Thursday, July 6, 2017

Precepting/Orienting Nurses

A couple of years ago, I was asked to orient a new hire on my floor and was excited as she was a grad from my alma mater, so we had the same frame of reference. She was excited because she had always wanted to work in psych. I felt great knowing she was going to be on a somewhat quiet unit, instead of an acute one, like I did.

So, I began to orient her to the unit, citing procedures, treatments, and daily practices at nauseam. She caught on very quickly, and was doing so well. On our last day together, I turned her loose to do it on her own, and she was excellent!

However.....(you knew there would be something) two days off of orientation, she gets pulled to another unit. Not only does she get pulled, they require her to be a nurse's aid. Not only does she have to be a nurse's aid, they place her with a very psychotic patient. Not good. She begins to cry. They place her with another patient, it does not make her happy.

I guess my spidey-sense went off, even though I had not seen her since orientation. My co-workers began to tell me some troubling things: she is not on the floor very much,  and is seen constantly on her phone. She won't take off orders, help with treatments, or basic patient care. "Hmmmmm," I thought, "maybe she's quitting?" In my typical fashion, I just asked her, "Are you going to keep working here?"  She mumbled an answer about not being a psych nurse the rest of her life, and averted my eyes. Yep, she's a goner. The next day I had asked someone who knows everything at the facility and they confirmed my suspicion that she had turned in her notice.  I took it kind of personally. "Maybe I didn't give her enough training or support?". I found out later that she went to another job and stayed there only 3 weeks before she turned in her notice, too. I felt a lot better after knowing that.

After that experience, I took a precepting course offered by my facility so I would get a little more per hour for training new hires. Over the course of two years, I've probably oriented 10 different people. Some were straight out of school, others just picking up for extra money. I've had a few that were lazy, and some that were very ambitious, wanting to try their hand at every skill, gross or not. My alma mater also has brought me some about to be grads who need to precept their 120 hours with a nurse before taking NCLEX. Those are my favorites! I just love seeing a new nurse with all that positivity in their eyes. And they think you know EVERYTHING! Ha!

This may inspire me to go on with my schooling after I get the RN. Who knows? Maybe teaching would suit me. I don't know. But if you ever get the chance to precept/orient, take it! I used to think that having a student would be an awful burden and experience, but you learn things from them, too! (I had an orientee that showed me a trick changing ostomies that has keep me from making a horrible mess that I'm forever grateful for.)

Monday, May 8, 2017

Let's make it as painful as possible.....

So, if you haven't been tuned in, this is the ongoing saga of "Will She or Won't She Return to Nursing school?" Last November, I withdrew from my Med-Surg 2 class. I just couldn't get past a 73 on the exams. After a month of consideration, I decided to try to go back.
There had been 6 of us, from a class of 19, who did not make it. One had decided he was done, and did not want to go back. Another had not completed a prerequisite that she had agreed to, so they said she could not apply.
Then there were four. I started studying with another classmate kind of "online", meaning we lived too far apart to meet up so we Facetime-d, a lot. Not sure if I told you: basically, to get back in, we had to take the final from the PREVIOUS semester that we had already passed. The exact final we had taken a year prior.
It wasn't going in to take the test that was hard, it was facing the class I should have graduated with. I was hoping we wouldn't have to see them, but we had wait outside the door that was across from their classroom. We were invited in one particularly sweet classmate who encouraged us to come in and say hi. Other than 1 classmate, nobody said anything. No eye contact, no looking in my direction. Even the teacher that had encouraged me to come back was a little aloof. I am not sure what I expected, but some I spoke to, (that I had felt we were pretty good friends before) wouldn't even speak.
The four of us went in to take the test. I was surprised that I remembered so much. Ended up with an 84. My friend who studied with me got an 80, but our other two friends didn't make it.
So, now we have a check off. We will draw a skill out of a hat and have to perform it on demand. BUT, before we can do that, we must be voted on by committee to be able to return.  Committee meets tomorrow, (Tuesday), I work Thursday and Friday, and the email I received from the Dean indicated my check off must be done this week prior to faculty going on Summer vacation. I figured they'd make it as painful as possible to return, but they wouldn't even let me tentatively schedule the check off for Wednesday. Sigh......I'll let you know how it turns out.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

