"When you get those rare moments of clarity, those flashes when the universe makes sense, you try desperately to hold on to them. They are the life boats for the darker times, when the vastness of it all, the incomprehensible nature of life is completely illusive. So the question becomes, or should have been all a long... What would you do if you knew you only had one day, or one week, or one month to live. What life boat would you grab on to? What secret would you tell? What band would you see? What person would you declare your love to? What wish would you fulfill? What exotic locale would you fly to for coffee? What book would you write?"
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Getting to work with it all weekend after that moment has been fantastic and very eye-opening. I remember having had "play time" on one of my last days of my own training where we were allowed to just play around and practice anything so that we felt completely ready to help once we went-live. I practiced and practiced and I thought surely, I know everything know- What other situation could arise that I don't know how to do?
Well, I should have slapped myself right there because the rest of the weekend I was "go-Live support" which entailed me running around the hospital ( I literally ran up and down some stairs a few occasions) in order to help all three of our units and the ICU, and handle any problems that were arising. Needless to say, my "to-do" list was about 20 items long and it kept me busy all 12 hours of my shift. I would cross one thing off and be on my way to handle another and then on that route another problem would occur. So, point of the story is I thought I knew how to handle everything but then when real patients are in with unique individual situations and the patients aren't fake, certain charting queries come up and there needs to be a firm solution on how to handle that. I was put on the spot many times and had to rack my brain at 3 am in order to get a solution.
It is interesting watching people learn. Like I said before, I had the opportunity all fall to teach fellow nurses, PCAs, and Nurse managers on how to use the system. We faced a lot of kickback, frustration, tears, confusion, etc. And although I saw a lot of frustration with the Go-Live as well, overall these nurses knew that frustration was not going to help their patient and that if they just sit back and let us teach them how to handle the problem, they would go a lot further. Therefore a lot more health care personnel were a lot more open to learning this time around since we were working with real patients, real time, real problems. It was also delightful getting a lot more "Ah-ha!" moments from our users.
It is a known fact that users always learn faster when emerged inside of a real situation. We can only teach these users so much and get them to remember when we are working with "John Playdough" instead of a real patient, and when we are teaching 2-3 months away from the Go-Live day. And yet when these users are using it every second of their shift because they have to for their real patients, they pick it up much faster. Just like learning a language- You learn French much better stuck in the middle of France than you do in a classroom.
Overall this whole experience so far has reinforced within my own self that I love informatics, I love teaching people and I still love healthcare. I can't wait to grow inside this field and to accomplish more tasks. I love being in charge of projects around the hospital and reporting to and talking directly to high-up administration (literally had multiple conversations with the vice president of my hospital over the weekend!) not because of a power trip- but because I like being trusted and knowing that people believe I can accomplish difficult tasks.
Well, another weekend of work ahead-stay tuned! In other news, I get to go to my orientation for my masters program tonight! Super awesome! And next Tuesday I start my class! So exciting! Nerdddddddd. :-)
Thursday, January 7, 2016
"If theres any body out there listening to me, all I have is a story and a dream. Here I am, and thats all that I can be." -Tori Kelly
Hi. It's me. I'm writing again. I'm here.
I've been thinking about this blog for a very long time. It started in 2009 and around 2013 I lost my drive, my writing mojo. All together. I tried so hard to keep it all together and as my nursing career was starting and going strong I began to lose the writers part of my brain. I began to feel burnt out as a nurse after my 3rd year and it started to consume my entire life, my entire brain. It made me not want to write anymore. I didn't feel like I had anything to say. For awhile I tried making 1-2 posts a year but that just made me feel even worse. Even more guilty.
I guess part of me didn't know what to say and the other part of me didn't want to let my audience down. I worked so hard bringing this blog to where it was, gained so many followers and internet attention as It was being born- and then during my block- sometimes I would think of a post and instead of just going with it like I used to- Who cared what people thought?- I would filter it and ask myself, is this good enough for my blog? And usually I'd talk myself out of it or then find myself too busy to log on and try so the thought wouldn't come to fruition. The evil cycle continued.
