You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2007.

That was then:
Treading water

This is now:
Swim, Forest, swim!

We started the new semester on Monday, and were told “You’re going to feel like you were treading water before, now you’re going to have to swim.”

Let’s just hope it doesn’t turn into one of those synchronized drowning routines:
Synchronized drowning

It looks like it’s going to be very busy. We did our clinical review Tuesday, then oriented at the clinical site on Wednesday. Very neat to actually be using some of the equipment that I’ve seen nurses using for the last year and not known how to work.

There are several factors that contributed to my current enrollment in nursing school. I’ve had other jobs and careers: courier, photographer, teacher, quality assurance engineer, software developer, game developer, lecturer, as well as being a tree trimmer. When I worked my way through college I found a talent for technical things in the just-beginning computer area, and fell into one thing after another. After almost two decades of very successful but essentially directionless work in high tech, the downturn in the market as well as my increasing loss of enthusiasm for the work spelled the end of that era in my life.

I actually was able to think about and choose what I wanted to be when I grew up, and the only thing I had to go on was a lifelong attraction to the medical field. I decided on Firefighter, as it had a mix of what I saw as both intellect as well as physicality that was appealing. I started back at school and received my EMT certification, but wasn’t able to find any work in that area, and had to reassess a five to seven year commitment to application processes to get placed somewhere. Not to mention that I should be willing to relocate.

With the reality of that avenue being less and less achievable, I looked at what might provide a similar career path, with better prospects for hiring. I had actually intentionally bypassed nursing as my experiences with several nurses in my life had been distasteful, and I found their attitudes aggravating. After careful consideration and reassessment, I decided that avoiding it for those reasons wasn’t valid enough to bypass it entirely.

Back to school I went to complete my prerequisites for nursing school. A year and a half later, I was able to start applying to all the community colleges in my area. Unfortunately, by then a lot of other people had seen the logic in the nursing path and schools which had been merely difficult to get accepted into became nigh impossible. After several months I started talking to my old alma mater to find out–yet again–what I could do to complete a Bachelor’s degree I had walked away from with only a few classes to complete. Each time I had done this in the past I was rewarded with new requirements and additional classes added on due to the amount of time that had passed. But I had incentive this time, since that lambskin in my sweaty palm would allow me to apply to additional nursing schools.

Amazingly, when I aggressively chased the proper signatures and sign-offs I ended up graduating with NO classes being attended at all. So I applied to Masters Entry programs, which allow someone with a first degree not in nursing to receive a degree in a shorter amount of time. Since a previous degree was required, the field of applicants was smaller than that in the community college system. But it also upped the ante in terms of tuition.

After some ups and downs with interviews, school tours and such, I was eventually accepted. By two schools within a week of each other. I’ve now completed two of the five semesters of the program I entered, and continue to enjoy the learning and the process in becoming a nurse. In addition to my clinical rotations I am working as a nursing assistant, and I see many opportunities for improving both the role of the nurse as well as patient’s involvement in their care. I love assisting people in navigating issues when in the hospital, and translating between the real world and the medical one. My commitment to patients and their need for an advocate who is knowledgeable as well as compassionate is continuously growing, and I look forward to when I’ll be able to act in the full capacity of a registered nurse.

World Map

This post is going to sound a lot worse than it is, and I’m not sure how to remedy that.

I should preface the subject by saying that I love to travel. I like meeting new people and going places I’ve never been before, as well as seeing and hearing things that are new.

I find, however, my enjoyment to stop when I’m at work (major hospital in the Bay Area) and I hear my co-workers–and I limit my ire to those working at the hospital, not visiting it–speaking non-English to each other. I find this unprofessional. And this is from someone who wears scrubs with Superman symbols on them, which is a whole separate topic.

So I’m left trying to analyze my reaction.

Do I feel put out because I don’t understand the exchange? Yes, a bit I suppose. I do know I’m more comfortable overhearing Spanish than other languages, and that doubtless is because I can parse a teensy bit of it. If it’s something else, I find it more annoying.

I don’t think it’s too much to require English be spoken while on duty. I believe I would follow such an edict if I were to work in another country where there was a different primary language. There are certainly recognized needs to translate or assist people without English skills who are visiting the hospital, but aside from that the conversations should be limited to off-hours.

Am I way off base here? Is this needlessly draconian?

Some quick highlights regarding obesity here in the United States:

Chubby Middle

Nearly 280,000 deaths per year in the United States are attributable to obesity. Left untreated, obesity is related to the development of diabetes mellitus, hypertension, stroke, hyperlipidemia, coronary artery disease, gallstones, osteoarthritis, obstructive sleep apnea, vascular disease, depression, and certain cancers (breast, endometrial, prostate, colon).

Even modest weight loss can reduce the morbidity of obesity-related disease, such as arthritis and obstructive sleep apnea. For those at increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, such as persons with obesity and diabetes mellitus, intentional weight loss coupled with lifestyle change can significantly reduce mortality.

Standing on the corner

Nearly 25% of American adults are obese, and more than half are overweight. Obesity burdens society with significant costs, including more than $50 billion annually for direct care. With an additional $30 billion spent each year on weight-loss products and services, this disease accounts for over 5% of annual health care expenditures in the United States. (Shepard, 2003)

90% of people BMI of 30 have DM and cardiovascular disease. The percentage goes up as the BMI increases.

If you come from a family where no one is obese = 10% chance to be obese
If you come from a family where one parent is obese = 40% chance to be obese
If you come from a family where both parents are obese = 80% chance to be obese

Diner for Two

I just need to keep one or two of those things in mind next time I decide to clean my plate.