maid. Once I get them out of the package and iron them I'll post pictures.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Talk about angst

We had our second test today. Testing procedure means that when we finish the test we hand it in and then leave the room. Naturally, we congregated in the break room comparing answers. I wasn't too thrilled with my performance and became concerned when I had a number of answers that were different from other students. We got our tests back in the afternoon and I was surprised to find that I got an A-. Apparently, those answers that I thought I had screwed up were really correct. Instead, I screwed up others :) Our next test is purely memorization. We have a list of abbreviations to learn and regurgitate.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Vital Signs Clinical

We had our first clinical this week. My group is at a nursing home and we were each assigned a rehab resident to take vital signs on. I was assigned to a cute little old gentleman who kept thanking me for taking his blood pressure. Let's just say he wasn't quite oriented x3, but he was nice and appreciative.

My favorite moment was while I was waiting for my instructor in the breakfast room with the other residents of the nursing home. One gentleman said something about all the different colors of pills he has to take and another lady said, "Yeah - we even burp in Technicolor."

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A week in review

Each day this week I tried to sit down and write an entry about something funny or unusual that happened in class this week, but nothing seemed to stand out.

I think off handed things my instructors said were more funny than anything. My favorite was:

"Don't do that, you will kill the patient."

We also had our first test this week and I did really well. It was a relief because I had no idea how the questions would be worded. Rumor from the second semester class is that the first two tests are easy and then they turn up the fire.

I need a map to find her answer

Friday, August 24, 2007

They weren't kidding

We were told that each day will seem really long, but then time will seem to fly by. That is exactly how this week felt. We learned so much this week I can't believe it. By the end of today I will have learned how to do a full nursing assessment. That's a lot of info to absorb in a week. Now we have to start practicing our technique. I have to go find an eyeliner so that I can mark up BB's chest with the various landmarks I need to listen to his heart.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Support Hose are Coming! The Support Hose are Coming!

I broke down and ordered some knee high support hose to wear with my pants uniform. I figured I would give the half ones a try before trying the full ones that go with the dress. I anticipate I will be wearing the pants set more than the dress. I have visions of bending over the wrong way and giving an elderly gentleman a heart attack from fright.

I also decided to buy an additional stethoscope. I bought a fancy shmancy Littmann and even though I got my name engraved on it, I'm not too thrilled with the idea of it walking off during a clinical. I ended up getting a cheaper model from Littmann to take with me to clincials (with my initials on the chestpiece) and I will use the fancy one for labs.

I also got a blood pressure cuff so that I can torment BB by taking his blood pressure until his arm turns purple :) Only kidding honey.. I'm told the bruising goes away rather quickly.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Earnest Naming

Today in class the instructor used a skeleton to demonstrate something and she mentioned that she gave it one name, but that we could rename it if we wanted. Now you would expect names like "Mr. Bones" or "Skeletor" would be mentioned. Oh no, there was a one second beat and then I think most of the class at once said, "Ernest"which was immediately followed by laughter. You see, Ernest* was our anatomy teacher's first name.

* Not his real name

Not a Man Down

I meant to post on Monday, we are not a man down. The student in question rejoined us after having some "coming to God" time with his wife and the head of the program. I don't know if it was a compliment or an insult that when I heard his voice and went to meet him and the first words out of my mouth were, "Holy Shit."

Friday, August 17, 2007


I absolutely cracked up (laughed, not had a nervous breakdown) in class yesterday. Our instructor casually mentioned that we will be doing physical assessments on each other as well as bathing. You think she asked us to strip down and do the hula right there and then! The SHOCK that we would be touching each other was highly amusing. Her response was "Didn't you think about how you were going to learn some things in nursing school?" The answer I think is, NO. What are they going to do when they find out they have to disimpact their first bowel?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Not much to report yet

I've been sitting in lectures all week, so there's nothing really funny to report. We have been assigned into so many different groups for labs, clinicals, projects, etc that when a fellow classmate came up to me and said, "I'm in your group and I have a question." I just looked at her with a blank expression and had to ask "Which one?"

