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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

journey to fitness day 1

130 lbs
5' ft 0 in
hips 39"
waist 30"
bust 37"
arms 13"
thighs 23"

Here we go... I've taken the day 0 pictures and i am so depressed just looking at them. And when I measured and weighed myself a part of me still cannot believe that I'm that big. Day 1 chest and back is the workout for today. I decided to do the classic version this time because I know I can get results from that. In addition to the workout, they said make sure to write down everything you eat during the day so, i'll be updating this blog tonight with what I eat.

Friday, October 22, 2010


I'm back! My computer crashed on me and had to get a new laptop! And I started a new job! The laptop I got is the new macbook. I am so stoked that I can finally afford a mac... seriously i've wanted one all through nursing school but it was just too expensive at that time. Anyways, so yeah, it takes getting used to because I've been a PC girl all my life, pretty much... It's coming along. I love it!

So, about my new job, yes!! i finally have a line woohoo!! I'm still getting used to the new system, but I'm loving this new hospital! It's one of the best in my province. I am so proud to be working there. It's nice to finally have benefits! (No benefits when you're casual). And all the student loans are now in order. I'm still paying them but i'm not drowning in debt anymore.. (oh the life of a student!)

I have also been able to rebuild my social life. I have been in a social hiatus for probably most of nursing school, so it's nice to know I can go out for drinks or dinner with friends I still have and just pick up where I left off.. And now that Fall has started, most of my other nursing friends have time to get together!

As for my weight loss goal... uuggghhh still working on it... hope you guys are having a fantastic fall! ttyl! :) it's nice to be back.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

125 lbs!!!

Yikes! I just did a weigh in and I am currently 125 lbs!! this is the heaviest I have ever been in my life. Mind you, I am 5' tall :( that's crazy! It`s like a wakeup call. I keep on setting these goals and not following through... So I was compelled to start today, for real this time!! :) and I got through day 1 of the p90x lean program. I was initially going to start tomorrow as i just came off nights and am on nights again tonight.. but what the heck i just did it and i am so proud of myself. Last year I lost 8 lbs after 1 month into the program and i`m hoping I can do that again.

Today was core synergistics and I really didn`t like that workout even when I did it last year.. oh well, i barely got through it.. but i did anyway! yay!!! :) hubby even joined me to show his support. how sweet! I`ve forgotten how hard it really is to start over.. we were sweating like crazy! but it did feel good to finish the workout! i know i can do it i just need to keep focused. My goal has changed a bit.. I am now aiming to lose the 25 lbs by Dec. 31! I need to be back to 100 before 2011 starts. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

a new perspective

Today was a fruitful day. I realized that my life has now come to a steady speed, and I need new goals. Now that school is done, I am not running on hyperdrive everyday- trying to get as much work done, while still keeping up with readings and projects as well as maintaining high marks. I pretty much came to the realization that my career is going to be like this for about a year. Hopefully I get into a permanent line by then, but for now I will be working as a casual at two places. So, what now? I need new goals.


1. Learn to drive and pass the exam before Christmas (drive 1 hr everyday)

2. Lose the 20 lbs I gained from nursing school by Hubby's bday (work out 3x a week, start eating a balanced diet)

3. Take turns with hubby when it comes to walking the dog (i.e. on free days)

4. Make up a cleaning schedule for the house and stick to it.

5. Make it a point to go to 2 new grad seminars before 2011.

Hopefully I will be able to stick to this plan lol :) that's mostly the problem hehehe

Monday, July 26, 2010

Time Flies...

Wow! where did july go? I cannot believe it's almost my August! I've been working so much and just enjoying the sun whenever I can. I remember during the new grad orientation, they said that it is when you start working that you find out how much you actually don't know... and it's scary.. really. Thank goodness I am one of those people who are not afraid to ask for help and I am equally lucky because my co-workers are really glad to help. I don't know- I don't think there's any other unit like it. It makes the workload so doable and even fun... because the team is such a "team." I wouldn't want to work anywhere else. :) Of course, there's good days and bad days.. but I try my best to just shake things off and move on.. It's easier said than done. But, i'm working on it. I tend to dwell on mistakes. And it really isn't helping me, or anyone else if I keep doing that.

