Monday, December 6, 2021

UPDATE 12.6.2021

 Hello...anyone out there anymore??? Wow, it's been sooo long since I last posted. I don't even know if I'm doing this right. Well this is Zazzy and I'm back to give you an update. Let's see the last time I wrote a blog post was 2/17/2014 when I was a new L&D nurse. Well it's been almost 8 years since that post was written and I've worked multiple jobs as a nurse since then. 

Let's see after 2 years in the hospital I moved onto the outpatient clinic side of nursing working as a triage nurse. This job was AMAZING!!! I learned so much about triage and being able to document properly. It astounds me that more nursing grads aren't doing this type of work or that it isn't a requirement. Seriously that is how I became so proficient in being concise with charting and learning how to see the patient as a whole and having multiple patient age groups to care for. Including infants all the way to geriatrics. I truly used all of my tools I learned in Nursing School while doing this job. Triage Nursing was foundational in my career as a nurse. However I was looking for M-F 8-5p and my job as a triage nurse had me working every 3rd weekend and my shifts were varied in that I could work 5p-1a or 5a-1p just alternating wherever there was a need. So after 2 years I left for a different job. 

The next job I landed was in Case Management type work. I have to say Case Management is my jam! I loved this type of job because I was able to be a detective and help patients with concerns. While helping them to create goals to allow those patients to better themselves over time. I had a case load of 85-90 patients that I called once per month. I would talk to them about ways to help better themselves whether it was encouraging them to eat a better balanced meal, get outside and get exercise or just chat with patients who needed a listening ear. This job had everything I loved. Problem was I had never had a terrible boss until I started on this unit. My boss was the definition of micromanager. I took bosses for granted assuming they all worked hard for the betterment of their team up to this point. My boss was a psycho! This boss got their kicks off of reading every one of our charted notes and making corrections to the way they expected our wording should look. This got old quick. This boss also didn't like us being one minute late from our assigned shift and we would get written up if it happened twice. This boss also didn't want us hovering over the computer waiting for the clock to strike so we could log out and go home. You couldn't please this boss no matter what. So after 2 years, I moved onto my current case management role. 

What I'm doing now is the BEST case management nursing job ever! Like I don't think I'll ever willingly leave. I work M-F 7a-4p no weekends, nights or holidays. I love it! I get to take care of patients, help answer questions, look out for their best interest, advocate so their voice is heard, all while offering resources that really help them. Man I love what I do. Best part is I get to do it all from the comfort of my home office. The entire job is telephonic and amazing! 

Goodness it almost brings me to tears to remember how much stress and strain I felt from working as a staff L&D nurse. So much sacrifice I made to my family not being there for them when they needed me the most. If I could go back and changes things I wouldn't give up being a nurse but I definitely would have started my nursing career before starting a family. Hands down! I don't live with regrets because I may not have ended up marrying my husband or having the 2 beautiful kids I have today but I would encourage other nursing hopefuls to get your nursing schooling done early. You'll thank me later for it.

That's it for not as far as updates go, I'm so happy I am able to start blogging again. I look forward to the future and being able to come on here and have a place to pour out my heart once again. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

3 Heartbeats, 2 EFMs, & 1 Pregnant Mom

After getting report from the previous nurse, I walked towards my patient’s room wondering how I was going to make it through my shift.  The patient I was assigned to was admitted for overnight observation to rule out labor.  My patient was early in her gestation approximately 26 weeks and was expecting twins.  The previous nurse said she had been in and out of the room all afternoon trying to keep the babies on the external fetal monitors (EFMs), but found it difficult.  At 26 weeks gestation, babies have more room to move inside mom’s uterus; hence it is difficult to trace their heart rate for a long period of time.

Upon entering the room, the lights were dim; the patient was resting peacefully.  Since it was evening the only window in the room was illuminating a dark sky.  Bright lights were coming from the monitor and IV machine, near the patient’s bed.  I introduced myself quietly and asked the patient how she was doing, so I could assess feelings of frustration, weariness, or impatience in her voice.  She mirrored my welcome, with a hint of positivity in her tone.  (Side note: I don’t mind getting a one-sided biased report from the previous nurse but I like to make my own decisions on what kind of patient I will be dealing with by hearing from them myself.)  Before I started adjusting the EFMs, I suggested the patient empty her bladder, get readjusted in bed, and even offered a few extra pillows for support between the knees, and behind the lower back since she was lying on her side.

After the patient was back in bed and more comfortable I began searching for baby As heartbeat.  (Another side note: when adjusting EFMs on mom’s with twin pregnancies, it’s best to turn the volume down on the opposite baby’s heart rate so you hear the one you’re trying to locate.)  Now keep in mind this is the first twin pregnancy I've handled since coming off orientation, so I’m not a master at the art of finding two separate heart beats.  After locating baby As heartbeat I forgot to turn down the monitor before trying to locate baby Bs heartbeat. 

All of a sudden I was hearing two distinct separate heartbeats at the same exact time on the monitor.  Now the more experienced nurse might have quickly figured out she needed to turn down the heartbeat on baby A, so she could locate baby B.  But I sat there for a moment delighting in the miracle of not just hearing one heartbeat but two.  I just kept my hand on the monitor and listened.  I looked at the patient and asked if she had ever heard both her baby’s heartbeats at the same time.  She admitted she hadn't.  She too seemed thrilled at what she was hearing.  So we just sat there listening to both heartbeats for a while.  After attaching the strap that keeps the monitors on the patient’s abdomen, I thought it would be neat to grab my stethoscope and listen to mom’s heart rate while hearing both baby’s heartbeats in the background.  Both baby’s heart rates were quick between 140s and 150s, but mom’s heart rate was slower, more powerful in the 70s-80s range. 

Mom wanted to listen to all three heartbeats; she too thought it was a remarkable moment.  I told her that her strong heart was beating and supplying enough blood to circulate to both of her baby’s hearts inside her.  
After hearing what I said must have registered with her, because her eyes moistened and her voice broke as she tried to get her husband’s attention who was napping in the chair beside her. 

Together the three of us sat quietly listening to the three heartbeats within her. 

Despite the fact that I did have to go back and forth to readjust and keep both babies’ heart rates on the monitor throughout my shift, I didn't mind so much.

