Thursday, October 31, 2013

Another Research Paper...

So a grey and rainy Hallowe'en Day finds me slogging away at yet another research paper.  This is my fourth so-called "scholarly" paper thus far in nursing school.  I imagine there will be at least a couple more to go, in the coming three semesters.  Bleah.

Its funny, this is one aspect that didn't even cross my mind when thinking about nursing school.  Rather, nursing school was all about anatomy, physiology, microbiology, and clinical rotations.  And I find myself writing scholarly prose about "delegation" -- fully referenced, of course. 

I get the importance of having nurses how are critical thinkers, who are aware of and able to analyze and discuss ethical issues.  I truly get it.  It is important, and I actually enjoy learning about it.  The writing of research papers, well, there's not so much enjoyment there, to say the least.

I've already earned a Master of Arts degree.  I've done a MA thesis.  I think I've proven myself that I can write and research academic papers.  My first career specialized in communications.  I wrote many, many press releases, backgrounders and statements for the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and a few even for our Prime Minister.  Yes, I can write -- that's proven beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Yet here I am, seemingly in a time-warp back in time, researching and writing a Bachelor's level research paper.  If I had to list a few negatives about being a 'mature student' or 'second career student' -- this would rank high on that list.

But I've never taken 'ethics in nursing' courses before, and writing these papers is part of the requirements.  Even with my previous education and experience, I can't see how they'd credit me by exempting the research papers.  That's just not how it works.  I get it.  That's OK.  It just doesn't make the task of actually writing the papers any easier or enjoyable.

Time to get back to my draft.  Its good to vent sometimes.  I'll probably be checking back in with another research paper-related vent next semester.

On a totally different (read: positive!) note -- my Labour & Delivery clinical rotation begins this weekend!!!!  That still feels completely surreal.  I am so excited about that.  This is truly a dream come true.  L&D was "the" specialty that tugged at me the most, in all those years trying to gather up the guts to quit my first career and launch into nursing.  Now, pediatrics seems to have me under its spell, but I'll wait and see what L&D is truly like.  If I could just somehow combine the two areas in my future work as a nurse...

Now, just a completed draft research paper standing between me and my dream clinical rotation!!! (That's a self-imposed deadline -- gotta try to motivate myself any way I can to get through the less appealing bits!)

Keep smiling!!!


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Last Pediatrics Shift Today

It was the best of times....yes, it truly was the best of times, these past two months.  Especially over this past weekend.  I had a day shift for both weekend days.  I had the same two patients.  They bonded with me and I could see an improvement in each of them.

One patient was at the end of his antibiotic treatment, and was a lot of fun today.  Yesterday, he was more distant and not really wanting to interact much with me.  Today, I pulled out my flashlight to get a better look at his IV site, (because he wasn't too keen to show it to me, and I didn't like the look of the colour, and didn't know if it was just a shadow or something more ominous), and that made all the difference in the world.  The flashlight had to examine each of his fingers, individually, and then his toes.  We had to count, to make sure he had all his fingers and toes, and we even checked to make sure he had his bellybutton.  My goodness, I love working in pediatrics sooooo much.  The kids are truly so much fun to be around and to work with. 

Even the sicker teenagers who are in pain, and their families present at their bedsides -- I just find a way to connect with them all.  Its such a heartfelt, sincere joy to be able to do so.  If any 'veteran' nurses are reading this, they may well be rolling their eyes.  But, I'm coming from a first career in the government that was definitely NOT based on human interaction and compassion -- being able to connect with people in this way, in the context of my work, truly means the world to me.

My other patient today was a little baby, whom I got some genuine smiles from today.  I got to sit in a rocking chair, give her her bottle, and softly sing to her.  My clinical instructor kept mentioning, yesterday and today, how much she seemed to like me and be so comfortable with me and not fussing too much.  It felt incredible.  I did something genuinely useful today (-- a feeling that I never had in my first career!)

A few years ago, I'd sit in my government office and watch a certain commercial on TV, from an American pharmaceutical company (I was in communications, so I always had a TV in my office).  It showed a male nurse giving an injection to a what looked like a pediatric cancer patient, and he sang a song with her as he gave her the injection, to distract her from the pain.  I would sit there in my office, with tears welling up in my eyes, as I so much wanted to be a nurse and to be in a position to do rewarding work like that.  Yes, I'm a realist, I know every day is not like that and that every shift will bring difficulties, challenges, stresses, and yes, even joys.  Well today -- I was that nurse in the commercial.  I practically had tears welling up in my eyes, to know that I'd had the courage to leave something financially secure yet that gave me zero career satisfaction and that didn't use a fraction of my personal talents that I have to offer, and go to nursing school.

Today totally validated any and every insecurity and worry that I had about my mid-life career transition.  It was scary as hell, yes.  But so incredibly rewarding in the long run. 

