Thursday, October 25, 2007

Last Week's Test

So far, I've been baffled by this A & P class. There is so much material to swallow, and it is so difficult, that when I take the tests, I'm sure I've failed. When I get the tests back, I'm getting A's. I think there's some sort of conspiracy for me to do well going on here.

The last test I got back, I knew I had really screwed up. I left off half of the explanation for one of my essay questions, and completely froze on labeling the muscle diagram. I ended up labeling it something like : endosteum, periosteum, fascicle, cell, fiber. Then I repeated the 5 words I could remember 4 times to fill 20 blanks. (of course I later remembered that even endosteum and periosteum were wrong, and were actually bone words) I wrote a note at the bottom saying "This diagram was hard, it looks like all the arrows are pointing to the same things." Although that was completely true, if I had studied harder I would have been fine.

So, I get the test back last week, expecting a C, and I have a 91%. The only A in the class. Nothing was marked wrong on my essay questions. Nothing was marked wrong on my diagram. I thought she might have missed grading that entire portion of the test, but she had written a note back to me under the muscle diagram that said, "LOL, you did fine!"

WHAT? Well, whatever, I'll take it. I really need an A.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Not making a career in cell phones

So a friend said to me the other day, "you haven't updated your blog for a while, did you decide to stay at the cell phone store?"

Oh, God, no.

Even when I have doubts about my future career path, I know I don't want to stay there forever.

I LOVE "The Office" on NBC, but right now, I think I'm starring in my own episode.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

First Test

I took my first A&P exam today. Thought I might have a panic attack. No, not really, but it was way more stressful than any other test I've taken. This could quite possibly be the hardest class I've ever taken. All the studying and reading and everything else still doesn't get me to a point where I know the material really well. I'm guessing I got a C. The subjects covered were pretty broad though, so I'm hoping as we get a little more specific, I'll do better.

Not only did I have the test going on, but the baby has some sort of stomach bug today that resulted in about 6 pretty nasty diaper changes in 5 hours. The cat did his part by throwing up twice. Didn't leave me any time to actually get some last minute reviewing done today, let alone actually shower before I went to school.

I should rename this blog "Diarrhea and Furballs."

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A "D-" in Parenting

I'm struggling trying to figure out how to balance going to school with taking care of a baby. He starts daycare tomorrow and will be going 2 days a week. Am I a mother that is tearfully dreading leaving him in a strange place with strange people watching him? NOPE. My mother-in-law is pretty worried I think, and has said things like, "but will they rock him and hold him while he naps?" Heartless as it may sound, I'm glad to get a break. No sooner has he learned how to crawl, but now he wants to stand up all the time too. I'm thinking he'll be walking by 9 months at this rate (he's about 7 1/2 now).

I'm thinking I'd give myself a D- on parenting today. I gave him his first bottle this morning about 7, and after he finished it, I put it in the sink. I realized an hour later as I was putting away dishes, that the nipples I thought were clean, where I had gotten the one to make the earlier bottle, were in fact, dirty. Good thing I'm so careful about washing my hands before I make his food, when I can't even use clean dishes. They just let anyone have babies these days don't they?

We've been pretty proud of his self-feeding skills with his little Gerber peach puffs, but now today, he has tried to eat a plant and a handful of cat food. Although I haven't seen crunchy cat food on the "list of foods not to feed your baby because of choking hazards," I'm pretty sure it was implied. He struggles to get one peach puff in his mouth, but somehow zeros in on the bowl of cat food a room away, crawls in there and manages to get 4 pieces in his mouth before I can stop him. I don't know how he does it... it's like he's part ninja... very stealthy.

Don't get me wrong, I love being home with him! It's just getting harder now that I have outside responsibilities too, like school and the new job, and that he's mobile. I'm only taking one class, and working about 25 hours a week. I have to say, I'm a little worried that I'm struggling with time management so much now, and I haven't even applied to the actual nursing program yet. If I do get in, I'm not sure how I'll manage those classes. Argh, I don't know how other people do it.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Decisions Decisions

Got the results of my CNA state exam, and I passed. I wasn't really worried, but it's always a relief to not have to think about it anymore. When I finished my CNA class, I actually graduated #1 in the class of about 30. Out of 600 test questions throughout the course, I missed 3. Granted, this was not a difficult class, but it helped my confidence a little since I'm not actually a very good student. I was in the lower 1/3 of my high school class, and nearly didn't graduate because I was failing gym. How stupid is that?