End of the road.....for now at least

So, I didn't make it this semester. There were lots of variables, but in the end, the problem was me. 
We had a split semester, 5 weeks in OB and the rest med-surg. Our teacher was new to us and the college for OB and I thought she did a great job. However, the board of nursing in my state required that she take some "workshops" since she was new.  Probably should have been done over the summer because then she would have been ready to teach us. However, the main campus, in another city, did not have time to do these workshops. So, we were treated to what they call I-TV. Essentially, you watch on a big television the instructor at the other campus. It probably would have been fine had we EVER had the teachers at the other campus, but no. So, first test....I failed it. I was concerned then, but preserved. Then came the second test, only point higher. At this point, I am reevaluating all my study techniques and wondering how to do get a passing score. Then the third. Same result, although I studied 67 hours. I'm wondering if I'm too old school for I-TV, but I did online classes without any problem. Made A's, in fact.
The material was half a ream of paper printed. And we studied together, family helped, but the 4th test happened Monday, and I failed that one, too. So, I would have to make a 90 on the cumulative final. Since I couldn't even get an 80, the likelihood of getting a 90 was pretty obvious to me: it wasn't going to happen. 
I had asked my husband to not travel that day in case I didn't make it. Of course, he had to. So, I am withdrawing in about an hour. I was not alone: in a class of 20, 6 of us did not make it- so far.
It could've been the 8 hours a week traveling to and from the school, paired with working every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 12 hour shifts. And maybe I was too exhausted to get the material in my head. It could be I'm just not cut out to do this. Having a teenager with some medical problems, husband promoted in his job which requires him to travel once a week, and just plain ole trying to keep my job. 
I don't have a clue what is next for me. The class will be offered next September, and if accepted, I can pick up where I left off. Do I really want to go back to this school? They claim they will not be using I-TV, and the teacher I had for OB will be teaching all of it. She was/is an excellent teacher. 
I just don't know what to do for the future, but in the meantime, I guess I will get back to my life. Already got a dentist appointment, (haven't been in a year because of school), and managed to throw out my back yesterday, so I'm going to "nurse" myself back to health.
If I'm going back, and I'm not sure I am, I need to figure out how to memorize LARGE quantities of material, and DEFINITELY get a grip on med calculations. Our class really reeked on that one.
Anyway, thanks for listening. All two of you ;)

Friday, June 3, 2016

Summer School......really?

Uh, yeah, for the third time in 20 years, I have to take Intro to Computers. For real?? It's not that I mind, it's that I don't think in this day and time it's necessary. What I would have liked to have taken would be that last pharmacology online. It would have saved me time in these last two semesters.
To be fair, the guy is pretty on task. He walks you though it step by step via Youtube and if you mess up, it's your own fault. Easy A. But an expensive one....$500.

Don't laugh, but I went to Half Price Books and bought the previous editions of the textbook for OB so I could get a head start. That class is only 5 weeks, so that means a test every week. Ewwwww....... plus clinicals, which require a stupid care plan. I've already started on those, just to be waiting in the wings for when I'm time crunched. What do you do to prepare for the next semester of nursing school?

Saturday, May 7, 2016

What I learned the first semester of RN school

Some things I learned fresh. Others I re-learned.
I've always been a fan of Top Ten lists so here's my list for this past semester:

10.  It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. I guess going in with 18 months of prior school knowledge as well as almost 3 years as an LPN helped, but common sense kicked in, (which I hoped it would) so those NCLEX type questions were a lot easier to handle.

9.  I still hate ATI as much as I did back in LPN school.  I hate paying for something that I can't fully use. I have subjects I'd like to start working on and they "aren't open" . Well, why the heck not? I have to pay $400 a semester and not be able to use it all? They are trippin'......

8.  I don't stay up all night and study anymore.  Maybe that sounds selfish, but it's true: I'm old....I need my sleep. The one time I did stay up all night, it did me no good, anyway.

7.  Clinical days still aren't fun because no nurse in their right mind wants to have a student for the day. They were nice to me. But I could tell this wasn't on their to do list. To be fair, it won't be on mine, either.

6.  Technology has certainly advanced things. I still paper chart at work, but I got to electronically chart during clinicals. It does seem monotonous though....it's also nice to be able to record my lectures on my cell phone and listen to them back and forth from school to home.

