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This week wore me out, even though it really shouldn't have!  Our theory class meets in the afternoons, so on Mondays and Tuesdays I even get to sleep in!  That didn't seem to have helped by the time I got to Friday, though.  Oh well...

In our theory class this week we learned about cirrhosis on Tuesday and then learned about interpreting EKG strips on Wednesday (and what the implications are for the patient).  I definitely need to work on the EKG strips--they're on our exam coming up this week, and we need to be able to recognize and identify about 12 different patterns.  We're not learning this in as much detail as a cardiologist would (of course) but the differences between some patterns are fairly subtle.  Apparently in some hospitals, nurses provide the interpretation of the patient's heart rhythm and use this to decide whether to notify the cardiologist.  (In the 2 hospitals where I've done clinical work, there is a telemetry department.  On some floors, they even have a station at the nurses' station, and they monitor all the patients from a big bank of computers.  On other floors, the patient's monitor transmits the info to a remote monitoring station and we can pick up a red phone (yes, it really is red, and it *only* connects to the telemetry department) to find out what a patient's rhythm is.

We also started a new class this week, which is called Graduate Bridging Experience.  It addresses various topics related to making the transition from the sheltered world of student nursing to the imperfect world of professional nursing.  At the end of the class, we'll do 60+ hours of clinical with a preceptor.  Until then, it's mostly lecture content with a couple of written assignments. 

We started clinical this week on Thursday and Friday.  I'm on a medical/surgical floor that tends to handle GI issues (but, like all med/surg floors, gets all kinds of patients).  I didn't have a great week--I felt like I was always behind, despite having only one patient the first day--and I definitely need to be more assertive with patients in order to get things done.  Yarr.  Our instructor is very nice (and not as intimidating as some of the instructors at this level seem) and I think she was pretty forgiving this week, but I still felt like I didn't do a very good job.  I know it just means that I can show improvement in future weeks, but it certainly raises my anxiety level!  Throughout this program, I've felt confident academically but I always feel like my clinical work is my weak area.  Not that I've done anything unsafe--just that I get bogged down by certain tasks and don't accomplish everything I should (or when I should).  This is not the only thing we're graded on, but organization of care is definitely something we need to be able to do!

This coming week, we have our first exam in our Theory class, and then no Theory class on Wednesday.  This means no new content for the week, which I think is a little strange.  Our schedule is very irregular this semester--our Theory class is supposed to meet from 12-2:15, but they've tried to combine us with the evening group on some days, so in reality we meet for 2.25-3.5 hours 1 or 2 days a week, at a time between 12 and 7pm!  None of us are happy about that--least of all, people with kids, jobs, or both, who had been anticipating a regular schedule.  Until this semester, I had been really impressed at the way the school tries to issue very clear schedules and notify us of changes well in advance.  This semester, though, it feels like they've basically said "you're in your final semester.  We know you're not going to drop out, so we can screw up the schedule any way we want and you'll make it work because you want to graduate."  It's a little frustrating, even though I'm not working and don't have childcare to schedule!  My favorite part, though, is that when they torqued the schedule around, they scheduled some of the lectures at the same time as Intro Sociology, which is a co-requisite for this class!  Granted, many of us have already taken it, but several students haven't (because, after all, it's not required until the 4th semester, and when we registered for classes, the schedule clearly showed that they met at different times)!  Anyway, that is probably more than you wanted to hear about all that!

EKG time!


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