Nursing School

Fall is coming…

In two more weeks, I begin the battle to the end. Two more semester stand between me and the NCLEX. I know I can pass the NCLEX. I just have to get there (I’m trying to go in with confidence, knowing I will be a lunatic waiting for the results of the test to come back). In two more weeks, we start an eight week class followed by a week off and then another eight week class.

The best part of this semester is that we get Mondays off, so it’s only four day weeks. That makes my life a lot easier. Then if I have my preceptorship I won’t do clinical for at least part of the time because I would have to be at the hospital. We’re actually kind of in limbo about how the precepting works because we haven’t been given a lot of details yet. So patience is key here.

One of the things I’ve been contemplating is where I want that experience to be. We’re limited in where we can go, so labor and delivery is off limits, for example. This makes some sense but at the same time is limiting because that’s one of the places I’d like to get more experience. It’s not something that I have any control over though, so I’m moving on. We’re supposed to pick three places that we’d like to go and rank them in order. Currently, my thoughts are: 1) ED, 2) ICU, and 3) pediatrics (or PICU if that’s an option).

My decisions are based on a couple of things. First of all, they are all places that have critical care components and I really think I would enjoy that. I also feel like if I wanted to interview in an ED and I had experience in an ICU that would be better than just a regular med-surg floor. Secondly, they are all places that I feel like I would thrive. I generally do better with higher stress environments than I do in typical environments. This was apparent to me this semester when I had experiences off of med-surg and felt far more competent in those situations than I did on the regular floors. I don’t know why that is though. Am I just trying harder? Is it that those nurses didn’t know me and expected more (but the ones on the floor don’t know me either, so…)? Was I simply more engaged because there was more going on around me? No idea. All of these things are things to consider though. For the record, I don’t feel like I didn’t do well on med-surg, but rather I felt like I had a better grasp on what I was doing off of med-surg.

Either way, the time is approaching where we are going to have our little selves tossed out of the nest, so to speak. In one sense, I can’t wait. I want to get a chance to really experience working, especially in those environments. On the flip side, it’s a little unnerving to be told we’re going to be kind of on our own and expected to do this. I guess if you’re not a little bit afraid of that, you’re probably a fool.

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Life

Day Zero Project

Today I completed my very first task on my list. I ran 30 miles this month. In fact, I ran an extra half mile today after I finished my three miles because when I finished my total was 29.47 miles and I was like “What?!?!?!” So, I finished the 30 because I could. This has inspired me to look at my list again and see what else I could do.

The one that caught my eye (that I’m not already working on) is to take a picture of something for every letter of the alphabet. So 26 pictures, each one showing something starting with the letters a-z. I think I’ll see what I can do tomorrow. I realized that I have several photo challenges on my list. This is inspiring, for some strange reason. I have a point and shoot camera and I have my iPhone. I wish I had something fancier for this but I’m going to work with what I have.

I got two more books from the library, to continue on my way to read 50 books. This goal seems odd to me because I used to read all the time and 50 books would have been nothing but it’s been quite awhile since I read in any quantity so I am digging in to some series that I’ve started but not finished and looking at other books that may be interesting. I have some series that I’d like to start but we’ll see how this goes first.

I have a few Christmas themed ones. Obviously, those will need to wait. Otherwise, I have a strange list with lots of goals all over the place. Some are travel, some are food, some are just interesting goals, some are altruistic.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some editing on another chapter of fan fiction. If you’re curious, each chapter is less than a thousand words, so they’re hardly chapters in the normal sense but I have taken to writing short snippets and I think that I’m doing ok with it. People are reading it at any rate, so we’ll see. TTFN!

Nursing School

Grades matter but they’re not everything

There seems to be a great discourse going on within the nursing community of how grades and the ability of a future nurse are related. Of late, I’ve heard that it’s not all about grades (the famous C’s or B’s get degrees line) and that a great nurse isn’t defined by their grades. These things are entirely true. But I have an issue with the flip side of this portrayal which seems to imply that if you have good grades, you won’t be a good nurse.

Now, I honestly don’t think that’s the intended connotation. However, words carry meaning and when you repeatedly emphasize how a person being a B student or a C student can still be a great nurse, the other side of that argument quickly becomes A students aren’t good nurses because… well, the only reason I’ve heard is a lack of common sense. Seriously?? That’s just as bad as implying that a student with poor grades wouldn’t be a good nurse.