So now I'm wondering what I should do job-wise. I worked extremely hard to get into cellstore to shake hands, but now with my certification I can work in a hospital that might increase my chances of getting into school and then pay for it too. I don't want to work at cellstore forever, but it's good money now, and I'm trying to get a different job there that just opened up actually repairing phones, which would be about $4/hr more, and I'm sure that's more than a hospital job. I'll have to see what happens in the next few weeks here, and make a decision. It wouldn't hurt me to apply at the hospitals now anyway.

The baby is not the best study partner. I have to say, he's kinda insane since he started crawling. Insane in a good way though I guess. He's just so curious, he's into everything. But then he's so full of energy, he wants to skip all his naps, and party all night. I don't get it, you would think I'm feeding him Starbucks instead of Similac. Oh wait, that must be it, I'm not breastfeeding, so that must be why he's not wanting to sleep. Formula is evil! But, that's another topic altogether. I'm fairly convinced that he doesn't want me to go to school, and that's why he's making it so difficult for me. Or, more likely, he's 7 1/2 months old, and hes just being a baby, and I'm taking a difficult stressful class.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Battle of the Non-Traditional Students

Well, I'm one week into my Anatomy & Physiology class. I have to take it this semester, and then Microbiology in the spring, then I apply for the RN program and (fingers crossed) begin that in the fall. So, as you can see, I'm blogging to avoid studying phospholipids, isotopes, covalent bonds, and all that other chemistry/biology review stuff.

Chemistry is not my strong suit. I took it in high school, failed it one semester, got a D the second semester. Repeated the first semester the next year. Took it in college, got a D. Repeated 2 years later to try to get into the nursing program, got a C. Started taking Organic Chemistry, was failing miserably, and dropped. I took A&P in college about 8 years ago, so I need to take it over again to refresh my skills and to get a higher grade than the C I got the first time.

Being the non-trad I've become, I'm doing ok. Can you believe there are some other non-trads trying to be more even more non-traddie than me? I'm sitting in the front row all the way on one side, they're in the front row in the center, right in front of the instructor's desk. They've already been chatting with the teacher at breaks too, opting to bring their diet Snapples from home so they don't even have to leave their seats to get a drink. They have superior bladders too, and don't need to pee during break. They can just sit and chat about hydrogen bonds while I'm off getting a Snickers. The one has discovered and printed out the same study materials from the internet that I did. They're good. Of course, they have at least 15-20 years on me. At least they're in the front row with me so I can keep my eye on them.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Customer Service

I got a really nice compliment from a customer today.

There was an older Hispanic gentleman that came in talking on his cell phone in Spanish. He tried to hand his cell phone to the other greeter that was working with me, who flat out refused to take the call, and basically made fun of the guy for trying to give her the phone. Obviously the person on the other end was someone who could translate for the man, and get his needs across to us. I took the phone from him, and talked to his son, who told me that his father no longer wanted his phone, and wanted to know when his contract was up. I helped him the best I could, and handed the old man the phone back, and he hung up with his son.

I had spoken to him a little in Spanish when he first came in, and he assumed I was better at speaking Spanish than I am, but I tried my best. I explained to him in Spanish that there would be two associates working at noon that spoke fluent Spanish, if he would like to come back to cancel his phone then. I gave him their business cards. He told me he needed to pay 2 bills, so I helped him with that. We tried our best to understand each other, and I apologized for my poor vocabulary. He told me that I spoke better Spanish than he spoke English, and I guess that really was the case. We thanked each other and he left.

After he left, another customer called me over. She said, "I just wanted to commend you for how you treated that gentleman." I'm confused at this point, wondering if she knows something I didn't know. Apparently she had been watching the entire interaction from the time he came in the door. "You were extremely patient with him, and I could tell by his speech that he has had a stroke besides speaking with an unusual dialect which makes him difficult to understand. He wanted someone to listen to him, and the first girl he went to for help ignored him, where you went out of your way to help him. He'll probably look for you now when he comes back. The other girl needs to learn how to treat people."

