Thursday, June 29, 2006

Approaching my last week before REAL nursing

In eleven days I will be a REAL nurse. I must say I have experienced a whirlwind of emotions between school, graduation, not getting the job, studying for the test, taking the test, passing the test, and finally getting the job. I'm DiVa, the labor and delivery nurse. It sounds sort of funny. I am finally a professional something. Now it is time for all of the concepts to come together. I am approaching this new experience with a little anxiety, which I imagine is better than cockiness. I am going into this experience with my eyes open.

The name of my blog has changed. A day in the life of a student nurse, (which after much consideration I deemed to be lame), then NurseDiva extraordinaire...in training! Which I found to be more fitting. I am a DiVa, despite all the whining I do, and I am extraordinaire because I am just so cute. But the one thing I that I think I am and always will be is "in training." As a nurse, I never want to get beside myself and think I know everything. To be honest, I don't know a whole lot. But I will always be bettering myself and striving for excellence. I don't ever want to be unapproachable or snobby. I am the same ole' DiVa that had to get public assistance because clinical was too demanding for me to work and go to school at the same time. The same ole' DiVa who had to give up housework for almost three years because she wanted to graduate cum laude. I don't ever want to forget my struggle. I am glad it wasn't easy, because I have a greater appreciation for where I am in my life.

Anywho, I am going to look at a house today. I want to rent a place that is closer in to the hospital I will be working. The public school system is really bad near the hospital, so I am looking at places within 20 minutes of the hospital. There are relatively good public schools in the suburbs, which we really need for my son's special needs. I imagine this would be the best time for me to move since my son is not quite in high school yet. Another reason for my move is because I think I need to get away from my family.

It seems like since people know that I am going to be making a pretty decent wage, they want to ask me for money. And they expect me to GIVE it to them. I feel bad saying no, but where the hell are they when I need a babysitter? Busy. And when I need money? Broke. I have goals. I have two children to put through college. They need things. School clothes, supplies and other life necessities. I am planning to go back to school here in about a month. Things are going on, and I don't want to GIVE anyone ANYTHING. Nobody GAVE me my college degree. I am paying for it, and those payments start just in time for Christmas. So hell no, get a job. I can't do nothin' for ya man!

I would like to get a nice PDA as my new job gift to myself, but I don't know where to start. I am also buying my own malpractice insurance, just in case. I have already bought myself two pair of nursing clogs at allheart. I couldn't pass them up because they only cost $10. They should be here just in time. I am going to get myself a new pair of glasses. Our unit colors are navy blue, light blue. So some new scrubs are in order. I am going shopping!

DiVa...It is important to accessorize!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The results of today's interview

Well, I don't remember if I told yous or not, but I accepted the position in L & D and I am supposed to start there in a few weeks. While I was waiting for the outcome of the interview for the L & D position, I received a call about a peds position. This peds position is at a prestigious hospital. They have state of the art gadgets and all of the sexy technology crap you learned about in healthcare informatics. I accepted the interview, and then the recruiter called and offered me the L&D job. I messed up the interview. I was early, which is always a good thing. I knew I was going to decline the job even if they had offered it to me for two reasons, 1.) I hated this unit while I did my clinicals there as a student and 2.) I already have a job and I was going to the interview just to be polite.

She began asking all those typical interview questions, you know the ones that start off like this: "Tell me about a time...(blah, blah)" "What are your strengths? Weaknesses?" "Why peds?" "Why our unit" "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" and I was like YAWN...(creativity?) So then she asked me something like what do I least look forward to about the job. I should have said wearing white all the time, but instead I told her that I least looked forward to being attached to a homing device (that's how they keep up with their nurses, seriously!) because it makes me feel like I am being micromanaged. She was pissed. Then she started saying things like "If I were a professional, such things wouldn't bother me and that it is used as more of a communication tool than anything else." So then I asked why does it tell you how long a person has been wherever they have been. Boy, I was really rubbing salt into an open wound. I stopped listening after a while because I felt like she was feeding me a line of crap and I was getting a little insulted. That was the last question. So then we went on a unit tour, and I suddenly remembered why I didn't like that unit. I guess I don't have to worry about it because by the time I got home, I had an email in my inbox saying that they were not going to be hiring me at this time. Whatever...

