Monday, June 28, 2010

Wake up call

I sit down in front of the computer with clammy hands. Sweat starts to bead on my forehead as I click start on the screen. The questions go by in an instant. I hit submit and my scores flash back at me. 98% in math. Fantastic. 80% in reading. Oh shit.

My heart sinks.

I won’t be making it into the Nursing Program with a score like that. I needed at least a 92 to ensure a spot. I KNEW I should have taken it last enrollment period just in case. I cry. Hard. Right there in a room full of others taking the same test. I can’t breathe. Everything I have been working toward for the last year flashes before my eyes. I immediately regret quitting my job. I start to worry about how disappointed my family is going to be as I run from the room.

I wake up.

It was just a dream but I feel panicked. I can’t go back to sleep so I just lie there trying to shake the feeling of failure.

All of this just for the stupid HESI entrance exam I have to take within the next 2 weeks. I didn’t realize I was that stressed about it. Funny thing is that I am more worried about the math part of the test than the reading part even though the reading alone is what determines my scores for entrance into The Program. The math I just have to pass with a 70.

Maybe I need to put a little more effort into studying for this test.

I am going to hate to see myself when it is time to take the NCLEX.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Yes, a Nurse. Really.

I have been resisting the urge to run down the halls announcing my resignation to everyone. I feel that if my boss wants others to know I am leaving, she will announce it herself. (Don’t get me wrong though, I would love nothing more than to run these halls saying “see ya suckers!!” Alas, I must remain professional)

Obviously she has announced it somehow.

I have been getting calls left and right from co-workers and old bosses asking me about it. They all seem to think “going back to school” is code for something else. I have to explain that yes, I am really going back to school. No, I am not on some secret mission. Most are pretty happy for me and seem generally supportive. Others question my decision to go into Nursing.

I haven’t really told many people I am doing this other than family and a few close friends. They have all been extremely supportive. I have heard stories about how others have gotten mixed responses about their decision to pursue this career. Some get the third degree about it and are made to feel they are just not cut out for Nursing. I am finally getting those kind of responses and I have to say, they definitely sting a little.

My old boss, who has always been my favorite person to work for, called me this morning and quizzed me about it. “You know that is a tough job right?” “Are you sure you really want to do that?” “You know you will be taking a huge pay cut right?” “How does your husband feel about it?” I understand the concern. It is a big decision. It is not a decision that I have taken lightly though. It is not something I just woke up one day and said “Hmmm….I guess nursing sounds good. Why the hell not?” I am fully prepared for the challenges that I am going to face from every angle while doing this.

I want others to feel like I am going to be a good nurse, like this is something that they can see me doing. I want to feel like I exude the “nurse aura” so when I get comments that are negative, it hurts my self confidence. When people say to me “Nursing? Really?” as if it is some big shock that I have chosen that particular career path, it really hurts.

Of course these type comments have been few and far between compared to the praise I am getting but when they come from people that you respect it makes them seem so much bigger. I won’t let these people bring me down though. I have worked too hard already to let a few harsh words get to me.

Yes, I am going to be a nurse, and yes, I am going to be a good one.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Well I did it

I handed in my resignation today. Boy was that a nerve wracking event. Overall, they seemed pretty happy for me which is definitely a relief.

Now I am scared shitless. There is no turning back from this point on. In three weeks I will be unemployed. In three weeks I will be taking one of the biggest steps of my life. In three weeks I will be walking out of my comfort zone of steady paychecks and a reliable job and marching myself and my family right into the unknown.

What the hell did I just do?

Friday, June 18, 2010

This is when I start not feeling bad anymore

Every now and then I start getting these doubts in my head. I start thinking that maybe my job isn’t as bad as I make it seem sometimes. I have a pretty decent job actually, at a pretty big company, making pretty good money. I start wondering why I want to give it all up. I start trying to make myself find the good things and try to start ignoring the crap things about this job (which by far outweigh the good). Then something happens that reaffirms why I am leaving.

Communication at a job (any job) is really important to me. I may not be the most social person but I don’t feel like I have to be everyone’s friend and share my personal business with my coworkers in order to be a good employee. I do feel like people need to discuss work related things with me though, and will gladly invite any kind of brainstorming session. While I do like my boss, I feel like my team sorely lacks in the communication department.

As I sit here, still feeling bad for my imminent resignation, I get a meeting request from someone stating that I am a point person for this certain project and will be available to answer any and all questions from the field relating to said project during this call (which is scheduled for this afternoon). Huh? When did this happen? (keep in mind that this meeting request did not come from nor include my boss in any way AND I have not been involved with this project, or any discussions about this project, in months). I send it on to my boss to see if she knows about it and wouldn’t you know? She sure does. Apparently, she has been having discussions with some people about moving me into more of a management type roll and wants me to take the lead on all of our projects. While this is flattering, it would have been nice to have a discussion with HER before I started getting meeting requests, and emails, and expectations from the field. Obviously, everyone BUT me knows about this transition. Don’t you think it would have been appropriate of her to meet with me first? Discuss her expectations and goals for me in this new role she is developing for me?

