Saturday, July 22, 2017

My Journey Through Nursing School with a Baby


Why I Became A Nurse



I originally wanted to be a nurse as a child, after realizing I couldn't become Brittany Spears. My father was and still is a family practice physician. I loved visiting him at his work. Mainly because the nurses paid attention to me. They said all these wonderful things about being a nurse. It also seemed like a lot of fun.

 Later in my life, I had some issue with my mental health and tried to go to school to become a psychologist. I had to go part time because of said mental health issues and I was planning on going for my masters so it was going to take quite awhile to achieve this goal. 

I ended up getting pregnant with my daughter. I was unable to continue going to class because I was embarrassed when I almost vomited in front of everyone. I also knew it was impractical to continue going to school for years, while not making an income above minimum wage. 

This just wasn't going to work with a baby on the way. So I had heard about this licensed practical nursing school that you could get licensed in a year. This seemed like a perfect solution. I also could work in mental health as a nurse.

Getting Into Nursing School

I called the school to see what I had to do to get in. She told me about the 3 references I needed and, learned about writing an essay on why I wanted to be a nurse. She signed me up for a pre-test to getting into school this is called the TEAS. I bought a book to study for it. I mainly focused on math because that is where I struggle the most. 

I went to the test and I couldn't find the center, I was 8 months pregnant and I was frazzled. When I finally got there I was practically hyperventilating and they made me sit because I think, they thought I was going to go into labor. They let me into the testing area and I flew through the math portion, I was so proud of myself. 

However, when we were told to turn our pages to go to the next section I realized I had missed a whole 2 pages of the math section! I freaked out and asked the teacher what I could do, she told me there was nothing I could do. I felt deflated, I knew I wasn't going to do well on the test now. There was no way I was going to get in, even if I was perfect on the rest of the test. 

A couple of weeks later I got a letter in the mail that said I was not accepted. I was heartbroken, I didn't know what I was going to do, but I wasn't surprised. Later that day I got a call from the school, I figured they were calling to tell me I had failed. Much to my surprise, I found out that someone had declined their acceptance and they wanted to know if I wanted to still come to the school. I excitedly accepted and was in the full-time program. 

I was able to spend 4 wonderful months with "C", at the time I was overwhelmed and scared most of the time. I, however, would never trade it for anything. 

Starting Nursing School and Childcare

I was very overwhelmed with starting school. I was upset that I was leaving my baby, thankfully my mother was able to watch her two days a week and we only had to put her in daycare part time. I still was unsure of leaving her with a person whom I didn't really know. 

I was a bit of an emotional mess, which culminated with me sobbing in class. It was a hard thing for me to go through, but it was the first time I was really acting as an adult in my life. I was 2 years into treatment for my mental health issues and everything I did was new. 

I am so glad I had the support of my peers and my friends to be able to stick with it and not just cut and run. 

Studying with a Baby

It was not such a difficulty at the beginning because "C" was only a little baby and didn't need much entertainment. She wasn't getting into things walking or crawling. My husband had some difficulty with making her happy, but I think that was just because she was used to how I did things. Later on, when she started getting into things she would grab my papers and want my attention which I couldn't give to her. 

I had to get creative with it. I started studying outside, it was nice scenery and I was out of sight and, out of mind to my daughter. When it was cold or we had inclement weather, I would go to my local library. I could take up a whole table to myself, pop in my earbuds and study away. 

Being in the full-time program meant I was studying most every night, so these solutions weren't always possible. So I would have to stay in our bedroom. Or I would wait until she went to bed to study. I usually waited until she went to bed just so I could spend more time with her. 

Social Life

The long and short of it is, you don't have a social life. I was able to keep up with therapy and groups that I attended for my mental health. Much else was out of the question, the extra time I had was spent with my husband and daughter. Priorities for me were simple, mental health, school, and family. 

Graduation

I went through a lot to get through this program, but it was the most excellent thing I could've ever done for me and my family. I went into it with the mindset that I wasn't going to give up and I wasn't going to fail. And I did just that. I graduated in August of 2014 and I earned the title of a nurse. 

I was ecstatic, I learned not only nursing but I learned to be a grown up, an adult. I learned to get through hard emotions and not give up. I am eternally grateful to the staff and experience I had at my nursing school. If you would like to check it out here's the link http://lpn.csiu.org/



Thursday, July 20, 2017

10 Reasons Why Being a Nurse is Awesome!



1. Helping People

This is the whole reason I wanted to become a nurse, I wanted to help people. I don't get thanked on a daily basis, and I don't always know if I have really helped people individually. I do go home every time and know that I made a difference, it might be small, but it's a difference.


