Saturday, October 11, 2008

Enemy #1

I'm SO glad I have an app't with my therapist on Monday before my Tuesday meeting with the Dean of Students and the Dean of Health Services (apparently people are wasting their time reading this blog. thank you if you are and comment on it and pass on the word so I can turn it into a web page and make some money. that's why I need a steady job so I can have a salary and write and no, blogging is not writing, it's venting and just doing some general writing here and there (I have another site to review films and music and entertainment if I don't submit it elsewhere)-- I'm not quite done fighting but I think I'm at the end of the line after seeing the reaction of the Ass't Dean of Nursing and some of the faculty.

What is SO wrong with me that this happens again and again? I have to move somewhere and be alone and just wait to die. No friends. No interaction with others. no boyfriends. no superiors. just me and a cat and welfare money. I'll last maybe five years.

BTW, I have two trust funds due to generous grandparents. Not huge that I can live off them and never work again but they supplement my income nicely. I see the films I want to see. B and I have frequented nearly every really great restaurant in Boston/Cambridge at least once. We go to the theater once a month. I enjoy memberships to an indie movie house and several museums.

I'm working on Obama's campaign, as I always get involved w/ some political campaign being a liberal feminist activitst (who dates Republicans) and also who enjoys the political scene and almost became a press secretary.

I went to very good private schools and that is why I am now at a community college because I have an enormous student loan from BU. I'm just frustrated professionally. Whoever is so cowardly that they read this and actually know me and cannot email or call or text me than you will NEVER succeed in healthcare. You cannot handle tragedy, emotions, disappoints, depression which many people will have that you deal with. So shame on you.

You kinda know who your friends are when the chips are down and no one calls.. I trust you to use good judgment. I've heard from Robert, Dawn, Nancy Nicole and Susan.

I have theories about who's spreading rumors and talking to teachers and deans about this blog. I know who likes to gossip and talk and cluster and be in cliques like high school.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Middlesex Community College has ruined me

Kicked me out over something that happened this summer at New England Rehabilitation. No investigation. They did not ask my side of the story. I was told this is it. "There is nothing that can be done."

Really? This is the way you treat smart, dedicated, promising nursing students?

Dean Kathy Gehly did not even have the decency to sit down to speak with me and give me the letter I requested. I had asked her to mail or fax it to me but she told me to make an appointment with her secretary to come in to get it. When I arrived, she stood there, handed it to me and I said, "Should I read it now?" If it were not a big deal why didn't she mail or fax it!!! Also for someone who is a nurse and in healthcare to treat a student like dirt is truly uncalled for. She could have given me a copy of the student handbook or told me something.

here is the email I sent her:
Amy Steele to gehlyk
show details Oct 7 (2 days ago)

Dean Gehly,
As I mentioned on the phone I need a letter stating why you gave me a clinical failure. I can either pick it up from your office or you can mail it or fax it to you (information below). Please let me know what is easier. I would also like to know where the policy is that states this and also why there is no other alternative for a student in good standing. It seems rather sad/detrimental that due to one person's opinion, I have to drop out of a program I am doing quite well in unless I am delusional about that as well.

Is there any recourse for me to fight this?
In the "meeting" (I use that term very loosely)
I said that I was dedicated to the program. I wanted to be there. I really wanted to be a nurse. I had been doing well. This was not an academic or disiplinary problem. This is a problem from several months back from an institution that holds a grudge. My wonderful therapist, Mark, who has a MSW and PhD teaches at BU and says there is ALWAYS another option for students there. I guess you get what you pay for at a community college.

I just passed the injection certification on Monday and the instructors could see how well I did and the technique I have and how well prepared I was. I emailed both Professor Nancy Mizzoni and Professor Tina Cormio and neither have emailed back or even called and I find it appalling. Not very supportive. Shows they didn't think I would have been a good student and are glad I'm not in their classed anymore.

Professor Pherson said I was "a pleasure to watch" do my cert even though I made a few mistakes-- passed still. One bottle had a minute amount of fluid and I had to pull the needle almost entirely out. I'm really going to miss school and the class and am going into the Bell Jar as we speak. It's awful. I was so close and geting back into the groove with my meds etc. and one woman had to ruin it for me with her sour puss face (the bitch Nancy Gondek at New England Rehabilitation Hospital)?

A classmate sent me this email but if no one SAYS anything it doesn't help:
s.x@xx to me
show details 8:48 PM (18 hours ago)

We are all so mad at the school on your behalf. The folks who just finished clinical at Woburn told horror stories of the way the nurses and aides there treated them.

Hang in there,

I also just cannot believe that no professor will help me or answer any of my emails.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I got kicked out of nursing school because I had a summer job

I worked at New England Rehab Hospital where I was slandered this summer. Someone said I threw a walker which I never did and vehemently denied but the nursing manager did not believe me. No one believed me apparently. They believed the distraught wife of the patient instead of the Nursing Assistant. So I quit because I could not be in an inenvironment that lacked that kind of support.

Yesterday, we had our clinical orientation at NERH on the same unit that I worked at this summer and the sour-faced nurse manager Nancy Gondek noticed me and immediately talked to my clinical instructor and told her she wasn't "comfortable" with me doing clinical here unless I was under 1:1 supervision. The clinical instructor, Sue Ryan, said that it wasn't possible and next thing I knew I had "bad news" to hear: if I didn't do this clinical that I couldn't pass clinical at all (thus out of the program). NO OPTIONS PROVIDED. [Oh, Ps. Sue Ryan also said maybe nursing wasn't for me and I should consider something else in the healthcare field and she had known me for about an hour! How dare she? I've been studying to be a nurse for five years and have wanted to be a nurse for much longer!]


Katherine Gehly, MSN, RN, Assistant Division Dean for Nursing, was very matter of fact in her presentation to me of the fact that I would not be able to continue in the program. No options. No plans to fight it. No apologies. Nothing. She could care less. Another student down. Good, I guess. That's how I felt. She didn't care if I would become an excellent nurse. Perhaps she has already decided that I couldn't possibly make a good nurse if someone wouldn't want me at such a divine, lovely establishment as New England Rehab.

I would also like to know where the policy is that states this and also why there is no other alternative for a student in good standing. It seems rather sad/detrimental that due to one person's opinion, I have to drop out of a program I am doing quite well in unless I am delusional about that as well.

On a positive note:
Just Monday, I passed my injection certification which was grueling and difficult. I spent many hours of prep time in and out of the lab. Prof. Pherson told me it was a pleasure to watch me. I said, "Really?" She responded, "Yes, it's been a rough morning." What a lovely compliment and then the above had to occur.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Failed test, bad mood

Clinical today was lousy. Didn't learn a single thing. Observed the woman the entire time. Didn't do anything hands on even though I said that I had been a CNA and a Medical Assistant. My clinical teacher said that the nurse "thought" I "didn't want to do anything." What crap that is! She didn't give me a chance.

She said every time she looked at me in class I looked angry which is also bullshit. How am I supposed to have that empty look on my face. I said I was "agressive" and she said I "came across as insecure." I may have some insecurities but I am certainly not insecure about everything.

When I said that preferred to live in Boston, she suggested that I should think about MGH Institute for Health Science. Is she high? I have 90K in debt from Boston University to deal with. And I would have also gone to Simmons or BC if I could have afforded it but instead I am at a community college for now.

I am so insulted. How can people look at me and make such assumptions? It's so unfair.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Why do I do so much and still feel so crappy?

The day:
0620 left my house
ate banana in the car

0730 Arrived in Saugus
Stopped at Starbucks for a Venti iced latte from Starbucks. Called Nicole (way behind) and Robert (already arrived and down at the building and at the Panera-- said I would meet him there).
Got a blueberry bagel with margarine at Panera.

0830-1215 Listened to elder law attorney and then teachers talk about what to expect and what assignments we would have with this rotation. A lot in a short period of time but not all that bad.

12:30 Black bean soup and salad at Panera with Robert.

Stopped at Sketchers and bought new pair of shoes.

