Back to the books

Okay, so I made it a full year (13 months if we’re being completely accurate) without being in school. I think that might be some sort of record. But I was having serious withdrawal… precepting a student just made me miss the classroom all that much more. Ha. So I’m taking advanced pharmacology this semester, currently as a continuing ed student, but the plan is to apply to the post-master’s FNP certificate program (I’m shamelessly milking the continuing ed tuition discount at the moment!).

Had our first class this past Friday. Two of my friends/former classmates are in the class with me which makes it more fun. Three is enough to make a clique, right? I’m kidding about the clique, but I’m happy to have them there! We’re in class with nurses who have been practicing for years, and it can be overwhelming since we’ve only been licensed for a year and a half… not to mention that all three of us are in slightly less traditional nursing positions with me in quality and my two friends in mental health (one inpatient adult, one outpatient pediatric). It can make us feel a bit less confident in our clinical skills, so it’s good to have each other as a built-in support group. Our professor is a big supporter, too, which is great. She’s one of my favorite professors and was named the nurse practitioner of the year in our state last year, so I have full confidence in her confidence that we can do this… if that makes any sense (should probably not be blogging on fumes as I am at the moment… keeping myself going at full speed here lately!).

Had a ball in our first class. We watched a podcast from Therapeutics Education Collaboration. Wait, pharmacology can be fun?! And rational?! Wow. That’s part of what I love about this professor. Pharmacology has the potential to be incredibly dry, but she wants us to go beyond: this is a statin and this is what you do with it. She wants us to truly think about pharmacology within the perspective of the individual patient. What does it mean to practice evidence-based medicine/nursing? What do guidelines really mean? I found Friday’s class to be incredibly thought-provoking.

Of course, it was also interesting to watch my fellow students (aside from my friends… we know this professor and how she operates) to see how they react to her approach. I can tell there are a few who are looking for the “right answer” and aren’t going to take the idea that there can be more than one right answer lying down. It helped me to realize that even though my friends and I might not have the clinical experience of our classmates, we do have a perspective as master’s-prepared/CNL-prepared nurses that may give us a different kind of advantage. We’ve been educated to go beyond the technical skills to consider the broader picture. I’m excited to see how the rest of the semester goes. I am feeling more and more settled in my decision to pursue the FNP. Definitely think this is the direction I need to head in at the moment.

Aside from school, been keeping busy with work and dance. Work has been… kind of a bitch, to be honest. I’m not entirely sure what to attribute my feelings to, but I’m not enjoying the general anxiety around the place. I’m feeling overly corporate-ized lately. If I hear one more thing about our floundering budget or lean management or harping about patient satisfaction (when I can see that the staff all over the house is miserable… how are you supposed to have happy patients with miserable, stressed-out staff?) I might just scream. It’s starting to sound like a whole bunch of corporate-babble without a whole lot of meaning behind the rhetoric. This is what I was trying to leave when I quit career #1 to go to nursing school. I know that hospitals are businesses and have the same issues that all businesses do, but I’m finding it hard to hear the one side about how we need to provide quality care while on the other we’re talking about how to slash our budget to the bare minimum, do more with less, operate more efficiently, etc. when we’re already stretched to the breaking point. I don’t see how this is going to come to a good end. I still like a lot about my job, don’t get me wrong. I’ve learned a ton, built a lot of skills that I wouldn’t have had a chance to cultivate if I was a staff nurse, but I can see that this leg of my career is going to have a definite end-point. I don’t want to do this for the rest of my life. And I do want to have some more bedside experience. So I expect that once my coworker comes back from her medical leave I’ll start looking elsewhere for something more… nurse-y. And more removed from the corporate crap.

So… thank goodness I have dance! The favorite part of my week! Great way to get out inner aggressions, angst, and flaunt the inner diva! And it’s just a fun group of people; dancing is fun, but dancing with friends is even better! (Wow, calm down with the exclamation points in this paragraph, Ms. Roars.) We’ve got some great performance opportunities from performing at art openings and dance parties (which is what I did after class last week) to being invited to provide entertainment at local schools and art venues to our own productions… I’ve found a physical balance to my work/school side that I hadn’t realized I was missing.

I’m a little nervous about how the next few months will go as I try to maintain equilibrium (did I mention that one of my coworkers I work closely with is on medical leave and I’m supervising the temp help?!). But if there’s anything I know about myself it’s that I love life most when I’m running on all cylinders. I need my down time (i.e. my Saturdays which seem to entail me crashed on the couch most of the day), but then vroom! Let’s go 🙂

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