Latest Comments by bluesnurse

bluesnurse, BSN, RN 4,339 Views

Joined: Sep 20, '07; Posts: 99 (49% Liked) ; Likes: 127
Cardiac Nurse/Sonographer
Specialty: 11 year(s) of experience in Cardiology

Sorted By Last Comment (Max 500)
  • 3

    Not rude, totally legit. This happened to me, and it definitely shortchanged my orientation even as an experienced nurse making an internal transfer. Also, having three nurses tends to confuse and/or alarm patients, especially on a low-acuity OBS unit. Not fair to anyone.

  • 4
    vintagemother, thmpr, PMFB-RN, and 1 other like this.

    Nursing was my fourth career. I taught middle school for a year out of a Liberal Arts BA, then went to school to be an echo tech. I did that for about five years before burning out on the call. Then I took a few programming classes and got a job with a medical dot-com doing content design. When that folded in 2001, I chose nursing over software and started a BSN program at 33.

    Nursing school was the hardest 2.5 years of my life. None of the above, not even five years of hospital experience, prepared me for even the first week. It was a life-altering experience for a thirtysomething know it all, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

  • 1
    icuRNmaggie likes this.

    Yes. In the summer of 2001 I was 33 and working for a software startup that failed. My choices were to pursue a job offer with a larger software company, or fulfill a lifelong dream of going to nursing school. I only needed two prerequisites, so I decided to take them, get a feel for school and follow my heart.

    My first day of classes was Sept. 10, 2001. I slipped back into the classroom like a comfy glove and went to bed happy and at peace. The next morning, I woke up to a shattered world and the tragedies we commemorate today. My night class was cancelled, hubby was stranded 800 miles away in Chicago, and everything was imaginable horror. Glued to the TV, seeing first responders and medical personnel at their finest and bravest, stirred something in me. I wanted to be like them, to do what they do, saving lives with grace under pressure. There was no way I could sit at a desk 40 hours a week, ever again.

    I graduated in 2004 with my BSN and have worked FT in several areas of cardiology since then. When I started school, 33 felt really old, but by 40 I was a seasoned RN still young enough to consider grad school. I chose against that because I wanted to spend more time on my art and music. Now at 47, I just accepted a PT 2/12 day position with a PRN gig in my old department. It's awesome, if I have an art event I only have to work 24 hours a week, but I can easily pick up a shift or two if I need FT pay.

    There's a lot of dues paying, nursing school was the hardest thing I've ever done out of multiple degrees. The process of becoming a nurse is both humbling and empowering. But it has led me to work that I love while offering the flexibility to pursue my other interests. No regrets.

  • 0

    Especially if you're in a right-to-work state, the answer is yes. My job description has changed several times over three years my current department, and we just found our our weekend commitment is being doubled in the spring.

    I'm fortunate that I really love my specialty (diagnostic cardiology) and the patients keep me grounded most of the time. I'm not sure it would be better anywhere else; I just try to let the politics go when I clock out. Easier said than done

  • 1
    heididah likes this.

    I'm extremely quiet and introverted, and have been a successful nurse for 8+ years. We did the Myers-Briggs Inventory in one of my BSN classes, and the overwhelming majority were strong Extroverts. I was the only INFP of 40 students

    My best advice would be to find a role in which you are responsible for only one or two patients at a time. My first job was on a telemetry unit with 5-6 patients at a time, and my brain couldn't keep up (I was also a terrible waitress if I had more than 2 tables!) I've since worked in CCU, a cardiology office, and am now in a hospital-based diagnostic cardiology lab. I manage more patients in a day now than I did on tele, but it's one every 1-2 hours, then they go home or to another department. Most of it is moderate sedation for transesophageal echos; I also rotate through the echo and nuclear stress labs. I love it, and it doesn't overwhelm my energy to the point where I panic and lose focus.

    Other good options are endoscopy, dialysis, wound care, diabetes education, research, phone triage, transplant coordination, case management, infection control, and safety officer. Patient advocacy is one of our most important responsibilities as nurses, and if you're not shy about that, we need you!

