Monday, November 23, 2009

My second exam didn't go over so well, I am afraid to admit. Out of a possible 50 points, I scored 38, which is basically a 76%. Yes, it is passing, but barely. And while I am aware that earning a C in a class, or just barely passing tests will earn me a degree in the end, who exactly wants to be a mediocre nurse? Who wants to be a nurse who barely knows what she's doing? Not me. I want to be better than "just getting by". I want to really know and understand what I'm doing and by not doing well I feel as I am cheating the system somehow. So I am a little bummed. The only good thing about this test is that I am not the only one who didn't do well. This one was a doozy for sure. A lot of grades went down, and some people, a good handful, did NOT pass this test. They can still, however, pass the class. So I will try my best and study like crazy the next 3 weeks for my final and do what I can to do better next time.

Did I mention I only have 3 weeks left until break? Ah. Break. Such a beautiful word.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Well, I passed my skills test with flying colors. There were two portions: a medication portion and skills portion where I had to perform 3 skills.

For the medication portion, I was given a fake patient with several medical diagnoses and 3 medications. I then had 45 minutes to look up and take notes on the medications. Sometimes meds have more than one purpose, so one of the things I had to do was determine for which purpose, based on the patient's diagnosis, was the patient taking that med. I had to basically figure out anything about the meds that would be pertinent to my patient and make notes. After the 45 minutes was over, I then had to sit down with my instructor and answer 20 questions about the meds. I was allowed to use my drug book to look up anything I hadn't already written down. I passed with a 100%, which she said I was the only one so far who had passed with 100%, but we were allowed to miss 2 questions.

Next came the skills portion. First I would be asked to demonstrate one of a few skills dealing with an IV. The skill I was asked to do was back prime a piggy back. What that means is we prime the line with the IV fluid to get out all the air first before we hook it up to the patient. The piggy back is a secondary bag of IV fluid, usually something like an antibiotic that the dr. wants infused in addition to the primary IV bag. Back priming is when you prime the piggy back line with the primary IV's fluid instead of using the fluid from the piggy back. The next skill I had to do was draw up a med in a syringe and explain the technique for whatever type of injection she had asked me about and give the landmarks for the site, and demonstrate how I would give that injection into this injectapad thing. I was asked to draw up a med in what we call a Tuberculin syringe, which is a very small needle and holds a very small amount and is usually used when people are getting a TB test. The type of injection I was asked about was directly related to the med she wanted me to draw up, which is called intradermal, which is just under the skin, also usually used in TB tests. The last skill I had to do was a dressing change, and the instructor would tell me which type I had to do. The whole morning I had been saying silent prayers to do a CVC dressing change (which I will explain in a minute) and I was very happy to find out that was the dressing change I was told to do. A CVC is a catheter inserted right into a vein (subclavian vein usually) that leads right to the heart and its used to administer medication, its used for people on chemo or radiation (I think), it can be used to draw blood for lab tests, its used to administer intravenous-type nourishment. The procedure is a very sterile procedure because anything introduced to that area can cause an infection right in the heart. At any rate, I performed all 3 skills at 100%- anything less would have landed me an appointment next Tuesday for a reattempt.

I have a test tomorrow that I should go study for. I'll post my grade sometime tomorrow once they come in. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I am three quarters of the way through with my first semester and as of Friday, I will have only 2 tests left. I just took my third pharmacology test last night. I got a B which I am very happy about because I really didn't study very much for it, as is typical with pharmacology, unfortunately. There's just not enough time to really devote any to pharm and its pretty much the same thing with everyone in my class. We had some extra credit that wasn't graded yet, but I am pretty certain I will be getting another 3 pts so that will end up giving me an A on the test. In two weeks, I will have my last pharm test and I will be so happy to have this class behind me so that I won't have any other classes to worry about.

Tomorrow I have my skills test- what we call "return demo". Its where we do a return demonstration of skills for our instructor. I will be looking up three medications for a pretend patient, and then I will have to answer a series of questions about those meds to my instructor. I will have to demonstrate how to change a wound dressing- they will pick from several different types dressing changes so we don't know which one we will get. We will have to draw up a med in a syringe and then demonstrate how we would give it (on a sponge) while telling the instructor the anatomical landmarks for the certain area we are told to give the injection. We will also have to demonstrate how to run an IV bag and how to "prime the tubing"- which is a fancy way to say "make sure there's no air bubbles in there!" We do NOT start IV's in the sense of taking a needle and inserting it into the veins, yet. We just start or change the bags. If I forgot anything, I will recap how my demo went tomorrow.

On Friday I will have my second nursing test. This one is a biggie-all about nutrition, the ever so fun bowel elimination, oxygenation, acid/base balance and the very interesting but confusing fluid and electrolyte balance. I actually like fluids and electrolytes, but I am trying to come up with a way to better organize the info into my brain. Hopefully I will do well on this test. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Time for some updates in my busy school life

  • I took my first nursing exam (of the new class I started back on October 29th) on November 6th and I got a B
  • Next week is going to be VERY busy and VERY stressful (see bullets below)
  • I have my third pharmacology exam on Monday
  • I have to go to orientation at the hospital I will be doing my clinicals at this term on Tuesday (its different than where I did clinicals at before)
  • I have my return demo on Wednesday. Return demo is where I have to go into the lab and my clinical instructor will as me to do certain skills and I have to demonstrate them for her so that I can go into the hospital and do them.
  • On Friday I have my second nursing exam
So there is a quick synopsis of my nursing school life for now. As I take the tests and get the grades, I will update the blog.
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