Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I am a graduated nurse!

This is what a very happy, very proud-of-herself new graduate nurse looks like!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Going Out with a BANG!

I can't do anything quietly.  When I finally accomplish something it has to be with a BANG!

Nursing school has ended but I had to be sure the finale was like the fourth of July fireworks!

I got a 100% on my community and public health nursing exam.  That's right, 100! 100! 100! 100! 

I'm telling you, I don't mess around!

And lastly, I finished my last semester with 2 "A"s, a final GPA of 3.692, and a magna cum laude status.  I never in my wildest dreams imagined that my  name would ever be associated with a fancy latin phrase like "magna cum laude".   Magna cum laude translates into "with great honors" -- I am not afraid to say that I am damn proud of myself for that.  This journey was not easy, but it is done, and I am feeling like I am on top of the world.  I am a better person for all I have learned, experienced and accomplished.  I am so blessed to be where I am and I could never thank everyone who helped me get here enough.  

Monday, December 16, 2013

The End of an Era

This is the end of my story -- at 11:40 I walked out of my last final exam in my nursing school career.  I walked out like any other day - no pomp, no circumstance.  It seemed very surreal.

I walked over to the bookstore with some friends to order my cap and gown, which I now have in my posession for graduation on January 15.  This is really happening folks!!!!  I keep thinking this is the end of an era, when it is really just the beginning of my career as a nurse.  That is why they call a graduation ceremony "commencement", because it is the beginning of a new chapter.

For the past 3.5 years I have been a student, and I am not sure that I know how to be anything else!  I put so much blood, sweat and tears into doing this, and doing it well.  It's going to be a big transition for me to be anything different!  Seems crazy, but it's true.

As of now it looks as if I am going to graduate with a 3.7 GPA which translates into magna cum laude.  I have never been magna cum laude in my life -- just looked longly at the names on other graduation programs listed under those fancy latin words.  This time my name is going to be there -- that is something that I am so very proud of.   I am graduating magna cum laude from nursing school!!!!!!  I want to shout that from the rooftops!  In fact, I just might do that! ;)

I thought about what to do with this blog now that nursing school is over.  I guess I can hang onto it until graduation day on January 15.   I know I want to have it published into a book so my kids can read it, and I can look back in a few years and remember just how hard this really was.   If I do keep it, it will have to be renamed from "michelewantstobeanurse" to "micheleisanurse".  We'll see where my heart takes me (and the blog).

Thank you for your support and for following me on this very challenging journey.  It has changed me, as a person, in more ways than I ever imagined it could or would.  It has brought me together with so many people - professors, friends, patients, mentors, and more that I would never have met otherwise. I am so very thankful for this blessing and for the opportunity to help people in need.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Results are in. . .

Can I get a drum roll please????

The results are in, and I passed my exit exam!  Woot Woot!  Here are my results!

I'm not sure that I can really even describe how happy this made me.  I am well on my way to being a REGISTERED NURSE!!!!  Crazy!  I just have to wrap up the loose ends of this semester and then I will be preparing for my boards - the final step in my journey as a nursing student.  Rumor has it that the exit exam is harder than the boards, so I am feeling pretty confident about my success.  

Yesterday I prayed to be calm and focused during the exam and that is exactly how it was.  I certainly was nervous, but nothing like I have been in the past with ATIs.  I certainly felt God's presence while I sat in the exam room and answered the 160 questions.  I'm pretty sure my dad was hanging out there as well.  I cannot express my gratitude to God for His blessings and his guidance.  I continue to be overwhelmed by His goodness.  

Thursday is my public policy presentation on the integration of mental health care and primary health care, then I have a final exam on 12/16 and I can officially check "complete nursing school" off my list of things to do.  It still seems so surreal. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

4 days until HESI. Wait. What??

HESI is my exit exam from nursing school.  It is completely insane that it is four days away.  I remember hearing chatter about the graduating seniors taking HESI on a given day and I felt so nervous for them -- knowing it was a make or break event.   Now, here I am . . .  waiting in the wings for my turn to take the dreaded HESI.  This is crazy.  This nursing school journey is really ending.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I am so overwhelmed by everything I have to be thankful for.  My amazing family and friends, my wonderful marriage, my beautiful children, my many talents and gifts that allow me to share beautiful things like art and music with others, and this journey through nursing school.  I almost feel guilty that I have so much, knowing that there are people out there with so little, but, I know that being a nurse will on strengthen my ability to share with others and make a difference in their lives.  I am so thankful for everything that nursing school has taught me, and for the person that I have become because of this experience.  I have promised myself that tomorrow will be filled with family time, reflection on all that I have to be thankful for, and perhaps some expensive wine.  :)

Monday morning at 9 am I will walk in to a computer lab to take the HESI.  I ask for your prayers and positive vibes as I prepare to take this 180 question exam that will likely take me about 3 hours.  I pray for the ability to focus and recall what I have learned, for strength, peace, perserverance, and courage.  I also pray for the ability to be calm so that I can be focused and successful.   By 2pm Monday it will all be over and hopefully I will be reporting that I passed with flying colors, although I take nothing for granted.

