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Monday, February 27, 2017

Scared Sh*tless

Guys, I have started my grad school application. I am nervous beyond belief. The priority deadline was Feb 1, and I missed that by a couple days by the time I was looking seriously at the program. However, I have been emailing the program director and she has been very encouraging. I'm just not certain how straight forward they are being with me.

I want to know how many people are applying, how many get in, what my chances are for getting into the program with only a year of NICU experience, and all of the other questions swirling around in my head. Oh gosh, this is nerve wracking!

For the application only being $50, it's not that bad. However, do I have what it takes? I'm just a baby nurse with a passion for NICU, but I have this burning desire to go further in school and start getting changes started nation wide, or at least in whatever vicinity I'm in. If I could have been here practicing as a midwife, I could have saved lives! I could have saved babies and their mamas from having the terrible home births that ended up killing one or both of them. I'm not saying that home births are bad. I'm just saying home births with a midwife who has never been formally trained is dangerous and asking for trouble.

I want to change the way midwifery is seen in the US. I want to save the lives of moms and babies by preventing too many medical interventions while simultaneously having the training and supplies to provide necessary interventions to keep everyone safe.

Ugh, I feel so helpless.

I am presently terrified.

I am currently in need of another change. I feel like I could actually make a difference.

Oh L-rd, direct me in the ways you want me to go! Make my path straight and show me what it is I'm supposed to be doing!



Probably doesn't help that I've rewatched Call the Midwife on Netflix...

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Because I'm An Idiot

Let's preface this with the fact that we had a recent baby boom and are busting at the seems.

I keep making stupid newbie mistakes. Now, is this because I'm not paying attention? Not really. Mostly, I'm making mistakes without even knowing I'm making them because these are things that I was not taught in orientation. Now that I am on my own, I get in trouble for making said mistakes because I am now responsible for the actions I do, whether I know it is against the rules or not.

This was brought about by getting "in trouble" (my words, not theirs) for overfeeding my kid. In our unit, children can go to ad lib and/or on demand. This, to me, means they can eat however much they want (ad lib) whenever they wake up and start fussing (on demand). Nobody taught me otherwise, until today.

I had my charge nurse feed one of my kids because I was crazy busy and also way late on charting. Well, she ended up looking at my charting and told me I was way overfeeding my kid. Apparently it is an unspoken rule that ad lib actually means 160-200 mL/kg/day. Now, average this out by how long the kid goes between feedings (2-4 hours) and you get your ad lib ranges of what to feed depending on how long they slept. Who knew? Well, I guess everyone did... except me. So, this kid's max was 100 (actually  this is only for going 3 hours in between, for 4 hours it's 133 mL) and I was letting him take as much as he wanted, in the ball parks of 120-150. So, not too much over, and I admitted my mistake to day shift during report, to my friends, and to our unit manager. However, I still feel like a complete dumb ass because I just know this is going to end up being a thing that gets talked about for weeks. The doctor is going to be upset, I'm going to get a lecture, maybe a group email, and it'll be because of me and because I have no clue what the hell I'm doing. Some kids do get ordered to be ad lib with no max. Apparently this is something that is uncommon and ad lib means 160-200.

Ya live and learn, I guess. Poor day shift must think I'm a complete moron because I know the other girls on night shift think I am.



In other news we got our yearly reviews done... everyone is pissed. We have a peer review system, but not everyone fills out reviews for other employees. Plus, the reviews from the employees are used as the sole summation of your work on the unit. So, there is a lot of bias. If you get your review "randomly" (I don't think they were all random) put into a folder to be reviewed by someone on our unit who doesn't like you, your raise will depend on how mean they felt that day. On the flip side, we have some employees who don't do well at work and cut corners who get reviewed by their friends and end up getting raises that they maybe shouldn't have gotten as well as better reviews than they worked for. So, no matter what, you get screwed. So, I got an okay eval, but my friends did not. Their evals went to a girl who is not nice to us and clearly does not like any of us new girls. Therefore, my friends had terrible reviews and did not get the same type of raise I did. It might be by just a few cents, but the reviews are on file for the rest of their career at this hospital. They are not getting good marks because their "grader" is spiteful, rude, mad at us for going to HR about her, and biased.

Add in that I'm tired, probably PMS'ing, and cannot seem to have a good night, and even though I'm sleep deprived, I will probably end up not sleeping well. That sucks because I have been at work every night for a week and still have another 4 days to go. I kid you not, I will have 13 days clocked, in a row because I'm stupid and kept coming in "for just one more night" because we were slammed with kids.

