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Hey all … and the month continues.  Day 22.

So far so great!  I’ve been able to stay the course, and definitely feel fantastic (no bloating anymore, eating delicious food, mental acuity seems to have sharpened a bit in the last week or so).  I’ve been kind of dragging a bit lately in the energy department, so some knowledgeable friends suggested I try adding in a few more sweet potatoes during my week, cutting down a bit on the eggs each day, and see where that takes me.  Maybe give me a nice infusion of carbs that I might be needing.  I haven’t been sleeping the best lately, but I’m hoping that changes with time.

Also … a phone interview!  Yep, my first in a long time.  It went just fine, I think, considering it occurred first thing in the morning (well, for me, at least).  I awoke to my phone vibrating on the nightstand, and seeing a local area code, picked it up, thinking, “Ahh, harmless phone call reminding me of a doctor’s appointment or something like that.”

Nope.  Nurse Recruiter from local hospital asking to talk to me about a position.

Crap.  I’m half-asleep, groggy-voiced, and thinking I’d much rather retreat to a hot shower.  Alas, I think, this could work for me.  Perhaps I’ll come across as smooth or something.  Yeah, right.

Anyway, she didn’t want to schedule me for an interview, as I had thought, but rather interview me right THERE on the phone.  A sort of pre-screening, as it were, I suppose to make sure I wasn’t a bumbling, incoherent wannabe nurse.  Which I hope I wasn’t.

Cut to 10-15 minutes later, after a few interesting questions (“What kinds of diseases do you think you’ll see in this particular unit?”), and I was told, “If the unit wants to interview you after I speak to them, I’ll call you back.”

Mmmhmm, ok.

Well, lucky for me, my Super Suave Morning Croak must have won them over, and I’m scheduled for a real, in-person, I-should-wear-a-nice-suit interview come next week.  I’ll keep y’all posted on how that goes.

As for now … Day 22 it is, gonna finish out this month strong, and continue on the path to good health.

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Well, friends, September is almost upon us, and that means it’s time for the 30-Day Ancestral Health Challenge.

I’ve gotten a few questions from some folks who are asking me specifically what this means.  I’ll try to be concise:

  1. It’s definitely not a detox sort of plan.  The goal is to spend 30 days eating strictly paleo (no sugar, grain, legumes, dairy, or processed oils), and let the body adjust gradually to that way of eating.  After 30 days, if I so choose, I’ll start adding in some non-paleo (but still healthy) foods to see how my body reacts.
  2. It’s definitely 30 months of moving!  I’ll be working out pretty hard and playing pretty hard.  The “playing” portion of this might include some leisurely bike rides, long walks through the city with friends/family, or just a Wiffle Ball game in the park (Roger, are you reading this?).
  3. Last, but not least, one might be tempted to call this a “diet,” and yes, it sort of is.  I’d like, however, to call it a lifestyle.  I know that sounds all hippy-ish and new-agey or whatever, but I’ve eaten this way before and I know that my body feels wonderful in doing so.  I sleep better, I have more energy (after my body starts burning fat for energy instead of sugar), and my skin feels healthier.  It’s a lifestyle because I really want it to be.  And this 30 days, I hope, will be a nice kick-start to get me on the right track.

A friend (Hi there, E1!) recently pointed out to me, in the nice way she often does, that I am definitely an “all-or-nothing” kind of person.  I set out to do things, and if one or two little things go wrong, it spells impending doom and it’s the end of my grand plans.  It was a pretty stark reminder of how far I have to go, and I thank her for that.  In any case, though, I cannot wait to get started tomorrow.  I went shopping today, and our fridge, freezer, and pantry are loaded up with paleo deliciousness.  Hopefully I’ll start adding some photos of the yum meals I have in store.

Again, visit my partners in crime by clicking on their links to the right (Jenn Siegel and E-Chopz), and wish us luck!

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Yes, yes, yes, let’s just get this outta the way right away.  The entire East Coast felt an earthquake today, after one hit southwest of Washington, DC.  People here in Philly were all a-tizzy, but everything is fine overall.  My shower curtain shook, I was not experiencing benign positional vertigo (as I first thought), and that was pretty much that.  Earthquake over.  Next topic.

In other news, I have links!  There are three of us undergoing this 30-day challenge, and they are (besides me, obviously) …

Erica (AKA “Chopz”).  Her Web site is here.

Jenn (nickname to be determined).  Her Web site is here.

As I noted yesterday, we’ll be starting our 30-day Ancestral Health Challenge on Thursday, September 1, and running it through Friday, September 30.  As part of this, Jenn, Erica, and I will be eating strictly paleo.  What is paleo, you ask?  Glad you did.  Here’s a nifty little infographic about that, following some other info:

I know it’s a lot to digest (pun intended), so I’ll leave it at that for now.  I’m still trying to understand it myself.  The basic tenets of eating paleo include:

  • No grains, sugar, dairy, legumes, or processed seed oils
  • Fruit, nuts, and seeds are ok, but in limited quantities
  • Yams and/or sweet potatoes are ok, but also in limited quantities

More tomorrow!

