Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Real Nurse!

I passed my boards this morning.

The exam was nothing like I expected it to be-- full of questions about disease processes, procedures, and drugs that I've never even heard of. Most of the questions were 100% guesses-- by the 60th question, I was going with whatever sounded good.

It shut off at 75; apparently I'm a good guesser.

I feel like in preparing for the boards, I was inundated with advice, statistics, strategies. Kaplan is the only good class. You only have to get a 51%. 86% of people who take it, pass. Just do 5,000 review questions. Don't bother with review questions, just study the facts. If you don't take a review class, you'll fail.

Really, all I needed was a good knowledge base and a little confidence. It helps that I did well in school-- I know myself to have a good test-taking track record. To be honest, those statistics helped me some too-- I have never received a 50% on an exam-- why would I start now? And do I really think I'm in the bottom 14% of new grads? No.

So all in all, it's a weight off of my shoulders, and I'm excited that I can finally really start my career. I'm excited to get to focus on knowing the important things that will serve me well-- instead of trying to absorb as much pointless, inapplicable information as possible.

But for tonight, I'm most excited to read the trashy fiction I picked up at Borders today--instead of my nclex review books!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

It begins...

So I started my new job on Monday. Haven't taken my boards, haven't been hired onto a unit, but I started my new job at a children's hospital at a big university in the south. I was hired as a Nurse Resident... basically, a new grad. As a pediatric critical care nurse resident, I spend the next 7 weeks rotating through PICU, Peds ED, NICU, Peds Cardiac, Hematology/Oncology, and step down surgery/trauma.
So far, everyone seems great. The first day was a lot of stupid hospital orientation, sitting in an auditorium listening to person after person talk about benefits and payroll, the credo and mission of the university, etc. Most of the people in the group seem to be really great, smart, people. They told us that they received over 500 applications, interviewed almost 300, and hired a total of 90. 65 in the adult tracks, 25 in peds. Today we had more orientation talks and then took a tour.
I was really looking forward to this part. Finally, getting into the hospital and seeing what each of the units were really about. We started on the PICU and upon entering the unit, I just got a sort of sinking feeling. I felt overwhelmed and nervous-- not anything I'm used to lately and certainly not anything I expected to feel. I'm so disappointed that we're only spending one or two shifts in each area. I had hoped to actually get a taste of the dynamic on each unit; one shift is certainly not going to allow me to do that. Then we went to the NICU, which was not much better...I think the NICU is at the bottom of my list right now. The population is so narrow, with only micropremies and neonates. The unit is very secluded and separated into 6 bed pods, so interaction among nurses is limited. The 7th floor was next, peds surgery/trauma. Nothing special. The last stop was the Peds ED. This is where it all started to feel ok, like I was actually meant to be there. A lot of the chatter among nurses was things that I had heard a lot of in my last job ("I'm gonna go give this bolus"; "When was his last dose of Tylenol?") and that made me feel really comfortable. This is my first unit-- I go next weekend, probably for swing shift on Friday and Saturday. I'm really looking forward to it. So based on first impressions, Peds ED, PICU, NICU.
I really want to try to keep a good log of what's happening and how I'm feeling about things. We'll see how it goes!