    Most of the above will require some prior experience, and you may not get your pick of jobs as a new grad. As a bedside nurse I preferred night shift; it's just as busy but with fewer distractions and a (generally) cooler crew. If you can hang in there long enough to get a year or two of experience, you'll be better position to find something that fits your personality better. Best wishes!

  • 3

    Hi a.caroline, I got my first hospital job in 1993 as an EKG tech, then became an echo tech, and finally an RN in 2004. I've tried to change specialties once or twice but have concluded that cardiac is my "thing." I love it. So my advice may be a little biased

    First the money -- I must be in a low-paying area (NC) because I don't make close to $30 an hour. Granted, my job is 8-to-5 so I'd imagine nurses on the floor make a little more. I've worked a few positions for this facility and overtime is universally frowned upon; I only occasionally pick some up by taking call. That said, cardiac experience can be a stepping stone to higher-paying specialties and can give you an edge in future job hunts. I suspect the cardiac nurses you know in the float pool are in high demand among the NMs, and that's why they make more!

    One thing you will find in cardiac is an abundance of adrenaline junkies and driven, type-A personalities. Because cardiac experience is essential in critical care and advanced practice nursing, you will work with a lot of smart, highly motivated people preparing for, or in, advanced degree programs. You will have to be on your toes all the time and know exactly what to do when the worst happens -- and at some point, it will.

    Many of the rest of us cardiac types are just plain geeks. The heart is cool because it's plumbing, electricity, and mechanics. It's math and physics and pressure gradients and med titration. You have to crunch a lot of numbers. And you HAVE to learn your rhythms -- all of them -- up, down, and inside out. Then you move on to 12-leads

    As to "the best heart unit to work on," that's impossible to say because it depends on your strengths and "likes" as a nurse. What's great is that there are so many options in cardiac. A tele unit is the "med surg" of cardiac nursing and the place you're most likely to get hired as a new grad. I also know cath lab, CVOR, and CCU nurses who got their jobs right out of school, usually because they'd made such a good impression as students.

    Aside of the hospital-based career paths, there is office/clinic nursing, cardiac rehab and stress testing, corporate wellness, diagnostic imaging, and research to name a few. But really, the most important thing is that you truly find cardiac nursing interesting and love to learn.

    That, and never forgetting there is a Real Live Patient behind all those monitors

    As for your clinicals, a tele floor is always a good bet, but if there's something that particularly interests you, there's no harm in asking -- as a student, you have that luxury! Good luck with whatever you decide :heartbeat

  • 2
    SandraCVRN and 1uvakindmom like this.

    Funny you should ask -- I'm an on-and-off poster who just wandered back here a few days ago. According to my profile I joined in September 2007, but I started nursing school in 2001 and began lurking shortly thereafter.

    There aren't many sites I'm still checking after 10 years, this must be a keeper!

  • 3

    I haven't defaulted but I came close last year when my hubby's small business tanked along with the local economy. I finally called the servicer, literally in tears, and explained my situation. I was less than a month from default and they were able to work out a monthly payment that I could cover until things stabilized for us.

    He lost the business but has been able to pick up some handyman jobs, and I started volunteering for weekends which made everyone at work very happy

    I'm now only one month behind, and will be current by next month.

    We never eat out or go to the movies. We buy almost all our food at ALDI, and I get all our clothes (except socks & underwear!) at thrift stores. We've cut our "recreational" spending to the bone. We've come to enjoy each others' company more than ever, because we have to be creative to find fun-yet-cheap things to do.

    We're still working through some financial issues, but I feel a lot better knowing at least the student loans are under control.

    The fact that I had a FULL TIME job definitely helped when dealing with the servicers. FT status indicates commitment and reliability, and that helps built your case for a temporary workaround on your loan payments. That in turn saves you from wage garnishment, and they WILL do that.

    The thing you have to understand about student loans is that you can ignore them, but they won't go away. Ever. Even in bankruptcy. And you can only ask for so many forebearances.

