Nurture the Student Nurse

Nurture the Student Nurse

Today is Wednesday, and I ate dinner with my family, got my butt kicked at yoga sculpt, and have a five day break from school… What ever will I do with my free time?! Luckily, I have plenty of papers to write, exams and anatomy practicals to study for, and friends and family to catch up with. What are you doing this Easter break?

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April 17, 2014 · 2:59 am

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As a nursing student, I constantly have my nose in a book about anatomy and physiology, holistic health care, the legal aspects of health care, or infectious diseases. Struggling with the fact that my oldest friend, the “big brother” God blessed me with now has cancer (non-hodgkins lymphoma) gives me an extra incentive to learn all that I can about serving those that seek care, and makes me newly passionate about oncology.

I was inspired to pursue nursing because of my experience in a Hospice house in Edina, Minnesota. Within seven weeks, I had watched four of my loved ones end their lives on this beautiful planet under the excellent care of holistic hospice nurses, and I was hypnotized by the acceptance that not all medicine is about fixing people. Sometimes it’s about letting them go. I still believe in hospice, I believe that holistic health care is about doing the greatest good for the patient, and if that means helping them to be comfortable in their last days, then that is what the nurse should do. 

Today, my ideas about nursing have been suddenly shaken. I am still a supporter of hospice. But I realize that hospice was only a window into the holistic nursing process that I would fall so madly in love with. For I am truly in love with my life, and am charmed every day by the fantastic things that happen in other people’s lives. I want to help people fight the diseases that the world inflicts on their bodies. I want to guide healthy people toward a sustainably healthy future. I want to learn. I want to learn all that there is to learn about why our bodies do not protect us from disease, why good people get sick, and how spiritual practice impacts the healing process. This is why I’m in nursing school. Thank you, big brother, for the reminder that I am a part of the new face of health care, and I chose this career path so that I can change lives positively every day. 

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April 15, 2014 · 4:46 pm

“The Night Shift”

I work as a .2 CNA so that I can buy groceries (*cough* Lululemon *cough*) and this past weekend I picked up the night shift, which might have been a mistake. Working through the night and sleeping all morning sounds like it wouldn’t be so bad, as long as you were able to sleep, right? Well I’m an excellent sleeper, so getting shut-eye was no problem, but my 8am this morning had me regretting the past two morning naps. 

The scheduling lady called me last Thursday and offered time and a half if I picked up One-on-One’s overnight. Tuesday is Tax Day, and I work full time as a nanny in the summer so I always end up paying in instead of getting a refund, so I really, really needed the money. I took two of them, in addition to my 2pm-10pm shift on Saturday. So Friday night rolled around, I packed up my Starbucks strawberry refresher and walked over to the nursing home. Luckily my 1:1 was pretty easy, sometimes the behaviors get bad and it’s a rough night. I read a history assignment, kept up with my twitter feed, and chatted with the night nurse while my resident snoozed. At around 3am, though, my body started begging for sleep. I cracked open my refresher and powered through, but just barely. At 6am, when I got home, my head hit the pillow and I was Out. Saturday was long. I was scheduled for a double shift (16 hours) and 3 am hit me much harder this time. By 5:30 I wanted to find an empty resident room and konk out. I didn’t, I made it through, and I went home and slept a glorious eight hours before finally getting to my homework that had piled up over the course of the week. 

Today is hard, sleeping in the mornings makes me tired all the time. But is it worth it?  I feel like it might not be now, but come payday I might feel differently. The bottom line for me is, that we should all have so much respect and gratitude for those that work the night shift caring for our loved ones. By the end of my sixteenth hour, this was me:

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“Don’t Read Caringbridge” they said.

Don’t look up statistics. Do not read Caringbridge sites. Do not ask your friends about their experiences. …And definitely do not go through every nursing, physiology, and disease management textbook you have looking for answers. 

Someone close to me was recently diagnosed with (probable) cancer. The labs haven’t completely come through, we do not know the stage or type of cancer exactly, but… I don’t think doctors say “cancer” if they aren’t pretty darn sure.

The moment I heard is a moment I think I will remember for the rest of my life. I was sitting in the student union with a few of my friends discussing Oozball, which is a mud volleyball tournament that my school puts on during Spring Fest (another thing my school puts on). And I was talking about how much fun it would be for them (as men) to watch girls play volleyball in the mud. And then I got a text message. “He has lymphoma.” Five syllables, four seconds on a QWERTY keyboard, and an insane wash of emotions came over me. I stood up, probably in shock, and walked out of the union. I didn’t know what to do, how to feel, who I could talk to. 

