Friday, December 28, 2012

Guest Post

no time to blog so I'm letting Kathryn Norcutt from RNnetwork write for me tonight...

From High School into Nursing
Kathryn Norcutt has been an active member of the health care community for over 20 years.  During her time as a nurse, she has helped people from all walks of life and ages. Now, Kathryn leads a much less hectic life and devotes much of her 
free time to writing for RNnetwork, a site specializing in traveling nursing jobs.

Before the medical field exploded with the dawn of newer and more diverse technologies, the choices that a young nursing candidate had were fairly limited.  Nursing in previous generations blanketed the entire healthcare spectrum that today has been broken down into many degrees and certifications.   Fields like physical therapy, anesthesia, cardiac care, emergency room and so forth, are not only specialized but are in high demand.   Something a current high school nursing candidate should really consider when thinking about their future career.   With all of these niche certifications available, a prudent question to ask yourself would be: Do you receive your training and degree through a traditional four-year-college or would it behoove you to reduce the time and expense of college and get started even earlier.   Numerous options abound with healthcare, from flexible schedules, part-time and temporary work to traveling nursing jobs.  The best part? You can begin your journey into the medical field, before you graduate from high school. 

How? Let’s take a look at the steps to get your nursing dreams started.
  •        High School: It’s never too early to start looking into your future, even though your fellow classmates are more worried about what they are going to wear for the Friday night football game than what they’ll be doing in ten years, this doesn’t have to be true for you.   You can start working towards that nursing degree while still enrolled in high school.  Get online and search an online program aptly called, “Jump Start” where you can begin earning credit towards your nursing degree as early as your junior year.   Before you start the admissions process, you must sign a “Letter of Intent” and make an appointment with your guidance counselor to discuss your career plans.  Once they determine that you are in fact ready to start they can grant permission for you to begin the nursing courses.  Another critical piece of the nursing admissions equation will be your SAT scores, you must earn a combined total of 1100 (Math and Critical Reading) in order to qualify as well as a 2.7 GPA.  An additional exam is the TEAS (Test of Essential Academic Skills); this will test a prospective nursing school candidate on their knowledge of a variety of subjects.  Among these subjects are; mathematics, science, English and language usage.  If this seems a bit overwhelming, don’t worry, you are already a huge step ahead of the game.  You have completed half the battle and you’re still wearing braces!
  •        LPN vs. RN: From this point on, your life will be filled with many acronyms and abbreviations, so you better start getting used to it.  Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN’s) perform basic care and some administrative duties (usually under the supervision of a Registered Nurse). LPN programs generally run 12 months and you can earn your certification through a few different options here; online, community college or technical colleges.  Prospective nursing students can also earn an Associate Degree in nursing (ADN) or a 4-year Bachelor of Science Degree (BSN) through an accredited program.  Courses here would include; chemistry, physiology, anatomy and psychology as well as hands on training through a supervised instructor.  
  •        Licensing: ALL students who have completed a hospital nursing program, ADN or BSN degree must pass their state’s licensing requirements.  Those who want to earn their Registered Nursing certifications must pass the NCLEX-RN.  Once you’ve completed these basic requirements don’t forget that the career path of nursing offers many specialized certifications and degrees.  Another option is to look into the American Nurses Association as well as the American Nurses Credentialing Center.  Started in 1991, they have had over 250,000 nurses receive their credentials.   This organization’s creed is defined as “a means of measuring competency and the identification of competent nurses that will promote the public welfare for quality in health care”.  Another echelon of the American Nursing Associations is the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) this would include adult critical care, neonatal and pediatric critical care.   If critical care is not your field of interest, some additional options include specialization certifications in diabetes education, gastroenterology, HIV/AIDS, infectious disease, OB/GYN, pain management and respiratory therapy.  Again, you are not limited by fields or bricks and mortar, even.  Let’s say, you are seeking a career in nursing but are also interested in exploring the world while you are still young and unmarried? Perhaps a career as a traveling nurse would appeal? Imagine doing what you love all while experiencing a different culture and seeing sights of antiquity!  

At the end of the day, looking into the nursing field is one that offers many unique opportunities.  By getting a head start, you can not only earn your certification two years earlier, but also earn a critical foothold into the healthcare industry.  With all the many certifications available, you can easily find that perfect job that gives you not only a varied selection of interesting work but also a respectable purpose in life.  A win-win on all accounts.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!
(some of our holiday babies)

I hope that you are having a nice relaxing day.
Enjoying your family and spending time with those whom are important to you ~

My family celebrated Christmas on Sunday - so I have been able to relax today and just enjoy myself.
Erika made breakfast for us - while I made an apple coffee cake.
Dear hubby had to work - traded the day so that a younger employee with less seniority could stay home with his family.  We are used to working the holiday - not a big deal really.
Jon stopped by so that I could help him set up his new laptop.
Then the kids headed off to see their dad's family so I am home in a nice quiet house - I have candles lit and Christmas music playing.  It is actually quite nice.
As soon as I finish this post I plan on finishing a book - then I may start another.

