Sunday, February 17, 2008

Past Midway

As of now I have finished two and a half quarters of the MEPN year. Probably a good time to provide an update on how things have been going.

In short, school and my induction into the nursing profession has been fantastic. The first quarter was the most stressful, the second quarter was the most difficult and most rewarding, and the third quarter has been somewhat chaotic. But all phases have been extremely valuable and I can barely comprehend how much I have already learned.

Learning happens at a fast rate with the combination of focused classwork and rich, intense hands-on experience in the hospital with patients and other professionals. Nearly every one of my precepting nurses has been extremely willing to teach and happy to work with me. They have given me great latitude and trusted me to do sensitive, complex work with vulnerable patients.

The classroom experience has been mostly good, but frustrating at times. Usually over issues of disorganization, including schedule/curriculum/experience changes. Guest lecturers have been very high caliber professionals, and have given extremely valuable information on all sorts of topics. Lisa Day, our q1 Pathophysiology and Pharmacology instructor, was fantastic and a steadying influence on us all.

My classmates are good people. Collectively we have a tremendous amount of talent, energy, and drive. I feel we have something to offer to the nursing profession. We take this very seriously, and I have faith we will all be competent, diligent professionals.

Currently, I am in Psychiatric Nursing. My clinical rotation is in the Forensic Psych unit at SF General Hospital, my old stomping ground as a volunteer. I really love that place, there is just something special about it. Forensic Psych is absolutely fascinating. Our patients are jail inmates, or otherwise facing new charges. It is difficult for me to describe these people now because A) I have little understanding of mental illness and treatment thereof, and B) their symptoms are extremely varied. But the observation and interaction with these patients, sometimes one-on-one when the deputies and other nurses and docs aren't around, has been mind-blowing. More on this later as I gain understanding and experience.

After another 3 weeks Psych is finished and Spring Break begins. Q4 begins in late May, with Labor and Delivery and Issues in Nursing. In June I graduate, then study for and write my NCLEX in June, to become licensed as a Registered Nurse. And HOPEFULLY I will get a job which starts in July.

My goal is to work in the Emergency Department at SF General Hospital, Highland Hospital in Oakland, or Stanford Hospital, in that order of preference. I will work full time for one, maybe two years before scaling back to part time work and returning to UCSF to begin work on my Masters. After two years of school and work I will complete my Masters and seek licensure as an ACNP (Acute Care Nurse Practitioner). Hard telling what will happen at that point. Depends on job opportunities in San Francisco and elsewhere, as well as personal life factors.