I thanked her for her compliments, and told her how much they were appreciated. I told her that I was trying to get into nursing and that I've worked with people in nursing homes that have similar problems (language barrier or not), so I've gotten to be rather patient with them. She told me that the medical field would suit me well, and that I would make a great nurse.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not great with customers all the time. I'm often silently cursing them, or judging them, or writing blogs about their clothing.

So, I guess my point in all this is... giving compliments can really change a person's outlook on their whole day, and sometimes even more. A few people close to me have said, "you'd make a good nurse, I think you're doing the right thing," but I have to wonder if they're saying that only because they feel obligated.

Compliments come few and far between, but this one meant a lot, because it came from a complete stranger in a cell phone store. If a stranger thinks I can be a good nurse, I can almost believe it too.

Friday, August 3, 2007

More Reasons Why Nursing Has to Work

No, I didn't abandon my blog. I've been ridiculously busy. No, I don't mean extremely busy, I mean busy with ridiculous things, namely, my new job. I finally got in at Cell Phone Company X, after several months of background checks, drug tests, and interviews. My job is to greet customers as they walk in the door, take their names, and ask them to wait ala a restaurant hostess. Smoking, non, or first available?

I have to say, I've worked on and off in customer service jobs for 15 years and I have never seen people like this. Good preparation for nursing, because I always consider these people could be my patients someday.

I don't like the job especially, but it pays more than McDonalds. I'm not surprised by anything at the job, because it was exactly what I expected it to be like working for a large corporate-esque place again. Lots of acronyms for intangible feel-good things. Lots of rhetoric and brainwashing. A diversity training webinar.

After I was approached by a manager who asked me what percentage of people I thought I was able to connect with a handshake (and I responded 93 or 94% since I thought he was joking... he wasn't...), he made some small talk with me, then said: "hmm... pretty snappy shoes there..."
"Yeah?"
"Yeah... hmm... I don't know how I feel about those shoes..."
"Do you not want me to wear these shoes?"
"OH! Well... um... I don't know... I mean, we can talk it over with the store manager later on and see what he thinks..."
"So you don't want me to wear the shoes."
"Hmm... well, I don't know, we can talk about it and see how it falls into the dress code and decide what's in the best interest of the customer..."
"You know what? I won't wear the shoes. Don't even worry about it. You won't see them again."

We're lucky if we can get our adult customers to wear shirts. A four year old came in the other day wearing a tshirt, Barbie panties, Crocs, and green marker all over her legs. Unlike other associates, I have no piercings, tatoos, or unnaturally colored hair, but I wear these shoes

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and need a big discussion. Oh well. More motivation to finish school. Not that I think there won't be crap like this in a hospital. It's always something. I need to win the lotto.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Poop

Yep, I knew it was coming sooner or later, especially since I had just jinxed myself by talking about it.

It's not something I want to deal with everyday, but I have to admit, it wasn't that bad. I think it will even come out of the pant leg of my scrubs.

Before clinicals today, in class, we had to watch more videos. It seems like the videos take up a lot of our class time since we need x number of hours spent in class. I enjoy most of the videos, and do learn a lot.

I also should say here that my class is mixed with a lot of kids fresh out of high school with maturity to match. They do spend a lot of the class discussing who likes who, and who's pregnant, and eeew, what if I have to touch a patient's butt, etc. They got the giggles when we had to watch the video on pericare. I'm trying to learn, and be mature (at least in class), and refrain from giggling at the word penis.

Today's video though, was so bad... it was on sexuality in people with dementia. I was fine with the concept that sometimes the people with dementia have sex with other residents, or masturbate, etc. But the video itself was just terrible. Anne Meara was hosting it, and setting up each scene (horribly acted depictions of demented sex crazed old folk). I don't know what I expected to see, but the scene with the man in the wheelchair sitting in the tv area who suddenly gets a chester the molester look on his face, and starts ripping his pants off to masturbate, only to be whisked off by a nursing assistant to his bedroom, where he has (fanned out on the bed on display) a collection of porn, so he can take care of his business... yep, that was too much. Now I see there is something more to fear than poop...

Friday, June 15, 2007

EEW I'm a Non-Trad

I've only got 2 weeks left to go. I'm in line for valedictorian of the class at this rate, since I'm running a 99.7% after 4 weeks. I've gotten one question wrong out of 3 tests, and that was the definition of etiology. I don't remember reading it in the book, and I don't remember it being discussed in class, so I guessed, and I guessed incorrectly. No one in the class remembers it being covered either, so we'll see about getting that point back. I'll forever know now that etiology means cause.

