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liathA has 1 years experience.

liathA's Latest Activity

  1. So I'm currently four months from graduating my RN program. For the most part things have gone reasonably well. I've had setbacks here and there, but up until this point I've enjoyed my clinical experiences and have gotten good feedback from my professors and clinical instructors. Until this term. The past couple of months have really made me question whether nursing is for me - not because of the job, to be honest, but because of nurses. There's just been this overwhelming message that graduating from nursing school is tantamount to being given authority in a religious order. It's not just about being professional, doing your job well, performing good patient care, remaining committed to continuing education, etc. - it's about proving that you are a "good person" and have a "calling", which seems to be a subjective standard mostly based on whether or not particular people like you. As a student, or heck, just as a person, we are all going to make mistakes. I'll certainly own that I still have lots of things to learn and there are always ways that I can improve. However, there's a difference between constructive criticism vs. failing a clinical day and being lectured on my lack of professionalism and compassion because I had a brief miscommunication with another nursing student (a remark that I intended to be encouraging was interpreted as me criticizing the other student for being lazy and not taking care of her patients - something I certainly never intended, and is patently absurd besides as that particular student is beyond excellent and to say something like that about her would only make sense if you were disconnected from reality). If it was just a miscommunication or conflict here and there, I could roll with the punches - that's just life, stuff happens - but it's just one thing after another, and it's clear that only certain students are being called out for very small things while other students are given passes on much more serious misconduct. In addition, these issues are almost never addressed in a straightforward way, by an instructor taking a student aside to have a conversation and correct their conduct. Instead, there will be a vague group lecture with no names named, and you get informed a week later that you were the problem and that there are significant consequences for the perceived or actual mistakes you made. I've seen similar issues in the nurses that we follow during our clinical rotations at multiple sites in a variety of units and specialties. I spent over a decade in the military, and this kind of leadership is just baffling to me. I'm seriously starting to wonder if I'm cut out for a work environment where this kind of behavior and communication style seems so pervasive. Maybe it's just the seasonal affective disorder talking, but I'm starting to get really discouraged about my long term career prospects at this point. Advice?
  2. liathA

    My Body Is Not My Resume: Exploring Nursing Dress Codes

    I think a clean, put-together, professional appearance is important. Some people can be clean, put-together, and professional looking and have tattoos and piercings and odd-colored hair. Other people can look like absolute slobs and have no body modifications whatsoever. Coming from a military background, I find tattoos much less disruptive than piercings - body and facial jewelry can get caught on things, be grabbed, get infected, etc., so there's more of a chance of them getting in the way of the actual job. In general though, the things I notice first about people are things like is their hair well-groomed, are their clothes clean and do they fit, do they look dirty? Dyed hair only tends to be an issue if it looks old and tired and not maintained - like the color has washed out and the roots are obvious. Tattoos and piercings don't really register for me unless it's something pretty outre, like large neck/facial tattoos or gaged facial piercings. I will say that I think jewelry should be kept small and subtle at work, if it's worn at all - save your big glitteries and long danglies for date night.
  3. liathA

    Graduating RN BSN at 32

    I think the average age in my Associate's program is about 30. There are some younger, a few quite a bit older, but pretty much everyone is coming from some other kind of life or work experience. Only a couple are recent high school grads. We've got one gal in class who's been an LPN for more than 10 years, and she's doing the whole RN program at our school instead of a bridge program at the other school in town because it's actually faster (we're in an accelerated program). There are also several CNAs, at least one paramedic, lot of veterans, a surgical tech., etc.. I think it's great. All of these people are going to bring unique knowledge and experience into their future nursing, as well as a level of maturity that almost never exists in fresh highschool grads.
  4. Is there a possibility of providing patient education here? If the patient doesn't have insurance or a primary care provider, is there one or more low-cost/sliding fee clinics in your area that can be recommended so that they can start to build a relationship with a primary care provider? Maybe as part of screening - "Do you have insurance? Do you have a primary care provider?" and if the answers are no, you can inform them about local services? Maybe something to talk over with your supervisor(s)? In my area there's a primary care clinic that provides financial assistance services, including sliding scale as well as assisting low-income patients with applying for medicaid, etc., if they're eligible. They also work closely with a free specialty clinic (requires a referral from primary care in addition to financial eligibility) that is staffed entirely by volunteer clinicians. If people are relying on emergency services as their primary health point of contact because of a lack of funds and/or a lack of knowledge about the other options available to them, then I'd want to share that information with them. Whether or not they make use of the information is a separate issue, but at least they'll know.
  5. liathA

    How did you get accepted into your ADN program?

    We had to get a minimum cut-off score on the TEAS, but otherwise, admissions at my school are first-come-first-served instead of competitive. They start a new cohort every 20 weeks and the next two are already full - they're trying to figure out a way to expand. It seems to be working well - NCLEX pass rate is 100% first try so far after 7 cohorts.
  6. Depending on what kind of school it is, they may issue a 1098-t at the end of the year, and depending on your tax status you may be eligible for a deduction or credit based on your tuition payments - they'd need your ssn for that, because it's an irs form. Also, there are the reasons stated above by other posters. SSNs are used all over the place in both professional and educational settings - it doesn't surprise me at all that they'd need it for something.
  7. liathA

    The Men in OB Debate: Help!

