Thursday, March 29, 2012

Always a student...

Well, I've worked on my unit now for a couple of weeks. There is so much to learn. I am working with the nurse educator to get ready for my ACLS certification. There are lots of meds and lots of EKG rhythms to learn. I was pointed to Dale Dubin's "Rapid Interpretation of EKG's". Man, I wish someone in school had told me about this book. It is really easy to understand and gets right to the point.

Earlier this week I went with a patient to watch a double bypass. There is no better incentive to eat right and exercise than to watch someone get their chest opened up because they didn't quit smoking, eat right, or exercise. However, IT WAS TOTALLY COOL to watch! After five hours in the OR, I was able to assist in caring for the patient post-op. I had only done some of the skills once in school, so it was fun to practice checking JP drains and drawing blood from the art line. I am so excited to be working on the cardiac unit. I'm pretty overwhelmed right now, but I haven't seen anything that I can't do with a little practice.

So far the most difficult part of the job is the schedule. Months ago, I accepted gig offers that now conflict with my work schedule. I've either got to get time off or back out of gigs. That's not good either way you look at it. The wife has had to adjust her schedule to pick up the kid from school. I can't wait until my mom retires at the end of April. She has agreed to help us out as much as needed. We're going to need it. Getting into nursing wasn't easy and getting used to a new way of life isn't easy for me or my family. With a bit more time though, we'll manage.

Until next time...


Friday, March 16, 2012


On the job front...I was finally called in for an interview for a cardiovascular ICU in a regional hospital about 45 minutes from where I live. I was amazed to finally get a call. I went in not knowing what to expect and was astounded at the patient population they have. The "team" mindset that this director and his staff have was very impressive. Their educational opportunities are never-ending and it sounds like a really great place to work.

The following week I received a call from the hospice company that I have been volunteering with. They had gotten to know me some from being in the office so much and had me come interview for one of their RN positions.

Both interviews were with a panel of staff members and I walked away from both places feeling very good about how things went. During my interview with hospice, I received a phone message from the regional hospital asking me to call them back. I wasn't very hopeful considering the directors tone of voice. However, when I called them back they offered me the position! WOOT! I told them I'd have to think about it (I didn't want to seem too desperate). The next morning I called and accepted the job. I still have not heard back from the hospice. That interview was three days ago. I will be calling them today and withdrawing my application and letting them know that I will still be happy to volunteer.

So now what...I am desperately trying to review some cardiac information before I start my new job sometime next week. I've already signed all the paperwork, peed in a cup for a drug screen, and gotten another TB test. Hopefully I'll get to start all of my orientations next week.

On an important side note... During my interview for the hospital, I felt like I said all of the right things. I was given several situation type questions and grilled about how I think I would fare in a CVICU setting and everything I said was truthful and appropriate. Normally I would have had real trouble answering questions like this but in such a stressful environment as an interview. A few months ago I was studying the book of Exodus. I have to admit I felt a bit like Moses talking to pharaoh. Everything I said to the interview committee just seemed like the right thing to say. It is amazing how God prepares us for life when we don't realize it.



So, it's been a couple of months since my last post. The day after I took my NCLEX, I signed up to do some volunteer work. I knew that I wanted to have something to add to my resume and to volunteer somewhere I could have direct contact with people. I figured this might help me get a job someday. I chose Meals on Wheels and a local hospice company. I have been delivering meals about once a week now since I started. I have to admit I am ashamed of myself for not having volunteered for something like this sooner. It is so easy to do and the people I meet are always very appreciative. It only takes about an hour a week and it helps so much. For my hospice, I had to go through 24 hours of training. That is understandable considering the nature of the position. I haven't been assigned a particular patient yet so I've been going into their main office doing some filing, stuffing envelopes and folders...that sort of thing. I did get the opportunity to sit with a patient last week while his wife went out for a couple of hours. It is really amazing how people like this will just open up to you. I'll be able to work on my active listening skills here. I am really looking forward to continuing my volunteer work.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Drum Rollllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll!

I am officially a Registered Nurse!!!!!!


Looked at my states Board of Nursing website yesterday morning and I'm liscened.

I've already changed my resume and everything.

Now, bring on the job hunt.


