CCI Clinical Placement

I’m sitting here at work…obviously blogging because it’s extremely “Q”-word around here. I’m afraid that if I don’t do something I’m going to start dozing off!!

I finally learned where my clinical placement for my CCI –Β  “critical competency integration” – class is. I recieved an email on Tuesday with a list of preceptors to pick from with the message of “first come first served” included. There are five of us students precepting at the VA next semester and there were five preceptors listed, so that meant that whoever I wanted I would have to act fast to pick in order to “claim” them!

2Β of the preceptors were in the MICU/CCU, one was in the PACU, one was in the TICU, and the last one was in the ED.

And for whatever reason, my first reaction was to go with the preceptor in the ED. WHAT?!?!

I happened to be the first student to respond to that email, and then I got a confirmation email yesterday that made my decision to go with the preceptor in the ED “official.”

So I’m in the ED this next semester for 120 clinical hours!! I’m actually SUPER excited about it. πŸ™‚

But I’m SOOOOO not excited about the fact that school starts in a little over a week. 😦

I’ve been working on my cover letters for the application process – I’m almost done with one of them! I just learned that two of the healthcare systems in Dallas are opening the application process in early September. HOLY COW! That’s just under 3 weeks away!!

Β I’m actually realizing more and more that I’d prefer to stay right here on the unit that I work on now. It’s a progressive cardiac care unit (PCCU) which is basically a step-down/telemetry unit for cardiac patients. I’ve talked to my boss about my desires, as I’ve mentioned before, and she said she would do her best to create a position here for me. Now that doesn’t mean that I’m guaranteed the job but it’s certainly a step in the right direction!!

However I will still be applying to other positions at other hospitals. Can’t put all your eggs in one basket! Surprisingly, I know I will be applying for these positions at most of the hospitals: ICU, ED, and NICU.

Random, right?

Random just like my crazy random thoughts are right now. Alrighty…guess I should get back to “work” – about to start reading about stock markets to keep my mind awake! πŸ˜‰

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Summer Updates

Well I can’t believe my summer is almost over!! As of yesterday, only 5 more weeks until my “last first day of school” – at least for my undergrad! πŸ˜‰

My summer has simultaneously been busy (aka it’s gone by super fast) and very relaxing. I went to the Dominican Republic for a 10 day medical mission trip almost right at the beginning of my summer – which I’ll post about later this week – and then to Alabama for a week-long family vacation only 3 weeks after getting back from the DR. In the meantime I’ve been working working working (I’ve gone part-time over the summer!) and hanging out with friends as often as I can before school starts up again. I’ve also read an insane amount of books that aren’t school-related. πŸ™‚

I must say I am SO thankful that my last summer while in school came after my S1 semester! I really, truly needed this break after that craziness. I can’t imagine if I’d only gotten winter break after S1 before diving right in to S2. Even though I thought I would’ve rather started nursing school a semester earlier than I did and graduated this past May…I have to say that all things work out just the way they’re supposed to.

So, ready for a couple of exciting updates?

First, June 26th I APPLIED FOR GRADUATION!!!

It’s just so hard to wrap my mind around the fact that after being in school for 5 years – I’m almost DONE! I have actually reached the point where I can apply for graduation…and I can plan for my graduation party in December. INSANE!

Second, I asked my manager at work if she could give me any advice/tips on how to apply for the residency program that my hospital has for graduate nurses and if there was any way that I would end up on the floor that I’m already working on (a progressive cardiac care unit – basically a telemetry step-down from ICU). She told me that I just need to let her know when the residency program started releasing jobs to apply for and she would create a position for me on the floor. WHAT?!?! My jaw literally dropped right there in her office and I was speechless for a moment. She would really do that?! She said that she doesn’t hire nursing students as PCTs without the possibility that they stay on the floor as graduate nurses – as long as she feels like they do a good job, will be a great nurse, and fit in well.