    I've actually found that in a lot of cases working in a women's-health space can make men into stronger providers - I actually usually prefer a male OBGYN, for instance, because I've yet to meet one that didn't have an excellent bedside manner and a real talent for putting their patients at ease, while I've had several negative experiences with female women's health providers. It's also been my experience that diversity strengthens a workplace. I say go for it - I'd much rather have healthcare providers that are passionate about their specialties than ones that just happen to match my gender.
  8. liathA

    Depakote: valproic acid or divalproex sodium?

    Depakote is divalproex sodium. Depakene is valproic acid. I believe the main reason the terms for valproates are often used interchangeably is because they all become valproic acid within the body - one of the nice things about Depakote is that you can do a blood test to see if the patient is within the therapeutic range for their condition, and what they test for is the blood level of valproic acid. The main reasons divalproex sodium is preferred to valproic acid as a prescription is that it's processed slower by the body - this both ameliorates GI upset (which is a common negative side effect with valproic acid) and allows for less frequent dosing (Depakote is available in extended release form that only needs to be taken once a day, instead of 2-3 times a day for valproic acid). https://davisplus.fadavis.com/3976/meddeck/pdf/valproates.pdf
  9. liathA

    Accelerated Programs vs. Community College/4 Year

    I would go with the accelerated program. Logic - You said you're currently having a hard time finding entry level healthcare work since you don't have any experience - that may continue. Extending your education costs more, and also costs you the wages you could be earning if you were fully qualified. Sacrificing more than a year of future RN earnings just for the dubious honor of getting entry level, non-nursing experience to build your resume... that just doesn't make sense to me. Keep in mind that many employers don't care about experience outside of your exact career field - experience as an EMT/MA/CNA/whatever is not nursing experience, and it may not help as much as you'd think. What I would do is go into the accelerated program. Then I'd do as much volunteering on the side as I could, try to get externships, etc. I would try to shine during clinicals, and network until my eyes bleed. Then I'd understand that I probably won't be getting my dream nursing job right after school. However, whatever job I did take would get me the experience and pay of an RN, and would thus be a much better resume building experience than any entry-level thing I could have been doing without a license. Beware of unnecessarily multiplying the steps between you and your goal out of fear. Job hunting is stressful - it will not be less stressful if you wait four years instead of two, it will just have take twice as long.
  10. You may want to do some investigating into other allied health fields - there's a lot out there other than just nurses and doctors. Physical and Occupational Therapists and Assistants, Medical Assistants, Surgical Techs, etc. etc. etc. There's a wide variety of duties as well as educational requirements, job market demand, and pay. Maybe your local college, university, or medical center has a class or program about healthcare careers? You may decide nursing is for you after all, or not, but there's nothing wrong with investigating your options either way. I'd also encourage you to go out and get some work or volunteer extra experience if you can. Also keep in mind that no matter what career you pursue, even the best jobs are going to have aspects that you don't like. That's just life.
  11. liathA