I just marveled at the simple beauty of God’s intricate creation of life.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Comfort and Structure

Helping deliver babies is becoming more enjoyable with each work day.  I know that my time spent on L&D consists primarily of standing/moving and going through my checklist.  To-do tasks include taking baby meds out of our medication cabinet and filling out baby papers.  As well as making sure to grab Pitocin and stringing it up to start running post birth for uterine involution.  Of course there is always charting to stay on top of, and ultimately these odd jobs help to keep me busy throughout my shift.
I’m learning how all of the MDs are wired on our unit, including their preferences.  Some MDs want nothing to do with being out at the desk other than to stop in briefly for updates, writing orders, or dictating post-delivery.  These same MDs want very little interaction with the patient as possible.  Then there are other MDs spending most of their day at the nurse’s desk or bedside.  They want to perform all of the cervical exams so they can determine progression exclusively.  They want to watch the strip minute-by-minute especially with deceleration in fetal heart tones, so they can judge the best time to intercede.

I’m learning to feel more comfortable in my abilities as an RN in both approaches, which helps me to enjoy my job more.  I’ve learned that more babies are born in the fall, specifically here in the North, because more couples are conceiving in the winter months.  This sheds more light onto why I felt overwhelmed with my schedule this past fall.  This also explains why I was asked twice last week if I wanted to take low-census or PTO because our unit was slow.

Most importantly, as the holidays are now beyond me, I’m starting to appreciate my schedule as an RN.  I’m happy that at most I work (3) 12 hour shifts in a row before getting a day off.  And about once a month, I get approximately 5-6 days in a row off at a time.  For this I’m grateful, because with our current artic cold snap, I’ve been able to spend more time with my family with school being cancelled, than I did on their winter break.

With the extra time on my hands, I read a blog post written by Hannah over at hb called When 60 Days Could Change Your Life.  Hannah started implementing 6 changes/resolutions prior to 1/1/14.

This has inspired me to start a structure of sorts in my own life.  It’s no lie I haven’t written a blog post in a while mainly because I was getting used to my new career.  But I’ve also be trying to decide on continuing this blog.  While I love my career and the route I’ve chosen to get where I am, I’ve lost focus on my ambition to write.  I’m not sure what to write about now-a-days, and it seems harder to disguise my experiences with the reality of disrespecting patient confidentiality.  Since I’ve mastered school and getting my degree, I’m not sure what motivates me that I can write about.  I’m taking suggestions if anyone wants to help me figure it out. 

However, I will do my best to keep you all informed of my decision if and when it comes to that point.  For now, I’m taking Hannah’s cue on getting more structured, with a goal in mind.  Happy 2014 everyone!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Labor Nurse by Rachael Clarke

I just had to post this article I found on Facebook, it brought me to tears!
It's called Labor Nurse written by Rachael Clarke posted online via here

"Deep cleansing breath in... breathe out... breathe in... breathe out and PUSH!"

"Okay... the contraction is coming... ready... deep cleansing breath in..."

For two and a half hours.

With no break.

No food, no water, no time for a phone call.

Just your sneakers brushing linoleum as you check my progress, study the screens. With cotton scrubs pressed, blond hair securely fastened.

It's a Saturday morning, mid-April with spring heat blowing, warming the glass of the dust-streaked hospital windows. You've been here since 3:00 a.m., encouraging, smiling, making small talk. Asking if I'd like some water, showing me pictures of your kids. I imagine you're running on coffee and adrenaline.

You're surrounded by several female nursing students now. They shuffle around my bed taking notes on clip boards. Their eyes shyly meet mine as they observe this scene. I see the flush of their cheeks, the nervousness and excitement in their eyes. They've never witnessed a birth before.

"Hold her leg." "Watch the screen for her contractions." "We're going to lift and turn her on three. One... two... three..." Orders are executed deftly, taken humbly with a quiet seriousness. Micah follows your orders as well, takes them with sincerity.

I notice that we're all about the same age. We're all young, all still figuring it out. We were all so recently children. And I think about how we're just people in this moment. No titles, no degrees, no walls. Just people in this beautiful, uncut moment. This moment that ties us, strips us of self, makes us one as we work together to bring a life into this world.

"Okay, the next contraction is coming..."

I feel it. Feel the surge of pain like a wave building and cresting. I know it means that my baby will be here soon. You are standing in front of me, arms moving like a conductor. "And deep cleansing breath in..." Your arms softly swing upward. "And breathe out..." Your hands swing down. You speak loudly, but with encouragement. You look confident, practiced. You make me feel like I can do anything.

You don't look at the clock. You don't sit down. You don't look tired, or impatient, or frustrated. You act as though there's nowhere else you'd rather be than here, like nothing is more important than this moment. You cheer me on even after the doctor arrives to add his cheers, to instruct us all as he safely delivers Tegan.

And after it's all done, after Tegan has been washed and weighed, after I've been mended and the doctor leaves, after the shock has settled and I realize that I'm a mom, you are still here. You help me to my feet, ask a nursing student to come to my other side. And though I am weak, though my body is drained of energy and my face is devoid of color, you help me to press on. We women walk forward together, and soon you help me in ways that I never thought a person could, or would. If I could, I would do the same for you.

Thank you for showing me selflessness. I will never forget it.

Thank you to nurses everywhere.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Outwardly Submissive Inwardly Defiant

I start off with an apology to any/all my fellow readers with my absence from blogging.  Starting my career as a nurse, has taken its toll on me, leaving me with little “free” time.  After landing the job of my dreams and finally passing NCLEX, I figured things would even out a bit.  I imagined when I agreed to working 36 hours per week that (3) 12 hour shifts would be the only time I was expected to be at work. That would leave me with 4 days off per week.  Unfortunately, however, I was wrong. 

When you’re a new L&D nurse, there are certifications that you must pass like Neonatal Resuscitation Program NRP, and renewing my Basic Life Support BLS.  I’ve had mandatory unit meetings, emergency drills, skills fairs, not to forget to mention the hospital required quarterly meetings, and numerous CBTs (computer based trainings) that needed to be finished before starting a new fiscal year.  I’ve attended workshops, insurance meetings, and new hire orientations.  My head is figuratively swimming in overload and I can’t see straight.    

