Saturday, September 29, 2012

Stronger - Seattle Children's Hospital

Sometimes we need those little reminders of why we do something or go through something. This absolutely heart-warming video fell into my lap last night and reminded me WHY I am going through this last frustrating year of my life. This is why I am doing what I do and this is what it's all about....this is why we want to be nurses. Soak in the amazing strength these kids have!!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Looking Towards the Future

I think one of the things I lose sight of a lot in this midst of this program is what really matters. Wrapped in an atmosphere that includes always trying to 1up each other, always trying to be the best, you lose sight of what you came into this program for, what's important, etc.

I really need a break from this program and the chaos, the pressures and expectations, the massive quantities of random bullshit to do. There are good and bad aspects to each nursing program, this will always be true. There are some great things about Regis and there are also some things that I honestly can't stand, and can't wait to be done with.

But because of that, there are a bunch of things I am yearning for.

I yearn for a day where I can sleep in, wake up....without the burden of another assignment that needs to be finished or studying that needs to be done. Rather the only expectation are those that are laid upon myself, by myself.

I yearn for a day spent in the beautiful Colorado mountains away from the bustle of everything here. I have not had a chance and still have several weeks left before I will have an opportunity to not be tied to the immediate Denver metro area. I want to be able to get away from this place for even a day. Go take a day trip to Estes, and walk along the boardwalk until the sun sets with my grandmother. Go sit in a chair and listen to the river all day long if I so choose. Go see the changing of the fall leaves on the trees....inviting in the richness of the golds, reds, and autumn colors before the blanket of winter white envelopes their richness.

I yearn for a roadtrip. An escape from this place. A chance to get away.

I yearn for a place that is constant, where I fit in. I yearn for a work environment that stands for what I do and not what stands in principle for Regis. I want to be free of the expectations of a student and at the same time, get respect that most nursing students don't get. I yearn for a place where I get to be part of a permanent work family and develop relationships, where my personality can once again come out.

I yearn for a night off!! I yearn for a night spent having drinks with friends, joking around....because in this atmosphere I cannot and have not been able to do that.

I yearn from time away from my fellow nursing students. No offense, but I'm tired of only having these people in my life. It's time for some more variety to be added back in.

Variety is truly the spice of life.

I yearn for relaxation. Really. I think a massage, chiropractic adjustment, and day spent watching Grey's Anatomy with my mother would do my world SOO many wonders. Or a day spent shopping. Or how about froo-froo drinks on a warm beach :-)

I yearn to have time to set up consistent exercise again!! I need to lose this nursing school weight!! Get back in shape.

I yearn for a lot, and am ready to be done. 10 more long weeks and we WILL in fact be done with this program. And I can't flippin wait!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Human Experience

So this is what I do in my free time, my one reprieve: I watch netflix instant. It is how I unwind at the end of the day, it's what I use to break up the continual studying I've done over the course of this year. I like indulging in my tv shows and watching documentaries.

The other day I was pondering through my documentaries on my queue...and I decided to watch one I've had on my list for awhile. Titled "The Human Experience" it is a film about a few young altruistic men who set on on the ultimate experience: placing themselves in the shoes of others. They go through three profound experiences. The first experience is living homeless on the streets of New York for a week. The second is traveling with some surfers, who partake in an organization called Surf for the Cause, who travel around the world surfing the waters of several countries but also giving back to the communities with which they this case  with the lost children of Peru at the Villa la Paz Foundation started by Dr. Anthony Lazzara. The third experience finds them in Africa at a leprosy colony with a friend who is documenting the lives of the outcast lepers who are left to fend for themselves in an outside colony.

Each one of these experiences offers a unique looks into a world of humanity vastly different than the one with which most Americans are familiar. While no one's problems can ever be doubted, the documentary is powerful in that it shows the unique challenges, trials, and tribulations each one of these cultures of people experience...yet the happiness, faith, and love that exudes from each population.