5.  I have forgotten so much about IV's since I don't use them at work. If someone needs an IV at my job, we send them out. Still haven't stuck my first victim...I mean, patient....

4. Working every week-end full time blows.... but when your work is PAYING  6 hours a semester, and you need the insurance, you go.  You hate it, but you go.  I worked every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. On Mondays and Wednesdays I was in lecture, Tuesdays was lab, and Thursdays were clinicals. I am glad I saved my vacation days to use on the Sundays before an exam.  I'm going to need to bank some this summer for my second semester as well. My schedule will go back to normal starting Monday.

3.  It's still important to make friends in nursing school. After my friend left, I started studying with a guy who had an even weirder schedule than the first one. I found myself meeting him at McDonald's at 5:30 AM to study. Must of been nuts, but we both passed.

2.  It's awful when your BS meter goes off and you notice the teacher not trying. Yes, I am saying she was blowing smoke in a place you don't want to talk about. I'm not that far from her age, so I know she knew, that I knew she was just getting tenure. She read from the book because she didn't know the material. Our last 3 lectures on diabetes, which is fairly involved, she got guest speakers to talk to us. Wow... how lame can you get? It made me want to stay in school to have the credentials to take her job....almost. I'm so done with school.

1. My family is still there helping me through. ( Mostly Hunnybunny) However, they still don't get me on the whole studying thing. I thought maybe my kids would be proud of me. But they think I'm wasting my time. It's okay. While I'd like to have their support and approval, its just not necessary.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

First casualty of war

I've been notably silent...which is not like me. That's because all I do is go to work, study, eat, and do it all over again. It's been fine until now. The person who was accepted along with me didn't get to advance to the next 11 weeks. I felt alot like Katniss this past semester.Just jumping through hoops. But the best part is I had a friend jumping with me. We knew no one but each other walking in that first day. And thankfully, the group accepted us pretty easily as they had already made friends in the first semester we were exempt from. He was liked by all, even to the point when we found out he didn't make it, one of the others cried. He never expected to be thought of that highly, but why, I don't know. He has 20 year of LPN experience, and knows his stuff. He just didn't test well. I don't either, by the way. He only missed it by 2 points.
I took it pretty hard the first few days because I couldn't imagine how bad he felt. For our clinical group, it's been like someone has died. But we're coming around.
Hunnybunny didn't really understand. He tried to, but he couldn't really get the whole "nurses in the trenches" vibe. The more he tried to encourage me, the worst I felt. I wasn't trying to make it about me, but I kept thinking, "If HE didn't make it, what makes me think I will?"
So, I'm trying to remember what I did the first time. Pouring over my notes, and finding my notes from LPN school invaluable! Apparently, this particular program doesn't go into too much depth on stuff, so in a sense, we are educating ourselves. And I will revert back to what I said in a previous post: my learning style is my problem. If I can't figure it out by now, what am I doing here?
Y'all are going to have to overlook me....I am just trying to stay realistic.
The ATI demon is back with this program. How I HATE ATI! And if you're reading this and have no idea what I'm talking about, consider yourself lucky. ATI prides itself on preparing you for NCLEX. But all I can see is that its taking us all away from what we should be doing....studying!
I will get off my soapbox now, and take off my black mourners veil and get back to work. Thanks for listening.

Monday, January 4, 2016

A week from today....

.....I will be sitting in a classroom for the upmteenth time. It's hilarious and incredulous to me that I am doing this again. I mean, 240 college hours, PLUS the new ones I'm about to acquire?  Shoot, I could be Dr. Beth by now. But alas, I'm just getting yet another Associates degree. (I have two of them. This will be number 3)

 The part that bothers me is the whole unknown thing again....what's the class going to be like? Am I going to be the oldest in the class? Is my brain going to run on all cylinders?

I'm thankful that one of my coworkers has been accepted with me. It's kind of a drive, so we are going to carpool. He's an older student, like me, so he's pretty serious about doing this.

I'm going today to get the UGLY white scrubs I will need for clinicals and a new pair of sneakers. Books are bought, but I probably need to see about some school supplies.

Truthfully, I get nauseated every time I think about this. Is that normal, or just me overreacting? I made it through medical microbiology with a B, which shocked me to death, but I'm just sort of second-guessing myself. Maybe it's the work schedule that has me very anxious. I will be working every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday this semester. If the last few days are any indication, it will be challenging. My comrades and I ran all weekend long trying to keep up with everything. And they are awesome because they have both gone further in school and are a great support!

