Mar 28, 2010

Linda Meikle, RN - I Took The NCLEX-RN and Passed!

I passed the NCLEX-RN on March 23, 2010.

There were 75 questions, and it took me about 45 minutes! That's quite likely the shortest test I've taken in my life!

I think the most important aspect of taking this monumental test is to keep a calm mind, and let it work for you. Don't panic if all the answers seem 'right'. Back off and ask yourself what the question is really asking.

Don't expect to to absolutely sure of your answer, or confident that you passed the test.

Remember your Airway, Breathing, Respiration sequence (ABC's). Ask yourself what is most important to keep the patient alive. You can't start an IV or put them in isolation if they are dead because you didn't check the airway or start oxygen.

Know the different type of isolations and the basic diseases they are used for.

Know your basic labs. Know the different Insulins. ABG's.

Review meds, but don't expect to know them all. I passed meds for almost 40 years as a LPN and didn't have any that I recognised on my NCLEX test except one that I had just taken in the last month, and no one told me to keep out of the sun with it!!!!

Every test is different, so no one can tell you to study certain questions.

If you didn't learn it during the many months of nursing school, you aren't going to learn enough to pass the NCLEX in one or two weeks.

I think the best advice I got before I took the NCLEX was to NOT STUDY, although I did review several hours a day for about five weeks between graduation and my appointment. It may have helped refresh my mind and given me a little extra confidence.

Just my thoughts as I've completed this lifepath of nursing school and have taken the big test!

I wish you well, and maybe we will smile if we pass each other in the hospital hallway someday.

Take Care on the Journey,

Linda's E-mail:

Mar 24, 2010

Waiting for NCLEX-RN Results

For now, I'm posting over at my personal blog, Linda's Notebook HERE.

Later as I have more time, I'll add the school postings that I put on hold and finish the story of my LPN-RN Program on this blog.

Please follow us over

Take Care on the Journey,

Linda's E-mail:

Mar 10, 2010


The date I'm scheduled to take the NCLEX-RN (state boards) is
March 23, 2010, at 8 a.m.


Take Care on the Journey,

Linda's email:

Jan 14, 2010

Making A's on My Finals!!!

Two down and two to go!

I made an A on my Nursing Concepts final this morning.

Just had to post this on my blog so it will be here forever!!!

Take Care on the Journey,

Linda's E-mail:

Jan 13, 2010

Bohecker Winter Commencement 2010

My graduation from the RN program at Bohecker College is February 20, 2010 at 11 a.m. at the Vets Memorial in Columbus, Ohio.

All are invited.


Linda's E-mail:

Jan 12, 2010

HESI Passed Big Time 927

We took the HESI exam at Bohecker College today, and I made 927.

The school currently requires 750 to pass. For the record, on a practice HESI taken a few months ago, I made 843.

Anyway, this is great news. Only two more days of testing for Med-Surg, Psyc, and Concepts of Nursing. So far, I've done well in all those classes, so with some good review and a few hours of study, I'm all done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Also for the record, a few years ago I was sure that I would not pass any RN program. It's not a matter of being smart, but of confidence and not giving up. Sometimes you can give that to yourself, sometimes other people help along the way. I'm thankful for all my friends who had no doubts! Thank-you from the bottom of my heart.

Take Care on the Journey,
Your Friend in Life,

Linda's E-mail:

Nov 19, 2009

Time to Study NCLEX-RN 100 Percent

Postings are on hold until we're finished! There's just so much going on, and a lot of nervous anticipation and stress, that I'm putting a moratorium on postings until after January 15, 2010. Actually, that's less than two months away. Until then, any extra minutes will be spent in intense study for finals and the state test for RN's. (NCLEX).

Read the few postings below to get a glimpse into my life for the last 13 months. Then feel free to skip over to my Linda's Notebook blog where I'll try to keep you up to date on everyday happenings in our home.

Please bookmark this to return in January for the full account of my LPN to RN - One Day At A Time!