1400 Arrived at John Kerry campaign HQ. Spent two hours making GOTV calls. Phonebanking is not much phone but it's part of the campaign process.

1600 Left Kerry HQ with t-shirt, lawn sign and button.

1630 Picked up pen lights at Uniforms of America. Realized I am way out of money.

1800 Voted.

1810 Arrived home and wanted to cry. But I have things to do. But do I want to do them or just get in bed and never wake up again? I have very few friends. B wouldn't even miss me. He'd just move along with some airhead girl and forget he even knew me.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

First Week Down and Still Nervous

It's second semester and second week of nursing school for me and I feel like crying, getting into bed and not getting up again. I'm frustrated and doubting myself and my decision to do this program. Of course I will finish it and I do find it interesting at times, but must parts of it be so annoying. And must some of the faculty be so daft and threatening?

Yesterday in lab, we went over injection sites and it should be review even though since I graduated from the Medical Assistant program (at the same school), I have done very few injection (none actually) but it all comes back to me with some practice (or will). I made a comment how it was awkward. She had me mapping the spot with my dominant hand. I had learned to map it with my non-dominant hand and then clean it with my dominant hand and inject. Not mark it and keep switching hands like switching forks back and forth. I guess I'm European that way. I said I had learned it a different way and she said dismissively, "Everyone teaches it a different way, just do it this way, blah blah." But what annoyed me is that these nurses have such disdain for my experience and my DEGREE from the SAME school in Medical Assistant and I'm now a Certified Medical Assistant (I worked hard in that program too) only a year and a half ago. I call BS on the whole thing and it got me so upset that I felt my old anger boil up again and nearly exploded, told her she was an idiot and walked out. It's all under the same health studies umbrella at the same school. I'd think they'd be happy that I kept going to pursue nursing. They are getting my money instead of another school.

I'm so tired. I don't want to read tonight. So I'm not going to and last night I went for a bike ride and cried for over an hour thinking about how this was not going to improve my life because whether or not I became a nurse, Brian was going to be out of my life in the near future and it upsets me to think about that. It hurts. I feel I'm good enough and smart enough, pretty and cultured and we have fun, as often as we fight, we have fun.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Thank you for your support, ha ha

So someone at my last job told me that she "had my back" and would try to get my job back etc. That seemed to be tougher than she expected and since then she's distanced herself as much as possible ie. cut off contact because that is what most people do when someone leave under uncomfortable circumstances. I still cannot get over the fact that neither my nurse manager, Nancy Gondek or anyone on my unit would stick up for me. One CNA had similar issues with the same spouse of a patient. So it wasn't just me. Nancy did not say ONE positive thing about me. And I did quite well. I get along with most patients. The majority. I hear things that nurses gripe about regarding particular patients. It's surprising actually.

So here's the email exchange between me and my "supporter" at NEW ENGLAND REHAB
I should be completing another clinical there this fall and wouldn't want someone's pettiness or jealousy to ruin it for me.

Amy Steele to cdemarche
show details Jul 16


thank you for being so supportive.It means a lot to me. Often I leave an organization and feel like a leper.


Cameron DeMarche
to: Amy Steele

date: Thu, Jul 17, 2008 at 1:06 AM


Thank you for sending me your writings. You are very, very good. Even though the subject matter was distressing, the story was quite interesting. You really should look into continuing with this same theme in nursing; "How nurses can be so Caring, Giving, Compassionate, and Loving towards their patients" and basically "Eat their own younger species and never stand side by side each other to support each other!"The major nursing magazines such as American Journal of Nursing (AJN), RN Magazine, would love to see an article such as this. You are a very talented writer! You are special because you are unique, therefore you standout. People should take notice and learn! We will talk soon.


So sounds nice, sweet etc. Seems I've made a friend. And I even thought a possible mentor!! How wrong could I be?

Amy Steele to cdemarche
show details Jul 20 (12 days ago) Reply

from: Amy Steele

date: Sun, Jul 20, 2008 at 9:10 PM

I think my piece is good and should get published somewhere. I don't think it's that sad. it's reality.

I mailed notes to both the CEO and Nancy regarding the doctor being in the room when I supposedly "threw" the walker. I know they won't consider bringing me back in even though there's not much time left for the summer. I prob. won't find a job. I really messed up.

My concern is that I am going to be screwed over by people when I come there for clinical. If ONE nurse says something to my clinical instructor I'm out. seriously. I had a friend get kicked out of the program d/t performance at clinical though not bec. of complaints from staff . we generally don't have a ton of interaction but have some. enough

Cameron DeMarche to me
show details Jul 22 (11 days ago) Reply

Good to hear from you, you sound better! The little time left in the summer you should take to relax, do what you enjoy, write, and maybe work on listening and digesting more before you verbally react. The fine art of teaching and learning is to know when and how to speak and when to just listen even if your almost biting through your tongue! It is a growth period that can happen at any age, usually in your 40's when you realize that the reactive anger and outbursts take too much energy out of you and physically and mentally hurt you. (I am speaking from personal experience) It is better to direct your energies into listening, remaining calm, learning and using your intelligence to speak and challenge and grow! Be Calm, Relax, Write, Keep in touch


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Being accused of doing something I DID NOT DO








Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Another job lost: New England Rehabilitation in Woburn

I think I got fired.

Nancy "talked" to me yesterday and had three patient "complaints": two were nurses--first the other night a nurse floating to that floor Jane helped me boost a patient, pointed to the TEDs that were on and said, "You have to take those off." I said, "Yes, I know, I'm not done yet." But then added, "I'm not stupid." She yelled at me to not toalk to her lie that in front of patients yada yada. I went to talk to Krista, the nurse manager and she said "We all have to respect each other." Of course I have to respect other people and it's not the other way around. She never mentioned that the nurse could have also handled this more "respectfully." Bullshit.

second, I floated to 2South (ironically where I had done my clinical rotation in the spring) and as soon as I got there this nurse Haley who was a b-- said: "This is how we do it here, we have a VS book AND we put it on the wall" No hello or introductions etal. She told Nancy some guy said, "Where'd you find her?" Okay, why do these people feel the need to tattle immediately.

Sunday, a patient asked to go back to bed and I looked at the board as I was TRAINED to do. I don't want someone falling on me. I'm not familar with this guy. He said he needed the walker and the wife yelled that he couldn't walk or stand without it. I said I needed to get help or get the nurse. I actually cannot recall all the words. As I walked out the door, she said, "She crazy, isn't she?" to her husband. So I walked back in and said, "Crazy?" and then went on to explain that I am only doing my job. I thought I handled it well. I was professional but of course Krista took the patient's side. I'm sick thinking about this.

I spoke with Cameron for about an hour as I ran into her as I left.

And when anyone equates CNA work to RN work that's insane. You can be a good nurse and enjoy the job and not have liked the literal shitty work of a CNA.

But in general I'm mad I didn't just stay quiet and not talk to anyone. It's better that way. This is what all the young, naive, un-jaded girls do.

No one knows all the good moments I've had over these past few weeks because they only see the bad in me.

Monday, July 14, 2008

During a crying spell/breakdown the other night where I cried: "I can't sleep. It's 3a.m., I'm exhausted and I can't get to sleep," Brian put his hand on my boob. Just rested it there. No tweaking or pinching the nipple.

Me: "I don't think that's going to help me."

Brian: "It'll help me."

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Inn at Robbins Brook-Acton/ wimp of a director

So I interviewed for a position I never even wanted at Inn at Robbins Brook, an assisted living facility, back in February. I never heard back from the woman. She took a copy of my driver's and CNA licenses.

I'm thinking of writing a piece about this whole ignoring the candidate thing. Remember getting rejection letters?

On Fri, Jul 11, 2008 at 8:51 AM, Sheila Sussman wrote:

Dear Amy Steele,

Thank you for taking the time to fill out an application and talk to me about a CNA position .
There are so many people that apply for nurses aide jobs. I respond to those candidates who follow-up with a phone call inquiry or an e-mail showing interest in the position. Generally, candidates that really want to work here, call me in a week to see if I have made a decision. You applied in February and you never showed any enthusiasm for the position.