The next day, after tears and conversations, I started doing research. Obviously I started at Wikipedia, the world’s most reliable source, and I went from there. Hours later, I surfaced for lunch and realized that I had been balls to the walls studying hundreds of cases of lymphoma. I couldn’t keep this up, I had to know the actual diagnosis. I was going to have to just wait. So I went to class. I sat in lecture, I bought a latte, I took a quiz. Everything was moving around me, but it felt like I was standing still, waiting. 

Today I talked to my mom, we talked about ordinary things; getting my haircut, Easter Break, groceries.  Then we talked about cancer. She told me what she knew, she told me that the doctors had said not to look at research or statistics or Caringbridge. She said that every single case is different (which I knew, from my hours of research), and that all that’s available on the internet will only drive you mad.  So there is nothing to do, but wait. 

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40 Things Every College Girl Needs To Be Reminded Once In A While

sduluth:

I do not exactly live by these “Rules”… I am madly in love with my high school boyfriend, I rarely go out because I’m not old enough to drink legally, and I rarely wear deodorant… But I love the message this sends. Be you! Have a good time, and live up these college years. We only get one undergrad experience… Enjoy yours!

Originally posted on Thought Catalog:

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1. The number of weekends you have in college to go out and let loose is not infinite, go out at least once a weekend.

2. So you’ve gained a few pounds? You’re becoming a woman you’re not supposed to look 18 forever.

3. College wouldn’t be college if you got 8 hours of sleep every night. Embrace being tired it means you’re doing something right.

4. Pizza is one of God’s great creations, you’re hurting God’s feelings when you act too good for it.

5. Don’t let one creepy guy form your opinion on an entire fraternity.

6. Do not minimize what a privilege college is. Many people who are capable to be where you are can’t get there for a variety of reasons. Respect your opportunities.

7. Don’t settle for attention from icky guys

8. Don’t settle period.

9. Don’t give up if…

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Group Project

In high school I loved doing group projects. I always took over the entire thing and then told the other members of the group what to say on the day of the presentation and we all got an A. It worked out for everyone involved. In college, things are very different. Everyone was “that girl” in high school. We all like to be in control, and we all like to do well. However, our schedules are all much different, which makes things a tad more complicated than they were in high school.

I have a group project right now for my nursing class. The entire class was given a packet of information about a family that our professor made up with different medical issues, each group was assigned to one family member. We have to make a poster presentation of discharge management techniques to help them to take control of their care. There are a million different ways of going about this project. My group chose the “meet four times in one week” approach. I am not going to pretend that I am the only one with a busy life, I know for an absolute fact that I am not. But I had one day between meetings to research three topics and come up with a discharge plan for our patient, on top of everything else going on in my life, not cool, group! When we met today, I realized that it did not even matter what I came up with, we were meeting so often because it gave us the opportunity to bounce ideas off of one another and further construct our own thoughts on the subject. Things are much different than they were in high school, but maybe being the only one working on a project was not the ideal situation after all. Maybe the phrase “putting your heads together” actually does make sense.

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Kentucky

This spring break I had the opportunity to travel to Appalachia to serve the community of people there through Campus Ministry and Alternative Spring Break. I have talked about my small, catholic college before and the opportunities that are available to me because of it. This is one that I am so, so grateful for. The experience was literally life-changing.

We arrived at Camp Andrew Jackson in Eastern Kentucky on Sunday night. None of the people from my school had been on this trip before and we were all unsure of what to expect. By the end of the week we had all been touched by the stories of the families we had served, and the radical hospitality they shared with us. Each home that we helped was different, there was one with a giant family; everyone had turned to the grandma and she took them all in. There was one that was just a single man who needed help getting back on his feet, and one was a woman who is in the process of getting her master’s degree, so that she could be a social worker, serving people in Appalachia with problems like hers.

Serving these families was the most enriching thing I have done in all of my time here at Scholastica. Anyone who has the opportunity to serve, should take it. Not only do you change the lives of people who need help, but you realize that you yourself need help and you are changed.

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Under Pressure

College is supposed to be many things. Some say that it is supposed to be the best time of your life. It is supposed to be hard, though some say that it is much easier than high school. College students are supposed to be stressed. We are supposed to have free time, but we are supposed to work hard. We are supposed to be able to pay off our loans within six months of graduation. We are supposed to get a job in our field within three months of graduation. College is supposed to be the tool that gives us (students) the power to do well in the world. College is supposed to be great.