At that time, I'll add the 25 student nurse stories I've written during my 15-month course including two articles I wrote during this time that won second and first place awards at

The first winning article is, Orientation Day LPN to RN (Titled here as, They're Not Heavy, They're My Books) and the first place article is called, There's a Mousetrap in My Med Cart. (Both posted below.)

Blessings to all,

Linda's e-mail:

May 15, 2009

The Nurse Becomes The Patient

I've been debating if I should confess my "downfall".

It started so early in the morning that my patients were still sleeping or drowsy as I slipped into their room to take blood pressures about 7 a.m. yesterday morning.

"I was cold all night. I didn't sleep a wink," complained one as I turned off her air conditioner.

I thought I'd get her another blanket when I finished the morning chore assigned to me by the nursing instructor.

The almost to last patient was connected to several machines including humidified oxygen, that unbeknown to me had leaked all over the floor during the night. I called her name and told her I was just checking her oxygen level and blood pressure. She nodded slightly in the cool, darkened room.

Slightly alarmed when her sats were abnormally low, I went to the nursing station to inform her morning nurse of my results. It was during report (from night nurse to day nurse), so I slipped back into the patient's room to do a more complete assessment.

One instant I was headed for the patent's bedside, the next I was catching myself in a slippery fall as my left foot shot right out from under me like a shooting star that comes from nowhere and flashes by in a heartbeat. More than that, my left arm got caught inside a large open trash can lined with a plastic bag that had the words "Isolation" printed all over it. The arm in the trash can cushioned my fall but injured my shoulder, elbow and left wrist.

The next part of the fall was my left hip hitting the floor - and my right knee twisting as I tried to break the fall. There are other parts that are bruised and sore for no explainable reason except that is what happens in that split second between natural walking and bizarre collapse. That's the 'ouch' part.

I mean a really big take-me-home-right-now ouch part.

But instead, my very professional, capable, and efficient nursing instructor, initiated first responder reactions that included an official trip to the emergency room.

All my co-nursing students rose to the occasion in great nursing form! As I was wiping my face with my hands after the (very painful) fall, one reminded me that I had been in an isolation room so I shouldn't be touching my face until I washed my hands! Another offered to help me gently remove the nursing jacket. Another took my stethoscope and blood pressure cuff and put them in my nursing bag. Another went to the car and got my purse. Another reminded me to call my husband.

One classmate took me to the ER and stayed with me the entire time - telling funny stories to make me laugh. The really weird part was being wheeled on a cart to x-ray while still dressed in my white nursing uniform (and shoes!). I wonder how many other patients thought it might be a joke? I really wished I had a camera for that one! Is that nurse really a patient? The aide asked if I wanted a sheet so I could cover up my uniform. Too funny!

That reminded me that I never did get my own patient her blanket. I hope she finally got warm.

Today as I recouped at home, several classmates called to ask about me. One collected my English paper from the English Instructor. Someone made my excuse from anatomy class, collected homework and took notes for me. It appears that nothing is broken and the soreness is a natural healing process.

The doctor gave me two prescriptions for pain. ha ha Everyone who KNOWS me knows that while I'm a great nurse, I'm a holistic person, and I rarely take PRN meds.

I told my instructor that I'd be selling my pills on the street.

Well, you know I can't do that, but I am going to get the prescriptions filled at Giant Eagle Grocery store and collect an additional 40 cents a gallon off on gas with my gas card/prescription rewards program.

Tomorrow I'll be back at clinicals for my next to last clinical day for this quarter (if the school doesn't come up with new calculations for our hours and demand additional time like they did last week).

Next week (May 18-20) is midterm week with several big tests before a week's break (May 25-29)!

I'm looking forward to a nice quiet week's break.

Take Care on the Journey, (no matter where you end up!)



