Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Busy, busy bee

Spring break was fantastic. Just what I needed! I also ended the first half of the semester on a great note: an AB on one exam and a B on the other. :)  So far, this semester is at a 90% average. I've got one class at 91, one at 90, and the other at 89. I'll take it!  I've been working really hard with my Health Alterations class. Though, I've found a good way for me to study. It's a lot of work but it's so worth it. I can't believe that in just a few short months I'll be an LPN!

I'm also excited to say that I'm finally taking a summer off. Since I started school in the summer of 2008, I've been go-go-go all year round. Part of me was debating about taking a class over the summer to limit my course load this fall but I decided that I need to give myself a chance to relax a bit. Plus, I'll be prepping for my NCLEX-PN (state boards to become an LPN) and then working as an LPN. I figure I can work full time hours and save up some cash before cutting back down to part-time this fall.

I also found out some fantastic news about continuing my education once I have my ADN. I've always planned on going on to get my BSN and MSN because I want to be a nurse midwife but I wasn't sure where I'd be going to school. Right out of college, I went to Viterbo and I LOVED it there. My problem was that I couldn't figure out what I wanted to do. I started as a music theatre major. Ha.. riiiiiight.. that lasted less than half a semester. I quickly switched to Music Education, which I enjoyed but I felt like it wasn't the right fit for me. So then I switched to Elementary Education and then a brief stint in Psychology before I left school in 2004. Anyway, I loved the school, the instructors, the class sizes. The only issue was the price. Well, it turns out that's not as big of a deal for the BSN completion program. Since I'll already have one degree it's actually much cheaper per credit than if I went there for the full 4 year program. Even better... it's cheaper than going through the University of Wisconsin! I'm also excited that it would be face-to-face instead of online and classes meet once per week in 7 week chunks.

Viterbo told me I could apply a few weeks before my graduation from WTC so that I could register for that fall. This means that I would be graduating with my BSN by  2014!  What I love is that this program with Viterbo is designed for people already working as nurses and such. Which means that it (hopefully) wouldn't put a damper on the thought of having kids after I get my degree from TC.

So much to think about! I'm feeling so awesome about all of this, I love it!

Friday, February 25, 2011

"Are you really trying?"

So says my health assessment that I took as a guideline for a paper I am writing. I received a 54% in physical fitness and 44% in emotional control. That means two things: I know what my focus will be for my personal health promotion plan and I just had a computer tell me that I'm a loser.

This assignment is for us to understand what our patients feel like when we provide them with lifestyle changes they need to make in order for them to create a healthier lifestyle. But, similar to what I said in my last post, I'm finding it difficult to follow this assignment when it's assignments/school that's driving me nuts and taking up a lot of time in the first place. But, I'm going to try my best. In fact, once I finish up this blog post, I'm planning on going for a jog/walk. Even though it's cold, at least it's sunny. Hopefully it's a step in the right direction.

Do you ever feel as if you're stuck in the roundabout of life?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

How to balance it all?

Today, I've been working on an assignment that requires us to take a couple of Health Risk Assessments. I'm going to be honest, I haven't stepped on the scale in a while because I knew it would just make me feel extremely depressed. Well, this assessment required me to do so.

170 lbs.

Are you freaking kidding me?!

Suddenly, I'm hit with a TON of different feelings. Failure being one of them. I've always been in good shape and being active was never an issue for me because I LOVE being active (swimming, hiking, walking, biking, dancing..) But  since school has started (back in 2008) I've slowly put on this weight. I was 140lb when we got married (3 years ago) and I've gained approximately 10 pounds per year. That's not exactly a healthy course of action, here. I know it's also because I stopped teaching dance that same year (had to because of school.) Then came a job working in a call center where my stress level went WAY high and activity level went even lower. Now this semester.. I'm active when I'm at work, and I always try to park further away and take stairs instead of the elevator. I try to eat right (can't always though.. gonna be honest) and now I just feel .. gross.

I just don't know how to balance it all. Work, school, homework, sleep, and then working out. I'm so tired most of the time thanks to my crazy sleep schedule, that I don't want to do a "work out." I need something that feels relaxing instead of "C'Mon and burn those calories! Fell the burn!"- type workouts. I need to make time to get active and I think I need someone who will drag my butt out the door to do it.