    Take the FT job. The last thing you should be doing is applying to grad school. It may postpone your student loans, but it will not make them go away -- in fact it will make them even bigger. A lot of other prospective grad students are have the same idea right now, and you can't all land six-figure NP jobs upon graduation that will help you keep up with the debt.

    Totally agree that the system is set up badly, and I think things will get much worse before they get better. But please, try to find a way to keep up for now; you are an RN with a job so you are in pretty good shape relatively speaking. Best wishes.

  • 5
    MUUGUZI, mommajoz, Old.Timer, and 2 others like this.

    Sir, you seem to be serious, so here's my

    First of all, RN is not an "accreditation." It is a professional license to practice as a nurse. It is not a dilettante certificate program in which you regurgitate any number of formulas and figures onto a multiple-choice test and walk away with a few more letters after your name because you are a good test taker. There is not, to my knowledge, any respectable clinical credential that meets your criteria without also requiring frequent one-to-one contact with actual patients. Clear your social calendar and prepare to get your hands dirty.

    Second of all, if you just want to "buy a book," nursing is not for you. When I finished my BSN in 2004 (at 35), I had a seven-foot length of bookshelf dedicated to all my textbooks, study guides, and binders. Very few of which were cheap, and good luck reselling them because new editions come out all the time. Besides, you will need them as references. You can't remember it all, no matter how smart you think you are.

    There is only one reason to go to nursing school: because you think you want to be a nurse. And even if you really DO want to be a nurse, prepare to have your resolve tested. Frequently. For at least five semesters.

    Assuming you do manage to graduate and pass the NCLEX, you are STILL not going to impress anyone with the "RN" on your name tag. We, your prospects, will ask about your experience. Stammering that you really don't have any; you just wanted a vanity project to give you a competitive advantage, will not score you points here. You may have a very impressive grasp of the business end of health care, but you can no more "take a test" to bolster your credibility with clinicians than I could dust off my 20-year-old business degree and pretend to be competitive in your profession.

    Remember that credentials are valuable because they are not easy to get. If there was one that was easy, everyone would do it, and then you'd call it a lame internet degree.

    I really can't offer any career advice except to keep looking for other, better ideas to lend yourself a competitive advantage. I wish you the best.

  • 0

    If critical care is your goal then definitely work tele! I worked tele all through nursing school, from CNA-LPN-RN, and it was great experience. In places like ICU and ER, you HAVE to know your rhythms cold and you will get that experience on tele.

    You won't miss out on m/s; when a post-op pt goes into afib you will likely be meeting them. You will also get good at insulin management because at least one of your pts will be a brittle diabetic. The ratios tend to be better than m/s too; it was 4-5:1 where I was (m/s was 7-8:1).

    If you are really good at rhythm recognition and interpretation, you will have a big advantage in critical care and a lot of other areas!

  • 0

    Quote from Mya2bRN
    I can't answer the question since I'm not a nurse (but I start my program in the fall ). But let me ask a question to those graduates or soon-to-be graduates, how far in advance did you start applying to RN new grad programs? Also, it would seem like every new nurse would need to go through some type of residency program, but for those locations that do not have formal programs in place, are the nurses just thrown out there on the floors?
    I'm an old graduate, but my advice would be to start looking NOW for an entry-level hospital job. You don't have to wait until you're a new grad to get your foot in the door!

    CNA is always a good option, and it will teach you about real, Crocs-on-the-ground nursing that will enable you to run rings around your straight-A classmates in clinicals. But there are a lot of entry-level options -- unit secretaries, EKG techs, patient transport, dietary, phlebotomy ... all these things get you comfortable working with real patients and teach you about how a hospital runs.

    If you are reliable and good at your job, you will become eligible for transfer after a year at most facilities. You will already know people in the hospital; you have a built-in network and even us old saws will respect you for working your way up like we did. Some employers will even help with tuition if you agree to work there for 2 or so years -- a win-win, because it helps you get that first RN job.

    Obviously I am a BIG fan of working while in nursing school. It doesn't have to be full-time, but classes and clinicals don't come close to the reality of a bedside nurse's 12+ hour shift. Plus, it teaches you time management skills and you will need those!