My L & D interview was really cool. I mean, the nurse manager asked me questions, but they were good questions like, "What do you know about OUR hospital?" "What inspired you to become a nurse?" "How would you like us to arrange your schedule when you return to school?" (without my bringing it up, they assumed I would be continuing my education.) "How can we better accomodate you as a new grad?" The nurse manager did most of the talking. She educated me about HER hospital and HER unit. She told me all the bad stuff UPFRONT. She challenged me, and how could I pass this opportunity up. Furthermore, this hospital insists that the nurses work as a team, and the physicians really value the nurses input. The nurses are included in rounds and they actually ask for your feedback on what you think will improve the patient's outcome. Incredible. The nurses have a voice, and that is what magnet status is all about. I HAD to be a part of this. (I know what you're thinking. You always get so optimistic and then something happens to let you down. Not this time.)

I am approaching this new job not to make friends, but to develop skills and settle into my role in the clinical setting. If I have associates with whom I share certain commonalities, fine, but I am not going to be trying to be lunch buddies with these people. I don't want to get caught up in the UNIT DRAMA. I just want to work, learn, develop therapeutic relationships with my patients and go home. Easier said than done, because we all know that some veteran nurse is going to do something to piss me off. But I am ready.

DiVa...interviews suck!

Monday, June 26, 2006

DiVa's latest adventure

While I was waiting for the results to post on the board of nursing's website, I decided to so something I had never done before. Sitting in front of the computer was making me crazy and I needed to get out of the house. I decided to go to Wendy's to get something to eat when I saw a sign that said blood donation today. So I said, Why not?

I went into the center, signed my name on the list and read the mandatory literature. I would say within about a half an hour, the blood tech came out and called me and the others back to do the interview. The first thing they did was get a set of vitals. Despite the fact that I was waiting for the results, and I was terrified of getting stuck, my blood pressure and pulse were normal as were my temp and respers. So then the tech poked my finger with the lancet and placed a drop of blood into a solution to see if I was anemic. Of course I was, but she was determined to get blood so she had to stick me AGAIN and put my blood into a centrifuge to double check. My H and H was 40, making me clear to donate. I had to answer questions about whether or not I have been exposed to Malaria and such. She asked me if I had ate anything, which I had not, so I had to visit the cookie and juice table before giving blood.

So then, I was really nervous. I made a trip to the ladies and returned to the room and reclined on a cot. A different tech placed the tourniquet on my arm and began to palpate for a vein. I am the WORST stick in the county. She was having a hard time finding a good vein. This is a common occurrence for me so I wasn't surprised. She called in back up. The other tech checked my right arm and found two veins. He asked the original tech if she felt comfortable sticking me and she opted to go on break. Fine by me. So I gave him a look that said "Please don't miss," and extended my arm. He warned me and inserted the needle. Not too bad. The blood began to drain down the tubing and into the bag. I was instructed to squeeze a red ball during the donation process. He said I could donate 600 cc's which seemed like a lot of blood! It took about 15 minutes to fill the bag. Afterwards I re-visited the cookie and juice table, filled out a questionnaire and left.

I felt pretty good about my day. In an hour's time I saved three lives. i would probably do it again and highly recommend the experience if you have the means.

DiVa...Conquering her fears one at a time

Friday, June 23, 2006

Contact Info

My email address is nursediva06@yahoo.com

Let's talk!

-DiVa

Thursday, June 22, 2006

I passed...

I was about to die. I can't believe it. Stunursedayton, I need you to tell me how to have this cyber party because I am officially a registered nurse. I can't believe it. All the crying and studying and just everything came together in one moment. I feel like I won the Grammy's. Now for my acceptance speech.

First and foremost, I would like to thank God, who is the center of my being. Even thought I forgot all the words to the Lord's prayer when my first question popped up, You still saw me through the end. With God all things are possible.

To my Mom

You always listen to my whining phone calls when I am unsure. You are my role model. It was your example that led me to nursing in the first place.

To my Dad

Thank you for being my father and giving me the extra cash when I was short. It is hard for you to understand the importance of education because you had a family to support, but I hope that you and Mom can experience this gift vicariously through me.