I will be the first to tell you that it’s damn hard to get A’s in nursing school. Those things should be celebrated for the achievements that they are. It’s terribly unfair to then turn that around and imply that because a person has a high GPA they must be a bad nurse.

Are there people who are bad nurses? Of course there are! But their grades have nothing to do with that. There are nurses who have straight A’s who are fantastic. There are nurses who barely make it through nursing school who are fantastic nurses. There are nurses who make A’s and are awful nurses. There are people who barely make it through nursing school and are awful nurses.

Let’s be real for a minute here. Nursing school is hard. This stuff is not for the weak of heart. There’s a ton of material, a lot of which is pretty complicated stuff because the human body is a pretty complicated thing. Then there’s the people side of it. Some people are just awful to try and deal with and nurses see people at the worst moments of their lives in many cases. And it’s not just the patients that nurses have to work with but their families too. It’s a job that requires both a huge quantity of knowledge and an ability to work with people. And that’s before you even start looking at different specialities within nursing which can be years of knowledge and still not even scrape the surface of what there is to know. Not every person in nursing school is going to be adept at both of those things. The best of us adapt and learn the skills that we’re missing. That makes us better. Some of us don’t adapt or learn new skills. But as in all things, sometimes people get jobs even when they’re not the best candidate.

So what’s my point? Be nice people! If someone is struggling, offer help. And sometimes there’s nothing that can be done. There are people who struggle with tests, especially the way these questions are worded. If someone is doing well, be proud of that accomplishment. If nothing else, they can be a source of help for you – they obviously know a few things. We need to spend our time lifting each other up, not cutting each other down. We will all be better in the long run if we support one another, in whatever ways we can. I mean, isn’t that what nurses do anyway?

Books, Writing

About writing

I can get attached to fictional characters. This probably sounds pretty silly to most people but it has always been true for me. I have been reading since I was very small and often those books were a place of refuge for me, letting me go to places that I couldn’t actually go to and meet people who might have been friends. Since I have always had a fairly creative imagination, I would think about what might happen to those characters after their book ended. Eventually, I discovered tv shows that engrossed me as much as my books and I would find myself contemplating what happened to those characters as well.

Somehow, I never thought about creating my own characters until I was much older. As much as I loved books and to write I never felt as though I was a writer. That was a purview for other people who were better at it than I was. In fact, throughout most of school I felt as though I simply wasn’t good enough at anything for it to be important or valuable. That’s how I ended up graduating from college long after I should have with absolutely no direction. I was lost. Mostly within my books because at least those people were nice to me. Which makes it sound like I had no friends which isn’t true. But often I felt misunderstood and like a background character. I had issues.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten more attached to characters because I can see so clearly who they are. I have television shows that I’ve watched now for so long that I know everything about those characters (two shows come to mind, NCIS and Criminal Minds) because I am invested in those characters. That happens when you watch a show for more than a decade, I guess. There are also books that I’ve gotten invested in, where I know those characters and love them. This to me, is very different from being a fan of a director or tv show. As an example, I am a huge fan of Kevin Smith. I’ve seen all of his movies. Some of them were not great but I still love him as a director. I am not invested in those characters though. I mean, I can tell you a little about the characters but I’m not invested in them. NCIS – that I am invested in. I have cried over that show (like when Ziva was killed or when Tony met his daughter). I feel as though I know the personalities of those characters and could write stories that involve them.

I mentioned yesterday that I was using fan fiction as a way to work on my prose. Mostly what I mean, is taking those characters and trying to learn how to be invested in them. Sometimes when I work on writing stories of my own, I have issues with keeping an interest in the characters, which shouldn’t happen since they’re my creations. So I’m working on finding ways to learn more about the characters when they seem to be at their worst. Fan fiction is letting me do that without creating a world for those characters because that world already exists. I’m just playing with it. I feel as though it may be working. I have written more in this particular fan fiction piece than I have in anything else. I don’t know that I have the character personalities down yet but I’m making progress. I’m trying to use their voices and speak as they would. Again, work in progress. But there is progress, so that’s good.

