Monday, December 13, 2010

Ice Road Trucker

It seems my third degree is gonna take a little longer than I had hoped (bummer).  It would figure that of the three final exams I have scheduled this week they would be at the beginning of the week when all snow, had broken loose!  I prayed they wouldn't be canceled since KSU's contingency plan was to reschedule them for the week of Christmas -- What kind of present is that??!! 

I left for my first final around 9:00 am and drove at most 30 mph, since the "snow governor" on my truck wouldn't go any faster. Oh and did I tell you the doors were all frozen shut and my dad  had to jimmy the door open with a crow bar.  It wasn't too bad, except when I would try to get going from a dead stop, then the back end would just fish tail left and right with only a little forward momentum, until I gassed it a bit.  Kent was a disaster.  The snow was coming down so hard it looked like white rain and two of the main roads onto campus were closed.  I detoured over to the northeast end of campus only to find a car in the ditch and myself going down a hilll in the middle of a traffic jam.  Impatient, young and not so bright college students were pulling into a nearby parking lot to turn around.  I left space in front of my truck so they could pull back out, but cars started going around me thinking they were just gonna cut in front of me and wait in traffic.  I was completely irritated and ready to get out of my truck and hit the a-holes in the face with a snowball or take my truck and tap their back ends into the ditch, but people are idiots and even worse in bad weather, so I just honked hoping they would realize they had cut me off and blocked people from being able to pull out.  Thankfully, they all got the picture and pulled into the parking lot themselves so cars could get out.  It took me about 15 minutes to go 1 stupid mile, but I made it for my first final -- Whew!! 

My final went off without a hitch and as I was leaving I got an email stating all classes were canceled for the remainder of the day.  I hurried to my truck thinking..."I gotta get the hell out of here!!"  I took the main roads home (i.e. 261N and 43N), but when I got into Streetsboro I could see a line of cars slowly going up a hill.  Great, my truck doesn't do slow uphills in the snow.  I slowed as much as I could at the base of the hill before trying to rush up it, but no dice.  My truck was succumbing to the snowy kryptonite.  As I slowed, my back end started sliding toward the ditch and no matter what I did it just kept going the wrong way.  Arrrrggghhh!!!!  This was the most frustrating drive in all the years I have had my truck. Usually, I can handle my truck in the snow, but I was losing ground -- literally.  I hit the brakes and stopped trying to fight the slide for a second when this crazy broad in a van decided while I was trying to avoid and accident and getting stuck she would go around me.  Enter full on slaught of Road Rage:  I yelled "WTF are you doing, you dumb broad?"  She of course couldn't hear me, but she did smile and wave as she passed.  All I could do was mutter the words "complete idiot" under my breathe. 

I pulled my foot off the brake and hammered the gas.  It went straight, but I was diagonal and went toward oncoming traffic. I managed to get the truck back in the appropriate direction after a second and minus having to pull over to clean the ice off my windshield at the next gas station, I made it home without further mishap. 

I had a final tomorrow, but thankfully KSU smartened up and canceled it, until either Thursday or Tuesday of next week.  While I am not happy my last day at Henderson Hall wont be this Wednesday, I am quite glad I wont have to drive in this snow tomorrow.  The bright side of this extended, unfinished business is I get at least one extra day to study for psych.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Big News

Well, if you haven't guessed my beyond exciting news from my other post by now, you obviously don't care about my life in any way, but I got a job!!!!

If you read through my prior posts this fall, you will see I worked in oncology, solid tumor to be exact and I can't express enough how much I loved the work and the team of healthcare professionals I worked with, nurses, doctors, physicians assistants, case managers and PCNAs.  My preceptors had asked me what I thought of the unit while I was there and I of course told her it was really well run and such a great atmosphere.  She then asked me "would you wanna work here?"  I thought "HELL YEAH," but responded with "absolutely, this is a great place." 

I was fortunate enough to spend a shift shadowing the nurse manager (the boss) and getting to know her (she is very direct, no non-sense and super cool).  I went to a staff meeting and they covered important topics that I can't disuss here, but they also covered small things too.  I remember her asking where was the coffee machine for her staff?  Although, silly and miniscual she cared about here staff and wanted her staff's needs met big and small.  This woman was my kind of boss!!  As my practicum progressed, I had short encounters with her and she even asked for help with drip calculations on the new pumps and what I thought of her unit as a nursing student.  I told her I loved it and if a position ever opened, I would be more than excited to work for her. 

