RSS

Tag Archives: Registered Nurse

My blog featured on kevinmd.com

 

My recent blog 6 months my struggle dealing with  mother’s death was featured on the medical blog site kevinmd.com.  Check it out, read it, share it, comment on it and reflect.

 

Again thank you all for the kind words

http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2016/02/nurse-confronted-death-mother.html

Instagram:medsoulbrother

Twitter: medsoulbrother

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 6, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

NCLEX did not fail the students, the Canadian Nursing Association and the regulating provincial bodies did.

I’ve been a nurse for under 5 years and I still remember all too well studying for the CRNE (Canadian Registered Nursing Exam) and the stress and anxiety I felt from it.  I  also knew that CRNE for the most part attempted to  reflect on what I learned in nursing school as well as how our Canadian Health Care system operated.

Then all of a sudden arrived the NCLEX.

A number of years ago, the CNA (Canadian Nursing Association) and the rest of the provincial nursing regulating bodies in Canada were being proposed of a new exam called the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) that would serve as a uniform way of testing all nurses both in Canada and the US (the  US has had this testing since 1994.)  This year was the first year that graduating Canadian Nurses wrote the exam.

Nursing_Textbooks_1

And unfortunately many of them failed.

Questions and possible answers immediately started to arise as to why this was the case.  Blames to the type of school and programs immediately surfaced as many tried to find an answer.  Many schools however have proved that statistically prior to the NCLEX they were had successful rates with the CRNE.  So the real reason is not because these students were not smart enough.

The real reason is that simply these unfortunate students were used as guinea pigs in a failed experiment that did not prepare them.

It seems the one thing that was often overlooked and what some organizations such as the RNAO (Registered Nursing Association of Ontario) had chanted for years is that simply nursing in Canada is different from the nursing in the United States.   Nursing up here tends to be more psycho-social where in the United States it is more bio-medical and pathophysiological.  There is no argument as to which one is better or worse but it is also unfair to subject a test to nursing students who essentially spent four years if not more studying and learning nursing in a Canadian health care system to only be subjected to a licensing exam that does not reflect this at all.

Furthermore, a lot of nursing schools did not have enough time or prep for these graduating students to take the NCLEX exam.  Most of the prep exams for students are based on the CRNE format.  A brand new curriculum would have to be implemented to prepare these students and usually preparing such curriculum can take months if not years.

What I always found quite odd (and also a waste of money) is that though the NCLEX is an American standardize test, as Canadians if we want to practice in the United States, we have to take yet another NCLEX just to practice in the few states that we are allowed to if we chose to practice south of the border.

In my department where I currently worked, we hired 8 new graduate nurses who all took the new NCLEX.  Out of the 8, only one passed.  This is a staggering number considering in the past, most if not all of our new grad nurses d passed the CRNE.  As a new graduate nurse, I can only imagine  how detrimental this must feel, especially if this was your first nursing job to only have taken away from you because of this botched exam.

I wish I could give advice to these new students but because I have not written the “Canadian NCLEX” it would be like the blind leading the blind.  But more importantly I wish the CNA and the other regulating bodies across the country can see that this was not implemented or planned properly and perhaps was a big mistake.

And most importantly…….If ain’t broke…..don’t fix.

Medsoulbrother

Twitter:Medsoulbrother

Instagram: Medsoulbrother

 
4 Comments

Posted by on August 26, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Life of a Murse Episode 3: The Lady in White.

IV

The last two years of nursing school were not so bad but the workload was still heavy. Perhaps the most anxious thing was writing the CRNE (Canadian Registered Nurse Exam.) I literally had nightmares of failing the exam (likewise with other fellow students.) While in my last year and juggling two jobs I got a sweet summer job at a hospital close to me working as an extern. For better lack of terms, it was being nursing assistant, and I got to be one in the Emergency Department. At that point this is when I knew I would love nursing. As a nursing assistant I was doing so much and helping the staff. In fact, I was doing stuff that I never got to do in my other clinical settings in school but was only taught in lab. I was putting in Foley catheters, doing ECGs, doing vitals signs, and even helping with doing bloodwork (which was so nerve wrecking at first.) As I was in my final year and continued working as a nursing assistant.(I was working three jobs just so I would not have no school debt) I was encouraged by the educator and the charge nurse to apply for a new grad position in the emergency department. Without hesitation I applied, and I was hired.