Of course there’s still a possibility that I won’t get it…I think that even if she created the position with me in mind she still has to interview about 10-15 people for the job and she might think that someone will work out better. And I’m still going to be applying for ICU and ER positions at other hospitals as well. But it makes my heart glow to know that she values me to the point that she would create a residency position for me when I graduate.

Speaking of applying to other positions, that brings me to my third update: I finished my resume a couple of weeks ago and I think it looks FANTASTIC. Now I haven’t had anyone professional look at it yet (I’ll do that when school starts back up and there’s a workshop on campus), but I really love the look of it and the fact that I said EVERYTHING I wanted to say on two pages without it looking cluttered and “busy.” Now I just need to write cover letters for each of the hospitals I’ll be applying to (another thing to finish before school begins again) and I’ll be ready to apply as soon as positions start opening up!

Well I think that’s about it for now…things are going to start heating up within the next few weeks as I start to get ready for this last semester!! For now, I’m going to go get a workout in and then hang out with my brother for the day. πŸ™‚ Audios!

Countdown Begins

2 weeks to go until the start of my S1 semester! As much as part of me is terrified of the upcoming semester, I am also feeling the first quivers of excitement and eagerness. A new start of the semester has always been one of my favorite events. It’s always fun for me to learn what the upcoming semester holds and to know that I will come out on the other side more knowledgeable and that much closer to being done.

Everyone at work keeps asking me how much longer I have before I’m graduated. I guess it’s an awesome feeling, but then again at the same time I don’t know if they’re asking because they’re tired of my haphazard schedule (due to school) or if they think I’d be a great addition to their nursing family. I often wonder if they are trying to imagine me as a nurse on their team and how I’m standing up to their expectations. And then I often wonder myself whether or not I would accept a job on my unit if I was offered one. I enjoy my unit and the nurses I work with, and I feel a deep loyalty to my boss and my supervisor (who are so willing to work around my school schedule) that I think it’d be hard to turn down an offer (should I get one). But at the same time I have to make sure it is something I want to do and will be happy with, especially because I really feel that I’d enjoy the ED. But I really need to get some more ED experience first!!

And speaking of haphazard schedule, here’s my schedule for the upcoming semester. It’s a doozy!

  • Mondays: Children’s Health Lecture from 0800-1100. Then volunteering at Children’s Medical Center from 1300-1700.
  • Tuesdays: Adult Health 2 Lecture from 0900-1200. And then Mental Health lecture from 1300-1600.
  • Wednesdays: Mental Health Clinical from 0800-1430.
  • Thursdays: Adult Health 2 Clinical from 0645-1400.
  • Fridays: Child Health Clinical from 0600-1600. Then work (as a desk secretary) from 1900-2300.
  • Saturdays: work from 1900-2300.
  • Sundays: My day off!! (And I’m sure it’ll be a hardcore study day!)

And somewhere in that schedule I will be tutoring the Concepts class for a two-hour period in the evening…I just haven’t worked that out with the peer tutor coordinator yet so I’m not sure when that will be. I’m assuming it’ll occur on either Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday evenings.

So that’s my upcoming semester. It sounds pretty cut and dry on paper but I’m afraid it won’t be once we’re in the thick of things!

This week in the countdown I will be attempting to become as organized as possible for my next semester. I need to clean out my office, organize my documents for the nursing student association, make sure my home documents are all filed, and yada yada yada…and then next week I will be teaching CPR classes Monday-Thursday, working from 1900-2300 those same nights, and then hopefully enjoying my Friday-Sunday with friends and family. And then S1 SEMESTER BEGINS!

Only two more weeks!

It’s Saturday

It’s Saturday which means I have a little (little!) time to relax and breathe this morning before getting back to it. This past week was busy, but awesome and I’m feeling less stressed and much more thankful that I have the opportunity to be in nursing school and heading towards my BSN. I just needed a little perspective to push me back on the right track!

Monday – I worked and was floated to the medical ICU to sit with a patient on suicide precautions. It was heartbreaking to say the least but while I was sitting with the patient – who was mostly sleeping on and off – it gave me some time to think about why I want to be a nurse, what kind of nurse I want to be, and what kind of patient population I want to work with. It helped clear my mind of the stress and re-focus me on my goals and mission in life, and when I went home I felt ready to tackle this week. And later, I’ll make a post about my thoughts during sitting (but no time now!).