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A Great Name for a Dog

BB has been contemplating getting an outside dog to scare away the deer that are consuming his strawberries.

He wants to name it Peeve.. so he can introduce it as his "Pet Peeve."

I was doing my reading last night and found another good possibility. I like the name Cerumen which means earwax.

Monday, August 13, 2007

My First Nursing Diagnosis

Today in class we covered how to write a nursing diagnosis.

I was driving home and as I was approaching my exit the car in front of me decided to exit too, however he decided to come to almost a complete stop just before the exit. It prompted me to write my first nursing diagnosis for the driver.

Immobility at exit ramp related to inability to get head out of ass in time as evidenced by the butthead driving the car in front of me.

I don't think this what my instructors had in mind for a critical thinking skill, but it sure entertained me.

And So It Begins

In little under 6 hours I start my first class. BB packed my lunch last night (thank you sweetheart), I finished my homework and I packed my school bag. Other than the fact it is 3:30 am and I woke up from a nightmare about searching for a charge nurse to report HIPPA violations, I'm ready to go.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Man Down

Well, the first student hit the dust. I had to go to school yesterday to pick up a book and ran into a couple of classmates. They told me that one of our two guys dropped out. He's got a lot of responsibilities on his plate at the moment, but I don't think any of us saw this coming. I'm really saddened by this because he is funny as hell and would have been a great classmate.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

It's too damn hot

I bought and put together two new fans because of the heat we are enduring. We have air conditioning, but with heat over 100 everyday and not much cool air coming at night, it just can't keep up.

I went today for my employee health appointment at the hospital. All it was about was a reminder for me to get the last of my Hepatitis B vaccinations in November. I immediately went to HR and got my ID badge made. At least now I have a student ID so I can get into the movies at a reduced price.

Tomorrow I have off from school, but I will be spending a majority of the day doing homework. I've got a concept map to make, read an outline, print a forest of paperwork and do a scavenger hunt a to familiarize myself with Blackboard (the online component of our course) for Monday. Then I need to write a paper, take some safety orientation stuff for the hospital and look for journal articles for Friday. Pretty light load so far I think and NO I am not kidding.

I also need to finish setting up my schedule. I have to make a master calendar so that I can keep track of where I need to be each day, what time I need to be there and the dress code for the day. Gone are the days when I could just do it on the fly because I could remember everything.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Orientation Day #3

The main part of Orientation is OVER! YIPPEEE!

Today they pulled out the big guns and we had our overview of the two classes we will be taking. One of them is strictly classroom based and covers the profession of nursing, history, current nursing issues and other effluvia. I think as a class we were overwhelmed by the amount of work needed for the class and underwhelmed with the realization there will be a bunch of group work.

Most of the day was orientation for our clinical class. We went through schedules, the syllabus and the myriad of paperwork that each clinical experience will require. For this semester we will be at a clinical site once a week, lab once a week and in lecture two days a week. While it doesn't sound like much, I think I will be killing a tree with the amount of printed material I will be generating.

We also ordered our lab coats and uniforms. By the end of the session, there were no secrets left as far as measurements were concerned.

The last session consisted of presentations by the various student organizations. I'm interested in the student nursing association, but I have to say the idea of being a part of student government is a bit too much like high school for me. Plus, the nursing association people gave us all penlights :) I am so easily bought.

All I have to do tomorrow is get my hospital badge (which means I get a discount in the cafeteria woo-woo) and go to employee health for a 15 minute appointment. I have no idea why employee health wants to see me, so this will be interesting.

That leaves me plenty of time to do my homework needed for Monday. More on that tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Title Change Necessary

It was necessary for me to change my blog title. I have found out that we no longer have to wear the caps. I have never heard such a loud sigh of relief when we were told the news.

There were several reasons why the caps were discontinued as part of the uniform. The main reason was that the students voted on not wearing them. They tend to get knocked off and they are an infection control nightmare. Plus, it was reported to the faculty that students from other schools during clinicals ridiculed the cap wearing students.

