Level III Down – Only One More to Go

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Yesterday I celebrated getting through Nursing III and Psychosocial/Mental Health Nursing.  Nursing III, at my ADN program is a combination of Medical Surgical Nursing and Pediatrics.  The other component is Psychosocial Nursing, or what I like to call, “MY PEOPLE!”  My celebratory drink of choice was a Sangria, with copious amounts of red wine.

Before starting the program I knew I would be most attracted to Psych Nursing.  After all, my B.A. and graduate work was in Criminology and Public Administration.  So, not only am I already interested in the subject matter, I am fascinated at how our minds work.   The complexities of the brain are endless.

I had the honor of being placed in the clinical rotation at our local Veteran’s Administration hospital, a place I am familiar with, as the wife of a Gulf War-Era Veteran.   The experience, as a Student Nurse, did not disappoint.  In fact, it has been, bar none, my best clinical experience in Nursing School.   I live in an area with  outstanding teaching hospitals.   And, I attend the ADN program with the best local reputation, for preparing students well.  Better than the four-year colleges.

The VA was a dream clinical assignment.  Everyone, from the Veterans and their families, to the nurses and doctors were welcoming.  I was asked repeatedly, “When are you graduating?  Are you coming to work here?  We need more nurses, here, you know?”  All I wanted to say was, “I WANT to work here!!”   Because I do.  Specifically with mental health and/or PTSD patients.

Next Semester, my final semester, I have the opportunity of going back to the VA.  In fact, there is a strong possibility that I can go back to the same unit I worked on this semester.  Not only will I already know the charting and MAR systems, I will know the nurses and may likely select a Nurse Preceptor from that group.   My other option is to select a different clinical site, to learn another system and expand my professional circle.

For now, however, I am enjoying some much needed time off!  My pedicure is scheduled for tomorrow and I am volunteering at the Pinning Ceremony for the Spring 2013 graduates.   I will bid them good luck and Godspeed and prepare myself for Level IV.


40-something, Overweight, Laid-off and Going Back to College

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Sung to the tune of “Going Back to Cali,” by L.L. Cool J.

I’m going back to college, to college.

I’m going back to college.

I don’t think so.

After being laid off for almost two years, I’ll be starting undergraduate Anatomy and Physiology I on Monday of next week.  The last time I was a college student, spiral perms and acid wash jeans were the styles and I did all my papers on a Brother Word Processor.

My, how my world has changed.  I never expected to be out of work, certainly not for more than a couple of months. And, never considered becoming a Nurse the first time I went to college.  No.  Criminal Justice was my major.   Which I parlayed into a variety of different jobs successfully.

Sadly, the organization I thought I’d retire from, merged with another, reorganized and proceeded to lay people off as they transitioned.  My last day there was bittersweet.  Bitter because I knew I’d given the customers my best work and the best parts of myself and sweet, because I knew that I would not be a good match for the new direction they were heading.

In the meantime, I started working for myself as a Zumba Instructor and Virtual Assistant.  Zumba helped me lose weight, become healthier and brought my joy, even on the darkest days.  It gives me a reason to move, dance and have FUN and has become my passion!  I’ll be sharing my experiences at the upcoming Zumba convention in a couple of weeks.

Which brings me to why I’m chronicling my return to college.  This is not my first attempt at blogging.  I’ve been recording my weight loss journey elsewhere.  This, however, will be more personal because when I lost my job, I lost part of my identity.   It’s time for me to take it back and I know my contributions lie in wellness, fitness and helping people become their healthiest selves.