To my Children

You guys were my shining beacon of hope and my inspiration throughout the whole school process. People think that it is impossible to finish school with kids and even though we've been through alot, I will always be there for you. As long as I live. I love you more than life.

To my Ex-fiance

You are a bastard. There is no two ways about it. But you will eventually grow-up, I just can't wait. Anyways, thank you for watching the kids for me and for listening to me complain about the mean girls. Too bad you aren't standing by my side in this moment.

To my Ex-husband

Despite the fact that we are no longer together, you still rolled up your sleeves and helped. You have always believed in me and for that I thank you. I am so glad that you are still a part of my life.

To my friends and family

I did it. But it was not possible without your loving support. For all the times you kept the kids or listened to me cry, this is for you.


To my readers

This whole experience is surreal. I know that you guys don't always have alot to say, but I know that you are there. I know what it is to not know what to do next. When I lost my job in 2002, I thought that it was the end of the world. It was only the beginning. Stay true to yourself. Don't let anyone get in your way. And never give up on your dream. If you want to be a nurse, do it. If you want to speak Spanish, learn it. Don't let nobody or nothin' stand in the way of your dreams. My high school GPA was 1.6 and here I am a graduate of a 4 year nursing school. Living proof that it can be done.

I passed! I passed! I can't believe I passed! I didn't spend $400 dollars on a review course. I bought $30 flashcards and went through the deck once. I passed!

I love you all!

DiVa...BSN,RN

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I took NCLEX

That test was amazingly hard. I saw stuff on that test we never talked about in nursing school, at least not that I remember. Okay here are a few pointers.

1. Know your lab values by heart
2. Try to relax
3. Review the drugs, side effects and desired effects
4. Work on priority questions
5. Get a good night's sleep

Sigh...I feel like I failed. I got somewhere in the neighborhood of about 100 questions. Only one math question. (Thank God!) I had so many questions about communicable childhood diseases that I could have died because peds is not my strong suit. And that's crazy because I am a mother. I heard that they throw out 15 questions because they are experimental. How true that is, I don't know, but there is one thing I do know. I can find out whether or not I passed in 24 hours. Tomorrow cannot come quick enough.

A few hours later

I am back again. I am nauseated with the fear that I didn't pass. I have become a maniac. I am tired, but I can't take a nap because I am amp'd. I really need to chill out. I have already taken the test, it is beyond my control. I keep reading things on the internet about people who pass the test after only 75 questions and then I read stuff about people who pass after 265 questions and then people who fail after 92 questions. Questions, questions, questions. Then I read "I passed", "I failed", "I failed again". I am seriously freaking out. Damn if I had only studied a bit more. Why couldn't I remember that it is important to monitor urine output? Ack! Thanks to everyone for their support. I am going to keep you posted on my progress, cuz I ain't moving until I know one way or the other.

In the middle of the night...

It's two o'clock in the morning. I can't sleep because I am too worried. I should be able to relax, but I just can't. I spent the afternoon at my mother's house drilling her on the questions that I thought I missed and even some of the ones I got right. She's an LPN. Man I tried everything during that test. I even tried the Lord's prayer, then I realized that I was wasting too much energy trying to remember the words so I started answering questions instead. Ugh. This process is crazy. When my Mom NCLEX'd (yes, it is a verb) she had to wait two months for the results. It's a good thing that I live in a state that does quick results. If I fail this will screw up my timeline. I need to make some money, soon. And if I fail, I have to pay another registration fee. I hope that I am wrong about that. By the way, while I was lamenting over my responses on the test another hospital called to invite me to interview for a position in Pediatrics. Since I haven't officially received an offer from the L & D, I am going to interview. Better to have options I say. Alright, I am going to try and lay down. It is raining here so sleep should come easier.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The DiVa has found her place

It is looking like I am going to be a night-shift labor and delivery nurse. Who knew? I had an interview and it sounds like it will be a good fit for me. During the interview she actually asked me when I wanted to start working. Someone actually wants me to work for them. I am taking the big test really soon and I am ready, I think. Everything is going okay. I feel like I know what direction my life is going. The kids are spending time with grandma this week so I am feeling lost because my children have become a huge part of my daily routine. I'll be back to tell you about the big test in a few days.

