Friday, October 16, 2009

A Bit of This, A Bit of That

Just wondering...

When you are a nurse, how do you define career success? Nursing is not a status symbol profession. Nurses are rarely singled out for doing a good job. The best of nurses aren't necessarily at the top. There aren't really hierarchical ladders to climb, no one gives us certificates. Our profession is associated with trust from the public, but it is not associated with public admiration or awe, like physicians recieve. If a business person fails to perform his/her job properly, they may not get a raise or a promotion. If a nurse fails to do his/her job properly, it probably means that a patient wasn't recieving proper care.

Success for me is waking up every day and absolutely loving my work. Success is always being professional, and always providing safe care. It is important to me to have a life outside of my job, and to be able to have time to take care of myself, my family, and my friends. I would like to make a difference to a lot of people. I really hope that there is more to life than paychecks, and fancy offices, and plugging in hours at work.

Is being average really a bad thing? What is "average" anyways? Is being memorable necessarily a good thing?
Any thoughts?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Giving thanks

Yesterday, for all you Canadians, was Thanksgiving. Today, I am overstuffed with a weekend full of turkey, dressing, carrot cake, carrot soup, vegetables, and ice-cream cake.

Traditionally, on Thanksgiving, you are supposed to reflect on what you are thankful for. Here are some of mine:

1) Almost finishing school, and entering a profession that allows me to meet many different people and positively affect their lives.
2) Having a boyfriend that is intelligent, passionate, works hard and is good at having fun too.
3) Long walks in the sunshine with my dog.
4) Hot baths and a warm bed after a long, busy shift. Actually, hot baths and a warm bed anytime.
5) A good, supportive family that loves me.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Hallowe'en Nurse

Since Hallowe'en is in a few weeks, I was wondering, what do you think of sexy nurse costumes?
Last year, I thought it would be sort of funny and ironic to dress up as a sexy nurse. This year, the more I think about it, the more I regret doing it. The whole concept of nurses being the target of male sexual fantasies undermines and demoralizes the nursing profession. It goes against all efforts to advance nursing from a subservient, feminized profession to a more independent and respected profession. Besides, when have you ever seen a male nurse costume?
What do you think?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Side Note

This is completely unrelated to nursing,
if you had the choice to sleep with any celebrity, who would you pick?

I would definitely pick Ryan Gosling. I loved him since I saw Breaker High back when I was in junior high, and he was really skinny and nerdy. And then I reloved him again when he got all hot-looking for the Notebook, which happens to be my favourite movie of all time. And when he was all sexy and teacher-y in Half Nelson, and nerdy again in Lars and the Real Girl. Plus, he's a fellow Canadian!

And my close second, which probably no one would agree with, is Seth Rogen. I think Seth Rogen is really, really sexy. Even back when he was chubby in the movie Knocked Up. I love his glasses, and his curly hair. And when he laughs.


Saturday, September 26, 2009


The lazy, warm, outstretched days of summer have given away to a cooler, less obtrusive season: fall. I love the vibrant colours of the trees and the crunchiness of their leaves. I love that I no longer have to suffer from the thick, uncomfortable humidity of July and August. I like taking long walks outside and the cool breeze and feeling like you can finally breathe. Fall is definitely my favourite season. The only downside is that winter is soon, and in Newfoundland, that means big snowstorms and shovelling, and scary driving conditions that lasts until the end of March.

We have a pre-test on Monday for our CRNE (Canadian Registered Nurses Exam). We take the test online, and get a breakdown of which specific area in nursing we need to improve on and study before we take the CRNE in May. There's a lot of graduation talk in my class. Who knew grad could be so expensive? My ring will cost approximately four-hundred and eighty dollars. We also have to buy our nursing pins. And the dress you wear to the ceremony. All on a student budget. Lovely.

Monday, September 21, 2009

H1N1 = scary.

Our nursing school is freaking out about H1N1.