Happy Thanksgiving, may your bellies be full and your blessing be plenty.  God bless.
Gobble Gobble.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Beginning and The End

I remember waiting for my first pair of nursing school scrubs, and a real reason to wear them.  I anticipated that day like a little kid waits for Christmas.  When I got my first pair I was so proud to wear them.  It made me feel so special to have that maroon uniform on - like I was a distinguished scholar or something.  The fancy embroidery with the school name made me feel so distinguished.  When I took those scrubs off for the last time today I have to admit I felt conflicting emotions -- part of me was sad that this chapter is ending but most of me was thrilled about where I am going.  I may never wear those maroon scrubs again, but this is by no means the end -- it is really just the beginning.

            1. Then came the day when I got my first hospital ID badge.  How exciting that was!!  I had a photo and a real ID and it made me feel like I was someone super duper - especially when the badge was also a keycard and got me into areas of the hospital that your average person couldn't enter.  That made me feel even more special.  (that id badge image has nothing to do with me or any other person that I know - LOL!)  Today I took that badge off and threw it in the center console of my car thinking the next ID badge I wear will have those two little letters on it -- R and N!YAY!

Those "firsts" seem like an eternity ago, and today I walked out of my very last undergraduate clinical day with no real pomp and circumstance.  Just walked out like it was any other day.  This chapter of my journey is really coming to a close and I haven't even had time to be emotional about it.  The semester moves forward with more case studies and classes and that dreaded exit exam on Dec. 2.  Every portion that is completed is like a 50 lb boulder taken out of my backpack.   Soon that backpack is going to be empty and I am not sure what I am going to do or feel.  Big changes are a comin' and as excited I am to see what the future holds, I am also terrified to let go of what is familiar to move onto something brand new.  I know I can and will do it, and I am looking forward to it a lot, but for now the commencement of the  transition may be a little rough.

For now I feel like even though the road ahead looks rough, I have my blinker on and my exit is just around the bend.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The End?

Tomorrow is my last hospital clinical of my undergraduate nursing career.  Really?  The last time I will take care of a patient as a student nurse.  That is...

This week has been so busy that I haven't even had a chance to decide how I feel about this.  It definitely goes back to my myriad of emotions from the last post.  So many feelings.

I can't help but be nostalgic and think back to my first clinical.  I was afraid to reposition a patient in their bed.  I was afraid that if I touched them I would do it wrong and break them.

I'll never forget my first patient on a med/surg floor who had a JP drain after surgery.  He got out of bed and it came disconnected so bloody fluid was going everywhere.  I completely freaked out and ran out of the room to get his RN.  I thought I was going to kill him!  I was freaking out that he would bleed to death!!!!  I thought my career as a nurse was over right then and there.  Then the nurse just sauntered into his room and reconnected the drain to the tubing and went on her merry way like it was nothing.  I needed a Xanax but everyone else was just fine.

Then there was the day I watched a Cambodian patient sob in her bed because she could not communicate with me about what she needed related to a language barrier.  She had had a stroke and sometimes when people have a stroke they revert back to language that they used to speak -- for her it was an ancient dialect of Cambodian that no one else could understand.  I left the hospital that day and wept for that poor woman.

Or the time when I watched two fellow nursing student retrieve a foley cathether from the biowaste bin that was still attached to the foley bag and the continuous bladder irrigation system. It had been carelessly left there by an MD.  One student grabbed the cathether, which is made of floppy silicone, and it flopped like a wild beast flinging urine onto the other students scrubs.  The two of them stared, in horror, at each other realizing what had just happened and i just stood in the hallway and watched because they were in an isolation room and I was not gowned to go in.  I don't think I have ever laughed so hard in my life.

The clinical experiences that I have had during my time in nursing school will stay with me forever.  There are some patients that I will never forget.  I have a completely different life perspective than I did 2 years ago.  I have never been so pleased with the direction I am heading.

When I walk out of that hospital tomorrow I find it impossible to predict what I will be feeling, but I know that this journey has been so amazing that no matter what tomorrow brings, I am headed full speed into my happily ever after.