Good luck in the future.


Sheila Sussman RN
Resident Care Director
The Inn at Robbins Brook
My reply:

[And I know I'm a bitch already.]

Well, to be honest, I wasn't interested within minutes of speaking with you.
As soon as I started to tell you about my previous CNA and Medical Assistant experience (which you had asked me to do), you instantly cut me off saying, "We don't do that here." And I'd say, "Well I understand that but this is what I did at X place." You just weren't interested in hearing about what I had done and could contribute in any manner and it was rude, inappropriate and amateurish.

I'm honestly way too educated for that type of position anyway. Just wanted to get a response because I'm a writer and working on a piece.

Amy Steele, M.S., C.M.A

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Issues: Transfers, strained backs, hiding CNAs

Boy I am so unhappy. I cried at work a bit and then cried all the way home. I don't know if I can handle this work at NE Rehab. I know I don't have that much time left to go. But to be this unhappy is not good. What is wrong with me?

Things seemed to be going okay tonight. Then I had two people that were nearly impossible to transfer to the bathroom. OT/PT had not evaluated yet and these people had been there for several days. This is not fair to us and not fair to the patients. I don't want someone falling and do not want to strain/hurt my back.

Some annoying OT guy was with one of my patients and he left a urine hat with TP in it on the floor of the bathroom. Gross. I wouldn't go to PT and leave crap behind. Also, I asked him why it was labeled on the board to use a gait belt but then there weren't any around. What an asshole he was.

This other CNA is never "available" to help me. He has excuse after excuse. Or he meanders over. He talks on his cell phone at the back end of the hallway too. So loud tonight that a patient complained about it because she could not sleep. Despicable. Save the phone conversations until later.

I told the Unit Nurse about the transfers and the OT "incident" and she brushed it off. I said (of course), "sorry I even said anything." She replied: "Excuse me?" I said that she had basically just dismissed what I had said. Then she said, "I can't do anything about it now at 11." I said that she could make a note of it or a note to them. So frustrating.

For years I've obviously been dealing with this too, as I am a CNA, I am uneducated and stupid. Now here my "title" is Student Nurse Technician, so people know I'm in nursing school which makes it a bit better but I'm still treated like CRAP.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Choice quotes

I hate you when you’re unemployed.

- Brian Schofer

Dry sterile dressing change

Got to change a dressing today. It was just like clinical. The spot was on the heel. I set up my sterile field (even though it was clean technique), unwrapped the bandage, cleaned the wound with saline and wrapped it back up with a figure 8. Very exciting. It's cool when I have nurses that will have me do things like this.

Other than that, the night started off not that great and I smoked a cigarette and left a teary message for my mom during my break. I just felt I couldn't do four days a week. My back is so hurting when I am there working. My days off, this week at least, it's not.

So maybe I can stick it out for the nine more weeks to go!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Crampy and bad mood

I got canceled for yesterday and guess I won't get canceled for today because there are other per diems that would get canceled (to make things fair). The thing is, I have my period and it's pretty bad this month... I'll spare the details.

Pushed myself through a 15 mile bike ride today. I burned only 675 calories. Normally it's much more (800). It took me the same amount of time. Kinda weird.

This past week at the Rehab hospital proved challenging. My back bothered me more than usual and now I know that PMS was partly to blame. I also think my back will get a bit more used to some of the work.

Another issue with other CNAs not answering call lights which has caused me to leave two jobs! I felt I was answering lights for everyone from the moment I arrived on the floor and other people only answer the lights for "their" people. Horrible. If it's something like "I need to go to bed," I tell the person I will find their CNA. If it's easy, I just take care of it. I went to answer a call light and walked right past this Haitian (are they lazy or blaise?) who was leaning against the wall directly across from the call light. The light was right in front of his eyes. How could he ignore that? How could anyone with any conscience or sense of decency or humanity ignore that? I'm mad thinking about it and I think I have to work with him all weekend. He just is not helpful. One of those disappearing types. When you need help, he's nowhere to be found.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Why don't people answer call lights?

Apathy, laziness, lack of teamwork=my new job
Oh I cannot stand it. Just like at the nursing home there are several people from Haiti working at the Rehab place. I don't know why they all become CNAs. They stick to themselves, speak in Creole all the time and talk on the phone to their families. The worst of it is that they only answer call lights if it is for one of their assigned patients. I have never understood this and it irked me to no end at the nursing home I worked at a few years ago.

I answered tons of "other people's patient's" call lights tonight and I don't have a problem with it. If I cannot help the person, I go and get someone to help me. This is a team situation.

When the change of shift occurred, Gail and I were sitting in the back room, having just finished doing our patients and paperwork. We had been getting call lights. A nurse that just came in said, "Are those girls back there answering call lights at all?" I was livid. I said, "I've been answering tons of call lights since I got here." I got up and walked around the hall several times. Then I went back to tell Gail how annoyed I was and that I hated this and it's unprofessional (and I was accused of being unprofessional by the nurse manager? How ironic!!) and a call light went off-- and it beeps a few times so I jumped up and said I'd get it. Well, as I walked into the room, I walked right by the male CNA. He was standing right across from the room where the patient was! How absurb and abolutely lazy and selfish and inappropriate is that? I don't want to screw over the patients but I don't want to help this guy anymore. What an a-hole.

It reminds me of the nursing home. I was the only non-Haitian working. At night they'd sit in their chairs and a call light would go off and they'd look down the hall and say, "it's yours." What the fuck! It's MINE. It's part of my assignment but as far as I'm concerned every CNA is responsible for answering call lights.

Between the disrepect of the nurse and the other CNAs. Oh, and the nurse I was working with didn't even introduce herself to me and barely talked to me, I didn't even want to go back!!!

On top of that my back hurts. It's WAY too much physical labor and I should just put my Medical Assistant degree to use. It might be more interesting.

Monday, June 23, 2008

ooo my aching back

woke up this morning and I could barely move. will join the gym today because it's pouring rain and I can't walk or bike. Plus it's going to get too hot some days to even do those activities unfortunately. It was busy on the floor right up until 10. I didn't sit down until then. It's hard to be on my feet that long. Mainly just making sure people are set. doing vital signs when I first get there and then we get dinner tray out at 5p. A lot of people are fall risks so they need to monitored. A few people need help getting in and out of bed etc.

I iced my back last night. I need a chiropractor it seems.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The tasks

Last week I trained days and felt like I mostly made beds. This week I have done glucose checks, a bladder scan, vital signs and I've been busy. It's a good routine the night shift. Though this is not the unit I am assigned to work on I'm told that I will float as a per-diem.

Two 19-year-old per-diem Student Nurse Techs were flabbergasted when they found out I was in my mid (to late!) 30s. And this was in talking to them at different times. One girl said: "I thought you were 23!" ha ha.

This weekend I have to sort and organize.

I'm sitting here in my sports bra--should I do a speed bike ride at Brian's?-- because I'm not 100% sure that I'm supposed to go in to work today. Just left a message for the nurse manager. I think I'll wait it out a few more minutes, finish the book I'm reading and go take a power walk. I burn 340 calories on this two mile walk if I use weights. It takes about 45 minutes. It's just down to the end of my neighborhood and back up. There are hills which is good. It's a walk that I should be doing every morning in addition to a regular workout. I know I should or the weight isn't going to come off. I guess I should just show up as I need the money and all.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Clincial Aspect of Orientation

I woke up at 4:45 this morning to make it to Woburn by 7 a.m. I stayed at B's because it was opressively hot and he has air conditioning. I managed to get up and out on time and even make breakfast and iced coffee to bring along for the ride! Yeah, me. Saving money.

1. Though I'd much rather be in med/surg, until I can land a job, rehab should be an excellent experience for the resume and towards my nursing degree--ie. I need an overview of many different areas of nursing.