It was mandatory to get fit-tested for a mask so that we would be protected working on the floors. Which, for anyone that hasn't done it before, is a completely weird experience. They basically put a hood on your head, a mask over your nose and mouth, and pump a strange substance (which tastes a lot like hairspray) into the hood. If you can taste it, the substance is penetrating the mask, and not protecting you.

If we feel ill, our professors tell us to stay home, and not bother with getting a doctor's note. Doctors notes used to be strictly enforced in our school, especially when missing clinical time or an exam! It makes sense, but it was so surprising to hear.

I am not sure what to think about H1N1. Some people say that it hasn't killed more people than other strains of influenza. Other people say it may mutate and become more virulent. To be honest, I haven't done much research about it. My only information comes from the media (not the most reliable source) which has done a good job at scaring the public and at scaring me. Are nurses prepared for this global pandemic? So far, almost 5,000 people have died. Am I prepared to enter the rooms of H1N1 patients, risk my health, and provide nursing care? I don't really have a choice, but it is scary to consider. And what about the vaccine - is it safe?

What do you guys think?

Friday, September 11, 2009


I just started a nursing course called Nursing Issues. Basically, we have discussions in the class about issues related to the nursing profession. Last class we discussed the ailing Canadian health care system and whether privatization of healthcare services would be a potential solution.

Canada is envied by a lot of countries for our universal, comphrensive, publicly national health care system. In reality, our system is actually mediocre compared to most. Basically, every resident in Canada pays taxes and those taxes help finance most medical services (this does not include dental care or medications). We believe that health care is a fundamental right, unlike the American health care system, where health services are viewed as a privldedge. However, many people contend that the system is inefficient and therefore "sick". Patients are not recieving the best care possible, wait times are long and extensive, and despite our governments spending lots of money, people are not actually more healthy as a result.

One solution to the problem is to privatize Canadian health care services. I personally hate when this idea is proposed. The purpose of a business is to make a profit, not necessarily providing quality health care services. I think patient care would definitely be compromised as a result. For example, in my province, there are private nursing homes. To cut costs, instead of hiring more expensive nurses to give medications, they delegate these tasks to employees that have absolutely no training with medication administration (like Personal Care Attendants).

Also, a privatized health care system means that those individuals with more money can afford to skip waiting lines for surgeries and for diagnosis. This may potentially cause longer wait times for those individuals who have less money and can't afford to pay for health care services, even though they may be more in need of them.

Anyways, enough of my rambling. I think what Canada needs is a reformed health care system, that focuses on health promotion and health prevention and less focused on spending money to cure illnesses (i.e. population health!). This is actually proven to be a more cost effective measure. We don't need shiny new MRI machines, we need new ways to educate the public about healthy practices. Besides, any nurse should know that modifiable factors such as environment and education and healthy child development (to name a few) are much more important than wait times or having access to the newest medical technology. I think nurses are in a great position to make these changes. We must educate themselves about these social and political issues so we can join the health care system debate as well. I think the United States is moving in a positive direction with their health care reform. Woohoo, insurance companies being mandated to pay for checkups and preventative care procedures. And thumbs-up to the it being illegal for insurance companies to refuse coverage becuse of a pre-existing condition!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I confess...

Ok, I admit it: I love going back to school.
I guess you could call me a geek. But that's okay. I pretend that I don't like it sometimes. Like on my facebook page, where my most recent status update is somewhere along the lines of "school starts tomorrow, so depressing". I love buying new school supplies. There is nothing like seeing sharpened pencils and perfectly white and square erasers in my pencilcase. I love binders filled with lots of fresh, blank loose leaf. I think that September is definitely my favourite time of month. It's like a blank slate, where you can't start new again (I feel this more so in September than January). And my second big confession: I don't really find nursing school that stressful. I know most people wouldn't agree, but I actually don't mind sitting in the sofa for a whole afternoon in our library reading over my notes.
This is my last year of school. Which means that this is my last year for school supplies, blank slates, and studying. I think I am definitely going to miss it. Which leads me to believe that I'll probably do some post-graduate program. I am really interested in the nurse practitioner program, and would love to specialize in medical-surgical nursing. However, I am not naive enough to believe that once I recieve my nursing degree I will know everything, so I am going to try to get atleast five or so years of experience first. And then I'll be back to the books.

