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 :)