2. By 8:30 a.m. my back was hurting me.

3. By 2:00 my feet were bothering me.

4. I don't take vital signs or do that much (so far). Making beds. Helping people with ADLs and getting dressed. I&O. It's much slower paced than I expected but it could change. The census is low. Lots of empty beds; which makes it curious that they hired so many nursing assistants.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Too Hot for almost anything

Today, I need to take my nutrition exam by 8p, I'll re-read the two chapters and take the 45 minute test. Very strict on time. We get points taken off for going over so I will have to keep a close eye on the clock. The group project to analyze The Native American Food pyramid and compare it to the US Food pyramid did not go very well. My group member emailed me after midnight (it was due at 8a on Saturday). I work 3-11 in general so this isn't the best for me. Plus the two groups were so similar I had no idea what to say when she wanted 2-5 pages. The other person took all the credit for everything so I probably didn't score very well.

Our next assignment is to re-design the food pyramid. I'll put lots of veggies on the bottom and no meat sources.

My exchange with my teacher via email:

Me: I found this project confusing. There's little difference between the Native American and US Food Pyramids.

Instructor: I don't' understand why similar food pyramids would be confusing. There would be a lot of similarities, and only a few differences in your write up.

Me: Erin and I emailed a bit but never really connected. She suggested that I do the pros and cons and she'd do the similarities and differences and we'd decide which made more sense. As this is due in the morning I decided to just submit what I had done instead of having nothing go in.

Me: why are projects due at 8am on a Saturday?

Instructor: The academic schedule usually ends with Friday classes, so instead of making due dates Friday at 5 pm, I extend the deadline to Saturday morning to give students the opportunity to work on a project Friday night, when most people are home and not at work.

Me: I work 3-11 3-4 shifts a week and every other weekend. I cannot cater to everyone's work schedules- there are 25 students in this class and everyone has a different work schedule. Traditionally on-line students have very unique work schedules - that is why on-line works best for them. Also what if someone works M-F and needs all day Saturday to get the work done.

Instructor: Then you should schedule your time differently so that you can finish you assignments before Saturday. Every class I have taken online (5 at MCC) have had even deadlines on a Sunday usually. It is natural to start a new chapter/section of a course at the beginning of the week, so assignments usually are due at the end of the week. You can always hand in things early.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Sore today/lots of fruits

I lifted with B yesterday. He happened to come home during the day. The squats killed me otherwise I'm pretty good and know that I need to do that more often. But I got home and cried and cried and then didn't go to sleep until past 3am and got up at 11. It's 2:30 and I'm supposed to be in Lowell at 4 but I don't think I'm going to make it. I must must join a gym. Very soon. I will see how my orientation a the rehab place goes next week and then decide where to go. I also need to be getting some paychecks. I do want to be at a gym. The weather is going to be hot and sticky starting this weekend. I need to have a gym so I can exercise daily. Today it's raining and my yoga DVDs aren't really appealing to me though I know I should just do them. I cannot make up my mind.

For breakfast I had a smoothie (I'm out of bananas) with almond milk, blueberries and pineapple and also Hemp waffles with almond butter. Probably my favorite breakfast though when school starts I need a good to-go cup for the smoothie. A cup of tea on the side.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Fighting off depression

So blue and my psychiatrist thought that putting me on the meds I put myself on two years ago is the thing to do. Didn't realize I should be in med school instead of nursing school. So I'm kind of annoyed but I see a new PCP in August and I'll swich over to another psychiatrist then. Today I am aching everywhere and I know that if I'm going to lose weight, I have to pump up the work outs and that's hard when my ankles (broke one a year ago) are swollen and my back (DDD and protruding discs) hurt. I really just want to lie in bed and cry which I did tonight for a few hours while cranking Goldfrapp, Snow Patrol and Death Cab for Cutie.

I'm waffling on whether or not to stay in the nutrition class. In general it can be a hassle. Group projects where you don't meet the people in person?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Walking, reading

I'm a bit concerned that the HR rep has not gotten back to me about my new start date for my nursing assistant position. I assume it is next week but it would be professional of her to confirm that date with me so that I can plan on it. It would be strange if I went in for one day of orientation, got all the paperwork done, accepted an offer and then they changed their mind. I'm skeptical about jobs as I've had a run of bad luck in the past few years.

Today I had a smoothie again-- soy milk, banana, one cup blueberries and one cup tropical mix (strawberries, mango and pineapple). It actually made too much and I didn't finish it because I also had a bowl of oatmeal with two tbsp flax seeds.

For lunch, I just had a veggie burger (Amy's California) on toasted Ezekiel bread with soy cheese, lettuce and tomato.

I took a walk before lunch for 40 minutes and then my friend Miriam met me around 5ish and we did the same walk. I need to start doing that walk every day first thing in addition to some other activity because (and my heart monitor isn't working right) it burns between 200 and 300 calories.

I'm hooked on the book by Emily Giffin: Love the One You're With. I will finish it tonight. I'm also watching my TiVoed eps of Mad Men. What a brilliant show. Classy, slick, irreverent, well-written.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Something better, something worse

How pathetic is it that my own mother just blew me off? She got a better offer: her friend was making "Oprah's turkey burgers" (which of course I had to point out were actually Donald Trump's Mara Lago turkey burgers--I saw the show). I was only making vegan meatloaf and mashed sweet potatoes. Plus she really needs her hair colored.

I'm so alone. I'm lonely. The walls are closing in on me. I don't see my life getting any better. Despite all my healthy eating and long bikerides, my weight is stagnant. I need to lose 60 pounds. How did I get this fat? If I just stop eating will that help me at all? I know I can't do that. What if I just get in bed and never get out, will everything just go away? Can I just shut down and shut everything out? Can I just give up and completely isolate myself? I have very few friends. If I didn't have Brian, I'd have no social life. He takes me out to see concerts and to the theater and to museums on a regular basis.

I do not want to turn 39. I'm supposed to be a professional writer. The last time I got paid to write something was 2002. That is so depressingly pathetic. I once thought I had a career, I had a future. Now I just feel I need to make an exit plan. I hate myself. I hate what I've become. I'm dark and irritable and no one particularly likes me even when I try to let people in. I just cannot do it anymore. I know that PMS escalate my dark, hopeless and sad feelings but they are always there and I cannot stand this any longer. I've been unhappy as long as I can remember. I remember crying on Friday and Saturday nights in high school because I didn't have any plans and "everyone else" did. And I was blonde and skinny and smart and athletic! Now I'm just smart and nothing has changed.

Beautiful Sunnday

After a horribly rainy day yesterday, the sun is out and it's just lovely. Good day for a walk. I need to return some books to the Concord library so I am going to walk around down there in Concord center, go to Trader Joe's and come back here to make Mock Meatloaf with the Happy Herbivore's recipe. I bought Quorn ground "meat" to use in it. I also baked sweet potatoes last night which I will mash to go with it and add some greens. My mom is coming over to enjoy.

My goal this week is to start to do some of my yoga DVDs. I don't have that much room over here to do it though so I may have to go to Brian's.

I broke out my blender and made a smoothie:

--1 1/2 c. low fat soy milk
--one banana
--1/4 c. blueberries (estimate)
--handful of frozen mango and pineapple

I also had a Hemp waffle/almond butter sandwich and a cup of English Breakfast tea.

I stepped on the scale today and I weigh more intstead of less. I am bloated and have PMS but I've been biking a lot and burning lots of calories. I have to be much more careful when B and I eat out.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday starts with a headache

Brian woke me up this morning at 7 a.m. to see if I wanted to bike with him (he bikes to work). I said I was going to sleep in. My mom called me early the day before and woke me up. I'm also sans meds for my depression which, combined with no set schedule (work has yet to start), is not good for Amy's psyche. So I'm watching The Wire and for breakfast I had oatmeal with a half a banana in it and four Boca links. I think today I'm going to bake because I have Brian's kitchen. That is after I get back from a nice bike ride. Last night's ride wasn't very good. It was 6pm when I started and it was buggy and I cannot breathe out of my nose for very long for some reason so I catch lots of flies. And I'm a vegetarian (pretty much/almost)!!

