The Adventure Begins!

Journals - The Events of Your Life.
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Raven
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The Adventure Begins!

Post by Raven »

Hogwarts and Doctor Who! That is exactly how I feel these days! What time warp brought me to this time and place? With a world full of Daleks and Cybermen that get defeated with a swish and flick!



Life has bounded ahead in a spin almost out of control. And I am getting ready to walk out of the Tardis onto the grounds of Hogwarts school of Nursing and Midwifery! Febuary 19 is the zero hour.



Can you fathom what the interior of a British institution of higher learning is like? They have computers that rise out of the desk tops like some science fiction movie! I have at my disposal a 'plastic' man, who like in a certain Doctor Who episode, breathes, poops, bleeds and 'dies' just like a real person. With one click of the mouse, I have all the written literature of the ages on medicine thats ever been put to disk. Do you realise how long Britain has been keeping records and cataloging books? I am frankly amazed that they dont have the original blueprints on Stonehenge! And ask me if I am excited about the prospects of my name going on one of those official rolls!



This is one of the biggest adventures I could ever have! And this is as good a place as any to keep a diary of it all.:cool:
~Quoth the Raven, Nevermore!~
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Raven
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The Adventure Begins!

Post by Raven »

Febuary.........Just quit my job on Friday. Ever feel like you're jumping into an abyss without a shute? Well that about sums it up. It all starts next Tuesday. The whole process is daunting enough. First you fork out £15 to apply. Then you wait.......and wait some more. Finally they send you a nice and polite little letter asking you to please attend interview as you have been short listed. Then you get all nervous.......and wait. Finally you have your interview, and go home. To wait. About 3 weeks later, they inform you of your offer. But hold on......this isnt it! Whats a crb? And what do you mean I need jabs? OMG!!!! And 3 more references from folks who have known you for more than 2 years? (That one was easy. I've been here 4.)



Well I have sailed through my health checks. What should have been an easy crb check, has turned into a mess. Someone at uni put the wrong birthdate down when they filled in my details. So when I finally call the crb folks.....I had to confirm my b-day. Well.....now I wait another 4 weeks for that to come back. But the good news is....I get to start anyway. Just a delay on my bursary. WHAT???? Means I dont get funded till that comes back. Broke and starving.........Well not exactly, but still......it stinks.



BTW, the nice folks whom I used to work with gave me a nice nurses fob watch as a parting gift. Aint that sweet? Now all I have to do is figure out how to get to Kent from Southend! LOL! Think I will have to go by faerie! (ferry):rolleyes:



I called my local hospital. Found out they have a slot for student nurses! Wont be recruiting till march though. It pays more than auxillary does. YAAAAAAAAY!



I know this may sound a bit trite to those who dont know me, but as a qualified and certified respiratory therapist, it means quite a bit. It means I can FINALLY get back to doing what I have loved doing for the last 20 years!!! It's been a long 4 year wait.
~Quoth the Raven, Nevermore!~
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Raven
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The Adventure Begins!

Post by Raven »

End of first semester. Beginning of second. I know how to write an essay now. I have successfully done my first two placements. I can now take care of the pressures sores from hell. I can give you insulin jabs, and pass out a plethora of pills. Whats best is I know why i am doing it, and what they are supposed to do. I can do the larvae therapy with my eyes closed. (still hack behind my teeth as i am doing it tho.) I do my first potions final at the end of the year. I can bathe you, roll you, and change your nappy. I can assure you, all is well. I can cry with you, laugh with you, and yes it's fine. I can advise you, lecture you, all while I am writing my notes. I can multi task likes noone's business. All before my morning coffee. And yes....I hear NURSENURSE! in my sleep. Whats worse is.....I respond.





What exactly this means is....I've PASSED my first semester of a crusty 'ol english institution of higher learning! If 'ol Florence knew what we were up to these days, her hair would curl in her bonnet!
~Quoth the Raven, Nevermore!~
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Raven
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The Adventure Begins!

Post by Raven »

END OF FIRST YEAR

It's taken a week to recover. The transformation is almost complete. I am no longer a respiratory therapist, and almost a nurse.

My university library is one of the most haunted in Britain. It's called the Drill Hall. 135 squaddies were killed there during a german bomb raid in WW1. They were using it as a barracks then. I think they would approve the use of it today.

(it even has a restricted section!) We have pictures hanging on the walls of them. Tough blokes who look like they are in their 30's but in reality are only in their teens. Life was alot harder then. When did we become so spoiled?