I've become the college student I always hated. "The Non-Trad" (non traditional student) Ugh. They're like 40 years old with their brand new backpacks, and 17 different highlighters lined up on their desk, and they ask all sorts of questions all the time, and they get 100% on all their tests. Well, I'm not quite that bad, but I am almost 30, and have 2 highlighters. I guess I understand those people now though. They're going back to school with a pretty focused goal, and need to really learn what they're studying. They've probably done jobs that they've hated, and are ready to make a change. If they're in my situation, they aren't just doing this for themselves anymore, but maybe have other people depending on them. What pressure.

I finally got a job after basically 5 months now of not working. I'll be shaking hands and welcoming people to a local cell phone store. Pretty exciting stuff. It's just a part time job, so I can keep spending some time with the baby and my summer vacationing teacher husband. I can't keep up with everything new the baby's doing anymore. He's learning something new every day.

Looking at all he's learned at 5 months, I wonder what he'll be capable of at 6 months, etc. I think we need to start baby proofing, since he's on the brink of crawling. It'll be a while still, but it's coming. Right now, he lays on his stomach, and grunts and flails his arms and legs around erratically, trying to propel himself. Mean parents that we are, we laugh hysterically at this. He manages to spin himself around in a circle, but can't quite get anywhere yet.

I told my dad about him yesterday. About his existence I mean. Yeah, pretty long story, but he lives in the same town we do, always has, and I've seen him twice in the last 20 years. I talk to him usually once a year or so. The last time I talked to him was a few weeks before the baby was due, and I didn't tell him. Yesterday was his birthday, so I figured I'd call and let him know. Oh, by the way, you're a grandfather... He was really happy, and cried, and vowed to come see this grandson of his. Better now while he's little enough to forget him. It's a lot harder to be abandoned when you're 8 years old.

So, I'm faced with my mother's dilemma... keep the baby away from him to protect him from eventual disappointment and in turn have him resent me? Or, let things go as they may? We'll see what happens.

But, how could you not want what's best for this little guy? This is why I'm going back to school.



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First True Clinical Experience (Part II)

I sort of left everyone hanging there for a couple weeks... Boy, what suspense!

To summarize the rest of the story: We got blue sweater lady back to the room by learning (rule #1) Don't ask "would you like to take a bath today?" Instead, ask like this, "we're going to take you back to your room to give you a bath now, OK?" Small wording change, big difference. We got her back to bed, gave her a bed bath, and changed her bedding with her in the bed. This now seems ridiculous when it's ten times easier and more effective to give a shower, and change an unoccupied bed, but it's all about learning. The three of us clumsily got everything done with 20 minutes to spare.

My two partners finished setting the room back up while I wheeled her back down to the commons area for her styrofoam cup of ice cream. Having learned rule #1, rather than asking her where she'd like to sit (far too many overwhelming options), I parked her at a table and said "is this ok?" "It's ok," she said, "I don't want to be alone." "Do you want me to stay with you a while?" "OK." So I sat with her, and she told me how some lovely students had given her a sponge bath, and how nice it was. Then she tried giving me her ice cream. That made me feel pretty good.

Since then, I've given another bed bath, and two showers, brushed some teeth, fed a resident lunch, taken a few for walks, and observed in the rehab area. Most of the residents aren't very aware, since it's mostly a dementia/Alzheimer ward, but some of them remember us and enjoy us coming there. I think I'll actually miss it a little when clinicals are over.

The thing that's surprised me most about the experience so far is myself, I guess. I wasn't sure how I would be with the residents, but I actually feel pretty comfortable talking to them, and working with them. They seem to react pretty positively to me too, which is most important I guess. I suppose motherhood has made me more hands-on, patient, and compassionate? Maybe I've found where I really fit.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

First True Clinical Experience (Part I)

I knew we would have to do some sort of actual CNA-like task eventually.

Day 1 of clinicals was spent in an orientation that included a tour and another overview of HIPAA (in case we didn't get it after watching the video twice in class).

Day 2 we did a scavenger hunt on the floor of the nursing home we'll be working on. They had told us in class how glad the nursing homes are to get students, and especially how excited all the CNA's are to have our help. Yeah... not the case. I should have figured that one out. We don't know what we're doing, and here we are, wandering around their workplace, getting in their way, and slowing them down. They actually seem to dislike us quite a bit.