Should I even go into the “variable” shift?  Yes, I better so you all get the full picture here.  My shift is variable which means I could work any shift as long as they’re 12 hour shifts, and usually the same shift for the full week.  For example I could work any of these shifts 7A-730p, 7p-730a, I’ve even worked 3p-330a and 3a-330p for the 3 days I’m scheduled that week.  But during my first month and a half, my schedule was something like Monday 7P-730A, off Tuesday, Wednesday 7A-730P, off Thursday, and then Friday 7p-730A.  What the heck, talk about screwing up my body clock big time!  Some weeks they schedule me (3) 8 hour shifts usually 3P-1130P, and then a 12 hour shift to round it out.  Add to that the expected/mandatory 28 hours of on-call in a 6-week period and the excessive amounts of charting that turns any 12 hour shift into 14 hours easy, and my measly 3 days of work quickly turns into regular overtime.  The beginning of the month has gotten better; I’ve been working days mainly instead of that crazy yo-yo day/night routine.

My co-workers say it’s just the time of year for all these meetings that coincidentally seem to fall within my current schedule.  They say things should “let up” soon and to “hang in there”.  Let me be the first to say, I’m truly grateful for being employed, amen, hallelujah!  I know there are people out there who would trade places with me in a heartbeat if they heard me gripping.  It’s just difficult to be so entwined with this job that I forget what day it is.  I’m not in-the-know with how my kids are doing in school or socially.  My bed is cold and lonely without being able to sleep with my hubby.  My body is more present at the hospital than it is in my own home.

I guess this just gets to me because I’ve had to sacrifice the past 5 years, being present but absent from my kids, with my commitment to school.  I truly thought my family life would be better, but in some ways its worse.  I still miss important school outings (unless I show up, after working an overnighter, and have been awake for 24 hours with my eyes squinting because I’m using every ounce of energy just to keep them open).  My only time away from work seems to match up perfectly with my hubby and kids’ school/work hours, so as soon as they come home I give a quick kiss and “I love yous” and I’m out the door.  The work life is better in the sense that I’m not constantly worrying about some test I have to take or which chapter I need to study, or what project I should work on, or which partner I should call for group work.  When I’m done working, I leave work at work.

I’ve tried to take a moment and talk to my husband about maybe cutting back on hours, so instead of working 36hpw, I would work 28hpw.  That way I could still pick up hours (and help out when needed), but have more time away from the place.  My hubby is skittish of this plan because he’s worried there will be slow times, with no hours to pick up, leaving us financially wounded.  He wants me to stick it out until the first of the year when we both have a moment to look at the budget and see if it’s possible to cut back on hours.  I have to agree with him.  Since moving into a bigger home and attaining new monthly bills, the last thing I would want is to not be making enough money.  Still sucks to have to wait though!

On top of all this change, my hubby got promoted and I’m very, very, very joyful for him (really I am)!  He got a pay raise, feels more accomplished than ever, and gets to travel with his company more.  In the future this job promotion could even bring me to places I’ve never been.  However, he has to travel 4-5 days per week around the country, which brings a sense of worry to me being the only parent close to home.  An even bigger worry during those days that I’m working an overnight shift and my kids are home alone.  They’re both teenagers, but I still don’t like the idea of no one being home with them on those nights.  Unfortunately my unavailability has brought me to look for a new job.  Something that offers school time hours, with no nights or weekends.  Wait a minute…let me do the laughing for you, hahahahahahahaha!  Such a pipe dream I’m living in, to think a new nurse could ever land a job like that!!! 

Well I’m also praying for the Lord’s direction and His will be done.  I know my kids and hubby will survive when this is all said and done.  It’s just that I didn’t think I’d have to sacrifice my days off.  And yet, it seems, in this new profession, that’s exactly what I’ll have to do.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Baby RN Feeling Overcome

So now that I’ve earned my license and I’ve floated on cloud 9 for a while…REALITY hits quite fast and hard.

I came home last night feeling defeated, deflated, and depressed.  I unloaded my stress and fears unto my hubby before bed and cried myself to sleep.  I hope my hubby wasn’t shocked or upset by the many things that spurted out of my mouth like, “I don’t want to be a nurse”, or “I thought getting the license was only the hard part”, or “I just don’t want to work this hard”.

Part of this stems from the sacrifice of my family time through school, all of summer studying, and now getting used to my RN job in OB.  I just want time with my family.  I want to enjoy them.  I want to put work and “learning new things” on the backburner or auto pilot so I can focus on what really matters to me. 

I’ve been working in OB for almost 2 years.  Right after graduation I transitioned to graduate nurse until I passed my boards.  I’ve had about 2.5 months of orientation on postpartum and labor and delivery.  Unfortunately my orientation was scheduled to accommodate my need to study to pass my boards which meant a lot of overnights.  Many times I only saw vaginal progression of labor, but few deliveries and zero c-sections.  In fact a little over a week ago, I set sail off of orientation, on my own without even seeing or knowing what to do in a c-section.  One of my two preceptors was appalled that I hadn’t seen one yet, because as she put it, “potentially any delivery could become a c-section and you have to be prepared”.  I think she must have thought my other preceptor showed me one and vice versa.  Either way Wednesday of this week my boss switched my schedule around to get me some time through an entire c-section from prep, to section, to recovery. 

Bless the nurse I was following that day, she made me a little to-do list, which helped but there are always things that get forgotten, and the day wasn’t running smoothly.  She had forgotten a med to give and lab forgot to draw a platelet count that the doctor ordered to have done before the c/s, so the surgery was delayed over an hour.  Ultimately things went well after that, and I did most of the recovery.

Fast forward to yesterday (just a day later) and I was helping a co-worker through a twin delivery.  The doctor for good measure had the mom delivery in the OR “just in case”, because she was having them vaginally.  After she pushed the first twin out, the second twin started to get in trouble.  The whole situation went from stable to emergency stat c/s asap!  I didn’t know what to do and I just froze.  The secondary MD looked me right in the eyes and yelled “SCRUB HER BELLY NOW”!!!  So I did.  If I hadn’t been in the c/s the day before I wouldn’t even know what to grab or what to do.  The Lord was with me through that but I was still shaken up. 