One of my first ER shifts was when I was with another nurse in the acute area on a nightshift.
Oh boy.
One of my fondest memories was learning how to start IVs. Doing straight blood draws was not an issue as I learned them quite well when I was an extern. The tricky part came when i had to put in an actual IV. The IVs were quite tricky as you had to make sure you applied pressure so the blood would not spewing all over the place like a bloody crime scene. I said to myself.. nope I am gonna do an IV I don’t care.
Again…..Oh boy.
One night I was working along with my preceptor. It was a Friday night so of course we were getting all the drunks coming in. We had one lady who was dressed in complete white who was here for a problem that to be honest with you I could not remember. All I remember was that she was wearing all white. White blouse, white jacket, white pants and white shoes to match.
Maybe there was a white sale at Sears? Maybe I should have told my mom at the time?
Who the heck knows. Anyhow, the distinct thing I remember about this patient was that she had some form of social issues at home that required to be seen by our crisis worker. The doctor had ordered some blood for work and I told my preceptor that I was going to the blood work.
“And you are putting an IV in her.” she chimed as a reminder.
I closed my eyes for a quick second and kept repeating myself. “Don’t fuck up, don’t fuck up, don’t fuck up. You can do this.. you got this man. You’ve done straight pokes before, you can put an IV, it will be ok.”
Clearly my conscious lied to me.
The patient rolled up her sleeve as I tightened the tourniquet on her arm trying to feel for a vein. I felt a nice fat juicy one right in the centre of her arm. I had all my equipment and blood vials set.
I took a deep breath.
You can do this. You can do this it’s okay you can do this.
Grabbing my 20 gauge IV, I aligned it with her vein and slowly entered. Learning from all the nurses, I would count one to three so the patient would know (for those who had quite apprehensive to needles.)
Immediately I saw blood return to the tip meaning that I had entered the vein.
Great!!! Okay so part 1 was done.. .now I had to remember the rest of the parts. I indistinctly remember to make sure I had placed good pressure over the IV so the blood would not spew out before I attached it to an IV lock.
Ok you are doing good. You got this bro.
The patient then gazed at me with this weird look. “You’re quite good looking you know that?”
I lifted my head surprised by her comment. “Huh??” My fingers immediately released from the IV as I was trying to make sure who she was referring to. I guess you can call me modest but I never considered myself the model GQ type or that attractive so when usually when a woman makes a comment like that either she is intoxicated, high on some kinda of drugs or had a dementia. I forced a smile trying not to be rude but then my eye caught something red on her sleeve.
SHIT!!! I let go of the IV!
I did not even have time to respond as blood started pouring out of her IV like a leaky faucet. The blood started soaking on her white blouse, jacket and her pants.
Fuck my life!
My voice all of a sudden sounded like Grover from Sesame Street. “Uhm, help me here please.” As I turned to my preceptor.
She saw smiled a bit and quickly grabbed a couple of two by twos gauzes. She immediately helped me IV lock the patient but at this point this woman looked like a bloody mess. She look like she was part of a crime scene from criminal minds.
Immediately I began apologizing while we were cleaning up. “I am so sorry about that. ”
Surprisingly the woman did not react or act mad. “It’s ok.”
My preceptor immediately grabbed a patient’s gown and gave it to her to change while we grabbed her white clothes and placed them in a container with hydrogen peroxide.
She turned to me. “And this is why we always tell patients to dress in a gown before they are seen by a doctor.”
I nodded still feeling like shit. “Yeah I got it. ”
“Don’t worry you were okay, you will be a pro at it.”
“But I screwed up. ”
“Trust me, this is so minor compare to other things.”
“Really?”
“Trust me as you work in the ER you will know and you will look back to this and laugh.”
I was not laughing. I just kept thinking how I screwed up.