Day 3, we practiced using the stand-assist lifts on each other. For those of you non-healthcare people, have you seen these things?

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The first time you see a CNA swinging a grandma down the hall on one of these, it kind of catches you off guard... Oh, and they usually don't look as happy as this guy does. Usually they're complaining that the harness is too tight. (They can breathe, don't worry, they just like to complain sometimes.) I've got to wonder how they feel about riding around on these things. It scared us to use them on each other, and we're pretty young and healthy and comfortable with technology.

Today was Day 4. In theory this morning, we started hearing the horror stories from other students about their clinicals. It seemed as though they were all thrown into the job on Day 1, and are way ahead of my group. I don't think I'm complaining about that though, since they have had some pretty rough experiences. One group was sent to give a bed bath to a man in isolation. Not only is he in isolation (which complicates the whole process), but he is also combative, so he tried to take a couple swings at the students, as well as trying to work in some groping. There were also several poop stories.

So, I dreaded going to clinicals today, knowing that we couldn't keep avoiding patients forever... I guess that's not the point of the class. We were assigned in groups of 3 to give one patient a bed bath, and then change all their bedding while they were still in their bed (yeah, tricky business). The residents were finishing up lunch when we got there, so we were instructed to get our linens and supplies ready and wait for the CNA to put them in bed so we could get started.

We spent the next 20 minutes discussing what sort of bedding supplies we needed. "Ok, I guess we need a bedspread. Wait, if they have their own bedspread, we reuse that one right? Umm... Ok, this list says blue striped blanket. All these blankets have pink stripes. Do you suppose they're the same? We're going to need a bath blanket. No, I think the thing with the pink stripes IS the bath blanket. Where did the instructor go? Do you feel like we aren't ready for this? How are we supposed to take care of these people when we can't figure out how to make a bed? Where do they keep the mattress pads? Did you guys find the mattress pads yet? No, where are the fitted sheets? I don't want to ask the CNA's, they're scary."

We gathered up enough bedding to make 7 beds, and headed back to the room to wait for our resident. We waited and waited. You would think that the bedding fiasco would have allowed plenty of time for our subject's arrival, but she was still MIA. Well, we decided to get the bathing stuff together. We opened up the bathroom door to get some water in the basin, and there was her roommate on the toilet. Oops. OK... where is our lady anyway? Let's get this bath over with. Uh oh, CNA flies in the room to get roommate off the toilet and into bed. We manage to get in her way no less than 14 times in the 5 minutes it takes her to hoist roommate up on the lift and swing her across the room into bed.

Finally we ask where our lady is. A CNA is gracious enough to point her out, down the hall in a wheelchair, wearing a blue sweater, then CNA runs off again. We introduced ourselves to her, and asked if we could give her a bath. Nope. She wasn't rude at all, and not uncooperative, but she was afraid that she would miss ice cream at 3:00. We (with the help of a nearby LPN) convinced her we had plenty of time, so she agreed to let us take her back to bed.

(to be continued...)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

2 weeks into class...

Well, I'm 2 weeks into my CNA class now. My schedule got a little messed up because my instructor became ill before the class started, and they encouraged us to either be absorbed into another class, or drop the class altogether. So now, instead of going to school M-F 1-4:45, I go MW 8:30-4:45 and F 8:30-12. It makes for long days on Mondays and Wednesdays, but from 1-4:45 I'm in clinicals at a local nursing home, so that goes fast.

I haven't done anything hands on with actual patients yet, but that could be coming on Wednesday. I guess I am a little nervous about it all, but I'm trying to pay close attention in class and participate in labs and do my best. So far, we've just been practicing skills on each other, ie. bathing, toothbrushing, taking vitals, etc. Don't worry, we just bathed each other's arms, legs, and faces. We practiced "Perineal" bathing (or washing "hoo-has or bajingos" as Eliot on Scrubs would say) on anatomically correct mannequins rather than each other (thank God... we've started to become somewhat close, but not THAT close).