Afterwards the docs and nurses all sat around the nurses stations digesting what had happened but I just listened.  I went on break shortly thereafter and called my hubby and cried about it.  I went back up to my unit, and nearly broke down to another co-worker who said “geez you’ve been through a bunch of tough situations right after being off orientation”, “how are you doing”?  I told her if I stopped to talk about it I would cry and I had to round on my next set of patients so I didn’t have time.

After I got done with rounding, the charge nurse told me that my manager wanted to talk to me for 5 minutes and to go to her office.  When I got there she wanted to know how I was doing, if I thought I felt comfortable on my own, and did I need more orientation time.  I admitted that I don’t feel comfortable in L&D with either a vaginal delivery or c/s.  I’m fine and feel confident after baby comes out and recovery, but leading up to that is hard for me.  I’m okay for the most part as far as checking the dilation of the cervix except if she’s a mul-tip because the cervix stretches.  I can’t figure out effacement, nor do I understand station well.  And because there’s soo many small details and things to accomplish before delivery, and not wanting to hurt the cervix I don’t know when to tell mom to start pushing.  I’m fine during the actual pushing and moving out of the way for the doctor when the mom starts crowning.

After relaying all this to my manager and then some, I also followed up with the fact that I ask lots of questions and never hesitate to stop if I don’t know something or don’t feel right about something. 

Basically she just agreed that I’m not ready to be on my own yet.  She suggested I take 2 more weeks of orientation, sit down with her assistant manager and go over critical thinking exercises, ask a different co-worker for a list of “to-do lists” she created when she was brand new and see how it goes from there.  They’re going to follow up with me weekly to see how I’m doing.

…But really, all I want to do is run and hide.  I feel embarrassed that I haven’t gotten to a place where I feel comfortable yet.  I really just want to quit, maybe find a desk job.  At least until my kids are on their own and not home as much… Then I could work bedside and be gone for a 12 hour scheduled shift that turns into 14/15 hours. 

I say all this because I went to and found a good post called “New nurse feeling overwhelmed” posted in 2006.  One of the responses was from anne74, and she said after I hit the sixth month mark, I'm having moments of feeling -sort of- like I know what I'm doing. I still ask questions constantly, but there's no way of knowing everything without experiencing it first. And the only way to experience it is to show up every day and learn. That doesn't always feel good and it's frustrating, but you'll get there.

You will start to see changes, you'll be able to answer questions more often and you'll start to catch things all by yourself. You'll even feel comfortable suggesting things to doctors, etc. The only way to gain this wisdom is through experience, and you'll get there in time. Seriously - it gets better. But it doesn't happen in a nice, linear fashion. It goes in spurts - good days, bad days, etc.

No one really tells you how hard - and awful - your first year of nursing is. I think the people who have it the hardest are the ones who are challenged the most, and in the long run become the best nurses.

A piece of good advice I got from my Mom (a retired RN) is after every shift, think of 3 new things you now know how to do. Before, I was only focusing on mistakes I made, and totally ignoring my accomplishments. Take time to see how far you've gone already, and it only goes up from there.

After reading that, I was inspired to write a blog post.  I just have to look at where I’m at and say for instance, I learned on Wednesday how to scrub the abdomen during a c/s.  That came in handy because I put my skills to the test the following day.

I am learning, I am growing, but I just wish I didn’t have to sacrifice anymore family time along the way.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Zazzy RN

Well after many weeks of soul-searching humility, coupled with lots of blood sweat and tears of studying every free moment. 

I’m happy to announce I passed my NCLEX!!!!!  Yahooooooo, I’m finally a registered nurse.

What a difference 10 weeks of hard-core studying will do to help a person pass that all-important test. 

It couldn’t have happened any sooner either.  My boss thankfully allowed me to continue my nursing orientation since graduating.  So, all the while working full-time as a graduate nurse on my unit gaining experience, I was also studying for my retest.  I was soo very thrilled to announce to everyone that I had passed and was official; I got high-fives, and dessert!

The afternoon when I left the testing center, for the second time, I walked out to my car much more confident than the first time.  I had taken my first break after question 62, and promised myself to chill out, relax because I was ready to sit for the entire thing again if I had to.  However, after answering the 75th question the screen shut off and I was done.  I drove to the nearest wi-fi location (McDs) and checked the Pearson Vue trick (watch this video that explains what I mean) and saw the “good pop-up” screen and squealed with glee!  Then proceeded to purchase a meal, hehe.
Weird huh?  I went from taking it the first time with the maximum amount of questions to taking it the second time with the minimum amount of questions, either way makes no difference to me.  I'm a nurse :-)

Oh my I have to admit I never thought in a million years that I would have failed the test the first time.  I really thought only DUMMIES failed their first time. But once again God showed me that I need another slice of humble pie and that I wasn’t truly ready.

Hindsight is always 20/20 and after I swallowed the huge pill of denial and acceptance I realized He was right.  I wasn’t ready, and after the extra hard work I put in, I’m glad I know now what I didn’t know then.

I owe a big thank you to my husband for (the list could go on and on, but I’ll sum it up):

1) helping me to step out of the denial and own the failure quickly

2) reaching out to one of my nursing instructors (who is one of the smartest women I know), and somehow talking her into agreeing to tutor me

3) continuing to wear the single-parent hat with our two kids over the entire summer when his tank was on empty

4) encouraging me when there was no encouragement available; this man is my rock, my partner, and my heart.

I didn’t tell my hubby my retesting day(because of how ill he was on the original date), instead I said he would know I passed the test because he would see that I got my hair cut and colored.  His reaction was priceless.  There’s no fooling the fooler, interestingly enough he already knew my retesting day and with the help of my son, surprised me with a spraying of silly string and noise makers and a balloon that said “congrats”.




Amen for God’s faithfulness, especially about 2 weeks before my retesting date, when I had a break-down moment of insanity and instability.  I reached out and up, and asked God to help me…and save me.  He redirected my path and reminded me to be faithful and obedient.  That he didn’t bring me this far not to see me through.  After the help of repetitious prayer, and lots of broadcasts from  James MacDonald on Perseverance, and Faithfulness, I was restored.  My doubt vanished and was replaced with serenity. 
Here are a couple verses that helped me through it all:

John 14:27 “I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart.  And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.  So don’t be troubled or afraid.

