March, 2007 Archive

March 17, 2007, 1:00 pm

Nursing School: How to Start BEFORE You Get Into a Program!


I have a comment.

Nurses are not “trained”, they are educated. Dogs are trained.

And I have a few questions, too!

How did they get those bows in the back so perfect?

Why is this student stopping her colleague in the middle of medication rounds to tell her about “pink toothbrush”?

I doubt her classmate is hemorrhaging from her gums at this very moment. Her mouth is closed and it’s hard to tell.

Personally, I’d write her up for interfering with the “Five Rights of Medication Admininstration”, as you just know Janet’s med was late now that she was worried about her gumline!

I mean, the conversation is still going on as they are walking around campus in those capes and their 10/10 Emergiblog rated caps!

I cropped the ad, so you are missing the frame where Janet can now date Dr. Gorgeous because she is no longer sporting oozing gums.

As it all turns out, Janet’s gums were fine, she just had lipstick on her teeth…..


Public Service Announcement: If you have not seen the new NBC show “Raines” with Jeff Goldblum, you are missing a gem of a show. And if you missed the pilot episode, you can actually watch it online here.

A Real Public Service Announcement: In an absolute first, following the 90-minute film that aired Thursday, HBO is offering their entire 14-film series, The Addiction Project online, free of charge. You can access the films here. These films can change lives. You want an example of corporate citizenship and responsibility? This is it. Kudos to HBO!


If you are thinking about becoming a nurse, or if your are a nurse with an Associate’s Degree or a diploma, there are ways you can start your route to nursing or to an advanced degree without even being in a nursing program.

I did it by accident.

Until a little over 18 months ago, a BSN was the last thing I wanted.

In fact, I wanted anything but a BSN.

To be honest, back in the ’80s I didn’t even want to be a nurse anymore. I was so burnt I was crispy around the edges

I actually wanted a degree in music. I didn’t play an instrument so I took a year of piano. You can’t become a concert pianist at the age of 29. Bummer. I’d have settled for keyboardist in a rock band.

I loved art, so I took an entire year of art history – the classes designed for art majors. I rock when it comes to art-related “Jeopardy” questions!

I decided to take the next class in the English major sequence, too. Discovered “Hamlet”. Great fun!

One day I decided that I might want to be a paralegal. So…I signed up for two classes at the local university. Decided being a paralegal was like being a nurse. You do all the work and you don’t make the money. Been there, was doing that so left the life of the paralegal student behind me.

I was left with new knowledge, a lot of units and a 4.0 GPA while I was trying to “find myself”.


Okay, so what’s the point?

The point I’m going to make here is that every one of those classes led me towards my BSN, even though I did not recognize it at the time.

Every single one of those units was accepted by the University of Wisconsin when I finally decided to go back for the BSN.

I started thinking about someone unable to commit to a nursing program right now, but may want to do it in the future. Or someone who already has their RN license but wants to get their BSN and is too busy working and/or raising a family to be able to even think about it.

My advice?

Take a class. Just one.

Any class.

One at a time. I did two at a time, but that might seem overwhelming.

If you are not a nurse right now:

  • Choose your class with an eye on nursing requirements.
    • Philosophy
    • Sociology
    • Psychology
    • English
    • Math
    • Statistics
    • Speech
    • US History
    • World Cultures
      • all classes that are required whether you eventually decide to go AA or BSN.
      • These are classes that can be taken online if necessary, a technology that wasn’t available back in the 1980s!
      • Perfect for those who don’t have the time (or the babysitters) necessary to actually sit in a classroom.
    • Once these humanities are out of the way, go for the sciences:
      • Biology
      • Chemistry
      • Anatomy and Physiology
      • Microbiology
        • These all have a lab component, so classroom attendance is required.
        • Some nursing schools say that you must have these classes within the 5-10 years before you apply, so if you know it will be awhile before you can apply or aren’t sure what you want to do, you can do these last.

Don’t let the number of classes listed make you weary. Remember, you are doing this one class at a time, at your pace, on your schedule and on your budget.

  • Community college is the way to go here. Much cheaper than a university. These are lower division classes. Might as well get the same content for less money!
  • Make sure they are all transferable to a university! This is important. You may not think you want a BSN now, but you might change your mind two decades later, like I did!

If you are already an RN, I have only one word to say to you:


Yep, that’s the word! Whether you have an AA or a diploma, anything you can take in the way of humanities is a good bet.