I'll bike at around 1pm. I want to avoid the kiddies out there. I'm going to drive my bike to the Pepperell lot and try to bike all the way to Ayer and back. That's the big goal. It's all flat and it's nice because it's through the woods and past the Merrimack River.

I just took two ibuprofen for my headache.

Still need to buy my nutrition book so that I can get involved in this class. I think it's actually good to take for a number of reasons. The most important is that most BSN programs require a nutrition class!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Am I over-reacting?

I'll have to ask my therapist. I mentioned that I had not even been considered for a per-diem PCA position at Mount Auburn Hospital where I've been working since November. Not only that but my nurse manager is also interim nurse manager of the ED! She knew I was looking at jobs for other departments.

Here's the latest email exchange: to me
show details 1:53 PM (1 hour ago) Reply

I'm reforwarding you my reply. These positions are in high demand and I interviewed and filled them quickly.

Amy Steele to dbreton
show details 2:08 PM (1 hour ago)

I received that reply when you sent it. I just find it interesting as I had been applying to part-time and per-diem positions on other units since February in anticipation of the WIC not needing me any longer.

I'm insulted and disappointed that I was never considered for the positions. I had enjoyed the MAH atmosphere but I guess I'll make do elsewhere and leave the state once I get my RN.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Why is getting a Nursing Assistant job so complex?

Mount Auburn rehash:

1. I worked in the Walk-In Center and Denise Breton is nurse manager there as well as for the Emergency Department. There were several positions open in the ED and she never considered me. She seemed to like me but obviously would not hire me again.

2. I made it clear to Gayla Jackson at Mount Auburn Hospital, Needham 7 and she still couldn't work with my schedule and wasted my time to come in and interview for a position she never would have offered or considered.

original email from me:
Hi Gayla,

I work per diem in another department at MAH and am looking for more shifts and saw Needham 7 needs CNAs. I currently work in the Walk in Center but Denise does not anticipate needing me for a while. I saw that you were looking for CNAs on Needham 7

I am in my first semester of nursing school and am interested in 2nd shift. I'm available any weekend shift and several times during the week. I have class in the morning. Clinical on Thursdays at NE Rehab. I've attached my resume for your consideration.

thank you,

Amy Steele
617.571.9085 to me
show details Apr 2 Reply

Hi Amy,

I think we can work something out - why don't you come up and we can meet and discuss hours up here. Are you around Friday morning? If not we can certainly make plans for sometime next week. Let me know your availability.

Gayla to me
show details May 17 (11 days ago) Reply

And the most bogus and suspect email from my former manager:

Hi Amy,
Sorry it's taken me so long to answer you. Unfortunately, those positions in the E.D. have been filled.
Hope your school year is winding down (if not already over). Good luck with the job search!

Monday, May 26, 2008

End of weekend

I biked again today. So that's five days in a row at 600 calories. I feel pretty good with all that biking. It's supposed to rain tomorrow and as school has ended and I don't have a steady job yet (plus it's summer generally) I do not belong to a gym so am relying on outdoor work-outs.

Tomorrow I start my orientation at New England Rehab in Woburn-- so I have to get up kind of early to get there for 8 a.m. It's about a 40 minute drive for me.

Nutrition class--on-line--begins this week. Should be educational. Cannot know too much about nutrition.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Get Moving

thanks to jenna at eat, live, run: I bought some almond butter and chose the Hemp waffles because they are high in Omega 3s and FIBER of course. I bought some almond butter and 365 waffles for my mom so she could give it a go. She doesn't really eat breakfast.

So I just got back from a walk for about 45 minutes. My heart monitor is not working very well. I burned about 300 calories. Which isn't much but is better than nothing. It started to drizzle on the onset but then got sunny and warm, so I thought I'd bike later and now it's looking a bit cloudy again.

I've always exercised. It's true. Despite gaining weight, I've always exercised at a gym or by walking etc. at least three times/week (which is not enough to lose weight of course). People look at fat me now and probably think that I am lazy and never work out and it's not true.

One thing I need to do in the fall: yoga. I used to take a yoga class at least once a week and felt good about all the stretching involved. This is a must. I have some DVDs that are pretty good but I just haven't been very good about doing them. Excuses that the set up in my living room here isn't right.

I should be starting my CNA training next week, so I want to read. I feel like the summer is nearly over when it hasn't started yet. I took about ten plus books out of the library plus have a stack of bought books to read!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Summer Jobs

I have to train for about four weeks--DAYS-- for a per diem position. The ironic aspect here is that I am not guaranteed a set number of hours each week. I really don't want to work as a nursing assistant. I guess that's the bottom line. It's such crappy work.

does that make ANY sense? I also want to work evenings and I have to train during the day. I never understood that except that I guess there's more going on and they have more coverage.

Oh and get this! I've worked per-diem in the Walk-In Center (full time until school started and then weekends) at Mount Auburn Hospital. Two full-time employees were hired and I was no longer needed. So I've been applying at other departments within MAH. One woman figured the timing would not fit with school and her needs via the phone. Another actually brought me in for an interview. Seemed all nice etal and then had HR call me to tell me that she (the nurse manager) would need me to keep on the hours once school began again in the fall. Was she kidding? I told her before I even interviewed my summer and my fall/school time availability. Why are people so dense? Why need she waste my time?

But here's the real kicker: Denise Breton is the interim nurse manager for the Emergency Department at MAH as well as my manager in the Walk-In Center. She has never had anything but kind words for my work and my peformance. She even told me how much a doctor, with a reputation for being "difficult," sang my praises (it's easy if you stay a step ahead and do not get rattled). So there are two per-diem positions listed in the job postings I grabbed last week from Human Resources. Denise informs me that the positions are FILLED! Oh really? Two weeks after their April 28 post date. It took the hospital two months to hire me after my initial interview/application! I just dont buy it and would appreciate some honesty.

People claim they are supportive of your goals to become a nurse. "So wonderful." But in reality they are rarely supportive. They just want all the shit work done. It's about what you can do for them. They are not interested in mentoring someone to grow into their field and add fresh nurses to the work force. Why would they? You are competition. Other nursing assistants are jealous because they think you think you are superior to them or you have an upper hand because you are in nursing school (which can be true) and the nurses treat you like crap because they want you to remain at the bottom of the rung. They could care less if you learn anything along the way. They don't care if you are going to be a nurse because then that puts you on a level playing field with them.

We can allow ourselves to keep changing and growing and evolving. Actually, we're supposed to.
Maria Shriver, Just Who Will You Be?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A Good Breakfast and a long bike ride

Ate a good breakfast.

First I bought some organic instant oatmeal at Whole Foods. I bought the assorted but I really like raisins and spice best and will get just that next time.

I biked for an hour and 20 minutes: burned 800 calories. I took the Trail Rail path from Groton to Ayer. Good ride. Lovely day.

Brian and I had lunch at Panera. I had the 1/2 Fandango salad (my favorite) and 1/2 soup (tomato).

First Semester Over

It's done.

I got a 91, so I stayed consistent. Should've been review for me anyway. I expect next year to be much tougher. I will have to spend more time studying.

It's hard to make friends in nursing school. Nicole and Robert are definitely my friends. I will miss Perry. He was a friend too.

Not having a study group is frustrating. I find it a very important aspect to succeeding in nursing school but no one wants to be in one with me. Why not?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Not everyone has made it this semester

I'm not surprised that Perry got booted due to clinical.

Email exchange:

Amy to Perry Tue, May 6, 2008 at 12:19 PM
May 6 (2 days ago)

sorry to hear you're out of the program, but can't say I'm surprised. Are you?