(my favorite) Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord.  “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Matthew 11: 28-29 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Isaiah 43:2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fires, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and he shall direct your paths.

Matthew 14:31 “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

James 1:6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

James 1:12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

Lastly I want to share a quote that helped me and spoke directly to me:

The longer you have to wait for something, the more you will appreciate it when it finally arrives. The harder you have to fight for something, the more priceless it will become once you achieve it. And the more pain you have to endure on your journey, the sweeter the arrival at your destination. All good things are worth waiting for and worth fighting for.
- Susan Gale

Sunday, June 30, 2013

NCLEX Failure

I’m sad to announce that I took the NCLEX on Tuesday the 25th and failed.  I’m in a state of shock, and bewilderment to say the least.  I didn’t expect this kind of outcome and didn’t see it coming from miles away.  I sat for 5.5 hours, and answered all 265 questions.  After the first 2 hour break, no one was left in the testing room with me, and I felt alone and kind of frustrated, but determined that I wasn’t out of the game. 

After I finished, I had a sense of doom and left the testing center.  I pulled over at the nearest Wi-Fi location and opened my laptop to do the Pearson Vue Trick, only to see I had advanced to the CC screen.  I thought it was a fluke, so I drove for another 20 miles and tried again and got the same screen. 

By 2pm the following day, the state updated their website saying my temp. nursing license had been voided.  My heart dropped into my stomach, and I crumbled.  All of the flaws and insecurities I had about myself resurfaced, and once again I felt like the kid who couldn’t pay attention or sit still in school, who couldn’t catch on to what the teacher was teaching, who wasn’t getting the point of the lesson.  I felt like the nursing student who couldn’t pass any exams during the semester within the 90s range because the best I had was 70s.  I felt like despite my achievements throughout my life, the failure of this test, confirmed my worth as mediocre. 

I used to hear stories, even folklores if you will, from upperclassmen who had failed the NCLEX.  But I never really knew anyone who had failed.  I used to think to myself, boy they must have been some dumbbbbb people to have failed.  I mean I know the test is tough, but it can’t be that tough.  And for me in particular, I came from a well-respected school of nursing that prepares their students for success.  The school started us from the first semester with application questioning so we were familiar with the same style of testing as NCLEX. 

However, in the end, I fell short.  I have to say, I was a little cocky and arrogant about my abilities post-graduation.  I felt like I was well equipped and prepared, that I knew most of what I needed for NCLEX.  I took the Kaplan review course and learned all about strategy and the decision tree.  I understood what key words to look for, I understood ABC’s, I understood Maslow’s Hierarchy, I understood assessment vs. implementation, and I even understood that no matter what keep the patient safe at all times.  But I still failed!

I believe my downfall didn’t have much to do with strategy as it did with lack of content.  I wasn’t a 100% sure of all the diseases whether it was patho, interventions, outcomes, meds etc.  Nor was I completely accurate on the order of certain skills, like suctioning a trach pt.  Because of this, on testing day I didn’t feel as confident as I should have. 

The importance of this test was/is so gigantic in my life, up to this point nothing tops it.  The importance of passing this test the first time was put so high on the priority list that nothing should have gotten in my way.  I didn’t take the test as seriously as I should have, and as a result of failing, I’ve been left to feeling low, incompetent, stupid, embarrassed, worthless, and just plain unsure of myself.  Besides letting myself down, I let my husband and children down.  I made a lot of promises to be with them this summer, which now, will be incorrect.  Instead of watching the kids play their summer sports, I’ll be back with my nose in my nursing books.  Instead of going to work, and coming home after each shift and not worrying about studying anymore, that’s exactly what I will be doing again.

It’s funny how the stages of grief they teach you in school really are true being, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  I know I stayed in denial the first full day, moved on to anger for a short while, didn’t really hang out in bargaining for long, but have been hanging out in depression for quite some time.  Acceptance is right around the corner, and since I’ll be trying to retest within 45 days, I know I’ll be back to studying before you know it.  It’s just hard, you know what I mean?!  I’m just really upset that I didn’t end up on the right side of the passing line for NCLEX.

Ultimately, I will be getting a refund from Kaplan, and my hubby has ensured me he will support and encourage me as much as he can.  I purchased the Saunders book with CD, and will be enrolling in the 5 week course with NCSBN within the next few weeks.  My hubby went to the library to check out lots of books as tools for my studying time.  Bless his heart; he even contacted one of my nursing instructors who I immensely admire, to help tutor me.  I’ll find out later today how that will go, but as of now I’m moving into the direction of acceptance laced with self-loathing.

I’ve agreed to take away many of the distractions I had the first go round like facebook, pinterest, twitter, snapchat, and anything else that interrupts my studies.  I do not plan to post again on this blog until I have passed the NCLEX successfully.  Thanks for listening and your patience through this tough time.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Kaplan Class

The Tuesday after Memorial Day started by me waking up early enough to drive 45 minutes to my Kaplan class, where I was introduced to the fine strategies for passing the NCLEX-RN exam on the first try, money back, guaranteed.  My best bud and I drove together which I would recommend so you have someone to vent with when you don’t understand something in class.  Between the two of us we usually figured out what went wrong using one of our primary tools called The Decision Tree.
Despite the fact this class was only in session for 4 days does not mean your work is done.  The most intense part is the time from which you leave class and set out on your own.  Kaplan offers a 2, 3, 4, or 5 week or more study plan designed to help you be as prepared as possible on exam day.

I spend anywhere from 2 -6 hours per day (including the weekends) studying NCLEX questions and reading rationales.  Since I’m no stranger to nursing school demands this load of work seems lighter and manageable than what I’m capable of handling.  None-the-less just because I’ve graduated doesn’t mean it’s relax time. 

UGHHH, don’t get me wrong I made time to relax which included a glorious trip to Vegas with my family.  We enjoyed an impersonator show, lots of walking up and down the strip seeing lots of amazing architecture with mega-sized hotels.  We enjoy watching pirates, water displays, live entertainment/music, and as much tourist shopping as possible.  All mind you in record-breaking (115 degree) heat, which I didn’t mind, coming from the cold state of Wisconsin who still hasn’t gotten the memo to warm up for summer yet.  My only question is, who and why did someone think to create such an amazing city in the middle of the dessert?  The whole time I was there I couldn’t help but think what people are going to do when the water all dries up…hahaha.

