Monday, April 28, 2014

Term III Travel

As a freshman, I wrote before that I traveled to Ireland for my term III trip/class and that it truly was the time of a lifetime. I thought that maybe incoming students would want to know more about term III travel and since my bathroom-mate (like a room mate, just share a bathroom and have our own rooms) is currently in Ireland on the same trip I took, I wanted to share about term III trips currently taking place.

Like I said, the Ireland trip is about a week in now and based on the pictures I have seen, everyone is having TONS of fun. They have gone to the ocean, stayed and enjoyed the bars and history of Dublin, toured the Guinness factory, gone to visit old castles, and of course kissed the Blarney Stone. It brings back so many memories and makes me realize just how happy I am I traveled term III.

The South Africa trip just left yesterday and I am sure they are going to have an amazing time! They will be spending time in Johannesburg for a few days where they will enjoy the city and participate in a fossil dig. They are then going to a wildlife park where they will be on a three day safari! They will visit Nelson Mandela's village, visit some amazing caves and other landmarks. They will also be volunteering at a local school during their trip. I am so jealous, it truly sounds amazing!

The trip for the UK (Ireland for a few days, England for a few days) involves seeing many historic landmarks and of course enjoying the beauty of Ireland while visiting Dublin. It involves more countries than just the Ireland class and also focuses on something different therefore students can get different credits.

There is a trip to Alaska that has already began. Students get outdoor adventure like experiences there, spending lots of time hiking, kayaking, sightseeing, whale watching, and just enjoying the beauty of Alaska and the nature around them. It is truly an adventurists dream trip and those who go definitely get that feeling.

These are just some of the trips offered to give students a better idea of what is available. I would encourage every student who can to take the opportunity at least once during your four years at EC to travel during term III. There is nothing else more fun or more of an experience/adventure then taking one of these trips and I would absolutely do it again if I could. I hope this helps break it down more for those wondering!

Term III Preceptorship!

I cannot believe I am officially in my last term III EVER! Everyone is at school enjoying the beginning of their new classes, the start of intramural softball (a fan favorite at EC), and many have left for their term III trips to places including Ireland, South Africa, England, Bahamas, etc. And then there is me...I am home doing my senior nursing preceptorship in the ICU! Elmira is different in the sense that the nursing program requires a 5 week preceptorship in which you work with a nurse and essentially learn to be a real nurse, an independent critical thinker and apply these skills in a real clinical setting. Many students stayed on campus to do their preceptorship at a local hospital but I chose to go home and do mine in NH. It is good to think about where you would want to get a job in the future and consider doing your preceptor their to get a foot in the door, become trained in certain things, and prove yourself as a nurse. 

So far, I am LOVING it! It is amazing. Everyday is different, some sad, some rewarding, some happy. I have been able to practice to many skills and really develop my nursing skills to an advanced level. I feel like a sponge, literally absorbing everything and just learning so much each day I am working in the ICU. I am practically acting as the nurse and providing total care with my nurse overseeing my work and making sure no errors are made. I have really connected with some patients and feel like each day I really make a difference in someone's life. Sometimes it can be sad, and I have lost patients already and had to help the family cope with that. Other times it is so exciting and rewarding. My favorite experience so far involved an older man who I had taken care of for a few days and had been on a ventilator for a few weeks. His prognosis looked grim, as every time they tried to remove the ventilator, he would struggle to breathe and not be able to come off of it. It became a burden on the son who now had to make the decision to remove the life support and see if he could pull out of the breathing problems, or if they would begin comfort care like all the doctors predicted. Before this happened, for the previous days as I had taken care of him, I spoke a lot to the patient, held his hand, told him (even though he was sedated and unresponsive mostly) that I was there for him, there to help take care of him, and that he was in good hands. I truly bonded with him and knew that deep down in his sedated state, he was in there listening. Well, the time came to remove the ventilator and as I stood in the room holding his hand with the son at my side and the doctors around, I prepared myself to see a downward spiral. But as the tube was removed, and the patient had a good cough, he looked directly at me and the first words he uttered after over two weeks of not being able to speak were "Hi, Amy!". Everyone in the room was shocked, and I almost fell over but it truly made my day. After all those days of telling him I was there for him, who I was, that he was in good hands, etc. I really felt I had made an impact. He could have said anything, to his family, doctors, etc. and he chose me. After he calmed down a bit, he later thanked me and told me how much he appreciated me talking to him, holding his hand, and making him feel like he wasn't alone. It was such a rewarding experience. In the end, he ended up breathing fine after the ventilator was removed and really started to look good. It was so great to see him defy the odds and come out of it. He was transferred to a regular floor a day later and to the extent of my knowledge is still doing fine. Days like this, moments like this, make me realize just how lucky I am to soon be a nurse and help people at their most vulnerable and difficult times. It is not always easy or happy, but it is always worth it.
Here is a picture of me on my first day!

