well

I seriously suck at blogging while in nursing school! As I have said many times, it is not that I don’t want to. I do think of things I want to share but at the end of the day, I have other things I need to do, like play with the kids or sleep. Choices, here people.

Since my last post in February, I made it out of Mental Health alive. And that is not a joke. That class was by far the hardest I have ever taken. I did well on exams, not as well as I wanted to, but I never worried about not passing. The problem was the emotional heaviness of the class. I was smacked hard in the face by the reality of how messed up the mental health care in our country is. It literally blows my mind and makes me crazy mad; I can barely even talk about it without getting anxious.

Speaking of anxiety, I had gone several weeks without a single panic attack and then between weeks 5-6 of the class, I had 3 in one week. So much for my mind and heart to handle at once. I realized then that I can handle the usual mental health chat that I will have with my patients as an assessment piece of the plan, but I am no where near cut out to be a mental health nurse. Just like there are nurses who would never want to do labor and delivery, I am the nurse that could never do psych. I did briefly touch on this in my last post, but not in the same amount of detail as I am now. It took me awhile to process what I experienced and learned.

All that to say, I did get through the class. I wouldn’t say it was fun, but I did it. And now I am done with health promotion and just started evidence based practice and leadership (two separate classes that are working together as far as content ant assignments go). For health promotion, we spent two weeks at the refugee center providing basic health info to people who really didn’t know English or have an idea of what health factors they needed to be taking care of (blood pressure, blood sugar, pregnancy…). I created the most bad-ass poster board on prenatal care. I will share a pic later–I wanted to make sure the board and class had been graded first before I shared any of it.

Finally, I did a 9NEWS Health Fair and that is something that Denver puts on all over the front range. Before the event, I was asked by my preceptor if I would like to help assist with the pap and breast exams and OF COURSE I said yes! Little did I know how absolutely incredible it would be.

I worked one on one with an NP who made sure that I was not going to leave without seeing ever single cervix that walked in the door. The facts, advice and guidance she bestowed on me was priceless and I am certain I will not see anything like this in my OB rotation. I may, however, not even see these things until I am in midwifery school!

So what did I see? I saw 11 cervixs’. All over 40 years old. The NP first asked the patient questions like their sexual activity, history, and if they had children. The women were open, honest and made me laugh. I was giddy inside! Of the 11 women we saw, one cervix had a polyp, another woman had an ovarian mass (I felt it from the outside), several women had a retroverted uterus and every woman had gone far too long without a proper mammogram. I did not do any of the actual exams–I filled out paper work, prepared the specimens once the NP had gathered the cells she needed from the pap smear, and gave hugs to these brave women who were advocating for their health.

There was not one moment where I thought something was gross or felt like this wasn’t for me–just the opposite! Seeing the GYN side of women’s health only helped fuel this fire inside of me. The passion I have is unlike anything I have ever experienced and I am so grateful for that day and for the NP who took me under her wing and taught me everything I could ever know about assessing a vagina and cervix. Pretty awesome!

I’m now two weeks into EBP and Leadership and these are classes that are geared specifically for the bachelor side of nursing. This is where nurses who were interested in management or being charge nurses would really need this information and honestly, I am not the biggest fan yet BUT I do love using EB material especially when it pertains to women’s health, pregnancy, and childbirth. Unfortunately, we are not researching anything in that area but it will be good practice.

On a personal note, these last 5 months have been hard. I’ve had a number of physical ailments and have had a hard time managing my overall health while keeping up with the family and school and life in general. I am not sure where or why these things are coming from but I am hopeful I will find out soon. I have a very important appointment with my doctor next week so positive vibes for answers would be great. Without going into detail too much, pain all over is what I am dealing with. Abdominal, head (migraines), neck, joints, fatigue…the list goes on.

Until next time….

MaeIMG_5850

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orientation

I am 30 days away from startin nursing school. For the past 3 months since I found out about my admission into the program, I have felt veryexcited, yet anxious because I wanted to know everything about the program but I had to wait until orientation. In the mean time, I praticed doing some dosing modules online. I have an amazing tutor for nursing school and she helped me grasp the concepts quickly. I was truly worried I would never figure it out! Math is not my strong suit.

On Friday, I woke up early, curled my hair, put some make up on, grabbed my water, snacks and welcomed the sunrise as I drove south down the freeway to the school I will call home for the next 24 months. I arrived 15 minutes early. I do hope that this is something I can accomplish every time I go down, as tardiness is one of my biggst pet peeves. Others had already arrived and once we were ushered through the line I received my folder for the day, took my student photo for my badge, and munched on a bagel.

The entire day was wonderful. I could feel a lot of anticipation and stress flow away as I had questions answered and chatted with new friends. My excitement for this program has only grown. We learned about some rules and regs, how clinical placements take place, how to build relationships with the faculty and other students, and how to survive the next two years without failing out or losing our minds. I admit, I have been pretty nervous about doing well but I KNOW that I have what it takes to get through it. One day at a time. Plus, my husband has been an amazing rock. He knows that things will change and that sacrifices will be made. I could not do any of this without his love and support, or that of other friends and family.

