hot and cold

Since the weather in NYC seems to be all over the place lately…70 degrees on Monday followed by snow on Tuesday night…stop going off your meds, NYC.  Let’s do a little “hot” and “cold” session like we used to do at summer…it seems so fitting.

HOT

On Monday, I tried swimming in a pool for the first time in years!  It was around 1pm on a Monday, and the pool was packed.  However, I swam 1200 yards taking some breaks as needed and it wasn’t too bad!  I do need to learn how to breathe on my right side, though…

COLD

Swimming just made me think about how much I’m going to miss running as I break into this triathlon thing for the summer.  I know it’s only temporary, will be fun to try new things and set new goals, and may even help my running in the long run…but I do love running and will probably miss it.

HOT

On a swimming note again, I was motivated enough to head to the pool after work on Wednesday.  After a 12 hour shift, I think that’s impressive.  One of the reasons I picked the gym I did was because it’s open until 11pm and I figured it wouldn’t be that busy at 8pm on a weeknight.  Which leads me to…

COLD

Apparently the gym rents out the pool to a tri club on Wednesday evenings from 8pm-9pm, so the pool is closed to non-tri club members.  The lifeguard told me I could wait until 9pm (it was 8:20pm)…so I packed up and went home.  Fail.  Did some lunges in my apartment instead.  Next time:  Pack something other than a swimsuit.

HOT

Day shift!!  I’m wrapping up my fourth week out of my eight week rotation to day shift…it goes by so fast!  We have a lot of kids on the burn unit right now (nine-ish…that’s a lot), but I took charge and we had almost all of the kids’ dressings changed by 10am yesterday.  The PA asked if I could work there every day.  (Take me back to the ICU!!)

COLD

I’ve never been capable of going to bed before midnight, so it’s usually more like 1-1:30am.  Which makes that 6:30am alarm oh-so-rough.  And means I either sleep for five hours at a time or ten hours at a time.

HOT

Only working three days per week means that I can get those ten hours of sleep more often than if I worked five days per week.  Hooray!

COLD

My schedule is going a little bit like this these days:  two days on, one day off, three days on, one day off, two days on, two days off, one day on, one day off, two days on, MINNEAPOLIS.  Okay, at least we end on a good note, but it’s going to be busy until we get there!

HOT

I work with amazing people, many who I’m lucky enough to call friends.

COLD

Sometimes, they leave.  But when they do, it’s burn unit tradition to “tank” them…aka throw them in the tank (what we call our bath tub type thing that isn’t a bath tub at all…we use it to clean burns on those who can’t shower) filled with soap and then dump Replete and Vivonex on them.  If you have any familiarity with tube feeding, you would know Vivonex is the most disgusting smell in the world.  hahhahahhahah!

image
Nothing says, “We’ll miss you!” quite like a tanking.  And yes, we all wear plastic gowns to protect ourselves.

HOT

Some hot news in the blog world!  Check out posts from:

And now, here’s hoping that the “hot” weather returns and we’ll be done with this snowing nonsense.  Come on, spring!  Now, share some hot and colds with me…unless your weather is all hot or all cold right now…

18

04 2014

nursing, lately

I don’t write too much about work these days since I work at a very obvious hospital and a very obvious population.  Talking about an experience with a patient who has abdominal pain is a bit less obvious than talking about someone with an oil burn to their left foot, so there’s that.  However, some exciting things have been happening in my nursing world, so let’s talk about it!

CCRN

After talking about it for about two years, I finally buckled down and studied for the Critical Care Registered Nurse exam.  It’s a test that isn’t necessary for practice, but it demonstrates that you have superior knowledge in critical care and know what’s going on under different circumstances.  You need about a year worth of hours in critical care nursing in order to take the exam, but I do think it made it easier to take the test having more experience.  That being said, the exam covers all areas of critical care and all the body systems, so for once in my life I’ll admit that it was helpful that my unit is the main ICU overflow for the neuro ICU, as I actually saw a patient go into diabetes insipidus with crazy high urine output and super high sodium levels.

That’s the only time I’ll ever admit I like neuro patients…because I don’t.  (Mainly I hate waking patients at all hours of the night for hourly neuro checks.  Whispering, “Can you tell me your name?” into someone’s ear at 3am isn’t creepy at all.)

I was so worried about taking the exam, mainly because I worry about all exams.  I used to study for a week straight for my organic chemistry exams in college, which paid off since I got A’s in both semesters.  For the CCRN exam, I used the same tactic:

photo 1 (4) Flashcards.