Fast forward to about three weeks ago: My semester was coming to a close and I was excited to be done with step 1: get the degree.  Step 2 & Step 3 would commence at the same time, i.e. pass boards, get licensed and find a job.  I had applied for  position in leukemia, bone marrow transplant and cardiovascular units, but got the response "thanks, but no thanks."  It appeared nobody wanted to hire an ulicensed nurse with no experience, but then I got an email from my old nurse manager that a positioin had opened up and I should post for it.  Immediately I did and I got a call for a phone interview a few days later.  I was excited and nervous.  I went through questions on the internet on how to best answers questions about your weaknesses, why you feel you are qualified and why you want to work on a unit and had nearly two pages of single spaced 11 inch font answers all ready for the the phone interview and no, I am not a worrier, or neurotic, or a perfectionist ;)

I got the call and it took all of ten minutes.  I breezed through it and felt really good about my answers.  I was told I would get a call back in about a week if they were interested.  Okay, here we go witht the waiting game.  I thanked HR and hung up, but then my phone rang not an hour later and I was shaking -- CRAP!!  They had forgotten to ask me something or I was that bad they knew immediately how much I sucked.  I answer (Gulp) "Hello." 

"Hi, E, We have your results and you did really well and we are calling to set up a two hour working interview with the nurse manager."  Oh my God, you are, I thought!!  "Oh that's awesome!" I said.  We discussed times scheduled it at 9:00 am on the following Wednesday.  I would then have to haul ass down to KSU by 1:00pm, since Psych class takes attendance -- blah!!

December 1st, I dressed in my scrubs and headed down to my old stomping ground (or to what felt like it anyway).  I got there about 15 minutes early and ended up hugging lots of nurses and saying "hi." Everybody seemed pretty glad to see me.  My preceptor was there and I got a huge hug from her, have I mentioned how great she is?  I waited until about 8:55 am to head down to KD's (the nurse manager) office.  We chatted for not even an hour about everything.  We were then supposed to commence with the shadowing but the resonse I received was "you already know the floor, the nurses and how the unit works.  I am not going to make you shadow.  You can leave or you can go visit with the nurses, or just hang out, whatever you like, just don't pass any medications."  I laughed, this was so awesome, even a little fun.  She told me she would know within a week, who she would be hiring, but HR is slow so if I didn't get a call in a week, then don't to panic.  I left her office and helped my preceptor care for a patient who was vomiting, changed some sheets, helped a guy arrange for his dinner and said my good-byes, hopefully not for the last time. 

One week later, I had received no phone call and I was devastated.  I had sent a thank you letter and worried and worried and -- nothing.  Some of my classmatesknew about the interview and would ask me everyday "did you get the call yet?" "No, they don't want me.  I am not gonna get it"  I said.  "Yes, you will!  They love you" they said.  I hadn't really told anybody for fear of cursing myself, but maybe the few who did know were enough to curse me anyway.

This Thursday, I had stayed up until about 2:00 am working on my last project and so I heard my phone at 9:30 am on Friday morning I was a little groggy, until I saw the number. It was THEM!!!  I sat up quickiy and had a huge head rush.  My heart was pounding in my chest.  I felt like I was under water.  I was losing my hearing.  Oh, Sh*t!!!!  I am gonna pass out.

Me: (heart rate is well above 100 bpm) "Hello."
Them: "Hi is E. there."
Me: (Of course, it's me!!  This is my cell, who else would it be?) "Yes, this is she."
Them: "This is so and so from the so and so."
Me: (I know who it is!!  I have been waiting for you to call all freakin' week!!) "Yes, hi, how are you?"
Them: "Oh, great.  Thank you. And yourself"
Me: (my heart is about to explode and I am ready to puke, how do you think I am feeling) "I am doing really well. Thanks."
Them: "Well, I am calling on behalf of KD, about the RN position on such and such a unit."
Me: (of course, I know what you are calling on behalf of!!) "Oh yes?!?!"
Them: "Well we would like to offer you the position (goes over shift, pay, details etc...)  "Would you like to accept?  Oh wait do you have any questions?"
Me: (Yeah, why did you wait so long to call and Hell No, go back to your question!!!!) "No, I have no questions."
Them: "Well, would you like to accept the offer or would you like time to think about it?"
Me:  (that's all I have thought about for a week and a half, how much more time do I need?!?!?!) "Um, no I don't need time to think about it.  I WOULD LOVE TO ACCEPT THE POSITION." 
Them: "Great!"  then she goes over more details and requirements for start date and hangs up.