Either way, I digress, ultimately things only stayed busy after graduation because I chose the course to take my exam as soon as I could.  I had to wait for my extremely slow school to get all of the paperwork sent to the state, before I could officially get my Authorization to Test (ATT) from Pearson Vue.  Then I proceeded to book the most logical date to take my exam as possible.  Which is coming up y’all and fast!!

Even though I’ve done all this studying post-graduation, and I’ve been a student for 4.5 years, and I’ve been working in the medical field for more than 2 years, I still don’t feel 100% ready to take the most important exam of my life.  However, I’ve looked at the other option of pushing my exam date back and I concluded that an extra couple of days or week isn’t going to make me any more ready.  I just need to take the exam and be done with it!!  Put that baby to bed, and behind me. 

I’ve talked to a lot of co-workers, fellow students and staff, and family who have all been filling me with as much courage and support as humanly possible.  Now I just need to pray and ask God to give me the confidence to feel prepared.  Oh also I’ll be praying that I don’t lose my bowels a.k.a poop my pants on exam day.  That would not be good, hehehe.

Prayerfully my next post will be telling you all I passed NCLEX, and that I’m an RN, otherwise I’ll be mighty upset.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Important Update..I'm NOT dead, I've just Graduated!!!

Hello all remember me? I have been gone for what seems like eons and my only excuses are being lazy, tired, and overwhelmed at times with a busy schedule...oh and graduating!

My last semester was a successful one leaving me with not as much studying as I expected (those upper classmen have a sneaky way of always frightening us). I felt refreshed taking my time getting homework turned in, as well as studying for tests and passing them. Which left me time to assess and reassess my relationships with school friends.

I realized not all friendships are "lasting" but there were a few worth “working on”. Here’s just a helpful hint for those who haven't got a clue, friendships go both ways. If you find yourself in a rerun episode of listening to the same friend talk incessantly about them, turn and run! They may not really be capable of having a two-sided friendship, meaning they don't have time to listen when you need to talk or help solve your problems. Just trying to keep you all out of those ugly friendship traps we're all accustomed to falling into. Either way, your true friendships aren't work at all; they're comfortable and rewarding with little effort.

I was able to reassess my role as mother to my kids after being a fraction of who I once was for so long and I have to say I have some work to do. It won’t be an overnight change but definitely salvageable, thank you Lord!

I was able to reassess my relationship with my hubby and determined of all the relationships this one I was least lacking in.  Thankfully because of our many attempts to keep things as normal as possible throughout the years. 
However, my hubby, to his amazing credit always kept my schooling important enough in the front of his mind, not to allow it to separate us. I would still like to sprinkle our relationship with sugar and spice and everything nice, just to add my special touch once again!

A huge Thank You to all of my family who has patiently waited for me to finish school and all the while kept on encouraging me with positive attitudes and many prayers!  
I love you all!!!!

Detaching from school has been slow but apparent. It’s hard to look at myself in the mirror and think I’m no longer in college. I still find myself dreaming about studying. I find it odd that my to-do list doesn’t consist of studying 600 pages worth of material only to be tested on 50 ?s. It’s remarkable being able to look at my family and not have a preoccupation of guilt and counting the minutes of studying I’ll have to make up before the next exam.

I definitely have come a long way in 4.5 years of college and $43,069 of debt, but it was worth every penny, tear, and complaint to say I’m done! If it is possible for this broken soul to succeed, then let my story be an encouragement to anyone wondering if they aren’t too late in deciding to make a better future for them.

It is possible to graduate from college soberly, while tending to a family, trying to make a living, and for the most part carry a positive attitude...oh and also a learning disability.  
Go for your goals, dreams, and what seems impossible to attain. Because when you succeed, the amazing accomplishment feels soo divine and the proud look of approval by family and friends is irreplaceable.

I’ll be writing more posts regarding my long week of Kaplan training that started last Tuesday and finished yesterday, blah 24 hours of NCLEX strategy teaching and learning. I finally feel more confident regarding a good study plan for boards.

Also I’ll be sharing a few OB stories, one in particular regarding hearing 3 heart beats at the same time. So stay tuned! I’m not done…

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


This past month I had the opportunity to spend 9 hours in the Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) and I got to follow this great seasoned funky nurse.  I had a blast, but most importantly I got to put into practice a few of things I have been learning in my critical care class.  For instance, at the start of the shift my nurse prints out a current telemetry monitoring strip and proceeds to interpret it.  I loved this step because I had a take-home midterm that consisted of reading some strips and what takes me forever to interpret only took her a matter of seconds.

Then we got to meet our two patients for the day where one suffered from a slow brain bleed needing surgery, and the other a CVA (stroke) affecting the left side of the body.  I thought it was neat that the nurse had to do neurological assessments as often as she assessed for pain (approx. every 2 hours) and she had her routine down perfectly. 

Ultimately what I liked most about this experience was that the family trusted me enough to ask me questions.  Instead of seeing me as a student they looked to me for help and information.  I stepped up to the plate and answered what I could, but I was quick to admit if I didn’t know something and offered to find out.  It was a busy day, but fulfilling.  I’m glad I got my job in OB, because I’m not sure I’m cut out for the MICU.

The last time I worked in OB, my boss was thrilled to tell me when I would be attending the AWHONNs fetal heart monitoring class.  One more step in the right direction, now I just need to find a good patho OB book for my collection.  Any ideas?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Daffodils and Tulips Never Sounded So Good

Here’s the update:

1) Thank you everyone for all of your prayers and good thoughts and for thinking/believing in me, I have some great news!