As a side note, I have almost completed one of my day zero goals: complete a 30 miles challenge. If you’re unfamiliar, the goal is to run 30 miles in one month. For a lot of people, this is probably a monthly accomplishment. I don’t think I’ve ever done it… maybe once when I was doing half marathon training but that would be five years ago now, so I’m not counting it. I’ve got about five miles to go for July and it’ll be done. I’ll actually run more than 30 miles but I’m good with that. It means I’m back on track. I took time off last week and only ran once so I thought I wouldn’t reach my goal but I have 6 days, so it should be doable. That would be my first official goal crossed off the list. Of course, I still don’t have 101 things on the list but I’ll add some more eventually. I’ve still got 2 years and 11 months.

Books, Life, Nursing School, Writing

School’s out for summer

This is officially, the beginning of ten days of vacation for me. I started my job just over a year ago and since then, I have worked every weekend and have been in school almost every week. So as of now, I am working on several things all at once. We shall see how successful I end up being.

First and foremost, I worked on cleaning today. That’s not to say that I haven’t cleaned in over a year but aside from little daily tasks like sweeping and dishes, lots of things get neglected day to day. So I scrubbed a bathroom today (1 of 2), took out some garbage and folded the laundry that had piled up. I have one basket still left to do but I thought I’d sit down and write first.

Speaking of writing, I have been practicing my writing. What I mean by that is I have been writing fan fiction (nobody needs to read that though cause honestly, it’s fan fiction). This seems like a silly way to practice but it really allows me to focus on things like prose and point of view without having to think about characters and backstory because none of that is mine. I have started a new story in my head but it’s in the very early stages of thought. Sooner or later, one of these stories will stick and I’ll actually finish one. I have so many bits and pieces that don’t go together, it’s kind of funny. Creativity is fickle like that, I guess.

I spent time working on my bullet journal. Not a lot of time, mind you but some. I got August going and while I have a few spreads to still work on I could put next week in if I didn’t get any further. I am still seeing how this new weekly spread works for me. It’s a little wishy-washy right now. That’s probably a result of my not being sure how to best use the space which happens when I try a new way setting up. That’s ok though. This spread may work a little better, in terms of functionality.

July is almost over. I’m not quite sure how that happened. I suppose the fact that I was in school for the first half of the summer explains it. I have started filling in my day zero project list but at this point it’s mostly books that I’ve read or planning for bigger things. I have been considering a few of my photo projects that are on the list. I will update that tomorrow. For now, I’m going to put away the rest of the laundry and then watch another episode of NCIS (because I’m watching last season and I’m LOVING IT!!!). See you in the am!

Minimalism

Six months into decluttering

As it is July, it has been at least six months since I started to declutter things. I thought I’d do a short blog about what I have now and where the decluttering goes from here.

The first thing I went through was my clothing. I have definitely trimmed a lot there. I now have two capsules –  a warm and a cool weather one. The warm weather one is bigger, mostly because the cool weather one was full of stuff I didn’t really like or had worn out. So as we come to cool weather again, I’ll be creating a solid wardrobe of things that I love. My warm weather capsule has 4 pairs of shorts, four t shirts, and four tank tops. I also have a pair of capris. My cool weather capsule has three pairs of jeans (they are three different sizes and I will assess in cool weather what fits the best and probably go down to two pairs) and three pairs of nicer pants. I may get rid of one pair that I’m not really happy with. I have three sweaters and two long sleeved tees. I need a few more of the long sleeved shirts since it’s not always sweater weather. I have gotten my shoes trimmed and again, may trim more but currently have a pair of converse, a pair of tan heels, a pair of black flats and a pair of tan flats. There are two pairs of boots (again, one more cold weather and the other for the in between weather). I have workout clothes and running sneakers for working out but that belongs to neither capsule.

I cleaned out a lot of bathroom products. All my makeup fits into one bag with the exception of six eyeshadows (the only ones I own). They can go in the bag but it’s tight and so I don’t have them living in there. I would like to trim that some more but so far I haven’t been able to. All of my hair stuff and the one bath bomb I have fits into a small drawer set that’s under the sink. Everything else is in the bathroom cabinet and the sink is cleared off. There was a lot of stuff on there once so I am very proud of how neat that looks.

