Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thalasso Bain Bebe par Sonia Rochel

If I needed yet one more reason to be a nurse, this would be it:

Just a disclaimer that I wish to highlight: This video comes from a clinic in Paris.  The statement accompanying the video indicates that this is a unique type of bath performed at the clinic, developed after many years of study and observation.  It is done by a professionally trained person (nurse???), and is NOT to be attempted by parents at home.

What's your medical specialty?

So here is a neat little quiz, aimed at determining your best-suited medical specialty.  It was designed by the University of Virginia Medical School, and is primarily aimed at medical students.  However, I think it is equally applicable for nursing students, in helping choose an area of specialization.

The quiz consists of 130 questions, but they are simple and it goes fast.  It is based upon your personality, on traits as how much you value independence in your work, dislike routine work, how much you value time off, how much you enjoy learning new things, how quickly you like to see results, etc. etc.

And I should say it is quite accurate, as the results to the test indicated that my "top three" medical specialities are exactly the top three I am most interested in, namely obstetrics (specifically 'Labour and Delivery', in my case), pediatrics and emergency.

Here's the link to the quiz:


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I am a little r

The end is here.  First year officially finished with last night's amazing clinical microbiology exam.  Whew!!!

Today, I have an amazing feeling of freedom.  Of no studying, no textbooks to be looked at, no notes to review, no assignments to finish, no nothing school-related to do.  What an amazing feeling.  (OK, my impending return to the office is hovering over my head, but that's another issue...)

I am so grateful for so much.  I am grateful that this year is over.  While I learned so incredibly much, it is a year I would never want to do again.  From here on in, there will still be classroom courses, but every single semester will include labs/clinical rotations.  Never again will the entire year just be classroom-based.  "Real" nursing starts in September.

Also, future years will never have so many 'firsts' and new experiences as this year had.  I have now gone through the main transition of deciding to change careers and actually follow through with the idea.  I now have an amazing group of friends in my classes, so I will never again face a classroom not knowing anyone.  I now know that even at my age and stage in life, I am able to still learn and achieve amazing academic results (if I dare say so myself!). 

And I simply know I am where I am meant to be.  I love what I learned this past year, and it is only going to get better and better, the more clinical experiences I have.

So even though at times it was stressful, overwhelming and frustrating to be back at school, overall, the year has simply flown by.  I am so happy it is over, and even more grateful to be doing what I am doing.

Now I have a free week to try to do as many items on my around the house "to do" list as I possibly can, and to spend as much time as possible with my 5 year old munchkin, before FT work awaits.  This afternoon, I will be in her classroom again, volunteering.  It is such a gift to me to be able to do that.

Oh, I almost forgot to explain the title.  Now that I've finished one year out of the four year program, I jokingly referred to myself as being 25% nurse.  My son explained to me that I am now a small "r", having finished a quarter of the studies.  Next year, with second year completed, I will be a capital letter "R", end of third year, I'll be an "Rn", and finally when school is truly done, I will truly be a full-fledged "RN".

So for now I am thrilled to be an "r".

Onwards and upwards -- always.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

The end is in sight

The end of first year, that is!

One more exam on Monday, then a glorious week off (where I can scramble to do a ton of chores that need doing before work re-starts), and then it is back to the office to work. 

Another big life-transition is looming.  Yet again. There have been so many transitions happening in the past 10-15 years.  I moved back to France. I moved back to Canada. Got married. Became a mom. Transitioned between work and maternity leave three times.  My father passed away after a long illness.  We moved houses three times.  Changed jobs once. My husband was laid off once, and found work again. I became a student again. Now going back to work again.  This is getting to be a bit much change, and I don't like things to become routine and dull. But this is getting to be a bit much. Transitions are many unknowns and life-changing in so many ways.

As grateful as I am for my work to have given me the leave of absence, part of me is dreading yet another change when I go back.  It is not just me that's affected by the change, but the entire family.  The younger two kids will have to start a new daycare (and the youngest doesn't take change easily), and the older one will have his daycare hours increased dramatically. We're in such a good family/life/work 'groove' now, just getting better and better with the spring weather letting us all be outside more.  Honestly, it is going to be very tough to change it all next month.

I admire families who are able to handle both parents working the 'regular' work week, manage their houses/household chores and have time for their kids, extra-curricular activities and homework.  Oh yes, and then there is dinner preparation. I so admire organized, energetic families.  We were not one of those.  Definitely not organized enough, but with enough energy, at least.

We managed to get it (mostly) all done when we were both working FT, we both even managed to volunteer our time in the community, but it was tough.  It was overwhelming at times.  The kids were stressed and we were stressed.  Somebody was often sick. Homework was sometimes not finished. I had so many ideas of things I wanted to do for friends and family, that certain people would have enjoyed and loved, yet all they were, were good intentions and nothing concrete, which leads to frustration on my part.  The frustration comes from seeing yourself as being one type of person, and your reality doesn't mesh with that vision of who you want to be.  That's frustrating to always be just barely getting things done (if they even get done), and doing so many things at the last minute because the reality of limited home time just doesn't allow getting it done much sooner. 