Perry Wed, May 7, 2008 at 8:58 AM
To: Amy

I am surprised a little. I didn't think things would really unfold this way. But good things will happen to me and that is one thing I am sure of. I'm still going to be there for the project and the final exam.
Does the project start at 8 am in the classroom?
Amy <> Wed, May 7, 2008 at 9:43 AM
To: Perry <>

Unfold this way? You did it to yourself.
How can you be surprised when you barely ever prepared for anything ie. not even knowing the 5 Rights! Didn't come to class
you told me that you thought you could become a nurse w/o clinical!

Perry <> Wed, May 7, 2008 at 9:53 AM
To: Amy

I never said I could become a nurse w/o clinical. Why do you act this way?

Amy <> Wed, May 7, 2008 at 4:08 PM
To: Perry
you did say that. but if you don't remember I'm not going to argue. I questioned it at the time (this was around the time of po meds).
I'm not acting a certain "way." I don't know what you are talking about.

Good luck with everything. I don't see why you're taking the final. don't they make people repeat everything not just the clinical aspect.

Perry Wed, May 7, 2008 at 4:17 PM
To: Amy

In the first few weeks of the semester, you used to express to me a certain grievance that I understood. That, I thought, was a cornerstone of the basis of our friendship. That is, we both seemed to be against a certain appearance of bias. Somewhere along the way, you seemed to get really angry towards me though. I remember once walking out of class and you were talking rather loudly at me and crying. And this went on for a while, till we were on the top of the parking garage. Do you remember that day? From that point on, I felt like you were a different person. I would say something in class and you would mutter, that is so stupid.
And to make matters worse, it felt like the more I tried to figure out what was bothering you, the more upset you got.

As far, as the dynamics of the nursing prog, I had a B average in there.
So whatever can be said of my apathy and what not, I was doing what worked. There were several that didn't miss a day and had failed all three of the first 3 exams.

Amy Wed, May 7, 2008 at 4:41 PM
To: Perry

Of course I remember crying bec. I realized at that point that you were using me and not really the friend I thought you were. It did seem we we somewhat simpatico at the beg of the semester. things changed over spring break when I drove you, bought you drinks and went out of my way to do you a huge favor which you didn't seem to appreciate.

everything was very one-sided and revolved around you. Very Perry-centric. I felt like you were parasitic and just used me for whatever you needed at that moment. Other people even noticed it too and commented to me about it. I have enough challenges to have to deal with that type of energy.

First semester should be review material for anyone who has been a CNA, they don't delve into anything particularly substantial until next semester and later. I'm not saying it's all a breeze of course either.

I never said you were totally stupid. apathy is something different.

If I muttered "that is so stupid" directly to you: that's pretty unlike me to say. I would think it would be directed at something in general.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sexism and Cliques

I should write daily a few notes about my experiences in nursing school. Goal for next semester, as I have three left. I have to be honest that with two weeks left of school I don't feel motivated. I am losing interest and feel like I'm not learning anything new. Is it because I already completed one semester of nursing school three years ago?

Perry seems to be getting away with being a slacker and I've distanced myself from him. I do not talk to him much. He's never in class anyway but if he is, I do not get into any discussions. I do not pass notes anymore. I'm not helping him or encouraging him. He's so bloody selfish. Yesterday and Friday he got help with surgical asepsis and I feel that because he's a guy he is being handled with kid gloves. It might just be me but I've seen sexism in college many times before. Guys in a nursing program are few and the school must want to do everything possible to keep the ones in the program there. It shouldn't bother me but it does a bit. I think that if the school wants to let someone like him get through the program it just makes me want to get through it and be less likely to support the school after I graduate. I will have less respect for the program.

Cliques still abound. It's amazing how many people do not know each other because they sit in the same seats and only associate with those in clinical. I feel I straddle groups or know a lot of people in the class but I am still bothered that I don't have a secure study group.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

I don't need to put up with this crap from someone who identifies himself as my friend

So I am trying to make friends at school because how can you possibly make it through nursing school without study groups and people to confide in and rely on for the stress of it all?

So I helped Perry over spring break on an "errand" to pick up his stepdaughter from his mother-in-laws house. He was nervous about it and when I picked up seemed really unsettled. We went for a few drinks. Had fun and good conversation. He stepped over the line by putting his hand up my skirt almost to my knee and pinching my nipple at one point but I didn't say anything and really just laughed it off. He never thanked me for helping him out/going out of my way to drive him there and spending my time. He just emailed to say, "I had a really good time today."

He called me this past Saturday to see if I was going to practice PO Meds and of course I was going to be there. He proceeded to tell me that he thought that people noticed our friendship/association and he really seemed to correlate that with his clinical warning. Then he related a story about someone who he worked with who testified against a supervisor. He maintained a friendship with this girl because he liked her but he said the supervisor make it "two years of hell." I thought that by telling me that story, he was telling me that he'd be my friend no matter what anyone thought.

I did not sit near him on Monday because I didn't want to enable him anymore. He wasn't in class on Wednesday (no surprise, he probably had important errands to do). On Friday, I sat next to him and immediately he wanted to start writing notes. On Thursday, we had exchanged a few emails and I thought it would be okay.

I wrote: Just keep it on the DL so that 1. classmates and 2. instructors don't flip out.

He said: They would. (nincompoops)

I wrote: People notice and frown on our notes/ losers and busy bodies
He wrote: Phuck everyone that judges us. Not spending my life worrying about what little children perceive me to be. Rob is cool.

Me: Right but I got annoyed with you last week. It was as if you: 1. either blamed me for your clinical warning d/t association or 2. were saying f- it what people think, we'll still be friends (w/ example of the chick you were friends with you testified agst the supervisor)

Perry: I'm a bit taken back. How do you arrive at all these inferences? If there was any underlying subtle message in my ranting last week it was one of identification. I think maybe, when thinking retrospectively, I was wanting you to get riled up against the ridiculous profs (a couple of them) because I tend to be one that tries to incite riot. I feel as if there are people that have power and they abuse it and I hate that sort of injustness. So any think you think I was attacking you or blaming of anything else like that you were way off base!

Okay, asshole asshole asshole. I am so annoyed. I get so screwed over by guys that I am friends with or that are in my life in any way. I cannot trust them or be friends with them any more.

me: You said these things on the phone and I was insulted and should have said something then but it didn't hit me until I got off the phone. You also said people see us sitting together and writing notes etc and that is their problem as to what they think or judge based on that. It seemed you correlated your friendship with me with the "hell" two years at the place with the girl who spoke out agst the supervisor. The teachers, esp. Forgacs do development and opinion about someone and stay with that forever. Egan does not. She told me I was confrontational and I was nearly sick and didn't want to start clinical with her but she has a clean slate and does not shut me down like Forgacs does ("do as I say, not as I do.")

Perry: Anything I said regarding our association in class and how the profs perceive it was not meant the way you took it. Here is how you make that false perception: I was angry at THEM and resentful. YOU picked up on that anger and knee-jerk assumed a position of guilt (or something) akin. The anger was at them. I was sharing with you not indirectly meaning something else. Anyway. The part about inciting riot means that when I see injustice I will start a whisper campaign so that the crowd becomes aware of the tin horn dictator's tactics. Not a literal riot.

He started to read my response, shook his head and handed it back to me with a smirk on his face.

So you still blame me because I misunderstood you. Okay, interesting. The thing is you are very Perry-centric and ask me to help you but then I can't call you or study with you and it's then a one-sided friendship. And we had a great conversation at Robert's bar and do online as well. I don't want school stuff to get in the way. I know you were nervous when we got Rachel but did you thank me or show any appreciation that I spent time with that and drove etc.?

Why I'm unhappy right now

I'm tired and every night when I go to sleep I have massive panic attacks where I just want to jump up and out and get away from them.

Certain teachers (and one in particular) really bother me. The one that I really have an issue with teachers about 70% of the classes as well. And she is the one I am to go to when I want to look over an exam. I don't even want to do that any mroe because I feel like she is scrutinizing me and just boring a hole in me with her distate for me. When I asked a question in class the other day, she just stared at me. At least I'm making an effort to participate.