2. Pay

Pay is usually very good, always above minimum wage, which was my goal when I first started school. Now I have a little bit of a higher standard. Pay changes though depending on the field you work in. Usually places that you have to work weekends, holidays, and coverage is needed 24 hours a day (like a hospital) is going to pay the best. 


3. Critical Thinking

You will always know your field and your job very well. In the jobs I have worked, I have always had to critically think. This may just be as simple as knowing that a patient's diet is thickened liquids and making sure their medications accommodate that, all the way to present an accurate clinical picture to a physician on the phone for medication orders. I have always needed to be thinking of what's coming next. 


4. Always Learning

Like I said earlier, you will know your field and job best. You, however, will always be learning about your chosen field. Just by the nature of the field of science, medicine is always changing. We are always studying the efficacy of medications, and treatment options. This means that what is the best method to do a certain thing is always changing. You may also think that when you get comfortable in your field that you have "seen it all" this never happens. You will always have something new come through the door. 


5. Never Bored

There is a reason why in nursing no one is allowed to say the "Q" word (quiet). It is because the moment you think that you are going to have a slow day/night you are immediately proven wrong. Someone has an emergent need of some kind or something happens that will take up most of your time for that shift. Even if you do happen to have the miracle of down time, there are always things you can do during downtime, whether it be making sure you have everything stocked, cleaning equipment, or other small tasks. 



6. Specialties

Specialties is another reason, why I wanted to become a nurse. If you feel particularly passionate about pediatrics you can go into that field. It is almost like you have 100's of jobs within a job. If you do go into a specialty, you will know more about that specialty than anything else in nursing. Unlike when you come out of nursing school and know a little bit about everything, you will shortly become very knowledgeable about your chosen specialty and forget a little about other's you don't deal with on a daily basis. 


7. Schooling

This is another reason I became a nurse, depending on the kind of nurse you become you have many options for schooling. I went to a post-secondary school that only took a year for me to become a licensed practical nurse. If you are in the Susquehanna Valley of Pennsylvania this is their website http://lpn.csiu.org/. If you would like to go to even shorter schooling you can become a certified nursing assistant which usually takes about a month in my state. If you want to get a degree you can do that as an LPN/LVN with an associates degree. You can also become a registered nurse with an associates degree. You can also get a bachelors or masters as an RN, but if you go beyond a bachelors degree you will have to pick a specialty. 



8. Benefits

I have not had a job yet, that I haven't had the possibility to become or be hired as a full-time employee with benefits. You usually have a new hire period, where you have to wait for them to kick in. Or most of the jobs I have had, I was hired as needed and then moved into a full-time position. The benefits always include health insurance, short term/long term disability, retirement funds, vacation, and sick pay.


9. Finding a Job

After you pass your state boards, you will start to have people contact you for jobs. As long as you put your resume out there, you will have people interested in hiring you. This goes, hand and hand with number 10. The longest I have been out of work while licensed has been 2 weeks. Unless I have been trying to go back to school or some other reason I have taken time off. That is of course with applying to multiple jobs every day. 




10. Need

There is an incredible need for nurses, especially in long term care as the "baby boomers" are in the age of needing care. You will find in many areas of nursing they are in dire need of more staffing. This is good for you because you will always be in need. You will never have to be afraid of being outsourced or replaced by technology. 



So these are my reasons for why being a nurse is awesome. If you are in the profession, what are the things that you like about it? Or if you want to be a nurse and have a question you would like to ask, please feel free to do so.  I will be writing my story of how I became a nurse soon, so subscribe to read more about that.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Day trip to RB Winter State Park



We went on a day trip today because I have had this whole week off. On account of "A"s doctor appointment. So on a Saturday that I usually spend sleeping part of, I get to enjoy.




When we got to the park I was amazed by the beauty that is literally minutes away from me. Then I checked my phone which seems almost second nature to me at this point and realized that I had NO signal. None! What am I going to do?!



I had planned on just laying on the beach with Aria under an umbrella because she can't wear sunscreen yet. As well as hates bathing so I am going to assume she would not want to go into the water. 




Soon after the shock of not being tied to the outside world, I came to a peaceful space. I have recently been having issues with social media and drama. Which I know I will have to work on, but to realize that I can't be notified of anything is so nice. 





I am present in time with my children. I can smell things more deeply and see more clearly. All because I don't have the constant dings of a modern social life, and a blog start up. 




I am not opposed to social media, I just don't think that I was aware of how distant I was becoming. I am glad I got this lesson today. Unplug, be present, find peace. 



