Wednesday, May 10, 2017

How close are nursing and waiting tables???

Is nursing just waiting tables?  I do realize there are stark differences, but seriously 10 years of waiting tables was probably one of the most important learning experiences to being a nurse.  Here are a few of the similarities  :-)

1.  You have your "section" with no real power of decision who gets into it.  Whether its a 3-table section, 5 med-surg rooms, etc.  You don't get to pick and choose who gets waited on; it truly is the luck of the draw.  And the ability to remember that table 93 needed more ranch, table 92's food should be up, the antibiotic is done in 42, 39 needed more pain meds, etc, etc.  That mental list of what all those people need in your section.

2.  Some people patients/patrons will NEVER be happy.  Their steak was cooked perfectly, their incisions are healing great, the ambiance was perfect, whatever.  These people are still not happy and will find something to complain about.  The bruise on their little toe is a 10/10 pain.  The ice water is too cold.  It's always something.

3.  On the other hand, those people that have a legitimate reason to complain, will be, eh its ok.  Sure my steak is a little overdone (visibly WD when ordered M) or their pain is from metastatic cancer to the bones and brain and they rate their pain a 5/10.  They will roll with the punches and not complain.  God bless those people, for real.

4.  Pockets.  A server or nurse's pockets are a treasure trove of chapstick, change, straws, and maybe, just maybe a pen.  Why do people think the companies supply those things?

5.  Co-workers.  Waiting tables and nursing, leads to a very close relationship with co-workers.  Whether its the hot expo line and someone yelling they need help carrying a 10-top out or someone calling to bring extra wipes and a change of linens to the room, there is a certain closeness there.  Maybe its dealing with people.  And believe me, watching some people eat is just as gross as changing their dirty britches.  Whatever it is, the  "this is so crazy, we just have to laugh", is true in both fields.

6.  You get to see all kinds of humanity.  Sometimes we get comfy in our social bubble and forget about the people we don't see.  The poor, the trashy, the have no hygiene, don't know how to tip, don't realize a hospital is not a hotel, the uneducated, the rude, etc, etc.  Those people will show up and interact with the server or nurse.  It is an eye-opening experience to really see how people live.

7.  Families.  Lord help us.  Waiting on a table with 20 family members was torture for me.  The well what's grandma getting, we need to make sure she eats first, how is the bill being split, can we split grandma's bill between the 8 grandkids, can she read the menu, somebody order for her.  Schwoo!  The families that are in denial about what grandma's wishes clearly state in her living will.  The families that have fights bedside when grandma is sick.  Seriously, maybe its something that should be discussed in private or before you get to the restaurant.

8.  The bossy family member.  The spouse that has to order for their spouse, and even when asking the quiet spouse "would you like ranch on your salad?" jumps in and says "she'll take french".  Excuse you, I believe she can talk.  The family member that says "she doesn't need more pain meds" when obviously in pain.  Seriously?  Remove your ego from the situation and focus on the person.

9.  The always need something more person.  When I waited tables, I would always ask, "need anything else with the meal?"  Invariably, people would respond, more ranch, butter, napkins, pop, whatever.  Then there are those people that can't think of everything at once.  I need more ranch.  Come back with ranch.  Oh I need more butter.  Come back, Oh I need more napkins.  OOOKKKK anyyythiing else I can bring you with the meal?  Same thing with nursing.  I always ask "is there anything else I can do for you?"  Same thing.  Those people that make you run back and forth, oh I see through what you're doing.  More ice, another pop, another pillow, warm blanket, and the channel changed, anything else?  This girl was not born yesterday.

10.  The people.  I love people, the variety, the never really know what you're going to get with a new table or patient.  Seriously waiting tables was the best training ever for nursing.  So happy nurse's week to all my fellow comrades who clean dirty britches, deal with all the above, and still manage to smile  :-)

Friday, January 13, 2017

Thy Will Be Done

So almost 3 years ago, I decided to change things up and completely switch careers to nursing.  I put things into God's hands and was like "OK God, if this is where you want me, it will work out."  And let me tell you, when God wants you on a path, He will move mountains to make sure that path is clear.  Like a bulldozer with a spirited bucket!  Here are some of the highlights:

I really wanted to get into Butler, they are the highest passing rate NCLEX school in the area, well respected by hospitals, and hard to get in to.  Like 25% of the people that apply get in.  Admission is numbers based, whichever 56 applicants have the highest grades in certain classes, test scores, etc. get in, and about 200-300 apply every semester.  Woof! But, along I went in on this ride.  Started taking prerequisite classes and dusted up on my studying skills.  This old brain was a little rusty, but in October of 2014, I received that wonderful letter saying I was accepted.  Woot! Woot!  Now the fun can really begin!