However lately, my life has taken many strange and exciting turns. It has been a rollercoaster, to say the least. Like I said, I've been thinking about this blog and have desired to start it back up for quite some time now. But again thought to myself, do I have anything to say? But now I have realized within myself- the same self that started this back in 2009 that who cares what people think? This is my blog, my writing, my self. Lately I've really started paying attention to myself and reacting and standing up for myself and whats right. So from now on I will write what comes to mind and if it bores you then great, find a list to the right hand side of my page with other fantastic blogs you should go read. I need this. I need this blog now to be an open space for me.
So where is my life now? Where is my career? In recent exciting news, I have gotten married! Yeah! Crazy. I married a wonderful gentleman back in October. To say the least, it's been an incredible but very busy fall! I thank fates and heaven every day for my husband and this wonderful man, even though i'm pretty sure he doesn't even know how thankful I am for him every day. I try so hard to be a "good wife" but its not in my genetic code to be very wifely. Once in awhile I pull through for him though. ;) He's so patient with me, takes care of me, encourages me, inspires me, questions me in a good way, watches out for me, protects me, and loves me so much. Just the other day I was explaining to someone else that found them self in a rather new relationship- the friend asked me how I knew this man was the one- I said because we can read each other's minds. Although that sounds telepathic and futuristic- Its true! We can't actually, but we almost always know what the other is thinking.
We haven't been able to take a honeymoon however, much to our dismay. Why? That leads me to my next exciting news. My career took an exciting change for the better in August. The Hospital Network I work for has recently decided to adapt a new electronic health record system. For privacy purposes, I won't outwardly say which one, but if you know anything about health informatics and what system is currently sweeping the entire nation- you can probably guess which one. In August I was selected to come on to a team of trainers to teach all the nurses and care assistants in my entire network on how to use this system before it goes-live. So even though I had spent the last four years on the nursing unit at the patients bedside, I decided it was time for a "break" from the bedside and to follow my heart into healthcare informatics. Although I had never really been a trainer or teacher of any kind before August, I dove right in and for the last few months have been teaching nurses!
My mom is a sixth grade teacher. Growing up watching what she did every day, I didn't think I had it in me-the strength to do what she did. I admired her but didn't think I ever could do it. But, it was what I faced at the time so I jumped right in and started teaching! I soon found out after a few bumps and practice runs that I actually loved to teach! Sure I had a ton of challenges and challenging people (turns out teaching adults is very hard!), but that feeling of sharing your own wealth of knowledge and seeing other people "get it", is very rewarding. I even had a student tell me I was the best teacher he has ever had, including nursing school, and grad school. Go figure!
I knew I was good at it and ran with it. I was good because I was a nurse, teaching nurses. I understood what they go through on a daily basis, because I went through it all too. I understood what I needed to teach them in order for them to be successful. I was able to relate to them, tell stories about my own nursing care, give examples and scenarios on how this new system will make *our* lives easier as nurses. It was the perfect recipe.
So that whole process of going-live with the software? Yeah, that starts tomorrow. I know I am prepared because being a trainer, I know the system inside and out. However I start my journey back on the patients bedside during this whole process, my trainer/teaching time opportunity is thus far all done. So the next couple weeks/months will be stressful at best as we all cope with this very big change in my network. I am personally excited, even though I know it will be stressful. I am excited for the end result because I know the system will eventually better our patient care, give us more time with our patients instead of unnecessary charting. Just, in time. Everything good happens in time, right ? Something like that?
All that time all fall in the classroom has also inspired me to *finally* begin my Masters of Nursing program at a local university, in Clinical Nurse Leadership. I start in a week and a half and I am sooooooooo excited, but also nervous! I LOVE school, and I LOVE to be a student, and I am such a nerd because I honestly seriously do LOVE to learn new things. I want to soak up all the knowledge in the world, the only trick is remembering it all! And paying for all that knowledge. -__-
So upcoming between my return to the unit and starting school, I will have a ton to write about! I will also need this venting space now more than ever. I don't know how I will find the time, but somehow I found the time during my Bachelors program so I can find it now too.
Also in recent months, my beloved 85 year old grandma and best friend, has moved into my state! I tried for it to be the same town, but two towns over isn't too shabby either. She used to live in Long Island, New York, and on a good day it was 3 hours to go see her. On a bad day, up to 6 hours. With her increasing age and frailty, that was too long to travel on a moments notice. So the past couple months has been lots of realty and picking things out and spending time with lawyers, but best of all spending more time with my Grandma. She moved December 10th and I have been able to spend so much more time with her since. I already considered her my best friend prior, I have since I was a child- but even more so now. I am able to get to know so much more about her, and her I. The best part is with all this time spent with her, I felt inspired of all her tales about her life that I wanted to write about it all. So I'm writing a brand new, fresh start, new book. I know I've said that before, but this one feels different... It just does.