Sometimes I do dumb things.

Mostly, I do dumb things regularly. It's a wonder my review didn't turn out worse than the most negative things being written is that "she gets frustrated". Well no shit. I'm a new grad, I've been on my own for 3 months (out of orientation), and I get frustrating assignments because they are trying to get me experiences with tougher assignments. They say that in the review. Half of our staff is frustrated and frazzled most of their nights at work because they are 1) high strung on their good days and completely out of control on a mediocre day or 2) assignments are not given to be balanced so that stress is evenly distributed across the entirety of the staff for the shift. Assignments are given with no regards to patient needs and nurse responsibilities.



On a more positive note. I emailed the nurse midwifery program I want to attend. They emailed back quickly and asked if I wanted to start in August 2017... I can't move yet, but I kind of want to start school so I'll graduate in 2020. It's a happy year especially with high school graduation being 2012, college graduation being 2016; 2020 fits my little trend!

The only thing I can think is: I can't even be a nurse and do things correctly on a regular basis, what makes me think I can be a practitioner and write orders as opposed to simply following practitioner orders? Everything takes practice and experience, but it's scary!



Ah well. I'm off to sleep so that I can show up to struggle through another crazy shift.

Let's not even talk about my new desire for a kid. I keep getting attached to my little patients that  I tear up when they get to go home. It's bitter sweet, but I love these kids more than I should be loving patients. Then I want a kid, but then I'm over-come with dread and fear of the things they could/might go through in life. Then I start crying because I get scared thinking about what it would be like to have to go through meeting a guy and hoping he won't be evil to me like the other guys have been. And, if he's not evil, then I am scared to tell him the evils I've survived and I'll have to delve into why I don't think I'm pure... and... and... and...

I think I just need some sleep. I'll catch up with y'all later.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

New Culture

The floor I work on consists of all Women's health and the related fields. We have Labor and Delivery, Newborn Nursery, NICU (my unit), and the women specific Med/Surg floor (specifically for C Sections, hysterectomies, and various other health troubles specific to women). In other words, this floor has way too much estrogen. Seriously, WAY TOO MUCH!!!

Our floor, regardless of the unit, is known throughout the hospital and town for being very cliquey, having troubles with new hires (experienced and non-experienced employees), and difficulties with doctors.

Having experienced many of the troubles myself, I am attempting to change the culture for our new people. I have met 3 of them. We have 1 lady who is training on night (already did orientation on days) and is from a med/surg floor in our hospital. She's really sweet and I think we will get along just fine. We have another new grad gal, who is still orienting on days. She seems very excited and eager to start working. I think she'll be fun. I hope so. There is one lady who is going to be PRN, so I'm thinking she's already been a NICU nurse somewhere else and likely has another job. I guess we'll see how that goes. There are 2 others that I have not met and one of them is a guy!

Oh. My. Gosh. You would not believe the ugly things some of the girls were saying. They went off for hours about how the ICU nurse that started and oriented when I did left and so they are quite convinced that's what's going to happen with this guy as well. I didn't have the heart to tell them that the 4 girls that were bitching about her are the reasons she left. That ICU nurse absolutely loved the work, but she knew she could not ultimately handle the people on the unit, so she decided to go PRN instead of being miserable.

These girls were saying that this guy nurse won't be able to help with breastfeeding, that the parents will be uncomfortable with him being their nurse, and also that he won't fit in. You know what? Guy nurses are often aware that moms may not be comfortable being taught to breastfeed from a guy. Guys are also able and willing to tell moms that and offer to have one of the lady nurses help. Guys are better on their feet with critical kids, especially an experienced ICU nurse (as he is). He's also been an ICU charge nurse FOR YEARS!!! He's great with dealing with difficult situations, uncooperative parents, and the ridiculous hormonal troubles that come along with so many women in one area. I think he could bring in some rational thought to a regularly touchy-feelly environment that has cat fights on a regular basis because apparently we are all in fucking middle school.

I'm working on treating these girls as people, talking with them as if they were/are the practicing nurse for the day, and I'm trying to talk to them about life. You know, small talk kinds of things. How are you liking it here? When do you come to nights? Are you married? What do you like to do? All the crap that you have to start off with to break the ice. When I was new, I had to ask all those questions, nobody welcomed me in that way (except the couple of people who I had shadowed, which is why they shadow, everybody loves them!)

