Posted in being in nursing school, Extracurriculars

New Year Reflections

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Happiest of New Years, WordPress readers! I am so thrilled to announce that I am a Certified Lactation Counselor as of December 11th, 2015! I just found out this week and I couldn’t be more excited. What a great way to go into the 5th and final semester of nursing school.

But, I have to be honest. I ran into a little bit of a wonderful experience that has made me feel torn about what my 2016 future may hold.

You see, 2 months ago I sent an email to my Nurse Manager from my OR summer externship to check in — ya know, see how things are and let her know how I’m doing. No different to what I have been doing since I was in the externship. I loved my experience there. Everything about it – the people I worked with, the hours, the management. Sure, there were things that I would like to have seen improved morale wise, but improvement is an opportunity in my eyes. At any rate, we met over coffee (actually, she had tea) and chatted. And then, something amazingly unexpected happened; she told me she had put my name forward for one of the nurse residency programs here in the area for when I graduate. How exciting!!! I knew I had some soul searching to do…because the next few words that came out of her mouth had me thinking on my toes “I mean, that is, if you’re still interested?”

Sigh. Am I still interested? Of course I’m still interested! I LOVE the OR!!! …but, I also love Women’s Health — I just became a Lactation Counselor and have plans to pursue that. But hell, who says I can’t have both? I can very well have both. She just offered me a shoe-in for a nurse residency program that is highly competitive. A foot in the door – and not just any foot, but a foot in a specialty area that new grads don’t just walk right into at a hospital that everybody wishes they could call their nursey home. Am I interested? Hell yeah I’m interested. So — how did I answer her?

“Yes, of course!! That is wonderful. Thank you so much. What do I need to do?” That’s how I answered her. I, of course, told her that there were two things I was passionate about — The Operating Room, and Women’s Health. To my relief, she also loved Women’s Health and told me that whenever she had the chance to float to help out in another unit, she always chose women’s health. Ahh. A common ground. Listen, I’m no idiot. I recognize fully that I have a 3 year old who is about to start school soon. I recognize that my husband is broody and ready for another child – as am I. I fully recognize that the OR is going to have amazing hours, less weekends and less holidays – especially at this particular unit. And I recognize that nursing is a wonderful journey full of different paths that can be traversed at any given time.

This is not business.

This is not business.

I have to remember that nursing is NOT business. I don’t have to be an accountant, or a market researcher or a sales person. I get to be a nurse in a  wide variety of positions and specialties. I can switch and change my mind at any time and at 32 years old — I’m still relatively young and have another 30 years of work ahead of me.

I once met an OR nurse (DNP, CNOR at that) who was also…a Certified Lactation Educator. She did them both. I like that. I sat on a student panel to talk about my OR externship and expressed to the group of seasoned OR nurses that I went into nursing to become a Lactation Consultant…and I still want to achieve that dream. But, I’m in love with the OR and will find a way to marry them. An overwhelming supportive sigh of “awwww” came from these nurses who assured me I could do both. That was a great feeling.

Somehow, I’m going to pull off both of these things.

Watch this space.

In other news, the final semester starts next week. I’m ready to get this over with — I’m also not looking forward to all of the clinical hours and having my nose in a book again. On top of that, I have the final push of potty training my son, we’re down to one car, my husband is nursing a bum foot and I have to start registering L.D. for school. Another great reason to accept all the help a resilient nurse manager is offering me. I have plenty to think about!!

What is in your 2016 plan?

 

 

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Posted in Extracurriculars

CLC Course and LAT Competency

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Well, guys…

That’s the 4th semester of nursing school in the bag as of December, 2015. I only have one semester left (can you believe it?) and somebody will (hopefully) be calling me a nurse. I finished this semester with 4 As. That felt good after that mind blowing 9 credit hour B from 3rd semester. As a promise to myself, I am now ACLS certified!! It’s amazing how empowering that feels.

On the vision board I started while I was a pre-nursing student, I added 5 acronyms in the following order:

  1. BSN – Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  2. RN – Registered Nurse
  3. CLC – Certified Lactation Counselor
  4. IBCLC – International Board Certified Lactation Consultant
  5. DNP – Doctor of Nursing Practice

I wrote them in that order, because that was the order I believed I would achieve them in. Imagine my excitement when I found out that wasn’t true!

I finished my 4th semester early so that I would be able to mosey on down to Tampa and fulfill a dream of mine at the insistence of my nothing-short-of-amazing OB professor. That course was the Certified Lactation Counselor course offered by Healthy Children – a non-profit organization that focuses on making sure the littles have a great start at life.

The CLC course is a 5 full-day course facilitated by (in my case) two CLC, IBCLC RNs with multiple years of experience as lactation consultants, followed by a 100 question multiple-choice exam and a competency evaluation using the Lactation Assessment Tool taught to us in class. The facilitators were both experts on the information and that was ever so clear in their presentations. Coming on the heels of just having finished up my  Women’s Health course at school, much of the information I already knew…but I also learned SO much. It was an amazing class.

Here’s my gripe:

You have to wait 6 – 8 weeks to find out if you passed the exam. OMG, the anxiety until then. Luckily, I will have plenty to keep me busy while I wait in school.

We had to take the ridiculously subjective LAT competency BEFORE we started the 100 question exam. Here’s the thing, fellow humans, you have to pass one of 2 videos that are shown to you as part of the exam. If you fail both of these videos, it doesn’t matter if you were a rockstar on the 100 multiple choice portion of the exam. At the end of 5 long days jam packed with information, homework and time spent away from home (you have to travel to a destination where this class is being held), God only knows the disappointment you would feel if you fail any portion of this exam. Starting off with the toughest part of the exam was pretty discouraging. The information you are assessing is so very subjective and you’re praying that the experts were thinking just like you — and what’s worse? You won’t know for 6 – 8 weeks.

HAVING griped about that, the beauty is that I still walk away with 45 hours of lactation education under my belt and I cannot shake a finger at that. That is wonderful.

A little extra boost of confidence is that as we were leaving, one of the (wonderful) facilitators asked me to come back and teach for them once I get a couple of years under my belt. That felt great 🙂 I told her I would love to! Let’s just hope I get passed this test, first!!