Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The end of the end

So, it seems for months now that I have been building up to this moment. First, it was midterms... only half a semester to go until the end. Then it was the marathon bombings and an active manhunt for a terrorist literally outside my front door. Then it was my last day at clinical. I vowed that I wouldn't cry: it was a happy thing after all! But there went the waterworks at the final sight of my great preceptor. And then there's tonight, and the countdowns are as follows:

FINAL final exam: Tomorrow
Graduate hooding ceremony: 6 days
Commencement: 10 days

With things practically all in single digits, it is clear to me that this amazing, crazy, ridiculous journey is coming to an end. And although it is just the beginning, I can't help but feel a little reminiscent about the early days of this crazy ride.

News Headlines: Rachel's Most Pressing Memories from 3 Years at Regis College

Fall semester, 2010
-Petrified at VA Hospital: Clinical instructor forced to physically push student into patient room
-Still petrified at VA Hospital: Afraid to administer meds due to possibility of patient death
-A little less petrified at VA Hospital: Young student nurse successfully administers medications to patient.
-Confident at VA Hospital: Student nurse cares for 2 patients simultaneously, administering medications and helping to create care plans.

Spring semester, 2011
-ZzZzZzZzZzZz: 5:30am- Student nurse dozing on bus to Mt. Auburn Hospital with two best friends in tow.
-Snow. Snow. More snow. Will the seemingly never ending winter wallops ever end?
-Clinically clinical: 3 clinical days a week- how much is too much?
-A time to remember: Regis College nursing student feels more 'nursish' than ever, also worked in locked psych ward and lived to tell the tale.

Summer semester, 2011
-Summer, summer, summertime: No sitting back to unwind for this girl- Children's here we come!
-Perspective: The little things mean most for CF patient at Children's Hospital, all the way from the United Arab Emirates for the expert care of Children's providers.
-Pop! Nursing student watches Cesarean section birth without fainting... only hyperventilation.

Fall semester, 2011
-Wait, what? Regis program requires 125 hours in clinical setting as part of RN preceptorship.
-Getting 'er done! 3 classes and over 20 hours of clinical a week later, nursing students rally towards NCLEX finish line!
-Winter break, what's that? Students sit in crowded, loud classroom for NCLEX review.

Spring Semester, 2012
-The time is NOW! Nursing student schedules NCLEX exam for February 15 at 11:00am... but who remembers that?
-A long 7 DAYS later: student learns of official passing of NCLEX exam...dreams come true!
-The longest paper ever: research paper on thesis proposal goes off without a hitch... haha. Not.
-Double Trouble: Grad student earns her second Bachelor's degree! Let's celebrate!

Summer Semester, 2012
-Health policy shmolicy: Students learn the importance of knowing the healthcare system, even when it bores them.
-Health assessment....advanced. Head to toe assessments and diagnosing...advanced style.

Fall Semester, 2012
-Holy moley: 3rd year student shakes head at concept of being NP student.
-Woah. Woah...just woah.
-Case study pandemonium: 25+ page paper per week drives NP student to insanity.
-Learning in action: Active clinical works encourages NP student confidence, skills and expertise.

And then we are here, Spring Semester 2013... the time I never dreamed would actually come. So what are this semester's headlines, you ask? Those are best summed up in complete sentences. Looking back on this incredible 3 year journey, I have never felt more proud. I also have never felt more grateful: to the teachers that have taught me how to not only be a nurse, but to be a compassionate, empathic one. To the school that has given me the skills to not only be a nurse practitioner, but to be one that is ready to enter the field with confidence, ample experience and knowledge. To the Regis community for allowing me to be a part of such a diverse, special group of people.

So, folks, with that I bid you and this blog adieu. Thank you for giving me the privilege of entering your homes, computers, and lives each week with my thoughts, stresses, experiences and stories. This blog will serve not only as a special memory of what I have been through, but also hopefully as a way for you to navigate your own experience as a past, current or future Regis College student.

Wherever you go, whatever you do may all the blessings of the world follow you.

The Bella Show

So since my next post will be my best (and last!) blog post, I figured I owed it to my own personal clown, comedian, model and pal to devote a special page to THE Bella. So... hopefully this will help you get through your finals.

