Monthly Archives: August 2008

Just a Glimpse

new grad orientation, originally uploaded by carriehansen.

I’m trying to figure out how to blog multiple photos at once from my flickr photo account, but am still working on it. For now, here’s a picture of me (on the left) with two of the girls with whom I oriented (Emily and Jo in the middle) for our first two weeks as nurses, and our preceptor, Joyce, on the right. I hardly see any of them anymore now, sadly.

State fair pictures to come soon hopefully!



So as most of the country probably knows, the Republican National Convention is going to be in St. Paul, MN this coming week. Perhaps not all of you readers know that I live in St Paul and our apartment is probably an 8 minute walk from the Xcel Energy Center where all the action will be. I also work super close to this center and if I had to drive to work (I walk), I would have to park kinda far away from the hospital and get shuttled into town. Our hospital is expecting a super low census over the week of the RNC, especially on the post-surgical unit that I’m on right now since there aren’t any scheduled surgeries (just emergent ones will happen). And I’m supposed to be taking care of four patients each day this coming week, probably won’t happen because we won’t have enough patients for each nurse to have four (that’s the most a nurse typically has on a day shift at our hospital, which is good!). So we’ll see how that goes. The RNC may prolong my orientation just because of lack of patients… 

But anyway, it’s going to be a very interesting week. I’ve already seen some protests (if seeing hippy looking 20-somethings on bikes mingled with many many St. Paul police officers counts as a protest) and I’m sure we have a lot yet to come. We will probably be able to just walk down our block and look down over the Xcel and see some of the action. I’ve also been noticing lots of helicopters flying overhead, which is already starting to get annoying but I’m sure will just be increasing over these next few days. It’s going to be weird to be watching the RNC broadcasted on the news knowing that it’s only a couple blocks away! Probably won’t ever happen again in my lifetime. 

This was a pretty boring post, but like a said a couple days ago, I’m trying to stay up to date on this thing. I’ve noticed that it really helped me to get out my thoughts about work the other day and I felt a lot more at peace after just typing it all out. 

So, tomorrow John and I and my brother-in-law, David, are probably heading to the Minnesota state fair. We usually go every year. It typically consists of walking around and looking at various farm animals and people watching (sometimes that’s more interesting than the animals!) and of course, eating the obligatory mini-donuts, grilled sweet corn, Sweet Martha’s bucket of cookies (sadly, my husband knew the exact name of them!), and the bottomless milk station. Should be lots of fun, and calories! Which is why I’ll be up bright and early to do a nice long (aka 2 mile) run tomorrow…


As of tomorrow I would like to join my blog friend Stacy in an adventure in running/jogging/walking. I’ve wanted to be more committed (motivated might be a better word) to jogging regularly because it really makes me feel a lot healthier and enjoy life more. I also want to be able to keep up with my husband who has been a pretty avid runner these past couple months. He’d be thrilled if I could run with him and not lag behind, and also be able to hike with him when we go camping.

I used to be pretty active in sports (soccer especially) and even was in a season of cross-country running in high school. It didn’t go over too well though with my knees, so I didn’t really ever get into the groove of being a “runner”. My goal isn’t so much to be a marathoner or anything of the sort, but to at least be consistent and try and improve slowly. I probably can’t run a mile without either going super slow or walking right now, but eventually I hope to run/jog a couple miles enjoyably. I’ll try and keep you all updated on how it goes. Hopefully Stacy and I can keep each other accountable!

New Grad Orientation

Today marked the beginning of week five out of eight weeks of my new graduate orientation as a RN at the hospital. It’s been a whirlwind of experiences, emotions, mistakes, triumphs, etc. I was actually started on a surgical care center instead of a medicine unit. They tend to start new grads on medicine, but since I’ll be a float nurse eventually, I guess they figured they could start me on surgical too since I would be going there sooner or later. This didn’t upset me one bit since during my last semester of school I was on an orthopedic unit twice a week and most of those patients were post-surgical. Holy total knees and total hips! But not anymore actually.