Friday, January 20, 2012

NCLEX Update

I took my NCLEX exam yesterday morning. Getting into the exam room was like trying to get into Fort Knox! We’re talking fingerprinting, pictures, palm-vein-scanning and the likes. I was not able to bring anything into the testing room such as a watch, wallet, phone, Kleenex (they provided that for me.) It took me all of about 2 hours including the tutorial. I had exactly 75 questions and then got the blue screen. I thought I was going to have a heart attack when I saw that screen pop up. This is what it said, “You have now completed your NCLEX-RN exam. You were only allowed to complete 75 questions because you are SO not going to be a nurse. Thank you, and good luck in your future endeavors.” Okay, it didn’t say that, but that’s how I felt. Some of the questions were fairly easy, others were really, really hard. I had tons of select all that apply. I’ve heard that’s actually a good thing because you are supposedly ready for the higher level thinking questions. I don’t know. There were meds on there that I had never even heard of, much less know side effects and reactions.

I came home and did the “Pearson-Vue” trick. You know, the one where you try and sign up for another test. I got the good pop up that says you are currently unable to sign up for this test. That’s a good sign, but I’ll feel better when I have that hot little license in my hands.

Moving on…it’s Friday and I don’t have a job to go to, no tests to study for. What am I going to do today?

I have NO idea. Wait I suppose.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

It’s only the most important test I will ever take in my life.

So, why so nervous? It’s just a test. Right? It should be easy. It’s multiple choice! What could go wrong. The NCLEX-RN is finally here. In just a few short hours, I’ll be setting in my own little cubicle with my earplugs duking it out with a computer. One on one. Mono a mono. I’ve been studying for this exam since after New Year’s and I don’t really feel prepared. There is so much information, it’s impossible to feel truly prepared I suppose, but I’m not sure how much better I would be if I had postponed the test. I decided against the big name review courses that cost $500 and chose to take the review online from the Board of Nurses website. I also have a really good NCLEX review book that has a disk full of practice questions with rational. If I could change anything, I’d do more practice questions from the BON website. They actually make up the test right. So, one would think that their questions would be more similar to the actual test. After a while you begin to see a pattern of the type of questions that are presented and how to answer them. Unfortunately, my practice test scores were not very good. We’re talking an overall average of 65%. I believe many of my peers from school were getting similar scores on these practice tests. I did manage to score 75% on the pharmacology section though. Maybe I should consider pharmacy school?

Am I rambling? I’m rambling aren’t I?

Anyhow, I have this crazy test to day that is hard for everyone who takes it. If you don’t know anything about NCLEX, the questions get harder the better you do. If you miss one, the question gets easier, but your overall passing score is determined by your answering the more difficult questions correctly. I have up to 6 hours to complete the exam, so I’m just going to take my time and pretend I know what I’m doing.

Be back in a few…..


Friday, January 6, 2012

An Update

I’ve made it through the holidays now and I still have no job. I’m not really surprised, but I can’t help but feel a little low when every family member and friend asked me if I had a job lined up. All the general public hears is that there is a nursing shortage. Well there is…IF you’ve got experience. Every hospital website I look at has at least 25 - 100 openings for RN’s, but they will only accept applicants with experience. I heard from a reliable source that one hospital had 15 positions for GN’s with nearly 400 applicants. That’s crazy! I’ll just have to wait my turn.

Speaking of GN’s, that is now my official title! Woohoo! My temporary license takes effect today. I wonder if having that would help my applications. Also, I took my state’s jurisprudence exam yesterday and passed. It’s interesting; some states have this and others do not. It basically covers the legal and ethical issues that come up for nurses. The Board of Nurses apparently isn’t there to protect nurses; they are there to protect the general public from you! So don’t screw up. The actual test was 50 questions (multiple choice). In general it was just a lot of common sense, but there were a few answers I had to look up on their website. Yes, it was “open book/web”. I paid $25.00 for their online study prep course. I’m pretty sure I could have passed without it, but I was paranoid about the exam and had the extra money. It helped I suppose. I was familiar with the information that was on the exam because of it.

One of my readers, Candi, asked if I felt prepared to work in a hospital. Hmmm, good question. A little background…I have absolutely no experience in the medical field. I hardly even knew anyone who worked in the medical field. After two years of nursing school I do feel like I can walk into a hospital with a fair amount of confidence. It’s amazing how much you will learn in a couple of years. However, nursing school is the bare bones! You only learn what you absolutely need to know not to kill anyone. There were so many times I wanted to study a topic more in depth. When I did…I ended up failing exams. There isn’t enough time in school to understand everything about everything. Understand the basics and you’ll do fine. I learned more on my clinical days than I did in the theory classes. Make sure you are prepared for every patient you see. If you get to pick patients yourself, never pick someone with a disease process that you have covered before. You’ll be forced to learn more that way.

That’s enough babbling for now. Oh, I’m studying full time for NCLEX, now. That’s way fun (sarcasm). I’ll post about that another time.