Thursday, July 13, 2017

Complete List of Essential Toddler Products (part II)

I wrote this post as an idea from a fellow instagramer. I thought it was great so here's part 2! If you want to read part 1 Complete List of Essential Toddler Products (part I)

I may receive a commission if you purchase something mentioned in this post. See more details here

Electronic Toys

Tablets

We have an Amazon Fire for "C" she loves the Free Time that is on it. She watches shows, plays games, and "reads" books. It is a life saver when we are out to eat and she is waiting for her food. All-New Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet 36+ mos

Table

I got her this table for Christmas when she was 1 years old. She spent hours play with all the little parts to it. I also loved that there were multiple stages for it. Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Around The Town Learning Table

Batteries Required

Another toy that was gotten for her 1-year-old Christmas was this ball by V-tech. It encouraged her to crawl and move around. Something I like to look for in a gift, which I mentioned in part 1. VTech Light and Move Learning Ball

Learning Toys

Games

For her first Christmas, my aunt got her this fishbowl game that scatters all of the shapes. She giggled endlessly as the pieces would go everywhere. Little Tikes DiscoverSounds Shape, Sort and Scatter


This past Christmas when she was 3 we got her this game. She loved it so much she had to take it to friends to play, who then had to buy it as well.  The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game 36+ mos

Shape Sorter

My daughter loves this barn sorter, she still plays with it. She just prefers to imprison her action figures in there as a plot to her imaginative play. So we have gotten quite a bit of use out of it! Bright Starts Barnyard Fun Shape Sorter

Music & Sounds 

CD's

There are a couple different albums we have in our car. My favorite is The Merry Goes 'Round by Jewel.





Music makers

My brother and sister in law got us this for "C", she liked to beat on anything with the mallet. Toddler Glockenspiel 
My in laws got this for "C" for Christmas as well. We decided to keep it at their house for her to play with. Melissa & Doug Band-in-a-Box Clap! Clang! Tap! - 10-Piece Musical Instrument Set 36+ mos

Outdoor Toys

Bubbles!

I am a big fan of bubbles because they are fun for everyone. The person blowing the bubbles and the person running and catching them. They also encourage outdoor play. Here is a couple of our favorites. Fisher Price Bubble Mower 24+ mos

As well as these big bubble wands. Bubble Wand Party Pack (6-Pack) 36+ mos
Or this Bubble Gun 36+ mos

Ride ons 

This cute push, pull, ride is great for early walkers and you can put all your toys in it! Radio Flyer 3-in-1 Walker Wagon, Pink 18+ mos
We also have this car that you can push, it's wonderful for little walks around town. We also used them to transport kiddos in the pediatric ward I did clinicals at. Step2 Push Around Buggy Anniversary Edition Pink 19+ mos

Tricycle

We got this tricycle for "C's" third birthday. She loves it so much, especially because Grammy put Paw Patrol decals on it to make it an Everest bike. Schwinn S6771 Easy Steer Trike, Teal, 2 Modes Of Child Or Parent Control

Chair 

We have this on our front porch with adult chairs, when we go to the beach it is super helpful to have a place just for her. Redmon For Kids Kids Folding Camp Chair, Hot Pink

Playset 

We have this lovely slide that we have had since "C" was 2 years old. She loves it and used to spin the wheel and I would sing "a pirates life for me" she laughed and laughed. Step2 Naturally Playful Woodland Climber - Kids Durable Plastic Slides and Climbers, Multicolor 24+ mos

Swingset

This is a swingset we got with our house when we moved in, she loves the slide and you can change out the swing for an infant one if you would like. Step2 Naturally Playful Playhouse Climber & Swing Set Extension 36+ mos

Potty

If you are in the potty training phase, we used a sticker chart to encourage our little one to go.



This is the potty we use at home, it's small enough for her and easy to move around if you need to. Fisher Price Ladybug Potty
This is what we keep in the car for when we are out. We just find it easier to use. Paw Patrol Skye & Everest Soft Potty Seat with Toilet Tank Potty Hook
I highly recommend these wipes, they are so easy to use for little one's and are flushable. Kandoo Flushable Cleansing Wipes they also have awesome Foam Soap that is fun to wash with. 

Pretend Play

Kitchen

First, you have to have the pretend kitchen. We have ours in our kitchen so "C" can pretend to make food while we make dinner. Step2 LifeStyle Custom Kitchen Playset 24+ mos
Second, you need pots and pans to cook in, we got these Melissa & Doug Pots and Pans Set for Christmas one year. I love that they came with a holder. 36+ mos
Finally, you, of course, need food. We keep ours in a little Rubbermaid container so we don't lose all the little pieces. Liberty Imports 120 Piece Deluxe Pretend Play Food Assortment Set 36+ mos

Cleaning

We have a Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Learning Vacuum Cleaner she still uses while I am cleaning. 