Now while I realize this might seem trivial. It is just one example of how communication is lacking and situations like this really frustrate me. I have been in this position for about 7 months now and have pretty much had to train myself. I am tired of everyone making all these “plans” that involve me, without any kind of discussion with me.

So now, I no longer feel bad about handing in my notice on Monday. This way they can find someone else before they have spent too much time on developing me into my new role (whatever exactly that may entail) and they can find someone else who can handle the lack of communication.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Just call me a quitter

I will be handing in my resignation from my job on Monday. I am so nervous about it. I don’t even know how to quit. What would be the best way to do this? I have a letter of resignation already typed up but beyond that, I have no idea how to approach this. I have been with this company for over 6 years, which in the grand scheme of things doesn’t seem like very long but to me, it is a pretty long time. What makes me even more nervous about it is the fact that my boss has been talking quite a bit recently about her plans for the future for me. She wants to make me a Project Lead. She has been talking about how she wants to see things in 3,4,5, and 6 months from now and where she thinks I can go. It makes me feel bad about leaving this position and part of me feels so sneaky since I have known I was going to quit for a while now and haven’t said a word. I knew I was going to quit when I took this position and didn’t say anything. I just let them think I was in it for the long haul when I knew I wasn’t. I know that this is going to disappoint her.

Does that make me an immoral person? Or is it something I just chalk up to doing what I needed to do for the greater good?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I'm back!

So did ya miss me??

The vacation was completely exhausting but we all had fun. I did decide though, that my kids are just not old enough to appreciate a big vacation like that yet. They both were perfectly content spending the entire time at the hotel swimming pool. In fact, when we went to the parks that is all they begged (and whined and cried) to do. Next time we have decided to take them to Mexico where they can swim in the pool/ocean all they want while The Husband and I can drink all the cocktails we want. Money better spent that way for sure.

Some things I learned while on vacation:

- I need to get a more comfortable pair of shoes. I came home with four blisters on my feet and my back and knees are killing me from all that walking while lugging around my 26 lb kid.

- I think it’s time I talked to the Dr about my anxiety. It was so crowded there and my kids were not on their best behavior most of the time which left me in a completely frazzled/sweaty/anxious state almost the entire time.

- Because of the above, a vacation is not the best time to try to quit a serious habit. On top of my anxious mess, I also forgot to take my meds the entire time I was there so I am starting over again. New quit date will be July 1st. I’m still serious about it, and still definitely plan on quitting, I just couldn’t make it work as soon as I wanted.

- When taking a vacation like that, more than one day off is needed when I get back in order to fully recoup. A vacation from my vacation if you will.

So there you have it. I will now leave you with a couple of my favorite pictures of my super cute kids.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sunday's Specialty - Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nursing

This week’s specialty comes to us from Nurse Teeny over at The Makings of a Nurse. She is technically not working as a Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurse (yet) but if you read through her blog you can see how much passion she has for this particular specialty. This passion is exactly why I asked her to share with us on this, and I am so glad she did! After you finish reading about this specialty, head on over to her blog to check her out!

Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nursing

I may have no business writing this post, seeing as how I was in Peds Hem/Onc for a total of 168 a capstone nursing student...

But oh how I loved it! And now that I am a working RN in Critical Care, oh how I miss it!

And I will be back. :-)

Pediatric hematology/oncology nursing is working with kiddos who have blood disorders and cancer. It can be on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Your patients will range in age from infant to young adult (if they were diagnosed as kids, they'll often be followed by their pediatric doc into young adulthood for consistency). You will see a lot of hair loss, a lot of skin issues, a lot of nausea and vomiting. You will become an expert at central line management, blood and platelet transfusions, bone marrow transplants, and nutrition management. You will become allies with parents and family members, many of whom will become like extra staff members on the floor. They will have tips for getting that medication down the hatch (and will often be comfortable giving it themselves), they will know when their child is having a medication reaction before any symptoms appear and they will know normal lab values better than you in a matter of weeks (what's normal for these kids is NOT normal for the rest of the world).

If this is a specialty you are considering, I would highly recommend trying to get some exposure to it in nursing school to 1) Make sure it's for you and 2) Get it on your resume. It IS possible to get a job in peds hem/onc as a new grad but probably only if you do your senior capstone rotation in this area (or at least in either pediatrics or oncology). In the current job market, however, the pickings are slim. You will likely have to start somewhere else, then move over once you have your "1-2 years of acute care experience" (I really grew to hate that phrase).

Once you have worked in inpatient hem/onc, you can also move into outpatient care. Most hospital cancer centers have clinics where kiddos can come and get chemo or transfusions on an outpatient basis. They'll also need periodic checkups. In addition, since a lot of kids are immunosuppressed, usually doctors arrange for them to be admitted as inpatients through the clinic rather than the hospital ER if they have a fever or aren't feeling well.

