Saturday, October 15, 2011

Nursing School Update

Well...I've been very busy.  I am supposed to be finishing up a case study on a pregnant woman with rheumatoid arthritis today, but the words aren't coming to me easily.  As I advance through the levels of nursing school, the papers are getting more complicated and more difficult to organize on paper.  I am starting to really enjoy my clinicals this year; my instructor is wonderful and has really been making sure that we all get rotations that are in challenging environments. This week was in the Intensive Care Unit.  It was one of those perfect clinical days where the patient is wonderful and the care required is enough to keep you challenged and busy but not completely overwhelmed.  This patient was having respiratory issues and our advanced respiratory unit in class was relatively recent so everything was very applicable to what I was learning in school.  This never happens.  More often than not, I am reduced to saying, "Umm...we haven't covered that yet."  The patient also required several skills that I hadn't gotten to perform yet:  catheterization, IV medications, bipap mask.  I was thrilled with the entire day.  When I left my patient hugged me and kissed me on the cheek and his family told me I was going to be an awesome nurse.  My instructor also said she was pleased with how well I performed.  Since I normally feel like a clumsy idiot at clinicals, I would call this a good day.

Then yesterday, I had an extra rotation in a Nurse Midwife's office that was a lot of fun.  I spent the morning talking about infertility treatments with the midwife and finding fetal heart beats with a doppler.  I dipped urine samples and looked at them under microscopes and palpated pregnant uteruses.  I was very comfortable and although it wouldn't be my first choice for a job, I know I could do it and probably enjoy it.  I find that my experience with all things baby before nursing school helps me out in spades when it comes to rotations like this.  While other students are reading up, I just don't have to.  I had a great day, and was invited to come back, which is not required by either the nurses or the nurse midwife.  The nurse I had when I was pregnant with my daughter also works for this office now, but wasn't on shift.  I was a little disappointed that I didn't get to talk with her.

But the best news in the nursing school department by far is still to come.  My clinical instructor told all her students to send her an email detailing what we hoped to accomplish in clinicals this year and what our interests were for after graduation.  So I blabbed about some areas that I wanted to learn more about and then mentioned my interest in NICU nursing.  Just to clarify, nursing students in my area don't go to NICU.  The patients and parents are in extremely vulnerable and sensitive situations.  There is a huge risk for infection in preemies (a scenario I know all too well), and it is not an area to practice starting IVs or tube feedings or anything at all.  Nurses who work in NICU need to already be familiar with these procedures and need to be extra sensitive in very difficult situations.  So...that translates to no nursing students.  At all.  I was aware before starting school, of one nursing student who managed to get a preceptorship in the NICU at the end of clinicals.  All along this has been my ultimate goal, but I have been trying to reach out to other areas so that I have a backup plan.  On our first clinical, the instructor pulled me aside and inquired about my interest.  I explained that I was aiming for a NICU preceptorship and that I had gathered a few recommendations from two NICU nurses as well as the OB instructor from last year.  I told her it was absolutely what I wanted to do.  Well, she completely shocked me by saying that she would see what she could do.  She mentioned the former nursing student that I know who made it into NICU and it turns out, she taught that student's OB rotations back in the day.  After she dropped me off in the unit I was scheduled in, she went straight up to NICU to try to find out what I might be able to do.  She came back and said that she hadn't been able to talk with anyone who thought it was doable.  I thanked her for trying and told her I hadn't really been expecting to get in during clinicals anyway.  I was excited that she even went above and beyond the call of duty to inquire for me.  Rotations are scheduled in typical areas like Rehab, Orthopedics, Med Surg, Endoscopy, Labor and Delivery, and a few others.  If you are lucky, you might get some time in ICU.  It is certainly not required that one student's interests be followed up on.  Her job is to make sure I know the skills I need to know to pass my licensure exam next summer.  That's it.  So after this I already adored her.

However, I received an email several days later saying we needed to talk about NICU.  When I arrived at clinicals this week, she filled me in on what she had been doing.  She tracked down the nurse manager, explained my interest, highly recommended me, and mentioned the other staff that I knew might be willing to take me under their wing.  So the nurse manager went out of her way to draw up extra paperwork that would allow me to get in.  Then my instructor went to the director of my school and is having her draw up extra paperwork so that I can do as many rotations as possible on top of my clinicals.  I can drop one of my clinical days, but the rest of my rotations have to be on my own time.  I started to feel a little guilty for not disclosing my reasons for wanting to do NICU nursing so badly so she and I ended up having a really nice conversation about Matthew and the ways my experience with him can help me as a NICU nurse.'s looking like I will get to go to NICU while I'm still a nursing student.  I can only observe, but that was all I wanted to do anyway.  I have been excited all week long over this news.

I have other things to blab about but I also have a paper to write today.  If you have time, stop over at Band Back Together today for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day to check out the wall.  My Matthew is near the bottom of the list.  My thoughts and prayers are with each and every one of you as we continue on this journey together.

Also, have you seen Carly Marie's blog?  I stumbled upon it by shear accident and was so impressed with the work she is doing.  This wonderful lady is a baby loss mama who dedicates some of her time to remembrance pictures that are amazing.  She writes angel babies' names in the sand at the beach near her home and photographs them in the sunset.  I have one coming for Matthew and I am so excited!

"When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight"

Kahlil Gibran


  1. That's awesome news about the NICU - I'm very happy for you, and glad you had a great week.

  2. What great news about the NICU - thank you for sharing. Thank you also for checking out Jake and Sawyer's names on the wall. I saw Matthew's and thought of you all on the 15th and everyday. Take care.