Friday, September 4, 2009

I love nursing shows!

Have any of you guys seen the preview for the new NBC show Mercy? I'm really excited about watching it! I don't care if nursing dramas don't necessarily accurately reflect the nursing profession, but no more than House is a realistic portrayl of medicine. I'm sick of shows like House or Grey's Anatomy pretending that nurses don't exist in hospitals. I've watched lots physician characters give out medications on several episodes (since when do doctors actually do that?). And I love the actresses in Mercy, they are actually young, not like Nurse Jackie whose main actress is in her 40's or 50's. Plus, according to Michelle Trachtenberg, who plays one of the main characters, the show isn't supposed to be gimmicky which is cool.

Less than a week until school starts.

Scarryy! I miss my summer!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Real vs. Fantasy Nurse

I think there is a point in every nursing student or perhaps graduate nurse's career where one comes to the realization that nursing is not what they thought it was going to be. This realization is not much different from the fantasy-turned-reality awakenings that occur in other stages of life: that getting your drivers liscence does not necessarily equal unlimited freedom, or that first love does always not mean happily-ever-after.
Like with most careers, I doubt many people who decide they want to be nurses have ever had a proper introduction to what nursing entails. My idea of nursing was more fantasy than reality based. I read Atonement by Ian McEwan, and swooned over Briony taking care of injured soldiers. And I read lots of Cherry Ames books, and even Chicken Soup for the Nurses Soul. I fantasized about myself selfishly slaving by the bedside, selfishly assisting sick and needy patients in their recovery. And usually (I am ashamed to admit) my fantasies included wearing a starched white uniform and a white nursing cap, like the pictures I had seen of my mother when she was in nursing school.
I guess my real reality awakening occured my first year of nursing school, when all the nurses that knew my mother discouraged me into being a nurse. And my second probably came during my preceptorship, when I worked for eight weeks on a surgical floor. A lot of the nurses seemed tired and jaded and that was a little dissapointing.
I hope that I can always find new ways to be excited and reinterested in my career. I know there is lots of nurses who still love their work, and can't wait to be back to the bedside. I would like to know their secret.
school is soon...the summer is over, and I can't wait until fourth year!! I am almost finished! Nursing school went by so fast, like a blur. Scary stuff.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


My boyfriend is going away to Osgoode Law School in Toronto in ten days. His degree will take three years to finish. In February, I have to do a ten week independent clinical, and since I can do it anywhere nationally or internationally I would like to go to Toronto and stay with my boyfriend.

I am from Newfoundland, which is a large island approximately 2129 kilometres, or 1323 miles away from Toronto. For any readers who have never heard of Newfoundland, it is Canada's most easterly and newest province. We are known for our whales, icebergs, unique irish/english dialect, and friendliness. Although St. John's is technically a city, there are no sky-scraper buildings or big, noisy crowds. There is no smog, and you can see a sky full of stars on a clear night. Like most small towns, everyone pretty much knows everyone else.

Newfoundland is completely different from Toronto, which is Canada's most populated city. It is busy, crowded, and full of smog. However, it is one of the safest cities in North America, and has lots of different festivals and entrainment venues.

I think nursing is going to be completely different in a big, urban city. When I visited Toronto, the people there seemed rushed, cold, and unfriendly. Here in Newfoundland, patients often treat you like you are family. It's easy to find some common ground ("You're from Corner Brook? Do you know Anne Smith from out that way?"). On the plus side, I know I am going to get tons of experience. And I know it's time to learn how to be independent (I am twenty-two years old, afterall). And I don't know that I can stand being apart from my boyfriend for three years.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Nurses are NOT angels

So I go back to school in a couple of weeks. I am actually kind of excited, tired of working all the nursing home shifts. After graduating, most people are happy to never have to study ever again. I think that I am definitely going to miss it. This semester looks pretty good so far; I have no classes on Friday! Which means a long weekend, every week.