Stuffed Animals 

"C" isn't a super big fan of stuffed animals. She has Bunny (that's her name) which we got for free at yard sale for free. Made it super difficult when she lost it and I had to find a replacement. Turns out she was just taking a shower (in the oven of the play kitchen 😂 ) . The other animal that she has dragged around with her the most is this Ty Beanie Baby- Charming Pink Unicorn.

That's all I can think of at the moment, let me know if there is some other essential that I am forgetting about, in the comments below.



Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Complete List of Essential Toddler Products (part I)




I was asked to do a toddler list after doing my complete list of products for babies here. I hadn't even thought about it, but thought what a good idea?! So I decided to do a toddler list based on the products I used for my oldest daughter since my youngest isn't a toddler yet. My parameters for a toddler are ages 1-3 years old.

I may receive a commission if you purchase something mentioned in this post. See more details here

Arts & Crafts

Paints

 I was recommended this product by a friend, my daughter instantly fell in love with this and constantly asks to play with them. They were part of her "big sister" gift to use at the hospital when my youngest was born. Melissa & Doug On the Go Water Wow! Note they are for 36+ mos.

Coloring books 

I love the Crayola Color Wonder products they are mess free and let's face it kind of magical. The first thing I got "C" was this Crayola My First Crayola No Mess Marker and Paper Set. She loved the animal shape the marker is in and the bigger size is perfect for her tiny hands. 

Bath Time

Toys

She has a bunch of bath toys a couple she loves are Crayola Bathtub Crayons. 36+ mos
She also loved these she got for a gift on her first birthday. Munchkin Wonder Waterway Bath Tub Toy

Towels

I love the hooded towels, mainly because I remember as a kid hating to get out of the bathtub because I would freeze. This way you don't have to decide if your child's head or body should be cold while drying off. Her current favorite is New Nickelodeon Paw Patrol Girl Hooded Towel

Organization 

I love this scoop and store toy organizer. My daughter could do it herself when she was 3 because of how easy it was. It also drains the toys, unlike some other organizers I have seen. Munchkin Scoop Drain and Store Bath Toy Organizer

Safety

When you have a toddler splashing around the tub you need to think of safety. I love this elephant because you put bubble bath right in his nose. You do need to wash it periodically though. Munchkin Bubble Spout Guard

Bedroom 

Bedding 

My daughter loves all things paw patrol so of course, that is the bedding set she got for her toddler bed. Paw Patrol Skye Best Pups Ever 4 Piece Toddler Bed Set

Decals

In accordance with the Paw Patrol theme, we also got these cool decals to go with her bedding. Paw Patrol Girl Pups Peel and Stick Wall Decals

Blocks & Puzzles 

Blocks 

She has loved the Mega Bloks since she was old enough to get them. She still uses them today, and it helped her with her motor skills. Mega Bloks Big Building Bag, Pink

Puzzles 

On her first birthday we got a slew of Melissa & Doug wooden puzzles, they withstand a lot of abuse and are excellent quality. Now you just need to keep the pieces together. Melissa & Doug House Pets Jumbo Knob Puzzle - 3 Piece

Books

Story Books

I was recommended The Story of Ferdinand and really think it's a wonderful book for girls. 


Nighttime books 

I am a big fan of reading to your child before bed, it's a great relaxing and bonding time. I particularly remember those fond memories myself. My favorite night time story is Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me


Picture books 

This is another book I had recommended to me, it's great for children who cannot yet read because they can do it themselves. Something a toddler loves! Pancakes for Breakfast

Cars & Trains

Cars

Since she could walk I liked to get her toys that encouraged her to move, she always get's at least one for Christmas. The first one she got was Fisher-Price Little People All Around Car 18+ mos

Trains

Another toy to help her move was this awesome train. It was also educational so that was a plus. Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Puppy's Smart Train

Dolls

My daughter isn't a huge fan of dolls she mainly prefers her action figures and Little People. When she was one though, I got her a Manhattan Toy Baby Stella for her birthday because she was into babying her stuffed animals. 
I also got her a stroller that helped her walk because she was still unsteady at the time. Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Stroll-Along Walker

Eating 

Cutlery

I love these Gerber Stainless Steel Tip Kiddy Cutlery they are sturdy and she still uses them. 

Plates

I love melamine plates you can drop them on the floor multiple times and they take it. Also, super easy to wash. But my absolute favorite dishes are these bowls that suction to the table, high chair, etc. We literally have used them for years. Munchkin Stay Put Suction Bowl
 

Check out part II tomorrow for more toddler must haves!



My Journey Through Nursing School with a Baby

Why I Became A Nurse I originally wanted to be a nurse as a child, after realizing I couldn't become Brittany Spears...