Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It's not just a job to God

Today I realized just how involved God wants to be in my life. God thinks of ways everyday to bring us to a deeper growth or open our eyes to things we didn't previously see.
Yesterday I was assigned a patient who was waiting on a diagnosis of cancer. I knew she had metastatic cancer, her nurse knew, but she and her family did not. I had no idea what to do with this information and I left so saddened by the situation. This morning I talked to my instructor about this unique situation because I couldn't help but relate it to my own life. My grandmother received her cancer diagnosis while I sat in her hospital room talking to her. I felt the mood of her room change from hope to grief in an instant. The room went from laughter to tears and a heaviness settled over the room. Her life would never be the same.
So I explained to my instructor that I felt God wanted me to have this patient, if only because I know how all of this feels as a family member experiencing it. And this blew my mind..... She said that she had been praying over the assignments and she was going back and forth between two different patients for me. She said she kept feeling God leading her to assign this particular patient to me - the only cancer patient we have had on our floor. Wow, we both got chillbumps.
I don't know why God gave me this patient except that I could bring a certain sensitivity to the situation. I didn't pray for her or anything because she didn't want that, but I was able to show kindness and I hope that was enough.
God is intimately involved in our lives and He wants to show us that every single day. And sometimes we just happen to see it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I don't know that I feel like blogging but I know that I don't feel like studying, so I'm thinking of putting into words my clinical experience so far. Have I mentioned that I have an amazing clinical instructor? Well, I say that today because she had my clinical group participate in an activity that allows us to vocalize our feelings about clinicals. It sounds weird that 5 hours working in a hospital could be enough for you to need self therapy, but it is so intense and so overwhelming to be in clinical sometimes that we need a way of defining how we feel, pinpointing our emotions instead of suppressing them. So our instructor had us close our eyes and sit in silence for a couple of minutes just bringing our emotions to the surface. I immediately started squirming in my seat because I don't like to explore emotions in front of others. I am all about suppressing! So as soon as I closed my eyes I knew the tears would come. Next, one by one we vocalized our feelings, going through the range of emotions that can be so contradictory all in a matter of seconds.
For me today, my feelings were overwhelmed, inadequate, excited, frustrated, tired, mentally exhausted, forgiven.
I was surprised to hear as we went around the room that I was not alone. We are expected to know so much and perform so well that you can't help but be left with feelings that you didn't do enough. Today was the first time that I questioned whether nursing is for me. I know that I can nurture the patient and keep my patient safe, but can I deal with the busyness that nurses face for 12 hours a day - never feeling like they accomplished everything, having to prioritize and skip things that may not be life-threatening but may improve a patient's stay. It is incredibly draining to not only grapple with your own emotions but also to take on the emotions of your patients. You try not to feel too much of their feelings but emotions easily attach themselves to whoever they are around.
Nursing forces you to examine your shortcomings. When you think you are smart, something happens that makes you feel like an idiot. When you think you are well organized, a situation comes in that makes you forget you ever had a plan.
But nursing also makes you come back for more and realize that we do what we can, and we care and respect our patients and we eventually forget that we spilled a urinal all over the floor (yeah, happened to me today) and we report on the next week.
I realize that God doesn't need me to be perfect but He wants me to trust that as I work my hardest He replaces my weakness with His strength and my inabilities with His grace.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I did it! I survived first week of clinical!

So yesterday was Face Your Fear day ( I heard it on the radio, so it may be a little unofficial) and it was very appropriate that yesterday was my first day of clinical. Sometimes I don't know why I am always so interested in things that stretch me to the max, but for some reason I have this weird need to do those things that scare me the most, those things that challenge me, and for me yesterday, that was clinical.
I've never been in a hospital for more than a day, nor have visited anyone in the hospital for an extended amount of time, so yesterday was very, very new to me. I didn't know if I'd say anything comprehensible to my patient or calm my hands enough to give a bed bath, but by the grace of God I actually was pretty calm and did pretty well. Not that it wasn't extremely overwhelming and scary but God just kept assuring me that I was supposed to be there.
It's really crazy that I walk on the floor in my scrubs and no one kicks me out! No one says visitor hours are over, no one questions what I am doing at the computer, I don't have to ask anyone whether I can go in a patient's room! It's wild that I am allowed to do most of my patient's care and people actually ask me questions to get information about their patient.
Some cool things I got to see and do: One of the coolest things was being able to see a PICC line inserted into my patient's vein. They ultrasound the arm to find a vein and then insert a tube into the arm that goes into one of the main vessels in the heart.

I was able to do blood glucose testing, discontinue an IV and pull out the tubing.
I did all my patient care minus meds and all unsupervised and it was my first day! I went home sure that I had done something terrible to my patient but I actually got positive feedback about how I did. The funniest thing to me was when I reported off to the nurse (let her know I was leaving, gave an update on our patient) she said, "You were so calm and collected." Haha, yeah right! I was freaking out inside!