I still have my orgo flash cards somewhere even though I have no idea what they mean anymore.  I read through the PASS CCRN book and made flash cards out of the things I didn’t know and seemed the most important.  (Such as what types of MIs show up in which EKG leads.)  I also did a million PASS CCRN questions and read through the Laura Gasparis book from the class I took about a year and a half ago. It ended up paying off since I passed with 111 of out 125.  (Passing is 71%.)  Oddly enough, my best section was cardiac (96%…CTICU, here I come!) and worst was GI (70%).  And I definitely guessed on all the “ethicial and nursing practice” questions because the right answers aren’t what you actually do in real life.  (There, I said it.)  If any of you out there are thinking about taking it…just pick a test date and go for it.  I studied for about three weeks, so it’s not a terribly huge commitment.  (Anyone want my flashcards??)

SAFE RN

My next nursing adventure is into SAFE nursing, for which SAFE stands for “sexual assault nurse examiner.”  Perhaps I have some liking for traumatic events (because working in a burn unit isn’t full of traumatic events…), but SAFE nurses are the ones who are called in to work with victims of sexual assault when they come into the ER.  It’s a unique position compared to my usual floor nursing, as the SAFE nurse is not considered part of the medical team or the police department.  Instead, we’re solely responsible for the evidence collection including photographs of any trauma and collection of samples either through skin swabs or a vaginal/rectal exam.  The class taught us how to do these exams (speculums are fancy instruments…), as well as included talks from sex trafficking experts and a district attorney specializing in special victims.

photo (87) At work watching SAFE videos after I fishtailed my hair.  Note:  It is awkward when a patient’s family member walks in on you watching those videos…

Not that I would ever wish sexual assault on anyone, but unfortunately it happens and we need people to help these people at an incredibly tough time.  (Interestingly enough, in court you’re not allowed to mention what the victim was wearing unless it’s relevant such as “and then my shirt was ripped” since what you’re wearing or how much you’ve been drinking doesn’t mean you’re given permission to anyone.)  It will be a different angle from working on the floor, as you’re one on one with the patient with no interruptions or obligations to anyone else.  It’s a huge responsibility and allows for independent work, so I’m looking forward to it while hoping I’m never actually needed.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month…current statistics state that 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men are the victims of rape – with both numbers mostly likely higher due to underreporting.  It’s a huge problem, more so than I can simply state here.

American Burn Association

About a month ago, I headed up to Boston for the American Burn Association meeting, which is an annual conference related to all things burns.  Doctors, nurses, physical therapists, researchers, and more come from all over to present research and talk about improving care.  I volunteered for a few sessions which involved collected tickets (pretty easy for free admission to the conference…) and sat in on some presentations and talks, including research discussions from people I work with.  It was interesting to hear how other burn units work with children (ketamine and Versed for EVERY dressing change??  We give small amounts of oxycodone…yikes) and what research is being done.  Interesting but not surprising, much of the burn research comes out of military medical centers.  Nursing talks included how to standardize a precepting program so that you know a new nurse is ready to be on their own versus just relying on people saying, “Oh yeah, they’ll be fine.”

The social aspect of the ABA is also quite large, and it was fun to see my friend Amy (of Boston Marathon spectating fame) for an evening.  Another evening led us to a fancy dinner at the Boston College Club with an beautiful view of Boston.  Unfortunately, that view included the smoke from a nine alarm fire that happened that day.  A bit sobering as the Boston Fire Department lost two of their men that day, one of who had attended one of the ABA events the evening before.  It’s hard to lose a member of the burn family, but also serves as a reminder as to the power of fire and how important our work is.

On a related/slightly happier note, I was able to get out for a run in Boston.  Although I’ve been to Boston many times, I haven’t spent much time running downtown except for the finish of the marathon.  Luckily, I squeeze in eight miles along the Charles on a beautiful spring day in Boston.  It’s fitting that my run ended as a crossed this mark:

photo 2 (4)

I won’t be crossing that finish line after 26.2 miles this year, but I’m excited for those who will be doing that in a few short weeks.  It will be a meaningful day for everyone in the running community, and I can’t wait to cheer from afar.  (At work, actually!  Full circle.)

And that’s enough nursing babble for now…I know have a fair amount of fellow nursing runner readers.  Any CCRN or SAFE nurses out there?  Anyone attend conferences in their specialty?

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04 2014