Tuesday – AWESOME! I was at school all day for a skills lab/breastfeeding lecture. The skills labs were in the morning, and we learned how to assess a newborn and a postpartum woman, start IVs, we practiced (again) putting in foley catheters (but this time in a female), and then we learned how to hang IV fluids and piggy backs. We also learned how to calculate IV drip rates and calculations. Too great for words! I guess I am a very very hands on, technical person…and it all just thrilled me. Also, I’ve noticed that J2 seems to be so much more laid back as far as the nursing skills go than my J1 semester. The professors want us to do it correctly, true, but there’s not so much pressure about doing it in the lab since they know we’ll be doing it on the floor and they’ll be there to talk us through it.

And then we had our breastfeeding/latch lecture after lunch, and I’ll just say one thing about it: I had NO IDEA there was such an art to getting a babe to breastfeed and doing it correctly! The end. (Also…it’s really hard to watch videos/talk about babies for 3 hours and then not go home wanting one so badly that you DREAM about having babies. Uh-oh.)

Wednesday – We had Adult 1 lecture in the morning, and Women’s lecture in the afternoon. I studied afterward in the library for a couple of hours before going to work, and in the process of studying I had to watch a video on Aging for my Aging class…and it made me cry. Right there in the library! I am learning as I work and as I progress through nursing school that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE older/elderly adults.

Thursday – But, as much as I love older adults, I love children and babies too!! Always have, always will. I’m just not sure yet if I could be a pediatric nurse. But I do enjoy going to Children’s to volunteer, which I did this Thursday morning (first time in a month because life has been so busy!) and for the first 2 hours I had the privilege of rocking a 22-week-old to sleep and cuddling with them as they slept in my arms. Heaven! There are a lot of cons in my mind towards becoming a pediatric nurse, though, so at this point in time I don’t foresee it in my future. I’ll get into that list at a later date…

Then, after volunteering, I went over to a classmate’s house so we could finish up on an assignment that was due Friday by 1700. We finished rather quickly, joked around for a bit, and then I stopped by Walgreens on my way home to get my Flu shot. Crazy that my doctor’s office didn’t have them in yet! But we’re required to have them by the 13th or else we’re dropped from our clinical classes, and I didn’t want to chance it so I just got it done. I think the pharmacist went to high up on my arm though, because when he stuck me it HURT! And then it was sore for the rest of the evening as I worked on a bunchΒ of practice problems for IV calculations and then read a bit (but not as much as I would’ve liked).

Friday – I finished up with some discussion board posts, and then literally spent the rest of the day doing MORE IV calculations, until the hubby came home and we decided on pizza and a movie for our evening entertainment. I was so tired of sitting at my desk working on math that I didn’t even care that I was throwing the evening away to watch a movie. Which was FANTASTIC, by the way – we watched “Now You See Me” and I loved every second of it. Definitely would watch it again and again, although since it’s a movie about magic once you’ve seen the ending it can never be the same.

And now it’s Saturday morning and I have a ton of work to get done this weekend before I go to work Sunday night. Crossing my fingers that I can get a majority of it done!

I always try to not let my posts get too wordy, and then I look at what I’ve written and realize that I’ve done just that. Oh well…if you read all of it then kudos to you! If not…that’s quite alright. I’ll leave you with some pictures of the past two weeks. πŸ™‚

This was taken during week 1, when we were all learning in our Women's class how to provide support to laboring moms through giving back massages! So of course we all had to practice. ;)

This was taken during week 1, when we were all learning in our Women’s class how to provide support to laboring moms through giving back massages! So of course we all had to practice. πŸ˜‰

Learning about ABGs (arterial blood gases) during week 1. Loved it!!!

Learning about ABGs (arterial blood gases) during week 1. Loved it!!!

