Today is the Beginning of the Rest of My Life

Today I took my final nursing exam.  I do not know my score yet, but I do know I have passed the class (pretty confident at least) and that I will be graduating on Friday.

As I look back over the last two years of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears (literally) I begin to realize how fast time flies for one and for two what hard work and determination can bring you.

The last month was filled with stress as I had to write 5 papers, take 6 exams, and complete a Mental Health Assessment on Milwaukee County.  It brought a lot of information out from underneath the rug we have swept it under.  For instance, in two years the estimated 15,000-20,000 homeless in the Milwaukee area went from roughly 30% of the homeless being mentally ill to 41.1%, substance abuse is close as well.  The main reasons for homelessness were eviction/foreclosure, unemployment, and family breakup.  I will save more of that assessment for a different post since I think it needs to be addressed.

Now for this post, back to the happiness…

I have decided to pursue psychiatric nursing with the goal of becoming a DNP in behavioral health for HIV patients.  They do have physiological needs but the psychosocial needs are just as if not more important.  Gotta help someone find purpose in order for them to care about life.  I completed my advanced practicum at an area behavioral health hospital that is world renowned and my Instructor is putting in a letter of recommendation for me since they are looking for some RNs.  I was surprised at how much I liked psych nursing.  My last patient, a transgendered woman, really touched my heart and affirmed that I was in the right field.  It is one thing to have an Instructor tell you, but when a patient does it means even more.

I figure I’ve been through a lot of drama in my life and can relate in a lot of ways to the struggles people face.  Because of that I genuinely want to help them heal and feel loved, to help them be the holder of the pen writing their own story, to help them be the master of their own destiny.  Many people think psychiatric nursing is like the movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” but I assure you times have changed dramatically.  In fact the place I am hoping to work is working towards restraint free care, by therapeutically defusing situations before they become that dangerous.

I do get saddened though that my step-father thinks it is bunk science, to me it is rather commonsensical.    You are teaching people how to interact with the world in a productive manner and how to take control of their own lives for the better.  You are building them up until they can take over as their own decision maker so they do not harm themselves.  One thing about psychiatric illnesses that are misunderstood is that most of them are not what one would typically think of.  Sure we have many with Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia but most people are just depressed and in a crisis, they need a safe place to sort it all out.  And too, some have been damaged irrevocably as children and now as adults were never able to move into that developmental stage.  It makes you realize what a sick, cruel world we live in but it also shows you the real crux of humanity.  All humans have weaknesses, we all have moments where we feel life is so awful it is not worth bearing, we all have defensive egos at one point or another, and we all need someone to just listen.

So now onto Friday, when I walk down the aisle to get my nursing pin, candle, diploma, and say the Nightingale pledge.  I know I will cry, I’m a sap, but hey it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to… ^-^

I Smell the Roses

Today there is a lot to be thankful for.

#1. Being my kids, always and forever they are the best thing that has ever happened to me.

#2. My fiance, November 11, 2011 we will be married and he is surely my soul mate.

#3. I have 19 days left until I graduate nursing school.

#4. My uncle is responding to chemo and he may survive the lymphoma that has attacked his spine, bone marrow, and spleen.

#5. Looks like the University of Wisconsin football team will make it to the Rose Bowl, Go Badgers!

This week I will be busy with 3 presentations, 2 papers, and 2 exams.  The countdown has begun and with less than 3 weeks left of school, the end is near.