The hours I am required to do are flying by as I am working 12 hour shifts, doing some online discussions for my preceptorship class, and staying busy in the job search. I am sad to be missing my last term III on campus playing softball, enjoying no class Wednesdays, and just spending time with friends. But I am happy with my decision to come home and do my preceptorship in the ICU in NH. I will post more soon to update you all!

Friday, March 21, 2014

100 Days Celebration!

Here is comes, the start of senior year celebrations! Today was the yearly 100 days celebration for the senior class. In actuality, we only have 71 days left until graduation which is even more crazy, but today was just the beginning of the party. First we took our class picture just like we did when we started at EC. Then we all moved into Meier lounge and had the ceremony in which our class awards are presented including male and female alumni ring recipients, male and female candlelight speakers, parent speaker, class reporters, etc. are all named. Also, every member of the class receives their alumni class pin from an alumni. Then we have a champagne toast and have a big dinner in the dining hall just for the senior class. To finish off the night, the school throws a big dance for the seniors to start and then everyone to come to! Everyone gets all dressed up and kind of goes through a reality check in which we realize it is almost time to graduate. I still can't get over it because it feels like JUST yesterday I moved into Columbia first and was wearing my beanie, scared out of my mind and super awkward of course. Here we are almost 4 years later now celebrating the last stretch of the school year and our upcoming graduation. Needless to say, it is an exciting time!

Here are a bunch of pictures from today!

 From Columbia first floor to best friends now!

Nursing Majors! Probably half of us!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Relay for Life!

This weekend was exciting because Relay for Life took place, which is a benefit all night walk for cancer in which clubs form teams and raise money. It was also Sibling and Friends Weekend, so many people had family and friends visiting and their were many activities for that event, including human bowling. 

I had a fantastic time at Relay for Life. I was the 6th highest raiser for money raising $205 dollars. Our team, which was EC Tap Ensemble, had 15 of its members participate which was awesome! We also performed at the event, and so did many others including the accapella groups on campus, danceline, and various musicians. There were tons of activities but the highlight was hearing one of EC's own share her story of her recent battle with cancer. As a beloved faculty member of the college, many students were there to show their support for her. Overall, the event was wonderful and I am so happy to know so many students at EC share a common focus on fighting cancer.

Here are some pictures from the event!

One of the tap performances!

I relay for my grandmother every year!

 The luminar ceremony!

 My best friend and I! She is the president of tap!


All the EC Tap members who participated!
The officers!
Relay decorations!

The day before Relay for Life, EC Tap also performed at one of the local nursing homes. The residents LOVED the Broadway show music and were so happy to have us visit, they were telling us how they wished we could come more than once a year. It was great to make them smile and visit with them, and I am so proud to be part of a club where students are willing to give up their free time to make others smile. It was a great experience.

These pictures are of some of the tappers performing dances from our Broadway show!

In other news, I am finishing up my home nursing community clinical rotation this week which is sad because I have really met some wonderful patients and watched them improve over the past three weeks. I also enjoy working with my nurse as she has given me some wonderful experiences to learn nursing skills and become a better nurse. I will definitely miss this rotation when it is over! Next I will be heading to the VA in Bath, NY. I have heard from other students that they liked that experience, so I am excited for that as well. I also had an exam in community today, so I am eagerly looking forward to getting the results back because I felt pretty confident and really studied hard. 

Other than that, I am just trying to not let senoritis get the best of me and keep working hard in my classes. Just 82 more days until graduation!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Belated February Post

February really flew by and I drafted this and never sent it to fill everyone in on ECs current happenings. This weekend the senior class of 2014 sponsored a Elmira Jackals Game to raise money for Senior week, so I got a ticket to support my class and had tons of fun at the game!

Seniors are busy all around! The nursing majors are busy planning the pinning ceremony which takes place the weekend of graduation. I will be speaking and so will some of my classmates. This is where we get pinned with the nursing pin that we will have forever and it is truly an honor to have this ceremony and is taken very seriously among peers. All of my family will be attending so we are busy getting everything together to make it happen! We have music to pick out, performances to figure out, and just lots of details to make it perfect. 89 Days until graduation, which means 88 until the pinning ceremony which to me is way more important and meaningful.

In other news, just 5 more weeks of term 2 before my internship. I was with home health nursing again for clinical today and got to visit patients in their homes. Today I did a PICC line dressing change, administered medications via the line, and also got to change a wound vacuum which is really a rare yet exciting experience. Overall, this term is FLYING by!