I have changed the title to include support hose because the director of our school spent at least 5 minutes extolling the virtues of support shoes. Thus the name change. Now if you will excuse me I have to go buy some.

Orientation Day #2

Day #2 is finished and I have no homework tonight! Yeah! It was a long day filled with HIPPA videos, hospital tours and not as much paperwork. It was a lot of hurry up and waiting. Considering the heat index was 113 today it made for a very long day.

Our clinical instructors gave us the hospital tour. During the tour we were warned about tomorrow. We were told we should bring some Motrin because they are going to fill our heads with so much information we won't be able to see straight at the end of the day. From what I hear, it is a good introduction to nursing school.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Orientation Day #1

Today one of my classmates said it was the first day of the rest of her life. She was right, we are all entering a new world.

The day was great. We filled out a LOT of paperwork today and listen to some people come in and talk about security, the chaplaincy program and my favorite: Risk Management.

Part of our clinical rotations will be in VA facilities, so we had to fill out all the paperwork needed. I swear I am not making this up - but I think I signed my name more times in the VA paperwork than I did on our last house purchase. We will also have to schedule an appointment to get our fingerprints taken. Got to love the government!

Tomorrow we go through the HIP PA lectures and we get a tour of the main hospital where we will be doing our clinicals.

Making this short tonight, I have to read my student handbook and complete some online education for the VA.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Math Hell

I had to take a "College Math" course as part of my pre-req's. I went in on the first night thinking "OK, we will review some polynomial equations, maybe a little trig thrown in for some good measure."

Boy was I wrong!

The subject matter consisted of us learning factoring, Venn Diagrams, fundamental geometry and other meaningless stuff. I think at least half of what we covered where concepts that I taught my 6th grade students 10 years ago. Please tell me we haven't regressed that much in the educational system. Oh and did I mention my favorite? Yes we had to do the dreaded "group projects". I was lucky enough to get a partner that felt the same way I did about the things.

Now this is a math course that is taught to future nursing students, so you think the metric system would be covered. WRONG. Why on earth would they have us study something we actually would use?

So putting the content of the class aside, the humor of the situation was the instructor.

Having come from an educational background, I have met my fair share of math teachers and they tend to have some logical thinking. This woman taught in the high school setting for over 30 years. Therefore, I figured she would understand the concept of teaching to your audience. That was so silly of me.

You are a math teacher and you are teaching adults who are going to be working in an environment where they need to be absolutely clear on what is going on. Therefore, they are going to be more anal and inquisitive than a 16 year old geometry student. This MAY mean that we are going to challenge your problem solving by coming up with multiple ways of getting something done.

The solution to getting the concept through to the class is not to repeat the same thing in a louder voice, the solution is to rephrase your answer or to listen to what our question might be and not what you THINK we are asking. Louder doesn't mean that it will penetrate our skulls with understanding. Louder = headache

It got to the point where I started to time the moment when she became unglued from the challenges to her logic and her inability to clearly explain concepts. Some days it was an hour, other days she lasted three.

Despite all of this I cut her a fair amount of slack like I do all my instructors. I understand what it is like, I've been there. HOWEVER, when you finally cross that line, it's not pretty.

The first night of class while discussing our research papers she told us we could either attach the reference materials we used (like it said in the syllabus) or we could just cite the resources. We were taking our final and she was grading our last paper we had to write. All of a sudden she says "Class, it clearly states that you are to attach your reference materials to your papers, some of you didn't do that." The immediate response was 18 people looking at her with dropped jaws and bugged out eyes. Keep in mind that we had already turned in at least two other papers by this point and nothing had been said. Naturally, one of the more outspoken members of our class reminded her of what she had said. The response was the typical annoyed, "Well, OK".

At that point she crossed the line - interrupting us during a test with this inconsistent drivel was the last straw for me. We get the opportunity to fill out surveys on the classes. Let's just say we could have roasted marshmallows with the flaming review I gave her.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

So many places, so little time

I found the following site that allows you to map out the places in the world you have been. I have a lot of work to do if I want to get into the double digits. It is going to be a few years before I can expand my map, but once I can.. I'll be hitting the double digits in no time.