We received our J2 skills bags during week 1. It's a pile of loot - I should have organized the equipment though before our skills day on Tuesday because I was literally dumping the bag on the floor to find some of the stuff we needed to start IVs!

We received our J2 skills bags during week 1. It’s a pile of loot – I should have organized the equipment though before our skills day on Tuesday because I was literally dumping the bag on the floor to find some of the stuff we needed to start IVs!

I threatened to use this on the hubby (he didn't realize I didn't have the angio catheter in order to ACTUALLY start the IV) and he freaked out.

I threatened to use this on the hubby (he didn’t realize I didn’t have the angio catheter in order to ACTUALLY start the IV) and he freaked out.
Driving home after one of my class days during week 1. I looked good for the first week - you probably won't catch me looking like this again. No time!!

Driving home after one of my class days during week 1. I looked good for the first week – you probably won’t catch me looking like this again. No time!!

 

Driving home from work on Monday, stuck in a traffic jam - on LABOR DAY! I was pretty upset. It took me 1.5 hours to get home. Oh well...the perks of working where you want to work.

Driving home from work on Monday, stuck in a traffic jam – on LABOR DAY! I was pretty upset. It took me 1.5 hours to get home. Oh well…the perks of working where you want to work.

Setting up for my IV start during skills lab. :))

Setting up for my IV start during skills lab. :))

My first IV start!! It doesn't matter that it was on a mannequin arm. ;)

My first IV start!! It doesn’t matter that it was on a mannequin arm. πŸ˜‰

Learning to set up and hang IV solutions and piggy backs. I love all this stuff!!

Learning to set up and hang IV solutions and piggy backs. I love all this stuff!!

 

 

 

 

J2.1

Ok, so I didn’t get around to writing this post on Friday night. That’s because I decided to sleep Friday night, stay up all day Saturday, and then go into work Saturday night without having slept beforehand. Not sure that was a good choice…this morning I came home, slept from about 0900-1200, and then got up and tried to get some reading/assignments done, but ended up falling back asleep on the hubby’s lap while we watched Avengers. And I have yet to get anything school-related done; but maybe that’s ok. Maybe I was meant to just de-stress from the past week today.

First week of the second semester of nursing school = done! Maybe it wasn’t completed super successfully but it’s behind me now and I’m in the throes of trying to get caught up and organized for the rest of the 15 weeks ahead of me. I’m feeling a bit freaked about this semester already and I think it’s because I just don’t feel like I got off on the right foot.

First of all, I wasn’t able to complete any of the required reading before Monday, and I’ve heard that it’s a GOOD idea to read for my OB and especially Adult 1 classes – usually nursing students can get away with either not reading or just skimming the chapters. And my first Adult 1 test is now in 2 weeks, and I’m so behind on the reading (as in, I should have had several chapters read by now) that is stressing me out and giving me headaches. Seriously.

Secondly, there are so many assignments due within the first few weeks that I don’t even know where to begin on them. I sit here and think about what needs to be done and then I end up so overwhelmed that all I want to do is sleep. Eek! So I really need to just take it all with baby steps so at least I’m accomplishing SOMETHING and not just sitting on the couch like a zombie… (which I pretty much did once getting home from class every single day this week. Another reason I’m feeling like I got off on the wrong foot).

Third, I knew that I had to work last night, which meant a little less time this weekend to study and complete assignments, but I knew I could work around that since I had today (after a nap) and Monday free to be able to get some stuff done. Well I looked at my schedule on Thursday and realized quite belatedly that I also have to work tomorrow (Monday). So now I’m freaking out because I’m just wondering how I’m going to be able to get it all done. I want to be a great student this semester, I really do…but I’ve never worked AND gone to school at the same time before and I know it’ll be quite an adjustment until I get used to it. So hopefully I don’t screw myself in the process.

Especially since I was SUPPOSED to get some stuff done today and I’ll I’ve managed to do is sit around and chill.