Anyway, my anniversary is coming up and, I still don't know what to get for my hubby. He has been so supportive of me during the past 3 months of being in a new chapter of our life. He's been riding the waves of my moods... (c'mon guys, it's a difficult transition time) hehehe... and for that I have to get him something special... hmmm....

So I hope all you nurses and nurses-to-be are having a fabulous day! hopefully I'll have more time in August to blog about my experiences. For now, I gotta run!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Learning to say 'no, thank you."

Today is my first real day off in about two weeks. I have been picking up short calls on top of my prescheduled shifts. Because I only work casual at my job, and being a new grad I find that having work is one of my major worries. I graduated at a time when government cuts have caused a strain on work for nurses. Strange hey? because the nursing shortage is still a big problem in Canada. I guess, it was just unfortunate that I started nursing at that down-part of the cycle. There has been enough work, don't get me wrong. As I said in my past posts, I have been working more than full time hours. Although, when I get called, I still hesitate to say no. Sometimes I get called to work at my other job when I am already working, and I feel so guilty turning the shift down. I just can't help thinking that when in a few months, i would not have the luxury of saying no to shifts. Oh, the life of a new grad.

While I was nursing school, this "blip" as the health authorities would call it, did not exist. There was so much work! New grads were getting accepted into specialized areas. Nowadays, I consider myself lucky to get two jobs right off the bat, and to have been working full time right after graduation. I have some classmates who just started gettting hired now. They were sitting at home for 2 months.

All these lead me to taking on as much work as I can. After all, how much work could there really be available for me? With the budget cuts and all? Well, there has been a lot of work, especially because it's summer. That being said, I am now feeling the toll of working so much. I am starting to get tired, and my patience is waning. Clear signs of needing a break from work, even for just a day- and so I said "no" when I was called to cover a shift today. I'd rather recuperate than get sick and miss 3-5 days of work.

Now I understand what the other nurses in the unit were telling me. They said it was probably a blessing in disguise that I graduated during the down-cycle, because when they graduated, they worked too much that they either got really ill, or they had a breakdown. It is an art of work-life balance- that I have yet to master. It's learning how to balance getting my skills grounded and my health in-check. I am blessed to have concerned colleagues that help me in the process. They really are guardian angels to us new grads. :)

Monday, June 28, 2010

New scrubs!!

I am one of the minority who actually like wearing uniforms. I'd rather spend the extra minutes in the morning on sleep or on putting on my makeup (not too crazy, just the basic face routine). That's why scrubs-shopping really excite me! I don't have to wear scrubs in psychiatry because we are required to wear street clothes. The reason behind this is to remove the possible segregation of the nurses from the patients. However, in I do wear scrubs in the geriatric unit.

I needed more scrubs. June has been so busy for me that I had to do laundry when I got home just to have scrubs to wear in the morning. I ordered some more from The prices were pretty decent. Especially if you're not too picky and do not mind the clearance section. It was $24.99 for each scrub set. Not bad. I bought scrubs from the bookstore while I was in school and it was almost $40 for the set. I remember back in semester one I bought scrubs from and it was $19.99 for the clearance scrub sets. Sadly, that online store doesn't exist anymore. :( I prefer buying scrubs online because it's really difficult to find my size in stores. I wear XXS.
In this post are pictures of some of the scrubs I bought. I really like the fit of the top picture (crisscross top). That one I got in green with black trim. The next picture I was really excited about because it is my first pair of printed scrubs. We weren't allowed to wear prints in nursing school. And the last one is just your basic solid scrubs which I got in white. I know I know it gets dirty easily... but I've always wanted white scrubs.

"A nurse is compassion in scrubs." ~Lexie Saige

Saturday, June 26, 2010

You gotta crawl before you walk...

