One Day at a Time

I’m a new nurse.

I have to keep reminding myself of this. I’m new. I’m going to make mistakes.

Thankfully, none of my mistakes have resulted in adverse patient reactions. I haven’t overdosed anyone on their narcotic pain medication. If my assessment found an abnormality or something new, I reported it.

But I’ve been late on timed lab draws. I didn’t get a “Keep Vein Open” order with a patient controlled analgesia (PCA). I charted something on a patient, only to realize after signing that it was the wrong patient. And I’ve certainly handled a few interactions with less grace and clinical judgment than I would like.

I hate making mistakes; I hate knowing that I’ve failed or been under par. I worry that I will never get this nursing thing figured out. It’s these days that I cry.

But after a day or two off, I pull myself back together. Double check my care plan, make my list, and set out to improve one patient at a time.

And then I come home. And I’m new to marriage as well. We’re both new spouses. We’re going to make mistakes.

Some days, he’s helpful and a wonderful shoulder to cry on when work goes horribly wrong. Other days, he doesn’t see that I’m tired and asks for my help with tasks that, in my opinion, he should be able to figure out by himself so that I can sleep. There have been times where we are both oblivious to the ways we hurt each other. And then when the courage is mustered up to say, “____ really hurt,” it isn’t met with the response wanted but with more fuel for the fire.

Then the time comes where we say, “I’m sorry. Forgive me,” and keep working on this one day at a time.

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Why I’ve been absent…

One semester left.

That’s what I keep telling myself.

One semester. 16 weeks. Just keep going.

Part of being absent has been not figuring out how to process my patients’ and my story for blogging. You know, HIPPA and all that. I find there is meaning in their lives, and I want to say more than “wow, I worked in a hospital with patients today” but some people will make you believe THAT is too much.

Anyway, there’s another reason I’ve been more absent. Blogging was a way for me to process, and lately, someone else has gotten my verbal processing.

Someone who took me here, after we attended a family wedding over the weekend:DSCF2370

And did this, next to Bridal Veil Falls:DSCF2372

Although, I was so excited/shocked/”Is this really happening??” that I didn’t even give him time to ask. I just said “Yes!” several times, until I realized that I completely stole his thunder. To which I said, “Um, I assume you were going to ask me to marry you?” Then he showed me the ring, and because everyone asks for a close-up:DSCF2375The only down-side of getting proposed to at Niagara Falls is that you are right on the line between US and Canadian cell service. I had to wait until we were off Goat Island and 5 miles on US soil before I could call my own parents!

 

My 30s

The narcissist in me likes to see how people find TRS. It amazes me that months after I posted 100 Things to do in your Twenties, people still hop over here because they Google similar phrases.

Well, as of the middle of July 2012, I was 30. I pouted for a week or so before; I lamented that marriage and babies were not mine, yet. But I also feel as though I had some new things coming. A life that was not finished being lived. And an urge to tell those entering their 20s that birthdays are milestones, not grave markers.

So, while not as extensive, epic, or entertaining – here are some things to do in your 30s. Take them, leave them, tailor them to yourself. Whatever you do, live a rich life.

  1. Learn about insurance beyond your car. If you own a home, you probably have home owners insurance – great. For those who rent: renters’ insurance should run about $10-15 per month. $120/year is a small price to pay in the event your apartment or rental house goes up in flames. What about health insurance? Life insurance? Somehow, our generation will pay for extended warranties and insurance on our phones, stereos and other electronics, but we won’t pay a few bucks per month to cover our burial expenses if we die from an accident. Learn what insurance you need and is a good expense (disability, renters, etc.) and which is a scare tactic (mortgage).
  2. Build retirement savings. A little now turns into a lot later. I would like for Social Security (if my generation even gets that in 30 years!) to be my play money, not my utility bill money.
  3. Learn a language where you could survive a day of touring the country on your own – German and Greek are the front runners for me. Then again, Church Slavonic, Romanian, or Arabic wouldn’t hurt either. We’ll see.
  4. Go visit the United States (or other places in your country of residence). South Carolina is at the top of my list as my brother lives a block from the beach – tour guides and place to stay…Win! I also want to tour the West Coast. I keep meeting people from the PNW and California. I’d love to see Napa Valley, the Pacific Ocean, and ride a San Francisco trolley.
  5. Save a few thousand for future education endeavors. Whether it’s continuing education for your job, a nifty conference, or a class at a community college – put some money aside and deduct it from your taxes that year.
  6. Spend time with the next generation. This might be your own child(ren), niece(s)/nephew(s) or young child of a close friend or Godchild. Find something that lets said child know they are loved and appreciated. This doesn’t always have to be an expensive gift. A friend of mine always takes out her nieces on their birthday and buys them a classic book. Once, I took a friend’s daughter out to tea. I try to send my nieces and nephew a birthday card and Valentine’s day gifts. I’m still getting to know my Goddaughter, but if I see a little something that she might like or can carve out time to be at a school program, I oblige. There’s no way I can be the aunt/godmother that I would like to be with distance a big factor. But remember how awesome it was to get mail when you were little? Exactly.
  7. Learn to forgive.
  8. Seek out mentors – personal, professional, etc. Pursuing excellence is an accomplishment in and of itself.
  9. Read a book or two from high school English that you muddled through on the Cliff’s Notes. If you devoured everything from English, get a math book and work a few algebra problems or geometry proofs. Or grab a science book and work a chemistry conversion or rediscover the biology classifications (Kingdom, phyla, order, etc.)
  10. Budget. Save and pay cash for your next car. Work a plan to get out of debt and stay that way. (I recommend Dave Ramsey as a resource, but there are plenty of others out there.)
  11. Conquer a fear whether rational or irrational.
  12. Get some updated photos by a professional photographer. Find someone who goes with your personal style. If you’re like me and don’t have engagement or wedding photos, get some good head shots with a kick. I did this recently in January – partly because I needed some pictures for professional and outside interests, and also because it’s fun.
  13. Volunteer with an under-served population. TRS recommends finding an organization that serves those who are homeless, those who have a mental illness, or those who have a disability. Break your stereotypes surrounding a population with which you have nothing in common.
  14. Love others where they are at.