A Few Words About My Pre-req Classes

This post isn't a funny one. It's an observation of my pre-req classes that I had to endure.

The nursing program that I am attending is associated with a college in my state which I have affectionately named Pickle U. In order to get the associates degree in health science that is awarded along with the diploma from the nursing school we had to take 18 credits with Pickle U. I could give a rats ass about the associates degree, I just want the education to be able to pass the NCLEX test after graduation.

Anyway, if you already have college credits you still need to take 18 hours with Pickle U in order to get this degree. So between January and June of this year I completed my required credits with the college. Now, I had to take Anatomy & Physiology, Developmental Psych and College Math (each class was held one day a week, at night for 4 hours each) because while I had classes that covered those areas, they didn't count for some reason. I took these classes with my fellow future nursing students, so a majority of the class was filled with people who paid attention to details and wanted to know what are the rules were so they knew what was expected. Let me tell you, I will be going to school with some smart people and I don't mean just book smart.

That made 10 credits I had to take, which meant I needed 8 more to complete the 18. So I chose to take online Art Appreciation, Intro to Computers and Intro to Business. Naturally, I LOVED the online classes because I could work at my own pace and didn't have to sit through lecture after working all day. However, I found one thing really disturbing with these online classes. There was a lot of busy work involved, but nothing really demanding or mind challenging. The classes were filled with half off campus people like me and half regular college students. I was astounded at the class averages for homework assignments and tests. Tests were always open book with plenty of time to take them, assignments were manageable but somewhat time consuming and logging on a few times a week to participate in discussion didn't take that long. Yet, the class average was always around a 72%. I took a correspondence class in college (History of the Reformation) and it was 50x's as intense as these classes. I can't believe how much the material was brought down to such a basic level and yet people couldn't rise to the challenge. The worst part is I had to pay for the experience in time and in dollars.

Now, my A&P class and Developmental Psych were great classes. I learned a lot and was challenged in each. I give full credit to the instructors who were consistent and realistic of their expectations. I'm going to save the math experience for another whole post. It was quite a trip.

So there you have it. The two classes I needed the most I loved and they had great instructors. I loved my Art class, but it was just busy work. The rest were a complete waste of my time and resources. I wish they would have just let me pay the money for the credits and be done with it.

Oh and lest someone thinks that I am bitching because I didn't do well... I got all A's. It's the first 4.0 GPA I have ever seen. I'm enjoying it while it lasts :)

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ya Sure, You Betcha, Y'all

Since I have some free time I met BB at his place of employment today and we went out to lunch. While eating we had a discussion about the Mayo Clinic. A few years ago we were up there and were so impressed with the staff because they really seemed to enjoy their jobs. BB asked me after I have my RN if I would ever want to work up there. Naturally, my reply in proper Minnesotan was, "Ya Sure, You Betcha!"

Later I remarked that maybe the only reason why he suggested it was to see how weird my Illinoisan with slight Southern influenced accent would sound after living there a while.

Jumping through Hoops

I think that nursing schools weed out some students just through their admissions process.

If you want to get into a nursing school these are the steps you might have to go through before you can step through the door:

Fill out an application
Get 3 (but I got 4) letters of recommendation
Go to the Post office and get a cashiers check for application fee
Get all of your schools to send transcripts (I'm surprised they didn't want one from my mothers obstetrician saying what an exceptional fetus I was)
Write an essay
Take an entrance test
Wait while the Student Affairs Committee decides if they want you in the school
Get sick to your stomach when you see the letter in the mail
Jump up and down when you read that you have been accepted
Freak out when you realize what you have just done
Go back to the Post Office to get a cashiers check for the admissions fee
Undergo a background check (This wasn't so bad, the background check to get my temp job was much more intense)
Take all your prerequisite courses
Get a physical with bloodwork and pee in a cup
Make sure our immunizations are up to date (I've had 4 in the last month - my body is SO not happy with me)
Get a TB Test
Pay tuition
Get stethoscope and shoes
Follow up with getting more things faxed from your doctor
All the while keeping my fingers crossed that everything that you mail gets to the school on time.