Later on that week was my actual graduation ceremony. The day I was graduating was such a rewarding time for me. But it was also a time of mixed emotions.
“So, dad are you and mom going to be at my graduation?” I had asked a month ago.
My dad shook his head. “I can’t I am busy.”
“Busy with what?”
“I am going to the racetrack that day for a big race. Sorry.”
“So a bunch of horses galloping around a track is more important than seeing your son cross the graduation stage?”
“I’ve been to your graduation before for your first degree.”
“You really don’t like what I am doing do you?|
My father ignored me and shrugged his shoulders. “All I want to know is what you are going to do after. Do you plan to stay as a nurse are you actually gonna do something better?”
I glared at my father. “I can’t believe this. My father does not want to go my graduation for a degree program that I worked my ass for because it makes him look like a fool in front of his friends.'”
“I am not gonna this discuss with you. ”
“WELL I AM!”
“Don’t you dare raise your voice at me! Have respect for your father!!!”
“Well have respect for me dad!! This is my graduation. Not every parent gets to see their child graduate. Not everyone graduates period. This should be a happy time for me and yet you are making it miserable.”
My dad grabbed his jacket as he headed out the door. “I have other plans. You’re mother is going. She will be there to support you.”
I stared at the half opened door as he started the car and drove off.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on February 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Life of a Murse Episode 2: Nursing School (the beginning years)

nursing school

“Remember class, you have your assignment that is due next week, your midterm on Friday and your essay the follow week after that. And don’t forget that online assignment that is worth 15% of your mark due at midnight. No exceptions.”
This was your typical nursing class, but multiply this by four or five of your classes and clearly you had no life.
If anyone says to you that nursing school is easy or if you know any nursing students or nurses who said that nursing school was easy for them, let me be the first out of many people to say this to you:
THEY ARE LIARS.
Nursing school perhaps was one of my most intense programs I have taken but I will say that it was also the one that I was most focused on. From first year straight to your final year, your nights are filled with studying and doing assignments and writing essays, and preparing clinicals. The only thing I was spreading in my bed at nights were the pages of my Nursing Potter and Perry Medical Surgical textbook.
Yes it was that bad.
Perhaps my driving force was that I was paying for this all by myself without the financial assistance of my parents, especially my father who still thought of being a nurse was absurd. What he and others failed to understand was that nursing school was like being in the military. You were up early in the morning for either classes or clinicals, and were at home when it was dark. At times you had to help your fellow comrades who were sinking while you watched others die (well in this case fail or drop out the program) on their own accord. Nursing school also made me realize that were some people who were just not fit to be nurses and should be banned from even touching a blood pressure cuff. I use to call these lost poor souls “Grassclippings”. Why?
Because they literally had an IQ of a grassclipping.
My case in point exhibit A: One day in lab, we were practising on how to insert a foley urinary catheter on a mannequin female patient. One student (who thought she was Miss know-it-all) was eager to go first. As she laid out her equipment she failed to notice that the previous person who had used the mannequin had attached the genitalia upside down (don’t ask) so the anus was on top and the urethra and vagina were at the bottom (you’d think that a nursing student, particularly a FEMALE NURSING STUDENT would have noticed this.) She went on her way and when she tried to insert the foley catheter she immediately noticed it was not going in.
Her face reddened.
Myself and the other students (who were quite aware of what had occurred) decided we would just watch her as she made a fool out of herself.
The instructor stopped her. “Uhm, Jane. Ok, stop. Before we continue can you tell me what is wrong with the mannequin’s anatomy?”
Jane stared at it for a couple of seconds. “Nothing.”
“Are you sure?” The instructor said.
Jane paused before she nodded. “Yeah I think it’s fine.”
Inside my head I felt like pushing Jane across the room. Is Jane that blind of her own anatomy that she can’t tell that it’s upside down on the mannequin?
Frustrated, I put my hand up.
“Yes,” the instructor pointed at me.
“Maybe perhaps Jane is having problems because the anatomy is upside down?”
“BINGO!” the instructor said staring at Jane.
Jane still stood there with the catheter in her hand. “But this is suppose to go in the urethra and the urethra is ALWAYS in that area. ”
The instructor scratched her head. “Yes but honey, look at the anatomy. It is upside down. You need to turn the anatomy right side up.”
Jane shook her head. “Well that is dumb. Who would do that? That is so confusing.”
The instructor though trying to remain calm voiced her frustration which obviously came out insulting. “Well maybe perhaps you need to study your own anatomy first before you start playing with others.”
The other students laughed.
Jane still stood there high and mighty as if we were the idiots.
There were other sad pitiful stories that occurred from just pure stupidity throughout nursing school. One student proudly thought that UTI stood for “University of Toronto Institute” instead of urinary tract infection. One student proudly argued with her clinical instructor that Warfarin, an anticoagulant blood thinner was Tylenol (ironically I never saw her ever again after second year…gee go figure.) One student was so grossed out by the site of a patient’s rather large bowel movement that he threw up on the floor beside the patient’s bed and then try to shift the blame onto the patient when the nurse came in inquiring about the mess on the floor.
Then of course there was the infamous “The Wood” incident in one of my lab classes. There was one student who for the life of god could not comprehend the concept of why it was not a good idea to continue washing a gentleman’s penis while he was erect. Now I would understand that if she was younger and not sexually experienced, but this was a woman was married with two children.
Yes…another unfortunate grassclipping.
The instructor cleared her throat. “So, if that ever happens to you class, you simply stop what you are doing, cover him up and tell him you will be back later.”
“So why can’t you just keep washing him ?” asked the married mother of two nursing student.
I was standing beside my friend Melanie and we both gave each other a look.
“Is she for real?” she asked.
I lowered my head down shaking in shame.
The instructor attempted to answer her without insulting her. “Well honey, because that will get him more excited.”
“Oh okay, ” the mother said. “But can’t he just not get himself excited and tell you no? I mean I don’t get it, if he needs to be clean he needs to be clean. I don’t see why you can’t continue washing it. ”
I bit my tongue.
The instructor’s face got slight annoyed. “Honey, if you continue cleaning him you will end up with more of a mess.”
“How? he is getting clean. What more of a mess can he make?”
Melanie gave me the “Pray for her father Jesus” look. I was too busy giving the mother of two that “But you are married with two children?!! Are you that sheltered?!” look.
The instructor, running out of life lines, simply decided to ignore her.
It took a full 5 minutes before the mother of two said “OH I GET IT NOW” when were discussing on wound care dressings.
Jesus take the wheel.

