The Dog Ate My Care Plan…

Just a mom/wife/nursing student extraordinaire trying to make it in the big bad city…

Archive for August, 2009

Got Punk’d?

Posted by isntshelovlei on August 26, 2009

106ca7d1630b9072The only nursing program I applied to but was not accepted was “Sage of Monticello University” (you’ll notice that at least for now I use a lot of codenames; but if you read between the lines—or do a bit of googling—they’re fairly easy to figure out). It wasn’t that I wasn’t qualified or anything (I mean I have a 4.0 GPA what else could they have wanted from me—blood?), but the program is so competitive that the class was full by Christmas and so I was waitlisted. And on the waiting list I stayed from January until…today— August 25, 2009. For months the waiting list candidates received monthly emails stating that no, no one had come off the waiting list…if a spot becomes available they will call you (don’t bother calling them)…if you still have prerequisites to finish—they suggest you finish them…and they still encourage you to complete the pre-matriculation requirements such as their $77.00 background check even though you may not be offered a spot and of course none of these expenses are refundable…etc., etc. Every month, I would open one of these templated emails with one eye shut and the other squinted open hoping that this time I would glimpse some good news—and always nothing. I just received one of these emails as recently as August 11th.

After months and months of this routine, I had accepted the fact that I just wasn’t going to SMU. Besides, it’s not like I didn’t have plenty of other options—with my grades I could go anywhere (else) I wanted to. I had just about forgotten about SMU and their maddening monthly emails. So imagine my surprise when I came home to find a message on my answering machine from their Assistant Director of Admissions. Why else would she be calling unless a spot had opened up?

At first I hesitated before I called her back—I needed time to think. In the program I currently plan to attend I will be working AND going to school—I have a mortgage to pay. But of course I would LOVE to be able to just go to school (you’re not “allowed” to work during SMU’s program and so they certify your financial aid to include a “living expense loan”). I would LOVE to be able to abandon the daily grind as a gofer and to not have to go to work an hour early just to get a damn parking spot. Sounds great!—where do I sign?? …But wait a minute! It’s frickin’ August! The end of August at that! School starts in a week! You want me to just quit my job and pull some miracle financial aid package out of my ass a hat in a week?!? I don’t have some long lost relative who recently died and left me a stockpile of cash or a trust fund. And last time I checked it was still illegal to sell your organs on eBay—and my blood type is O, so I’m sure I’d get a nice amount of bids. Wasn’t the kidney that was posted on eBay back in 1999 going for about 5.7 million before eBay yanked the auction down?  Man, what I wouldn’t give for that kind of cash right about now…

So basically that woman got me all excited for nothing—trying to sell me a pipe dream. I think I just got Punk’d…

Needless to say, the economy sucks and the financial aid situation is bungled around here. To add insult to injury, we’re not getting any PHEAA grant money until the PA state budget is passed. And these colleges and universities want us to apply for (like we’ll actually get approved for) these insane amounts of student loans—it’s ludicrous!  I’m about to have to set up a lemonade stand or sell plasma just to pay for books.

And I don’t know if Ashton Kutcher was behind that phone call I got today but as Sagat would say…”Man…funk dat!”

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Ready, Set…

Posted by isntshelovlei on August 21, 2009

NursingSchoolSurvivalIt’s been a month since my last post so I felt the need to check in. I actually wrote a quite lengthy post about the whole Creative Steps / Valley Swim Club incident but to be honest I am really tired of talking about it—Yes, we went to Disney World; Yes, we met Tyler Perry; Yes we had fun except for the fact that we were stalked by paparazzi and random people would stop us on the street because they’d seen us on television (I mean honestly how could you ever miss those bright orange shirts??). Thanks but enough already. Besides I think people have become so swept up in the hype that they’ve forgotten what this is really about and why this is all happening—that unfortunately, racism is not dead as some naïve folks would like to believe…  

Anyway, back to the next phase in my life—nursing school. I know I will regret saying this but—I cannot wait to go back to school. First of all, because I don’t know what to do with myself when I’m not overextended with work and school and home and so I’ve been sleeping to the point where my body is no longer absorbing it and I still wake up exhausted. Secondly, because I will finally get to do real nursing stuff! No more art history and world civ and pottery classes in an effort to make sure I’m one of those “well-rounded” students—bring on the pharmacology and starting IVs! Okay so this semester I’m just taking Intro to Nursing and Foundations so no IVs quite yet but I’m excited anyway. And I do realize that along with all this “fun” stuff there is a dark side—body fluids and poop to name a few, but hey somebody’s gotta do it…

We finally had orientation which gave me a little taste of what I should expect for the next two and a half years—total and complete information overload. You cannot even imagine all of the information that we were infused with in those four (short) hours. This included but was not limited to the bare essentials such as attendance and dress code, and professional comportment (“you don’t have to like everyone but you do have to get along”—trust me I get plenty of practice with this at work…). If you didn’t already know the grading system is a little different in nursing school. For instance in the real world a C ranges from 70-79, but in nursing school (or at least at mine) it’s a 75-77. There is no C-. Get a 74 and you just got an F. Get two of those and you’re sent packing. Talk about pressure! And let’s not forget the dreaded math policy–you must make a 90% within three tries on the math exams or you fail. I have long heard moans and groans about various nursing program’s math policies—“but I had the right answer, I just put the decimal point in the wrong spot”. Well, HELLO. Let’s face it, the difference between giving a patient 1mL of a drug and 10mL a drug may very well kill them.

We were informed of yet more stuff we needed to buy—such as a nursing lab kit filled with all kinds of goodies–BP cuff, IV set,  tracheostomy care kit, ostomy wafer and bag (I told you there was a dark side) and so on. They even threw in 10 whole alcohol prep pads (like those’ll last long). We talked about clinical compliance and all the reasons why former victims students were failed and/or kicked out—mostly HIPAA slipups. There was one girl who decided to get into an argument with a surgeon during an operating room experience (because of course she was so much more knowledgeable than he was)—so we’re no longer allowed to go to that facility. And lastly—the big kahuna—NCLEX-RN prep. So my school’s NCLEX pass rate hasn’t been so hot these past few years so of course they need to put in supports to help get that up. And guess who’s in the guinea pig class?—yours truly. So now we will have to take a HESI exam (which is supposed to predict NCLEX success) after each subject in order to continue on in the program. This is actually not a new concept. Other schools have already been using this method to weed out the poor achievers—and this is how they keep their pass rates higher. Basically you have to obtain a certain score on the HESI or you can’t continue in the program. At the end of the program you have to take the HESI “exit” exam and pass with a certain score otherwise the school won’t sign off on you taking the NCLEX-RN. So basically the school gets to make their pass/fail rates look great because if you don’t pass the HESI to their satisfaction you never get to take the NCLEX. Oh, and I almost forgot—we also have to do (and show proof that we did) 3000 NCLEX practice questions before it’s all said and done…so I guess I’d better get started now.

In other news my uniforms finally arrived and the pants are just as horrible as I remember them the day of the fitting. They are about three shades darker than the shirt but after an hour of retail therapy they had been replaced with some pants that I could actually live with (shhh…I don’t need the uniform police citing me for being out of uniform). And I know I live under a rock sometimes but when exactly did Baby Phat start making scrubs???—Kimora Lee Simmons definitely stays on her grind.  I am also now armed with my engraved Littmann stethoscope and some white Dansko clogs I got off eBay for peanuts compared to what they cost in the store. As soon as I knock off this $1000 book list I should be ready for nursing school. But the real question is—is nursing school ready for me??? Till next time…

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