I have been a busy busy little bee this month! whew! It has been two months since finishing the program and I cannot believe I have been working more than full time (picking up sick calls etc). I am for sure getting my nursing skills more grounded and so are my interpersonal skills. I can certainly feel the difference in my confidence while I'm on the floor working with a full-load (sometimes more) of patients and I feel more integral to the team now when I share my opinions to the physicians and collaborate with other members of the multi-disciplinary team. Of course I still have a million questions each shift but my fellow nurses are super supportive. I am so thankful for that. Slowly, I am banking on more skills, confidence, and experience to my nursing career. Feels good. No, actually, it feels great! :)

Being the person that I am, I sometimes get impatient with myself and go into wishful thinking that I can just become seasoned right away. Let me explain why. Because in that way, I can tune into what is important to assess in a certain type of patient, prioritize better, actually be able to go on a proper break (hehe), and spend more time with each patient. I had a talk about this with one of the nurses whom I believe is one of the best in my unit. She said to me, "Well, you gotta crawl before you walk. That's just how it works, kiddo. No special formula to it... enjoy the journey. That's what will make you a great nurse. You're doing well, I can see it. Actually, I wanna give kudos to your preceptor. He trained you well."

It meant so much to me. I was so proud of myself. You're probably thinking, "that's just common sense," but oh believe me, once you're in this stage, and if you're anything like me, you'll most likely be over-criticizing yourself too. I wanna share this quote. It really hit home at this point in my career. I hope it helps your busy, critical mind stop for a moment and encourage you to reflect on the good things you have at present.

"Having spent the better part of my life trying either to relive the past or experience the future before it arrives, I have come to believe that in between these two extremes is peace." This peace for me right now means appreciating each moment that is either exciting, gratifying, unexpected, or even stressful,and taking as much learning as I can from them, because those moments make my journey as a new nurse worthwhile; they are the elements of stories I would tell new nurses later on when I move from novice to expert- A goal that would not be achieved without savouring the experience.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Don't Break Your Back

This week was my orientation at my second job. It is at a different hospital and I will be working with geriatrics woohoo! :) Working with this population requires proper body mechanics as it involves more personal care (bedside care, mobilizing patients etc.) than what one would encounter in psychiatry for example. I am not a very fit person. Although my father was an athlete, I guess sports or any other activity for that matter, just didn't interest me as a child, other than theatre and academics I guess. My mom did try- she tried very hard. She enrolled me in ballet and gymnastics at a very early age. I just didn't pursue it. I regret that very much so now. I wish I played a sport or danced or even played and instrument. I wish I took advantage of the opportunities for extra-curricular activities back then.

I did get into fitness about a year ago. Hubby and I started P90X. It was a hard workout! It's basically working out for 1-1.5 hrs a day, 6 days a week for 90 days. We got to 60 days and then school got in the way. I tell you, I've never felt so sore in my life during the first week but I never felt so healthy and energetic either. I was steadily losing weight at about 1-2 lbs a week (which is still healthy). I wanted to lose the 20 lbs I gained since starting nursing school. And I wanted to be stronger so that I can better perform at clinical. Sadly, I gained back the weight I`ve lost due to unhealthy eating and sedentary lifestyle. I ate when I got stressed out- and I ate all the bad stuff (fast food, sweets etc.) Anyway, so you guys get the picture I`m not in the healthiest state. How then am I going to do my job in the best way I can? I gotta start practicing what I preach to my patients. I need to start taking care of myself.

One of the big lessons I learned and one that I hear over and over again is "Take care of your back. Nurses have only one back." Nursing tops the list of occupations most associated with back injuries and musculoskeletal disorders. Lifting and transferring patients are the most common causes of back injury. In addition to using safety equipment and learning good body mechanics, I also believe that good health and body strength play a big part. And so I am starting with P90X again. I've been postponing it too long. And now, I need to get back in shape! I'm going to try very hard to finish it this time. I'll keep you guys posted. Yeah Bring it!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Graduation is coming up. All of my classmates are really excited, except maybe a handful. I, on the other hand, am not as excited as I want to be. I know that it's a great acheivement, and grad is the commemoration of all the blood, sweat and tears that I put into my nursing education these past four years. I want to be more excited about it. Could it be because it's my second degree that makes it less exciting? I don't know. I guess it could be a number of different things; for one, i've been working as a nurse for a whole month now so my excitement is more focused on that. I'm thrilled that I am gaining more confidence in my role and my decision making and critical thinking skills are improving every single shift.