Mar 12, 2009

There's A Mousetrap In My Med Cart

There's a Mousetrap In My Med Cart

58 comments 14987 viewsby 99percentangel Platinum Member
Updated May 12, 2009 at 04:06 PM by Joe V
Member Years Exp: LPN since 1971.Nursing Specialty: Med-Surg, ICU, ER, Adzheimers, NH, Peds
Received 105 Kudos from 3 posts
Join Date: Mar 2005Posts: 17

As some classmates in our RN nursing program gathered around in a small group this morning, I sided up and listened to a story that quickly carried me back in time when I was a newly licensed practical nurse (LPN) just learning how to manage my time as I passed the early morning medications.

The law requires that all meds be given within one hour before or after the medicines are due, and this often creates a lot of stress for busy nurses. For instance, the 8 a.m. meds can be started at 7 a.m., and the med pass, for however many patients you are assigned to, must all be given by 9 a.m., or the facility you work for is out of compliance with state regulations and subject to censure.

Many of my classmates have recently gotten their LPN license and are now RN students. They have not had experience with passing medications or time to learn some tricks of the trade that come with years of ‘working the med cart’.

The story this morning was told with tears streaming down my classmate’s face that expressed more than words could ever tell of how disappointed she was, as a student nurse, to have not completed the assigned task of giving meds to her 17 patients in the two-hour window of time.

Ah yes. I had to turn away as I could not keep my eyes from swimming with empathy while my heart filled with understanding.

Her story will be repeated every day by many nurses, especially LPN's.

I call it, “A Mousetrap in My Med Cart”.

My fingers are burning to tell this story in hopes that other nurses will feel better knowing that many of us have felt the pressure of that ticking mousetrap in our carts!

…Wishing the tired, sleepy, night nurse would hurry it along, I heard report on my patients just like I did at the start of every shift at the nursing home where I worked 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. three days a week.

There was a new admission in Room 5. The patient in Room 10 had fallen during the night and would need vital signs and neuro checks every two hours. Room 11 had ants crawling along the window that would need spraying today. There was a new patient in Room 13 who wanted pain pills more often than she had them ordered.

Time was ticking, and I knew the mousetrap of time would be set in my med cart on the dot at 8 a.m. I wanted to have my blood pressures taken before I started my med pass. I hoped I would have time for a quick check on each of my patients by then too.

As I prepared my cart and checked for supplies, a tiny little mouse scampered beside me when I ran to answer the phone from an impatient doctor who wanted to leave orders ‘with the medicine nurse’. At least the patient in Room 13 could have her pain pills more often now.I

had 19 patients this morning, and the first patient had to be wakened from a sound sleep.

“Why do they wake you up to give you sleeping pills?’ she grumbled.“ I need my pills crushed in applesauce,” she said in a more agitated voice as she almost threw the pills back at me.

Back at the med cart, I was somewhat confused because two of the meds were enteric coated, meaning they should not be crushed. I wondered what the other nurses were doing about that. Maybe I could convince her to swallow them whole if I did some patient teaching about enteric-coated pills.

In the next room, my patient was sound asleep, but I did not have to disturb him because he had a gastric tube (G-tube) and was on constant tube feeding. My problem was that his powdered medication would not dissolve in water!

I stirred and stirred. I added warm water. Maybe it would dissolve while I did a placement and residual check of the tube. But no, the powder continued to float on the top of the water. Finally, I just poured the mixture into the tube syringe – and it promptly clogged up!

Just then his wife stirred from her sleep in the chair and said, “You have to mix it with hot water first.” Why hadn’t someone just written that on the medication record? Now I had to spend several precious mousetrap-ticking minutes unclogging the G-tube!

“Please help me to the bathroom. I’m going to mess this bed if I don’t get to the bathroom,” my next patient begged.

By law, the medication nurse isn’t supposed to be helping patients to the bathroom while passing meds. But tell that to someone who’s holding the back of their gown and slipping off the edge of the bed. I turned on the call light and felt that mouse getting bigger as it ran down the call light string toward my fingers.