And the worst part, again, is that it is more than just me who is affected by this.  What kind of role model am I being for the children? What I am teaching them by living such a stressed life???  Our kids are sensitive, introverted souls, and they were clearly also being negatively affected by our rushed and busy lifestyle.  The positive changes I've seen in them since September are incredible.  It kills me inside to know this positive groove is changing in under two weeks time.

Yes, the money is very nice, but something has to give.  I've read about the expression, "voluntary simplicity" lately, and I guess that is one of the goals we are working towards, even though I didn't know about this 'movement' at the time. 

The idea is about making choices, lifestyle choices, that highlight what matters most to your family.  In our case, our priority is family -- family time, letting childhood be just that -- playtime, free time, not over-scheduled time, homecooked meals, family dinners where we're not constantly telling the kids to 'hurry up and eat because we're going to be late for xyz', spontaneously playing with all the neighbourhood kids.  This is our reality, and we love it.  Yes, it involves making choices -- choices like still driving a 2001 Civic, not having huge family vacations every year (the irony there being that when working, there is not much vacation time available, and when not working, there is much more time, but not as much money available!), not eating out too often-- but that's OK with us.

I will be working again in a few short years as a nurse, but I see that being a completely different work experience than my first career.  For one, the children will be that much older and more independent (yes, other pre-teen and teenager issues will surface, but the hands-on needing-parents phase will be over).  The secondly, I intend to only work part-time, or even if I do work full-time, the nursing hours and shifts are so very different than the M-F, 7 am - 5 pm routine. I am very excited at the reality of having such different working hours. Even back when I was in high school, I so disliked the regular routine, and was looking forward to university, where classes would be spread out all over the week.  That's how nursing shifts are going to work. 

OK, I must focus now on clinical microbiology now. That exam is also looming.  This is my least favourite course this year. Back to memorizing 'viruses that cause respiratory infections, 'viruses that cause rashes', 'viruses that cause diarrhea', 'viruses that cause glandular inflammation'...etc, etc.  Don't even get me started on the bacteria portion of the course!!!  ICK!!!  Let me go wash my hands before starting to study again (kidding).

Lots of things looming over my head right now...

Friday, April 13, 2012

Music and Memory Project

Here is a YouTube video that shows an exerpt from the "music and memory project", with reneowned neurologist, Dr. Oliver Sacks narrating (his work was portrayed in the movie 'Awakenings').

The video shows Henry, an elderly man with dementia in a nursing home, who is not able to communicate or respond when spoken to.  His reaction to hearing his beloved tunes from his young days transforms him -- not only does he respond to the stimulus, but then he is actually able to verbally respond to questions.  For a brief period of time, he is restored to himself.

"What does music do to you?  It gives me the feeling of love...I feel a band of love and dreams..."

"Music brings a sense of identity back to people who are 'out of it'" -- Dr. Sacks

What a gift.

P.S. And while you're at it, take a peek at Cab Calloway music on YouTube, and say that "Henry sent you".  I looked at a few videos, and saw in the comments section, that many people had written, "Henry sent me here". 

I'd never heard of Cab Calloway before, and now have learned about another great musical artist.

Thank you, Henry!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Operation Smile

There are times, like the present, when I just need a wee little bit extra motivation, or energy, to study.  The stack of information to learn for final exams seems very daunting at best, and time is quickly running out until the exams must be written.

It is times like these that I look at the bigger picture, and think (try to remember!!!) why I am putting myself through these extra years of university. 

Because I really want to be a nurse, that's why.  Because I genuinely want to help people, in small and large ways.  I want to feel like my work is making a difference to somebody.  I want a sense of satisfaction that I worked hard, and achieved something after a shift is done. 

And one more reason -- because I want to volunteer my time internationally, being part of medical teams.  One such medical volunteer team is Operation Smile.  Volunteer doctors and nurses travel to developing countries, to operate on children born with cleft palate and lip.  These children are usually shunned, hidden away from society, and rarely allowed to attend school.  It is such an easy operation (relatively speaking!) to fix the birth defect permanently. 

Talk about making a difference to somebody, and getting a feeling of satisfaction at the end of the day, when you've been part of a team that's operated on a half-dozen children in a day!!!

There are no words to describe that feeling (although, knowing myself, I'll probably try, when the time comes!). 

I look forward to experiencing that feeling, and that, is why I must do my absolute best on the upcoming final nursing exams. 

Here is a link to Operation Smile:

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Last week of classes, year 1

The final countdown is on...just 3 more classes left in the exam preparation is gearing up.

This one physiology class involving kidney physiology and water, acid-base and electrolyte balance might well be the end of me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Back to the books...

Monday, April 2, 2012

Medical Ethics Term Paper Finished!!!

My medical ethics term paper is finished.  Hallelujah!  It was the first academic paper I've written, since finishing my Master's thesis.  I think it is a good paper, one that analyzes the case study from utilitarianism, Kantian, feminist and distributive justice perspectives. 

It feels great to have that completed.

Last full week of classes for first year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Nursing Humour -

Here's to hoping this will be the scene outside my house, in a few short years!!! 

(Naturally, because the people gathering there will all think I am a very cool RN)