Three weeks in…

This semester’s flying. But I guess I didn’t expect anything different. I finished writing an introduction and problem statement for my research class today. Man, the motivation had seriously been lacking for that project. Hence the reason that it was due today and I just started working on it… today. I’ve been psyching myself out a bit with this class. I actually have no idea where I got the idea that research is scary. But it’s been a pretty pervasive thought over the years. It’s a big part of the reason that I chose math as a major… the one major at my college that didn’t require a thesis. I realize now that this is a bad reason to pick a major. Actually, I realized it then, too. It’s just that what I would have really liked to major in–either bio or neuroscience–were too difficult to take up halfway into my college career. You really need to start on those from day one… and I’d been doing math since day one, so it was easier to keep up the road I was already on, despite the fact that math ceased to be fun for me much beyond calculus and probability & statistics. I liked the neat and tidy math, not the abstract, over-my-head stuff that we were bombarded with. Anyway, I know this class will be okay, and I’m actually excited about my topic, so I’m hoping that as I slog through this stuff my fears will be put aside. It would be particularly beneficial if I have any hopes of getting a PhD someday! Publish or perish, as they say.

As an aside to the PhD comment, I’ve been struggling to decide where I want to go after this. I mean, I will finish my nursing program, work as a nurse and I’d like to go on for advanced practice at some point, maybe in midwifery or neonatal nursing. I like the increased autonomy of advanced practice. Currently there is a motion in place to move advanced practice nursing to the doctorate level with the creation of a new designation, the DNP (doctor of nursing practice). In many ways this mirrors a trend in other healthcare fields: pharmacy has moved from a bachelor’s degree preparation to the PharmD prep, physical therapy has moved to the doctor of physical therapy (DPT) as the terminal practice degree. I don’t personally have a problem with this, just as I don’t have a problem with nursing being moved to a baccalaureate degree prep or practical nursing being an associate’s degree (although I haven’t heard any arguments for the latter… I just feel that if LPNs are already spending a minimum of three semesters doing college-level work they might as well get recognized for all that work). My point being I wouldn’t mind getting my DNP after this. The issue is that I also want to teach and there is a fair amount of debate about how DNPs are going to be viewed in the academic arena. Basically the opinion seems to be that DNPs will be “less than” PhD prepared faculty. Now, at the moment I can’t say that I’d mind keeping my teaching to the clinical level, which DNPs would be more than qualified for. I’d like to do the hands-on teaching more than pontificating about nursing theory which at the moment I’m feeling is a bunch of academic hooey, which is heresy, but I said it anyway. So, go for the DNP, you say, right? Well, yeah, but there’s that part of me that wants to go for the gold, the Piled higher and Deeper. Except not in nursing. I know, confusing. I don’t know why I don’t want a PhD in nursing, I just don’t. But medical anthropology might be interesting… oh well, one step at a time, I guess. I still need to get through four more semesters to get the MS.

As for the other classes, public health is okay, but not my favorite. I’m working with a home health nurse for clinical and I must say that going to people’s homes squicks me out. But it could be far worse. The lecture portion of the class is okay. More public health than community health, which I must admit I have only a passing interest in. But the professor is good. Maternity/peds is going well. As much as I try to avoid saying that I want to get into maternity or peds because it’s kind of a stereotyped female student nurse statement, it’s the area that I really can’t get enough of. We had our first live clinical experience on Thursday. We actually didn’t spend a ton of time with patients and I’m itching to get to that, but it was nice just to be on the floor. Maternity rooms are so much nicer than regular hospital rooms and they have a much more polite call bell system. I just couldn’t get over how quiet it was, which you wouldn’t expect seeing as there are all those crying babies. Hopefully we’ll each get a day in labor & delivery and a day in the NICU during the maternity rotation. After that I’ll be doing peds. Interestingly, on Sunday I was at an alumni event for my alma mater and a girl that I graduated with brought her mother, who happens to be the clinical instructor for peds. I had a nice chat with her and I’m looking forward to that rotation. The final class this semester is the advanced pathophys class. It’s completely online with the professor in Florida and surprisingly… I’m really liking it. The professor has obviously done this online teaching thing before. Everything is laid out very clearly for us, none of this hunting and clicking through various tabs on Blackboard to try to figure out everything we need to do. And I just took my first quiz for that class and got a 100. I love the instant gratification of online quizzes!

Other than that… had that alumni event on Sunday which was quite nice. We did a walk around Walden Pond and learned about Thoreau from a fellow alum who works as an education director there. I saw a few people I knew from school and caught up with them. It was a beautiful morning to tromp through the woods. I just wish I had time to read some Thoreau right now. He sounds like an interesting guy, which I sure as heck didn’t appreciate when I was supposed to read Walden in my junior year of high school. I should see if my town library has it on CD so I can listen to it in the car on my commute. I’ve never tried the books on tape/CD before, but it might be a good way to catch up on some fun reading during school.

Well, speaking of fun reading, I think I’ll go read some more maternity stuff and start to study for the test we have in that class on Wednesday. Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’ Rawhiiiiiiide!

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