This and That

I’m starting to get my mojo back.  It’s slow, but the ability to write more than 140 characters (damn you Twitter!) is slowly coming back.  Lots of stuff churning, fermenting and running around in my brain.  Just not completely ready yet.

But…

This whole Facebook placenta explusion drama deserves a comment.

Was it a HIPAA violation?  No.  Did it in any way endanger a patient?  No.  Was it in poor taste?  Yeah, it probably was.  I believe that the school in question over-reacted and by doing so created the social media furor that has ensued.  Give a small issue large exposure and the chances of it going away quietly is pretty slim (see Sarah  Palin…).

How this reflects poorly on the nursing profession is beyond me.  All I saw in the picture – the grainy B&W picture, was a young female in scrubs showcasing an unidentifiable thing.  If no one had mentioned it was a placenta, I never would have guessed.  Did you see the excitement in her eyes?  Could you feel the zest for learning that exuded from the picture?  It was almost palpable.  Sad that the school saw this a gross violation of, well, everything and decided the 4 students involved had to pay.  As the old saying goes, “Heads will roll!”

All we have ended up teaching these students is that nursing is reactive, vindictive, punitive and slow to change.  It’s not like they were using the placenta as a marionette, or some twisted nursing school version of “Weekend at Bernie’s”.  It was a mistake on the part of the students, but not one as grievous as the administrators would lead you to believe.

Here’s what they should have done…  Quietly ask the student to remove the post, explaining that it reflects poorly on the school – with a reason why it does so.  Give a small reprimand, make the students take a media ethics course or what-not and take the time as administrators to formulate a comprehensive social media policy that is easy to understand and adhere to.  Done, no muss, no fuss.  A simple explanation of why and a punishment that fits the “crime” would have caused far less of a brouhaha than the route they took.

But that’s just my take on it.

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It’s Like It’s the End of the World.

Snow.

Nothing can bring such madness as this one simple word.  Even though it is just a threat of snow,  nothing on the ground and people act like it is the Blizzard to End ALL Blizzards.

Snow haunted me through nursing school.  No mater if there was 2 inches or a foot, I had to go.  Nothing says fun like a drive to school in a 1973 VW Bug at 6am when it is 24° out and windchill to 0° all while lugging my massive Med-Surg text, A&P book, plus the other assorted miscellany needed for a day of school out to the car while looking like Ralphie’s little brother due to the amount of clothes I was wearing.

There she is, the little red one with that light dusting of snow.  That little car got to everyone of my clinical dates (even the one I got pulled over before), to class everyday except the day I broke my key thanks to ice.  Nothing says fun like scraping the inside of a windshield so that I could see out.  Sure, I would have to sit there and warm it up for 30 minutes before even attempting to drive, but I drove in all sorts of nasty weather in Flagstaff.

It was never a question of going to school.  So I learned how to drive in the snow.  Learned how to pry my frozen fingers off the wheel when I got to school.  I learned how to carry the 60lbs books and other crap we were required to carry.  Nursing school taught me far more than the required information needed to become a nurse:  it taught me to deal with adversity.

It isn’t easy, just like nursing isn’t easy.  It breaks us down to build us back up.  Remember when you first stepped on a floor for clinicals?  You were freaked out, like our city in the face of a storm, but as the day went, you grew more comfortable, it grew easier and soon you found yourself thriving in the new and different environment.  Now when you step on the floor you know what needs to be done.  You know how it needs to be done.  That’s knowledge brought on by the act of nursing, the practice.  You are able to deal with the adversity that faces us everyday because you’ve been through it all.

Now I’m off to stock up on groceries, run around like crazy tracking down a heater and generally acting like an idiot – there’s snow coming!

Back in the Saddle

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Labor Day.  Back to school time once again.  Even though there are a metric shit-ton of articles for new student nurses, I figured why not add to the mix?  Here’s some help from someone who’s been there and survived.

1.  Remember, this too shall pass.

Nursing school doesn’t last forever, so unless you’re undeniably stupid or way out of your league, there is a finish line.  It may seem like it is far, far away, but when you do finally finish, it will amaze you how fast it truly went.

2.  Eat, sleep, dream nursing.

Sounds cheesy right?  Maybe too New-Agey?  What I’m saying is you have to dedicate yourself 110% to the journey.  Like Big Daddy Kane once said, “Ain’t no half-steppin’.”

3.  Don’t be that nursing student.

Y’know what I’m talking about.  The one that does the bare minimum.  When presented with the opportunity to see a “really cool thing”© at end of clinical day, defers and says “I can’t, I have to go to post-clinical session with my teacher.”  Or the one that coasts by on the merits of others, using their skills and talents to bolster themselves.  The one that figures nursing school is just about showing up and that interaction is not neccessary.

4.  Learn from everyone.

Yes, you’re going to school to be a RN, but a good CNA can still teach you more than you might know.  Learn to trust the good ones, learn from them, because you won’t always have the good ones at your side.  Same goes for the multitude of other “allied health professionals”.  Y’know, RT, PT, OT, Speech therapy, pharmacists and yes, even the docs.  It might surprise you the little nuggets you can glean from them.

5.  Find a group of like-minded folks.

Going at it alone is doable, but not pleasant.  Find yourself a circle of friends to help you through this.  People outside of nursing school can’t comprehend what you are going through, but if you have a good group of school friends they know what you are struggling through.

6.  Take care of yourself.

Sleep, yes, sleep.  Studying until you are bleary-eyed and then sleeping for only 3 hours does you no good if you fall asleep during the test.  Getting sick because you have abused yourself too long does your patients no good either.  Eat right, get some exercise and sleep. Take some time for yourself to decompress, to let it all out and step away from the grind.  Sure, it seems to contradict #2, but every now and then you need to step away to find the clarity of thought needed to continue.

7.  Then End is not the End.

The end of nursing school is not the End.  It is only the beginning.  Good luck.