My classmates are dropping out left, right and centre. They have their various reasons, but for the most part, it's the program. The NMC demands a rigorous 2500 practice hours. It seperates the girls from the nurses. (no blokes in F08)

I have spent the last 12 months up to my elbows in various body fluids and excrement. You know what? Poo stinks! I have had triumph as well as heartbreak and shock. The latest heartbreak was a beautiful lady who I was talking and laughing with one minute, then the next she was gone. Like a soft summer breeze. Gone.

Life is like that I suppose. The greatest gift I have been taught so far is the gift of reflection.

I can now relive tragic and horrible moments and put some perspective to them. Then pack them away like the treasures of the past. We make new friends, then they disappear like an afternoon shadow following the sun.

Christmas time is not a good time in hospital. Alot of folks choose that time of year to take their leave of this world. A bigger proportion than you can imagine! All those unopened Christmas presents. I think Christmas should be in summer, when nature itself is alive and blooming. Not in the winter when nature itself says it's time to go to sleep.

Preparing for year two is getting ready to learn the meat and potatoes of nursing. First module up to bat is the 'caring for the adult patient in hospital'.

So what the heck have I been doing for the last twelve months???

~Quoth the Raven, Nevermore!~
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Raven
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The Adventure Begins!

Post by Raven »

END OF FIRST SEMESTER, YEAR TWO.



18 months to go. Halfway there....It seems like a lifetime. Sometimes I really dont understand these people. They dont teach pharmacology, yet expect you to hand out serious medicine everyday. They dont teach medical terminology, yet expect you to hold intelligable conversations with doctors. What they do teach however is a load of liberal artsy bunk and expect you to feel competent at the end of 3 years.

The folks that teach you are a weird breed of human. Students are a nasty disease they must suffer under a martyrs mantle. It does not matter if you were previously considered a professional in your own right. You are now a STUDENT and that means you are basic filth.

Pompous only begins to describe the basic requirements to become an academic.



I thank goodness that I dont ever aspire to become one. The way I see it,...those who cant do...teach.

At this time I am no longer suffering pangs of self-doubt every time I hand in an essay. I have learnt to 'just answer the question'. Even if that question is so stupid to be believable.

I am a Nurse now. My last placement proved that. What was at the beginning, overwhelming to the point of suicide, is now quite manageable.



My cohort has fallen apart. Only 12 survivors out of 30. They couldnt grasp Anatomy and Physiology. Apparently they dont teach kids biology in Britain. It's an elective subject, they say. I cant comment on the truth of that since I received a seriously robust 'you will learn this, dam!t' American education.



Their sense of professionalism (NHS) is much different than I am used to. It is more of a social network, gossip page type here. Seems as if only the old Matrons could hold together any sense of discipline here. Since they lost those, it has fallen apart. The heads of Nursing seem to be only interested in how many earrings a student has in, or if her hair is up high enough. (yes I experienced that personally) versus staff levels, infection rates, clean wards, ward closures etc.. I miss the clean, sterile smell of a U.S. hospital. I miss the crisp professionalism I got used to. I am tired of being viewed with suspicion, and being laughed at over my mid-west accent. I am not an enemy. (my patients like me well enough, and they trust in the care I give them)



Maybe I am just tired after an extremely trying semester. I am going to go camping and get lost in the magic of Great Britain and forget entirely about being a Nurse, for about 6 weeks......sigh...(as if)
~Quoth the Raven, Nevermore!~
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Raven
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The Adventure Begins!

Post by Raven »

Well back at Hogwarts after a brilliant 5 week placement. Wound clinic. It does exactly what it says on the box!

I am getting impatient for Febuary. 3rd and final year starts then.

The summer holiday is exactly what the doctor ordered. And I actually DID forget about being a nurse for awhile. I am a nurse now. Transition has firmly been made.

The modules for this semester have been really condensed like Campbells soup. 10 week modules squished into 5.

But the most amazing thing is the relationships with other students. I find myself disconnecting with my group. Some are immature and trifling, which is a horrifying thought, thinking they will actually be let loose to work on people! And the other half are totally beyond my ability to relate to. It will be interesting to see who is still standing at the end. (I will of course!)

My grades for the first semester were as expected. I passed all of my essays. 2 of them really well. With honours. I actually cant wait to start on this lot. (another 4)

District Nurse placement is next. That is going to be one helluva ride!
~Quoth the Raven, Nevermore!~
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Raven
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The Adventure Begins!

