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BSN

Last weekend I graduated nursing school!

 

 

 

Just letting that still sink in. I have been waiting to say that for over 5 years. This long journey began sometime after I had my son. Something stirred within me after his birth. I can only describe it as an authentic desire to serve women and their babies. I toyed with the idea of becoming a doula or childbirth educator, neither of which were a steady enough income for our family. Finally, I decided I had to go into nursing. I wanted to become a Certified Nurse Midwife. Now that I have graduated, I have NO IDEA if or when that part of this nursing journey will change. There is a strong chance I may not become a CNM and I am more than OK with that.

The pinning ceremony was beautiful. Our hands were blessed. We were given yellow roses. All of it was meaningful and perfect.

The weekend was spent with family and friends and so many emotions. I’m still trying to come down from all of this being over. The ONLY thing I have left is to take my boards, the NCLEX. I’m hoping to take them early June. If I had to take them tomorrow, I think I would pass. I have taken SO MANY practice exams and predictor tests and all scores point to being a competent, safe nurse so we shall see! 😉

In the mean time, I have been doing laundry on time, playing with the kids, cleaning, sleeping, and just enjoying not having the daily stress of nursing school! It’s such an amazing feeling!

xoxo

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nursing school · Schooling

That’s a Wrap!

Tomorrow morning, I drive to school for the last time. I’ll take an NCLEX predictor exam and be on my merry way. Really, that’s it! I have completed a month long capstone/practicum, turned in all the necessary clinical documents, attended a 2 day NCLEX review and that’s it! I really can’t believe it. This is one of those feelings that words simply cannot express. I’ve spent over 5 years in school to get to this day: the LAST day of nursing school. I am pinned and graduate next weekend. A few weeks later, I’ll take my boards (NCLEX) and officially be an RN, BSN! WHAT?! So wild…I am still in recovery/survival mode and may be for a couple more weeks as the realization that I have completed nursing school settles in and I get some rest. Working nights for clinical has been so insanely hard on me. This deserves an entire post itself. I honestly do not know how people work nights for years. Anyway, just a short update and more to come soon!

xoxo

nursing school · Schooling

No More Classes

Truth: I’m done with nursing school classes! Actual in-seat classes where I am following power-points, taking notes and studying for exams on specific topics–DONE. How crazy is that?! I took my last finals ever last week and I PASSED! What’s left? Capstone. Another term used is preceptorship or internship. I spend 180 hours in the field, in the clinical setting, taking care of patients, setting and meeting goals, and doing online practice exams for NCLEX (our board exam). We have a couple of in-seat classes but it’s not like the other classes. And it is not every week. April is so full. I set up my schedule yesterday and graduation will be here before I know it.

Oh and did I mention my Capstone is in L&D?! This was something I had to do a full on interview for, with a panel of nurses and a cover letter, resume, and letters of recommendation! And there was no guarantee that I would get L&D since it is a specialty AND so many students want it. By the grace of God, working hard, and amazing people, I got exactly what I wanted and at the exact hospital I wanted. It’s on nights, which is perfectly ok with me. I am ready!

For 3 days after Capstone ends and before graduation, we have intense in-seat studying and practicing for boards. I was pretty relieved to see that I have a 95% chance of passing my boards based on the score I got on our overall med/surg proctored exam last week. I was worried it was lower than that.

In the coming weeks, I will be trying to write here more. I need to document all the shit I’ve survived (literally!) while in nursing school. And not just me, but my family. Nursing school is hard without a family, health issues, and other life events. Throw in all those things and you have a giant bomb you’re carrying around, just waiting for it to explode. Mine exploded in January. More on that in another post.

Happy Friday!

nursing school · Resources

Advice for New Nursing Students

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Before I started nursing school, I asked other nurses and nursing students all the time about what I needed the most to succeed. Truth is, you don’t need much because it will knock you off your ass no matter how good the shoes and stethoscope. But in all seriousness, I really wanted to know how to be prepared. Now that I am 5 weeks away from graduating, I have made a list of the things I have used and needed the most throughout school. Some of those things are not actually “things”, like the love and support of my family. Also, sleep! If you have had a child and they didn’t sleep through the night for 1-2 years, you will survive nursing school just fine. 😉

Below is a little list of things I founds the most useful. These may or may not work for another person. The first, most important thing I had to figure out was my learning style. In our Health Assessment class way back almost 2 years ago, we talked about learning styles and I honestly thought I knew what mine was but I was wrong. I am a visual learner. I thought I was more hands on, but when you’re studying material and not skills, there is not a ton of hands on, other than note-taking. AND note-taking IS a visual learning tool, which is why I list pens and colors. I know other students who did not need tons of colors. Black, red and blue worked just fine for them. But mine were RAINBOWS of colors!

