Saturday, January 30, 2010


Friday was my first day on the floor at Providence.  I miss Evergreen.  I miss the open spaces.  I miss the simple charting system.  I miss the fact that the meds were in the room, instead of by the nurse's station.  I miss my old clinical instructors.  I miss waking up at 9am for clinicals.

So first of all, getting up at 4:40 is not nice... ever.  The girls and I all agreed that clinicals feel much more epic and taxing when you have the morning shift.  I spent the first hour and a half on the floor in my patient's room.  I'm not even sure how the tasks took that long.  There was only one CNA on the sixth floor (for maybe fifty patients, whereas at Evergreen there was one nurse tech to 12 patients) and I only saw him maybe three times the whole day.  At Evergreen I had to fight the nurse techs (I guess they don't have nurse techs at Prov) off so I could do some tasks, but at Prov all the CNA did was take vitals.  I think that's why patient care took so much longer than it has before.  Plus, my patient had psych problems and required a lot of attention. 

I was very ready to sit down and relax after I finished that shift.  The nurse was only in the room for about twenty minutes for the whole day.  So I provided most of the care. I can't imagine having four patients.  

I liked my rotation at Evergreen.  The work the nurses did looked interesting to me.  I was on the med-surge floor at Evergreen and I'm still on a med-surge floor at Prov.  But my view of med-surge has changed.  It seems like all the nurses do there is babysit patients.  I used to be afraid to be involved with trauma cases, but now I want to be involved in something with a little more intensity.  I'll have to wait and see what God shows me.  I have a feeling He'll give me a desire to work in a specific location.  

Yesterday was the first day in nursing school that I started to doubt whether I should even be a nurse. I made a lot of mistakes and I was tired of failing all the time and feeling like an idiot.  I know it's all part of the learning process, but I kept having this reoccurring doubt of whether I was capable of doing this job.  Nurses have to be SO on top of their game- if they don't, people die. Can I handle that responsibility?  I wanted to crawl back into my books where it's safe.  I don't have power over people's lives.  Teaching in a nursing school seems a lot more attractive to me today than it ever has.  I've always loved learning about the nuts and bolts of things.

Plus, textbooks are safe.  You can't kill someone with coronary artery disease just by reading about it. 

Caroline told me that everyone has days like these.  I know that's true, but I've only doubted my calling once before and God immediately quelled my doubt.  He's letting me sit with this one, I think. I imagine there will be days when I get off work and I'll never want to go back.  Did I imagine that my nursing career would be all rainbows and lollipops?  I think I did.  My view of the world is quite rosy, so when bad days come I don't know what to do with them.

I do know that I need to meditate on the evidence of God's grace in my life.  That always squashes those scary giants that threaten my sanity.   

  • The nurse I worked with yesterday taught me how to change IV tubing.  She was very patient and wise.  I want to have the same confidence and kindness she showed to her coworkers and her patients.  
  • My new clinical instructor is very nice.  She requires a lot, but that is SO good.  I'm learning how to be responsible for someone's life- this training process needs to be intense.  She is also very patient and understanding.  
  • Margena, Julie and I were put into Cassandra's group.  Transferring to a new hospital without those two would be even harder than transferring to a new hospital (which is an enormous task.  It's like the first day of clinicals all over again).  
  • I'm getting to know Whitney and Kara better.  Those two were the ones that I knew the least from the nursing cohort.  They are both very sweet, friendly and they're also really funny.  I'm very thankful I'm getting the opportunity to know them.
  • The view from the hospital is beautiful.  I can see mountains covered with snow and the Sound.  I think the Northwest is the most beautiful place on the planet. 
  • I get off from morning clinicals at 2:30- leaving me free to play/work for the rest of the afternoon.  I do like this.  I would get back from evening clinicals and go to bed an hour later.  
  • I was at a low point emotionally, mentally and physically last night.  I was drained of all my strength.  I love being at that point because then I cannot rely on myself.  That is my desert where God removes all of the distractions, all of my self-confidence (I don't deal well with messing up.), and it is there that I can finally see the great peace He offers me.  I produce so much business in my life- I overlook the calm He brings.  I ended up staying up until almost 2 last night because I felt like savoring that feeling.  Absolutely drained- but convinced that God was present. 
I know He will clear out the mess my brain is in.  
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  ...What then shall we say in response to this? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  ...No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death or nor life, neither angles nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." -Romans 8:28, 31-32, 37-39

Task List.

This is a journal entry for my Faith Integration class.  I wrote it after yesterday's clinical experience.  I still have a lot of thoughts about yesterday- it wasn't my easiest day.

One of the things I love about nursing is that it is an opportunity to physically show Christ's love to others.  I suppose my main assumption about nursing was that my patients would be able to have normal conversation with me.  During clinicals I learned that this is not always the case.  I noticed that I struggle with patients who have psych problems.  How do I show love to someone who does not understand why I am doing what I am doing?  How do I show love to someone who misinterprets my actions as intended to harm him/her? 

These questions automatically made me think of Jesus.  He loved me while I was unresponsive and hateful toward Him.  He never got so caught up in the task of saving me that He forgot to show love to me.  I need to fight this form of apathy.  I need to remind myself that even if my patients do not show love to me, I still need to love them.  Even if they are unresponsive or rude- I am still called to love them.  I do not want to view my patients as items on a list of tasks.  My goal is to love them through service; I do not want to get sidetracked and view the task at hand as my reason for being a nurse.  I will get easily burned out if I do not remember why I am serving.  It all comes back to Christ's example of love. 

