Sunday, May 16, 2010

Jenna, Graduate Nurse (?)

Yes, on Friday at 1pm, I became a graduate nurse. Two BS's in 5 years - who would've thought I'd be that girl? I had so much freaking regalia that it was ridiculous. The hood (ugly yellow thing) that almost choked me, the unmatching purple Sigma Theta Tau cord, Fuld Scholar pin and then my (now lost) U of R nursing pin all made their way onto my black oven bag affectionately known as the graduation gown. Another surprise of the day was that I graduated Cum Laude... kind of funny when I think about it but not completely unreasonable. I mean, hey, if I can be in the honor society who says I can't have legit academic honors?

My cute little family, minus the sister, came to see this graduation! It was windy, but we look pretty good, huh?
So the next step is to pass the NCLEX (which ERI thinks should be easy for me). I'm taking a review class this week since my hospital pays for it and that will probably do the trick for me. I should be able to schedule my test sometime next week and then I'll be free until July 12! My new and fabulous roommate will move in sometime within the next month (whenever my current and fabulous roommate moves to her residency program).

In conclusion, this year was more difficult outside the classroom than in it. It wasn't the studying that was killing me, it was the people. Thankfully, the people that will be in the next stage of my adventure have been in the same boat. They are pretty good at what they do, especially when it comes to taking care of me (and bringing me Phish Food ice cream). I'm sure that we will laugh, cry, shop and compare our lives to Sex and the City for many more years to come.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Nothing exciting happened in the last 4 months happened so not much was missed. I survived psyc and research and am SO close to the end of med-surg I can taste it! We have our last day on the floor tomorrow and then alternate sites next week. Hello, cardiac ICU, here I am to observe! It will be interesting since ALL of my clinical experiences have been general. Yes, that's correct. Not ONCE have I been on a specialty floor. This JUST occurred to me. How screwed up is that?! Good thing I'm a motivated and focused little almost-nurse! I do have to say, though, that my mentor and her sleep research are pretty fabulous non-general things for me to play with. Who knew I'd like pasting electrodes to kiddos heads so much? Sleep research can be boring, but when a 2 yr old snores like a truck driver it's a little entertaining.

Now for the important stuff.

Oh. And I'm running a half marathon on 4/25.
Yup. I'm a .... runner.

It's not peds, but it is surgical. I am person who loves the idea of surgery. It's sick and twisted but I just don't care. The OR is my FAVORITE place in the hospital as an observer, although probably not as a nurse unless I was a scrub nurse/first assist. Everytime I've been there (oh yes, 3 times!) I've been totally enamored with what I saw. I think I missed my calling as a surgeon. Oh well, too late now! Eventually I might venture to the ED, but peds/surgical/ICU in any or all combination = love. I'm in the PICU for my capstone in April which will be more than baller. I love kiddos and families. Actually, I pretty much love all of my patients since I get to make them giggle at least once during our day. That, to me, is success.

What I want to be/do when/if I grow up:
1) A super fantastic nurse to my super fantastic patients
2) A super-super fantastic person
3) Love my job even on the sad gray cloud days
4) Learn something new every day
5) NEVER accidentally stick myself
6) Finally get that vegan cupcake recipe!

Someone told us this week that nursing is a profession that you're called into. The unit you're supposed to work on feels like home. I can't imagine doing anything else. I fell in love with peds and surgery from the second I walked on the floor.

Hello, real life. I'm ready! :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

First things first...

I really should put updating down somewhere on my list of things to do.