Nursing is an adventure and you just get thrown into it all. I didn't realize that I would be dealing with ethical issues my first day there! I dealt with issues of end of life care and the debate of feeding an older, debilitated patient or just giving them IV fluids. It was way more complicated than that and I could really go into it, but it's still overwhelming for me to contemplate some decisions that were made. I was there when a daughter got the news that her mother was going to hospice, that there was nothing else that could be done. Talk about needing to be prayed up before going into clinical.
One last thing, I have the best clinical instructor! She is a nun and uses every opportunity to pray with, speak the gospel to, or share God's love with any patient that needs it. How appropriate that God put me with her to learn how to incorporate my faith into my job everyday.It is seriously like being discipled and I know that not all instructors at my school are like that so I am grateful.
This may sound like a rosy post, but it was not all rosy, believe me. I was excited, scared, happy, crying, frustrated, and confident all in a matter of two clinical days, and still can't believe I have 6 more weeks to go!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

a 100!

OK, I'm not trying to brag but I have to make note of this day because it may not happen again in the next two years of school, but I got a 100 on my fundamentals exam!!!!!! For those who know how subjective and hard and tricky these exams are, you know why I am so excited. It was announced today that 2 people out of 81 students got a 100 but I didn't even have a thought that it would be me, and it was!!!!!
Ok, sorry so not trying to be proud because seriously, I have never appreciated my brain till now, so I'm just grateful.

Monday, September 28, 2009

I was a little embarrassed when I was at church talking about how hard nursing school is, and the person said,"You are smiling really big, you must love it." But then I thought, wow if I can smile through this incredibly tough month, then I must be going into the right profession. I cannot tell you how awesome it feels to be doing something that feels so natural and right. I feel like I will be one of those nurses that loves her job, no matter how taxing and crazy it is.
Today I checked off on urinary catheters. No, it wasn't on a real person, it was on a dummy. But man was it nerve wrecking. There are so many steps to performing it right and on top of trying to maintain a sterile field you have your instructor silently looking over your shoulder the entire time. But, I did great and it was such a relief to get that out of the way. Not too far out of the way though because I was informed by my instructor that she is going to find catheters for me to put in in the hospital. Thanks.
So, clinicals start in two weeks and I'm sure I'll have some interesting experiences to share, of course while maintaining the privacy of the patients, per HIPAA, in case anyone was worried. This is short because I have to read a chapter by tomorrow, although I'd rather just watch House.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I cannot believe it, but I have survived my first month of nursing school. Let me tell you, it wasn't easy. So many people told me it's really hard and tiring and I had no idea what they meant by that. It's like trying to explain contractions to someone who has never had a baby. This is the thing: the material in nursing school is not all that difficult. It's a lot of common sense application to entire body processes, but what makes it so difficult is the amount of time you have to learn it. I'm talking about having one week to learn 6 chapters. And these chapters may have 80-100 pages each! Plus, you are learning skills in the lab which you have to check off or test every week. I have had an exam every week in September and I have two more exams before this month is over. So basically my life consists of reading, going to class, studying, and practicing skills.
By Thursday of every week I am so over school, but the funny thing is, by Sunday I can't wait to go back! What?! I guess it's like labor amnesia. You forget how draining and difficult it is.
So, as I posted on Twitter, it is so nice to be working towards something you know God has given you the ability to do. I feel His favor all over my nursing journey. I was blessed to have the hospital that I wanted, with the instructor that I just adore, and on a really cool floor! I am going to have plenty of stories to share about the sights that I see there. I have to get back to studying, on Sunday no doubt, ugh. But I just wanted to update.

Monday, August 31, 2009

First weeks of school

Ok so earlier, in my blog, I talked about how I am a procrastinator. That has not changed, it has just been targeted towards my blog since nursing school procrastination is not an option. I have a few minutes before my spanish class so I thought I would catch up on how nursing school has been going.
First for epiphanies:
1. I realize that this is absolutely what I am supposed to be doing, no doubt.
- I can't believe I get excited about learning to change a bedpan, or realizing you can change a bed with someone in it!
2. I realize that what makes me feel alive or feel like a social contributor is finding a way to be useful and help others. Not in an altruistic way, but with a slight egoist philosophy that helping others and being needed makes me feel good about myself. But that's okay right? Because ultimately people benefit from our deeds even if we want them to.

So I am starting my third week, Wow it went fast. And I just had my first exam. So Scary! I have taken many exams throughout school, but this one is unlike anything I have ever taken. It is not about defining terms or memorizing concepts, it is all application. How I did is yet to be discovered. I am just hoping for a B.
Not only did I have an exam but I also had to "check off" on four skills. Making an occupied bed, brushing a partner's teeth (awkward), assisting said partner with a bedpan and a urinal. We get intimate with each other real quick. My personal space issues have gone out the door!
One of the things I love about nursing school is that I have 84 students in all of my lectures and those same 84 students will (hopefully) all be graduating with me. So though we walk hesitantly towards friendships with one another, there is a security in knowing that we will be able to depend on each other and walk through the same journey for the next two years, not just one semester.
Another thing that I didn't realize is that nursing school is difficult, not necessarily for the content of the nursing, (I am sure that will come later) but rather the volume of work required every day! I literally read an average of 10 chapters a week on top of watching videos for skills and taking quizzes in almost every class. There is literally not enough time to fit everything in, but you know I try.
I love my support system for coming over for free food and letting me practice my skills on them. They just don't realize that the skills may get progressively more invasive. I'm sure that soon they will see me and run the other way. But I'll take advantage while I can.
I am super busy and a bit stressed but over all, I am loving this new experience. I don't know how much I will update but I'll definitely post the highlights.