Posts Tagged ‘christmas’


What’s up, y’all?  It’s now Friday night, and I’m going to take a loooooooong break from schoolwork and write some words on this page.  Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

Judging from this post, I had quite the ambitious plans for myself over Christmas break, didn’t I?  Let’s see how I did:

  1. Lots of sleepy.  Check.
  2. Fix up my bicycle all nice and purty.  Umm, not quite.  Got a tasty little white saddle, but it’s not comfortable at all.  Yuck.
  3. Experimenting with making my uncle’s delicious bread (he taught me last week!).  Triple check!  Success was had!
  4. Working.  Sort of check.  Not a whole lot was done due to some technological issues.  Booooooo …
  5. Lots of Slurpees.  Check.  Check like, 8 times.
  6. Re-learn how to play the piano.  Not at ALL.
  7. Study for the HESI.  Total non-success there.  Decided to not do a lick of work and enjoy the break.
  8. Watch at least 2 seasons of ER on Netflix. Check!  Dr. Green is my hero.
  9. Find new glasses.  Check … but they’re not quite comfortable yet.  Adjustments to commence tomorrow.
  10. Call Comcast to get me new cables and get rid of the humming in my TV.  Not necessary — was a problem I fixed with my TV.
  11. Get back into the gym.  Check.  My legs are screaming right now.

So there ya have it.  Nurse Kenny’s Christmas Break in Review.  Basically, I ran a ton of errands and slept and drank Slurpees.  It was quite glorious.  Oh, and I got one case of either a) food poisoning or b) a nasty 18-hour stomach virus.  Which happened to fall on Christmas Eve, negating my lofty plans to visit the g-parents and Mom.  Nothing more romantic than a Christmas Eve date with the bathroom, followed by a Christmas morning train ride through West Philly.  At least I got to see my Mom and cousin and Aunt and Uncle for a few hours.

And that brings us to the present day.  Lots has happened.  Classes started Monday.  Clinical rotation started yesterday.  Here’s my schedule until the end of February:

  • Monday:  9AM-12PM (Pathophysiology II), 2:30PM-4:30PM (Pharmacology II)
  • Tuesday:  9AM-12PM (Nursing Management of Adult Acute/Chronic Diseases II), 1PM-4PM (Health Assessment)
  • Wednesday:  2PM-10PM (Clinical Rotation In-Hospital)
  • Thursday:  2PM-10PM (Clinical Rotation In-Hospital)
  • Friday:  Off
  • Saturday:  Off
  • Sunday:  Off

I also have one online graduate course (Informatics for Advanced Nursing Practice), which goes the entire semester.  The rest of the above schedule will all change come March, when I start my OB rotation.  Because of that, Patho, Pharm, and Nursing Management all disappear, and we add a Nursing Management in Childbearing Families class, which I believe takes place on Tuesday mornings.  So, in essence, come March, I will have 4-day weekends every week!  Sweet!

As an aside, I believe S.A.N.L.O.P. might be taking place either a) on Friday or b) Sundays after church.  More to come on that.  Actually, nope.  No more to come on that.  Nothing really to say about that.

Other extracurricular activities this semester include the ongoing student government work, as well as something new I’ve gotten involved in:  Colleges Against Cancer.  Ever since I started working a bit in my former life with the world of cancer, I’ve grown pretty fond of the entire field.  Add to that knowing some people who’ve been affected by cancer (seems to be everywhere these days, sadly enough), and I’m starting to think seriously about seeing where that path might take me in nursing.  Have to look into that more.

Anyway, Colleges Against Cancer.  It’s an organization tied to the American Cancer Society, and we’re attempting to run our own Relay for Life this Spring.  It’s a huge undertaking, and somehow I find myself the Co-Chair of the event.  It’s kind of exciting, but also a lot of work.  We’ll see how we do.

Now, about clinical for these 7 weeks.  I’ve been assigned to a Cardiac Care Unit, which is pretty fascinating so far (after one whole day).  It’s basically filled with quite a few people who are either a) waiting for heart transplants or b) recovering from transplant surgery.  As you can imagine, some of these people are quite sick.  Our instructor seems very cool, and she’s been a cardiac nurse for a few years, so I’m looking forward to learning quite a bit from her.

Last night was our first night on the unit, and we basically just became oriented to the layout; got to know the different supply closets and the codes to get in them; learned the nurses’ names; found out where the ice machines were; and looked at all the cardiac monitors.

Ahhh, the cardiac monitors.  So many beeps and boops and blips going on all day long.  All of these patients are hooked up to cardiac monitors, which display above their beds as well as on various monitors displayed throughout the hallways.  So you can walk around and see what’s going on with each patient’s heart rhythms.  One of our major assignments each night on the unit will be to learn how to interpret rhythm strips.  These look like this:


We’re supposed to print out a few of the patients’ rhythms and figure out what’s going on in there.  The fun part is, if the patient is basically moving around, the strip looks like crazy lines flying everywhere — they call this “Artifact.”  As you can imagine, the patients aren’t usually just lying there quietly so we students can analyze their heart rhythms.  Examples:

  1. Patient A’s monitor shows me something that looks suspiciously like Ventricular Fibrillation (the kind of rhythm where, on TV shows, they yell, “He’s in V-fib!  Get the paddles!” and then shock the patient back into normal rhythm.  We stride purposefully over to the patient’s room, prepared at any moment to call a code and watch in horror as everyone tries to revive Patient A, only to find him … brushing his teeth.  Hmmph.
  2. Patient B’s monitor suddenly says, “Leads Off.”  We all think, “Oh crap, the patient fell over and is dead on the floor and her leads fell off her body.”  Student runs over to find Patient B … in the bathroom.  Hmmph.

