Archive for March, 2012

Nurse Practitioner Panel at HC

March 31st, 2012 by Melissa Nelson '10

Hey everyone! This past Wednesday Liz Farrington, Julia Cambria and I (via skype) had a panel that talked about Nurse Practitioner(NP) as a career.  It was so nice to finally be able to share my experiences with fellows HC students about the NP route and what they need to do to get there. According to Liz, we had a good turn out 🙂  Students asked us a lot of great questions. It was nice to hear how much HC has changed  in order to accommodate students who are interested in other health care profession such as NP, Physician Assistant, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist to name a few. Professor Futterman, Head of the Pre-health program , said that they had 22 NP applications this past year, in comparison to other years where the norm was between 4-8 applications.

Liz and I were talking how jealous we are because HC has also added some courses she and I needed to get into NP school. Course such as Anatomy & Physiology I &II(AP1&2), they have added several additional sections of statistics, as well as microbiology and medical microbiology. When Liz and I were at HC( which is less than 2 years ago), we had to take AP 1 & 2,  microbiology ,  and nutrition at other schools in the Worcester Consortium since HC didn’t offer them. By adding these course only helps to smooth the transition into preparing students for their future careers.

Another interesting aspect is that even though Liz, Julia and I are all in NP school. All our programs are all very different which I think was nice for students to hear.  My program you graduate with a BSN and a MSN .Whereas Liz and Julia’s program you graduate with just an MSN. It was nice to hear their experiences and motivation in attending nursing school. I really feel that it  helped some students in understanding the various paths one can take in order to become an advanced practice nurse.

I am so happy we decided to organize this panel. I will admit it was kind of weird with me skyping into the panel( I live the farthest away from HC in comparison to Julia and Liz who were able to attend in person) but it worked! LOL. My next goal , hopefully, is to get the HC magazine to do a piece about how students at HC are entering various other health professions such as the ones mentioned before.  I feel a piece like this would reach out to other HC alumni who went a similar route.  These alumni  probably would love to be an additional resource for current HC students who are interested in these healthcare fields.  We shall see 🙂

Pediatrics Nurses are a God Send!

March 19th, 2012 by Melissa Nelson '10

So I started a new clinical rotation(pediatrics) last week. Before I started this clinical I was pretty neutral about pediatric nursing. Don’t get me wrong, I love kids but sick children is a different story. I am an individual who can deal with most situations but it is something about sick children that breaks my heart. All these emotions were definitely apparent when I started clinicals. I was so nervous! Throughout the day my fears calmed down as I began to work with the nurses and interact with the children.  By the end of the day, I left clinical wanting to stay even longer.

Pediatric Nursing is an art that most people don’t understand. Observing and interacting with the nursing staff really showed me how family centered pediatric nursing is. Pediatric nursing doesn’t mean you are only  taking care of the patient but the patient’s family as well. To see how welcomed the families felt on the floor and how nurses and fellow staff knew the children and family by name, was amazing to me 🙂 The kindness and compassion exhibited by the pediatric nurses was truly admirable.

Communicating with children is difficult alone and when a child is not feeling well it is even harder. Im learning pediatric nursing involves a lot of communication. Communication not only with the child but with the parents/caregivers as well. Educating the patient about a medication or treatment and framing it in a way that is appropriate for their developmental age, is harder than one would think.  The next couple of weeks will be exciting. I  know I will be able to gain a deeper appreciation and better understanding of not only the art of nursing, but understanding the strength many of these sick children have while dealing with grown up health issues.  This glimpse into pediatric nursing will be quite interesting 🙂

Spring Break couldn’t come any faster..

March 3rd, 2012 by Melissa Nelson '10

Hey everyone!!!!  It has been awhile since I have posted anything. Sorry! This past week was hectic between final exams, validations and midterms. You are probably wondering why final exams are so early and what  is validation?

So as you know I am in an accelerated BSN/MSN program. There are two phases: the BSN phase and the MSN phase. I am in the BSN phase and will complete this phase by the end of this year. So in nursing school(BSN phase), we have clinical rotations. The clinical rotations you complete at Penn and most nursing schools are: medical surgical, geriatrics, obstetrics, pediatrics, community health, psychiatric and preceptorship. Our class will correlate with the rotation we are on to reaffirm what we are learning in clinical.  For example, when I was doing my medical-surgical rotation, we had a 3 hour medical-surgical class, twice a week as well.These rotations last 7 weeks. During these rotations, we take care of patients just as a nurse would, but under supervision by our clinical instructor( usually a practicing advanced  practice nurse such as an Nurse Practitioner). This past week, I finished my OB rotation(hence why I had a final exam) and I loved it!!!! It was absolutely amazing and I got to see and learn a lot about vaginal/ cesarean births and newborn care. My experience just reaffirmed I have definitely picked the right profession.

Validations is the term we use for our practical lab exams. So at Penn, we having nursing labs 2 hours a week where we learn how to do various skills such as: chest tube care, nasogastric tube, airway/oxygenation care, IV insertion and etc.  We practice these skills on Sim Man. Once we have learned these skills, we then have validations. Validation occurs in one of our stimulated labs with a Sim Man/Sim Annie/Sim Baby. These stimulated labs are set up like an actually hospital rooms(supplies/emergency equipment included).

We are given a scenario that tests us on the skills that we learn and we must be able to apply them to the situation. So for example, they might give us a situation such as a patient was in  motor vehicle accident and is now on your floor. They have a chest tube, a nasogastric tube and a tracheotomy. You are the nurse taking care of him/her.  As you are taking care of the patient, you begin to notice that his oxygen saturation levels are going down from 96% to 89%. What do you do?   As you can see these practical lab exams can be stressful especially since you never know what your getting. Your patient can be fine when your doing an assessment and suddenly there is a change in his/her status. I do like the practical lab exams because it really allows you to incorporate everything you have learned so far. But its stressful because you need to pass in order to pass the course.  By the way , I did pass 🙂

With all these things happening this past week, I am so happy Spring Break is here! Im really not doing anything too interesting, but I will be catching up with my sleep 🙂