Here's to the start of March and my last FULL month on the EC campus EVER!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

95 Days Until Graduation...Wait WHAT?!

That's right...just 95 more days until graduation! Absolutely mind boggling to think about because in all seriousness, when you start college it feels like it is going to be the longest 4 years of your life, especially in nursing school. But in reality, it is the fastest years of your life. It feels like just yesterday I was moving into Columbia 1st, filled with excitement and anxious for the beginning of this 4 year journey. Now, with just 95 days until graduation, it is all coming to an end.

EC just had February break after midterms (see my midterm week in a nutshell in the photograph below), so I am officially back at school for my final 6 weeks of classes. I am still in community nursing and currently my clinicals include going on home health visits to see patients within the community, as well as completing some rotations in urgent care. All of the clinical experiences truly allowed me to get a better understanding on the community around EC and learn about just how important community nursing is. In just 6 short weeks I will finish this class and have 2 more exams, as well as present my final project in which I developed a community based plan to address an issue within Chemung County. I am excited about my project because although it is a lot of work and takes a long time to complete, I feel my idea of addressing adolescent depression is an essential thing to focus on in the upcoming years to create a better community and adolescent population. I will have the opportunity to present in front of many EC faculty members later in the term. I am also still in critical thinking and have taken many practice NCLEX tests which are helping to build my confidence in testing as well as giving me a baseline for how I will do when I take the NCLEX, and so far it is looking good! Finally, I just started aerobics and will be starting another night class next week, so I really am in the final stretch of the term and it is so exciting!

This is what midterm week in nursing school looks like...

After this term is over, I will be returning home to complete my internship at Concord Hospital in NH in the ICU. I am SO EXCITED to finally be practicing like a real nurse, become independent in my care, and further develop my hands on and critical thinking skills. Over break I was able to meet my preceptor and get oriented to the hospital, so now I am even more excited to begin the internship. Although 200 hours seems like a lot, it actually is not and will go by extremely fast! I just hope to get as much experience as I can and take every learning opportunity to further develop as a student nurse.

Campus is busy, of course, since it is the last 6 weeks before term 3. I have been attending many basketball games and cheering on my friend. Lots of campus is coming out to support our winter athletes and some of our teams, including Men's Volleyball and Women's Hockey are nationally ranked and doing great! Soon it will all be over and term 3 will begin, and I can already tell everyone on campus is ready! During term 3, many are going to be traveling abroad, others will be doing clinicals, student teaching, or taking classes you could never imagine exist. Term 3 truly is fun because it is a time of exploring while learning. Not to mention beautiful weather, floating on floats in the fountain, and the beginning of intramural softball, a campus favorite. Until then, winter goes on and the campus stays busy. Relay for Life is coming up in which the EC campus raises money for cancer. Tap will be performing again and so will many other clubs on campus. We also have lots of senior fundraisers coming up to help raise money for senior week! As the term winds down I will update frequently because this is an exciting time for me and the class of 2014 because everyday that goes by is bringing us closer to June 1st, graduation!

Taryn and I enjoying a basketball game...or at least keeping busy during halftime! :)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Tap Show and a Term II Update

As promised, I have tons of news about the tap show! First off, tons of people came and many of my peers came which was even more wonderful! My mom and a great family friend drove from NH to watch me and were able to record the show! And the best boyfriend drove all through the night to come and surprise me to see me tap for the first time!!!! Having his support made me feel so lucky! 

The show was AMAZING! The costumes this year were better than ever and we had such a large club. The week before we had our holiday party and everyone got excited for the upcoming week of practice, practice, practice. My dances were incredible and I am so lucky to have such dedicated tappers! I took lots of pictures so here they are!

 Me and my best friend, and president of the club, before our duet!

 Tap officers!

 5 Guys Named Moe


On stage with Jenna!

 The club!

 All That Jazz!

Surprise visit from Bry!

Needless to say, it was a perfect weekend. It is bittersweet because it was my last tap show, but it was everything I could gave imagined and more! Now that it is over, I am back to the nursing school grind! Things are busy, but it is proving to be a rewarding term. So far in community nursing I have gone to multiple schools in the area which has definitely helped me connect with the pediatric patients on a deeper level. I will also be able to go to the VA, the local health department, home nursing visits, a local OBGYN office, and other unique experiences. These have given me the opportunity to use my nursing skills to make an impact in the community and I feel it is extremely important to be a nurse who can do that. My other classes are going well too and my critical thinking class is definitely helping me to prepare for the NCLEX. Campus in general is busy, the women's hockey team is having a good season and the women's basketball team is having an UNFORGETTABLE year with the most wins I can remember! They had a streak of 10 last time I heard! The men's basketball team and hockey team are also doing well and I am sure soon I will be able to attend one! Nursing club just got our shirt orders in and they are amazing! Check it out!

Pretty creative!

That is all I have for now! January and February will be busy so I am sure I will have lots to report! :)