Any other suggestions? Please add to the comments below! And yes, I really am only 5 weeks away from graduating!! 🙂

  • Shoes – Depends on your feet. Mine are fairly flat and I like Sketchers and Alegria–great arch support
  • Nursing bag/Totes/Backpacks – Honestly, I found a great bag at walmart, not even sure of the brand, and it has held up great. I use tote bags for clinical from Old Navy.
  • Binders/Planners: 1″ binders for each class with 4-5 dividers each. I found a couple apps on my phone for the planner part to keep all my assignments straight. Also set reminders in my phone and in the calendar. I cannot survive without my reminders!!
  • Pens/pencils: Tones of colors! I have to write my notes with multiple colors. Whatever brand, colors, and shape work for you. I found mine at Barns N Noble. Something like 35 colors…I love them.
  • Apps
    • 1) iStudiez Pro, but I use the free version and get everything I need from it
    • 2) NCLEX RN Mastery App: worth the $30-40 for the full version!!
    • 3) Blackboard app (if your school uses it)
    • 4) CDC app
    • 5) Spotify premium for best driving and studying music!
  • Study Guides/Cheat sheets/Videos – youtube has great resources of videos for explanations on certain topics, Saunders study guide
  • Stethoscopes – Littmann
women's health

Fibromyalgia

I just finished my Population Health course on Friday and it was a whirlwind 5 weeks. I had a great clinical experience giving flu vaccines, doing blood draws, and attending a huge health fair. It was great! The class itself—not so great and I’m glad it’s over.

We take no breaks and dive right into Peds this week. I’ve been anxious about starting this class bc sick and hurt kids really pull hard on my heart but I’ve tried to let those fears go and embrace this experience.

In other, more personal news, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia a few weeks ago. This was a long time coming. And honestly, a huge relief. I now have an explanation for several, terrible symptoms and pains and it all makes more sense. However, explaining this diagnosis to others is hard so I am going to attempt to do that here.

When I was 15, the stomach pains began. I’d get terrible stomach aches and my mom would take me to the doctor and they would say it was probably IBS-C but that official diagnosis did not come until 2011 when I was 27. Yes, it took 12 years for me to get that and a GERD diagnosis which included very little help from my GI doctor and tons of trial and error from me. I tried gluten free diets a few times for several months. I have eliminated dairy almost completely. I have done several food diaries and discovered my triggers and do my best to avoid them.

Then, 5 years ago I became pregnant with my daughter. During the first trimester I started to get migraines. I had never had migraines before so I assumed it was a hormonal thing and, I’m sure it was a huge part of it. When I was starting my 3rd trimester, I began to have the absolute worst pelvic, low back and hip pain ever. I was doubled over in pain, crying hysterically and missing work because moving and walking was that painful. I was referred to PT where I learned I had pubic symphysis disorder (PSD). This is not entirely uncommon in pregnancy especially since I carried both my babies very low.

Over the last year, I have had a huge increase in frequency and intensity of migraines (with and without auras) horrible IBS flare-ups (three ER visits in 2 weeks) insomnia, fatigue (mind and muscle), painful joints and muscles (feels like the flu), anxiety (since I was 19 years old), heart palpitations (PVCs—nothing bad), and depression… For awhile there, I assumed this was from the stress of nursing school and honestly, that’s a huge trigger, but the intensity and onset of all this was really starting to upset my lifestyle. I was missing work, sleeping as much as I could during the day bc I literally had no energy for anything, and feeling a huge lack of motivation to do school work bc of all the above. Despite all this, I never missed a deadline and I made it to every clinical (except when sick in August) and continued to bust my ass in class to do well.

In May, I brought up fibromyalgia to my doctor and he suspected not since I am in nursing school. He wanted to wait until I was done to diagnosis me. I got a second opinion over the last 2 months and together we did finally agree that I do in fact have fibromyalgia. I have been in counseling, seeing OT, doing yoga, stretching, and deep breathing when I can. It’s a long ass road before I have any type of control over this and for some, this is hard to understand. But it’s just the way this is. I have joined a few support groups online and I’m learning other ways to cope and deal. I’m on a couple meds to help, including a magnesium supplement which has helped a ton but still, not a cure. There is NO CURE for fibromyalgia. It’s management and trial and error and every person with fibro has different variations of what I have. But all theses puzzle pieces of symptoms fit together and this is what I have. Like I said, it’s a relief. But I’m still 7 months out form graduating and getting through the day sometimes is hard. Balancing activities and learning how to not over do it is a huge work in progress.

I’d love to hear from others who deal with this condition. It is REAL. This is real pain I and many others deal with (5 million in the US). Just because someone can’t see my pain, doesn’t make it any less real. Thanks for reading. 💜