Well, this has been a long enough first blog back. I work all weekend as we "go-live", but I assure you after this weekend, I will post again to tell you all about how that all went down. Probably with a glass of wine. ;)
For the followers that still follow, thank you from the bottom of my heart for still having interest. For any newcomers, welcome!
A Writer in a Nurse's Body
P.S. That quote up top and the title of my post. There's a (small) story to that. As I tried to muster up the courage to come on here and write again, as I loaded the webpage, a song by Tori Kelly called "Where I belong" came on and I heard these lyrics and it was exactly what I needed to hear. Because thats exactly what I think, what I am, where I belong. I am just a girl with a story and a dream.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
So, over the last couple weeks, I completed this interview with this webmaster and this is what came out of it! Enjoy! Thanks for tuning in. :-) The link to the interview is here:
Q: Thank you for taking the time to talk with us! Can you tell us a little about your own background, and why you decided to become a nurse?
A: I have a bit of a comical background. I’ve always been an “old soul” type and have been thinking about what I want to be when I grow up ever since I was five. In fact, when I was five, I was sure I wanted to be a writer. I stayed with that notion until high school where the career goal bounced around at least once a week. One week I wanted to be an architect and the next I would want to be a child psychologist. I’m the type of person that is interested in everything and fascinated by what people do. I wanted (and still want) to do everything and it was so hard to narrow it down to one thing to do for the rest of my life. That’s part of what made me choose nursing.
I remember exactly the day I decided to become a nurse. I don’t have a sappy story of a family member being sick for so long and I was the caregiver, and that’s what made see I could be a nurse. No, I’m much different, in probably not a good way. I was a junior in high school and my history teacher (a horrible one at that) was out for the day and the substitute played a video about World War II. In this video was a small clip of healthcare, and nurses taking care of soldiers and newborn babies during the war. For some reason, It was right then that I realized that was definitely what I wanted to do, And I haven’t changed my mind since. I then became a Certified Nurse Aide for 5 years as I worked through college, and now have been nurse for almost three. Crazy!
Q: Can you tell us about the challenges of being a nurse? What are some of the benefits?
A: There are many, many challenges to being a nurse, particularly a hospital staff nurse. So much so that I see new graduates or nursing students and I want to blurt out, “are you sure you want to do this??” But then I stop myself because I know deep in my heart that if I had to do it all over again, I’d still be a nurse.
It’s a very thankless job. Nurses run the hospital and don’t get any of the credit, rarely even a pat on the back. We work the hardest and it’s a blessing if we even get a chance to urinate or chow down on a protein bar on the run. There will be days when you as a nurse will try your absolute hardest and you still can’t save everyone, or someone will think your hardest just wasn’t good enough. You just can’t be everywhere at one time.
Yet we still come back, shift after shift because of the benefits of nursing. Not only are there global benefits (general good pay, you can work anywhere in the world, there’s over 200 types of nursing jobs you can do, flexible schedule with unconventional hours), but just the benefits on shift are amazing. Once you break through that first year as a scared nurse who doubts himself or herself every day, you push into this amazing nurse leader before you even realize it. Suddenly you find an extreme high after a code blue and you helped save someone’s life. Or even something simple, where you spent the extra twenty minutes helping a patient cope with something completely unrelated to their diagnosis and they thank you for listening to them. It’s the small joys on the job that really make it worth it in the end.
Q: What is your proudest moment as a nurse?
A: Oh, there are so many, and probably some cliché. But that’s OK. I like to think a lot of nurses most proud moments involve a lot of “firsts”, as do mine. My first successful IV, successfully doing CPR for the first time, giving your first ACLS drug and watch as it saves someone’s life, putting your first foley in and seeing that wicked awesome flashback of urine makes you want to squeal for joy (I’m telling you, it’s the small things on the job!).
Q: What is your *strangest* moment as a nurse? Some of our nurses have told us some pretty crazy stories!