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So.

The last time I posted here, August 10, 2010 (over a year ago), I mentioned I was going on a little hiatus.  A hiatus is usually a very brief delay, but in this case it lasted … over a year.

However, I’m back!  You’ll notice the title of this blog is no longer “Adventures in Nursing School.”  That’s right — I’ve since graduated, passed my boards, and am currently looking for a job, either a) in a NICU (neonatal), or b) in a Community Health setting.

Anyway, since we last talked (or interacted, or saw each other’s comments, or whatever), I’ve become a member of a growing community of fitness/nutrition enthusiasts, and have started researching and trying to understand (key word, trying) the paleo/primal way of living.  As a part of this, one of the people with whom I’ve become friendly is Jenn, and she and I will be holding each other accountable for the month of September, which we are treating as our own personal 30-day Ancestral Health Challenge.

These 30 days will include eating primally and moving primally, and we can’t wait.  I’ll link to Jenn’s blog at some point soon, but in the meantime, keep an eye out for more blog posts to follow.

I’ll be writing more about my job search, living in Philadelphia, and of course, nutrition (maybe even with photos).

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Monday:

  • 3 exams (Pathophysiology, Pharmacology, Nursing Management) on the endocrine system — 9:00-10:15
  • Class from 10:30-12:00
  • Class from 2:30-4:30
  • Colleges Against Cancer meeting 6:00-7:30

Tuesday:

  • Class from 9:00-12:00
  • Midterm (Health Assessment) from 1:00-2:15

Wednesday:

  • Discussion board posting due for Informatics for Advanced Practice Nurses
  • 250 NCLEX questions due

Thursday:

  • Reproductive module due for pathophysiology

Friday:

  • Reproductive module due for pharmacology

Saturday:

  • Spring Break!

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So.

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:

http://kcsun3.tripod.com/id190.htm

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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Ok, so I know you’ve totally missed me, judging by the thousands of people clicking on this here site to see whether I’ve returned.  Mmmm hmmm that’s definitely what’s been happening.

So lots been going on in the past few days when I was on family hiatus:

  1. We had our first meeting with our Health Mentor.  I’ll detail this more in another post, but the Health Mentor Program is basically one in which we are paired up with someone in the community who has a chronic illness, and we “follow” that person for the next 2 years.  Each Health Mentor is assigned a group, of which I’m the Nursing student.  There’s also other specialties represented, but I’ll go into this much more later.  It was a great meeting, and I think this program will be absolutely worthwhile.
  2. Had a wonderful day in clinical today, and did so many new things.
  3. My patient was a 47-year-old male who is having surgery in the near future.  Because of this, he was pretty low-maintenance.  However, there was a lot of monitoring to do today.  No injections to give, but I was able to give him his oral medications at 5PM.  And I forgot to ask him his name and birthdate!  D’oh!  Didn’t matter all that much, because I have only one patient, and I knew it was him from being with him all day, but still — it’s something I need to get into the habit of doing.  We were monitoring his Inputs and Outputs (I&O), so I made sure to check on him all day and see what he was drinking as well.  After each time he urinated, we had to perform a bladder scan to see whether he was retaining any urine in his bladder.  So that was fun to learn.  On top of this, today was just a day to attend to my patient — getting him an extra slice of dessert from the pantry downstairs; getting him lots of juice and soda; assessing his vital signs and other things throughout the day.
  4. I had my midterm evaluations done today by my instructor!  She was definitely positive about my performance so far, but agreed with me that I need to show more confidence in my “maneuvering” around a patient’s room.  She did allow that this kind of thing comes only with practice, though.  She also mentioned that I need to be more assertive in not worrying about bothering my patients.  I can’t help it!  🙂  For example, my one patient was talking on the phone with someone, and I needed to assess her vital signs to put them into the computer by 4, but she was talking for-EV-er, and my instructor said I should have just walked in and started doing the vitals.  Of course I thought that I didn’t want to bother her when she was on the phone.  Again, I’ll get more confident with this kind of problem over time.
  5. Midterms are coming up next week, so everyone is thinking about that.  Our school sets it up as 3 exams in 1 class period (2.5 hours).  So next Tuesday we have 8AM-10:30AM, and in that period we take 3 exams (100 questions total) — Pathophysiology, Pharmacology, and Nursing Management.  All multiple choice, and all in the NCLEX style — they’re starting us out early on figuring out these questions.

If you’re wondering what NCLEX-style is, they basically do this:

Question #1:  If you had a patient with [insert medical problems here etc etc], what would you monitor first in this patient?

A.  Incorrect answer.    B.  Right answer.   C.  Incorrect answer.    D.  “Righter” answer.

So you can see that they often give you many right answers in the possibilities, but you have to figure out which one is “righter.”  Critical thinking, grrrr.

More to come tomorrow … for now it’s back to the Phillies game!

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