Anyways, I was reading an interesting article written by the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario that was published in the Registered Nurse Journal. The author discussed how we should put an end to nurses being labeled angels. Being called an angel sounds like a compliment. But I am not a good nurse because I have angelic virtue, I am a good nurse because I studied hard in nursing school and because I care about my work. Similarily, I did not choose nursing because I had a higher calling to do so, I chose nursing because I love working with and helping other people. Does the steretype of an angelic nurse encourage males to enter the nursing profession? Probably not.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Night Shift = Carcinogen?

I work as a Personal Care Attendant at a nursing home when I am not in clinical during the summers. Mostly, my work consists of feeding, bathing, and changing the nursing home residents. There are lots of advantages about my work. I now have lots of experience with patients with mobility difficulties. I am not overly grossed out by vast quantities of poop. I have a new respect for Liscened Practical Nurses. My job pays twice minimum wage, and is unionized so there are lots of benefits. The downsides? Lots and lots of poop. It's a really physical job. And I am casual, so I feel like I am attached to the phone at all times. I've learned that nursing home nursing isn't probably for me.
Yesterday, I read that the WHO listed overnight shift work as a possible carcinogen. Apparently this was announced in 2007. How depressing! Now not only do I have to deal with the fact that night shifts make me feel a little nauseous, and exhausted the whole day, but that I may possibly develop cancer from working them. Apparently, there is an association between light at night and breast cancer. Apparently, animals who have their light-dark schedules reversed develop tumors and die earlier.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Preceptorship so far.

So I am halfway done preceptorship. Too busy to write much. Here's what I learned so far:
1) Catheterizing male patients is easy. I'm sure it is much harder to do with a female.
2) Always bring in a blue pad when you are emptying an ostomy bag. Spilling the contents of an ostomy bag is not so much fun, for the patient or for yourself.
3) It's probably not best to attempt inserting an IV for the first time on an old men who has very tricky veins. Especially if his assigned nurse couldn't get it the first two times.
4) Post-mortem care is definitely hard to get used to. I didn't know toe-tags existed in real life.
5) Vac dressings aren't complicated, just time-consuming. Prepare to give up an hour of your shift when changing one.
6) When patient's get upset, don't take it personally. Chances are, they're just having a hard time at a hospital and taking out on the safest person around (their nurse).
7) Never say no to a coffee run during a shift. Coffee is always necessary.
8) Doctors aren't always reliable, and don't necessarily know everything. If a patient rips his chest tube out and is at risk for respiratory distress or a pulmonary embolism or stroke or worse, the doctor on call should get out of his bed and come to the hospital to assess him. Always advocate for patients to get the care they deserve.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

the making of a nurse

I start my first day of preceptorship tomorrow. I don't know why I am so nervous, I guess I haven't been using any of my practical nursing skills in awhile.

I don't know if any of you nurses or soon-to-be nurses have heard about the author Tilda Shalof. She is a Canadian author and nurse with a background in Intensive Care. I have read A Nurse's Story and the Making of a Nurse, and I think for anyone who is not in the nursing profession, she provides an interesting insiders view about what it is like to work in healthcare. But I think anybody studying nursing would benefit most from reading her books. She talks about all of her crazy experiences working in the ICU and paints an interesting picture of the good aspects and challenges of working as a nurse.

Here are some of my favourite quotes from the book The Making of a Nurse.

"Why had so much changed? Health care is expensive and stretched to the limit, new technologies are available but human needs are still the same. Perhaps in our infatuation with technology, we have strayed too far from ensuring that people's most fundamental requirements are met: food, clean water, hygiene, relief, comfort, education, solace, safeguarding, monitoring, rescuing, kindness, human touch, and beauty - all within the domain of nursing. Whether it's cardiac nursing or pediatrics, public health or camp nursing, it comes down to these things".