I've got a test tomorrow on nearly half the book. I'm having trouble studying for it, because when I take the quizzes at the end of the chapter, or work in the workbook, I get really confused by the questions. I think I'm thinking too hard. For example: A __________ is a sudden catastophic event in which many people are injured or killed, and property is destroyed. I racked my brain trying to remember reading this in the book, then realized, the answer is "disaster." So do I go to the trouble of memorizing the vocabulary word "disaster" or can I just assume I know what a disaster is? __________ occurs when electrical current passes through the body. Did you guess "electrical shock?" I didn't, I'm definitely thinking too hard.

I'm not saying my class is easy, although some of it really is. I don't think the "theory" portion is difficult, I guess it's more about being prepared to actually take care of people. I guess I can tell you that as a CNA you're expected to shower daily (yes, there was an entire chapter on "workplace ethics" that told you how to be a good employee with good hygiene), but can I take care of another adult who is completely dependent on me? That's the hard part.

Still waiting on the cell phone job. They're saying now that they want to put me at the kiosk in the mall because it would be best for my availability, but I don't know what's going on. I'm just constantly waiting for their call. I'm still hoping I get it, but I'm getting more and more doubtful. Why won't anyone hire me? I shower daily! After I get my test out of the way, I'm back on the hard core job hunt.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Baby Laughs and Mommy Fears

When I tell people I'm looking for a job, they seem to give me a look that says "what kind of mother are you?" They say, "well, you must be enjoying staying home with the baby though." Then I sort of get to feeling bad. I get so worried about finding a job so we can keep paying the bills, and on top of that, worrying about whether I'm doing the right thing going back to school. With all this worrying going on, I'm not really appreciating the time I'm off.

When I really look at it though, I'm very lucky. I get to see daily milestones. Last Thursday, he laughed. That was great. I've never heard such an awkward funny sound. The more he laughed, the more we laughed, and that got him going harder. He ended up with hiccups. It was his grandpa that got him laughing, of course. Friday, he laughed again, at my sister. My husband and I are going to be the last ones to make him laugh, I'm sure. He smiled at us last too... after the ceiling fan, the door, the cat, and everyone else but us. That's ok, he just knows he doesn't need to do anything special to impress us.

I had an interview at a cell phone store last Wednesday, to be a greeter. "Hello, welcome, what can we do for you today? Please have a seat, someone will be with you shortly." That's all I need to learn how to say as a greeter. Sounds like the job for me, after the last one I had. I felt like the interview went horribly, but I guess the recruiter told my friend that works there that they were impressed with me. I'm not putting too much hope in that, but we'll see what happens. I never heard back about the receptionist job at the hospital that I interviewed for. I can understand not hearing back about every job you apply for, but if you get as far as an interview, it seems like they should at least call to let you know you didn't get the job.

I called the 3 area hospitals on Friday to ask them a couple questions about their hiring practices for RN's (one of my Dislocated Workers Program tasks). I found out that they all hire new grads, although not necessarily at clinics. They all offer health/dental benefits among other various 401k kind of stuff. One starts new nurses at $22/hr, one starts at $20.69, and one "didn't feel comfortable discussing that sort of information over the phone-but generally nurses in town make somewhere between $19.75 and $32/hr." That's quite a spread... you would think with the nursing shortage, and hospitals fighting for nurses, the recruiters would be a little more friendly. I'll remember this when I'm ready to find a job.

I'm trying to stay confident and positive about this new career path, but it's pretty scary at times too. I came across this blog and it nearly made me change my mind altogether. I guess after the CNA class this summer, I'll have a better idea of my abilities and the job ahead of me, and if I'm not cut out for it, I'll figure something else out.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Dislocated Workers Program

So, it turns out there’s something called the “Dislocated Workers Program,” in which the government pays for you to go back to school if you are “dislocated.” Dislocated is an interesting way to put it, but in any event, I applied for the program and was accepted! Like all government programs, there are several rules and hoops to jump through, I suppose in the hopes that you get lost in all the paperwork, and they don’t have to actually pony up the cash.

So, the rules are basically that you need to be moving into a career path that you can actually get a job in. For instance, they would not have paid for me to get my English degree. Nursing is in high demand, so it’s on their approved list. You have to maintain a “C” average while you are in the program. You have to check in with your counselor once a month to tell them how things are going. Sounds like being on parole. You have to attend one workshop per month on ridiculous things like “how to write a resume.” Ok, that’s a useful skill I guess, but still.