I am still working on the food situation and making sure that the food gets eaten and not stockpiled. Progress is being made though. I also got rid of a lot of extra unused kitchen goodies. I can find everything now and even have empty cabinets in the kitchen. It’s a pretty joyous thing. I do need a mini muffin tin but I never had one of those, so it’s not like I got rid of one. Under the kitchen sink is also cleaned out and most of the stuff that had accumulated is in a place with other like things (I have one box of cleaning supplies) or it’s gone. There was a lot of old paint. The front bathroom has also been cleaned out and the closet space is neat.

There are fewer bookcases and most of them have empty space now. I’m still working on making what I have neat but it’s a process. Every time I go to one of them I get stuck trying to figure out how to consolidate but since they all hold different sizes, It’s hard.

At this point, I have some goals that would help organize better. One is to redo the closet organizing system. What is in there is just the wire racks that came with the house. I’d like to remove that and install a drawer system. It would be better way to store things and would likely mean the dresser could go away. The bottom shelf/rack doesn’t have anything on it, so it’s wasted and I think would look nicer with drawer systems in place. Getting rid of the dresser would also open up a lot of floor space in the bedroom, which would be helpful. I’d also like to figure out how to get all of the bookcases consolidated. Since I don’t know yet how to best do that, it’s on hold.

I would also like to get a stackable washer/dryer and change the laundry closet so that there is shelving on one side… or maybe open the kitchen up some more? That project involves moving a wall though, so it’s a long term thing. I also need to paint, especially in the living room area and put baseboard down (it’s been without for a long, long time now…) and fix the holes that are in one of the walls. It’s patched but it looks… bad. The living room needs work. I need to work on my drywalling skills. I don’t think that’s going to happen in the short term. One thing at a time right?

I’ll decide where to start eventually. It’s all part of the process. I am moving forward. I definitely feel less stressed with less stuff. Everything stays cleaner because I don’t have a million random things floating around with no real home. It’s easier to clean because I don’t have to spend an hour putting things away or looking for a place to put things because it’s already away. That alone makes life less stressful. Every time I get something else the way it should be, I feel a sense of relief and completion, as though it’s one less thing to worry about. That’s a good thing. I have also been able to see more clearly what needs to be done to get everything cleaned up. The house is messy and over the past several years we’ve discovered all kinds of issues and made holes that need to be fixed as we rearranged outlets. We also have found things that just weren’t done well when the house was built. The front door needs to be replaced as do the windows, which will help with energy costs. Little things that we need to do that add up to big projects none of which I could see well when I was constantly picking things up and putting them down but never making progress. I hope that makes sense?

Anyway, I’ll leave this here for now. I spent my morning doing nothing – relaxing some and letting all the pressure float away. Tomorrow, I’ll start work on whatever project is next. Three weeks… let’s see what can be done in three weeks.

Life, Nursing School

Welcome to summer break

I just got home from my final exam for my summer class. It’s an indication of how ingrained my routine is that as I unpacked my bag, I immediately thought “Ok, what do I have to look over?” The answer is nothing, as I am now out of class until August 14th. I had to stop and reflect for a moment because that was a true moment of surprise. It also reminded me that this journey has an end. This time next year, with any luck, I will have a new job. Wow… When I look back at the moment where I quit my job teaching and think about how much work was in front of me it almost amazes me that I can look forward and see the end.

It has been more than worth it.

For now, I am going to look at the next three weeks and see what kinds of stuff I can do in them. I want to try and get through at least three books. I have plenty of time for that. I also want to try and get ahead with some blog posts so that when I have exams come next time, I don’t have a big gap with no posts. I will do some bullet journaling and hopefully refine my newest version of a weekly layout so that it works for me. I may make another declutter pass and see if there’s anything else that needs to go. And of course, I have my day zero project list to work on.

Then there are the practice things like getting the house clean, going through the kids’ clothing and seeing what they need for school.

Today, however, is a day to celebrate. This break has been a long time coming. It seems as though I’ve been going nonstop for a year (there were a couple weeks off between fall and spring so I know I haven’t been but that’s how it feels). This occasion is momentous. I think it deserves cupcakes. 🙂

I’ll be back tomorrow.