Due to a sleepy, slow-voiced, night nurse who took 45-minutes to give report, I hadn’t had time to check any blood pressures, and my next patient had a medication that was certain to lower his blood pressure very effectively and quickly. I would not give this med without checking to see if his blood pressure was already low.

Shucks. It was 80/40. Too low for the medication. Too late, I realized I had put this pill in with his other meds, and now I had to figure out which one it was AND make a place to chart the low blood pressure because no one had done it before now. I also had to chart why I didn’t give the medication. And, I had to do another patient teaching about this medication to the patient when he got upset because I held the med.

Already it was almost 9 a.m. and the mousetrap in my med cart was rattling around every time I opened a drawer. I could smell the sweet cheesy odor on the trap, and I could feel the mouse allusively nearby!

Patient seven had more pills than Carter has liver pills – as we like to say about patients who take more than 10 pills at one time. This one had 20 pills that had to be laboriously checked and rechecked against the medication record. I put a dot on each space on the med record to indicate each pill had been accounted for. I would put my initial in each space after I gave the meds.

I hurried into the room almost tripping on the fast-moving mouse as it ran ahead of me and dashed under the bed.

“Now what are these for?” asked my patient as she dumped the pulls onto the sheet for a re-count and explanation. Several small white pills slipped silently to the floor and rolled out of sight under the bed.

Do I chance getting bit by the hungry mouse as I get on my hands and knees and peer into the darkness? All I see are two beady eyes reminding me that the trap is still set. If I don’t find the pills and discard them, housekeeping will report the pills to the supervisor, and she will be sure to match them against who was suppose to have given them. I brave the mouse and return to the cart for new pills.

A half-hour later, in Room 14, my patient is asleep on his left side with a pillow stuffed against his back for support. There is a trocantor pillow strapped between his knees – a sure sign of a recent hip surgery. I cannot turn him by myself. We need to use the log-roll method of turning to prevent injury to his new metal hip.

Locking the med cart, closing all the med books, and covering any evidence of confidential patient information open to public view, I kick at the imaginary mouse under the cart.

“I know what time it is, but you won’t get the best of me. I’ll conquer you yet!” I hiss as I hurry down the hall to find help with my patient.

I’m quite aware that the medication is a simple stool softener than could be given at noon when the patient is up in his chair for therapy, but someone put it down as an 8 a.m. med because it’s given once a day. I could skip it and no one would know – except I would know!

Twenty minutes later the patient is positioned up in bed, the pill is given, and I can move on to patient number 15 (of 19). The clock says it’s 10:00, and I have no more time to finish passing my meds, and still be in compliance. The second hand of the clock looks suspiciously like the long, brown tail of a mouse!

Biting my lower lip to stop the quiver and pushing back tears filling the corner of my eyes, I collect the meds for my next patient.

“I asked for a pain pill 45 minutes ago! Why can’t anybody do anything around here? I called my doctor, and he said he gave you new orders for my pain pills. I want the number for your administrator!”

"I’m so sorry you had to wait. I know you must be in a lot of pain. I’ll get your pain pills right now. In fact, the doctor said you could have two. Would you like me to bring both pills?” I reply in the most tender voice possible, although in a bit of a quandary because I can’t remember my patient's name at the moment.

“No. I’ll take one now and take the other one later if I need it,” replies the patient who is unaware that the request will would require another clarifying order from the doctor, because he ordered two pain pills to be given every four hours.

I’m sure I hear a nest full of squeaking baby mice under her bed as I hurry back to my cart to sign out one narcotic pill.

My last room has two little ladies who are comparing notes on their care.

“I’m suppose to take my meds with food,” one says to the other. “And I had breakfast hours ago.”

“I take three different kind of eye drops five-minutes apart,” adds the other patient as I walk through the door.

I turn back to find some crackers and milk at the nurses station.

After delivering the meds with food, I search frantically through the half dozen drawers in the med cart for the eye drops. I feel faint and nauseated. It’s almost 11 a.m. and that mouse is still dodging my every step and getting bigger by the minute! I’ve been up since 4 a.m. with nothing to eat or drink so far this morning.

