12 things I learned the last 3 days …

1. My. Feet. Are. Sore.    Not used to being on my feet for much of 12 hours!  Thankful for good supportive shoes, and even my “sprained/strained” right foot did alright.

2. God moves in mysterious ways.  Last blog post I wrote about my hopes to be on the Maternity floor at LMH.   What followed was great disappointment with denials for that floor, citing the need for me to have more surgical experience first.   Then my first request for Surgical 2 North was denied.  Asked for it to be sent in one more time, and got placed!!  So I am working on a fast-paced surgical floor …and loving it.  Not abandoning my desire to be on the maternity floor though.   :-)

3. Doing the nursing skills in the labs at KUC is different from doing said skills in real.  On real people.

4. Once I changed a surgical dressing, I felt like a real nurse again.  Weird eh?

5. Working with helpful people makes the days go by more pleasantly. My preceptor, K, is awesome.  She’s approachable, knowledgeable, likes to teach, and gives me freedom.

6. The charting, paperwork and policies/procedures to know/follow is WAY more intimidating than actually caring for patients.  Right now feeling like I’m never going to remember all of it!!

7. It’s WAY different being a 40 year old Graduate Nurse Refresher Student as opposed to a 20 year old nursing student. Not only are you treated differently by the staff, you are not really seen as a “student” by the patients.    But the tricky thing is, sometimes the staff THINK you can do more (alone) than you’re actually allowed.  “What? You can’t give insulin/anti-coagulants alone?”  “What, you can’t sign out narcotics alone?”  :-)

8. Amazed to see what LPN’s can do now, skills-wise,  as opposed to 18 years ago.  And they need RN’s – why?   (just kidding!)     Crazy that they can dispense narcotics, but not be allowed to hang an IV solution bag with potassium in it.  Thankful to see how well the LPN’s and RN’s work together on this particular floor.

9. LOVING the needle-less systems in place now.   (well yes, there are still needles for injections, but not for other procedures!)

10. My hands have taken a beating.  Hand-washing is promoted as the #1 way to reduce infections in hospital, and nurses are required to sanitize hands ALL. THE. TIME.   Enter a room?  Sanitize hands with the alcohol based hand sanitizer.  Finish assessing patient?  Sanitize hands.  Move to next patient?  Sanitize hands.  Leave the room?  Sanitize hands.  Going to put on gloves to drain a catheter bag?  Sanitize hands.  Take off gloves after procedure?  Sanitize hands.    Wash with soap and water once in a while to remove “sticky” feeling, or when visibly soiled.  Help patient out of bed to chair?  Sanitize hands.  Yikes.  I get it, and I’m 100% in favour.  But OY.   My hands are chapped, red and dry.    But be comforted …your risk of infection is WAY lower! :-)

11. I like wearing “scrubs”.  Comfy and no one cares what you look like in them – not the staff and not the patients.  :-)

12. There is much satisfaction in seeing improvement in patients over a couple days.   Mr.X on our floor was agitated, confused and not doing well when I first met him.  Today?  He was making jokes, cooperative, sassy and (mostly) compliant.   Love it.   Love speaking with the families, and seeing their genuine appreciation for what we do.   One sweet lady today gave me a Lindt chocolate because I brought her her “pain pill”.  :-)

Yes.  I am thankful I decided to purse this direction.  It’s challenging, but satisfying.  I know, I know.  I’ve only done 3 day shifts, and just started.  But I don’t need much more to remind me why I went in to nursing in the first place.   It also reinforces my desire to be a maternity nurse.  Can’t wait to get my hands on the babies!!!! :-)

A shout out to my family – Martin and the kids.  Who daily have wished me well, prayed for me and asked me how my days have gone – each day I came home.   Love them!   Thankful for the friends who remembered what I was doing and either emailed, texted or sent me a message.

And thanks be to God for giving me strength and courage for this new chapter!

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Skills Complete!