A: Oh boy. Where do I start? Seven years in healthcare now I definitely have a couple!
There was one time I was in charge of the unit and a couple of us heard some shouts for help. Running towards it we found a middle aged man in his patient bed, with a 70 year old Portuguese woman in bed with him. At first we thought it was some sort of weird marital dispute going on, until I saw they were BOTH in patient gowns! We quickly realized that this woman was the patient next door and had crawled into bed with her neighbor! Not only did she have advanced dementia but she didn’t speak a word of English and she was trying to snuggle up with her patient-neighbor! As we tried to wrestle her out of the bed she grabbed one of our stethoscopes and used it as a lasso and whips it up over her head and is screaming. We eventually got that from her and with about 6 people were able to pick her up and slide her into a chair which we slid into her own bed next door. Then security showed up. Helpful.
I’ve definitely seen a lot of weird and strange stuff, especially on full moons. We had a 30-year-old female patient who when we entered the room, found it was covered in baby powder. Walls, the floor, the bed, everything. We found her sitting on the couch sitting in the baby powder. Her excuse? She was trying to “dry up the air” as it was too humid. Another patient also thought it was a good time to cut her hair, in the shower no less and this clogs up the shower plumbing and we find water flooding into the hallway. Good times. Lots of crazy stuff in healthcare!
Q: Many of our readers have expressed concerns about being overwhelmed when beginning a career in the medical field. Do you have any advice for them?
A: Honestly it is overwhelming and I’m not going to sugar coat it. I’m three years in and I’m still overwhelmed. But, it does get better. The only thing I can say is to literally take it day by day. I can’t emphasize enough to not be afraid to ask questions. Especially on orientation. That is your golden time, a time where your new unit has specifically budgeted out a large block of time where an experienced nurse is there for just you and to teach you and answer all your questions. Don’t be afraid to ask the “stupid questions”, because that is your time. Heck I still think I ask stupid questions three years in, but always think- Would you rather ask a “stupid” question or make a fatal mistake because you didn’t? I put stupid in quotation marks because there really is no such thing as a stupid question in healthcare.
The only thing I have to say in addition is that when you start out in nursing, research as you go! Don’t throw away the textbooks as soon as you graduate! When you encounter a diagnosis you’re a bit unfamiliar with, go home and study it and you’ll be that much the wiser the next time and might even be a resource for someone else!
Just remember it will be overwhelming, so prepare yourself for it. Every shift will be different. Some will be easy, some will be hell. On those hell days, finish your shift, go home, and forget about it. Your next shift will be different. Don’t take it home with you!
Q: Do you have any favorite websites related to nursing?
A: I’ve always personally been a fan of www.allnurses.com, whenever I have a question I can generally find a good consensus of what I’m looking for.
Some of my *favorite* nursing/medical blogs are:
http://www.sharayurkiewicz.com/ (really profound pieces)
Also I love to browse http://www.nursingworld.org/ It’s not that expensive to join and it’s a great resource!
www.nurse.com is great too.
Q: Do you have any advice for the www.CNACareerAgency.com readers who are interested in becoming nurses?
A: If you’re not already in healthcare but you’re thinking of becoming a nurse, I suggest you find a way to get yourself immersed in healthcare somehow to see what nurses do on a daily basis. Many states will hire you as a Certified Nurse Aide with no prior background or class training, training is on the job. This job is a GREAT way to see what Nurses really do all day. Every nurse should be an aide of some type first. If you can’t handle being an aide, you can’t handle being a nurse. If you’re interested in becoming an aide but your schedule or life situation can’t support it at the moment, try volunteering at a hospital or becoming a unit secretary. As unit secretary, you get tons of experience learning medical lingo and the behind the scenes know-how of how orders happen, doctors names, doctors handwriting, etc. Plus it gets your foot in the door! If getting a job like this is simply out of the question, just try and find a nurse you know and ask her what a typical day is like, what are the worst and best parts? Ask if you can shadow him/her for the day. You MUST do any of these options BEFORE investing in any type of nursing school!
Q: What’s your favorite novel? What are you reading now? I just read “Shantaram,” and it was AMAZING. It was, like, 1200 pages, but I’m considering reading it again. Here’s a link to the book.
