a new year

Usually, I write an end of year post that summarizes my favorite posts and memories from the year. I am having a hard time doing that this year for a number of reasons but mostly because if I didn’t document it here, I have a hard time remembering what happened each month that was significant. Poor excuse, I know, but I will attempt to note some highlights from this past year and hopes for 2017.

A year ago today, I had already submitted every detailed document, letter, and transcript to the only nursing program in Colorado that would be good enough for me. I was anxiously waiting for the WORD that I had been accepted. There was little doubt that I wouldn’t get in, but I had to be realistic and not get my hopes up too high. It was 8 days later that I received the greatest news of 2016 that I had officially been accepted into the nursing program. SO EXCITED!

The first half of the year was spent preparing for school by doing the background check, drug test, and med calc practice exams. I purchased books, scrubs and waited for the day I would officially start nursing school. There was this surreal feeling that lingered in the air as each day passed. I worked, I played with my family, and I finished up a couple classes online. It was a surprisingly smooth transition from working full-time to being a student full-time.

Once school started, there were days where I felt 100% comfortable and as if this was exactly what I had been waiting for and there were days I dug my head into my hands, bawled like a baby and wished for just one extra point on an exam or comp to pass. It was the largest, most thrilling, life-changing roller coaster I had ever put myself on. And I’m still going.

Last week before Christmas, I finished my second semester of nursing school and could not be more proud of myself and the amazing students I get to go through this with. I have made some life-long friends. I want the professors to be forever-mentors. My heart is so full of love, gratitude, acceptance, and joy for the last year. Not one bit of it was easy and I know without a doubt that easy is boring. I like the challenge. I like the learning and more than anything, above all the content, people and time spent studying, I feel closer to God that I have in years. My Spiritual health (which EVERYONE HAS, with or without believe in God or a higher power) has grown beyond measure. I pray that this coming year is full of learning, joy, love, and grace in all aspects of my life. I pray for forgiveness and understanding when I’m not there for my friends or feel weak and too tired to be social.

You know I love you all for being here, loving and supporting me. I could not get through any of this without my amazing husband, children, family and friends. THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart. May 2017 bless you in amazing ways.

Love, Sarah

7 months

My last post is over 2 months old and I have been thinking about writing an update here for days. I did the math the other day and I have been in nursing school for 7 months. That’s pretty crazy! My concept of time is all over the place. Some days I don’t even know what the date is and before I know it, the month is over! The amount of material and the experiences I have had so far have been life-changing. There is not a single doubt in my mind that I am exactly where I belong. So let’s catch up…

The last post I talked about taking my Pharm comps. That Friday, we were leaving for California for a weekend family vacation to Disneyland and so I was focused on studying and packing. My comps were in the morning and I was ready but very nervous. I always get nervous before I have to perform (more on this later). My scenario was pretty straight forward and I passed! So we left the hospital and headed to the airport for a whirlwind vacation to California with my cousins and despite how quick it was, we enjoyed every second of it. It was also a great treat before starting my Med/Surg class.

Med/Surg was a class that I had been so looking forward to. It was as if I had been through these basic classes to get to the real deal when it comes to nursing medicine and practice. I love learning about diseases and why they happen and am rarely grossed out from things. Week 5 we had comps before we were to head into clinicals. The week of comps was a disaster for me. I had so much happening with work and class that I had no time to practice my skills (NG tube, trach care/cleaning, wound care). I had one day to get it right and I just prayed that I would do well.

I was in the first group of the morning to go. I was up early and ready to rock it. I knew my scenario and just didn’t know what skills or meds I would be giving. Long story short, I failed. I was absolutely devastated! I just had poor time management. I wasn’t organized and I let my anxiety get the best of me. Thankfully, my proctor was so sweet and reassuring that I would get it the next time. She had tons of great tips and I worked on those things and my skills all weekend. By Tuesday, I was ready to really rock my comps and I did. I was, however, terrified that I wouldn’t pass. Another fail and I’d be out. It’s that strict. I get it. Nursing has to be strict because we are dealing with the life of another human and our skills have to be perfect.

After week 5 comps, we started our clinicals in the hospital. I was SO excited to finally get my hands on real people with real issues to apply what I had learned so far. That is how I learn best. Our clinical instructor is wonderful. She told us right away that our time in clinicals was about learning and not about the care plan, though we still needed to do them, she wanted us to focus on the experience. So my first day of clinicals I went to the OR! I followed an awesome OR nurse who was willing and happy to teach. I got to learn more about sterile procedures. I did try to insert a folly cath and I missed but it was a good try! Last week I was able to see an EGD, colonoscopy and a heart cath with stents! I have had great patients with really complicated issues, all of which have really helped me through the critical thinking process. I also placed two IVs with success! Overall, great experience so far.

After fighting off every other germ this fall, my body finally succumbed to strep this weekend. I have been in bed for 2 days and I haven’t had strep since I was a kid! I cannot believe how miserable this is! The timing could not be worse! Next week we have two finals and finish our clinical rotation so send up prayers and good vibes that I can get through the next two weeks PASSING exams and clinicals so I can enjoy Christmas.