Anyway, I look back at my first grad and I cannot believe it was that many years ago! I remember the feeling of going up on that stage, receiving my award. It was a high I cannot explain. This time around, I'm sure it will still be a great feeling. After all, this time, I feel that I made a lot more sacrifices than my first one. For one, I put myself through school, whereas my parents paid for the first one. I guess it will just hit me when grad day comes. :)


Just wanna share a picture of my shih-tzu.. hubby took it.. :)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Work in Progress

As you know I work in psychiatry. When I'm out in the public I am reminded all the more that society is far, very far from understanding this population. The primary reaction I get from people is fear, and soemtimes disbelief that I love working with these people. I do not fear those with mental illness as the average joe who does not know anything about psychosis, or depression or bi-polar would. Who can blame him though? The media portrayal of those with mental illness is skewed. No wonder they are misunderstood. (uh oh, I might be opening a can of worms here...) Media tend to show only the the dangerous, the scary side. I am not saying that there is absolutely no violence related to this aggreate. 2009 had a number of incidents in the news. All I'm saying is that most of the mentally ill are not as dangerous as the movies or tv portray. As a group, mentally ill people are no more violent than any other group. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, they are, in fact, more likely to be the victims of violence than to be violent themselves.

Only those in the same field, or those that have more experience with them will understand this. There is a show called "Stand up for Mental Health" created by David Granirer, a counsellor. He taught stand up comedy to those who have mental illness as a way for them to fight the stigma, to educate the public, and to counter discrimination. It's worth a look. Here's the website I didn't get to see it when they came to my little town but maybe next time :)

In line with this, I wanna talk about self-awareness... one of the most important skills to master when you are a nurse. The things that our patients have done before entering the hospital can sometimes be in conflict with our own values and beliefs. One needs to be able to withhold judgement, and keep oneself in check. This doesn't just apply to psychiatry.It goes the same for addictions, forensics etc.

For me, one of the hardest issues is suicide. When my patient is suicidal, I feel I need to exert more effort in taking a few moments before starting my interaction with the patient. Personally, it is very hard to be assigned to someone who wants to end their life. My personal values conflict with this. Especially as a brand new nurse, I'm still honing my therapeutic skills, and trying not to view actual cases as clear-cut textbook cases- as those are the ones I am used to. "Given situation A, steps 1, 2, and 3 have to be performed". That's not exactly how it goes in psychiatry. It is a science and an art at the same time. And I have a long way to go in learning to apply both the science and the art aspects. It's still a work in progress... Everyday, I bank on some experience and supplement the textbook knowledge that I have.

Nonetheless, I find that this helps me when assessing suicidality of a patient. Textbook, I know, but it's an important tool to incorporate in the interaction. It's from Shea's Psychiatric Interviewing.

Lethal triad:
o Presenting hx of a serious suicide attempt
o Presence of acutely disturbing psychotic processes suggestive of lethality
o Indication from the interview that the patient seriously intends to harm self (single most important indication of suicide potential)

The presence of any one of these should warn the clinician that suicide may be imminent risk

Friday, May 14, 2010

Getting (and staying) organized

Today is the last day of my 8 hour shifts. That was two weeks of working straight days. Having experienced working 12s in preceptorship (a mix of days and nights), I now know that I prefer the extended shifts. Granted, you get a lot more of your day on 8s and the sky doesn't look the same when you leave as when you started, but having weekdays off really was the deal breaker for me. Especially now that my hubby is off on Mondays, having 12s gives me the chance to have one of my days off on that day. It's just preference I guess. My friend was saying she likes the regularity of 8 hr days (M-F) because she doesn't have to be away from home at night. I personally don't mind working a couple of night shifts. After all, I'm so tired after my day shifts that I end up sleeping early anyway. We don't end up going out or doing anything really. He's usually on the computer and then I go to bed after watching a couple of episodes of Criminal Minds (yeah, that's our thing hehe. How romantic huh?)