My first semester clinical rotation, I was assigned to a nursing home.  Well, I was already a CNA, so what was I really going to learn?  Butler has a very strict policy of what they say goes, but in my heart I knew I was not supposed to be there.  I spoke with the lead instructor and she basically laughed at me.  The next class, she comes up to me and says one of the other students can't be at this hospital, could you trade?  Well yes I can!  She said it's your lucky day, I said, I believe in God.  

Second semester was labor and delivery and pediatrics.  God thought He would be oh so funny and give me a little real world experience and sent us Catherine.  Hahahahaha.  Try being in nursing school hearing about all the bad things that can happen to "elderly" mothers.  Then in my rotation for c-section deliveries, the patient I was supposed to work with, didn't want a student.  Funny.  Turns out I had to have a c-section, and I'm pretty sure if I had seen one, I would have been ANXIOUS!  God 3, Christi 0.

Another funny thing, my due date was May 9, my final for nursing 3rd semester was May 10. Hahahaha.  I told my instructors what was going on and what the possibilities were.  Well, as long as I finished clinically, I could take an incomplete in the class, finish over the summer, and then catch back up with my classmates in August.  So on I went.  Third semester clinicals are broken up into 2 sections, ICU/acute care and then behavioral health. Not saying behavioral health isn't important, but of the 2, ICU/acute is much more physically demanding.   And what was my rotation?  ICU/acute care first, then behavioral health.  So there I was 9 months pregnant going to behavioral health therapy sessions. Everyone was most kind, funny, and incredulous that I was so close to my due date.  But, I finished clinically on Tuesday May 3, and I hadn't missed once!  In fact, in my whole tenure at Butler Nursing, I never missed a clinical hour.  Yes, I would like a cookie for perfect attendance (lol!).  On Wednesday, the 4th,  we went in for our regular appointment and were admitted to the hospital.  On Thursday, Catherine was delivered via c-section, On Sunday we were dismissed, on Monday I took a make-up test, and on Tuesday the 10th I took the final.  Woof.   God 10, Christi 0.  

Fourth semester was especially difficult for me.  The material is harder, more clinical days, and this cute 10-pound bundle of joy that didn't seem to interested in assisting with studying neuro dysfunction, endocrine, or musculoskeletal disease processes.  But on I went.  My clinical location and clinical instructor were great allowing me to use the pumping room, so I could reach my goal of 6 months.  I was a student, what did the location care if I did or not, but they welcomed me and Ethel (my trusty Medela pump).  Somehow I made it through the semester without failing.  Was it my greatest academic achievement?  Nope, but I made it!  God 30, Christi 0.

Then I passed NCLEX!!!  Along this whole journey, being a CNA -> CMA -> LPN, and finally RN,  God has been there right along with me.  His Hands have been there the whole time.  There were so many times I would be crying all the way home, wondering how I was going to make it, but I did.  God is so good.  There are so many stories of my interactions with residents and patients, that I KNOW this is where I am supposed to be.  Nursing is what I am supposed to do.  I can talk to anybody, I cut the crap, and am kind of bossy.  Which all tends to work out when caring for someone.  This is the ministry I am supposed to do.  I have never been so certain of something in my life.  

I played around for about 3 months with the idea of a tattoo, 'Thy will be done".  Drawing it on my hand, asking people for ideas about tattoos, etc.  And I finally did it!  I wanted it next to my hands, just as God has had His Hands on me this whole journey, I will now have my hands on people.  And it is what I am supposed to do. 

I hope people ask me about it, I hope I can share His story while changing their britches, telling them the importance of taking their pills, and holding their hand when they pass away. 

God is so good and I am His servant.

Amen!