Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Green Monster!

I love dessert.

I love it so much that I am going to write a poem about it....

I love dessert, I love sweets!
Nothing tastes better than sugary eats!
I could eat brownies all day long,
Too bad it's probably morally wrong.

Yep, desserts make me smile and never frown,
Soon I'll have more chins than China Town.

Ok, I did not count syllables or make that a technically correct piece of poetry. BUT, I think you can get the idea that I love dessert.

Which is why I need to stop eating it so much.

I usually try and give something up for Lent (no, I'm not Catholic - I just think it's a good idea!), but I am so behind this year! Lent already started a few days ago and I still hadn't decided what I wanted to give up. So... here it goes. Better late than never!

I am giving up eating desserts Monday-Saturday. This excludes holidays. OFFICIAL holidays. No, "Pet Fish Awareness Day" does not count.

It became very apparent to me this week that I desperately need some improved self-control. At work we all sit in this tiny room around a tiny table. Guess what's in the middle of the table? You guessed it - TREATS! Treats galore! Licorice, cookies, tootsie rolls, etc etc... And when you're sitting there all day doing nothing but read a huge binder (see this post), it is perfectly acceptable to eat said treats, right? Wrong. I have felt ill every day driving home as a result of those treats and it's time I listened to what my body says!

So, from now 'till Easter, kindly don't offer me any candy or desserts on any day other than official holidays and Sundays. 

I wasn't going to blog about this, but I figured it would give me at least a little bit of accountability. Here's to eating healthier!

You may think this sounds gross... but this is the most delicious/healthy recipe I have had in a while!  It's called "Green Monster"

Ingredients: 1 frozen banana, some milk (I use soy), some yogurt (Dannon Light & Fit is good), one spoonful of peanut butter, and loads of spinach! Yes, spinach! About 3-4 cups. 

Blend it all up and it is sooooo delicious. It doesn't taste like spinach at all. I've had it about 4 times now and I don't plan on stopping anytime soon! Try it! I dare you!!

"Bored" is "Derob" spelled backwards, but I think that must be another word for "dessert" as well.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

story time... and photos!

It was a fantastic week :)

I am really enjoying my new job. The other girls I am orienting with are just so dang fun and we are able to make the 8 hours of bookwork go by fairly fast and have a good time about it. We laugh and laugh and laugh. I am so grateful that it doesn't have to be all serious and dull. Of course, it is nice to be learning a lot about the babies too :)

It is weird being gone so much, but I am enjoying having something useful to do with my time and I definitely don't mind getting paid for it! Now, don't think this has stopped Brian and me from donating plasma... we went twice this week and racked up $150! I sure wish I had known about this place freshman year. It could've paid for all of my snowboarding adventures for sure. For now, it is going towards the gas I burn to get to the U.

Ok, time for a funny story. Or, at least I think it's funny. Luckily, so does Brian.

So... Monday was President's Day and Brian did not have school (yay!). However, he is a little behind in his dental shadowing hours (not so yay) and so needed to spend the day doing useful things like watching teeth get extracted. Well, one of my best friends (Megan!) has a few brother-in-laws who have a dental practice up in Salt Lake and she was so so nice to ask them if Brian could shadow for a day. They were willing and he set it all up. So far so good, right? 

Well, I had work that day and so I just dropped him off at the dental office on my way. Or, at least I dropped him off where we thought the dental office was. FAIL.

I call him up at lunch and find out that the dental office was not, in fact, on Foothill Drive (that was the office the are renovating and eventually going to move to). Nope, he ended up walking FOUR MILES to get to the real office! Luckily one of his boots for his broken feet was removed last week, but he still had one on. He is such a trooper though. Rather than complain about having to walk forever, he told me about what an adventure it was. He met a guy smoking pot(?) who asked him for a lighter and some other interesting people. He made it to the office about an hour late, but then had such a great day. He really loved shadowing Doctor Dave and learned a whole lot. He is so excited to be a Dentist :). Better him than me! I came in at the end of the day to watch a tooth being put in, and it just made me cringe to see them hammer it in.... It's weird how I can handle nursing stuff but not dental stuff very well! Brian is now thinking about going into oral maxillary surgery because his favorite part of dentistry is all the cutting open and fixing up. Ew.