There is something to be said about living beyond yourself, for others. It's one of those things that has always called to me. And since watching the documentary, it offered a brief glimpse outside of my nursing school world, back to why I am gaining this education and licensure. So I can travel the world and give to others. Not to sit in a comfy hospital for the rest of my life. I believe that each one of us can give to others within the means that we have. Whether that giving is monetary, time, or energy. We can give faith, happiness, support, encouragement, love and respect to others. We can give our time, listening ear, embrace, or time spent in silence...just to know we are not alone. Or we can give much more, if we have the means, whether it be materials or money, to benefit the lives of others. Even without excess, each one of us holds the power to connect with others of the human race, and to show the light of how alike we all are in our humanity. We all love, we all smile, we all belong to this world.

I still have 10 weeks of nursing school left. I am exhausted, overburdened, and overwhelmed. Most of the time I am not quite sure that I really can do this. That I am smart enough to pass my boards, to be a nurse, and be afforded the privilege to be let in the lives of others in their most vulnerable times and be entrusted with their lives. Yet I believe that is what fuels the fire for my nursing career. Not the money, prestige, etc. It's the opportunity to give back to my fellow humans, to provide for them, and to afford them opportunities they wouldn't have otherwise.

I believe that is one of the reasons the Lord has laid His hand upon my senior practicum to be in the NICU. To bring me back to what started this whole journey, to remind me of what I've been working towards, and what I desire in this nursing journey. What I believe in and what is important. Because I can tell you right now, many of the principles that this program encompasses do not hold true to my own principles and values for the future.

The emphasis on an esteemed reputation, and on being the best. That is not what I value. I value the ability to connect with my patients, to touch them and provide a human connection, whether it be at a turning point to continue on in life or to face death. I value respect and equality, not perfection. I value love and uniqueness, not uniformity. I think that's what I needed to be reminded of, and what a wonderful documentary to do that. If there is a will, there is a way. If there is a heart, then I will take great care of my patients. I won't be perfect, I won't know all the answers, but I will be there, and I will provide love and respect to my patients. I will look for opportunities to work outside of my comfort zone. And I will continue to learn more about other cultures and peoples and not stay in my cultured bubble. I want to travel the world, and see the people/cultures of the world. I want to experience humanity, and all the beauty it brings.

With a Sigh of Relief

I just finished my med/surg II comprehensive final (also known as care of the adult and older adult II), and I feel like I can finally let out a small sigh of relief. Of course in the world of the accelerated BSN, there is always one.more.thing. to turn in and/or do at all times. But I feel like I am slowly on the downhill slope.

We finished all of the crazy lectures, tests, etc. We have to finish clinicals and the benchmark ATI exams this week and do a comprehensive ATI (to see how well we might do on the NCLEX) but those aren't the huge things for this class.

Next are senior practicum and then we end with community nursing!! Senior practicum involves strictly clinical hours. 180 hours of working more in the role of a nurse. Following one preceptor's schedule. And that's it. No tests, no gimmicks, none of that. Strictly 3 12-hr shifts of working each week (plus my additional shift of working at DH of course).

I've kept a low profile. Between time constraints, my depressive mood, and being so exhausted I have stayed far far away from the public forum...both facebook and blogging.

Nursing school has literally eaten me whole, swallowed me alive. But I feel like I might be getting my life back.

My senior practicum will be the night shifts at Presbyterian St. Luke's in the NICU...and I'm SOO stoked. The place that started my passion for nursing, it's like it is coming back full circle!! I couldn't be more pumped :-) I feel night shifts will be great for me as they are "slower" paced, there are less people around and I can really focus on my nursing skills and perhaps even study what it is what situations I am in at that time. I can look up disease processes, care, diagnoses, etc. I feel it will be better for me to understand the nursing process of taking care of neonates in a critical care setting so much better!!

Other than that, I plan on getting back into more of my hobbies. I want to finish my painting, I want to work on my tshirt blanket, and I want to read a few books for fun. I want to get back to some normalcy. While socialization will probably still have to wait for a little while, I can start getting back to things that really interest and make up life, not just things that involve or revolve around nursing school. 