Back on August 21, I posted about how excited I was to start the 3rd course of my RN refresher journey – the Labs and Skills portion!  I took a picture of the 3 kits I had to purchase ( a foley catheterization kit, a surgical dressing kit and a suction/tracheostomy kit) as well as a new stethoscope ~ which I subsequently returned as it was a crap stethoscope.  Anyways ….

started the course in September.   Had about 6 weeks of toe-dragging on-line course work. Ethics.  Leadership.  Fluff.  And more fluff.  But I got through it – enjoyed the on-line work with the gals in the course with me, the conversations and sharing of info ….. but, unfortunately for our group, the course was completely disorganized from the beginning.  Our instructor, D, was hired last minute.  She didn’t get a thorough orientation and didn’t know the ins and outs of the Kwantlen “Moodle” site where we did all our work.  But okay, I did the work, did the readings, and prepared for the skills by watching videos , and completely on-line skills modules and tests.

Finally, first day of labs arrived. It felt like I was walking back in to time.  I walked in to the lab, and saw hospital beds, dummies, O2, suction, BP machines, IV machines ….etc etc.  It was so much fun to put faces to the names of the gals I met online during the course.  We spent a fair bit of time going through introductions – which unfortunately cut into our time doing actual skills.

The first day we did sooooo very little. We were supposed to do a complete head to toe assessment, vital signs etc. But our instructor didn’t seem to know the best way to do/teach us – and it felt completely disorganized  ~ and many of us felt a bit lost. I left that day with a rip roarin’ headache wondering how on earth I was going to get through these 6 days!

That evening I had to teach class 5 in my six week series.  When I got home, I was absolutely exhausted. But excited to return.

Long story short – despite the disorganization, despite the lack of leadership in teaching the skills – I did manage to learn my skills once more!  Actually, I was amazed at how well muscle memory returned.   Once I started priming IV tubing, withdrawing medication from a vial or ampule, mixing and reconsituting meds, putting on sterile gloves, doing a sterile procedure  – it felt like second nature.    A lot of equipment has changed – like needleless systems, filter needles … but the nursing principles remain the same.

6 days of skills labs to cover basic assessments, vital signs, IV’s, all meds, injections, surgical dressings, catheters, NG tubes, tracheostomy care, chest tubes …. and then it was time to sign up for the skills testing – a 2 hour test.

Today was the test.  I was surprised at how easy it was.  I was given a scenario – Ms. Strong, type 2 diabetic, post-op day 1 after an exploratory laparotomy with removal of a pelvic mass.  Vital signs stable, blood glucose unstable – needing insulin ac breakfast, in pain and requiring a dressing change.  IV in @ 125 ml/hr.  Clear fluids.  Foley discontinued.   I had to walk through a complete initial assessment with C, the skills instructor.  Although the dummy was in the bed, she spoke for the patient and took me through what the patient would respond with.   It felt great to do that,  and apparently I did a great thorough assessment!  ;-)   When I was explaining that her glucose levels required insulin – she stumped me with the “why do I need insulin?”   Had to do some quick thinking!    I was able to properly draw up the insulin, give it, assess pain, give morphine IV push, and do an abdominal dressing change.   She had observed me doing a foley catheter on the last day of skills labs, so she knew I had that one down.

For me it feels rather surreal.  To be done all the “schooling” part prior to my practicum.  When I started the process of applying to the CRNBC for permission, getting the “ok”, applying to Kwantlen, being accepted, buying the textbooks, and starting the pharmacology course back in January …… doing my skills portion and preparing for preceptorship was a distant dream!!

It’s been a busy year.  Truth be told, I feel exhausted.  Pharmacology was a great introduction to being back in school and studying – but Theory was tough, grueling and time consuming – during that time we moved too.  These past 3 weeks in labs were also very busy and stressful.  It feels soooo good to be done!!

Thanks be to GOD Almighty who gave me strength, memory and confidence to do the work.  He is good!