"I no longer differentiate between the person I am and the nurse I've become. Nursing is my profession and my way of life. It is a deep and abiding concern for the human condition. We are all nurses - or have the capacity to be - and we are all patients - or have the potential to be. I owe nursing a lot. It saved my life many times. Through the discipline of taking care of patients, I learned how to take care of myself. By finding compassion for my own suffering, I developed more compassion for others. Nursing showed me how to be joyful despite my own sadness. It has given me awareness of the world's suffering and the skills and knowledge to do something toward its alleviation. It has taught me how to love things I never thought I could love".

"I often wonder: Who would want ot be a nurse, especially if they knew what it really entails? Who chooses nursing these days and why? I ask these questions honestly and open-mindedly, not rhetorically or cynically. Nursing is not a career you can advise or persuade someone ot choose and it is a hard path to champion if you have not perosnally experienced its many satisfactions. I'm quite sure that the vast majority choose it because of a genuine desire to help others, but one nursing student told me nursing attractied him because "the salary is decent and it's steady work." Another told me she really wanted medicine, but didn't get in and nursing was her fallback. I'm afraid these motivations aren't going to cut it when those nurses enter a patient's room and are faced with raw human suffering. Nursing is dirty, gritty, messy, grinding, brutal, rough, and heartbreaking. It is also inspiring, sophisticated, challenging, fun, comforting, and at times exhilirating".

I really admire Tilda Shalof because she is passionate about bedside nursing - which is more or less viewed as a stepping stone on the way towards an administrative position for lots of new nursing graduates. I can't imagine I'd enjoy a position sitting in a beige office somewhere, performing tasks that are mostly unrelated to everything I've learned in school, when there is so much to learn and so much opportunity to grow by directly taking care of patients.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Ever since I started nursing, many RNs have tried to discourage me into going into the field of nursing. They complain about having to work on Christmas, being injured/having a bad back, getting no respect from physicians, patients, or from the public, and working 12 hour shifts (especially night shifts). I have no idea how to respond.

And then I get the non-nursing people asking me: Why didn't you go into the medical profession? Are you planning to go to med school when you graduate? These are the type of people that think smart kids become physicians, less-smart physician-wannabes become nurses. I try to explain to them that medicine and nursing are really different fields, with entirely different approaches to care, but I don't think anyone really understands.

I'm really lucky to have a Mom that loves nursing. She never complains about her job, and always talks about the positive aspects of nursing. When she worked in labour and delivery, Mom voluntarily chose to work all nights. She always loved hard work, and never complained about doing 12 hour shifts. And when I was eighteen and told her I thought I was doing nursing, she was really supportive. She never tried to talk me out of my choice. And it's so nice to get advice, or to be able to practice with hospital equipment at home (especially the IV bags, and needles that she borrowed from work).

Negative attitudes about nursing from nurses definitely doesn't help recruitment or retention of new nurses. Nurses command respect from the government and the public, and yet they don't seem to have much respect toward their profession themselves. I hope when I am forty years old, and have twenty years of nursing down my belt, I'll have nothing but positive advice and things to say about my job to future nurses and nursing students.

14 days until preceptorship...I'm so excited/scared!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

And so it is, just like you said it would be.

I worked a twelve hour shift the night before last at a nursing home. The money is great, but the work is exhausting. Extremely physical. I work as a Patient Care Attendant, and I assist mostly LPN's. This job really makes you appreciate the work of LPN's. I know there is a stereotypical power struggle between nurses and physicians, where nurses have traditionally assumed a subservient role assisting doctors. I think this relationship very much also exists (and maybe more so) with LPN's and RN's. I know when LPN's in Canada expanded their scope of practice, most notably with giving medications, nurses kicked up a big fuss. Yet, nurses expected physicians to be supportive when they expanded their scope of practice (for example, when nurse practitioners were allowed to write prescriptions).
My preceptorship is in two weeks! Very nervous! I start on May 13th with two night shifts. I like starting with night shifts because I heard it isn't as busy as during the day, so it would be good to get used to how the floor works. Apparently there are hemovac drains, which we haven't even covered in school, and chest tubes, which we only covered briefly in one skills lab. I hope I learn a lot and it is a good experience! We shall see I guess.
Things are pretty stressful with my boyfriend. He's going away in September, to Osgoode Law School in Toronto which is realllyyyy far away from my home in Newfoundland. I'm hoping to go up and do my independent clinical up there in February, and then eventually move up there when I am graduated. I will be sad to see him go. We are really close, and have been going out for almost six years. I've never been in a long distance realtionship before.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sort of Seeing the Light at the End of the Tunnel.