A: Thanks for the recommendation! I love to read! Right now I literally just finished (Like an hour ago) reading “If I stay” by Gayle Forman. I read it mostly for research on my own book I’m writing, because the book seemed like it’s a lot like mine. It was a really good read and very interesting! I have like 14 books on my nook that I keep downloading and plan to read next, and I haven’t decided which ones yet! Some medical books I have that I want to read include, “No Good Deed” by Lewis Cohen, MD., “Life Support” by Suzanne Gorden or “Call the Midwife” by Mary MacLeod. But some non medical books I’m dying to read are “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn, or “Reconstructing Amelia” by Kimberly McCreight. Lots of good choices!!!
Q: We’re always surprised at how many nurses start blogs—there must be something about the profession that lends itself to reaching out to others. Your blog is a lot of fun—you’ve got your own bucket list, a page where you discuss the things that keep you happy and motivated, and a section where you discuss your latest projects. Do you have any advice for our nurses who are starting their own webpages?
A: Aw, Thank you for such a high compliment! If a nurse wants to start their own blog, obviously they have a lot on their mind they want to get out to the world! That’s awesome! First things first though, do your research! Know what you’re talking about before you go blasting a medical opinion online. Secondly, find your twist. Be original. If you want to become a nurse blogger for the sole purpose of reaching thousands or millions, you must be original. Like anything else in media and fame, something must be different about what you have to say. Maybe you have a unique type of nursing job. Or maybe you want to write about one type of medical condition only that means something to you. However, if you just want to write for your own benefit and for sole documentation purposes (how I started out in 2009), then simply write whatever comes to mind and see what happens with it!! When I started my blog, I had one reader and that was my best friend. Now I have readers from all over the world and over 55K views. Who knew?!
Last but not least, if you want to start a blog, I cannot stress enough that you must be very careful! If you are employed as a nurse, you simply cannot speak as freely as anyone else online. Anywhere. I am careful not to post anywhere on my blog where I work. Even with that precaution, I still won’t give too many details when telling a dramatic or funny story about a patient. If I talk about something happening in the medical community, I stay very general and don’t criticize any hospital or network. Be careful what you say! Hospitals and employers are watching everything online nowadays, don’t let a simple blog be the downfall of your career.
Q: That drawing you have on your site is incredible! Where do you come up with your ideas?
A: Thank you!!! I mostly draw from photographs that inspire me. Usually they are photographs I take, but not always. I am good friends with an amazing photographer that I love to draw from. Unfortunately I haven’t quite perfected the art of drawing from within my own mind. I like to draw people and settings that display a lot of people, or an emotion of some kind. I just use drawing as a portal to get from this world to another- A world of peace and happiness where I can just be myself.
Q: How has nursing helped (or hindered!) your creative instinct?
A: Hmmmmm….This is a great question! My Creative instinct has control of my brain at almost all times. I think if you let it, creativity and nursing go hand in hand and help each other. I use my creative side in nursing all the time. If something isn’t working or malfunctioning, I find a new way to improvise and make a solution. Nursing has further powered my creative instinct also because nursing brings forth so many powerful emotions. Nurses usually aren’t the type to let those emotions out, we don’t want others to know that we’ve been affected by someone else’s pain, sorrow or joy. So having a healthy outlet in art to pull forth and let out those emotions is a wonderful blessing I will always cherish.
Q: Do you have any advice for those future nurses who want to develop their creative abilities?
A: Get out there and do it! Nothing is stopping you. Nurses typically only work 3 days a week, so you have no excuse but to do whatever it is that makes you creative the other 4 days. You already have a brilliant mind if you are a nurse (or becoming one) so go make it happen. Go show the world who you are!
Friday, May 2, 2014
With all my trips to Disney, I usually come out even- weight wise. I do recommend looking into renting a time share or a hotel with kitchen suite to make breakfast yourself rather than relying on Disney hotels. Although expensive, I do recommend the Disney dining plan for the rest of your needs. For the basic plan, you are allotted one snack, one counter service (fast food), and one table service (full-service). All Disney restaurants, fast food or not, strive to always offer healthy choices for you and your children, so that’s all up to you. Perhaps strive to order healthy options for lunch at the counter service (grilled chicken, fresh fruit, water) and then order whatever you want for dinner. After all, it is your vacation J .This type of high protein lunch will keep you going strong all day, you’re going to need it in Disney!
Drink Lots of Water