Enough rambling, what I really wanted to write about is how being organized plays a major role in good patient care. As a new graduate nurse, I find that adjusting to the routine of the unit and the full scope of practice is facilitated by having an organizational strategy that works for you. I personally prefer having a sheet of paper or a small notepad (I'd actually pick the paper over the notepad because you can shred it afterwards- that way you don't have to worry about it getting lost and then confidentiality becomes an issue). I then put a tick box beside each task that I need to do for each patient throughout that shift. When I've done that task, I put a check mark on the box. That being said, it also means setting aside a few minutes before the start of the shift to think of what those tasks are, what the priorities for each person are and what the strategy is going to be for the first hour of the day which is really the bussiest.

Today I had two discharges and an admission. It doesn't seem like a lot, but I haven't really done all of that on top of a full load of patients before. It seemed like the 8 hours wasn't really enough, and I often found myself thinking, "I don't think I spent enough time with that patient." That's the real big change from being a student nurse. As a student you have much more time to be with the patients, having a lesser patient load and a limited scope of practice- no taking and processing orders etc. I also found myself looking at my "cheat sheet" many many times just to stay organized. The more organized I am, the more efficient I am with my 8 hours. Here are some organziational tools I found online. Obviously it needs to be adapted to your specific area of practice.

Clinical organization sheets - Nursing for Nurses: " - report sheets for 1, 2, 3, and 4 patients - sample worksheets for nurses - a post that has links to 4 report and time management tools that can be downloaded and printed out"

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mommy's Day!!!

"A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us when troubles thicken around us, still she will cling to us and endeavor with her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts" -Washington Irving

I was on my lunch break at work and one of the other nurses was talking about the origins of mother's day. It apparently dates back to the greek era when a day was devoted to worshipping Cybele-the greek mother of the gods. This holiday makes me miss my mom so much more. As I said in my story I grew up with my father. My parents separated, and me and my sister moved to live with our father when I was 11. My mom lives in another country. We keep in touch mainly by phone and by email. I have seen her last in 2007- just after I got engaged. My sister is more fortunate to have seen her twice in the past year. She doesn't have the same time and financial constraints as I did since starting nursing school. But now that I am working, I'm planning to visit her this fall.

I love my mom very much. Although she wasn't physically there she was a great support for me and my sister when we moved here. She was, and still is my confidante. She has had her share of battles in this life and I really hope and pray to God that this year will be a good one for her. She said she's starting to like someone- that's a very good sign. See, my mom has been burned by bad, and I mean bad relationships, and because of this, she became obsessed about work and excercise. Now I can see that there is a balance. She seems happy :)

My favourite memory of my mom when I was little was my first jump into the pool. I can vividly remember her telling me to jump, andshe will catch me. She had a pink and black bathing suit on. It had diagonal patterns on it. She had long black hair and teased bangs (ok, this was early 90s people!) I was so scared, I didn't want to do it, I said I was gonna drown... but I did eventually jump after the coaxing from my cousins and all the other people around me. She caught me, and she held me and said, "See, do you think I'll ever let you drown? Mommy will never let anything bad happen to you."

I love you, mom. I am who I am because of you. Happy mother's day to all moms out there! You are all deserving of the world to worship you for your unconditional love.

Friday, May 7, 2010

I survived the first week!

I got through my first week in Psychiatry without going insane. Pun intended hehe. :) Not to say that it wasn't stressful. I haven't been in an acute adult inpatient unit in a while, so my techniques are a little rusty, but by the end of the week I felt more confident than ever. The thrill and excitement about being a real nurse started to come back and take over the anxiety and self-criticism of the first days. Today, when I left a message for a physician, I had a fuzzy feeling when I was saying, "Hello Dr. so and so, this is *****, a nurse from the ***** inpatient unit." Sounds silly, but it still feels so surreal! I wonder when it will hit me that this is it. I am it. Hmmm...

On a different note, I am really feeling the toll of working full-time. I have never worked a full patient load full-time. I am really tired! I worked all throughout nursing school on free days and after classes at times, but that was at the bank so I guess it was much easier. The closest to full time work was preceptorship, but that wasn't paid- and I still wasn't working my full scope of practice. This week I work five 8s. So the regularity is probably what's feeling unusual to me. I always start at 0700 hrs and leave at 1500 hrs. I know i'll get used to it; i'm just being impatient. I want to be seasoned nurse already! haha!
Today was a really hot day. It's really starting to warm up here in my beautiful Canadian city. Hubby and I had sushi coz we didn't really want any hot food. I'm loving sushi right now. Here are pictures of my favourites.