So I bought an RN exam book yesterday for the Canadian Registered Nurse Examination that I will be writing next year. Other bloggers from the U.S. talk about the NCLEX exam, I am thinking that is the American version of the CRNE. I figured that I would review it over the summer when I had some free time. Since the multiple choice exams in my nursing school are extremely difficult (Answer A, B, and C are all correct...however Answer A is a little bit more correct than answer B, but answer C is the most correct), I thought that these multiple choice questions would be hard too, but they weren't bad at all. Actually, most were common sense. I guess I know a lot more about nursing than I thought I knew. Apparently the pass rate for first CRNE writers is 96%, so I guess the odds are in my favour.
I can't believe I am graduating next year. It is a very scary thought. I still feel really unexperienced as a nursing student, like there is a ton more skills I need to know first before they let me loose on all the patients. Hopefully, after my eight week preceptorship course, I'll feel a bit better about it. Next year, my boyfriend is going to York University in Toronto for law school, so I am going to tag along and do my ten week clinical (hopefully) up there with him. That would be a good experience I think. Especially since I've been living with my parents for my whole undergraduate degree. Which is pretty rare for most 22 year olds.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Top 10 Traits Every Nurse Should Have?

This list was compiled by another blogger named Ryan Winter from I found it really interesting, so hopefully he doesn't mind me borrowing it. Here it is:

1. A Caring Nature:If a person cannot care about the people they are serving, they will not excel as a nurse. Nurses deal with the sick and injured and their families on a daily basis, and they need to be able to show them that they truly care about their situation. (I definitely think this is true. And Jean Watson would definitely agree, haha).

2. Be Empathetic: Nurses regularly deal with people who are scared and in pain. They must be able to put themselves in their patients’ shoes if they are going to give them the quality of care that a good nurse provides. (I agree with this one as well. It is important to connect with all your patients, although this can be emotionally taxing if taken too far).

3. Be Detail-Oriented: Nurses must remember to write everything they do on patients’ charts. They must also remember to bring medications at the correct times. Being an organized detail-oriented person is therefore crucial for someone in this career field. (I need to work on this one. Nurses need to balance a million different things, all at once. I think I'll need years of experience before I am really organized).

4. Be Emotionally Stable: Nurses feel the joy of seeing a new baby born, followed by the pain of losing a long-term patient who had become a friend. Emotional stability is crucial in order to survive the roller coaster ride of emotions nurses must endure on a daily basis. (This one I need to work on too. Nurses definitely need to leave their work at the floor, and not bring the emotional aspects of the work home with them. They also need to be in charge of their emotions to care effectively).

5. Be Adaptable: No day is quite like the next when you work as a nurse, so they need to be able to adapt to circumstances. People are unpredictable at the best of times, but under stress become even more unpredictable, so a nurse’s typical workday will require flexibility and adaptability. (And I definitely need to work on my ability to be adaptable too. I like routine. And I despise change).

6. Have Physical Endurance:Breaks for nurses are few and far between. They are on their feet all day, sometimes for 12 or more hours at a time, so nurses must have good physical endurance to succeed in nursing. (I can handle this. I like to be active. And of course, having a really good pair of Nursemates always helps).

7. Be a Quick Thinker: When a nurse notices something is not right with a patient, they need to be able to make decisions quickly and put their plans into action instantly. Nursing is not the career for someone who needs time to think about a situation before responding, because even a fraction of a second can mean the difference between life and death. (Ah, critical thinking. I believe nurses only truly become skilled at this with lots of experience).