Any other suggestions, thirty-somethings?

Wow!

I love the WordPress stats function. Especially the world map where I can see if this blog is being viewed outside the United States.

And it is!

Now, I’m not known like PioneerWoman or any other blogger of recent notoriety, nor do I think that I ever will be popular. But this past month, at least one person in the following countries has visited TRS (No particular order):

  • France
  • Saudi Arabia
  • India (Okay, it helps that I know a family living there, but still…)
  • Estonia
  • Lithuania
  • Australia
  • Poland
  • Brazil
  • Egypt
  • Phillipines
  • Norway
  • Germany

Some of this is due to a post on nursing bloopers being linked on a forum. I got a few followers and hundreds of clicks for a good two weeks. If only i was still interesting enough to maintain a following…

Anyway, this two-time Geography Bee Champion of Tea Middle School (South Dakota) is pleased that dwellers of other nations spent part of their day here. May I be found intriguing enough that you continue to come back.

Annoyed

Yes, I’m sarcastic and snarky, but when it comes to my nursing education and career, I’m taking it seriously. What tires me and annoys me to high heaven is how everyone, and I mean everyone, must weigh in their opinion on nursing.

One comment I hear often is, “Oh, nursing is great. You’ll always have a job.” First of all, I know that nursing will always have job options; people will always be sick. Guess what? I was a teacher before a nurse. I didn’t need a nursing career in order to have a job. Also, I’ve always been able to find employment, whether or not it is work that I want to do long-term and actually have a career in is another thing. But if we are talking about being paid for my time and work – I have little difficulty in finding something. Here’s the deal: I don’t want a job! I want to have gainful employment in my vocation, my calling. (Read the book 48 Days to the Work You Love for a better explanation of the difference between a job, career, and vocation.)

The next thing I hear is usually something about the pay or flexibility. YET AGAIN, I KNOW!!!!!! Those are side benefits to doing something that I love. More than a job; a calling. I wasn’t unhappy in my previous careers solely due to the pay or schedule. When I evaluated who I was, what I valued, and the life I wanted to have – nursing fit more than anything else. One of the neat things I discovered in my reading this semester is that Florence Nightingale (nurse pioneer extraordinaire) believed that nurse training should center around a person’s calling to the profession.

After some combination of the above, those with a medical horror story have to weigh-in. Dr. So-and-so almost killed my loved one. If it hadn’t been for the nurse, life would end as we know it. Or, the nurses and medical staff screwed up because I refuse to let them be human. I do fear the mistakes I will make in the future. I pray that they will not be life endangering nor get me in trouble. But for heaven’s sake, remember that medical staff are human. If you want to be cared for by a computer, then get all your advice from WebMD.

What is beginning to really frustrate me, though, is the negativity from some of my classmates and other nursing students I encounter. Currently, one debate in the nursing profession is whether or not the BSN should be the entry level degree. What shocks me is not that people are spouting their opinions on a 2-year vs. 4-year option, but rather, that several of my classmates have a negative view of the BSN program. Stop spreading the negative attitude towards a program to which you applied and accepted admission because the teaching methods are different than you expected!!!

I don’t think that IUPUI is the zenith of nursing programs, nor is it the only place in Indiana to received quality nurse training.  Yet, I’m surprised at the number of my classmates who I see rolling eyes at learning how to change an occupied bed or other CNA skill. Then our first written test came and we had to select the best answer even though one or more of our options could be correct. Others have decided that their friends or relatives with ASN degrees have it better off and why do we have to go through more expensive training when a BSN won’t be paid more by a hospital … it’s only the bureaucracy of nursing organizations that is making a BSN more desirable… Blah, blah, blah.  There are other aspects that come up in the hallways and lounges, and I just get frustrated when I hear them.