The hoops to jump through are: I have to complete their mock application to prove to them I know how to fill out a job application. I have to research the field that I want to go into, and answer questions about it, like a book report in days of old. I have to contact 3 employers and ask them how much they would pay me and what kind of benefits they would give me if I was a nurse. I have to apply for FAFSA. I have to turn in an example of a cover letter I’ve written. I have to take a reading and math test. I’ve already turned in the required copy of my resume, work search record, self assessment questionnaire, skills match questionnaire, job interest inventory, letter of termination from my last employer, and all my legal documents that prove I’m me.

For doing all this, they’ll cover my school costs. I was hoping at least they would pay for the CNA class, but they said they would pay for all the classes all the way through the RN program except for the 2 prerequisite classes I have left to take (Anatomy & Physiology and Microbiology). Wow! That was the best news I’d heard in a month of unemployment! Until she told me they would also pay for all my books, my physical, my shoes, my uniforms, my stethoscope and all those other necessary supplies, my liability insurance, and even mileage to and from school and daycare if I’m a full time student! Ok, now THAT was the best news I’d heard in a month.

I would be foolish not to take advantage of this. I’m pretty excited, but worried that maybe I won’t be able to go to school, take care of the baby (currently sleeping in his swing), and work enough to contribute enough to pay the bills. I’m certainly going to give it a try though.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Back to School I Go...

Now suddenly found with a lot of extra brain space that was previously reserved for all the crap I had to get done at work, I’ve had to start considering the future. What’s best for not only me, but the family. I came back to the idea of going back to school for nursing.

People say that I’ll get burned out, that it’s such a hard job, that it isn’t a good idea… maybe they’re right, but maybe they’re not, and how will I know if I don’t try? I applied for the community college’s RN program back in 2000 I think it was, and was actually accepted. I had applied to the nearby university’s bachelor’s degree program in nursing at the same time and was turned down. I ended up going to neither. I don’t remember why I didn’t go to the community college program, why I chose to go after a bachelor’s degree in English of all things instead.

I guess for some reason I felt the need to obtain a degree, and I didn’t want to settle for some community college certificate program. Well, there’s stupid pride for you. So, I got my degree, and had every intention in the world of becoming a technical writer, a novelist, or an editor, but here I am… 4 years later, having been a graphic design artist and accountant in the meanwhile, never becoming anything I intended. I learned graphic design and accounting, and have to admit, I became pretty good at both of them. Now, of course, I have no formal training to back up either of these professions, and I was fired a month ago from the job that gave me the chance to do both. I’ve spent so much time away from working toward the technical writer, novelist, editor career options, it would be very difficult to try to get that going now. I could go get a job doing accounts payable or something like it somewhere, but I don’t know that I want to. I’ll do what I need to do, but maybe try to pursue something I think I want to do.

So, the firing… 5 of us lost our jobs that day for reasons no one can really agree on. We were told our jobs no longer exist, but I find it hard to believe they no longer need someone to pay the bills or answer the phones. I alternate between depression and anger about it all. I really loved that job, the people I worked with, and believed in the place itself. I’m depressed because it was all taken away in the course of a 5 minute meeting. I’m angry for the same reason.

So, in trying to look on the bright side, for my dark cloud’s silver lining, I’ve come up with the following: I still have the people I worked with. They’re my family. If anything, this whole experience has brought us closer, and given us reason to find other things in common besides work. I don’t have to worry anymore about the financial situation of the business, whether or not we can meet payroll, or any of the other things that kept me up at night. I’m not my boss who came to this town for some unknown reason, leaving his family behind with no intention of moving them here, firing people who loved their jobs without caring about the people themselves, having nothing but work and money. I’m not the board president who doesn’t want to live in her former mayor husband’s shadow, so decides she needs to create a name for herself by ruining organizations all over town. I’m not the director of development who rose up from being a receptionist to where she is today by kissing everyone’s asses, by turning people away by bullying them, by not giving a care about anyone but people who could advance her agenda. I have a husband who loves me, who is my true soul mate. I have a new son who has grown out of his colic phase, and started smiling at us. I have friends that care about me. I have a really good life. Maybe this whole job thing is really an opportunity of some kind.

So, I just registered for a CNA class. I’m trying to get unemployment to pay for it through their dislocated workers program. After 6 weeks, I’ll be qualified to clean up patient’s poop for $9/hour, but maybe it will eventually lead to something more.