So yeah, this will be a very challenging/exciting/strange/nerve-wracking 7 weeks.  Take your pick of adjectives.  I think it’ll be fun, though.  Interpreting these strips will be pretty fun, I think.

I basically shadowed a nurse last night for a few hours, then took some vital signs for her around 8PM.  The 2 patients I saw were both quite different.  One was a middle-aged gentleman who had come back from the cardiac cath lab earlier in the afternoon.  Because of this, we had to make sure of a few things:  he had to lie flat for the first hour, then no more than at a 30-degree angle for the next 5 hours or so; we had to check his femoral artery near his groin for any signs of complications, such as bleeding or hematoma; and we had to make sure he urinated sometime after coming back, which he finally did near the end of my shift.  He was getting quite a bit of fluids in him, so we wanted him to urinate sooner rather than later.

The other patient was a woman with Down syndrome, who seemed pretty sweet … until we had to perform any kind of procedure on her.  We had to insert a new IV in her arm while I was there, so I got to help with supplies, as well as help to hold her arm and legs down, because She. Was. Not. Happy.  In fact, she was calling us every dirty name in the book she could come up with.  Of course I didn’t take it personally, and the nurse was kind of cracking up at this woman’s ginormous potty mouth.

But yeah, nothing like starting a first day, walking into your first patient’s room, and she calls you a ******* bigot.

Ahhhh, nursing school!

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Ahhh yes, Christmas.  Used to be a time when we’d be excited for like, an entire month long, and get up at 4AM to wake up our siblings and see whether Santa had come bearing good tidings and all that.

What’s happened since?

Seems like people everywhere are just … just … cynical and sort of unhappy with the stress it all brings.

Now, before I say more about that, yes … there are definitely tons of great things still going on, lots of peeps happy and whistling and enjoying the true spirit of the holiday.  I see it every day, I do.  I admire the folks who go about this season with nothing but optimism in their voices, with smiles on their faces, and with unrelenting good cheer.  It’s truly awesome to see that.

Maybe it’s just me getting older (33 is a magical number, they say), but there just doesn’t seem to be as much delight in the Christmas air.  Are people really that stressed out by it all?  Your comments are welcome!

Onto other topics.  W pointed out in my previous post that a “Bucket List” is really something you do when you’re about to “kick the bucket,” per se, so I suppose I should re-word that.  I don’t plan on keeling over anytime soon.  I mean, I have like, 3 more semesters of nursing school to finish first!  So perhaps it’s more like a “Christmas Break To-Do List.”  But then that might imply that I have to do these things, which I really don’t.  Oh, I dunno, call it what you will.

And lastly, another thing — I went over to one of the nursing buildings yesterday to have a look at the final exams and see what I got wrong.  While I was there, I got to stop in to another professor’s office and see the feedback the other students had given us on our group presentation on Genetic Counseling.  I have to say, I wasn’t too surprised at the feedback — both positive and negative.  All of the things I worried about as potentially negative were represented by some of the students’ feedback.  And probably with good enough reason.

I have to stop beating myself up over mistakes I make, and here is a prime example.  I worried about some of these things prior to the presentation, but decided to go ahead with them, and got a bit of negative feedback.  So there it is.  Gotta live with the decision, and be okay with that.  It wasn’t anything that really nagged terribly at my conscience, so at least I have that to fall back on.  Most of the feedback was entirely positive, and that made me feel good for myself and for our group.  And we got a great grade on the presentation.  But the perception others have of me will always nag at me somewhere deep inside.  I don’t want to ever disappoint my classmates or friends.

So gotta work on that.

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So today I decided, instead of going out and shrieking in horror at the irrepressible hordes of inconsiderate Black Friday folks starting my Christmas shopping, I would sit inside and get some stuff done that I’ve been meaning to get done (ie, putting little twinkly lights in my fake ficus tree; dusting the tops of the cable box and DVD player; watering the plants; watching the concerts I’ve DVR-ed lately [KT Tunstall is amazing]).  W and E2 are coming over in a few minutes, and we have very lofty plans to … play video games.  E2 is indefatigable and kicks our butts up and down the street in Star Wars: Episode III.  She plays a terrifying Lord Vader.

In other news, had a good day with the Mother and the G-parents yesterday (Hi, Grandma and Grandpa!  Thanks again for dinner!).  Train ride back into the city was much better than the train ride home on Wednesday (where your friendly blogger had to stand from Market East all the way to Ambler before a seat opened up).

Have to give a presentation on what a genetic counselor does for our Intro to Nursing course tomorrow — we have a little something fun cooked up for the class; I’ll let you know how it goes.  So now the big decision for the afternoon is:

  1. Should I play General Grievous or Obi-Wan?
  2. Pizza or Royal Tavern for dinner tonight with W and E2?

Hope you all are having a great Thanksgiving weekend!

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