    Pursuing RN with a Non-Nursing Bachelor's Degree

    I would go for either an ADN or BSN - whichever local program that would get me to licensure the fastest (based on transfer credits I already have, pre-requisite requirements, etc.), and qualifies me to work as an RN in my local job market. The key is that the goal of the ADN or BSN is not really the degree, since you already have a bachelor's, it's licensure. Whatever gets me a job practicing as a nurse the fastest is the important bit. I honestly think that pursuing a Masters at this point would be a mistake - even an entry level MSN. A graduate credential is just not as useful as actual healthcare experience, and may actually count against you since you'll simultaneously be overqualified educationally and underqualified experientially. Education for education's sake is great and all, if you can afford it, but most of us also need to worry about whether or not our expensive pieces of paper will also get us hired. It's simple enough to do an RN to MSN program once you've been licensed and actually started working.
  12. Medicine and nursing have very different education and career tracks. To become an M.D. you need to complete your undergrad with a very high GPA, and other things to make you a competitive applicant for medical school. Even if you're a competitive applicant, there's no guarantee that you'll be admitted to medical school the first year you apply. Then, if you get into medical school you still have to maintain high performance, because you need to be a competitive applicant for your residency. According to statnews.com in 2016 29,000 applicants that year got matched to a residency program, but more than 8000 didn't. Then you need to pass your residency - several years where you'll work more than full time hours for low pay. The path to an M.D. is rife with potential failure and financial sacrifice. If you make it all the way to the end, then you will make more money than an NP will, but if you don't make it all the way you can find yourself saddled with an M.D. program's worth of debt but without the actual M.D. qualification that would let you pay it all back. It's a long road, and it's a road that I wouldn't tell anyone to embark on unless they're fully committed and have a serious game plan, with contingencies in case they fail or get delayed at any point along the line. Nursing, by contrast, can be got into with an Associate's degree, and with that qualification you can start earning a pretty respectable amount of money (according to forbes, an AAS in Nursing is the third most lucrative Associate's Degree, and even results in better wages than 75% of 4-year majors. Then a nurse can always advance their knowledge, training, and income by studying further while already working. An NP doesn't make as much as a doctor, but they also didn't have to go through 8-10+ years of making little or no money and/or accumulating debt before they could go into the workforce in the first place. For me, the comparison was a no brainer. I have enough college funding to pay for my AAS in Nursing, debt free, and I be in the work place making pretty good money inside of two years (and RNs in my state make better than the national average, partly because we have a shortage). I'd have to go into debt to pay for med school, and I'd be looking at several additional years of lost income on top of that - for me, that's just not a managable option. Really though, I've never been seriously interested in being an M.D. I did seriously look into becoming a Physical Therapist, but the math there is even worse than for an M.D. in its way - most PTs need an entry level doctorate to practice now, and PTs only make about $15k a year more than RNs in my state, and actually earn less than an NP would. To me, becoming an M.D. mostly makes sense for high-performing traditional students with good sources of college funding. As a non-traditional student who did ten years in the military before I ever considered going into a health field, I'm impatient to get through school and get to the good stuff where I actually get to help people. Right now, nursing has on of the best education:income ratios in the healthcare industry. Eventually that might change as nursing participates in the same credential inflation as other allied health professions (PTs once only required a Bachelor's degree to practice), but for now the advantage stands. All of that said, a good friend of mine became a nurse even though she really wanted to be a doc, because she couldn't afford medical school, and she hated it. She'd always wanted to be a doctor, and nursing was not her thing at all. She left nursing after only a couple of years for a career in management that had nothing at all to do with healthcare. The two are definitely not interchangeable. Doctors and nurses have very different roles, responsibilites, pay, levels of respect, etc. If anyone is already really invested in becoming a doctor I wouldn't encourage nursing solely on the basis of educational requirements / career path, but if someone is just interested in a healthcare career more generally it's an important factor to consider.
  13. liathA

    How do I go in business for myself ?

    As a CNA, I don't know if you can. You may be able to market yourself or retrain as a home health aide or personal care attendant - check your state laws to see what the legal requirements are in your area. As far as I know, though, you cannot market yourself as a CNA or perform any medical procedures unless you are operating under the supervision of a healthcare provider with a license (RN, NP, etc.). CNAs are assistants, not independent practitioners. On another note, I would question what your motivations for self-employment are. Being self-employed is hard - you never get a day off (even if you're not actively working, you need to be available by e-mail, phone, etc. or you'll lose business) and you're responsible for a great deal of things that a regular employee isn't - book-keeping, taxes, insurance, advertising, billing, collections, etc. Additionally, in a care-based industry like nursing, you don't really work for yourself anyway - you work for your client(s), and they often have all the expectations of you that a fulltime employer would, but for far less pay and benefits than you would get from a corporation.
  14. liathA

    I can't take one more day of psych!!!!

    Addiction is an inherently difficult topic and addicts are often difficult people to deal with. You may need to change specialty if you can't handle them anymore. Something I like to remind myself of is that just because someone is addicted to pain killers doesn't mean their pain isn't real. Addicts of all kinds are often self-medicating for very real physical or mental pain, or other underlying conditions. It's no coincidence that people with chronic pain and/or mental illnesses often have comorbid substance abuse problems. It can be incredibly challenging to find and treat the underlying problem(s) and even if you do there's no guarantee that their new diagnosis and treatment will help them kick a well established drug habit. I'm most familiar with substance abuse in a veteran context. Service members have stressful lives, and veteran culture encourages us to decompress with alcohol and thrill seeking. Many soldiers have chronic orthopedic injuries from doing things like jumping out of airplanes, carrying heavy things up and down mountains, and never seeking medical attention because they don't want to be seen as weak or "malingerers." For those who do get injured enough to seek medical attention, military docs hand out narcotics like candy (I was given 60 doses of Percocet when I got my wisdom teeth out. 60. I think I actually used/needed about 3.). It's all too easy for a service member to go from "I use x occasionally for pain, only as prescribed" or "I just drink to chill with my buddies" to a full blown life destroying addiction. Then, often, not only do their careers end, but they also frequently lose access to military healthcare and don't even have the benefit of the VA system if their discharge wasn't honorable. It's a mess. Ultimately, these people are your patients. As a nurse, it's your job to provide care, and also to advocate for your patient(s) if you don't think the care they're getting is adequate or even safe (if you think their prescribing docs are killing them then that's a problem someone should investigate). Some of them may benefit from substance abuse rehab, some might need a different form of pain management, or a more holistic approach to managing their psych symptoms. Many of these patients may never achieve an optimal state of health or full societal function ever again. It's not a perfect world and that comes with the territory. If your view of your patients is interfering with your ability to do your job, then yeah, find another speciality - preferably one with patients you think are deserving, and docs you respect.

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