Anyway......wish me luck! I will need it.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

I'm in!


I actually found out via text I had been harassing my husband everyday when he checks the mail, "Did my letter come?" This last time, I had been told by the dean the letters would be sent out soon, and the mail didn't run on Veteran's Day. So, I thought it might run early and Hunnybunny needed to get out there and check. I waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, got this text, "You've been accepted". I just sort of stared at the screen, asking myself, "I'm awake, right?" I made him take a picture of the letter and message me with it. He told me congratulations, but I think I was still in shock.

I'm excited but still wondering how an old girl like me is going to pull off classes and work and do either of them any justice. I will be in classes Monday through Wednesday, and a clinical either Thursday or Friday. So that means the one day a week I'm not in school, I'm working and then I'm working every weekend. Yeah, I know....I must be crazy. But working the weekend doesn't really bother me that much. Missing out on family time, now that bothers me. This isn't my first rodeo, I remember my non-existent social life back in 2011-2012.  But they say it will all be worth it. I hope THEY are right. It helps that I'm not doing this alone. A guy I work with got accepted, too. It's kind of a hike to the school, so he and I are going to carpool.
Anyway, that's the story as I know it so far. My first rotation is psych...at my own hospital! I'm hoping that I'm not recognized by any long time patients who are not going to understand why I could do something for them yesterday (as an LPN) that I can't do today, (as a student)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Admission Limbo

So, I'm just waiting to hear...I went to the pre-admission conference with a guy from work who is determined that we are going to nursing school together. I had already turned in my stuff, but you are required to attend their, "this is what will happen in 3 semesters, and this is what it will cost," speech. It's going to be pricey, that's for sure. My work will pay for 6 hours, but that still leaves like 21 hours. Only 2 classes, but they get you with a required lab and a clinical for each. The clinicals add up to 12 extra hours....
Meanwhile, Medical Microbiology is kicking my butt. I had forgotten how much I hated taking a science class, but it's all coming back to me now. It's not lecture, it's the lab. I messed up my test by not staining the correct side, broke a slide. Just a comedy of errors. And I had gone in feeling good about the whole thing. I barely passed by the skin of my teeth.
Anyway, will keep you posted.....

Friday, July 31, 2015

So, here we go.....

So, I finally heard back from the university. The director of the program basically said my A & P was "too old" (not within 3 years) and I would need to retake those classes along with chemistry. Tack  on the NACE test to that, while you're at it, too. Uh, no thanks....I don't have another year to dedicate to pre-req's. The funny part is that their admissions department kept calling me asking me to "finish" (pay them) my initial application. I hope I manage to get off their mailing list.
 
I have a friend, who I used to study with in A & P, that went to a little community college about 40 miles away to get her RN. I gave them a call. It looked promising, so I got my transcripts, validation of licenses, CPR verification, ACT scores, and NLN scores and drove to the main campus to drop them off. It was pure Providence that the director of the nursing department happened to be there, in July, at a campus she doesn't teach at. I submitted my paperwork, and she informed me it was all there except for the pre-admission conference that they require, the dates haven't been set yet.
 
 Here's the list of differences from what I've experienced in the 'bigger' community colleges:
1. I don't have to retake any of my classes. This in and of itself, is a MAJOR big deal.
 
2. I don't have to take any additional classes for pre-req's other than Medical Microbiology, which I had to have for all of them. So, no chemistry, nutrition, or LPN to RN transition course.
 
3. I don't have to perform check offs. In both programs, I was going to have to show them a cath, med administration, ng tube, ekg, sterile wound dressing, ostomy care. She said I had been working as a nurse for 2 years, I might know what I'm doing.
 
I asked how I would know if I got in. The 'selective admissions' that I've always dealt with has a bunch of hoops you have to jump through just to be considered. She said, "Let me put it to you this way: first semester, which you would be exempt from, has 20 spots. I have 16 students signed up right now. Statistically, some of them will not pass. Unless I have a ton of readmits, I would be able to start you in second semester in January 2016.".
 
So, we shall see if it works out. My employer said they would work with me. I will most likely have to work Friday, Saturday, Sunday. This is going to make for a very LONG year, but I'm ready to go,