It will be SOO great :-)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Vanity/Highchair DIY

It's taken me a little while to get this blog post up d/t the demands of nursing school as of late.

As of late, Med/Surg II has eaten pretty much ALL of my time, and I've spent more time studying than ever before.

However, on the week we had off I had a chance to work on the vanity project with my dad and get it almost completely finished. I was also able to make a necklace holder (thank you pinterest for the inspiration). I was also able to get the highchair finished.

Here's the pics with the explanations of what all we did!

I found some gems at a thrift store right before I started nursing school. We were walking through one of the Denver thrift stores when I happened to find this awesome vintage highchair just chilling among the furniture. I swooped it up, with my brother and sister-in-law expecting, thinking it would prove to be an awesome piece! However, it was a color that leaves a ton to be desired.

While it wasn't bad, yellow with golden accents isn't exactly my style. 
Just a peek at what it looked like before...

The first break we had from nursing school, I stripped the paint off of the chair with paint stripper. My pieces of advice: wear long sleeves and pants and make sure you have an awesome stripping tool!

after pain stripping

After the paint stripping, it still needed to be sanded down to get the loose paint off and in the nooks and crannies. I also used toothpicks to get in the round details. I recommend blowing it off with an air compressor or the like once done with that. Then it was on to painting. I initially wanted to do a weathered look but my mom (aka grandma) wanted a crisp look. She also wanted to do white but I wanted to add some color, so I chose this color. It's Schooner Blue from the Olympia line. I got it at Lowe's :-)
I chose the dry brush stroke method, to give it a little imperfection. Which meant I had to apply two coats and meant it took longer than just slothering it all over. I also took a small acrylic brush from Michaels to do the white decorative rings. All in all it came out really nice and I love it!! However, I'll probably be the last person in our family to have children ;-) 

 without any filters and with overhead lights in the garage on
The finished product

The next project was a quick necklace holder, inspired by projects found on pinterest. My father was replacing the front fence and gate so I salvaged some wood for my project, one of the old weathered beams. I got the teal knobs on sale and the clear/bubbly ones for full price at anthropologie. Simply, I pilot drilled the holes and counter-sank a small recess into the wood....or should I say my father helped me to do so :-) The we screwed the jigsaw picture-frame holders on each side of the back to hold it up on the wall. It's bigger than most that I've seen on pinterest...but I didn't want to alter the wood at all, simply sand it down a little to get the rough splinters off. I loved the weary-ness of it and didn't want to ruin that by sawing it off at the end. 

We also finished up the vanity, which I never blogged about. This we made from scratch. My mom found a simple plan she liked, my father figured the dimensions, and we set off to work. This project overall took two weeks to finish (and still isn't completely finished as we haven't fully set it up stairs and put the counter on). We used a raw cherry wood, in which we rabbit holed the pieces together by a pilot drill with a counter-sink. We were going for a more farmhouse feel. Simple yet farmhouse. Once all together, I used Minwax Special Walnut wood stain (two coats applied thickly with a brush and then wiped with a clean cloth), followed by two coats of Minwax Polyurethane.

the hardware looks like this, though I couldn't find the exact cabinet pull on the website 
  As for the process, here is a quick montage of the project up until we need to put the sink on ;-) 

 a lot of wood glue and clamps were involved in this project

 after the first coat of stain

after the second coat of stain, the two coats of polyurethane and the hardware application

Once we get the sink and faucet hardward installed I post the FINAL picture of the vanity. Also mad props to my faja (aka pops) as he was the one who mainly did everything. I provided moral support, physical support, and my common smartass comments during the entire project. And of course, the expert wood glue applier and excess wiper ;-) 
Once I'm done with nursing school, I'm sure we have more projects lined up but until then, my only other projects include a canvas and paintbrush. I'll also post that project once it's done.