Monday, September 02, 2013

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Life is good

Well, it's done. I graduated from South Plains College School of Nursing with an Associates degree in Nursing and passed my boards. I'm officially an RN and working on a Neurology floor at a local hospital. I stopped posting about school out of paranoia. I heard several stories about people being booted from the program for posting things on the internet, but I'll talk a bit about the rest of my schooling here.
Second semester was by far the hardest thing I've ever been through. It was stressful and I often had to go more than 3 days on literally no sleep. I wouldn't have been able to do it without Susan's help. We had two days of lecture with an exam every Monday, and clincals Wednesday through Friday. I learned so much, and I'm amazed at how much of it I actually retained.

Third semester was all about pediatrics and labor and delivery. It was amazing. It was more relaxing as the tests were more spread out and I was beginning to get into the swing of things. I got to see babies born, which was amazing and I'll always cherish being able to have been there.

The fourth and final semester was much like second, but it felt easier because I kind of knew what to expect and how to manage my time more. The clinical rotations focused on critical care and I loved it. I got a job on one of the floors that I rotated on.

I've only worked a few shifts on the floor, but so far I love it. Everyone I work with is awesome. I feel a bit like my training wheels have been taken off. That scares me because the first time my dad took my real training wheels off I rode head first into a tree. True story. The responsibility of holding people's lives in my hands is a bit daunting, but I'm proud, and I love what I'm doing.

I know it's brief but I don't know how much detail it's safe to go into, but that's it. I've just started my new career and what I feel like is my real life. And that life, as of right now is good.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Half way there!

Okay, so I lied. I said I was gonna post throughout nursing school, but it's sucked away so much of my time that I haven't had time for things like blog posting. First semester was kindergarten compared to second (I didn't think so at the time, but I know now). I had a lot of things go my way though.

The hardest, most stressful thing about first semester was lab finals. All through the semester we learned how to perform various skills. Everything from hand washing to inserting a catheter. We had to video tape ourselves doing it, then turn it in to be graded. They were really tough on things like sterile fields. If the shadow of your hand crosses something that's supposed to be sterile... FAIL! Fail more than twice then you are kicked from the program. That sucked but I got through it all. Lab finals was a sort of live test of those. You draw a scenario, and perform all of the skills on it in front of the teachers, who watch and grade you live. I lucked out and drew an easy scenario. I had to wash my hands, wrap a stump (amputee), clean a dry, closed wound (easiest one), and give some basic meds (two kinds of insulin mixed, a couple pills, and something else that I can't remember).

I bombed it... the only thing I passed was the stump wrap. I left a little spot of soap on my arm, so I failed hand washing. I let my hand drop below my waist (contaminating my sterile hand), so I failed the wound. I said the wrong number outloud after I drew up an injection, and therefore failed pharm. I was devastated. You only get two chances... if I failed again, that was it for me.

For the second try you draw another random scenario... I walked in and picked a different number hoping for the best. I was so pissed that I blew the first try, since it was the easiest possible scenario for me... now I was probably going to have to do an irrigated open, wet dressed wound or insert a foley with a specimen collection (not that that would phase me this semester, but last semester it was scary). I should have bought a lottery ticket that day because somehow, even though it was random, I drew the EXACT same scenario! Needless to say I nailed it... on to second semester, which I'll post about when I feel less lazy.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I just put that little video in because it makes me smile.

So I haven't been able to post because I've been really busy.... and sick. Anyway, this last week I was able to pass my first 4 skills. The first two were medical hand wash and isolation gear. We had to check off on these in front of a classmate who had demoed it a few days before.

Hand washing is weirdly more difficult than it should be. There are actually people who have failed this skill. It involves washing with your hands, elbows, clothing, nose, and everything in the right positions, not touching ANYTHING, soaping and rinsing several times, and more. I passed it, but was a little nervous.

Isolation gear was difficult for me because I'm so big, and the isolation gear we were given was made for tiny little nursing student girls. So, the paper gown part of it basically came apart at the seams if I moved wrong in it, but I still passed. The picture above is pretty much exactly what I had to put on (except the girl in the picture is not Justin sized).

The next was Asepsis, one big demo of two skills on video. An instructor demoed putting together a sterile field and putting on sterile gloves in front of the class, then we had to practice and individually record ourselves demonstrating it. I don't recognize myself on camera. I recorded, then went back to watch myself and all I can think when I see myself on tape are things like 'who is that guy?' and 'they picked a weird looking actor to play me'. I passed those too, and got it all turned in over a week early so that was a relief, and has made this week much easier. I had my first 'prelim' today, and got a 92. Prelim is just a fancy word for exam, or test.