I was in my room studying when my dad opened the door.
I shot him a look. “Yes?”
“Can I talk to you?”
“Go ahead.”
“Listen, I wanted to talk to you about your schooling.”
I rolled my eyes. “What?”
“I just wanted to know what your next path is going to be ? How long is this going to take you?”
“Dad you keep asking me the same questions and I keep giving you the same answers. It is not gonna change.”
My dad remained silent.
“Listen, I know what I am doing and quite frankly I like it. ”
“Is that right?”
“Yes, that is right. My god dad will stop being closed minded?”
My dad turned around shook his left as he went to the door. “I still think you should be a doctor. You are more smarter to be a nurse.” He closed the door.
I stared at my bedroom door with mixed emotions, the silence deafening my concentration.

——-Stay tuned for Episode 3: nursing school.. the final years—

Follow me on twitter: Medsoulbrother
Follow me on Instagram: Medsoulbrother
Follow me on my facebook page: Ford D Barrett

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Life of a Murse: Episode 1: Before Nursing School

I never thought that I would be a nurse. Moreover, I never thought I would enjoy being nurse. Without making this sound like an E-Harmony ad, let me just give you the basics. I am a 36 year old guy born in Toronto to Jamaican parents. I grew up in a suburb city called Mississauga (home of the longest running mayor Hazel Mccallion) as an only child which at times I hated but as I grew up,I realized being an only child was not so bad.
I always wanted to be a doctor. The idea of helping those were sick and curing them with medicine always enticed me as kid. While growing up, I would frantically always tell my parents and other family members that I wanted to become a doctor. I use to always read up on medical health books and even at one point (out of boredom) decided to make my own hand written health anatomy book when I was 11 (I never made it past page 3 though.) Throughout high school and even university I aimed to study and become that doctor that everyone including myself wanted to be. I took the necessary classes, achieved the grades necessary to enter university and stayed out of trouble.