She began the class by saying, "Did everyone read? What did you learn about teaching and learning in the reading?" How annoying! We were told so many times that we are adult learners and theere are special ways for each of us to learn. She admonished a student for taking notes on something because "it's in the book."

"Why are you writing this down? You should know this from the reading," she barked.

The student responded, "For reinforcement."

Some people put little effort into school and appear apathetic and still pass. But I know I should not let it bother me. It's about me and my experience and what I need to do to get through the program.

I'm going to be 39 in August and I'm single and lonely and still hooking up with random guys because I want sex. It would be nice to have someone consistent.

I'm 40%/60% sure that I even want to do this or feel I CAN do this without having a nervous breakdown. But what the fuck else am I going to do?

I cry and cry and cry all the time.

Full-time nursing program means full-time

When the instructors tell us during orientation that it is a full-time day program, they literally mean full-time. It's a 40 hour week. A job. Between class, reading, studying, labs, clinical and clinical prep time you put in full days. But the teachers seem to relish it that people should only be reading their nursing texts and never relaxing with a book that is not nursing related or watching a film or a television program.

There's also the assumption that we all have enough money to live (in Boston!) without working.

I love this too.

A classmate said to me: I have so much stuff to do all the freakin' time. I remember when I uesed to have so much time for myself.

I replied: Why has it changed? You mean before school started or before you had a child/wife?

He said: Both. It's been a progressive thing.

Oh REALLY. and yes, I'm rolling my eyes right now.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Clinical #1 Evaluation

"Amy came to this rotation with some knowledge on basic nursing skills [yes, several years as Certified Nursing Assistant and an associates in Medical Assisting. and I get the impression that nursing schools look down on both positions, especially Medical Assisting, and actually believe that ALL CNAs and ALL M.A.s have bad habits or improper training: me] which helped her understand the rationale for the assessment skills that she needed to perform. She is punctual in reporting to clinical as well as in submitting written assignments. She is an active participant in group conferences. One issue that Amy might want to address or be aware of, is that she occasionally expresses her opinions in an argumentative manner. She has good ideas but her tone of voice and body language discourage discussion and/or interaction. [How was I an active participant in group conferences then?: me]. These would not be good attributes for teamwork and leadership. Good luck in your nursing career Amy."

Poker Face

I need to work on a poker face. This is how I envision it: a somewhat blank, yet pleasant expression at all times. As difficult as it will be, if I must speak out in a group setting, I will soften my tone or speak in a lilting manner so that I will not be misunderstood or people will not feel I am either "argumentative" or "confrontational" [as feedback suggests]

Count to ten before speaking.
Detach myself from situations that will escalate my personal feelings.
Stay neutral.
Remain business-like.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Minor Meltdown with Math

Brian thinks I'm now going to be known as "the girl who flips out." I got an 85 on my math exam. I expected a 90+. I have been taking math courses and doing problem after problem for over a year. I just finished the Math for Nurses class here at MCC last semester and had taken one last summer at BHCC, which I loved and where I learned the fabulous dimensional analysis method. In Medical Assisting we did some math and I had very few problems. I like to do it. I have a plethora of workbooks I practice on. I think I should go to the math tutor once a week or every other week from now on just to keep it going.

So they handed me my test and I sat down to look at it and the tears started streaming down my face. I was so upset. I could see I made errors with decimals. And one really sloppy one. I did have two hours of sleep and realize that is just not a good idea before and exam. So I booked it out and started crying as soon as I hit the bathroom. Prof. Burke came in after me. This is the second or third time she's done damage control with me but I think she's sweet and find her very reasonable and calming. I just said that I was so disappointed in myself and that I worked on this so much. We went back into the lab to see what I did and I could see the mistakes. I said I needed to use more paper so that I could just make it cleaner and of course was told, "use as much as you need." I have to just calm down, slow down. I can do this math. I can do gtts for IV calculations!! Another prof started to point something out and she didn't seem to see the dimensional analysis. Fine. Everyone uses another method and they use the ration method but I can't hear it. I get too confused and she mentioned that I didn't convert and I said, the conversion are right here. I set everything up correctly but messed up on the math. She threw the paper down on the desk and walked away which is something I would do. When I left I said both thank you and sorry. Brian thinks I need to do damage control but my therapist said to let it ride. I don't know what to do because I do not want a repeat of other similar situations where I just let everything get all bottled up inside and then explode.

Monday, March 10, 2008


That was cool how you said what you said to the Prof!

I'm so glad you said something.

These are things my classmates said after I asked if we could "push this to later" regarding the discussion on the next clinical. Ugh. Lots are thinking it but I have to be the one who said it.

I'm not going to speak anymore and I'm an island. Done trying to study with people etc. I specifically asked Colleen last week if shw was going to practice transfers and she said, "I don't think I need to" and then she went and practiced the next day!

this school is suburban-centric. I should have waited to get into BHCC.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Last Day of Clinical One

Can't figure it out. Just got back from clinical with an eval that was not perfect. I was told again (second instructor) that I was agressive or "confrontational" at times. "nursing is a people-person career" yada yada.

she asked if i had any friends!! just to make me feel worse. I mentioned two guys close to my age who I was friends with, Robert, who you know and this guy Perry. She misunderstood me and said "just bec. they are close in age doesn't mean you'll get along" and I said, "no they are friends and we have studied together." I actually think Robert and I would be able to be social outside of class too. Perry is married and from the South and a bit weird about "hanging out."

I asked for a copy of the eval and I'm going to email her to remind her I want a copy so I can show it to my therapist on Monday. I'm really tired of this and this going around and around when I start off pretty well as far as I know. I will put more details down.

I don't know everything but there is an air I give off with my "book smarts" that some people really dig and some are turned off by and then with my urban sensibilities and dislike for surburbia, I feel that makes it quite tough to find commonalities with people.

The hospital I work at will be in Cambridge or Boston, NOT Lowell.

I said I can change my tone and she told me not to be "fake." So what am I going to do?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Ridiculous Required Classes

Why do I have to take Cultural Anthropology for a nursing program? Why not, say, Human Growth and Development as I took in applying to the BHCC program. I took Social Anthropology during college. Why does the school I am attending require this? Oh, because they have to bend over backwards not to offend anyone and be SO PC? I am offended. The entire class is focused on the instructor's research locale of Micronesia. I'm tired of reading about it and it has nothing to do with nursing. I am open-minded and I am very cognizant of other cultures but do not need to be force fed this plus the ideas of economics and trade and globalization and political structures are things I have learned in the past. I find the class to be busy work and frustrating.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Urbanite miserable in suburbia

That would be a good title for a personal ad. I'll keep it in mind when I feel attractive and thin enough to date again. I am so fat and ugly and I exercise and eat well and not excessively but my weight just stagnates. Ugh ugh. Nothing fits anymore. I feel SO bloated and ick all the time.

I figured out something about my feelings of being the "odd girl out" at school. I am. There is very little I have in common with my classmates. I am most comfortable and happy living in Boston. These people live in the suburbs. Most are a bit more blue collar than me, I would say. The majority are married or living with an S.O. And they do so many domestic things. A lot of the women are in their early 20s. I just frankly do not have much in common with someone that young. Can't go to the movies alone or to the store alone or must check in with boyfriend/husband all the time? Not for me. I know I'm a snob. They don't partake in the cultural activities that I like to do so much-- film, reading, music, museums.

LS/BS Certification and lab

Lung sounds/bowel sounds certification. Not as nervous this time around. It's pretty straight forward. I felt all out of place in lab again. Every time I go there I feel I am just hovering and there's no one for me to practice with/work with. Nicole said "it's all in your head" when I told her though I probably shouldn't have said anything. I'm realy not going to talk much anymore. I don't want to get myself in trouble or have some sort of emotional breakdown from stress.

Exam #2

Friday, Exam #2. Thought I did pretty well; there were a few I was unsure about.