  • 0

    With all due respect ... if there were a way for an RN/BSN with a few years of critical care experience to work from home, set their own hours, get great health bennies, and make enough to buy cool toys, don't you think someone here would have found it by now?

  • 0

    After 17 years in cardiology, I've decided to follow my dream and transition into psych nursing. It's always interested me, and since turning 40 I've taken a hard look at my career direction. While I love cardiology, it's not something I see myself still wanting to do in ten years. I've looked at grad school, but I see the day-to-day routine of our NPs and frankly it's not a job I'd want. I would also like to teach nursing at some point, but I'm not sure I want to go the nursing education route, I'd prefer CNS or NP.

    I know I could do it. I absolutely adored my psych clinicals, I'm introverted but very good in one-to-one and small group communication. Some of our cardiac patients in the clinic also have significant psych issues; after 3+ years they ask for me by name when they call and my co-workers are more than happy to let me take care of them. I've always maintained that *all* patients are psych patients, and if you get a feel for what's going on in their heads, it makes everything else make more sense.

    Last summer, I decided to do some volunteer work to test my interest. I got involved with a crisis assistance ministry through my church; they were assembling teams to work with at-risk single parents transitioning from homelessness to subsidized housing. My team is supporting a lovely young lady who is taking pre-radiography classes and working full time at a minimum-wage service job. The challenges she wakes up to every morning make my disheveled life look like a picnic. But she is strong and articulate, and though I've been able to mentor her, it's nothing compared to what she's taught me.

    Full disclosure: my affinity for psych also has a lot to do with my having bipolar 2. I was not fully diagnosed and treated until my mid-thirties, and finally being able to name and manage my illness has given me deep empathy for others who also struggle. Until I made peace with my disorder, I could not have made it in mental health nursing. But now I am ready. I've known cancer survivors in oncology, amputees in physiatry, diabetics in diabetes education -- all excellent, compassionate caregivers.

    The problem is, I can't get my foot in the door. I'm trying to go the route of an internal transfer; I work in a very large health system. It's a good company with great benefits and my reviews have been consistently glowing. But the last resume I submitted for a psych opening was rejected within an hour. (It's an online system, which is impersonal and generally stinks.)

    It's true that aside of school and the recent volunteer work, I have no psych experience on paper. But how do you convey "soft skills" on a resume? If you are in the position to hire people, what makes you want to call someone for an interview? Or am I kidding myself that one can transition from the world of pressures and velocities to a world of perception and feelings?

    Thanks for indulging my vent. Any thoughts are welcome.

  • 0

    Absolutely, I agree that you should move forward with nursing.

    One of my classmates was a childhood leukemia survivor and is now one of the best oncology nurses you'll ever meet. A physiatrist at the same hospital lost a leg above the knee to cancer; patients travel hours to see him.

    Your challenge is an especially obvious one. But nurses are first human and many of us struggle privately with chronic and/or debilitating health issues. I have bipolar 2 disorder, and while I "look normal," I can never let a day go by without acknowledging and caring for my illness.

    And yes, there are some career paths that simply aren't options for me. My sleep cycle is fragile and I am simply not physically able to work night shift. That rules out a lot of opportunities right there. It's a bummer. But it doesn't stop me from successfully practicing as a nurse!

    I hope you are able to maintain your mobility for many more years and I wish you the best!

  • 0

    Thanks to all for the encouragement. To update, I did tell my manager I was applying for a transfer, and she actually seemed relieved. They were in fact getting ready to eliminate my position, and although she was hoping to transfer me to another office within the practice, she's supportive of my decision. There's no great time pressure; they're still chewing on some other "right-sizing" ideas and with the holidays coming, everyone seems to be kicking it down the road.

    Now the bad news -- the adolescent psych job closed the day before I applied. There really isn't another option posted right now that turns me on. But I'll keep an eye on things and hopefully have a little time to look for a good fit.

    Thanks again, I'll update again if there's anything interesting to report!