Almost There…

I sit here by myself in a quiet house sipping a Chai tea latte. I just got up from an hour long nap, and prior to that I had an hour long massage, and prior to that I had a wonderful lunch with Doug at Whole Foods. Thank’s to my husband for the many little surprises today. The last surprise happens outside our doors, as the windows of my car are being tinted.

It’s been a wonderfully relaxing day of pampering and rest in the midst of a very busy time in life. This is what my mind and body craves and needs.

Last week I took the last exam of nursing school, and walked off campus with my friends in what felt like a bittersweet walk. Nursing school is pretty much over. With the exception of the 10 nursing management shifts I have to complete (already halfway done) and the few papers I have to write, I’ve survived nursing school! It feels great to move forward, but I had great times in nursing school as well. I developed some lifetime friendships. Additionally, it was a safe haven really, because I could always call my instructor for help, or tell the scared and questioning patient that~ I will get your nurse. Now I’m the nurse, and I’m going to be calling the shots (no pun intended). I’m the one who will answer those hard questions patients ask. I’ll be the one listening to concerns, putting out fires and holding the hand of the patient or their family member. I’m the one who has to use intuition when something just “doesn’t seem right”. I’m the one to call the doctor, and to coordinate care with other interdisciplinary team members. I’m the one who has to prioritize which patient should be seen first, and which one needs meds first. I’m the one to care for the patient holistically. This is such a huge responsibility, and it’s overwhelming to think about at times. But, I’m preparing for the challenge as I complete my management shifts with a wonderful preceptor. I’m learning so much. I’m taking charge of my patient’s care. I’m forcing myself to confront doctor’s, to learn about prioritization, to try new skills (IV insertion), to delegate to the staff put in place to help nurses, and to coordinate care and advocate for those in my care. I love it.

After the last nursing exam, a few of us decided to celebrate over drinks and lunch at the beach. I’m pretty sure every person that surrounded us on the back porch of the restaurant knew we were celebrating the end of nursing school. This was evident through our endless smiles, the champagne toasts, group selfies and a loud discussion that WE PASSED NURSING SCHOOL. WE’RE (almost) NURSES!! You might say we were all very proud and the relief we felt was great. It was an amazing afternoon with amazing ladies.

Friends Champagne toast

I’ve had several days off here and there between my management shifts and work to have fun, since I don’t have a test to study for. Well, I have to study for NCLEX, the big board test, but I’m giving myself a small break. I’ve managed to squeeze in some time to clean and organize the house, rest on the dock, play with my family, have lunches with Doug, and sleep in. It’s been great. Doug bought a croquet set over the weekend, and we played a family game on Sunday.

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On Monday night, after a long 12 hour shift, my friend Vickie and I stripped from our nursing attire into business casual in preparation for the new nurse graduate night. With red faces, sore legs and sweat from a long day, we transformed ourselves from tired nurse to business professional. Over 100 people attended the new nurse graduate night, all with the hopes of being offered a position with a BayCare hospital. We were told that only 50 spots were available, and that if not offered a job this time around, there would be an opportunity again in November. There were two rooms. One was filled with anxious new graduate nurses sitting in rows of chairs listening to  the director of nursing speak about being a new nurse with BayCare, as she moved through her powerpoints. In the next room, nurse managers sat at tables interviewing candidates for the new nurse graduate program. Throughout the information session there were many interruptions, as one manager and then another would call out a name of a potential candidate, and export them to the “interview” room. I’m thinking that most people were feeling the same way I was feeling and thinking similar thoughts. I sat quietly and nervously, waiting for my name to be called. I watched every person as they left the room, and I observed their attire. My heart pounded, even though my manager has unofficially offered me a position on several occasions.

Then my manger finally called me back and grabbed me for a big hug before we walked into the other room. After we found our table and sat down, she said to me, “check mark, check mark, check mark YES to you! I’m so excited to have you as apart of our team. Go out and buy new blue scrubs.” Then she teared up and told me that she was honored to have me on the floor, and honored to be my manager. It was awesome.

Afterwards, I met up with a few of my friends who waited in the lobby, and we chatted about our victories. We decided it was time to celebrate, so we headed to Carmel Cafe for wine and apps. I love these ladies and can’t imagine doing nursing school with anyone else.

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There’s still much to do before the big pinning ceremony that approaches so quickly, in about 2 weeks. There’s a graduation tea to attend and a speech to prepare for the tea. I have to complete 6 more management shifts. I need to make a trip to the tailor and have my white dress altered for the pinning ceremony. There are more papers to write, and one project left. Most importantly, there’s a graduation party to plan… although Doug is taking care of most of it.

I can’t wait for the pinning ceremony. Every semester of nursing school, I volunteered at the pinning ceremony, and I remember the excitement and emotion I felt for the nurse graduates. I remember attending my friend Janet’s pinning ceremony a year ago, and longing to be in her shoes…..wishing I was the one graduating from nursing school. You can read about that here. Now it’s my turn, and I’m beyond thrilled.

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