It’s a Wrap.

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I can’t believe how quick a term can fly by. Honestly I feel like I have been running a marathon during the year balancing both part-time work (avg 17-20 hours a week) and school (avg 18-20 hours a week). On top of that having to balance a multitude of assignments and course preparation. While i’m happy the fall term is coming to a close, I have to say it comes with a bittersweet feeling. I’m honestly surprised to have finished human biochemistry with an A- and my problem based learning with a B+, considering before both exams I was busy trying to cram in everything I didn’t have time to do during the term (ie. revisiting 200+ pages of maternity readings)

Honestly, after completing my stint in paediatrics, I feel immensely more confident in my nursing skills and assessments. But it wasn’t always smooth sailing, there were a number of weeks where I seriously questioned whether this was the profession for me. The amount of knowledge and the skill set required to be an RN is overwhelming. From trying to figure out IV medications, calculating and verifying, safe dosages for children, to trying to control squirming and uncooperative children in assessing them, and understanding the disease processes, navigating morally distressing scenarios, and long days, it was honestly exhausting.

I felt incompetent and like things would never come together. Through the support of my bedside nurses, clinical group, and tutor, I feel that things have slowly come together. I can now recognize the difference between wheezes and and crackles, and understand and feel more comfortable with IV pumps and medications.

This term I also decided to focus more on my own physical and mental well-being. I decided to re-vamp my nutrition into focusing on my protein, carbohydrate, fat, and veggie intake. I was pretty fortunate that in nursing we also have to take a nutrition course, where I was ‘forced’ to keep track of my food intake for a week. It wasn’t surprising that many of the options I was choosing to eat were not the best for my own health and to be honest having worked with people suffering from heart disease or complications of diabetes, I didn’t want to live a life like that. It’s heart breaking watching people not be able to live up to their full potential where much of it starts with what we put into our bodies and not getting in the minimal recommended exercise time every week. Therefore, with the guidance of my lectures and textbook I started to focus more into the importance of balanced meals and trying to build healthier habits.

Conversely, I think towards the ends of the summer I realized I wanted to make a change but I wasn’t sure where to start after post-poning running to focus on building stronger muscles and proper running form.  So, in conjunction with pilate I decided to pick up kick boxing and introducing high intensity interval training into my weekly routine. Having spent a large majority of my summer sedentary, I felt I couldn’t be the best healthcare practitioner if I didn’t start with caring for myself first. It’s been 9 weeks and slowly i’ve noticed changes in my body, particularly in my level of strength, weight, and muscle mass. I’m honestly surprised with how much my core has changed over this time period, but I know there’s still a ways to go before I feel that I have met my goals.

It’s a huge relief to finally begin winding down course work in nursing school. One more term of pathophysiology and a nursing course and then the school work hump is over. I can’t believe how fast 2.5 years has gone by. I remember sitting in my biochemistry lecture in first year stressing how I would pass pharmacology, second year pathophysiology, stats, microbiology and third year human biochemistry. While i’m still nervous to have the second half of 3rd year pathophysiology left, it’s a huge relief to be done the majority of my science courses.  Sitting at about a high 70 right now is a bit more comforting but I am cognizant of the fact that the final is still 45% and work is still needed to be put in to be successful.

Just 1.5 years left of school before I challenge the NCLEX. I’m excited by the prospects that lie ahead but also know the difficulties of becoming a nurse don’t end with school. But it will be interesting to see where I end up to start.

I’m excited for the prospects of 2019, kicking off the year attending the Canadian National Students’ Association National Conference in Calgary, Alberta. I’m fortunate to have been granted a travel and lodging grant to cover those expenses I wouldn’t be able to cover. I’m a firm believer in getting into the field and meeting new nurses, nursing students and leaders. It’s even more fitting the conference theme this year is on Leadership and Advocacy. I’m excited to see how I can get more involved in nursing and health policy at the national and provincial levels getting to meet with other students from my provincial jurisdiction. Being so passionate with health policy and politics, I hope to use my nursing degree and master’s degree in medical ethics and law to make realistic and effective improvements to our healthcare system.

February will also be an exciting time heading to Singapore and Bali for a quick, but much needed break from the stresses of nursing school. I’m looking forward to the tasty foods and exploring a part of Asia I haven’t seen before. Luckily i’ll have a trusty tour guide to help show me around when I land in Singapore.

Now time to enjoy the holidays before the second half of third year comes my way. While i’m sad to be leaving paediatrics behind I am looking forward to seeing where Oncology will be taking me and to find out where my community placement will be. I’m also excited to see where my health and fitness journey will be taking me to in the next year and beyond.