My dreams of becoming a nurse midwife become more real every day. Every class, every credit, every cinical will bring me closer to that dream. Thanks for being her with me.

Sarah

An Open Letter to Joy Behar

I was pissed when I heard about the comments made on The View regarding Kelley’s monologue as a nurse on Miss America. She hails from a town not far from me. She works with and knows several of the nurses I work with. While I have yet to meet her in person, this hit home, literally, harder than I expected. Being a nurse is so much more than a monologue. It is a lifestyle, a calling and for me, a passion. This letter to Joy is very well-said, respectful and just what the ladies at The View need to here.

According to Kateri

As many of you have seen, Miss Coloradodelivered a beautifully spoken monologue about nursing during last week’s Miss America pageant. Recently, on The View as the pageant was discussed, Miss Colorado’s scrubs were referred to as a costume, and Joy posedthe question of why she was wearing a “doctor’s stethoscope.” Below is my now calmed down reply to all of it. Additionally, Iwould like to personally andpublicly congratulate Kelley Johnson RN on her chosen talent, it is one that will reward you forever.

Dear Joy Behar,

A beautiful woman in a beauty pageant put on baggy clothes and humbly walked across the stage to talk proudly about her career, and her passion for caring for other human beings, and the only thing you could muster in response was an insult grounded in ignorance.

Rather than being offended or getting angry, I will instead, take a moment to teach.

I am…

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coffee date

If we were going on a coffee date I’d tell you what’s on my heart…

I’d tell you that I am not crazy about the class I’m taking right now. It’s on the book of Psalms. It’s a required class since I am attending a Christian University for nursing school. I’d tell you that I enjoy how close it has made me feel to God but that the class itself I’m over.

I’d tell you that I have a new nephew. I’d tell you that he is super adorable and has the same little elf ear point that Evelyn had at birth (and she’s since grown into). I’d tell you loving another newborn that is not my own and is not my patient is a totally new feeling of love I’ve never felt before.

I’d tell you that my mom is doing amazingly after finishing her radiation in mid July. I’d tell you that her hair is growing back super fast and that she looks beautiful.

I’d tell you that we took a famiy vacation to the mountains and it was, at the time, exactly what my soul needed. Fresh air, sunshine, and freedom really did this body good.

I’d tell you that being a mom has been hard this summer. My kids are growing and learning and becoming amazing humans and with all that growth and learning comes challenges. I’d tell you that they push all the buttons I didn’t even know I had. I’d tell you that I keep praying for constant patience and love. It’s getting better, but it’s been hard.

I’d tell you that emotionally, I’ve been struggling. Things have been hard lately and I can only hope that I’ll learn from it all. I only ever want to come out of hard times stronger and more resiliant with a better sense of who I am. It’s happening. Slowly.

I’d tell you that a sweet little boy, precious little man, has grown his angel wings far too soon. I’d tell you that my heart is breaking for his mama and daddy, two amazing friends we’ve known and loved for a long time. Saying goodbye to your child is something no parent should ever have to do. I’d tell you I find myself in constant prayer for them, for peace, love, comfort and healing. But my heart is still so sad.

I’d tell you all of this, over coffee and a box of kleenex because crying has become therapy. It’s been a long time since I have been feeling this emotional. At first, I want to fight it. I want to shove all these feelings into a deep hole so I don’t even have to think about it, but that ends up hurting more and does me do good. Welcoming the feelings, ALL the feelings, is healthy. It’s not easy. In fact, it’s really hard. And even more, sharing all this is hard. But I felt that I had to. I can only fake my feelings for so long before people can tell I’m not being myself. I hate when even I know I’m not being myself.

I’d tell you I get it. I’d tell you that I care about you, that your feelings are valid and I’d give you a hug.

The Politics of the Pelvic Exam: Practicing Applied Feminism

This is a great post about doing pelvic exams. I’m saving this for later and sharing the most important quote from the entire piece:

“A few months ago I was conducting a pelvic exam on a teenager, and it was her first exam. I absolutely love doing women’s first exams because studies show, unsurprisingly, that a woman’s first experience with a GYN health provider is likely to color her opinion of pelvics for the rest of her life, significantly impacting her follow-up and continued screening in the years to com.”

Sage Femme

Pelvic exams are really hard for a lot of people.

That statement should be self -evident, but I have had enough pelvics, and certainly conducted enough with other providers to know that not every midwife or physician truly understands this. Not just pays lip service to it, but truly understands how traumatizing and re-traumatizing the pelvic exam can be. For those of you with limited exposure to pelvics, or those of you who don’t have a vagina, I’ll provide you with the basics of what we do:

1) The external exam. Examine the external genitalia, make not of any sores, irritations or cysts. 

2) The internal exam, conducted with either a plastic or a metal speculum. This is how we look at the vaginal walls, look at discharge, and look at the cervix and take any samples we might need to take (i.e.: pap smear, wet prep, or STD testing…

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