Okay - end of peds! Sim went really well. I was the bedside nurse for one of the scenarios and I felt like I knew what I was doing (kind of) and it wasn't too intimidating having someone watch me though a 2-way mirror. It was strange, though, getting to make all the decisions that we can only suggest when we're on the floor and then actually implementing an intervention (like medications or oxygen). I thought I was super great because I made a Barbie sticker covered incentive spirometer! Anyway- PICU! Jack and I were there all day and even past our shift's end! We went on rounds with the residents to see how care planning worked. It was neat since the nurse assigned to the patient we rounded on sat in as much as she could throughout the conversation and interjected with updates or suggestions. It definitely showed me that I didn't want to be a doctor since all they thought about was the right med dosing and vent settings. They really didn't take into consideration anything about the stress on the family or the child if they were old enough to communicate that. Kind of a bummer, really. So then we went to the PCICU (cardiac side) and it was really neat. Unfortunately there had been a code on the floor, so everyone was a little on edge and upset about that, but my nurse was fabulous about teaching me about hypoplastic left ventricle syndrome, which my little patient had. He had his chest still opened, but covered with a gortex dressing, to make sure that if he needed to swell after surgery (a shunt to redirect blood flow) his heart wouldn't get over loaded. So, after waiting all day, the surgeon came up at the end of our shift and decided to close the chest. Of course, I wanted to watch and had already asked if I could come back the following day to see the closure if it happened then. IT WAS AWESOME. I saw, in the flesh, a tiny, 10 day old repaired heart and little tiny pink lungs working inside of a baby. WHAT?! It was so amazing to see what his little body could do!

So, pretty much, that made my life.

Psyc is okay so far, but a little too much talk for me. I'm on a general adult floor so we can see any type of mental illness at any time. We had a few borderline personality disorders and bipolar manics last week, so time will tell what we'll see on Friday since we have sim on Saturday. I had a really great patient this past week who had no reservations about any part of her illness. She vividly described her delusions, hallucinations and behaviors. It was kind of incredible to listen to. She told me later that I should be a psyc nurse (an NP haha) because I was a good listener, organized and very bright. She was a lot better than when she had come on to the unit, so I think it was a good way to bring me into the rotation. I'm not totally sold on it, but I guess it's really only 7 more days on the floor.

I'm prepared to do a lot of busy work now that I'm in psyc (oh the perils of previously being a psyc major) so my plan is to get it done as soon as possible. I have an assessment paper due on Saturday or Monday and a care plan due after Thanksgiving, but I would really like to get them both done by Wednesday or Thursday since I'm doing them on the same patient. We do weekly journals (yay.) and have to do a write up for our alternative site and then a group support meeting. I've already been to AA for psychopharm, so I'd really like to try another group. We'll see how that goes again.

Finally time for bed! It was a great weekend, though, even if I did spend entirely too much money on clothes (some of them for psyc!) and brunch. But hey, there are only so many all you can eat/all you can drink mimosa brunches in the world, right?

Monday, November 2, 2009


So apparently all I want to do when I have free time is go on adventures, watch movies or play by play on (Really? What? Girls like baseball?). Pretty much I've left peds in the dust at this point which is super sad. We have SIM Wednesday and then I'm in PICU Thursday, so I don't even go back to my floor! The nurses were more than awesome and were great at teaching us what we needed to know. A week from today I'll have taken my last peds test and will be (not so excited but) ready to start psyc. Making a sticker hunt in an isoltation room is much more fun than reliving psychopharm and abnormal, but we all have to pay our dues I guess.

Our Halloween costumes were amazing on Friday! The Hocus Pocus witches were the center of attention :) I think Cassie's costum for Sarah came out the best since she actually looked like her, but the three of us as a unit were actually recognizable. Cassie and I got crafty and stitched things together (she made a skirt while I added extra sleeve and skirt bits) which was really rewarding... except for when I sewed it to myself. I blame that on my distress during Game 1. After adding those things on to the costume, though, I really should make time for the rest of my crafts! It was relaxing once I was focusing on my task. It somehow still seems easier to unwind with an otter pop and Mean Girls...

Wine tour last weekend was fantastic! I'm so happy I went because a) I love foliage and b) I love wine. We had great weather and lots of fun tasting different types of wine, some of which I purchased even though I can't pronounce (I'm not made to speak German). After we got back from wine-central, we went out to watch the Bears game (epic loss) and have pizza. The pub crawl with the men's rugby team(s) last Saturday made me want pizza more than ever after drinking wine and eating weird crackers all day.