The prescribed eye drops are nowhere to be found! I strongly suspect that the night nurse put them in her pocket and didn’t check her uniform before she went to bed for the day.

I circle my initials in the space for the missing eye drops and wonder what I’m going to write as my reason for not giving the meds. And, I wonder how my patient will react when I tell her that I can’t give them now.

It’s almost time to start noon meds, and I’ve just finished morning meds – some of which are the same! Do I give them again?

It looks like the hall is becoming darker as it seems to fill with monster-sized marching rats, but it’s only my supervisor who asks how it’s going and offers an encouraging smile and a snack for my break.

I wait for her comments that I’m out of compliance or that I will have to do better if I’m going to work this hall. But instead, she carries a steaming cup of hot coffee hand in one hand and offers me one my most favorite dark chocolate candy bars with the other.

“May I borrow your keys to the med cart?” she asks with some mischief in her voice. “I have some mousetraps to remove."

I would remind my classmates and myself, as new RN's and possible supervisor of LPN's,... May we always remember to remove the mousetraps.

Linda's e-mail:

Oct 8, 2008

English Composition and A Deck of Cards

Now that I’ve attended class for each of my course subjects for this quarter, I can report that I’m still smiling and still casting a golden glow in my shadow!

You never know what new idea or plan a teacher will bring to the classroom. (Are they called teacher, instructor, or professor?)

Our English teacher came into class today shuffling a desk of cards.

The psychology professor asked us to put our name on a piece of paper and place it on the front of our desk for instant recognition (smart).

Our Anatomy & Physiology instructor is also a massage therapist and a Myopractor (look it up).

But alas, there will be some MATH in Pharmacology. Our Pharmacology teacher is the only nurse instructor so far. She is brimming with experience and extensive knowledge of nursing!

Bohecker College in Westerville (sometime referred to as in Columbus, but it’s actually in Westerville, Ohio) is a fairly new college so it’s still having some growing pains. Perhaps some former students felt its birthing pains in the last couple years, but all have lived to tell the story.

In our first two days, we have adjusted to some changes in every course including a mix-up in posted classrooms and some modification of class times. I like the adjustment of A&P because we loose a couple extra breaks, but get out an hour earlier than expected.

For some reason, Bohecker offers a 10-minute break out of every hour! Most classes are 3-5 hours long, so I guess it keeps the momentum going. The instructors take roll call every hour too. I suspect too many skip and run students forced that rule!

i hope we keep every teacher presently on staff because I like all of them – and each is as different as the leaves on a tree! It doesn’t appear that we will be overloaded with homework, though one will need to organize notes and plan ahead to succeed. I’m sure there will be some difficult assignments but I still say, “Bring it on!”

What I like best is the large classroom where we spend most of our time – especially the morning classes. One wall of the second-story classroom is all windows that look out over a small subdivision where the trees are changing into fall coats of Autumn color and onto a busy street where Jim’s bus goes by taking him to work in the city.

“Hi Jim. Have a good day! Bye Jim!”

Psychology is in a room with all the windows at the back, so it feels a little stuffy and because the time frame is 12:30 to 3:30, it seems to drag on a bit. Maybe it’s those photos of old men like Aristotle, Wilhelm Wundt and, of course, Sigmund Freud make me feel even order than I really am! (That’s okay, Sandy, I didn’t know who those men were either!)

Our instructor is teaching this class for the first time, but it sounds like he’s already read the book and will keep us on our toes. He asks questions that our blogger friend, Floyd, would love to answer.

Like, “Do we think with our minds or our heart?”

The subject I think I will enjoy the most is (you guessed it), English!

While I have been a writer since I could hold a pencil, I have not had the opportunity to enjoy leaning the details of correct writing and rules of the English language. I'm surprised how far I've come with so little formal education in that area.