Maybe my previous career experience taught me that going into something with eyes wide open is always the best way. At the end of a bad day of teaching, I could easily think of three to ten things I would rather do with my life. At the end of a bad day of nursing, I can say, “Well, it was a bad day. Start fresh tomorrow.” I’ve found a few like-minded classmates; thankfully, my list of those to avoid is short – I just wish they’d keep their mouths shut.

The Quiet Man

Hi. I’m feeling better today. I’ve been sitting on this post for a while, and with lecture being boring, I’m finishing it during class. Get over it.

After experiencing dating, romance, and life fiascoes, I have come to the conclusion that men and women of marriable age should partake of the wisdom from the move The Quiet Man.

I honestly didn’t get the premise of The Quiet Man until my late 20s. Despite multiple viewings and giggly conversations and repeated quotes, it just didn’t click. Then I moved and my stuff was to be crammed in with someone else’s stuff. I conceded and put most of my things in storage, the garage, or out of sight. I thought that my things were not good enough and attempted to justify my decision to myself as being best for a peaceful abode. But the result was a feeling of bitterness and constantly being a guest in my own home. Even though Mary Kate is brought to a furnished home, she refuses to acknowledge that it is her home until her possessions fill the space. “Those are my things. And I want them!”, she says in desperation.

Then there was the whole fight scene that I didn’t get either. While funny, I would still think “Why?” In the middle of some of my own romantic drama, it made sense. Sean Thornton needed to prove that Mary Kate was his and that he was standing up for her. At the time, I was waiting for The Idiot Texter to do that for me: make his claim and stand up to anyone who got in the way. Well, in his stalling, he made a HUGE tactical error. (Hence why his name is “The Idiot Texter.”) He was uninvited to the rest of my life after that.

Yes, I want you to watch John Wayne and believe that he really is a native Irish boy who came home to the village where he was born. Maureen O’Hara is wonderful as the snappy Irish girl who is smitten but bound by her cultural norms.

But the reason I like The Quiet Man is that it shows life and love as difficult. It shows the internal battles of relationships. While the movie might have “man” in the title, I think it is equally about Mary Kate (no, I’m not being a radical feminist, FYI). Sean Thornton has his past and new life to deal with through the plot; he thinks that since Mary Kate is in his life, things are settled. Nope. She has a life as well; she doesn’t blindly follow his lead. Go get my things that will make this house MY home. Get out of your comfort zone; stand up to any adversary and claim me.

So, until someone sends a matchmaker my way and asks whether or not I “go for it” (“it” being officially courting), there will be no playin’ patty-fingers in the holy water. (Watch the movie).

Almost Perfect

The time: 7:40 PM EDT

The weather: rain, downpour

The music: Nickel Creek’s freshman album

The drink: homemade spiced chai – P.S. saying “chai tea” is just wrong. Chai = tea, therefore you’re saying “tea tea.”

Perfect night to wear the comfy house clothes, snuggle up in a blanket and read.

The books: Health Promotions, Nursing Diagnosis Handbook, and Fundamentals of Nursing.

Something is seriously wrong with this picture.

Nachos!

My friend, Richard, is lauded for his nachos. Seriously, these are a work of art and a lovely way to clog your arteries and digestive tract.

Nacho Night is the way to celebrate anything. The most recent being a time with friends and watching the latest Sherlock. Nachos and Benedict Cumberbatch – BLISS! These wonderful things also come out for birthdays, receptions, and any most any reason someone says, “Hey, can we do _____ and eat your nachos?”

Here’s the start:

Assemble all ingredients – ground beef, sausage, blue corn chips, white corn chips, refried beans, taco seasoning, grated cheddar cheese, chopped olives, etc.

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Put the first layer of blue corn chips down. Cover with half the beans, meat, shredded cheese, olives, etc. Bake.

Make a second layer of yumminess! Bake.

Frost with sour cream.

Eat. Laugh. Enjoy. Eat some more. Feel your stomach say, “No more! Please!” and your taste buds demanding, “More! More! More!”

Die the sweetest death possible.

Coffee and Ginko

After my last post, I thought, “Ooh, I have some time. I’ll just scan in another quick thing and use the ‘scheduler’ feature to do a quick write-up and make it look like I blogged tomorrow when I actually didn’t!” The best laid plans…

Happy New Year!

I was sifting through my drafts and found that I had yet to post this goody from WAY back. Originally on Facebook Wednesday, September 2, 2009. I had yet to fully convert to Orthodoxy, but I was getting there. I missed posting this for this year’s Induction (September 1). Forgive me.

====================================================== A Year

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