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 is so much 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!

 

 

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A Typical Week in Review

Want to know what my typical week looks like? I figured I’d give you a detailed play-by-play of this past week:

MONDAY

  • Wake up at 0430 with my first alarm and snooze about 2 times before finally rolling out of bed. Go to the gym and workout for about an hour, come home and shower, and leave for school. Arrive on campus around 0730. 
  • Print the entire week’s lectures out in computer lab (usually takes about 45 min to find everything and then print). Study (this week I was reading my assessment chapters) until 1200, with lunch somewhere in between.
  • Pharmacology tutoring from 1200 to 1400. I LOVE pharm tutoring because our tutor is amazing and does a really great job enforcing what we’ve already learned in lecture!
  • Assessment lecture from 1400 to 1630. This Monday I was so tired (and we were talking about something that didn’t capture my interest – the musculoskeletal system) that I was fighting HARD not to fall asleep in class.
  • Concepts tutoring from 1630 to 1830. Concepts tutoring is a great review of stuff previously covered in lecture. I view it as an extra study session.
  • Get home about 1945 and continue my studying for the evening – usually I review the next day’s pharm notes because those are what we’re quizzed over. Study/read/do homework until usually 2200 and then go to bed.

TUESDAY

  • Get to school by at least 0700 to study/read until my first class. 
  • Pharmacology lecture from 0900 to 1200. This week we discussed heart disease/failure and antilipidemic drugs. It was a very sobering lecture!
  • Lunch break.
  • Concepts lecture from 1300-1600. This week we talked about lab diagnostics which was AWESOME!
  • Get home around 0515, eat dinner, and study/read/do homework until 2200 and then go to bed.

WEDNESDAY

  • Wake up at 0430, go to the gym and workout, take a shower, and then come back home and prepare for my assessment lab. This week in lab we were assessing the musculoskeletal system, so I prepared by reviewing the different tests and results for the musculoskeletal system and how to document findings. I covered the pertinent information in my textbook and felt confident that once in lab I would know what I was doing to assess my partner correctly.
  • Read 2 chapters in my assessment textbook (still trying to catch up from spring break!)
  • Leave for school around 1100, arrive around 1145.
  • Get a salad for lunch, go up to the computer lab and print off the documents emailed to us the previous night by our assessment tutor, and go to class at 1230.
  • Assessment lab from 1230 to 1630.
  • Assessment tutoring from 1630-1830. This tutoring session was awesome because not only did we finish on time (we’re usually behind), but we actually finished a little early and were able to ask our tutor (a current J2) about what next semester is going to be like for us! She had some great stories about doing her rotations at the VA hospital. Now I kind of want to be chosen to have clinicals at the Dallas VA hospital next semester!
  • Get home around 1930, eat dinner, and study/read/do homework until bedtime (which is usually later because I don’t have to be up “early” on Thursdays).

THURSDAY

  • Get up around 0700, take a shower, get dressed, and get all of my supplies together for the day. Because I volunteer on Thursday mornings at Children’s, I have to have my business casual clothes in the car for pre-clinical later in the day; I also pack my backpack so I can study up at school in between. I made sure not to forget my lab coat this time!! 
  • Leave the house around 0800, arrive to Children’s at 0900 (morning traffic to Dallas is CRAZY!)
  • Volunteer from 0900 to 1300. I love this time during the week!!! Not only am I reminded as to why I want to be a nurse, but it allows me time away from my schoolwork to hold/play with children, which I desperately need. It’s my own personal therapy.
  • Go to campus (it’s literally on the same block as Children’s) and study/read/do homework from 1300 to 1630. Pack up my backpack, put it in my car, grab my business casual clothes, and change.
  • Leave school at 1645 and drive to Methodist Dallas Medical Center for pre-clinical.
  • Arrive at the hospital at 1700, get patient from charge nurse (took half an hour last night!) and access the patient’s chart for the pertinent info I need to get.
  • Leave the hospital at 1845.
  • Get home around 2000. Receive word from my classmate about my screw-up with the patient I picked out – have a freak out session.
  • Call my clinical instructor and get instructions on what to do in this situation.
  • Realize I don’t have to work on my care plan/pre-clinical paperwork (which I normally would do…probably all night long) so I eat dinner with the hubby, watch some Grey’s Anatomy, and drink a small glass of wine. Score!
  • Go to bed around 2200 to be well rested for clinical.

FRIDAY 

  • Get up at 0430 to be ready to leave the house by 0540. 
  • Go to Starbucks on the way to the hospital.
  • Get to the hospital around 0630.
  • Have pre-conference with entire clinical group and instructor until 0715.
  • Arrive on floor, introduce myself to my nurse for the day, and get assigned a patient.
  • Look up/write down pertinent info on patient for my care plan until 0830.
  • Patient care/vital signs/interview/assessment until 1050!!
  • Lunch & post-conference from 1100-1200 (only this Friday because it was Good Friday. Usually post conference starts at 1145-1245)
  • Get home around 1300, write up a blog post, then begin working on care plan (due on Tuesday).
  • Watch the new Grey’s Anatomy online (I missed it this week because I was too busy having a freak out session on Thursday night).
  • Go to bed around 2300.

SATURDAY

  • Up at 0700…
  • Go to the gym, workout, come home and shower.
  • STUDY ALL DAY FOR UPCOMING CONCEPTS TEST.
  • And also, finish my care plan. :-/

SUNDAY

  • Up at 0700.
  • Study for upcoming concepts test, begin writing my professionalism paper (nope, didn’t do that last weekend), and type out a chapter of “abnormals” to study for my upcoming assessment test.
  • BIRTHDAY LUNCH at La Madeleine with my family (including my wonderful mother-in-law who made the 1.5 hour trip to Ft. Worth just for me!)!!! Yes, today is my birthday; I am now 25 and ready for what this next year holds!
  • Continue studying/reading/doing homework until bedtime rolls around tonight – whenever that may be.

 

And then up again tomorrow morning to do it all over again! WHEW! And this week was “fairly” light…no meetings or NSA volunteer work done. Last week I had an SGA meeting, I volunteered on the breakfast team for the Ronald McDonald House, and I went to a Relay for Life meeting (I’m on the TWU NSA team – do you want to donate for my birthday??) and volunteered myself to be on the Relay for Life Southeast Denton Board in charge of the Luminaria for their upcoming event! And in the upcoming weeks….

…I have on my calendar too many things to count. The rest of this semester is going to be exhausting. But I’m ready!