The beautiful and poignant thing about peds hem/onc is that you get to witness just how resilient kids really are. I had patients in the middle of chemo who were riding their tricycles down the hallways and doing art projects in the craft room. They may feel like crap, but they'll be damned if that's going to keep them from going to the school room and making a potato battery. Even the ones who were dying wanted to "just be kids" for as long as they could. When one of my patients found out I'd be graduating in about two months, she told me she'd come back to the floor and bring me a graduation present. I was pretty sure that she wasn't going to make it to my graduation day but the fact that she was thinking of someone else in that moment was touching.

When I talk about the kind of nurse I want to be, many people scrunch up their noses and purse their lips and ask the age-old question: "Why?" Why would you want to work with sick kids? Why watch kids suffer and die? Isn't it draining?

No, it's not draining. It's sad on some days. It's fun on others. We have birthday parties and cupcakes and we wear silly hats and costumes. We celebrate the victories and cry when we lose a friend. We listen when the parents need to vent, and hold babies when mom needs to take a shower or get off the floor to grab a cup of a coffee and some fresh air. We acknowledge that it's just not right that anyone should be going through what these little ones go through.

But they go through it anyway, right or not. And we're there for them through it all. And I love it.

And yes, I will most definitely be back. :-)

For more information about peds hem/onc nursing, here are some helpful sites:
Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses (APHON) (
Certified Pediatric Hematology Oncology Nurse Exam Information (

Thanks again Nurse Teeny, for sharing your passion for this specialty with us! I wish you luck and hope that you find yourself doing what you really want to do soon!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

And we're off!!

The highly anticipated, MUCH needed family vacation is FINALLY here!!! We are off to spend 7 days in Disneyworld! We are all super excited and I expect the two day car ride to get there is going to be torture for all of us. Luckily, we are breaking up the days both there and back by spending some time in Pensacola Florida soaking up the sun on the beach. I have good intentions studying for the HESI and maybe even getting a head start on my Pharmacology class while I am in the car however, I make no promises to anyone that it will actually happen that way and can pretty much guarantee that studying will fall by the wayside once we drive through those magical gates.

Tomorrow’s specialty will be posted as usual. Don't miss it! It is a good one. I will be taking a break for next weeks but expect to be back on once my vacation ends and I get settled back into reality.

Peace Out! Don’t miss me too much!

Friday, June 4, 2010

I have a confession to make

I’m a smoker.

That’s right. I’m a dirty smoker.

When I went to the Dr a few months back and was diagnosed with Bronchitis, my Dr also felt that I might have smoking induced asthma. You see, I have had this cough for a few years now (yes I said years). I never went to see a Dr about it because I was scared it might be something serious. (How’s that for DUMB?) She decided to make me go for a chest X-ray just to check everything out. I will be honest. I was on edge the entire weekend waiting for those results. I was so worried that something was going to be wrong. I mean, it isn’t normal to have a cough for years. Thankfully, everything was clear but it was still pretty scary. I now have an inhaler that helps with my cough.

Still, I didn’t quit.

I have been thinking quite a bit lately about quitting. I want to, but then again I don’t. I can’t explain exactly what it is that makes me not want to quit. If you smoke you know what I mean. If not, well, go on thinking I am crazy.

My Dr prescribed me Zyban to help me quit. I have been hanging on to it for a few months trying to talk myself into committing to quitting. (I love it when I unintentionally rhyme) I always had an excuse why I couldn’t start them. I am happy to say though, that I made the commitment on Tuesday to start taking them and quit smoking. Just right then and there, without any self arguments. I took control and started them.

It will be a long process. I’m a pack a day smoker although I have been able to cut it down over the last few weeks to just over a half a pack. With Zyban, they said to set a “quit date” about two weeks into them so I have set my date as June 15th. There it is in writing. No turning back now. I can’t really tell much of a difference so far in the past 4 days that I have been taking them. I do notice that I am becoming more sensitive to the smell. I can go longer in between them but that could also be from me cutting down before starting this. I plan to keep a journal of sorts to see how each day progresses on this medication and keep track of what I am feeling. Maybe when I get back from my vacation I will post it.

So there you have it. Hopefully in two weeks I will be an ex-smoker.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Since all (2) of you asked....

Since you asked so nicely, I figured I would post some pics. The before pic is of my best friend and I (still miss her like crazy!). The after pic I took on the way to work. I'm sure I looked like a fool sitting in traffic taking pictures of myself.

I don't know if this is a good before/after comparison but it's all I had on my work computer (that looked halfway decent).

The dark is kinda growing on me I guess.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

No, you didn't just stumble into the unknown. Yes, you are in the right place.

See. This is what happens when I have too much time on my hands. I start messing with things that don't need to be messed with. I also got my hair colored too. Dark. Really dark. I am normally a blonde. My husband hates it.
I'm bored so I thought I would change things up a bit. Not sure how I feel about it yet. Maybe it will grow on me. (The hair too.)