Post by Raven »

End of placement, year 2

Well if I wasnt depressed before going out with District Nurses, now I am. I have 1 week left of an incredibly taxing placement. My heart is completely broken with taking care of people who have been 'thrown away.' Families just waiting for the relatives to die, so they can claim houses etc., the lonely, the terminally ill.

I feel like crying all the time. I have lost all faith in people. Most people are mean and cruelly intentioned and I think that really sucks.

The GP's in this part of England are mostly foreign and could not give a rats a** about the people who have no choice but to go to them. They look down upon their patients as something distateful to have to put up with, just so they can have an honourable profession.

At least in hospital they stand a good chance of getting an HO or SHO who still has a conscience, and will treat them well.

I am very stressed. I am very broke. And I feel bruised.

But I am not broken. These people need me. I will not abandon them to people who they dont understand, and who has no thought for them. When I have to tell a GP what they need to do for someone, then you must know it's bad. I am a NURSE, not a doctor.

I will protect them. I will be their advocate. I am their NURSE. :-1
~Quoth the Raven, Nevermore!~
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Raven
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Post by Raven »

Postscript to placement.



I am putting this here because this experience was so profound, I am still working through it.



SEEING GOD IN A DYING PIGEON.

It was early. Really early. It was cold, dark and I could see my breath. I was walking along a side road that lead up to a McDonalds for a nice comforting cup of coffee and sausage/egg mcmuffin w/cheese. It was the only place open at 6:30 am. As the sky was beginning to light up, I could see the pigeons gather around pecking and doing whatever pigeons do. All of a sudden, out from nowhere, a DHL van speeds up the street. I jumped and gasped at the same time. He ran right over the pigeons, and all I saw was feathers. I was expecting to see pigeon pie. No, I didnt. What I saw was one pigeon sitting alone. Very still. Feathers rustling in the breeze. It sat there for what felt like an eternity. Then, in what seemed like slow motion, as I watched transfixed and in shock, it slowly, very slowly and with a grace that I cannot describe, lowered it's little head till it was laying on the pavement. There it died. I walked over to it and saw some blood on the side of it's head, but other than that it was unmarked. I was very shocked and very angry. WHY?? Why did that van not even slow down? Because it was just a bunch of pigeons? A minute ago that pigeon was alive and well, doing whatever pigeons do! And that man didnt even notice. Didnt even care. He was parked up the street, delivering whatever it was he was delivering. Doesnt the life of a bird count for anything? If I wasnt there to witness it's passing, would anyone have noticed? Besides the streetsweeper guy who swept it up and put it in some bin? Then a bible verse came screaming out at me. "Not a sparrow falls to the ground outside the will of God." God gives life to every creature, big and small. HE noticed.

Then I looked at what I held in my hands. A warm, nice smelling, sausage/egg/cheese mcmuffin. I wanted to vomit. That meat was once a life. How often was I grateful enough and thankful enough for the life of that animal that was taken, just to provide MY nourishment? Not once. Not once have I ever considered that my food has a life. And it was probably butchered in a cold, ruthless manner, just like that pigeon.

As the shock wore off, and the other pigeons were enjoying what I no longer could, I realised that my food was too easy to get. There is no life attached to the packaged and sterile appearance of what I eat.

I will forever be haunted by that image of a dying pigeon. There was just something about that moment. I cant even begin to explain it. But until I am hungry enough to have to hunt for my food myself, only then will I feel thankful enough to the precious life that I must take, to survive. Only then will I feel worthy enough to eat meat. Just because the life belongs to an animal does NOT make it less worthy to live than myself. I have not eaten meat since that day. I cried for awhile. I shed tears for that beautiful bird who spoke to me through it's graceful passing. I was there. I saw it. I went home and cuddled my cats who would have cheerfully brought an end to the pigeon themselves, but somehow that was okay. It's what they do. My husband, who is a vegetarian x 30 years anyway, totally understood.

We had vegetarian turkey for thanksgiving. And for that I was truly thankful.

I dont care what anyone thinks about this. This was a meeting between God, me and a pigeon. And it's a lesson that was long in coming.
~Quoth the Raven, Nevermore!~
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Raven
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Post by Raven »

End of year 2, pause before year 3 commences



Phew! Thats the basic emotion. I am absolutely exhausted, but recovering. There is one last potions exam before the 3rd year starts. (no worries, a calculator is allowed). 12 short months to finish.

Acute care is up to bat next. A&E, ITU, CCU etc. Rumours have it, the acute care exam is horrendous. No worries again. Previous experience in that field and the fact that exams dont phase me, will stand me in good stead.