Negitoro roll (fatty tuna and green onion)

Spicy tuna roll (pretty strightforward- tuna and spicy sauce)

Smoked salmon and cream cheese roll

(just what the name says plus crabmeat)

Just writing about it makes me crave it more!!! But i'll hold off for now and maybe i'll just make a pot of tea... yes... that's what i will do.

Oh getting back to nursing, I received my new hire package in the mail today for my other job. I am so excited! So many forms to fill out though! Confidentiality agreement, union stuff, payroll stuff, HR and benefits. Thank goodness no more upfront fees! I need mt first paycheque! :) That's it for me guys! Take it easy and happy nursing week! Au revoir!

P.S. I found this status on facebook you guys may want to post it too..."Being a NURSE means you carry immense responsibility and very little authority. You step into people's lives and make a difference. Some bless you, others curse you. You see people at their worst and best. You see life begin and end. You see people's capacity for love, courage, and endurance. IT'S NURSES APPRECIATION WEEK. REPOST IF YOU ARE A NURSE, LOVE A NURSE, AND/OR APPRECIATE A NURSE!"

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Crazy Month of May

This is my third attempt at blogging. I just can't seem to get the hang of it. :( That being said, I am hoping that being in a "transitional" point in my life, I can commit to start journalling beyond what was a requirement back in nursing school. Ha! I talk about it like it was a long time ago, when in fact I only technically graduated a little over 2 weeks ago. I guess I'm still in the reminiscing mood as all of my classmates are. After all, we were together for four years. What I find interesting is that most of our experiences through nursing school is now fondly remembered. Whereas if we started to look back 6 months ago, it wouldn't all be positive remarks. It was a difficult 4 years. Lots of hard work, blood, sweat and tears-literally! :)

Anywhoo, April (the dreaded month)is now over- the end of preceptorship, registration exams, job applications and interviews are all in the past! The month of May has started and I am now officially a nurse! woohoo!!! it is starting to sink in now... A new month, a new title, a new job (actually, 2 jobs)... a new chapter in my life! It makes me feel like a brand new person. Like all new graduate nurses, I am full of energy and optimism for my new career.

I officially resigned for my teller job today. It is bittersweet! The bank has been my family these past five years. It has become a major part of my identity since it was my first "real" job. I worked all throughout my nursing program- and my fellow tellers have grown together with me. We're mostly university students so we pretty much have the same series of events happening throughout the year (we'd have the same exam periods, reading breaks etc.) I am so sad to leave the bank. There is a sense of security that I cannot put into words... but oh well, I know that this change is for the better. Like the saying goes, "Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."

Thursday is my first official day at the hospital. I am working in Psychiatry. I am excited and nervous at the same time. I know that it will be a stressful couple of months, because it always is when you start a new job. It's the period of adjusting to the new role, building confidence and realizing that my days as a student nurse are now over- no more safety net! I am now completely accountable. No more riding on any other person's license yikes! Anxious much? :S
I also know that there's no way around this feeling. It's just one of those things- you gotta experience it; learn and grow from it. Like my preceptor used to always say, dealing with difficult situations will make you a better nurse. I hope he's right....

Just some tips for current preceptorship students around applying for jobs:

1. Apply early. They say you need to wait until mid-preceptorship (late Feb to mid-March for the winter semester) but most of my classmates who applied early (in January) are the ones who have jobs- others are still waiting to hear from the health authorities.

2. Role play an interview with your classmates. Yes they ask you about specific medications, symptoms etc. in a situational format so keep up with your knowledge and practice your critical thinking skills. Plus, this helps you review for the registration exams right?

3. Save your money. The last month of preceptorship is a very expensive month- considering the fact that you're not working that much, registration exams fees and paying for the registration itself can add up. It cost around $800 CDN for me- so unless someone else other than yourself is supporting you financially, refrain from retail therapy and eating out :)