Category Archives: nursing

New Year, New Job!

Last night was my last shift at United Hospital… it was a long night actually, since they called me in early to cover a couple hours for a sick nurse. I’m pretty pumped about working at Regions though, especially since I just found out that United will be laying off another 30-40 nurses permanently in the next couple weeks. Yikes. The talk amongst the nurses last night was filled with worry. I kinda felt bad telling people that it was my last night and that I had another (better) job lined up.

I feel blessed that I was offered the job and am getting really excited to start on Friday! Mind you, it will be the boring orientation curriculum for a week or two, but still, at least it’s at a hospital that isn’t going downhill so fast as United is. Today when I turned in my security card (for night access to the hospital), the security guy said “Why are you leaving? You got another job? Can I come with! Congratulations!” It was rather funny, actually.

So anyway, I worked almost 11 hours last night and haven’t slept since yesterday afternoon, so I do apologize for yet another dry and pretty boring post… but I’m just too excited about the new job and wanted to update you all.

Have a Happy New Year!


Switching Over

Last night was my first ever night shift as a nurse. It was tough only because I had to work during the day on Monday, so I only had one night to try and switch myself over to sleeping on a difficult schedule. It didn’t go so well since I was exhausted on Monday night from work and other activities, so i could only stay up until about 2:30am and then I had to give in to sleep… it was almost painful how tired I was.

So I worked from 11pm-7:30am last night/this morning and then got home and slept until about 2. I’m still extremely tired though, but it’s hard to fall back asleep when you wake up in the middle of the day. I probably won’t be blogging much at all until I get a little more accustomed to this new internal clock. And after this week I’ll only be working 32 hour weeks instead of 40… which means more blogging opportunity! :) I start working every other weekend this weekend, too.

Anyway, that’s about all my brain can put out right now. If the night is slow tonight, maybe I’ll write something in here to keep me awake… we shall see. Please be praying that I don’t get sick from this crazy new stress on my body!

Holy meds, flatus, and bowel sounds!

Time is flying by this week since I last posted. Monday John and I went to my parents’ place for a little Labor Day fun at their neighborhood lake-front. We went kayaking (although we actually peddled our legs instead of used paddles, so not sure what it’s really called), swimming, croqueting, and John went tubing behind my parents’ new/old motor boat. It was a great day, and I even got to watch a couple episodes of Jon and Kate Plus 8. I love that show, mostly because it makes me really excited to have kids someday. You’d think that watching a family with 8 kids would be reason NOT to want kids so badly, and I realize it’s a LOT of work, but it’s something that I’m really looking forward to.

Anywho, the reason for the title of this post is because the past two days at work (I obviously had Monday off, thank God for that!), I’ve had four patients to care for during my shift. This is a huge deal to me, partly since I’ve never done it, but also because that’s what all the experienced nurses do. It’s definitely a jump from three patients, it feels like every time you add another person to care for, the amount of work is exponential. Especially on day shift because most people have a lot of 0800 meds to be given to them. Those little old ladies that come in from the nursing homes, wow do they have the load of medications. The one nice thing about post-surgical is that a lot of patients are NPO (nothing by mouth in Latin) after surgery (like bowel surgeries) which means they can’t have any medications by mouth either. So basically all they get for the first day or so is pain meds and sometimes they’re just PCAs (patient controlled analgesia) so then I don’t even have to give meds to them, other than possibly some IV antibiotics. Oh and the flatus and bowel sounds reference is because after surgery, a lot of what happens with a patient depends on their return of bowel sounds and well, their flatus function (aka, gas…). Never would I have guessed that I’d be asking “Are you passing any gas yet?” so many times in a given week. 

I’m just rambling now. So as you can tell, my mind has just been spinning today and yesterday with having four patients. So many different things to do and balance and manage. I wish I could just take care of one patient a day because there would probably be enough to keep you busy with just one. I’m slowly learning how to use my little “brain sheet” where I jot notes to myself as I go and cross of meds/procedures as I do them. It didn’t help that my favorite pen exploded today… but that’s besides the point. 

I love that I’m finally starting to feel like a real nurse and am much more independent. There’s still the occasional “Hey, can you give that one pain med while I take out this one tube?” that I have to say to my preceptor, but I know that with time I’ll be much more efficient and confident. It’s a lot of fun too! 

(Embarrassing moment of the day: Since I was so busy, I was really having problems listening to my bladder telling me to STOP and proceed directly to the restroom. It got so bad and I got so stupid that I was giving my patient his insulin and blurted out “I have to go to the bathroom so badly!” before I even realized what I was saying. Never hurt to have a (very) humbling experience every now and then, right?)

Next post will be about something other than work… promise!

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!

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!

Not a Shadow Anymore

As of Wednesday, I’ll be starting my preceptorship on a medicine unit at the hospital I’m now working at. It will be probably the scariest feeling (exaggerating, yes) when I must go into a patient’s room and tell them, “Good morning, I’m Carrie, and I’ll be your nurse for the day!” Rather than: “Hi, I’m a student nurse with your nurse Anne, but I’ll be doing most of the care for you today.” Eeek, even though I’ll still have resources available, I’m both excited yet REALLY nervous for that first patient who has just ME as their nurse!  Hopefully they aren’t as equally scared of my Tweety-Bird matching scrubs! Ha, that’s not going to happen. Sorry but I can’t help but vent about the frustration of finding simple AND cute nursing scrubs that don’t have Sponge Bob’s, ruffles, or weirdly placed arm pockets on them… seriously! So far I’ve only invested in plain colored scrubs, but I’d really like to find some cute yet not over powerful prints to add to the collection. Any suggestions? (Jodi, you better help me on this one!)

Oh, and if any of you are wondering, the first week of work Continue reading