I just hope that my book, "Dusty Angels and Old Diaries" is never put on a pedestal. It's too personal and close to my heart to be taken apart like that. Otherwise, I'm eager to learn every nuance about proper writing! And, do even better with my next published book, "The Laughing Place."

The biggest problem so far is the massive weight of all my books! Heavy backpacks and book bags do not go hand-in-hand with lower back pain! If you were to actually look at the lower part of my back (the distal end), you would see some swelling that is painful to the touch. Imagine a heavy backpack hitting against that spot with every step!

I finally broke down and ordered a rolling organizer briefcase from the Nurses Station Catalog. (I give you that link because it’s a wonderful place to do Christmas shopping for a nurse too!)

In the meantime, I’ve dumped any extras and all the heavy books I had in my current backpack onto the kitchen table until the rolling briefcase gets here.

Most quotable quotes from teachers so far include...

“Grades are not all that important in nursing. You just want to pass so you can sit for the state boards. Grades don’t matter in the long run.”
“No texting! No sidebars. No excused absences.”
“Most of you have recently graduated from LPN school.”
“My wife and I are on the outs…but don’t feel sorry for me.”
“LPN’s don’t do assessments”. (They do! RN's sign them.)

An English classroom assignment today was to write a paragraph answering these questions.

If you could invite four people from history (past or present, dead or alive), for supper, who would it be and why? What would you serve, and where would you serve it?

Briefly, I wrote that I’d invite my two sons because I don’t see them very often. I’d ask the English teacher over because I enjoy talking with other writers, and I’d invite a student in class named Katy who seems to be lonely. The menu would include my, “Mama Linda” homemade cheesy lasagna. I'd also make a crispy green salad and some hot garlic toast because that’s my sons’ favorite meal at home. We’d eat at home in our dining room to encourage small talk, and so that my oldest son, Billy, could discretely pick out the bits of tomato from his lasagna. (I didn't put that in my paper. lol) If I was suppose to invite President Kennedy or Obama, that wasn’t on my menu today.

Oh yes, the deck of cards in English class? It was for us to select one to determine what group we would subdivided into for discussion groups.

Speaking of groups, I've already made several friends from school. Of course I'm the oldest and have been a LPN the longest. (Everyone now knows I've been a LPN for 38-years. The class applauded me when I told them!) The next longest-time LPN is a woman who has been a LPN for 17 years and wants to go on to be a Nurse Practitioner.

Every LPN is our class has high hopes that becoming a RN will help them make a difference in the life of those who are ill.

We have four men and 20 women in our RN class, but there are about 20 others who are on a different schedule for the same program.

By the way, I noticed a large classroom of very noisy students down the hall. I asked who they were and discovered these are a group of about 100 student LPN's!!!!! I don't think there's a nursing shortage at Bohecker College!

I’m really tired tonight, so I hope this gives all of you a nice overview of my first days of the RN program without my overwhelming feeling of tiredness coming through.

Jim and every dog in the house is already sound asleep. I went straight from class today to check on the little boy I take care of because his parents are out of town and he's quite sick. I ended up staying there for five hours until his grandmother could arrive from another state. He's better now and was very happy to see his grandma! (So was I.)


Take Care on the Journey,


Oct 5, 2008

Tomorrow Is The Big Day (Orientation at Bohecker College)

Jupiter reaches out to the moon in the October sky. (flickr photo)

First, for those who depend on me to keep you updated on world news: OJ is found guilty of armed robbery - all 12 counts - and is handcuffed in the courtroom after the lights came back on and taken to prison to await sentencing. There's a very interesting story that includes a bizarre twist of the number 13 for OJ but it won't save here. You can goggle OJ Simpson for the story with the words "snake eyes" in the title.

For those who watched (as I did) and to those who simply heard the news reports, Sarah Palin did not fall on her face during the vice-presidential debate. She looked right into our living rooms with a vibrant strong voice and said just what she wanted to say! While I'm still NOT going to vote for McCain, I have to admit she carried herself beautifully and even caused the "church-mice" quiet audience to chuckle a time or two. Woman-to-woman, she does have a figure to die for! But, that does not make her qualified to run the country.