Ended up with another 90. So I guess that's good. I would like to be better but I feel that I am understanding it. What I study never ends up being what I get asked on the exam, although I know it anyway. I focus on different things and it turns out those weren't as important as I had expected previously.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Cliques, cliques, cliques

still feel like I am in high school instead of an associate's degree program in nursing. frustrating. I realize that there are mostly 20-somethings, though there are plenty of people in their 30s like me and some in their 40s too. today I felt quite low in class. low energy. people keep asking the most silly/ridiculous questions and the instructor gets side-tracked and spends too much time on basic information and not enough on the important information. Oh and all the instructors ask "Have you done assessment yet?" or "have you used a stethoscope?" Why don't they look at our schedule or talk to each other. they expect us to be prepared and read, can't they take one minute to know our base of knowledge.

and everyone laughs and laughs-- okay I exaggerate a bit-- but is this a vaudeville act? I suspect nervous laughter because this just is not funny most of the time. we have so much to do and most people are stressed I believe. especially in trying to work at the same time.

now I just have SUNDAYS this month at Mount Auburn. I plan to apply per diem to some other spots.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

BP Certification

Don't know why I doubt my skills so much. Perhaps because the nurses who are instructing us have said things such as, "CNAs often have the most difficult time" or "Medical Assistants just pump it up to 200!" ooh, all willy-nilly like. Which I've seen and can just say there are good and bad nurses, smart and average intelligence nurses as there are good and bad in every profession. So ridiculous.

I still feel the third wheel when I go to lab and try to practice skills and feel like I am invisible and have a hard time jumping into a group or once I'm in I get pushed out like in high school or something.

HUGE HUGE terrible scary panic attack last night. I was about to go to bed around this time and just got a huge wave of panic. My heart raced and I had to get up and walk and then I felt so unsettled and floaty and weird.

Oh, another instructor told me "Nursing is a stressful job and you need to get it under control." I had been a bit snippy when she made a comment that i thought was obvious while we were doing simulated bed baths and making beds! egads. I am doing very well in keeping mum however. I don't say much during classes. I am going to make a stronger effort to say even less though. It's not worth jeopardizing what is my last chance to make some decent money.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Doubts, Stress and blood pressure

Taking my quiz on blood pressure again, I found myself freaking out a bit even after I had completed it with the 80% that I needed. Of course everything that I went over yesterday helped but didn't really. The questions were different. At about 12:30 last night Brian and I started to talk about what I got wrong and I jumped out of bed and got my steth and blood pressure cuff. We tried it with a loose cuff and tight cuff. Brian also related it to a pool and then to a whirlpool. Very helpful. In a pool of water, there is more pressure at the bottom of the pool versus the top. One side of the pool has the same amount of pressure as the other side. In a whirlpool, you feel the power when you put your hand right next to the water spout it's really strong and if you are sitting away from it, it's not as much.

So I go to open lab after class to practice taking blood pressures. Though I know how to take them, I get nervous when being tested. The nurse in charge there told me I had high blood pressure, that I should "keep an eye on it" and it had been high for the past few days. I think it's stress-related and actually do not really even care all that much though I guess it would be a drag to deal with it. I know I need to lose more weight. I cut out dairy this year and I work out regularly.

On my way home today, I found myself near tears as I though about going to clinical tomorrow. I just am non-plussed about having it in a nursing home. I know it's only five more weeks but I just am not interested. I shouldn't have to do it because I know I am better than a stupid nursing home. It's a waste of my time! Day by day. Take it one day at a time. I think that I have really bad expectations that I will be stuck doing four hours of work that I used to do as a nursing assistant.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

TPR Certification

Today we had certification for temperature, pulse (apical and radial) and respiration in lab. I passed just fine. Each week we have to also take a quiz and need to get 80% before we can certify and if we don't pass by time 3, we're OUT. I got a 50% on the BP--blood presure-quiz and cried I was so upset. I read. I study. I just don't study the right way or enough apparently.

I had a headache all day. Perhaps stress-induced. It's still there. I'm going to go to bed early tonight. I will have to take the quiz again either tomorrow or Friday. I made some bad choices on the quiz.

BP is low in infants and gets higher as we age, in general.
Arm above heart would be false low and arm below would make it false high.

Can't remember some of my other mistakes right now.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

First Clinical

Assisted living facility. Mostly women in residence. Caucasian population. Why are we required to take Cultural Anthroplogy? So P.C. that it bothers me a bit. I am very liberal and am not racist, sexist or anything else of the sort. I've dated guys of all races. I slept about four hours last night even though the place is only five minutes away from me. I just worried a bit though once I got there I was fine I think because it was just a tour. Next week we will start to assess our clients.

I did get a bit sad because I thought of my nana who died in April and had to be in an assisted living/rehab place after she broke her hip. I'm glad she went home from there (even though she was unwell with dementia). She died at home. I miss her sometimes. My grandfather died in September so it's all weird to see old, old people.

The lack of pocket space on the scrubs is going to be a huge issue. We are expected to carry IN OUR pockets:
bandage scissors
drug guide
nursing diagnosis book
pen light

and then she told us to leave our coats in the car? So we have to put our car keys in the pocket too along with lip gloss, hand cream? Yikes!

Five weeks here and then we move on to five weeks at a Rehab facility.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

First Day at Lab:TPR and medical math

So nervous driving over to lab today. Yikes! I thought I'd be late and then that I would not do very well on the quiz. The way it works is we do the reading, have a quiz, learn skills and then get tested on the skills [certified so that we can participate in clinical].

Temperature, pulse and respiration. I learned the proper technique for taking a tympanic temp. Rotate once its in the ear because it scans. Why didn't anyone ever tell me that? Apical pulse is a bit tricky but it's not that hard. Transitioning from taking the pulse to respirations is always a challenge. I have poor short term memory with numbers.

As far as the math that we did: I work with dimensional analysis and cannot do it any other way. In fact, with my method, I was the only one to get this problem.

grain 1/125=_____mg

Dimensional Analysis:


then>>>> 60/125 mg=

12/25 mg=

0.48 mg

Health care workers without healthcare

Have you ever considered the hypocrisy of working in healthcare without healthcare coverage-- despite the new Massachusetts law?

I am in that situation. Currently, I work at Mt. Auburn hospital as a Clinical Assistant; per-diem. I had hoped for a part-time, benefitted position but it does not seem that this will be possible in the department in which I work.

I just had to apply for Mass Health and know many of my nursing school classmates as well as a few co-workers [part-time/benefits eligible positions but healthcare is not affordable]are in the same predicament.

But we are with sick people all the time! We are on the front line for infectious diseases and we cannot maintain proper prevention by having a decent health care? Sure, I am fully immunized but I could easily be exposed to unknown toxins and microorganisms. I think it is outrageous.
Week One down and I'm already sleeping much better.

I know that the instructors need to address every student in the class and what applies to one does not apply to all etc. I found it interesting that there is much focus on mothers/children and time management in regards to a family. Does not apply for me: a single girl with no worries! Right. I wish.

As I joined the school gym [bargain] it's making it easier to work out so I will be much more consistent. My aim is five-six days/week.

Some things I found interesting:
--More than half my class has some sort of health care experience- will this make lab time faster/easier at least until we get to IVs?

--Almost every instructor mentioned "math fears" or "math weakness" and other negative math-related thoughts. I didn't like this. I have taken two Math for Nurses classes within a year and a half and should be competent but I still worry and it doesn't help when people say to "brush up on algebra and fractions." Algebra, really? My engineer fried said, "Algebra can be applied to almost any situation." As I writer, I replied, "You're an engineer."

--Our uniforms are: 1. fitted 2. uncomfortable 3. do not have enough pockets
Why no pants with pockets? And we are expected to carry our stethoscopes, pen lights, pens, bandage scissors and notebooks in the two front pockets on the scrub top

--25% of my class are men. Kudos to them. More men are always needed. To lift things and manage difficult ED situations.

--An instructor actually said, "I suggest you find a way to get your stress under control." If everyone in the U.S. could do that, imagine how lovely it would be. Like Sweden or Norway. All calm. Would there be less competition?