Friday, April 19, 2013


I'll make this short and sweet
From Watertown, MA I write you
We are calm
We are free
We are safe
Thank you to the unbelievable diligence, professionalism and bravery of the Watertown Police Department, Boston Police Department, SWAT, FBI, ATF and all the other departments involved in returning our lives to normalcy.
After being holed up in our apartments all day
Listening to gun shots
Listening to helicopters
May the precious, precious souls of sweet Martin, Krystle, Lingzi and Sean be forever in peace and never in vein.

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Reflection with No Agenda.

It is a nightmare. It must be. I am tossing and turning but I can’t wake up. There’s smoke, and screaming, and chaos. I rub my eyes, rub my eyes…but it doesn’t go away.

Today began like any other. I woke up on this Marathon Monday to the sounds of my alarm clock squawking at me to get up. A couple of snoozes, an English muffin and some much needed coffee later, the day was off and running.

Somewhere in the distance, an 8 year old woke up and his Marathon Monday began like any other… at least I can guess. Because that 8 year old boy is just like me. Every year, that magical day approached when everyone was off from work…a great excuse to eat junk food and hand strangers water and oranges. Lawn chairs, coolers and sunscreen in tow, I’d walk down the Marathon streets with my dad, my best friend and her father. The four of us so content, so safe in the joy of the day… the energy that fills the air, the excitement of seeing mere mortals do seemingly heroic things with their bodies. The rhythmic motion of muscles and sneakers, moving in tandem with arms flapping, teeth shining, skin glistening. The smells of grilled meats, popcorn and spilled beer. The sounds of young kids asking why, why do we do this every year. The sounds of drunk college kids screaming at their friends for walking too fast. The sounds of parents trying to keep tabs on their 8 year old, who would do anything to get just one better look at the head of the pack.

And then there’s today. The visions of yesterday, those smells and visions and feelings of having it all… they’re gone. All gone. And I’m left with a pit in my stomach, an empty pit yet so full of anger, confusion, fear, nostalgia, nausea, and terror.

This isn’t supposed to happen anywhere. This especially isn’t suppose to happen here. I am biased I admit, but anyone who has visited here or lived here or walked these streets will agree… Boston is a special place.

We are small enough to know each other, but big enough to mind our business.

We love our sports teams, and we hate the Yankees.

Dunkin Donuts iced coffee is our state food.

We drive lake maniacs and expect you to do the same.

And we go to the Boston Marathon every Patriot’s Day. And we love it. And we go home after filled with exhaustion from over-stimulation, a stomach-ache from too much food and a heart full of Boston pride.

It just isn’t suppose to happen here… on a day like this…in a place like this. Where people bust their butts to pay for their rent. Where people come from all over the world to a city that prides itself on acceptance of all people. Where we don’t worry about things like this happening, but we just trust in ourselves and each other.

So I toss and I turn. And I shut my eyes tight. And Lord, do I pray that when morning arrives, and how lucky it will be to arrive, this will all be that nightmare I thought all along.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

1 down, 3 to go!

1 down 3 to go. Of what you ask? Of clinicals!! It is hard to believe but on Monday I bid farewell to one of my four clinical placements! I was surprised by how mixed my emotions were. On the one hand, I was happy to be finally finishing up these crazy clinical days. On the other hand, I said goodbye to an amazing group of people who have been such a great source of support and cheerleading for my nurse practitioner life! It is crazy how people in these clinical settings get to know you so quickly on such an intimate level, and become some of your biggest fans!

Next week, I bid adieu to the remainder of my clinical placements and that is going to be heavy! On Tuesday, I say goodbye to my preceptor that I have for geriatrics. On Wednesday and Friday respectively, I say bye to the two preceptorships I have had the longest (since September!) at Regis College Health Services and my preceptor in Everett. I honestly can't believe how fast time has flown and how much I have learned! As of today, I have 582 hours done.... who would have thought it was possible! 