Sooo…moving on and hoping this week is a bit on the stronger side for me. At least we get to learn how to start IVs this week!! πŸ™‚

P.S.: I almost got to start an IV at work yesterday on one of my co-workers. She totally would’ve let me do it, except we got swamped and ran out of time. 😦 Maybe next time I work with her.

Summer’s End

Wow! It’s been awhile since I’ve written…a month has gone by and a lot has happened in that period of time!

First of all let me just start this by saying: does my J2 semester REALLY start in just two short weeks?!?!

My job as a tech is going very well. I’m feeling VERY comfortable in my job now and am so thankful for the opportunities that I have with my job for patient and nurse interaction. Whenever the nurses and I have time we will sit down and talk about nursing and I am learning a lot just from the conversations I have with them. I’m thankful that they are willing to give me the time of day during their busy shifts (the nurses on my unit stay extremely busy!) and encourage me in this field that I’m stepping into. Also, I love the fact that with this job I am much more confident with patient care and communication. I remember back to my first clinical last semester and remember how nervous and fumbling I was all day, and I know that if I’d had this job before I ever started nursing school I would NOT have felt that way about being in a patient’s room and caring for that patient!

I am working a mixture of night shifts and day shifts…and I would have to say that between the two I feel like I am enjoying day shift better. I didn’t think that would be the case, as I am a night person and I figured I would enjoy the slower environment of night shift more. However I think night shift is actually TOO slow for me…and I really hate having to wake the patients up every few hours just to take vital signs or weigh them and what-not. I prefer the day shift where the unit is much busier, everyone is awake, and I literally don’t sit down until I’m in the car driving home for the day! Maybe as a nurse I will feel differently.

Some of the interesting things I’ve seen/done while working as a tech on the surgical telemetry floor: I got to watch a doctor remove a chest drain, I empty JP drains, I clean chest incisions, I have seen pretty bad pressure ulcers (not through the fault of the nurses on my unit!), I’ve learned how to apply EKG leads on a patient and re-position them if they’re not working properly, I’ve seen open, oozing cancerous masses on a patient, I watched a patient end up hypoglycemic and helped the nurses bring his blood sugar back up (in a near-emergency state), and I’m sure there’s more but that’s all I’m remembering right now.

And, of course, I watch the telemetry monitors often and try to diagnose different rhythms. A few times I’ve asked the nurses to confirm what I was thinking and I was right! Although I must say, diagnosing a moving rhythm isΒ so muchΒ harder than looking at a 6 second strip!

And in other news, I have finished my summer EKG elective! It was a fascinating class and I’m SO glad I had the opportunity to take it. It really supporting my theory that I’m a heart lover and I think I really want to work on a cardiac floor or in cardiac intensive care when I’ve graduated. In the elective, we learned how to read basic EKG rhythms but I’ve realized that I want to know even more!! When I have the time (which probably won’t be this semester) I am going to try and delve deeper into learning about the heart and more advanced EKG rhythms. Love it!

I’ve bought all my books and all my supplies for the J2 semester, and yesterday I got on blackboard and read through the “welcome letter” for both Adult 1 and Women’s Health. And I felt the stress immediately tighten up my neck and give me a headache; there are already SO many chapters that I need to read before the first day of classes and so much to check off the list before the semester begins! We have a lot of clinical paperwork and hospital modules to complete, as well as watching through skills videos before the skills labs so that we are already familiar with what we’ll be learning through the first 2 weeks of class.

Here’s what the first few weeks of this semester look like (for only Adult 1 and Women’s Health – I’m leaving the other classes off of the calendar for now because I don’t have those syllabi yet):

Tuesday August 27th: Meeting with Women’s Health clinical groups and faculty to be introduced to course expectations, take care of any necessary paperwork for the hospitals, and become familiar with clinical expectations and paperwork. This is basically clinical orientation – and we have to have our clinical paperwork already done and filled about before this class day. This will be an all day event, from 0800-1600.

Wednesday August 28th: For Adult 1 (from 0800-1200) we will have our first lecture. For Women’s Health (1300-1600), we will be going through labor support skills lab and clinical preparation. In between those two classes (during the lunch break) I will be helping out with an SGA event.

