Monday, March 12, 2012

Nursing stuff

I've been wanting to update the ol' blog here, but feel like I have "nothing worthwhile to say."
I'm just going to write.

Right now, I'm in the middle of my spring break. I coincided my work schedule with school, so I would have 7 glorious days off. Of course, during this break, I need to study for a pathophysiology quiz and write a paper! If I ever become a teacher (not likely), I will make sure all papers and quizzes are due the week prior to spring break, so the students can actually get a break. What a concept!

Work has been good. I'm precepting a student for her final semester of nursing school. This is my first time precepting someone for this many hours (180), and it's been good, but challenging at times. The thing is, this student is pretty good. She isn't afraid of doing basic nursing skills, not afraid of patients or families, etc. It's great. She is confident and should be proud of the work she is doing...but there is a fine line between confidence and over confidence. It can be dangerous. The experienced nurses will know what I mean. As for me, precepting a student has been a real eye opener as far as my own knowledge and skills. I found that I almost had to brush up on a few things. At first, I felt kind of embarrassed if trying to explain something, and realizing, hmmm, maybe I need to look this up, but I have to remember: I do not know everything, and never will. However, with nearly 4 years of experience under my belt, I am a damn good nurse, and I have come a long, long way. Lately, I've felt my own confidence levels shift. I am no longer worried in certain situations and while I still ask tons of questions, I'm definitely feeling more seasoned. It is a lot less stressful to go to work in the ICU because I feel like I know what I am doing. The whole critical thinking thing has definitely matured. I love how I can totally see and feel this shift in myself.

Nursing is cool like that.

The best part about precepting: for every 70 hours, I get 3 credit hours at my university. Um, hello free money! Since I'm doing 180 hours, it's approximately 2.5 classes!! Graduate school classes.

While on the subject of graduate school, as I mentioned in my previous post, I've been thinking about changing to the Family Nurse Practitioner track (from Adult). On March 2nd, I went ahead and submitted...

I was also required to write a letter of explanation. It has not been officially approved, but I don't suspect this will be an issue. Hopefully...because now I am 100% certain about my decision!

While I love working in the ICU and being a "critical care nurse," I do not see myself doing critical care for my entire career, or even working in the hospital!

 Critical care was always my goal as an RN, and for awhile, I even saw myself working in the ICU as a Nurse Practitioner, too, but...not anymore. The ICU is awesome. I would never, ever want to work anywhere in the hospital besides the ICU. I'm still learning and growing as an RN, and the ICU has afforded me huge opportunities in developing into an autonomous nurse. I did not have this autonomy on the floor, and I doubt I would have grown much in that environment. When I graduate in May 2014, I will have 6 years of nursing experience, with 5 of those in the ICU. When the day comes that I can no longer call myself an ICU nurse, I will be sad. I love the ICU.

But, I see a huge need in the community for preventive primary care. Long term, this is where I picture myself as a nurse practitioner. I see myself working initially in a tough environment--like a rural or inner-city community health center clinic providing primary care to those who cannot afford it. I understand this environment will be rough, but something about it calls to me. The whole public health about a stark difference when compared to the ICU.

My school of thought is that no one should go sick or die because they cannot afford healthcare. If you don't agree with this, then I honestly think something is wrong with you morally and ethically. Yes.

I would love to move somewhere that is lacking in medical care and open up a small practice, operating as the sole primary care provider for that community. I know I'm being pretty idealistic, but I'm a student, so that's allowed, right?

We will see where my career leads me!


Journey_On said...

That's cool that you're precepting a student! And getting grad school credits, too - awesome.

That's good that you made the decision to change tracks, since FNP sounds more in line with what you want to do in the future. Interestingly, providing care to underserved populations is what my school highly emphasizes. You'll do great, Nicole! :)

Oh, and it is always good to hear that a nurse actually likes where they work. Seriously. It gives me hope.

Amy Lauren said...

That's really cool that you get credit for precepting a student. But, I get it about students making you work too! We have an intern at my job, and I was showing her some things the other day, and even though I'm confident in my job, I'm still hoping she won't ask a question that I can't answer or something! Still, it makes a good point about how we're always learning and researching stuff in our jobs :).

Good luck with changing your grad degree to FNP. I'm sure that will open up lots of doors for working in rural or inner city medicine, with underserved populations.