Some photos from this week and last...

First day as a real nurse in the NICU!

See that ridiculously GIGANTIC binder? That is what we get to study/memorize. You can see how it compares to a relatively full 1-inch binder. Yikes!

Yes, it is heavy.

Badge! Oh how exciting to get a badge :)
This is the incredible homemade pizza we made with our new pizza stone! Delish!!

This is the day we celebrated Valentine's Day. You are probably wondering what we are holding. Well, it's panini bread (homemade!) that we dyed pink for the occasional - I know, I know - cheesy!

This picture just doesn't do it justice... But this is the INCREDIBLE homemade ice cream we made for valentines day. Quite possibly the fluffiest and most delicious ice cream I have ever had (and I've had a lot of ice cream over the course of my life...)!!

Oh! And Happy 8 months to us! Can't believe it - it's gone by so fast!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

new nurse

What a week!

It is so weird to have a real job. There is something about having a real badge that really makes you feel different about things. Maybe because I was so used to having a fake badge that clearly pointed out my inferior status as "student nurse." Yes, that sort of badge made patients wary of you as you approached them with a large needle or foley catheter, but it was also a good cushion if something went a little wrong. "I'm just a student!" (a.k.a. it's not my fault, my teacher should've taught me better!). Now I have no such excuses. My badge is the same badge that the veteran RN has who has been there since Florence Nightingale. Yikes! Now, I could still inform my patients (well, their families) that I am "new", but I really don't think that's a great idea. This is my plan - do everything I know how to do and then ask questions if I'm stumped. Better safe than sorry. There is no room for pride in the world of a new nurse.

I would MUCH rather ask a stupid question than make a stupid mistake.

So, I survived (and actually rather enjoyed) my week of hospital orientation and now it's time to start things on the unit. Four weeks of Monday-Wednesday class & Thursday on the floor. Becca, my amazing preceptor from last semester, is going to be our "instructor" for the first week. Can't wait to see her again - she's amazing!

Many people ask about my commute. It is true, I drive 50 minutes to get to work and then catch a shuttle up to the hospital. Lame sauce. We will probably move closer to Salt Lake at the end of the year, so at least there is an end in sight :) But honestly, I think it's totally worth it! Who gets to land a job in the NICU right after graduating? Who gets to work somewhere where she already knows a lot of the staff and loves them? Who gets to get ICU experience and work with adorable babies? Who gets to rock out to music/podcasts for 2 hours a day? Me.

Ok, so the last one is a bit of a stretch. I am trying to tell myself that the commute will actually be beneficial to my overall well-being. I've already listened to some good podcasts (thanks Dan!) and you can never get enough music!

Other news...

Valentines Day was super! We actually celebrated last Saturday because Valentine's Day held a full day of work for me and a DAT prep course until 9pm for Brian. But, Saturday was lots of fun! We made homemade (pink) bread, paninis, homemade (pink) ice-cream, chocolate cobbler, watched a sappy movie, and just had a great time! On actual Valentines Day Brian got me some super gorgeous flowers and chocolate and I made him a book (Maybe I'll take pictures later).

Sunday, February 12, 2012

time to grow up

Yep, tomorrow I enter the world of "grown-ups" with *gasp* a real job.


While I'll be the first to admit that I absolutely love school and would probably go to school for the rest of the life if they would pay me, I am excited to start this new phase in life. And, it will be so nice to put my nursing skills to practice and not do it for free!

I feel incredibly blessed to have landed what many would consider a "dream" nursing job. I feel so privileged to be able to work with newborn infants who really need some help. While I know that at times it will be emotionally difficult and draining, I feel that every day these little ones have life is a miracle and a blessing and I am so grateful that I will get to be a part of it. I also can't wait to work with their families. I know that they are going through such difficult times (often the most difficult they have ever faced) and I can help make a big difference in how they view that experience. I want to be the nurse that makes a difference.