My grades are not back yet, but that is not suprising. However there is a second go should I fail one.

As an official 'Hogwarts' prefect, I get to show the newbies around the campus. Did I look like that 2 years ago? I must have. Nervous excitement over what is coming. Unsure and scared to death! It was fun taking them around and scaring them a little. It's an honour to take part in an ancient ritual such as confounding the freshmen. I was looking at them trying to see if I could tell who wouldnt be there in a years time. This course is hard. It is extremely demanding. But oh the end!

It ends with a processional all gowned and wearing the mortar board through the corn exchange up through the ancient arches to a magnificent cathedral, where i can be officially proclaimed RN!! And in front of my parents too! Yeah, it may be hard, but it is certainly worth it. In 12 short months....
~Quoth the Raven, Nevermore!~
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Raven
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Post by Raven »

The countdown starts! I can start working as a proper nurse on Feb. 14 2011. I officially finish Uni on the 13th. And THAT is less than a year away!

I cant remember what a normal working life is. I have lived in a limbo for 2 years now. This year, I learn the really major spells in critical care. (from a nurses perspective, this is new) I was informed yesterday, that we begin applying for our positions in 6 months. So I anticipate this last year will go rather quickly.

I passed my potions final with 100%. It was a mixed bag for my parchments, but a pass is a pass! This is the year when the results REALLY matter!

But how will it feel that day when I change that uniform, from a student to the blue/white stripey staff nurse one? A patient wont care that I just put it on. All they will see is a blue/white stripey staff nurse, with nice badges on her collar. :o

I cant wait to find out!! And it is less than a year away!!! WOOHOOOOOO!!
~Quoth the Raven, Nevermore!~
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Raven
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Post by Raven »

This is the last summer break I will likely ever have. Its been exhausting. This last few months have financially crippled me for life, I fear. There have been ups and there have been extreme lows. I have had to do last offices 3 times last week. What is last offices you ask? Well it is the last thing I can ever do for someone when they die. It consists of washing and preparing the corpus for viewing by family members. Always make sure there are tissues by the bedside. This is a very private priveledge that I wont detail too much. But it is lovingly done with respect.

I have experienced the whole spectrum of Nursing over these last few years. 'Cradle to grave' is the term used. From assisting the midwives bringing in beautiful english babies into the world, to performing the rituals and rites of last offices. In six months time, I will be able to call myself a Nurse. Am I scared? No. Not in the slightest. I dont understand why my classmates are so worried. This is what I studied for three years for!

I get my job in November. Dont know where yet, but in this climate of job freezes in the NHS, I will be happy with what I get. How exciting!
~Quoth the Raven, Nevermore!~
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Raven
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Post by Raven »

Well here it is...the final 3 months of what sometimes seems, a very rocky road. Hogwarts has changed me. I have learned all manner of new spells. :) I have submitted my first applications for qualified Nursing posts. 6 Uni days and 13 weeks placement (approx 38 shifts) and then it is done. Oh and must not forget the last 3 essays.

It is strange how accustomed to routine we get. I have gotten used to summer breaks, Christmas Hols at home with Hubby, and the Easter break. This is my last Christmas break coming up. I have gotten used to being so poor as to be unable to buy a train ticket. £4 is alot of money when you dont have it. I have smoked roll ups (eeeeww) and foraged for change under chair cushions. LOTS of beans on toast (which is really good, by the way) and had to feed the cats really cheap stuff! (they didnt mind)

I wonder how it will feel?....that first full paycheck? Will it make me cry? (might do) I have suffered, and my hubby has suffered with me. For THREE years! (still have the house tho!) Is it worth the suffering? Yes. I am a Nurse. :D
~Quoth the Raven, Nevermore!~
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Raven
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Post by Raven »

Well the first of the last essays have been marked. The procession to the cathedral is just 2 marks away. Funny enough, the last two days of uni were scuppered for snow. Seems like it ended with a whimper versus a bang, but nevermind. 18 more shifts left as a student nurse. A full time job as a staff nurse has been successfully procurred on the ward I REALLY wanted! I am thrilled about that!

I am packing away the last 3 years worth of work, although those essays are lovingly put in a cool blue box for me to look back on later. I am finding myself having to change yet again. 3 years is a long time for a life to be on hold and absorbed with deadlines and module assignments. It has not sunk in quite yet, what I have accomplished. But WOW! What the hell am I going to do with all this extra time on my hands??!!!:yh_rotfl
~Quoth the Raven, Nevermore!~

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