Nor do I think McCain will be actually do more than Bush has done for us in the last eight years.

Well, it's almost like a wedding day at our house!

My RN program starts at Bohecker College in less than 24-hours on October 6, 2008 although my first full day is Tuesday because of the class schedule. Life as I know it changes on that day! Jim and I have been discussing our early morning schedule. While we don't have little kids to get off to school, he catches the city bus for his ride to work, and I'll be picking him up from the bus stop in the afternoons. This because we made some driving changes in order to save hundreds of dollars in gas money by not driving to work every day. Jim's got the route under his belt and actually enjoys reading the paper on his way to the city and back.

During the summer we made another change in anticipation of Old Man Winter here in Ohio. Modern technology has offered a way to avoid cleaning off the snow, scraping the frozen windshield and sit shivering on the icy cold seat waiting for the heat to warm our frozen fingers. We had an auto starter installed in our car!!!!

So, on a school day I'll go to the bedroom window and clicker-start the car with the defrost and seat warmers already turned on. After breakfast we drop him off at the bus stop (about a mile away) and I'll go to school (about two miles away).

On non-class days I plan to spend several hours at the local library so I'm not tempted to do housework or watch my favorite show, The Baby Story. Also, when someone is home during the day, the dogs think they have permission to ask to go out every hour on the hour!

I'm wondering how many of you who know me have asked the question already?

"Is Linda going to keep working while going to school?"

Yep. You know me well. I ask myself the same question several times a day. Yesterday we sat down and put our entire budget on an Excel program and it's very very close with expenditures and revenue! But it IS possible to get by without me working if there are no unexpected surprises.

As Jim and I enjoyed our weekend treat of supper at Cracker Barrel last night, we discussed how we could save even more by planning meals during the week (like my sister Sandy does) and limiting how often we give in to the temptation to enjoy someone else doing the cooking (and cleaning).

"If my boys and my sister hear that I'm trying to work and go to school, they're going to be very mad," I told Jim.

He agrees that this is a time in my life to do something 100 percent for me. He will tie my hands behind my back if he thinks I'm dialing my agency to offer to work! On the other hand, the first four months of school will be a light schedule due to not doing clinicals at the hospital. We agree that I might work 8-12 hours a week during these months if we find that I'm keeping up with school work and it will mean a little more spending freedom for us. (I hate when I can never go shopping!!!!)

But nobody's getting the call yet! It's a wonderful feeling not being pressured to WORK! Thank-you hubby for doing that for us.

Last night parts of Ohio had its first mild frost. They say the leaves will be in full color within a couple weeks but we aren't seeing it yet. We've pulled out the jackets and mittens but are enjoying every minute of the misty cool nights and sparkling beautiful days of Indian Summer here in the Ohio Valley. (Jim says it's Indian Summer until the first full moon of October.)

On the way home last night we were enjoying the sky constellations and commenting that almost 11 years ago Jim wrote a poem to me about Jupiter, Mars and Venus coming to a conjunction around the full moon in the October sky. We were married a month later on November 23, 1997.

While the news is good here, it reminds me that not everyone is feeling so 'happy'.

Jobs are scarce. Money is tight. Families despair and work hard as they hang on to tiny threads of hope. Friends seem too far away, and there are not enough hours in the day to keep up! I am aware of the frustrations and fears of those around me and those I love. Just know that I do care, and I believe in YOU.

As my friend, Kathryn F. used to say, "Write, stop by or call anytime."
We can add e-mail to that now.

Take Care on the Journey,


Sep 29, 2008

They're Not Heavy, They're My BOOKS!

September 29, 2008... (First posting for this blog)
Wow! The magical number 55 still follows me as I start another chapter in my life.