So, tomorrow is just orientation and the "logistics" of the hospital. Should be interesting! Aaaaand... free lunch. I'm always a sucker for free lunches :)

Some of you may wonder how Brian is going to get to and from school with his two broken feet... Well, I am happy to report that tomorrow is (hopefully!) his last doctor appointment and he should be getting the boots off. Also, we changed the battery in his car and so now it runs and will do the job of getting him to campus and his dentist shadowing just fine. Hurrah!

Now he can start walking again and get rid of those newly developed (undeveloped?) chicken legs... don't tell him I said that ;)

Saturday, February 4, 2012


A few things that have been going on...

We celebrated our 7th anniversary last week! It was a sort of delayed 6th month celebration because that one fell on Christmas :) Brian was so so so sweet and surprised me with breakfast in bed (same breakfast that we had on our honeymoon) and a scavenger hunt to a bunch of meaningful places to us in Provo. We ended the night with a scrumptious dinner at my favorite restaurant - Zupas! It was  a great day. I am so grateful for my best friend!
His first time at Zupas! Can't believe we hadn't gone together before!

Our last trip to the doctor went well - he said that Brian should be out of his boots in about 2 weeks - yay! Can't wait for that! It's good timing because that's when I'll be starting work and he'll need to get to school somehow!

Brian has decided to try and take the DAT this coming summer and apply to dental schools as well. It is extremely rushed with all of the things he needs to get done. But, the worst that can happen is that he won't get accepted and apply the year after anyway.

We had a super time with Andrea and Ryan making homemade pizza! It was seriously the best pizza that I have had in a very, very long time. Kuddos to us!

please ignore my double-jointed elbow...

It has been so long since I have had spare time that I am really just lost. I was looking forward to not having anything to do, but now find myself longing for a schedule! I just can't seem to enjoy sitting around doing nothing. I have been reading a lot (I'm on my 3rd Harry Potter book in a week...), cooking more than usual, cleaning the house, fixing our budget, making phone calls.... but really, those things don't take up that much time. I need more to do! I start work next Monday, and that gives me a whole another week to do "stuff." I want to be productive. So, I guess I'm going to brainstorm... What can I get done with all of this spare time?!

  • Decorate our bedroom - buy hooks!
  • Figure out what I want to do for Brian for Valentine's Day
  • Decide if I really want to run a half marathon
  • Donate plasma
  • Buy scrubs for my new job
  • Go to the library and get some books I've been wanting to read
  • Practice the piano
  • Learn first-aid better so I can actually teach the girls camp girls something! (Did I mention that I'm the camp nurse this summer?!)
  • Clean out my closet of clothes I haven't worn in a year
  • Paint
  • Make our wedding scrapbook
  • Crafts from Pinterest
  • Get my car's oil changed
  • Buy new bikes (ours got stolen :/)
  • Write missionaries
  • Study Spanish
  • Return stuff to stores
Etc... etc....

The worst part is that Brian is extremely busy right now with his difficult classes and getting ready to take the DAT. Which means... he is on campus all of the time and I am home alone all of the time. If there is one thing that I have learned from this experience, it's that I don't like being alone for extended periods of time!

I am sure looking forward to starting work next Monday :)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Rachael Pearce, RN

Can I just say that I am SO relieved to be writing this post?! All the anxiety from the last few months has just melted away after finding out I passed the NCLEX! I am now, officially, a registered nurse and will be starting my job in the NICU on the 13th of February. Of course, I have a bit of anxiety about that too... but, I can do this! I can be a grown up, real life, working woman! Right? I guess we'll see :)

The NCLEX was quite the experience. I have known that it was coming for months and months and had guilt trips every now and then because I wasn't studying like I should have been. But, come on... who wants to study during Christmas break?! So, after getting back from New Mexico, dealing with Brian's broken feet fiasco, and psyching myself up for this exam, I got to work. I did thousands of practice questions and tried to memorize as many medications as I could... but I still felt woefully unprepared for the exam. It snuck up on me and I pulled some very late nights to try and feel more confident about the test.