It has been like a part time job getting some of this done.

Now keep in mind that this was only one school and that in the beginning I applied to three schools. Luckily the one I wanted the most accepted me and I could jettison the other two schools requirements.

As of today I believe that I have everything in and I am ready to go.

I don't know what is worse

The fact that I had the time to find this clip or that I felt the need to share it.

Friday, July 27, 2007


A few years ago my father had open heart surgery. One of the complications from the procedure is that he has gone into into (afib) atrial fibrillation.

To correct the arrhythmia, he is sedated and then shocked with a defibrillator, which is called cardioversion. Since he recently slipped back into afib, he is scheduled for another cardioversion.

While talking with BB about it I theorized that we could have done it at home. I quipped, "Here dad, smoke this joint* and then hold these two electrical wires**." BB called it "Doobie-fibrillation".

Oh we laughed about that... and then I called my dad and told him our idea. He said it sounded like something the Mythbusters would have concocted.

* & ** in NO way am I advocating illegal drug use or electrocution. It's a joke people.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Breakfast, Beer and Baths

BB and I took a long weekend and went to Asheville, NC. The whole idea was to get away and just relax, so no - we did not go to the Biltmore.

We stayed at an awesome B&B called the Lion and the Rose. The breakfast they serve is outstanding. It filled us up so much we didn't need to eat lunch the entire time we were there!

The highlight of the trip was a visit to Shoji, a Japanese themed outdoor hot tub retreat. We did the 2 hour spa vacation. We first showered at the main building and then put on Yukata's (robes) and were lead down a path to our private hot tub. After soaking for a few minutes I found that I enjoyed just laying on the deck in the sun. The real procedure is to soak for 10-15 minutes and then either get into the plunge pool at the top of the hill or take a cold shower localed just outside our tub. Next time we are going to get massages. I figure they will have to pour us into the car when we are done.

Besides breakfast and a bath, we also enjoyed some beer. Asheville has a number of microbreweries in the area and we made an effort to sample various brews while in the area. They were all good, but since I seem to have forgotten which ones we drank, I guess I need to go back and do more research.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

We Are Slow, But We Get It Done

It is finished. 6 months, countless hours, a LOT of spackle, a few minor injuries and we can finally say the office has been redecorated. Between school, working and normal activities it has taken us a really long time to get this done. I can't even begin describe the amount of prep work that went into getting the room ready to paint and put the floor down. Here are some before and after pictures.

There was also a mysterious stain on the wall. I'm please to say that it has been eradicated and no longer graces our home.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I Am NOT a Morning Person

Day #2 of my vacation was as productive as the first. It's amazing the number of things you can get done when you don't work. This just seems like a long weekend rather than extended time off.
BB has been making fun of me ever morning. Normally, he has to drag me out of bed. Not the last two days... I've gotten up before him and even gotten the coffee and have been (gasp) in a good mood. There is something seriously disturbing about these events.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Felis Catus Helpus

BB has planted a garden this year and today we needed to blanch and freeze some green beans. Rochester made a point to inspect our work and help us.

So Why Do You Want To Be A Nurse?

That seems like a simple question, but for me it is a complicated answer. There are so many factors that went into the decision to go to nursing school that it is hard to distill them into a single answer.

Last night BB (AKA Big Brain, my husband) and I were talking about this very question and my difficulty in answering it without sounding like either an idealistic freak or a complete moron.

Information necessary to understand the rest of this story: For years I have wanted a dog. I understand the implications of ownership and the financial demands that accompany the decision. Therefore, it has just been too much of a responsibility for me to undertake. I decided that after I passed the NCLEX (nursing school boards) test that my reward would be to get a dog.