2) Last week Tuesday, right before spring break, on my very last day of clinical wearing my blue smurf school scrubs and white nursing student patch, I got a call from HR.  I was excited to finally be hearing from them so we could set up a time to interview on the birth center, but guess what happened??  Instead of the nursing recruiter saying “let’s schedule a time to interview” which is what I assumed she would say, she said “the managers on the birth center, would like to offer you, Zazzy, a registered nurse job on their unit after you graduate”!  SAY WHAT?!?!?!?!  I wasn’t expecting to hear that, and my ears were ringing and fuzzy all at the same time.  My mouth went dry, my face flushed, and I started sweating.  I couldn’t believe what I had heard.  And because I was in a state of shock the nursing recruiter went on to say “let me tell you more about the offer” and I was silently jumping for joy and doing backflips in my head.  She said “you would be scheduled 36 hrs/week variable”, “you have the option to choose whether you want an 8 or 12 hour shift”, “if you choose the 8 hour shift you’ll work every other weekend, but if you choose the 12 hour shift you’ll work every third weekend”.  She finally paused and asked, “so would you like to accept this offer of employment” to which I answered with an unquestionable “YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”  Holy Smokes (no pun intended with the new Pope and all), but I was shocked that they were offering me the job without an interview.  I even asked the recruiter and she told me that the BC managers were confident with my work ethic and skill ability as an OB Tech that an interview wasn’t necessary.  I could not have been more thrilled honestly!  My DREAM job was being gently placed in my lap, like a feather falling to the ground.  AMEN AND THANK YOU LORD! AMEN AND THANK YOU LORD! AMEN AND THANK YOU LORD!  There will be more to come as I find time to write on my spring break, but for now I just wanted you all to know I got the job!
3) The week after our house went on the market, we’ve had two showings and an open house.  We almost got an offer, but the prospective buyers went with a different house for less money.  No worries, I’m content on waiting and not rushing.  We know God has a plan for us and we’re doing all we can which is all that is expected of us.

4)  Also as I write this, despite my cloud 9 happiness with my job offer and all, my cabin fever has turned into cabin rage because it is currently snowing once again in Wisconsin with 3” expected.  UGHHH I just want to dance in the grass with the daffodils and tulips!  Is that too much to ask?  Maybe soo with all my blessings, so instead I'll stay internally bright and just as happy as if spring were coming.
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Monday, March 11, 2013

68 Days Until I Graduate!

Greetings from the snowy areas of the north, oy-vey the spring fever has be hitting me hardcore!  On the positive side, I have quite the updates to bring you all.

1)  My school semester has been moving right along and a ton of stress has been lifted from my shoulders with less school work!  The only papers I have this semester is my Capstone (This paper often determines the student's chances of attending graduate school and is a lengthy and difficult paper to complete), and the only exams are my mid-terms and finals. 

2)  Speaking of school we had to retake the HESI again this semester and this time the result of the exam is a part of our grade.  Knowing our min. score should be around 900, I came in at about 844.  Shoot I missed it by that much…oh well.  I’m not too bummed about the lower grade, I’ll just retake it in a few weeks and take the better of the two grades and own it.  What’s funny is majority of the students in the class (75%) fail this exam semester after semester, yet when these same students take the NCLEX, they pass.  I find it hard to directly correlate the results of the HESI, to how well a student does on the NCLEX.  I’m thinking the results of the HESI prove the geniuses from the really really bright and highly smart students in the class.  Either way I plan to set aside a few weeks of solid studying for the NCLEX after graduation, but that’s a different story.

3)  I’m excited to order my cap, gown, and honor cords!  I also have to order my nursing pin, my choices are ones that start at $60 and I can get fancy solid gold ones for $500, yikes huh?  Why can’t I browse Amazon and buy a cheaper pin??  I’m trying to figure out what outfit I’d like to wear under my gown, dress or skirt or pants suit?  I’m also trying to figure out how to wear my hair, knowing I have to wear that cap on top.  I was thinking either a low bun or spiral curls sitting on my shoulders. 

4) I’m SUPER thrilled to announce my great news (and sorry I did not tell you all sooner).  I had that meeting with my supervisor on the birth center and informed her of my intentions of wanting a job as a nurse on the unit after I graduate.  While she didn’t come right out and say that she would hire me, she did instruct me NOT to apply to any other units and that she would keep a spot for me, and to relax worrying about where I would end up when I’m done with school.  She told me to keep my head in the books and to pass the boards!  YahoooOOOOOOoooooooOOOOOOO!  My ears were ringing the whole time because I could not believe it, but I was doing a happy dance.  The Lord directly answered my prayers and put me where he wants me.  Amen!

5)  We’re still not sure the outlook on my hubby’s job, but we have made the decision to stay in Wisconsin.  We’re just waiting for his boss and his bosses’ boss to make up their minds on all the details of what they want my hubby to do.  Hopefully we’ll know more by the end of the month.  There is a possibility we’ll still move to Texas, but now that percentage is much lower than it once was. 

6)  Either way, whichever state we will end up living in; we HAVE to sell our house.  We have completely outgrown this home, which was once perfect for our small children, but has since gotten too small as the kids are getting older.  We put our house up for sale last Monday, and have our first open house this coming weekend.  We’re really praying it sells quickly so we don’t have to worry about later on having two house payments.  We have a fabulous realtor who is working hard for us!  Trust me getting this house ready to sell has been another test of our family relationship as a whole but in the end we have a great staged beautiful product, and we all still love each other.

7)  We would appreciate all the prayers we could get from selling the house to having my hubby’s boss figure out all the details.  Most importantly I’m asking for prayers that our family is moving in the direction that God wants for us.  We want nothing other than being obedient to His will for our lives.  Thank you everyone!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mid Last Semester Concerns

Here I am in my last semester with only 14 weeks of school left, and 4 weeks of clinical left.  I’m flying so high on cloud 9 because the work load / group projects have decreased drastically.  I’m excited and absorbing my family much more now-a-days.  I’m able to help with laundry and cleaning and cooking around the house.  I almost feel normal again, however I can’t help feeling like I ought to be doing something more.  I write out my to-do lists for classes and can’t find something to work on, except of course practicing my NCLEX questions.  I can never get enough of those.

I’m asking for prayers on my future, specifically 1) where our family is going to live after graduation, and 2) where I’m going to be employed after I pass the boards.