I sat there for a good two minutes just staring at my door and smiling and then I jumped off my bed and yelled "I DID IT!!! I GOT A JOB!!!!!"  I am an idiot, but an excited one nonetheless.  I found a job in nursing before graduation and on the unit I wanted to boot.  I had heard horror stories about kids who had graduated in August still looking for jobs, but not me.  I was on top of the world, now to pass my finals and my boards.  (HELL YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Last Days

It hasn't set in at all that today was my last clinical ever, before I become an RN, barring failing any exams (actually I could fail and still pass, unless it was an extremely low grade).  Every patinet I had in critical care with the exception of one was intubated and none had made it off the vents when I cared for them.  I had a patient a few weeks ago that respiratory therapy attempted a wean test with (usually lasts about 30 minutes), but she failed within 10 minutes.  Today, my patient for the first time in my critical care history ... PASSED!  I took that as a good sign for not only him, but for me. too.  He had been taking quite a bit of the Michael Jackson juice (Propafol/Dipravan) as I have so fondly been calling it and when I stopped the pump, called out his name and gave him a firm sternal rub he could barely open his eyes.  However, when I reported off a little before 1pm he was extubated, had a venti mask on and was turning his head to the left and right.  What a fighter!!!  Hell Yeah!!

Tomorrow, I have my very last class from 9-1p and testing from 1-3p, but you can bet your candy canes I wont be going down until noon or so.  I have one final project due by midnight tomorrow that's pretty much all wrapped up.  I look back now at all I have learned and I still feel like I don't know anything.  It's rumored it can take up to 2 years to feel  comfortable on the floor -- yikes! 

In other related news, I nominated my precpetor for an excellence award as a leader in nursing and lo' and behold I received an email stating ..... "thanks for nominating so and so.  Your nominnee passed all the necessary criteria and will be honored at a semiformal dinner celebration."  She hands-down deserved the award and so much more in my opinion.  I don't think I could ever thank my preceptor enough for all she did to guide me as a soon-to-be new nurse. 

The entire nursing school experience was much more difficult than I had ever thought it would have been.  I generally am not an overconfident person, and when it came to academics I never worried.  This program has really knocked me down a notch or ten, but it's also opened my eyes to critical thinking and application on a whole new level. 

This program has afforded me the opportunity to meet twenty-nine peopleI will never forget and miss dearly.  We have worked together, studied together, and even cried together, but all those times don't even come close to how much we have laughed together.  I know they will all be very successful in their nursing careers.

 On Wednesday, if I haven't said it before I am scheduled for my last exam.  It ends at 12:30pm and when I walk out of Henderson Hall it will be for the last time. 

I will have victoriously crossed another finish line.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holy Hibernation Batman!

It looks like winter has hit.  I am usually not excited for the snow, but I had such a great winter of running last year with the snow falling, the slush slushing my shoes and lets not forget the cold butt cheeks that I can't be anything but excited for this year!  Except for one problem, I can't stop sleeping!!!  I have been so drowsy since last Thursday.  I still have 6 days left of school too before running season can commence. Everyday I have been getting a little bit more pumped about the nice quiet days that lay ahead for me.  The days that will only require me getting out of bed and lacing up my shoes for the next few weeks and coming home to a nice hot cup off coffee with Baileys in it...mmmmmmmmm!

I just need to stay awake long enough to wrap up two more projects and four exams!!  I did my professional issue yesterday and it got a few laughs and an A....WOOT!!  I am learning to become googledocs savier-ish.  I like powerpoint and attaching documents to emails, but KSU is so up to date on technological advances it was unavoidable and I had to submit to there "linky" ways. 

I am hoping to have some beyond exciting news here in the next few days (or some super sucking news), but I don't deal in patience.  I deal in patients :)  I have noticed I have acquired this urge to make up new words or transform them from verbs to nouns or adjectives too (weird, I know). 

Running has been about 3 times a week.  This week I have 0 in and probably wont do any, just not in the cards, nor do I want to.  It's gonna be a long road back, but no sense worrying about that now -- at least my weight isn't going up, so maybe I am not really ready to hibernate yet.