DiVa

Monday, June 12, 2006

I scheduled my test

Ha-ha! I scheduled my test and I will be taking it next week. Ready or not. I am a little nervous, but I think that my schooling prepared me well. Now I will put it to the test. Nobody seems to feel like I won't be successful. The kids are out of school and enjoying not having to wake up at 7am. I too am becoming complacent. The house is coming along, slowly.

I put in a few more applications. I thought that it would be a good idea to jump right back into things with a new outlook. By the way, sorry if I am repeating, I found out that you can never tell a potential employer that you are returning to school in an interview. Unless of course you don't want the job. I could probably wait a while before going back to school, but then if I did I probably would never go back.

I have been trying to follow this routine to help me get my life in order. It is the flylady. (http://www.flylady.net/index.asp) I receive daily emails to remind me of what to do each day and how to keep my house clean and organized. Right now I am in the babysteps phase. I am also trying to incorporate the kids into the routine because my graduate studies will be nothing like my undergrad. We will be better and this house will never get like this again. Well, I had better get back to work, visitors at 4:30.

Always,

DiVa

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

I didn't get the job...

Will return later with specifics...

Back!

So I got impatient with waiting and I called the recruiter at the hospital and she told me that she would find out what happened as it has been about 2-3 weeks and I was told that I would hear something the end of this month. I said, "So I didn't get it?" And she said no and she would find out why. She told me that they decided to go with a more qualified candidate. Then she started trying to pawn off other areas in the hospital to me like I was hard up for a job or something. I felt like such a loser. Sigh...

I guess I waited too late to be thinking about finding a job. I was expecting a more secure financial situation at this time. Now I am a bit worried. If I wasn't good enough for them, how could I possibly be good enough for anyone else? Ugh! I don't want to settle, I refuse to settle. I have worked too long and too hard to just take what I can get. I have earned the right to pick and choose. I had just talked myself into the concept of being able to do this job. I took myself to the semi-annual sale and bought my favorite shower gel for $3. It can't hurt, I am already at the end of my money. I refused to cry and be depressed anymore. It could be worse.

Diva...Studying like a mad woman for NCLEX.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Officially authorized to test!

I received my letter that says I can sit for boards. I decided instead of taking the review course that costs $400, I am going to study with flashcards and schedule my first attempt in about a week. I bought the Springhouse NCLEX RN review cards (Third Edition). On one side they have the questions and possible answers, on the other side are the correct answer with rationales. In my studies I find that I am doing okay with the exception of the fact that I second guess myself. Or I find two really good answers and choose the one that is wrong. Same as in nursing school. The crazy thing is that according to the letter, I can get my results online in 24 hours (for a fee), but they won't be official for FOUR WEEKS!

Since graduation, I haven't heard from my so called "peers". I suppose that what they say is true about friendships forged in nursing school. They end in nursing school. I have been too busy wallowing in self pity anyway. About the middle of this week, I had an epiphany. Life changes are in order. I read a book about nursing school that I wished I had read before I went to nursing school by Kelli Durham. It explained so many of the issues that I struggled with, and one of the most interesting things that this book discussed was this mini-depression thing that I went through this week. It explained that after one graduates from nursing school, there is a period of time where the student processes the experience. Hmm, I am more normal than I orginally thought.

I went to visit my mother this week. She is in a really bad mood. I am tired of talking about my retarded auntie who came to visit for my graduation. My Mom is still dealing with the aftermath of the drama that she started before she returned to her home state. It's like, "Okay Mom, she's gone home and now we can all go on with our lives." I have already put that experience behind me. I am looking forward to the future. I am done grieving over my Ex. I am excited about my future and what it holds. For the first time in my life I have the golden ticket. I have a career, and the credentials to back it up. So, nah-nah! I still haven't heard anything about the job. I was a little anxious at first, but now I am just going to chill out and wait. If it is meant to be, it will be. If not, I will find my place. The kids will be out of school for summer in a few days. In the meantime, I will be enjoying my kids and cleaning my house. Hakuna matata...What a wonderful phrase!

DiVa...I have a career and a future!