8. Have Great Judgement:A nurse must be able to look at a patient’s current state and accurately assess what is or is not needed. This must happen quickly during emergencies. Nurses therefore need sound judgment and maturity. (Again, I think this is a learned skill, that really only comes with experience as well. Really good judgement comes from years of studiyng and years of clinical experience).

9. Be Hard-Working:Nursing is a never ending job. Someone is always ill and in need of some sort of aid or attention. Its also unusual for a hospital or medical centre to be overstaffed, which of course means more workload on each nurse in the unit. Being a hard worker is therefore a very important trait. (I think I am okay with this one. If nurses are really lazy, someone's health could be seriously compromised).

10. Have Great Communication Skills:Nurses communicate with each other, doctors, patients, and patients’ families on a daily basis, so being able to communicate clearly and effectively, and to read people is necessary for people in this career. (I think I need to work on this one as well).

I don't think everybody is perfect or possesses all of these traits. I really think most of them comes with lots of experience on the floor. But the best part of nursing is that it is a continual learning process, and I think every nurse grows throughout their career in their skills and in their abilities. No one is perfect once they graduate.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


So, you think if I have been in nursing school for three years, I am probably an expert at getting a hang of this student thing.
Studying comes easy for me. All it requires is a large Tim Horton's french vanilla cappaccino, a good comfortable chair (preferably my leather living room sofa) and a lot of patience. And a lot of time. When test time comes, I regurgitate whatever I have learned...word for word from the textbook, or my professor's lecture notes and then, tada! Hopefully, my mark comes back stamped with a big red A.
My biggest problem is, five minutes after the test is written, mostly everything I've learned exits my brain. And if I don't continue to think about the lecture material, or if it is not applied to any of my subsequent is erased forever. Which is really scary because: A. I need this information to be a good nurse (which is the most important reason, of course) and B. I need this information to pass my RN exams (which is also a pretty important reason as well). Last summer, I almost had a heart attack when I realized I didn't really remember what the function of the liver was. What patient wants a nurse who doesn't know what the liver does?
Most people don't understand the volume of knowledge a nurse must have to practice her jobs. It seems like each of my courses try to condense and squeeze pages and pages and pages of information and dump it into our minds as quickly as possible before our three month semester has ended. And then, two years later, when my clinical instructor asks "So Laura, how does heart failure interfere with the afterload and preload of the heart?", I'm supposed to spit it out two seconds later. I think I am going to buy a NCLEX book, and review it a little bit every day, and hopefully it will jog my memory back to a lecture I had on dilated cardiac myopathy three years ago.

On a random note, I was studying chest tubes for my upcoming clinical on thoracic surgery. Chest tubes act as a one-way valve to remove air or fluid. The patient should avoid lying on the tubing, and the nurse should ensure patency of the tube by assessing for kinks. The nurse should document the amount and color of chest tube drainage. Assess the patients respiratory status often. The water level in the seal should rise with inspiration and fall with expiration.

P.S. this tote bag is so cute! I want one.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

About Me

Hi, my name is Laura. I am 22 years old, and am nearly finished my third year of my Bachelor of Nursing program in Canada. I live at home with my parents, my sisters, and my two year old dog. Nursing has definitely been an awesome experience so far, with lots of intense studying and crazy clinical experiences. I find it rewarding but extremely challenging. I am much better at exams than I am practical, so I have to work really hard when learning hands-on skills. In a few weeks, I will start an eight week preceptorship program in a thoracic surgery unit, and I am really excited but also really nervous...especially when it comes to dealing with chest tubes.
A lot of people ask me why I choose nursing, and wonder if I will do a medicine degree sometime in the future. However, I believe nursing is a unique and independent health care profession that is lacking respect and the recognition it deserves. I love meeting new people, taking care of complex patients and interacting with other staff.
This blog with chronicle all my clinical and nursing school experiences prior to my graduation. My hope is that all potential nursing students will have a greater understanding about what nursing is really about, because it really is more than making beds and changing bedpans. I hope that other nursing students and registered nurses can share their experiences with me as well. Please leave lots of comments and give me lots of feedback.