  • Go for something you are interested in. I had a blast in my classes, and I wasn’t even taking them with an eye on a BSN!
  • You probably did not have to take a critical writing class or a statistics class for your AA/diploma. These will be required for the BSN. Get them out of the way before you apply to a BSN program.
  • Again, make sure that they are transferable.
  • Oh, and don’t discount any classes that you may have taken in the past! Those paralegal classes counted for eight upper division Political Science units/electives. Who would have thought?


The key is to dip your foot in the water here. If you like the temperature, you may decided to take two classes or maybe more.

One class is doable.

We have the technology today to enable us to take a class and never leave our house. Take advantage of this and over the quarters/semesters/years/decades you will find yourself well situated when you decide to make that move into nursing or go for that advanced degree.

I made that decision at the age of 49.

It’s never too late.


In a future post, I’ll discuss online degree programs, what to look for and why I decided to go back for my BSN. Some of the reasons may surprise you!

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March 13, 2007, 10:25 am

Grand Rounds with Monty Python!


It’s time for Grand Rounds again, and Bertalan over at Science Roll has interspersed a wonderful array of posts with equally wonderful Monty Python sketches!

I love John Cleese (Fawlty Towers, anyone?), but I had the biggest crush on Eric Idle.


The next Change of Shift will be hosted by Geena over at Code Blog: Tales of a Nurse on March 22nd!

Geena would like all submissions sent to “codeblogrn at gmail dot com” with “Change of Shift” in the subject line. She has posted guidelines here.

Many thanks to Geena for hosting – when I first ventured into blogging, Geena’s site was (and remains!) the go-to site if you were/are looking for nursing blogs. Code Blog was one of the very first ones I found! I was thrilled when Emergiblog got a “button” on the sidebar.

Heck, I remember being amazed that you could actually make a button for your blog! I thought “html” was a cable station or something……

In fact, now that I’m looking at those buttons today, there are still some I have yet to visit.

Ahem….let’s see, Grand Rounds, coffee and then check out the buttons on Code Blog. The dust bunnies will have to wait!

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March 12, 2007, 12:49 pm

Bribery Will Get You Everywhere


Anyone else remember these ads?

You’d always find them in the back of movie magazines. The old ones, with stories about Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton from the mid ’60s. I think one of them was called “Photoplay” or something similar.

Think of them as “Tiger Beat” and “16 Magazine” for the middle aged.


I could use a pair of these now.

For some reason, the ability of the lower back to withstand aerobic exercise has to do with the strength of one’s abdominal muscles.

Well, I don’t have any abdominal muscles! Therefore my back is killing me after three days after recovering from last week’s foray into the world of Jazzercise.

I remain undaunted, for tomorrow we do a routine to “Vertigo” by U2!!!!!!!!

And that is like, the best rock song EVER! Therefore, I shall press on with all my strength and pray to St. Jude for the spontaneous appearance of something called “obliques”.

St. Jude is the Patron Saint of Lost Causes…..(and hospital workers! I did not know that……)


I love my job. Really, I do.

But sometimes I just have to laugh. It keeps me sane (relatively).

We are supposed to perform what is called “immediate bedding” or “rapid bedding”. This means that if a bed is empty, the arriving patient will go directly to the room and all services come to them. Triage, the doc, registration. You get the picture.

Now, some of my esteemed colleagues are not availing themselves of this new procedure to ensure high “patient satisfaction scores”, the attainment of which can cause a grown hospital administrator to grovel at the feet of said patients.

Never mind that my facility is consistently at the top of the corporation’s list of said scores. We’re like Avis. #2. Have to try harder.

So, in their infinite wisdom, it has been suggested that for every ten patients that a particular RN utilizes the “immediate bedding” procedure they should get a Starbucks Gift Certificate.

Get out of town.

Hell, for a Starbucks Gift Certificate, I’ll go out to the intersection and bring people in and sit their butt on a bed just to collect ten at a pop!

Just tell me how much the certificate is for and how many I am able to earn and I’ll put a butt in a gurney so fast it will still be warm from the previous occupant.

Because lord knows, we professionals need to be bribed to provide stellar patient care.

But this got me to thinking. What else could be used to entice RNs to provide the patient care du jour required by the administration?


Here are some ideas:

  • Jiffy Lube Gift Certificate: to the RN who gives the most enemas in one month (hat tip to the ED doc I was working with the night I was brainstoming this post)

And that, apparently, is how you get the RNs to do their professional duty.

You bribe them.

Oh, and one more thing:

What do you mean you don’t know anybody like that?


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About Me

My name is Kim, and I'm a nurse in the San Francisco Bay area. I've been a nurse for 33 years; I graduated in 1978 with my ADN. My experience is predominately Emergency and Critical Care, and I have also worked in Psychiatry and Pediatrics. I made the decision to be a nurse back in 1966 at the age of nine...

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