Maybe if at least one person accepts them and brings them into the group, they won't feel outcast and they won't feel as though nobody wants them. I want them. I think they will do great. It's a great job, fun work, and we make a difference in the lives of these kids and parents every day. I didn't feel like I was making a difference when I was on med/surg floors because some people didn't want help and other times I was too busy to be any good to anyone.

Hopefully everything will turn out great.

Hey, bonus! I'm making friends on my own unit finally! I am still not in with the mean girls. However, I'm scheduling myself with the other more experienced nurses on nights when I like the charge nurse and the whole night is more fun, relaxed, and more comfortable. Even if some of the not-nice girls are on, I have allies. It certainly helps life and work run a lot smoother. And, in the process, I made more friends. People are finally starting to open up to me and include me in their plans.



P.S. I emailed my master's program for Nurse-Midwifery. Turns out that if you go to school for an extra 2-3 semesters, you end up with a doctorate. I'm seriously considering starting school back up. Even if the commitment is only for 2 years and I think about the doctorate as I am in school and deciding if I can finish it. I guess we'll see.

P.P.S. I started reading Praying for You Future Husband and, in the process, I'm getting encouraged and praying a lot for myself. It's written by Robin Jones Gunn and Tricia Goyer. They have prayers for the guy and for yourself at the end of each chapter, they go over their own personal stories, as well as stories of various other women. I'm really enjoying the book and the process. I don't know, maybe years down the road G-d has somebody in store for me that can handle all of this mess.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

New Year of 2017!

Some of you may wonder what I've been up to for the past couple months...

Well, not much besides working. Work is getting better, mostly because I decided to stop bitching about problems that I can't fix, and working on either 1) fixing or 2) avoiding the problems I can. I know avoidance doesn't sound good, but sometimes it's okay. For instance, if there is a particular charge nurse that you do not work well with, it is okay to not sign up for her nights. Whether to simply give yourself a break or to not have to worry about being around her, or both. However, things with her are better, still awkward, but slightly better. I think she's trying to be nicer to everyone.

We have four new girls coming onto night shift in the next few months. One was a med/surg nurse for awhile and the others are new grads, I believe. Ummm, is it just me or does this seem like a bad idea? They are already upset about so many "inexperienced" girls being on the staffing sheet, let's add in a bunch of other complete newbies! I'm not saying we shouldn't give these new girls a chance, I'm just nervous that we don't have near enough experience on the night shift. If they are considering me "experienced", then we have a major issue.

I lost my first baby. Not lose as in misplace, I'm talking lose as in the baby went back to be with Jesus. It was a bitter sweet experience because those babies had a very small chance of survival, for how early they were and the start they had. And, if they had survived, their quality of life would have been terrible. I cried. I was holding it together until my ICU nurse turned NICU nurse friend started crying as she asked if I was okay. I kept baby alive for 10 hours, without sitting down/drinking/eating once in that amount of time.

There were constant drip changes, tests, blood gases, vent changes, glucose tests, IV insertions, bagging, and various other cared during that time. These babies, they were twins, fought so hard. The doctor was called constantly throughout the night and finally came in as all cares were maxed out. Doctor came in, for the third time that night, and he asked the parents if they wanted to pull support. We discontinued and capped off IV's and umbilical lines. We removed all wires we could, without putting the baby through more pain, and we gently swaddled them in the most beautiful blankets we could find. Finally, we removed their ET tubes and handed the babies to shocked parents.

Our worlds can change in an instant. In one moment, we can be excited for new babies, and picking out baby clothes, beds, and the like. In the very next breath, mere infants can float straight up to the Good L-rd's open arms.

That was my first night of 4. Following the 4 nights, I hopped on a bus headed to Home Town and visited a hot springs location with my mom. That week was so wonderful. We have 3 nights and 4 days at the hot springs, threw in a massage (my first massage ever), and had tons of time to talk over life while relaxing in the warm water. Yep, I'm gonna start getting more massages regularly. I'm working on self-care lately. I'm attempting to get an exercise plan and a workout buddy, but we'll see how far I get with that.

Well, that's all I've got for now. It's been 2 years since I met exboyfriend, and it's been over a year since I ever saw exfiance (except when he found me at that bar and the Angry Canadian from nursing school told him off for me.

