Trying to raise my kids the best I can

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Nursing School

I'm one month into nursing classes. It is quite an experience. The hardest part has been balancing work, family, and school. It's very stressful but nothing I wasn't expecting. Housework and cooking only take place on weekends. Thursday I have a full day of clinical experience at a long term care facility. When I leave for clinical it is still dark out. After a day of that and a few hours with my kids I leave for work and when I leave for work it is already dark out again- with a full shift yet in front of me!!

Nursing is unique in that you must be well rounded in book smarts, people skills as well as dexterity/street smarts. It's so many roles rolled up into one vocation. the book smarts come naturally to me (thank God) so that has been a huge help as I try to juggle my life with school. While my classmates are spending hours every night reading I haven't had to study much nor do I have the time to. I don't know how long my "base knowledge" will carry me but I am thankful for it while it lasts.

Hands down the most stressful thing for me so far has been the TPR (Temperature, Pulse, Respiration) Certification. You get three attempts to certify at a skill and if you don't pass you are kicked out of the program. The radial pulse is both the easiest skill and the hardest certification. All you have to do is lose the pulse for a few seconds or miss a heart flutter or miscount and you fail. I failed the first attempt because I lost the pulse. Two of my classmates including a friend of mine have failed two times. My friend is near hysterical at the thought of her nursing dreams crashing to a halt over a pulse certification. Thankfully I passed my second attempt yesterday. Thursday is the blood pressure certification but I am much more confident in that. I am learning about myself through this experience though. People have accused me, in the past, of seeming too callous about difficulties in my life. But I always knew in my heart that it wasn't callousness but a true faith in God. This was another example of that because I said to myself that if I failed all three certs. than God just has a different plan for me right now. I would have been sad but accepting of that. At the same time I felt that God had led me to this point and He would see me through. (He did!)

At the clinical we are working with elderly people and I am struck by the similarities between the beginning and the end of life. The patience that we must exude and the activities we must do are the same as I do with my toddler at home.

We are working in one of the finest facilities in the nation. It is like a hotel. I can't imagine what it costs to live there. The only way to get in is to move over from their apartments. It's gotten me thinking about what my end of life home will look like. I always envisioned living with my children but what if I need something more? Am I prepared? Financially and waiting list/reservation wise? Answer: no. There is long term care insurance. That is something I would like to get when I can afford it.

Did you know that the best indicator of a good long term care facility is the lack of smell. Bad smells indicate unchanged diapers and bed sores. Bed sores can and should be prevented by: keeping the bed at a 30 degree angle, shifting the patient every two hours (even if in a wheelchair), using protective cream, positioning pillows just below the heel (to prevent sores on the heel), not using donut pillows, watching for and promptly treating signs of bed sores.

So that is the update. More later as it transpires.

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