Well, back to my assignment.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Long day

Last night was a long night at work. It all started around 11:30pm and didn't really let up until about 4:30. I had a few times to sit down for about 10 minutes or so at a time but that was it. At least I got a lunch in! :) Then I came home and made coffee and hopped in the shower. Got out of the shower and made French toast for Nick & I. ...and then I fell asleep... but only for two hours! Now I'm up and onto homework again. Today is going to be a little more low-key. I've got a bit of clinical work, then I'm going to finish up about 2 hours of other classes, and then I'll be able to clean and enjoy this VERY snowy day with my hubby. The problem is going to be staying awake that long.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Stop- Study Time

I got some really good news the other day. One of my tests that I thought I did badly on, I really didn't. Turns out there were multiple errors in the test and I actually got a B, not a D! Woohoo!  However, the other exam I had, was definitely a D. So, I set up a meeting with my professor, went through the exam and have gotten some great pointers to prep for the next exam. I'm also going to be setting up some times with a tutor for the class as well. What I found frustrating (and slightly amusing) is that when she went over the exam with me, she read the questions and I was able to give the correct answer..even though I chose the wrong one on the exam. We're thinking part of the issue may be my test taking skills and the other part is just learning what I should be focusing more on when I study. This week will be dedicated to getting a time set up with the tutor and going to our academic resource center to get some materials on vamping up my test-taking skills. Whatever it takes, I WILL maintain and even improve my GPA this semester. Not that 3.4 is bad.. but I want to be at 3.5 or higher.

I've also got to figure out a way to balance my sanity with everything else right now. I get very irritable and upset when I'm cooped up for long periods at a time so between all the homework/reading and being stuck inside thanks to Wisconsin winters.. I'm due for a change of pace somehow. I'm thinking of signing up for the student gym or checking another gym in our area that's pretty reasonably priced. I figure I can read and walk on a treadmill at the same time (or at least listen to my lectures on my phone w/ some earbuds.)

I'm also hoping for a warm and early spring. :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Getting the mid-term frustrations

It's not even technically our midterm and I'm already at my wits end with frustration. I'm going to be honest.. I have NO idea how to read 300 pages in one week and actually retain all of it. I review the information. I re-write the information. I take the online quizzes posted by our teachers. I take the online quizzes posted by our textbook companies. I go back through the chapters and try to re-read the "highlights" and I still feel like its not enough. 

I'm also trying to continue to work 3-4 shifts per week. This most likely, wouldn't be as much of an issue if I didn't have to keep switching up my sleep schedule. One day I'm up for 30 hours, then I sleep during the day, then I'm awake for only 7 hours and try to sleep at night. I have no steady sleeping or eating schedule and my body is getting worn out. 

I think I need to watch a sappy movie and just have a good cry. That always helps with frustrations. Problem is.. I don't have time for a movie. :/

"It will get better."
"It will get better."
"It will get better."
"It will get better."

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Clinical: my favorite day of the week

In about an hour and a half, I'll be heading down to the hospital to pick up my clinical assignment for tomorrow morning. Tonight, I will be completing my clinical prep work which includes the follow; Medication administration cards for each medication I will administer to the patient tomorrow; lab cards for the labs and test my patient had today and will have tomorrow; clinical prep sheet describing primary diagnosis and related diagnoses and nursing interventions for each one; nursing process worksheet containing a more specific nursing plan outline for an issue related to the primary diagnosis. This paperwork has been taking me an insanely long time to complete (approximately 5-7 hours) due to me not having a care plan book. Last semester we weren't able to use them so I never bought one. Now we can.. so I know what I'll be purchasing soon!

Luckily, the hospital has a few care plan books. So, my plan for tonight is to complete everything but my cards while I'm there. Even though I'll be at the hospital for a longer amount of time, it should (hopefully) cut down on the overall work time for the prep work. Which will allow me to get a decent amount of sleep tonight and help me feel even more prepared tomorrow. :)

Clinical is easily turning into my favorite day of the week. I love the hospital environment and the challenge that Med-Surg units provide me. I feel very "nurse-like" in this clinical compared to last semester. I think this is partially due to the fact that last semester we were in long-term care...which is what I do for work..so even though the responsibilities were different, the environment being the same didn't make it feel like as much of a change.

Well, I'm off to get some housework done before I leave for the hospital!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ignoring the people who don't support me

Last night, I had a dream. In this dream I was working as a nurse in a hospital (no idea where) and I was talking with a patient. Suddenly this girl from my past with came up to me and started insulting my care to the patient. She insulted my clothes, my shoes, and in the dream, I walked away feeling defeated.

I woke up realizing that for some stupid reason, some people like her (who I haven't seen in YEARS) are still able to "control" parts of my life with the things they've said and done to me. How much sense does that make? 10 years out of high school and some jerk can still affect how I feel about myself?! It's not that I want to hold onto the emotions I associate with that person(s). I honestly can't help it. I have always had a very specific and good memory. Things that people don't normally remember. I know every teacher I've had since Kindergarten (so what?)  but I also remember how their rooms were set up and where I sat throughout the year. I remember the projects we made and the people I sat next to. I remember every ballet dance I've had since I was 6, and all four show choir shows including my alto part. *BUT* I can't remember when Nick asks me to pick up something from the store. Irony at it's best.