Flashbacks come more in waves like memories would as opposed to the overwhelming drownings I used to live through on a minute by minute basis. These memories haunt me every day, but I am learning to survive and breathe through the waves and ground myself more efficiently.

Life rolls on and I am getting farther and farther from those guys. Man alive, I can't believe we're already about a month into the new year. Time is just flying by now that school is done.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Recap

It's been awhile since I've posted, I noticed that today... Sorry about that everyone.

Let's recap over the past several days that I have not been writing about my "facinating" life:

  • I nearly quit after being made fun of and ignored for an entire night at work. Labs were taken down, except for mine... My CBC coagulated and had to be redrawn by day shift because I played RT, and nobody took down my labs even though one nurse took down everyone else's and showed back up to the unit as I was headed down for my measly 3 labs... I attempted to help keep a child from dying and was made fun of TO. MY. FACE. by a nurse who is consistently hateful to all of us new girls and various people around the hospital, as well as an RT who most everyone has a hard time with, seeing as the nights that he is on, we are our own RT's... You can see my shock when I was mocked for turning up oxygen, suctioning, and attempting to straighten the tubing on a vent kid that was desating to the 60's before grabbing her nurse. It was an awful shift. I went home and broke down before sleeping and losing it with my new nurse friends.
  • Work was redeemed the next shift I had because I got not one, but THREE compliment cards and a backpack! The week before I had gotten a coffee cup for being "flexible" and willing to come in on my day off from a last-minute call, for a shift I never signed up for.
  • I worked Thanksgiving, which turned out going really well. Mom came down from Home State and it was so wonderful having her here! She cleaned my kitchen while I was at work. I had tried my hardest to have my house clean by the time she got here, but it simply didn't happen. My Mema housed My dad's two brothers and their families for Thanksgiving. So I got to visit with much of my family and it was absolutely wonderful! I didn't spend as much time with them as I had wanted to, but I was working most of the time they were here. Sometimes being a nurse is a huge inconvenience and slightly painful, because I miss out on some of my favorite opportunities to have precious moments with family, but there are many sacrifices with being a nurse. For now, while I have no children, I will survive the sacrifices. My family knows I'm working hard and Someday, I will have many many favors saved up and hopefully people will be more than willing to help me because I have helped them. This has backfired many times before... it will likely backfire again. Life goes on and I will know I did everything I could, within reason, to 1) keep boundaries and also 2) be a team player.
  • Oh, and I began watching the Gilmore Girls series on Netflix. How have I lived without this show my whole life??? My babysitter used to watch it every afternoon, but I would go upstairs and watch 7th Heaven. What a delightful, hilarious show! I'm so glad Netflix has brought the blessing of Lorlai and Rory to my consciousness. So glad I don't live in the Ivy League and rich people lifestyle. My goodness, I could not do it. 
  • Guys, I got a haircut!!! I look like I'm halfway between Tris and Jennifer Lawrence. I look a little boyish, to be honest, but I also have not worn makeup with the hair yet. I'l test it out and let you know how it goes. Mostly, I like not having to put my hair up and it's nice to blow it dry and have it take less than 30-45 minutes to get it dry to then have to straighten it. Plus, my curl/wave is working with the cut and actually enhances it. I don't even have to straighten my hair if I don't want to.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Full Moon Madness

It's been 2-3 nights since the huge full moon occurred. Regardless, the children in the Big House have not gotten said memo. I only had two babies last night and they were being so naughty!!!

I was running behind all night long and not for lack of trying. One kid takes frickin forever to assess and feed because there are often unforseen complications such as him puking every. single. assessment. because he gets so worked up and upset that he doesn't even make sound when crying and thus provides enough pressure on his stomach to then throw up. *Ugh, buddy, let's talk about this!* This phrase is uttered more times than should be allowed in an attempt to get him to chill out. Surprisingly, he's more cooperative for me than for anyone else. *facepalm*

My other kid was on a vent, but absolutely delightful. He's so sweet and his family is so kind and calm. I adore this family/kid. However, he's getting sick. So, after being late from my first kid taking waaaaaay too long to eat and not having a tube to be able to tube the rest of the feed, I started in on this kid. Shortly after sitting down to begin charting on both little pip-squeaks, the NNP came in and I got informed the kid needed blood cultures taken stat. Which means IV sticks to get a totally sterile sample of blood, besides whatever terrible thing has decided to begin growing in this poor little kid's body. First IV got placed no problem, but no blood return to be able to get for cultures. So on to second IV. Got that, no problem and got blood. Antibiotics started and I'm already late for the first kid's second assessment/feeding.