College is great, it is. I am completely in charge of my schedule, I report to no one, and I eat what I want, when I want. The thing that people do not tell you when you’re in high school, is that college is really, really hard. Juggling school, studying, work, volunteering, and any sort of social life is the most difficult thing I have ever had to do. It seems as if I am running in thirteen different directions at all times, and I will continue to do so until I walk across that stage and get my diploma.

The thing is, it won’t be over then. It only gets crazier, am I right? Real jobs are 8-12 hour shifts, four, five, or six days a week. Plus grocery shopping, gym time, hitting the bars on a Saturday night, visiting mom and dad on Sunday… and when it’s time to be a mother, well, when that time comes I’ll be wishing my stress level was at the point that it is now. So what does this mean? Am I destined to be borderline insane for the rest of my life? They say that you learn to manage stress as you age, I believe that, but when the stress just continues to build how can you ever learn to manage all of it?

I cannot help but wonder, what if? What if we could slow down? What if we worked on the sun’s schedule? What if we took a siesta after lunch, like they do in Mexico? America is supposed to be the Great Melting Pot, yet we have a culture all our own. What if instead, we had a combination of the best pieces of all of the cultures of the world? Just imagine, Mexico’s siestas, Denmark’s tax system, Wales’ royalty (okay, sorry but I love Harry and Will), and other great ideas from other countries. How awesome would it be to take a break for a lunch time nap, not have to worry about student loans, and have actual public figures that were good role models, instead of Justin Bieber. Mmm, it feels good to imagine a world where my stresses are alleviated.

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Valentine’s Day on Campus

Valentine’s day has always been my favorite holiday. In elementary school, we all made boxes and everyone gave everyone little cards with a little candy and at least one person always brought cupcakes. Middle school was great, all of my friends and I would make little baggies of gifts for one another with Essie nail polish, sweet treats, and usually some small accessory. High school was touch and go. Having a boyfriend was so important. If you had one, then you got a Tiffany Blue Box and flowers and a fancy dinner out on the town. Valentine’s day has always been my favorite holiday.
Now that I’m in college I love it even more. It is a little bit unfair, since the love of my life enjoys spoiling me with one perfect red rose every year, in addition to a nice dinner. It’s quaint and perfect. But that is not why today is my favorite holiday. I love, love, love to see all of the girls that get flowers delivered to their door. I love to see the girls that dress up to impress the boy in their intro to communication class as one last hope at a v-day date. I love to see the girls that pout because their man hasn’t made them breakfast, or he did not surprise them with an engagement ring, only another pair of earrings, or he just did not do what they wanted. I love it. Is that terrible? I think it might be. But it gets me through the day. Cheers to you and yours, Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Technical Difficulties

Isn’t it true that as soon as you need something, it’s no longer available? Like the popular app Flappy Bird that has now been taken down from the App Store, I didn’t to realize how much I loved my MacBook until it quit on me. I am a devoted Mac user, I have the iPhone, a MacBook, an iMac, an iPod video, an iPod touch, an iPad, and an iPod shuffle. (My parents spoiled me in high school and my boyfriend spoils me now.) I love how seamless my devices are, I love the simplicity of the design as well as the general ease of use. This post, however, is not a review nor is it an advertisement for Apple. This post is about how during what seems like the one week of my entire life that I actually have work to do on my MacBook, the hard drive quits, and how this seems to be just how it goes for nursing students across the board.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am in my first semester of nursing school. I have an 18 credit course load in addition to two jobs, a volunteer commitment, and social relationships. It really is a lot to keep up with. I use a planner and make multiple to-do lists. I stay as ahead of myself as possible so that I can do fun things and also have ample cram time. This week was no exception, in fact this week was a critical one. I am going on a service learning trip in a few weeks, and this past weekend was the only weekend I will have off before my trip. I chose to utilize the time I had to get a paper done, type up a study guide, and start my ATI assignments. Of course halfway into Monday’s class schedule, my MacBook began acting goofy. I spent a good 8 hours trying to fix it myself before bringing it to my university IT department where they told me that I needed a new hard drive on my 16 month old device. The issue I have is not that there is an issue with my computer, it’s that no matter what is going on in your life, technology is going to fail you when you most need it to support you. So back up your devices, kids. I’m glad I did!

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