I have loved Basset Hounds forever and ever. There's something in those ears and stumpy legs that just melt my heart. I even love their stubborn personality. For years I figured I would eventually get a Basset. Whatever I get, the dog will have a job. I intend to train it to become a therapy dog. These are animals that go into nursing homes and hospitals to visit people. So keeping that in mind I knew that the Basset would be fine, but then I started to think about the Welsh Pembroke Corgi. They were originally bred as cattle dogs, so they have the stubby legs I love so much, a silkier coat than the Basset and they need a sense of purpose. Plus, they are SO darn cute!
Back to the original story:

BB made the insightful suggestion of saying "I'm going to nursing school in order to get a dog." I thought that was perfect. So now my answer is going to be "I'm going to nursing school in order to support my future dog." It is a short, true answer to the question. It sure beats the 5 minute lecture I could give on all the reasons.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Until Next Time

Today was the last day of work for me. I have been temping at a big pharmaceutical company for the past year. While the work was at times a bit like the movie Groundhog Day, the people I worked for and along side with were remarkable.

I believe that everyone who comes into my life does so for a reason. I think that I will take away more from this experience than I could ever hope to give.

It was a bittersweet day. I'm so excited for the break and for what I am about to start, but sad that I will not see my coworkers on a regular basis.

Sturgeons General

Yes, I know it should be Surgeons General, but based on some news reports it sounds like the people who have held this position fought an upstream battle.

Former G. W. Bush appointed Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona is accusing the Bush administration for interfering on issues like stem cell research and emergency contraception because it didn't fit their political agenda. Excuse me while I try to appear shocked by this news.

Nope... can't do it.

I found it interesting that he and two other past Surgeons General testified to political interference while holding the post. Dr. C. Everett Koop said that the Reagan administration discouraged him from talking about AIDS and Dr. David Satcher said the Clinton administration asked him to delay releasing a report favorable to needle exchange programs. In both cases the men released the information.

Will anything change? No way, it's Washington. Was it nice to hear someone admit that there was political interference concerning public health all in the name of defending a particular groups dogma? Yes.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Will it ever end?

I was SO hopeful that I had everything I needed into the school regarding my health forms. Alas, this is not the case, I still have to chase down some loose ends. I think I will be writing a post about the process of getting into nursing school. I think they weed people out just through the admissions process. I'm beginning to wonder if their motto is "If you can survive getting in, then you will survive getting out."

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Check My Subconscious Didn’t Want to Write

This week is the deadline for tuition payment for the first semester of school. I went there to pay the balance of what my loans didn’t cover. While I was writing the check I had trouble remembering the date, wrote the amount on the Pay To: line and desperately wanted to write on the memo line: OHMYGODWHATAMIDOING. Instead I voided the check and wrote the correct one. I don’t think it was the act of paying for school that gave me the trouble nor was it the amount of money. I think it was because according to the check book log, I write about 2 checks a year (thanks to BB, who does the bill paying and credit cards) and have lost this life skill.


In order to keep within HIPAA regulations and to preserve some semblance of discretion, I will be referring to my classmates, clients, family and friends by nicknames. This isn’t a far stretch considering that from the moment I started taking my pre-requisite courses at the beginning of the year I privately gave my classmates nicknames (always ending in “Nurse”) when talking to my husband. I realized after about 4 months it would be better to use their real names so when he meets them I don’t have to whisper their secret identity to him.

So, on this blog everyone will have a secret identity. So stay tuned to the adventures of Student Nurse Cathy X. Is and her classmates Real-Estate Nurse (sells real estate), Security Nurse (lots of security related jobs that if I talked about he would have to shoot me), Cake Nurse (she makes wedding cakes on the side) and Grey Nurse (she loves Grey’s Anatomy).

Oh and the husband will be called BB = Big Brain. This comes from a conversation with a coworker who was meeting men that were blessed with brawn, but not brains. I told her she needed to get a guy with a “Big Brain”.


I know that I have a difficult time keeping in touch with friends and relatives when I get going on something. I am the antithesis of “The Great Communicator”. So this blog is my attempt to touch base with people and let them know some of the more entertaining stories of my nursing school experience. Plus, it’s a good way for people to know that I am still alive.