Monday, December 26, 2011

Today I invested in a new stethoscope. The one I originally had through nursing school was a Littmann lightweight (which I know you are probably not sure what that is), which is pretty basic as far as Littmann stethoscopes go. I have a hard time hearing with them and thought since I will be working in the ER, it might be nice that I have a stethoscope that works really well.

So I invested in a nice stethoscope that cost about 3 times as much as my first one. But I'm ok with that. Also, I had a little help from Ray's mom and dad and sister, Katie and her husband Eddie as they gave me some money for Christmas to go towards it. So if any of you are reading this- THANK YOU SO MUCH!

I have a few odds and ends to still pick up to complete my collection of "tools" and I have to do some scrub shopping in order to be completely ready for next Wednesday. It is slowly approaching. And just as I have said a few times before and will probably say a few more times, I am excited and nervous and anxious and scared and ecstatic and other words that I can't just put into writing. I feel as if its still so surreal since I am not yet on the floor, but that soon will come to an end. Only 9 days left!

Until then........

Thursday, December 22, 2011

ACLS Course: $200
PALS Course: $220
TNCC Course: $300
Critical Care Course: $650
Stroke Certification: $0
Triage Course: $600
Getting all this education in preparation for my job as an ER Nurse: Priceless

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

is complete! And I now have my trauma nurse card. I had a written exam as well as a practical skills test where I had to perform a complete trauma assessment.

And I passed!

So now I:
am ACLS certified (advanced cardiac life support)
am PALS certified (pediatric advanced life support)
am CPI certified (crisis prevention intervention)
am Stroke certified
am TNCC certified (trauma nurse core course)
have completed an EKG course
have completed a triage training course
have completed a critical care orientation course

I was due to begin my official ER journey next Monday, the 26th. However, the program director offered us, from corporate, a week or two off since we ended our course around the holidays. I opted in for this deal, even though it is without pay, so that I can spend time with the kiddos and family for the holidays. I did have Christmas Eve and Christmas Day both off, but now I will have off from this Saturday until the kids go back to school on the 4th. At that point, I will begin my days as a real ER nurse.

It still seems so surreal.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Today was interesting but VERY long. I was at work, in a classroom, from 7:30am until 5:30pm. To spare you all the details of what I learned, I will say I learned how to do a trauma assessment, how to stabilize a patient's neck in case they have a cervical spine (c-spine) injury, how to remove a helmet from a patient who may have a c-spine injury and then put a c-collar (to keep their neck stabilized) on them and get them onto a backboard without compromising the possible injury. We learned a lot of different things about trauma. It was really interesting (yes I know I said this already). :)

Next Monday we have another TNCC class and we will be testing that day as well- a written exam as well as a skills demonstration.

Tomorrow I learn how to talk to aggressive people/patients and try to talk them into calmness. Yikes! I hope if I ever need to use this skill in real life that it will work!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

This week we visited the Trauma Hawk- (helicopter that transports very sick, very injured patients to the hospitals.) There we sat in a classroom and had a short lecture on mass cassualty triage (how to quickly assess a large number of injured patients). Then we had a tour of the facility and the helicopter. After lunch, we had a lecture on decon procedures (decontamination) which included practicing getting suited up (see the first pic below). It was a fun day and we still learned a lot.

This week I am working on my trauma nurse certification, stroke certification, crisis prevention intervention training and triage training. Next week we are finishing up the trauma certification and we may be doing pediatric trauma training but that part is up in the air. We should find out this week if that course is going to happen. Then I have my final test on the 23rd, and then classroom training portion of my program is over. Two weeks left!

Here are some more pics from our trauma hawk day:

Here is me and the other 3 people from my hospital in the training
programwith the Flight RN-Paramedic (middle). The guy on the left is in
our program, too, but another hospital. He just jumped in the pic

Me. In a flight helmet.

The 4 of us from my hospital with the helicopter

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

For the last two days, I've been taking my PALS certification course. PALS is Pediatric Advanced Life Support. Today I took my written test and my skills test and I am officially PALS certified!

Something REALLY cool that I have never learned how to do before, although I am certainly NOT remotely even comfortable doing since I have no practice-

Intraosseous (IO) access. What is that? Its like an IV, but instead of into a vein it is into the bone.

Pretty hardcore.

Not that I'd really want to have to do one, but I think being able to do them, and do them well, would be pretty awesome.

Anyway, tomorrow is a day at the Trauma Hawk. We're going to be taking a tour, getting to see the trauma helicopter, and also be doing some Hazmat stuff. We're doing almost everything we need to be certified in that, too, but since we are not doing one component, we can't get officially certified in it. At any rate, it will be really interesting to learn.

I'm still amazed at all the stuff I've learned so far. Amazed at all the stuff I didn't realize I didn't know. Amazed at how much nursing school DIDN'T teach me.

One of my most favorite things I've learned so far- which is kind of strange because it's one of the most terrible things to happen to someone?


It just fascinates me. The whole body- the way it works, they way it compensates when it doesn't work, the way one little thing can throw it all out of whack- it's all just amazing. I wish I could put it into the proper words to really explain it, but I'm not that good at explaining.


I can't wait to get on the floor. I'm excited.

I'm also terrified.

2 1/2 weeks!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I have one of my big tests for the Emergency Nurse Training Program. There are 2, and one is tomorrow. After that, for the next 3 weeks, I will be working on my certifications. I will be working on my PALS certification this week. PALS is Pediatric Advanced Life Support. After that, I will be working on TNCC (Trauma Nurse Core Course), Stroke, CPI (Crisis Prevention Intervention) and possibly ENPC (Emergency Nurse Pediatric Course- which is the pediatric version of TNCC).

Simulation is still going well. We learning tons. I am learning, besides the obvious stuff I should be learning, that I need to trust my gut instinct more, and that just because someone in my group has more healthcare experience than me that they don't always know everything, or they are not always correct. Granted, they probably do know more in some instances or situations. But not always. Example: I thought my simulation patient was in septic shock and my gut instinct was to give him 2000mL of fluids initially. As I started to say that I wanted to give the patient fluids, I was asked how much I wanted to give, and a couple of people on my team started suggesting amounts. I- afraid of being wrong- second guessed my self and I went for a lesser amount.

I need to stick to my gut. I have just as much of a chance of being wrong if I trust it then if I don't. Three more simulations left. I can't wait to learn more from them.

That also means my time until I am let loose on the floors of the ER are fast approaching. December 26th begins my first day as an ER Nurse.

I'm still in my own state of shock. I'm not sure 2000ml of fluids will help me on that though. Well maybe alcoholic fluids. Ok, ok, just kidding, not really that either. I might end up a patient myself with that much alcohol. But really. I'm being let loose soon. Crazy. And exciting.
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