Now I take care of all those people who have hysterectomies, bowel resections, hernia repairs, prostate resections, cystectomy’s (bladder removal), cholecystectomy’s (gall bladder removal), appendectomy’s, and then the occasional medicine patient (kidney infection, UTIs, DVTs (deep vein thrombosis))… etc. Anyway, I enjoy using all those bigs words because I’m finally getting accustomed to them and it’s fun! But I have learned SO much over the past month that my mind feels like it’s always two weeks behind where my body is.  Strange feeling that apparently doesn’t really ever go away as a nurse. We’ll see about that. I also got to observe/help-out in the OR and the ER for a day each last week. The OR was boring… lots of standing around (and counting gauze sponges and utensils as they get thrown on the floor), and the ER was not as exciting as I thought it would be (lots of people coming in pretending to be in pain so they could get their narcotics… sorry, not here!). 

The frustrating part about orientation has been how I’ve had four different preceptors so far. And tomorrow I get another! The preceptor is kinda like my guardian nurse who is there to help and answer questions. Sounds great, and it is very very necessary and helpful (I ask a question about every 6 minutes probably), but it’s difficult when each nurse has a very different style and way of nursing. This can be awesome when you can pick up little tips on various things, but it is so draining to try and figure out how to work with four different experienced nurses. Like today I was with a nurse I’d never been with before. She seriously watched me do about 75% of all I did. Even if it was just hanging a new IV bag of fluid. Something I feel very comfortable doing suddenly became very difficult because I knew I was being watched over my shoulder. I tried telling her that it was more difficult to do simple things with her watching me, but she looked at me with that “So if I’m not watching you, can you actually do this safely?” kinda look. Ugh. Oh well, it’s a stage of my career that I just have to get through. In 2-3 wks I believe they’ll be setting me free to work on my own on this unit, and then I think after 8 wks of that I’ll head off to a medicine unit. Then after a couple months there, another unit (maybe oncology or ortho or neuro). 

And I am SO excited to get to start my 0.8 FTE schedule! They have me working 40hrs/wk, Monday through Friday on day shift right now and it’s been a little overwhelming, especially just starting out. I think in 2 wks I will only work 32 hrs/wk, every other weekend. I also start working night shifts 40% of the time. The other 60% will be days. Should be interesting… but I am excited! 

Random… My conclusions from today: 1)  50% of a nurse’s job is simply keeping all the tubes, lines, catheters, and drains all situated and connected. 2) I love that I get to wear comfy scrubs and tennis shoes every day!


Summer never seems to be that “vacation” that I always think it will be. No surprise since I started working full-time just over a month ago. We have been so busy (or just plain tired) that I really have been slacking on many things, not just this little blog. I think I’ve come to be okay with the fact that I’ll never be an avid blogger. I love to READ blogs, but I’m just not a good writer and blogging is frustrating to me because I can’t write out my thoughts well. Perhaps it just takes practice like everything else, but since I’ve been blogging since I was 14 and I still have nothing to show for it, I guess I’ve failed that cliche. 

But, good news! John and I finally officially have internet at our apartment! As of last night we are able connect to the outside world 24/7 365. Good and bad thing, but overall I’m glad and excited. The cable guy also decided to be extra nice and bless us with free cable! He said that their company ran out of blocks for our cable connection, so we’ll just get cable for free. Woo! Now that’s something I’m not as excited about because TV is so much of a distraction for me and for John too. I really have enjoyed the quietness of a home without any background noise of the TV. That’s how our house was all the time growing up, so although it’s a little comforting to have it again, I hope we can limit our consumption. There’s almost always something better to do with your time than watch TV, and it just breeds bad things… laziness, marital problems, and most importantly, it steals time away from prayer and reading the Word. I’ve definitely been struggling with that since I started working (be praying for me in that respect). Adjusting to working full-time has been difficult, but I like it a whole lot more than being in school, that’s for sure! At least you have some time “off” whereas in school it feels like you’re never free. 

So as I say in every other post, I hope to keep this sucker updated more often, possibly even with pictures here and there. Now don’t hide your excitement!