955,000 driving miles, 455 months of marriage, motherhood, divorce, and remarriage, 15,500 days after I became a LPN, I'm finally a student nurse again.

This time I'm getting my RN after almost 40 years of working as an LPN! Even my Ohio LPN license has the number 55 in it.

The vibrant, colorful, school textbooks decorate the kitchen table. A quick peek into several reveal that they are written in English, and the information is not all Greek! (Click photo for close-up).

These are my study guides for the first quarter of my RN program at Bohecker College! Almost $855 dollars worth of books and about 55 pounds of dry weight to lug from class to class.

"They're not heavy...They're my BOOKS!"

The magic number 55 cheered loudly again today! Cars with 55 in the license plates surrounded me as I traveled the two miles to school. The president of Bohecker College announced that after our class graduates, Bohecker College will have graduated 455 nurses (LPN and RN's). And, my drive-through lunch came to $5.05. As if I need more affirmation!

Orientation was scheduled for 8:30 a.m., but I was saying good-morning to the college landscapers by 8:15. Not surprisingly, I was one of the first student nurses to arrive.

Almost 25 other students trickled in for the next 45 minutes. But absolutely no one wore a bigger smile than I did! Our class has more students, but we are divided up into different orientation days.

The crispy morning air seemed perfect for my first day although early fog caused some schools in the county to open a couple hours late.

On the whiteboard at the front on the room, the words blazed out at me. "Welcome RN Students". Orientation included a welcome to many Bohecker students who were returning after finishing the LPN course on the same campus.

As I glanced around the room full of LPN's, I looked to see if there was anyone I knew or had worked with, but all were strangers with almost no expression on their sleepy faces. The young man next to me looked way too young to be a nurse. He shivered in the cool classroom. The young lady on the other side said she'd been working as a LPN for a year, but there was no shine in her eyes. she was already tired?

Most of the class agreed with the admissions director that the main reason for advancing their education is to make more money. My numbers-minded husband has put together some figures, but my goal when I'm an RN is TO WORK WHERE I CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

For too many years I've been an observer in the team-making process of care-giving when my abilities and experience could have been used if the letters after my name had been different. I feel like I've been walking behind the horse in the parade, cleaning up the mess even as I listened and learned along the way.

Yep. At the golden age of 58, I will be the oldest, wisest and most grandmotherly student in the school. (That's not to say the smartest.) Hubby advises to choose my study partners carefully because, he says, many will be coming to me for advice. I'm not convinced of that, but do hope to have the same opportunity to learn as if it was my first year on the job!

Much of the orientation time today was spent listening to motivational speakers urging students to not give up and to keep their goals in front of them at all times.

"You'll want to throw your books at the wall and give up. You'll have excuses to call off. Kids will get sick. Cars will break down. You will be tempted to give up!".

I wanted to raise my hand high and argue.

"Not me! I've looked forward to this year for 38 years. See me smile! Nothing you offer will beat me down! BRING IT ON! "

My smile didn't fade as I signed my name to a $800+ bill for my books!

My smile didn't fade as I lugged the pile of textbooks to my car in several trips.

My smile didn't fade when my uniform fitting was about at least 6 sizes larger than the first time I was a student nurse in 1970!

My smile didn't fade when I noticed that I was older then most of the administration and ALL of the students in my class

My smile will glow in the dark tonight as I snuggle next to hubby Jim who must take some credit for directing me on the path!

Jim's faith in me is unwavering!. His belief in my dreams and gentle nudges to keep me focused on the goal are priceless! He has promised to "hold the ladder" and I am sure he will not only hold the ladder but build a bridge if I need it.

After orientation today as I was loading the trunk with boxes of books, another student stopped to say hi. He asked why I had waited so long to get my RN.

My reply... "I finally have a husband who believes in me and wouldn't let me give up my dream."

I'm also appreciative that my sons are grown, educated and supportive. They've grown up knowing that mom always wanted to get her RN, and I'm sure knew that someday I would achieve my goal.

Take Care on the Journey,