"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die (or a nurse might be willing to work with a very pleasant patient).  But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Christ sacrificed His life for sinners who hated Him.  I may be called upon to help patients who strongly dislike me.  His example is supreme and He is worthy of all praise for His amazing sacrifice. I can look to His example and know that He will help me to love patients with His love.)

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Out of pride have I come, bearing false sacrifice
It has only belied the hardness inside
I am here to repent. Will You break through this stone?
Will You humble this soul? Make me acceptable?
-You Have Opened My Mouth by Ghost Ship
 For the last couple of years I have felt extremely apathetic about worship.  I've felt apathetic about a lot of things.  Some of these things I used to care passionately about, but recently I've felt neutral or disinterested towards them.  This isn't to say that I've been completely disinterested in worship, but most of the time I don't feel like the songs apply to me.  So I guess I could say that most of the time I come bearing false sacrifice when I come to sing to God.

The last few years have been a dry patch for me spiritually.  God has done amazing things in the past two years, but I definitely felt a separation from Him from what I used to feel.  I was at a loss to find an answer to this new emotional state.  After praying and waiting for months and months I finally realized that I had ceased to maintain my thankful attitude toward God because I had stopped reminiscing on His work in my life.  That is why I started to blog again.  I realized that blogging is where I really enjoyed (and found it easier than writing in my journal) writing about God's grace.  What finally made me realize what started this dry spell was a statement made by Oswald Chambers.  He wrote that worship "is giving to God the best that He has given you" (entry for January 6.).

Another element that added to my confusion was being confronted with enthusiastic singing at NU.  Worship here is highly emotional (some people have described it as Jesus-is-my-boyfriend-lyrics) and highly repetitive.  People raise their hands, clap, and dance.  This was such a culture shock for me.  My junior high youth group worship functioned much like this, but that was a long time ago for me.  Since then I had gotten used to focusing on your response to the lyrics as the main point and not the emotions that everyone else had from the lyrics or music.  I guess at my church worship is more introverted, but here it is extroverted.

I was comforted to know that I wasn't the only one who struggled to adjust to this style of worship.  One friend explained that she doesn't express herself in worship the same way as the majority of NU students do.  I agreed with her.  My preferences in worship align much more with hymns.  I like the mix of words and how many different parts of a story they try to tell.  I struggle to "get into" repetitive songs that repeat the same nine words for twenty minutes (I'm not kidding).

I feel like judgment is so easy when it comes to worship.  For people like me, it's easy to look at people who worship in an extroverted style and automatically assume that they are just being swept away by their emotions and that there is no real change occuring in their lives.  This is so, so dangerous-not to mention sinful.  I am in no position to look at my brothers and sisters and assume that I know their stories and their lives.  Judgment is also easy from the other side.  Extroverted worshipers might assume that just because I am not raising my hands or openly weeping I'm not worshipping.

As I mentioned at the beginning I can see how I was bringing false sacrifices of worship for the past couple of years, but this also happens to extroverted worshippers.  This is one of the reasons I am so tempted to judge them: because I know that I do the same things.  I present this false image in order to be accepted, but am I actually listening to the words I'm singing?  Are they impacting my life?  Maybe...  Maybe not.  Only God and I know.

So this school year has been interesting.  I've struggled with understanding what worship looks like for me and what it looks like for other people.  I've learned that I like worship songs that are like the music that I listen to, which is pretty low-key.  I've learned that I do not like Jesus-is-my-boyfriend-lyrics being repeated endlessly.  I am very grateful for Mars Hill and the worship they have there.  They do a very good job of keeping the focus off of themselves and onto the lyrics and God.  I think that's another issue I struggle with here; I feel like I'm distracted by the clothes, hair, makeup, or fancy vocal flourishes the singers throw into worship.  ...But that's just me.

I guess the takeaway for me was that whether you worship outwardly or inwardly, you can still bring false sacrifice.  But don't think you can look at your neighbor and see what it going on in their heads- leave that to God. 

"Surely you desire truth in the inner parts... O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." -Psalm 51:6a, 15-17

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Psychiatric Rotation

I'm about to leave for our orientation at the psychiatric hospital.  I'm excited and a little unsure about this.  I don't really have many preconceived notions about nurses in psych hospitals- I guess I always thought there were only orderlies in psych hospitals.  We can thank the media for implanting that idea in my head.  But it seems to me that nurses at psych hospitals will mostly pass meds.  I hope it's not like long-term care; that rotation made me sure I did not want to work with the geriatric population.  I want to do something fast-paced with a lot of patient interaction, and I want to be able to use the techniques we're learning how to do.

I would love to work with patients with anorexia nervosa or bullimea in the psych rotation.  I feel a special concern for them.  I want them to be free of their chains.  But we'll see what happens in this rotation.  It doesn't start until Febuary, so I have some time to ponder what it will be like.  I could be working with patients who are coming off of a substance abuse problem OR I could get to work with people who have disorders like schizophrenia.  It'll be interesting no matter where I'm put. 

In our biopsychosocial class we'll be studying eating disorders for one week.  I think this class will be really interesting, but soooo different from what we learned last semester.  One of our assignments is to attend an AA meeting.  We are to introduce ourselves in the typical format, but we'll say that we're nursing students instead of alcoholics.  "Hi, I'm Elyse and I've been a nursing student since August..."  I would have laughed if our teacher made us say we were alcoholics.  Then we'd be like spies infiltrating an AA meeting.

Fortunately NU doesn't require that its students are that sneaky.  haha...

Friday, January 08, 2010

I wrote a blog post, but I deleted it because I hated it. 

But I'm back.  Hello blogging world.