I love pediatrics, and was none too pleased when I had to turn in my badge today, at the end of my shift.  Next week, I start my maternity rotation.  I am very much looking forward to that too, yes, but I simply cannot wait until I can get back into my beloved children's hospital and continue my pediatrics specialization. 

Life. Is. Great.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Mini Break

We had a very short fall break this week.  Normally, its a full week off, but at least I got two days off from classes, plus Thanksgiving Monday, which is a national holiday here in Canada. 

I have my last two pediatric clinical shifts lined up for Saturday and Sunday.  Then I have to hand in my "nursing student" ID badge at the children's hospital (sniff!!!).  But I'll be back.

Truth be told, I am very sad to be leaving the children's hospital, but I'm also very much looking forward to doing the maternity/L&D clinical rotation that starts next week.  It was L&D that I was totally focused on as a specialty, when starting nursing school (and for many years before starting nursing school!).  Pediatrics may have derailed those plans, but honestly, I'm still very, very much looking forward to the maternity rotation.  It will be incredible.  Who knows, its maybe still a toss up between pediatrics and maternity.  I need a way to find out how to do both....

In the meantime, I have to concentrate on the here and now.  Our school has "intensive" courses, meaning we cram an entire semester into half a semester, by focusing only on one subject.  Its great to be able to have complete focus on pediatrics, but it also means I have a final exam looming next week, in the middle of the semester.  I still have so much studying to do to prepare for that.  It truly seem surreal to be studying for a final exam in the middle of October...but it is what it is.

Gotta get back to the books.  The weekend will be busy with shifts and my own kids.  This whole nursing school experience is forcing me to better manage what precious little free time I do have.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

5 more pediatric shifts

A well-deserved break is almost upon us, and it is desperately needed.  I'd mentioned before how much I had been dreading third year of nursing school, and now I'm in the thick of things.  I must admit, however, that all in all, its not quite as difficult as I'd anticipated (it never usually is!)

It is so busy -- there is always something to hand in, to prepare for or to be tested on.  That part is relentless, and we have to be vigilant and help each other remember all the details.  But it's certainly doable.  And the amount I've learned is staggering -- particularly during the clinical shifts.

Here in Canada we have our Thanksgiving weekend in October, so that is the reason for the little break ahead of us.  And combined with that long weekend, we also have two days of no classes.  So its just clinical shifts for the next week.  Oh, plus a ton of studying for the final pediatrics exam that is looming on the horizon...

I am so looking forward to having a bit of downtime to have time to play with my kids, enjoy cooking meals (instead of just getting them ready asap!) and hopefully getting outside a bit too into nature.  The fall colours are hitting their prime, and the weather forecast is simply beautiful for the coming long weekend.  We've gotta get out there and enjoy the moment.  Winter is just around the corner...

My pediatric care plan is finished -- that is due this afternoon.  I will re-read it and tweak it a bit more this morning, and go for a run.  I have three shifts in the next four days, so running is helping keep my sanity.  When you find something that works, use it!  :-)

I want to write more about the clinical rotations, but that will have to wait until next time.  They've been such interesting experiences, and my patients at the children's hospital have ranged from 21 days to 17 years, from failure-to-thrive to a skull fracture.  There's never a dull moment.  Sometimes I wonder how I'll ever learn everything I need to in the next 18 months -- there's just so much to learn.  But that will all come over time, I am certain. 

I honestly don't want this clinical rotation to end -- I don't want to leave pediatrics -- I've found my nursing niche. 

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!  I am so blessed in so many ways, and so very grateful for everything.

Future-nurse Kate

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Sim Lab

We had our first real simulation lab experience yesterday, with a baby Sim named Emma.

She was breathing, had O2 sats, respirations, had a post-op club foot, and even cried.  It was almost eerie how real she was, yet so obviously made from plastic. 

In next week's lab we'll be video taped as we do our assessments and care, and then we get to watch it and analyze it.  Oh yay.  I can "hardly" wait to see that video...sigh...

I remember once in my first career when I was video taped, in a media course.  In was a course in how to handle the media (like that's possible!).  The trainers set up a fake scrum situation, and we were in the middle of a throng of reporters fielding questions.

I handled the media part way better than I expected -- in fact I thought I looked very professional and calm and in control -- which was the opposite of how I was feeling inside.  So that was reassuring and has transposed to other situations in my career. 

But, the one thing that stood out in that media training video was my need for a new hairstyle -- or simply a hairstyle!  I remember calling my hubby and saying I was going to be later coming home that night, because I was stopping at the hairdressers for a haircut!  It's funny the things one learns from video...sometimes totally unrelated to the topic at hand.

And I should add, then next time I had a training session with a video component, I made sure to put on my best power suit, take time with my hair and do good make up.  And I looked great on that video (if I can say so myself!).

In next week's video, it'll be back to make up, scrubs and hair pulled back in a ponytail.  I'll have to do extra well on my nursing skills to try and overlook how I actually look!

Life goes on.  It'll be fine.  And can I repeat once again, how much I love being in nursing school and launching a new career?!?!?  :-)