For those of you who don't know, the NCLEX is Evil. With a capital E. The test is designed in such a way that you always feel like you fail - no matter what! It consistently gives you questions that you only have a 50% chance of getting right. Therefore, you get about 50% of them right... and consequently feel like you are failing because you are guessing on practically all of them. It wasn't hard to narrow the answers down to 2 most likely. And then to sit there and go "innie meenie mynie mo" in your head is not too comforting on your national exam. Here is some info from their website about how the exam works:

Why CAT?

CAT is used for the NCLEX because it:
  • Reduces the number of “easy” items that high-ability candidates receive; “easy” items tell little about a high performing candidate’s ability,
  • Reduces the number of “difficult” items low-ability candidates receive; candidates tend to guess on items that are too difficult which can skew results,
  • Reduces item exposure and subsequent security risks,
  • Improves precision of measurement of the NCLEX candidates ability related to nursing and
  • Provides a valid and reliable measurement of nursing competence.

How Does CAT Work?

  1. Every time you answer an item, the computer re-estimates your ability based on all the previous answers and the difficulty of those items.
  2. The computer then selects the next item that you should have a 50% chance of answering correctly.
    • This way, the next item should not be too easy or too hard.
    • The computer’s goal is to get as much information as possible about your true ability level.
    • You should find each item challenging as each item is targeted to your ability
  3. With each item answered, the computer’s estimate of your ability becomes more precise.
Here - watch this video - it explains a lot!

Anyway, so after a delicious breakfast made by my awesome husband, a few more hours of studying, I made the trek to Draper to get it done.  I got to the testing center, studied a few more flashcards in my car, went inside, felt like puking, signed in (got my finger and palms scanned - neat!), was given some instructions and earplugs, and sat in my cubicle. I just kept thinking, "This is it! All these years of school boil down to this test. I better pass." And then... I shoved in my earplugs and started. My first ten questions were not at all encouraging - out of the first 10, 8 of them were "select all that apply" - the worst!! AND, 7 of those 10 were pharmacology questions!! I thought I was going to die. I felt so unsure throughout the whole test. These questions are meant to trick you. I tried to apply all of the strategies I had learned in class and from Kaplan but I still felt like I had to guess on quite a few of them. I was always so grateful when I felt confident about an answer. I was beginning to think that I was never going to pass. 

So, you can get anywhere from 75 to 265 questions based on the "confidence interval" mentioned in the above video. Supposedly if it turns off at 75, your  chances of passing are very high. So, around 65, my heart starting pumping REALLY obnoxiously loud and fast (thanks to the earplugs I was wearing, I could hear it loud and clear). 70....71....72.....73.....74.....75......BLUE SCREEN. I was so happy I about fell out of my chair. I thought for sure it was going to keep going. With the fact that I only got 75 questions as my only shred of hope, I left the testing center still feeling queasy but so glad that I was done. 

And then the real anxiety set in. I thought it was bad before the test. No no no... it is after the test that the anxiety is the worst! Because, now there isn't anything you can do about it! I was either going to pass, start my job in the NICU, and carry on OR fail, have to tell everyone I failed, lose my job offer, pay another $200, study for another 45-90 days for the dreaded test again, and find a different job. To be honest, I was most afraid of the shame. I just kept imagining having to tell my boss, "Um. I'm so sorry... but I can't start work on the 13th. Yes, I failed the NCLEX." Ahhh! That would've been horrible!

So, long story short... Andrea woke me up with a great phone call on Thursday morning informing me that my license was posted on the DOPL website. I'm a nurse! I'm a nurse!

And now for some highlights from nursing school! I couldn't have gotten through the first year without Andrea - as you will see, she is in a lot of these pictures! It seems that I forgot to take pictures the last couple semesters... 

giving radioactive drugs at Primary Children's Medical Center
My first clinical group! 


Learning how to "scrub-in"

First shots!

First time drawing up "insulin"

More shots... Good job Andrea1

Workin' it at the rest home 


Bahahahah! NG tubes (ours was the last year they ever made students do this...)

Andrea - remember when we spilled your stomach contents onto your pants? I think I can see the spot!

Yep, I loved it!

blood draws...

my first blood draw!

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