I've also been able to ponder why we celebrate Christmas.
So often we get caught up in the shopping and parties and forget that Jesus was ever even born.
We never stop to consider why we celebrate in the first place.
This year has been especially tough for so many - with the recent shootings in Connecticut, two of my comfort care patients delivering this past week, and the passing of Dr just hasn't seemed like we should be partying.
Yet, family and friends are so important and we need to go on living.  We need to go on loving each other and celebrating the real reason for Christmas and that would be the birth of Christ...

Matthew 1
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.
19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dreamand said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.
25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Have you ever wondered what it must have been like for Mary?  All of those years ago when she was pregnant with the little Christ child?
How scared she must have been...she was only a teenager and not married.
No where to stay  - alone with just Joseph.
Being a labor and delivery nurse I often wonder what her birth was like...did she labor long?  Did she have to push for ever? Did the baby cry right away? How bad was her pain?  Maybe only crazy L&D nurses like myself ever think of these things...

I sure would have loved to be Mary's birth attendant!
What a birth that must have been....

Blessings to you and yours!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Hearts are Sad ~

I was working today when I took the phone call.
It was a tough call to receive...and I could hardly believe what the caller told me.
I still can't quite wrap my head around it.

Our unit is very tight knit.  Even though there are many employees, we are truly like one big family.  So when one hurts, we all hurt.

Today I received word that one of our beloved physicians passed away unexpectedly.
He was young and physically fit.
It should not have been him.
He had gone for a run this morning then came home and collapsed.  The paramedics attempted to revive him but they were unsuccessful...

So today our hearts are sad.
It just hurts so much.
The unit is definitely in mourning...the grief is so palpable that you can feel it.  We mass called and texted those we could and others got the word and started calling us.  Everyone is in shock and I answered so many calls that started with - "Is it true???"

Dr T was one of the best.  He was kind and caring.  He may have gotten frustrated but he never yelled at us and sort of just 'went with the flow'.
He has helped to bring so many babies in to this world.
He was a caring physician.
He was a good man.
He leaves behind a wife and two adult children.

I can't believe that I am never going to see him round the corner again.
Never going to hear him say "Hey Deb. How's your day going today?"
Never going to see his twinkling blue eyes or hear him talk about wanting to be outside enjoying the sun.

I am going to miss you Dr T!
You were not just one of the physicians...I can honestly say you were a friend.
May you rest in peace, knowing the we all loved you!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Blog Award

My blog was chosen as one of the top 30 nursing blogs of 2012.
The award was given by Best Masters in Nursing
In honoring my blog they said:

"yours was selected as being among 
the most helpful and offering the greatest insight."

Pretty cool!
Check out their site above to read some other really good nurse blogs.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Anticlimatic Finish

I am finished ~
I can't believe that I am done.
I have worked hard and now have my BSN.
A Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
It almost seems unreal.
This is where I have spent every Tuesday night for the past two years.
I have made new friends and increased my knowledge on my  chosen profession

The end of the program was very anticlimatic
I went to class - excited and proud to be done
We had power point presentations to present on our change project.
The faculty came in to congratulate us
Then class was over.
It was just over.
I tried to get my cohort to go out and celebrate.
But only two other students wanted to go.
There was no fanfare and life just goes on.
We don't get to have our nurses pinning nor walk in cap and gown until May.
So yes, I am finished.
I am excited in my own way - even though I haven't really celebrated.
It is just a wierd anticlimatic end.
But now I can sign my name:

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Final BSN Paper

It is turned in.
My change project paper is finished and sent to the instructor.
I'm excited.
I'm nervous.
I can't believe that I am this close to being done.

My plans had been to finish the paper yesterday.  I did not have anything on my schedule.
So while dear hubby continued to paint and do needed home repairs, I worked on my paper.
Then I got one of those phone calls....and spent the afternoon / evening with my father in the emergency room (thank goodness for good friends who work in the ER and can help to bypass the waiting room of people....)
Dad was passing a kidney stone and is better today but it did sort of mess with my paper writing plans.
Remember the last time I was working on an assignment and got the call that Erika was in a car accident?
Just great reminders of where my priorities need to be....of course they are with family.

Anyways - I was able to get an on-call from work today and tackled that last paper.
It is finished.
I only have two more weeks left of school.
One last power point presentation to do on my change project
And I will have a BSN.