I'm proud of myself, because I've had some sort of stupid cold / sinus infection throughout it all and have felt pretty bad. My symptoms are fading... so I'm in the convalescence phase of my illness (that's a fun word that was on my prelim). Poor Susan's been sick too, and she's had to work, so I think everyone should take a moment of silence in honor of Susan.... Okay thank you.

This week we're learning about vital signs, and I wanted to get a little head start. So today, I went and watched a video about taking temperatures with different types of thermometers, on various types of patients, and in different parts of the body. By 'in' I mean IN. I know I'm going into nursing, and I know I've got to see, touch, and do things I normally wouldn't want to do... but the last thing I ever expected to see on an educational video at school was various types of thermometers inserted into an elderly man's anus... with closeups. (shudders).




Anyway that's what I've been up to. Oh, we got new glasses, here's a picture:

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Coffee Coffee Coffee!!!

One week of school down. The first week started off easy, the first day mostly consisted of those 'getting to know each other games'... you know where you partner up with someone, learn some things about them, then tell the class about the person you met. We also had to choose an adjective starting with the first letter of our first names... then go around trying to name everyone off with their first names and adjectives... of course I got called on first and I'm terrible with names. My whole life I've hated this game because my only options were things like jovial, jiggly, jubilant, or if you aren't picky about the adjective, jumping. I chose Jerk Justin, I know it's not quite an adjective but I thought it was funny and so did everyone else.

After the first day lecture started. And all of the out of class reading and studying that goes along with that. I love lectures, especially when it's something that I find interesting so it was good. The only thing was, I didn't finish reading / studying until somewhere between 9:30 and 11pm every night so that kind of sucks. Skills start next week, in combination with lecture so the difficulty level / time consumption is going to ramp up substantially. We'll be learning 3 skills that we have to practice, and video tape / demonstrate on our own time. It's gonna be fun :)

I did find that getting up early, in combination with long days has unlocked a need for caffeine in me. Susan got me one of those Keurig coffee makers, and I am in love with it. Now I just have to find out which kind of coffee I like the most (there are so many to choose from).

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I went in today for my meeting with my adviser, which was fine. He just took all the paper work for my physical and everything, and talked to me about bicycles. He also said 'You better hurry to the computer lab so you can get your iPod.'

Now, there have been rumblings about a possible 'ipod', but I didn't really think they were true. I thought if it were true, it's probably just an iPod Shuffle with lectures on it or something. But I was wrong, I ran down to the lab, just as they were about to leave and was given a brand new 8GB iPod Touch! Neat! It's got a bunch of my text books on it, a medical dictionary / encyclopedia, a pill book, and a BUNCH more loaded on it. So not only is it a free, new toy, it's saving me a bunch on some of the books that I was going to have to buy! Anyway, that's all for now. I've got a meeting with my 'success coordinator' on Friday, then classes begin Monday at 8am. I feel like I'm speeding toward a brick wall, it's coming so fast, but I'm excited.

iPod Touch

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Nursing orientation

I think I'm going to try to blog about nursing school as I work my way through it. We will have to see though. The way everyone is talking, I won't have time to pee, much less write a blog.

I had orientation the last two days, which consisted of a bunch of really nice people (current students and instructors) repeating the phrase, 'I'm not trying to overwhelm you or anything' over and over right before saying something terrifyingly overwhelming. They went over everything to expect, told us to kiss our families goodbye for two years, fed us a ton of cookies, and said things that made me feel like hyperventilating.

What? You want an example? Well my books this semester alone will cost somewhere around $900. Yeah... that's what I said too. Some of the current students told me that we were getting it easy. Apparently SPC got a huge grant that's taking care of a large chunk of other stuff that I would have to be buying as well otherwise.

Another panic inducing thing was my schedule. On paper it shows me in class basically from 8am to 3pm Monday thru Thursday. I thought that was a lot (I've been a part time student for a few years), until they told us that lab is open until 7pm Monday thru Thursdays, and Fridays from 9am til 2pm, and we are expected to be there when the lab is open. The students also told us that if we weren't, that our chances of success were nonexistent. We were also told that trying to work while in nursing school practically kills all chance of making it through. Thank goodness my wife and our family are so supportive.

As part of orientation we had to break up into groups and make a 'how to' video. My group got tying a shoe, and it was fun. As it turns out, the uber realistic peeing catheter practice penises are really popular props... they make great telephones, 'packages' to be wrapped, additions to a baby being diapered, and more... My fellow students have odd senses of humor, which makes me happy.

Anyway, all in all I had a great time, met some really cool people who I'm apparently going to be spending most of my time with for the next two years, and learned a lot about what to expect. I'm REALLY nervous, but excited too. This next couple years is going to be crazy, difficult, fun, enlightening, and apparently uber realistic peeing catheter practice penis filled.
I'm going to try to write about it as I go along. Maybe some incoherent rambling, maybe some fleshed out insights... no, probably just incoherent ramblings. We'll have to see.