Nursing_Textbooks_1

Then reality hit in.
University though was great became more of a huge academically political expense. After being accepted to York University’s Kinesiology program I got bombarded with changes. By the end of my second year, York University went on a 5 month strike that made everyone’s academic year a living hell. At this point, I was fed up and just wanted to work so I took a year off before I went back to finish my degree. Apparently I picked the “wrong time” to take off because when I returned, they had restructured the kinesiology program making some of my previous courses not acceptable. Pissed off and frustrated, I switched majors and completed my degree in Psychology instead which took another two years to complete. Throughout my 20s I worked as a pharmacy technician for a major chain drug store; Shoppers Drug Mart as well I working at other jobs. Still determine to become a doctor, I decided to write the MCAT exam but I did not prepare for it. Instead I thought I would take it as a “practice exam” so I can gain more experience in writing the next one.
That was a complete waste of money and time. (what the hell was I thinking?!!?)
For starters, I did not take organic chemistry and physics throughout university in fear of flunking and lowering my GPA (as I saw it did with other students and friends.) Therefore, I thought I would be “smart” and self teach organic chemistry. It was very challenging. After writing the MCAT exam I knew that I was not ready but I was still determined. I still continued working as a pharmacy technician while working at other health related jobs after I graduated. Still feeling the desire to go to medical school, I decided to do another degree at the University of Toronto by getting into their Bioethics program which in hopes to get into medical school.
Again, another waste of time.
The majority of courses I had to take where philosophy courses which did not excite, or motivate me. Furthermore I found it confusing and perplexing as hell. So again I dropped out and went back to working. As I got closer to my thirties I realized that I needed to change careers and that the money that I was currently making would not be enough to suffice for my future.
And this is where nursing was born.
While at work one day during my day job (I was working two to three jobs at one point just to pay the bills and survive) I was looking at different careers. I became vastly interested in becoming a nursing anaesthesia assistant. It seemed cool, rewarding, and the pay was actually great. The only issue was that the job was not that popular in Canada but I didn’t care, I thought it would be a great job for me to do and being my stubborn self, I was determined. While researching into this career I discovered there were two ways to get into this career: Either by becoming a RT (respiratory therapist)or by becoming an RN (registered nurse). Without hesitation, I immediately applied to the RT program at a local college in my area. I got accepted but got put on a waiting list because so many people had applied which meant I would not start until the following year meaning yet another year wasted.
I was tired of wasting my time.
The other option: nursing. Now I will admit I thought the idea was stupid. Like come on, I am a 6’0, 230lbs guy who looks more like he should work for security than be a nurse! Why would I become a nurse? I mean nurses just change diapers and feed old people right?
“Stop being a male chauvinistic fool!” one pharmacist told me one night while I was at work asking her this same question.
“I am not.”
“Yes you are!!! There are a lot of male nurses out there. And no, being a male nurse does not mean you are gay either. Just stop your stupidity and apply. You will make a great nurse. You have great people skills. Trust me!”
“People skills? Nurses just do orders by doctors, I don’t think there will be that much people skills involved.”
“You are being a fool again. People skills are important. Trust me. When visiting loved ones in the hospital, the nurses who had great bedside manners were the ones I remembered. You my friend are a people person. I also know a number of male nurses as well who are doing great for themselves. Just stop your whining and apply.”
I shrugged my shoulders as I continued counting the lorazepam pills for our inpatient regular customer who sat nervous and anxious in the waiting room. “Yeah I guess you are right. I will look into the application.”
The pharmacist smile. “Great, now hurry up with those pills, Mr. Jackson is giving us that ‘eye'”.
I laughed.

My father dropped his fork. “Nursing? Why do you want do you want to nursing?”
I got up from the kitchen table and grabbed a drink from the fridge. “Because like I said, it will help me get into the career path I want.”
“So you don’t want to be a doctor anymore?” My mother asked inquisitively.
“Mom, by the time I apply to medical school get accepted and go through all the schooling, I will be in my 40s. I don’t have the time or expense for that.”
“I still think you should be a doctor.” My father interrupted.
“Why? Because you told everyone else in our family and friends that I already am?”
“Being a nurse is not professional career. It’s not a real job.”
I rolled my eyes. “I am going to my room. ”
“Well whatever I do I will support you.” My mother said.
I forced a smile. ‘Thanks mom..” I looked past my father as I went to my room.

……………..stay tuned for Episode 2: Nursing School..The Battle Camp!

Follow me on twitter: Medsoulbrother
Follow me on Instagram: Medsoulbrother
Follow me on my facebook page: Ford D Barrett

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,