3 weeks until Thanksgiving - yippie!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I am a delinquent

Last week was fun - I went on a NICU adventure! Each and every one of those little babies are so cute you can't help but just love them. I was able to assess and feed the kids that my co-assigned nurse was assigned (which was awesome - she was a great teacher) and I got really comfortable in our pod. It's funny that they call them pods, but kind of accurate. There are six babies max in a pod with three(ish) nurses to a pod, or at least that's what I saw when I was there.

Other than that, I've been plugging along in class and kind of counting the days until Thanksgiving. It's not so bad here, but it would've been beneficial to live alone. I am dreaming of such a time in my life. I feel like a two year old trying to assert my independence (sometimes). Once I figure out where I want to live and where I want to work, I think it will be a little less overwhelming. I'm going to tackle this issue on Friday with my Women's Health professor - woo!

I dragged my friend to Zumba yesterday and I think it made us better friends... if that was possible. We were in the back, totally lost and looking dumb but it was really fun! All of the lunging made my ACLs cringe (really, I could feel it). I think I'll be going barefoot next Monday - my arches were on fire during all of the tippy toe running/ponying. Not pleasant. It was a big class though! The goal for tomorrow, if this paper gets done, is to go to yoga and unwind a little. 20 minutes of meditation sounds peachy to me!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Alumni = fabulous

Who knew the class of '59 was so much fun? It was really great to hang out with a bunch of classmates that are still close even after 50 years. I think the secret, which one of them told me, is that they get together every year and have done so since graduation. It's awesome! Some of the women that came even ditched nursing after 10 or 15 years and do something totally different now. They all looked at us like we were crazy for getting our degrees in a year, though. (Rightfully so - we are a little nuts). But overall, it was an awesome experience to have while I have been freaking out about finding a job/choosing a specialty and generally having no idea where I really want to work.

After a series of really bad, not very fun runs, I finally had a rewarding one today(!). I calibrated my sensor earlier last week and discovered, much to my horror, that it was .22 miles off. Not cool! I went through the five stages of grief (with denial being the shortest since it was in front of my face) which probably fueled the bad runs along. But no more! I decided to do a time workout today and get my mind off the miles. Granted, I'm not going very far, but I have the race on Saturday to get pumped for a I want to do my best. There must have been a crew race today because the park I ran through was full of people. That was nice, especially since I decided to pick a different route than I usually go. My irrational fear of being ambushed on the trail was quelled for at least a little bit because of the crowd. It was also my first day running in the legitimate cold. I think I did okay, but the rumor is that it's supposed to snow this week and I'm not sure if I'm ready for that. The cold will be my biggest obstacle on Saturday morning, that's for sure. I'm going to try to go a little faster the rest of the week since I've been taking it easy post-horrendous cold. The only way to go is up at this point!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


So on my last day of OB I pretty much did everything possible there is to do on that service and then left for home. I saw another vaginal birth, put in a foley and saw another c section. It was pretttty neat. I liked lactation a lot and used some of the stuff I learned from them with the new moms that were trying to breastfeed. I felt helpful!

I had my first full day in peds today. It was really nerve wracking at the beginning since I wasn't sure what I would see. I had a fabulous little girl, though, with Down syndrome that had just had open heart surgery a week ago. It was great to go with her and her mom to see her echo and then have her be able to go home without any tubes! She was a total sweetie :) We had met a cute little guy the day before during our short orientation on the unit who was 8 and on continuous seizure monitoring so he was alert and chatty. He totally made my day! We played with him, gave him stickers and he showed us all his gift cards he had collected. This kid made me LOVE peds. I think my favorite age will be school age since they're chatty and want to show you everything that they can do. It was probably a good experience for him too because most of us had finished up with our own patients and had time to play with him in the afternoon. Given the chance, I'm sure he would've had us stay all day to play!

Alumni weekend starts tomorrow so I'm going to try to go to the lecture they're having on global health, and I've also volunteered to go to a dinner at the Roc science center Saturday night. It gives me a chance to dress up, have snacks and maybe make some connections. I am still freaked out since I have no idea where I want to work and what floor I want to be on (but peds seems pretty good) so maybe they could give me a couple pointers. We will see!