Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Livin' the somnambulant life

I've been trying more valiantly than you might think to get myself here and update to no avail. Until today!

School is awesome. And scary. And exhausting, boring, amazing, strange and at times, disgusting as hell. In the last 5 weeks, I've surprised myself with how strong I am and thank my mom every morning for ingraining in me so hard the ability to face the hardest of situations with humor. I also love the camaraderie we've been building up. It helps to start reaching that comfort zone with people you see all the effing time.

I had a rough start, due in part to my stubborn insistence that I could help myself study as well as drain my own small pool of stores trying to help everyone around me that was helplessly drowning instead of treading water as I was. Last week, I had to have a self-intervention and let my friends know that while I would do everything I could to help them, we all had to figure out a different methodology. I was the only one prepping outlines, doing flash cards, the whole nine. Essentially, I was killing myself and not having any time to study on my own. I'm all for the group dynamic, but it wasn't working. So, I ease up a bit and bam! 95% on both my Pharmacology and Fundamentals tests! I feel like I've finally hit my stride now.

I started clinicals about two weeks ago. It's in a medium-sized hospital known in my city for not exactly being...the best in a lot of areas. Still, it's exciting to actually apply things we're talking about in class. I'm always especially exhausted after clinicals (our day lasts 9-10 hours), but am so awed by all that I've already seen. Last week, we talked about bruits/thrills in class; a couple of days later, my friend was assigned a patient with an A-V graft. The poor man had everyone from my class shuffling into his room, but he said he liked the attention. I tied my first restraints, did a very elementary assessment and have learned a lot about classroom training to real world doing. It's really neat. And luckily, I've worked with very patient and helpful nurses. One had graduated about a year ago and was giving me some excellent advice.

So, it's really worth the lack of time and the realization that I've no clue what day it is or the near-constant fatigue. Or that I'm verging on irritation or tears at least a couple times a day. I'm such a nerd right now. So, give me some caffeine and I'll go. : )

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I am excited. I am scared. I am, however, not taking drugs. But really, was she taking caffeine pills or actual speed? Because if it's caffeine, I miiiiiiiiiight have a problem.

Actually, at this particular moment, I'm physically tired, mentally alert and superficially sleepy, if that makes any sense at all. I made the mistake of letting myself take a nap this afternoon and woke up later in a panic that I have 2 chapters of Pharmacology and 5 chapters of Fundamentals to cover for tests Friday and Monday. Add to that a dash of BLS today, Skills Lab tomorrow (vitals, fun!) and orientation at my clinical site on Friday (along with that Pharm test I just mentioned), and well, I'm kind of overwhelmed. Not as overwhelmed as a lot of my classmates, but yeah, that doesn't help.

We also just got our first tests back. No one was expecting the questions to be so NCLEX-esque (why, I've no clue -- we'd been properly forwarned). I did not make a grade befitting my usual performance, but I also did better than about 2/3 of the class (we're talking tears in some cases), so I'm not complaining. I think now I get the idea of how we need to think for tests, not to mention that our professor said this was our "wake-up call". So, wake-up. I looked at my test, saw that I effed myself up on 90% of what I missed by judgment error. Yay for critical thinking!

I've just been texting/talking with someone from my study group about the possibility of finding places to study late/early (I'm talking after midnight and open by 4:00 for early). I don't want to make a habit of it, but I know there will be nights like this that we need to. In Pharmacology, we're working on routes, prep, admin, sites and etc. In Fundamentals, it's care plans, care plans, care plans. The way we've divided the work is that every person is responsible for reading all material alone, then each person takes a chapter to dissect and create scenario-based questions from. The study materials are individual choice. I'm partial to typed outlines and flash cards. It's worked for me so far. My chapter happens to be planning. Trying to pare down the material is tricky for me, but I'm managing. When I get overwhelmed, I walk away (which is why I'm blogging right now).

And, just for the sake of my own sanity, there are things other than nursing school that I love and remind myself of for about 0.5 seconds of the day:

- My husband is the best, most supportive, wonderful person ever. BFFF.
- If I didn't have an iPod right now, I would probably go insane. Really.
- It's September and that means Pumpkin Spice at Starbucks for Fall. (!!!!)

Okay. Me + fork = done.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Well, I will say this: I am thoroughly tuckered.

It's been a long, exciting week full of a mad rush of things. So far, I'm enjoying the classes, my classmates and the two professors that are currently teaching my classes. One is younger, was a rehab nurse and just received her MSN about a year ago. The other is a seasoned psych nurse who still works PRN at the local Big Hospital and also worked for my state's BON for a number of years. They're both different and like to emphasize different things for different reasons. So far, despite being overwhelmed, I'm happy.

I'm actually just taking a break from studying for a test I have tomorrow on nursing theory. I get that it's necessary to learn, but it is dry reading to me. We had a review the other day, set up Jeopardy style. I ended up with some decent cash, but not enough to earn the NANDA Diagnosis book that was 1st prize. Mine was a pen that looks like a syringe with some metallic red fluid floating about in it.

Up on the block for this week: aforementioned test, assessment, vitals and CPR certification as a class (I know most schools require certification before entry, but my university was finding that people who came in certified via work or whatever were expiring partway into the program, so this is easier for uniformity's sake). The week after, we have our first clinical date. I'm really holding back on the exclamation points here, guys.

Annnnnd, that test won't study for itself.