So, how do I get past this? How do I accept what was said/done in the past and then move on? I've been able to move past other things with other people, but that's because there's closure. With this person, there is no closure. Just 2 years of coldness followed by ignoring my existence when we have run into each other.

I hate feeling unresolved in something.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A better student

Here's a little family story for you. When I was a baby, my parents took me to Michigan (where they are both from) so their parents could all see me. My Grandpa Owen held me and looked at my parents and said, "She's a Valedictorian" 

Now, obviously, I did not achieve that in HS. But since his passing in 2002, I've wondered why I didn't get closer to his prediction. I eventually realized it was just a matter of one thing: work harder.

In 2008, I decided to head back to school to become a nurse. In High School I was a good student. I graduated in the top 25% of my class but I didn't really try very hard. I did my homework but I never really studied. If I'd have applied myself, I think I could have made top 15%. Anyway, so when I decided to head back to school, I was determined to be better. There was a 2 year wait for me to begin in the actual nursing program but that actually worked pretty well for me since I needed to continue to work full time. I began my general education classes. For the first 3 semesters I had a 4.0. I was very excited. Then Anatomy and Physiology came along and slammed me back to reality. I got a B. Then Advanced A&P really tried my patience and I got a B/C. (Stupid cell metabolism.. one day, citric acid cycle, I will get my revenge.. one day..)

Then last fall, the big day arrived. I was a first semester nursing student! I had Nursing Skills, Pharmacology, and Intro to Clinical Care (I had taken Fundamentals of Nursing over the summer, got a B) Skills was great. I got an A in that. Clinical was also great, I got a pass in that (pass or fail, not graded) ...then pharm. Ugh.. pharm was difficult for me. I got a B/C.  All in all, my GPA fared alright and settled in at a 3.4. Not bad.. but not a Valedictorian either.

This semester I was determined to try harder. My class list this semester: Clinical Care Across the Lifespan (Med Surg/Maternity/long-term care), Health Alterations (online), Health Promotions, and Microbiology. So far, clinical is great. Micro is going well too...though we're revisiting that stupid citric acid cycle again. At least I understand it now. But my theory classes (alt & pro) are proving to be more difficult. I had my first two exams in those classes earlier this week. I had read all our readings, completed our objectives, used online textbook resources (online quizzes from the book) and I felt ready. Well.. not so much. I got a D on both exams. Which, in the nursing student world, means you failed. All exams must be a C or higher to "count."

I felt devastated. Defeated. All-in-all... like crap. But then I remembered that I've got 3 tests left in each class. Plenty of time to turn it around. All it means is that I know how *not* to study for those exams, right?

Now that I have all that cleared out of my mind... back to studying. :)

So here we go

I work, I study, and I live life. Why add a blog? Well, as odd as it sounds. I want to cut back on my FB time and figure I should just take my thoughts/feelings out in one blog rather than waste 5-10 minutes here or there logging onto FB throughout my day. I've decided I'm going to be open and honest and try as hard as I can to stay happy along the way. Mainly, I need a place to just talk. If you know me already, you know I talk a lot. Sometimes too much. I don't mean to.. I just have a difficult time shutting up. lol

So, here's the skinny on my background. I'm 26 (almost 27), married to Nick. We've got 3 cats and a house that we bought two years ago. I'm a second semester nursing student and I currently work as a nursing assistant at a nursing home, in the dementia unit. My past is a mixture of happiness, silliness, regret, drama, and stupidity. I secretly hope that I'm not alone in feeling that way. I had a tendency to grab onto people and be so terrified of losing them that I would suffocate them. Not healthy at all!  Looking back, I think it was a mixture of situations and immaturity.College wasn't much better. I had an amazing experience with a local festival when I was crowned their "queen" and that year my life changed a lot. A relationship ended, another one started, I quit school, and I moved out. I felt exhilarated, terrified, and overwhelmed. It took me a few years to figure things out. Basically, I had to own up to my mistakes.. as embarrassing as some were. I apologized to people and I told myself that I wouldn't fall back into my old behaviors. Those who knew me then and now have said they've seen the change.. so hopefully it's working. :)

To make a short story long.. Here I am. This blog will mainly be about my journey as a student and a person. I look back at how much I've grown in the ten years and I think it would be neat to blog and watch myself grow more.