*sigh*

The whole night ran behind after that. Try as I might, I could not get caught up on charting completely until day shift arrived. I was 10 minutes to clock out so that I could chart everything that happened.



I finally got home, got showered, and dressed into new pj's straight out of the dryer. Called in my puppy to sleep with me for the day and as soon as I laid down and petted her, I realized she was covered in some mysterious, dried, likely-dead-animal's guts type substance. So, at 10 a.m. after a frustrating night-shift, I walked my backyard twice in hopes of finding whatever it is she rolled in. Then proceeded to give her a bath. She was pissed, but hey, I'm not letting her gallivant about in my house and all over my bed in some dead creatures guts. GROSS!

Dog's bath done, another change of pajamas, scrubbing my arms up to my elbows and aromatherapy diffuser turned on, I fell asleep.

I woke up 5 hours later, and 2 hours earlier than I needed to, because of nightmares. Nightmares about work, nightmares about family, nightmares about past events. My subconscious must be trying to tell me something, but I'm not getting overworked. I think it was just a stressful shift, my family all bailed on me (except for mom) in every way possible (Thanksgiving, both rape cases, you name it), and I'm still battling memories of exboyfriend and exfiance. I would have worded the last few sentences differently, I don't normally use rape in such a blunt term when talking about those two assholes and the countless number of times I have been abused at their hands, but I'm in a no-nonsense kind of mood right now.

Tomorrow night is Newbie's Night Out with the other new girls on my unit. I'm so excited I can't even tell you! I've been looking forward to this night, and attempting to plan it for months. I kid you not. So, for it to be so close is a wonderful feeling. I'll let you know how it goes!

Good news about last night's shift is that I have made friends (work friend status) with the respiratory therapists, many of the NNP's, and so many others besides the regular nurses. Plus, I got to have my favorite charge nurse on last night!!! I tell you what, she makes the shift so much better, just by being there. But she listens when I have concerns, she believes my "nursing judgement" which is little more than babysitter judgement at this point, and she helps us out. She agreed to help me out with tonight's assignments and not putting my two kids together until first kid learns to not take so long and second kid starts to feel better. I wish she were charge again tonight... ah well, I'm making friends with people the other "regular" staff has difficulties with. Thing is, they have difficulties with a lot of people, and I think it's because of the "regular" staff, not the others. Ya know what I mean? That's how it rolls with a clique mentality. Meanwhile, I'll be friends with everyone and people on other units have already begun requesting me by name. So I'm good with that.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Suddenly Lonely

I was doing well being here in Small Town. I was beginning to make friends, look forward to things other than work and support group, and I'm even beginning to get my house unpacked. Yes, I have been living in Small Town for about 6 months and I have only unpacked the things that I use...

The closer we get to Thanksgiving, the more I'm missing my Mom. I miss Dad and Brother too, but I'm so close to my Mom. I was going about a week or two without talking to any of my family members, but about a month ago, phone calls to Mom starting coming on nearly every day or two. That's usually about the time I knew it was time to go visit home or have Mom come have lunch with me in College Town.

After calling Dad yesterday and learning that he wasn't able to come down to visit for Thanksgiving, I tried calling Mom but she didn't answer. I called Brother today, twice, but he's still not answering. Seeing as he just got a new girlfriend and his track record for doing family things when he has friends and their families... I'm thinking the odds of him coming down are pretty slim as well.

*sigh*

So, I'm excited for Mom to come down and to also see my other Home State family who are hoping to come down to visit Mema. I hope they get to come down. Somehow, youngest uncle keeps missing family functions with an explanation that he has to work. Mema has recently mentioned that she is not particularly pleased with him at the moment. She also made some comments about exboyfriend that made me think that the rumor has finally reached the family about him getting talked to by the police and probably arrested under sexual assault charges, that were dropped.

I don't know what's going on. Oh the joys of having a family who talks about nothing with the people going through things, but gossip and speculations spread like wildfire. Along with the gossip, comes believing and siding with non-family members, depending on the story that gets told and from whom they hear said tale. Thus resulting in family splitting, rifts, and silent treatments.

The pull for me to find a guy and settle down is not strengthened by current circumstances... if that tells you anything...