Thursday August 29th: From 0800-1600 we’re in a clinical skills lab to review old skills (those we learned last semester) and new skills for Adult 1.

Friday August 30th: We’ll be going to our hospital for hospital orientation (tentatively).

Tuesday, September 3rd: For Women’s Health, we are in a skills lab again all day from 0800-1600. We will be completing a foley catheter check-off, and practicing IVs, breastfeeding, immediate care of the newborn, and a postpartum assessment.

Friday September 6th: For Adult 1, from 0800-1600 we will have clinical skills lab and our medical dosage calculations exam.

This is all on top of having Adult 1 lecture on Wednesday mornings, Women’s Health lecture Wednesday afternoons, and my 3 online classes (Group Processes, Research, and Aging!) which will all have their own set of homework and activities to be completed.

It’s going to be a busy semester, that’s for sure, with the first few weeks being the hardest! It’s just hard to believe that my summer is already at an end and I have to buckle up and continue with this crazy whirlwind called nursing school!

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My J2 textbooks!

Supplemental books for the semester!

Supplemental books for the semester!

My EMPTY binders for the semester...they won't remain that way for long!

My EMPTY binders for the semester…they won’t remain that way for long!

 

 

All-nighter…

It’s midnight and although I’m tired and my eyes are burning, I am awake on the couch watching TV and hoping to stay awake all night. My first shift at the hospital off of orientation as a PCT is tonight (Monday) from 7pm-7am. And it will be my first night shift ever! I’m attempting to stay awake until around 0700 or 0800 and then sleep from that point until 1600 this afternoon. Hopefully it works out.

So far I am absolutely loving my job as a tech. I’m on an awesome floor, with (mostly) awesome patients, surrounded by awesome nurses and other PCTs. Is that enough awesome for one sentence? Lol. The past two weeks I have been orienting with a PCT who has been at this hospital on this unit for almost 20 years. Isn’t that crazy?! But they were a great preceptor and although I know I still have more to learn with my job, I feel fully prepared to step out on my own two feet tonight and rock it. πŸ˜‰

I also am going to be working intermittently as a unit secretary from 1900-2300 a couple of nights every week. I don’t quite have THAT job down yet (I was somewhat cross-trained during orientation) but I feel like I’ll pick it up pretty quickly. And mostly I’ll just be answering phones and call lights and that’s pretty no-brainer-ish.

I’ve been trying to watch the telemetry monitors on the unit when I have down time, but it’s pretty hard because I don’t know yet what I’m looking at. But that all changes beginning this week! My EKG elective starts on Wednesday. Now THAT’S weird to think about because I feel like I’ve put school completely out of my mind so far this summer. It’s hard to think of going back to school so soon…I feel like summer has only just begun.

I was going over the syllabus for the class and it looks like it will be a great class. I’m thinking that tonight while I’m attempting to stay awake I’ll try and read the assigned reading so that I’m not starting the class already behind. It’s only a 5 week class so I’m sure we’ll be moving quickly and I don’t want to feel like I’m starting off on the wrong foot!

I’ll write about how my first night shift goes after I’ve experienced it! πŸ™‚

Job Update

Wow, what a week it has been! I started my PCT job on Monday – except that it isn’t necessarily my “job” yet since all week has been orientation to the hospital, paperwork, and completing computer modules. Today was actually the first time I stepped foot onto my unit, except that it was only to complete more paperwork, receive my locker key, and get my schedule. And then I stayed on the unit, plopped down at a computer desk, and did MORE modules. πŸ™‚ But at least I got them all done today so that I can begin the next phase of work next week – orientation to the unit!

I met my PCT preceptor today as well and I liked her immediately. I will work with her for the next two weeks as I orient to my new job on the unit, and then after that I will be by myself and will be expected to take care of 12 or so patients. My schedule up until August is a mixture of days and nights, so that will prove to be interesting I’m sure.

Anyway, just wanted to give a brief update on what’s been going on with the job. It will be nice when I can actually get started in the role that I was hired to do!