Tonight I have lecture and we are learning about the musculoskeletal system (not my favorite). It should be interesting and helpful since at least one patient every day is there for a musculoskeletal issue, and let's face it, they affect us all! Before class tonight, my trip-mates and I are speaking to our class about our amazing trip to Grenada last month, so that should be really fun to share what we experienced with the rest of the gang! 

It's funny how as time winds down, I have less and less to say yet I am dealing with more and more. One day soon you will get the super sappy, emotional farewell post and that will make up for my lack of interesting stories these past few weeks. And yes, I know I have slacked on the Bella photos as well...shame on me, tisk tisk. Maybe a totally Bella post will come your way before our time is through, who knows! :)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

April showers shivers bring May flowers

April 3 and we are one month away ladies and gentleman from...wait for it... GRADUATION! I know I know, I about this over and over. The passage of time, how fast it went, how much I've learned, how I will in some sick and twisted way be sad it ended. Oh wait, I didn't let that one out of the bag yet? Oops. My secret's out.

Let me clarify. There are things I will NOT miss about being and grad school and there are things that I will miss. You know you are alllmooost a nurse practitioner when you need to make organized lists and tables of your data. Here is my brain in a nice, organized list (they like that in grad school):

What I WON'T miss
-The constant deadlines
-The fear of failure (I guess that won't go away)
-The feeling of impending doom
-No sleep
-No exercise
-No personal grooming
-No free time with friends and family
-No time to have hobbies
-The paper writing
-The pressure of that final exam worth 1/3 your grade
-The fearing not finding a job

What I WILL miss
-Those many friends and acquaintances from school who I know time will drift away from me just because life works that way with some relationships
-Seeing these familiar faces
-Feeling of community
-Not having to worry about havings someone's life in my hands (without direct preceptor supervision)
-Having a set path in place that I don't have to devert from

So there, proof that the ol' Rachster does have a heart. And that new beginnings and their simultaneous endings come with both perks and downfalls. As I sit and reflect on how things will change alot next month, I also reflect on how I had a job interview today with what would be the perfect place for me to start. Let's hope the next few weeks bring the joy of a job. Who knows.

Until next time, folks, stay warm!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

46 days

So, unlike many of my classmates, friends and counterparts who did this, oh say, 2 years ago I finally counted how many days I have until I officially graduate from nursing school: 46 DAYS! I can't believe it! Time is flying by so fast! I remember thinking to myself as winter break drew to a close, "Well, Rach, you are done but you aren't. You have tests and case studies, a trip to Grenada..." Well, the case studies, the exams, the papers and Grenada have come and gone and the Spring is upon us! My heart leaps at the sight of those tiny, newborn buds in the dirt.

Although it is still chilly out, and supposedly more snow is on the horizon (sigh) that smell of spring is in the air. The memories of clinicals past whirl round and round in my head, reflecting on the challenges I have overcome in my 3 years here at Regis. And here I am, sitting at the desk in Health Services as I do each and every Wednesday, and I remember the short 6 months ago when I couldn't tell you anything.

Cindy: "How did his throat look, Rachel?"
Rachel: "Uhh.. I mean, it was... it wasn't pink but it wasn't red. But you know, it had some bumps but I don't know if those are normal. And yeah... but I don't know."

Cindy: "How did his throat look, Rachel?"
Rachel: "Mildly erythemic, no exudates. Tonsils were 2+ bilaterally. Based on his associated symptoms and his throat, I am going to rapid strep him but I expect it to be negative."

Yeah, yeah Dr. House, eat your heart out!

The most amazing thing about nursing is that (sorry folks) YOU NEVER STOP LEARNING! Every single day, every single patient teaches you something new about assessment, diagnosis, management...every single moment is a learning opportunity. And I have found that if I approach each and every day and opportunity and patient in this manner, I get the most out of my experiences. I guess that is the case with life: if you approach it as an open book, you get one well written novel.

As of today I have completed 529 clinical hours!! 536 by the end of today, and that will leave a mere 64 between me and my Master's! A couple of case studies, one paper here one paper there and a final exam and it's time to run off in to the sunset.

Well, until I do, I have patients to see and new things to learn. Have a wonderful Easter, Passover or whatever else the weeks ahead have to offer!

Until next week!