And thanks to many of you who supported, encouraged and prayed for me during this year so far.  I truly appreciate it.  Your support is a big part of why I was able to do this.

And of course, last, but not least, my hubby and kids.  Who have all helped me out – especially with all house duties – freeing me up to study.  Their support and unwavering commitment to me is humbling.    Without them,  I would be in the nut house.  :-)

So, now I have put in my request to do my preceptorship on the Family  Birthing Unit at Langley hospital.   Not sure when I’ll get any news — but for now, I grateful for the break.  Looking forward to a few weeks of less-stress!

Couple pics to end this post:

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Sweet Allison

In August, we enjoyed having my niece Allison stay with us for a couple days….amongst all the fun, we enjoyed introducing her to Tim’s Iced Capp, and let her watch Alanna and friends play Air Soft outside – great entertainment!

Here are pics of sweet Allison – loving the taste of Iced Capps!

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And more …..

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Alanna’s 18th birthday!

She was worth the 2 days of labour, and the pain it came with.  Totally worth it.  :-)

What a blessing she is to us – and such a wonderful gift from our Heavenly Father.  She is a beautiful young woman, inside and out.   She is compassionate, caring, and loves to work with kids.   Her faith shines through and her love for her Creator God is evident all the time.  And we take no credit.  0.  Zilch.   She is a child of God, and has worked such faith and good qualities in her – despite our weaknesses as parents.  I look forward to what her future holds!

Here are some pictures of the birthday girl!  (*the flowers are from her wonderful boss!) :-)  Thanks Adryon -they look gorgeous in our living room!

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Back to Routine

First day of school!   I posted on facebook that I wasn’t ready for the routine, could have used a couple more weeks of vacation …however, in light of the public school crisis right now, with the strike, and the seemingly ineptness of both government and the BCTF liason to get things going …… I am super thankful for our Christian schools that can start today without delay. Thankful for our grandparents who started our schools, seeing a need to educate our children according to the Word of God. Thankful for the sacrifices they made so many years ago.  Thankful for our parents sacrifice a generation later to keep it going, and to pay the tuition needed so I could receive Christian education.  And thankful that our current generation understands the importance of a Christian education and the required sacrifices here.  (although, dare I say that our sacrifices today are no where NEAR the same as the previous generations?)  

Thankful to send Braden to grade 11, Danielle to grade 8 (first year of high school!) and Ethan to grade 5.

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Glad I could attend both CCES and CCHS assemblies this morning.  And thankful for all the staff and support workers who keep our schools going – and a pleasant place to send our children for their education.

May our Heavenly Father bless this new year, keep everyone safe ~ free from harm and danger, and may it be a year of spiritual growth for all!

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Exciting stuff coming up ….

THIS …. is exciting stuff!!  (okay, for me)

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Yes, my skills course is coming up …not until October, but I can hardly wait!!!  

6 full days in labs to brush up on my skills like catheters, trachs and suctioning, sterile dressings, injections, IV’s,…. yippee! Aren’t you excited with me??  C’mon …. it’s fun!!! 

Okay – maybe not so much for you.   But I am looking forward to it.   My course officially starts September 8, and there will be online “modules” to work through in preparation for the hands on skills in the lab.   My lab classes are scheduled for three weeks in October on Wednesdays and Thursdays.  After that, I can get the ball rolling for my practicum.    It’s hard to believe this is actually going to happen.  Hopefully I get what I hope for – and that is a practicum on 3North at LMH – the Family Birthing Unit.   Dream. Come. True.   Ooohh = those babies!!  Sigh!

And now for something completely different ….if you know anyone who is embarking on a doula filled life, and could use some great books —- I’m selling the following (most are between $3-5, with the whole lot for $70)

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Thanks for reading!  And feel free to check out the two earlier blog posts of our pictures from Whistler.  (the scenery, the bears and proposal corner are kinda neat if I do say so myself!)

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Whistler Scenic Memories!

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