I’m hoping that it won’t be another two months before I write again, but that is just a testament to how busy nursing school keeps me. I am so proud of myself. I have never worked so hard in my life and I know that all the blood, sweat, tears and sacrifice is well worth the reward in the end.

Surviving Pharm

(Sunrise on my drive to school last week.)

The last 4 weeks and 3 days have been nothing short of insanity for me and my fellow nursing buddies. I knew that pharm would be hard but I never imagined I’d fail my first exam in nursing school in this class. When I say fail, I don’t mean under 59% like most standard grading scales. I mean under 75%. Yes, you will not pass the class or an exam if you cannot maintain a 75% or better. In general, this makes sense. I don’t think most people want an average nurse caring for them who doesn’t even know 80% of her or his job. 

It’s absolutely unrealistic to think that I could ever learn everything about every drug, but understanding basics….I’m there. In two days I will take my first med passing comps and I’m exhausted! The physical, mental, emotional and spiritual stress I’ve gone through has been so hard. I’ve cried more this month than I have in a long time BUT it’s a good way to get rid of stress! 😜 

Next week we start a new class and I’ll have my second round of clinicals at the end of November. It’s mind blowing how fast this goes. I have no clue what day of the week it is. But I have my family and friends supporting me and I couldn’t do any of this without them. 

Mental healthcare


Hi friends! Before the weekend I wanted to share an important post with you all. I don’t get too personal on the blog very often so this is one of those rare occasions when I will. 

I have a brother who is younger than me. We currently live 15 minutes from each other. He is happily married to an amazing lady whom I love with all my heart. She has made him the happiest I’ve ever seen him. Together, they are amazing. Before he met his wife, my brother had been through the marines, fought in the Iraq war, and has dealt with more mental health issues than I care to admit–and none of those issues are his fault. I mean, I’m not sure if you can blame mental health on any one or thing, but there are obviously times when people and situations can make it worse or better. He has started a blog to talk about his mental health and how it has evolved from childhood, to the marines, and after. I am certain that there are many people out there who can relate to his experience either personally or by someone they know. 

I’m so proud to be his sister. Our relationship is far from perfect but we love each other and I am so grateful that, despite all the shit he’s been through, he’s still here with us sharing his story, living his life as a husband and being an awesome uncle to my kids. Please follow the link below and check it out. Give him a follow, like, comment and share. 

Thanks. 

The Mental Marine

First semester: Done!

This summer has flown by. I have been buried in notes, power points, and care plans galore and I could not be happier! I have never worked so hard academically before in my life. It’s been a true test of my passion and drive in nursing. Here is a quick summary of the past 3 months, my first semester in nursing school!

  • Health assessment started in May and ended in June. 
  • Comps for health assessment included a complete head to toe assessment.
  • My lab partner and I nailed the comps and celebrated with breakfast and beer-duh.
  • We started transforming care in mid May and this included learning about management, leadership and nursing theories while applying a biblical view to the career of nursing. It was not my fave but I bonded with several classmates and learned about spiritual boundaries.
  • End of June I started foundations in nursing which I was super stoked for! The first 2 weeks covered CNA skills but ended up being an nice reminder on some skills that I rarely practice.
  • After a few weeks, we started to cover more important nursing topics like the nursing process, fluids and electrolytes, oxygenation, pain management, and more. 
  • The last 4 weeks of this class were so intense. I felt the physiological demands of the class on my body as I studied harder than I ever have before. The anxiety and stress levels were through the roof. My efforts paid off, though. I aced the hardest exam of the program thus far.
  • By the end of the class, I was experiencing adrenal fatigue. I could not physically stay awake or think straight. I suddenly started to second guess practice questions. I consoled in my tutor and she gently told me to stop studying and take care of myself. I did just that. 
  • I passed my lab comps this past Friday. The stress and anxiety leading up to this major milestone in the class was worth every effort. Passing was hard And I came out sweating bullets! 

So the semester ended on Friday! I did it! But on Sunday early morning, mysterious pain set into my upper abdominal area. I thought it out for a day and went to the ER today. Turns out I most likely have an ulcer caused by all the stress! 😩

I’m home resting now. Hoping this second semester isn’t so hard on my body. 

head to toe

On Friday, my lab partner and I had our first lab comps where we had to perform a full head to toe assessment on each other. We had to memorize and perform all the assessments for each system and do it in less than 20 minutes. If there is anything I hate, it’s being timed. Also, being watched at timed. So I am not your typical Leo who likes to perform and be the center of attention–in fact, I hate it! So this is something I really need to get used to and I’m sure it will get easier but the first time was stressful.

The good news? We PASSED! It was pass/fail and remediation for failing was to be done next week and we are so glad that we nailed it! We both certainly made a few minor mistakes but nothing that would have put the patient in any harm. We celebrated by heading up to a famous cinnamon role breakfast spot and had some food all the while in disbelief that we had passed.

Next week we start foundations. We are half way through our transforming care class and our first clinicals start in August.