Although our percentage is high to move to Texas this summer, we’re still not 100% sure.  Unfortunately all I can say at this point is nothing is for sure yet.  Either way I want to be settled in my soul and spirit with whatever our future holds.  Because of our uncertainty, brings me to my second prayer request of not knowing where I’ll be working.  Considering we could be staying here in town, I have to realistically apply for nursing jobs at the hospital where I am employed.  As well as apply for RN jobs in Texas, in case we for sure move there too.  This is tricky to say the least, but I know it’s best to put my eggs in a bunch of baskets and get multiple offers rather than just a few and get no offers.

My dilemma on the birth center where I work now (and want to work after I pass the boards), is that the job openings are far and few in between.  I’ve come to find out that my chances of an RN job opening up and being offered to me are low.  In fact one of the new nurses announced she is leaving her job to relocate elsewhere, which meant an opening.  And while I noticed a job opening and applied for it, my boss didn’t mention the opening to me, like I thought she would have.  Which then, leads me to think that I may not be the person they want to fill the job.  Now I don’t know if this is doubt or my own insecurities or that maybe my boss already has an opening I’m not aware of waiting for me?  Either way I don’t know what to think.  So I made an appointment to speak to my boss about my intentions of wanting to get hired after I graduate.  That meeting is scheduled for 2/25, and I would hope to have an understanding on whether they want me working there as an RN.  If I hear during that meeting anything other than “yes we want you” and/or “yes we’ll make sure there’s an opening for you as an RN”, then I’m going straight to my other bosses office on the med/surg floor and get the ball rolling on a job there.

You see part of the problem is that I assumed I’d have no problem getting a job on the med/surg floor because those openings have high turnover rates.  However, the longer I wait to hear from the birth center, leaves me with a smaller chance on the med/surg floor.  Whichever way I look at the situation I have to start acting now, otherwise I’ll be missing out on both units.

And yes, I have applied for a few jobs in the Dallas area, and hope to hear back from them around the same time I can say for sure we’ll be moving there.  The decisions seemed easier in my head but as I write them out here, they seem awfully confusing…so, sorry for that.

On another note, with the extra time I have available for family, I’ve been helping my son with his studies and engaged more with my daughter and her busy schedule.  I’ve been able to watch favorite TV shows with my hubby, and more involved with my bible reading plans.  

After I find out more on the 25th I’ll write an update regarding both matters mentioned above.  Meanwhile stay warm everyone!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Nerves Getting the Best of Me

Nervous for what you may ask?  Nervous for tomorrow being my first day back to school for my final semester of school.  
Nervous because why?  Let me list a few for you: 1) because I’m scared of being overwhelmed with mountains of homework like last semester where I had a hard time keeping things organized.  2) because I’m worried about the (two) 10-12 hour clinical days per week, consisting of up to four patients at a time (yikes). 3) worried that I won’t be able to absorb my time with friends and the small moments of nursing school and that before I know it, I’ll be done.  4) most importantly worried I won’t pass the NCLEX at the end.

I’ve been reading blogs of friends who have graduated and passed the boards, and I’ve even see upper classmen live to tell about how their strategies worked for them or not.  I’ve listened and stored lots of advice in my brain.  And I’m not saying I’m better or unique, but I just think I’m going to have a harder time passing the darn thing than most other people. 

I can almost guarantee I’ll take longer than the minimal 75 questions to pass the NCLEX, and if the screen does shut off after 75 questions it won’t be because I passed.  I mean at least that’s how I feel deep down inside.  I almost hate to admit that because I don’t know what the Lord has in store for me.  Maybe I’ll pass just fine because that’s the picture he painted for my future instead of my insecure one, and if so then AMEN!  But what if I’m humbled and I don’t pass the first time, what if I don’t pass the second time.  I’m not prepared for that! 

I don’t think I could broadcast my exam date even on my blog because I’d be so embarrassed if I didn’t pass the first time around.  But I guess if I do announce a date for when I’m taking the NCLEX, and I don’t write a follow-up within a week after taking it, then you’ll know it didn’t go well.  UGH!!!  Why is this so hard to even want to deal with it?  It’s just another exam, testing me on content and application; I’ve been doing this for 4 semesters so far, so I should have nothing to worry about, right?  Right!

Then why am I so nervous?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Unpretentious Birth

Nothing pleases me more while working on the birthing center, than when the call light goes off for one of the rooms with a laboring mom ready to push.  I get all excited and giddy, and pick up the pace to grab a sterile cart that I’ve already prepared for this moment.  Usually the nurse I’m following grabs the baby scale and together we enter the room. 

The look in the mother’s eyes is not of shock or that we’ve intruded, despite the fact that sometimes her bottom is exposed.  Instead her look is of desperation to get the baby out and end the exhaustion that labor is putting her through. 

The mother we took care of that day already had given birth once before, that took over two hours of actual pushing, and she was afraid this labor would be the same.  The nurse reassured her by saying that every pregnancy was different and we would know more after she started pushing.

Sometimes I am caught off guard by the sounds laboring moms can make, or how they talk to their spouses because of frustration.  This mom didn’t say much and every time she felt the pain increase from another contraction, she would cover her mouth as if to control herself to stay quiet.  She also purchased a birthing gown prior to coming to the hospital, and the nurse did her best to push it out of the way so it wouldn’t get soiled.  However, she was quite modest and kept pushing her gown down to cover her vagina, so her hubby and her mother wouldn’t see her exposed. 

The actual pushing of active labor only lasted about half an hour, especially after we talked her into dropping her knees down allowing for a wider opening.  Also, we put the head of the bed down straightening out the vaginal canal.  I was thrilled to take over the “counting to 10” for my nurse while she caught up on some charting during a few of the earlier pushes.  This made me feel like I was the nurse coaching the mom through the labor process, if only for a few pushes.

Moments later, the baby was on the warmer getting cleaned up and healthy apgar scores were being tallied.  Mom was saying over and over how beautiful the baby looked, dad was a blubbering mess (which I LOVE to see), and grandma was hugging and kissing her daughter for doing such a good job.  To be honest, even my eyes were a bit misty.

This never gets old to me; I love to watch the miracle of birth happen over and over!  I am so very blessed and happy with my decision to work here.  Now if only I could get a job as a nurse on this unit, I’d be all set!  Oh and also, between me and the nurse, together we were able to keep mom’s gown from getting too dirty.