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April 23, 2021, 09:38:26 pm

Author Topic: Letís try again: Heidiís nursing journey journal  (Read 1526 times)

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heids

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Letís try again: Heidiís nursing journey journal
« on: January 17, 2021, 06:03:18 pm »
+31
You know, in school I always assumed that everyone finished high school, got into their desired degree, completed the degree in 3-4 years, and got a full-time job in that field and stayed there for years.

hahahahahahahahahahahahaHAHAHAHAHAHA

I could not have been more wrong.

Now, 7 years out of high school, Iím going to begin my degree.  Nothing so far has followed that pretty plan.  In 2021 Iím right back where I started in 2016: beginning a Bachelor of Nursing at Monash.  This journal will document my second shot at becoming a half-decent nurse.

Highly skippable rant about offers
Offers threw me a curveball Ė Deakin passed me over, but I luckily landed my last preference at Monash, though I expected them to be pickier than Deakin.  Look, Iím not disappointed Ė travel time was the main bar.

But still.  Frankly, Iím pissed at Deakin for passing me over for a degree with clearly-in ATAR entry of 72.  It sucks that Iím in a much worse position for uni entry than I was, without my ATAR to magically prove that Iím a Good Candidate and a Smart Person.  And yet I feel like Iím a much better candidate now than I was last time.  I tried to tell them all this most eloquently in my personal statement, but obviously without success.

In school, itís easy to rank everyone based on numbers, but in real life, thereís no way to ďproveĒ where you stand Ė and perhaps those black and white numbers and rankings and comparisons werenít that important, after all.

Well, it really doesnít matter.  A good dent to one's overactive ego is never a bad thing.

Post-High-School Journey
So far, my years out of high school have looked like this:
2015: VCE tutor, gained Cert III/IV in aged care, and began working in aged care
2016: Started a Bachelor of Nursing at Monash while working too many hours, fell apart and had several psych hospitalisations, quit both job and uni and did nothing for nearly a year
2017-18: Started volunteering at the Salvos to start picking myself up
2018-21: FT work at the Salvos, including store management
2021: As you will see documented in this thread.

This time vs. last time
First time round, I want to uni as a default.  It was just what happened.  Yes, I cared about what I was doing, but it was still a bit of a default, and I didn't anticipate returning once I dropped out.

This time, I know itís the right thing.  Iíve tried out (and thoroughly enjoyed) full time work elsewhere; now I know this is the decision I definitely want to make for the long term.  Iím truly passionate about becoming the best nurse I can be, and Iím going to give it what Iíve got.  Iím going in with intention, decision, dedication, and a desire to soak it all in.  Of course Iíll hate some of it, consider giving up at intervals, procrastinate a bunch, get ridiculously cynical at times, and miss a lot of opportunities.  But I go in with intention.  And a strong enough wish for the destination that I might as well get the most I can out of the journey.  And I hope thatís enough.

Last time, I did very little research and knew so little.  This time, Iíve scoured the internet for all the information I can find, Iíve joined the union, Iíve listened to lots of nursing podcasts, and Iíve read the entire enterprise bargaining agreement multiple times.  I didnít know what an EBA was last time.  I know Iím being overeager, but Iím so glad Iíve done it.  Iím also a little more confident in myself, in how I interact, in how I dress, in how I lead, in who I am.  I have a way to go with this, but itís a long way from last time.

Why I want to be a nurse
My extensive rambles on this are probably a story for another day, but I have reasons both pragmatic and idealistic (where idealistic = stereotypical ::) ).

Pragmatic:
-   Iíll be paid reasonably wellÖ at least compared to working retail like I am now :P
-   Decent job security (biggest healthcare profession)
-   I can pivot between so many different vastly different types of nursing (and fairly easily into other areas of healthcare)
The reason I donít want to tell anyone
Its lower bar to entry means I wonít feel quite as inadequate as I would in med or physio.  On the flip side, the lack of prestige secretly bothers me more than it should.  Medicine is a badge of honour Ė it automatically proves that youíre smart and competent without having to say anything further.  NursingÖ well, can you see many aspiring nurses on this prestige-obsessed forum?
Idealistic:
-   As a nurse, you work directly with patients. You help, care, support, make things better, on a very direct level, interacting with them as people more than doctors, who spend less time helping patients directly as a person.  Nurses really are the backbone of the healthcare system.  Yadayadayada.  Look, I just really do want to make my little piece of the world a marginally better place and I canít see myself anywhere other than healthcare in the long term. Į\_(ツ)_/Į

Where do I see myself ending up?
Iíll have to wait and see what specialties of nursing call out to me as I go, but Iím going to try and fight against the belief that ďhigher acuity = better nurseĒ.

Two key areas I could see myself working in, and most importantly fighting for improvements in:
1.  Care navigation/case management: directing and supporting people throughout their entire healthcare journey in the longer term, rather than just trying to bounce the acutely ill back out of hospital
2.  Aged care reforms: challenging ageism in healthcare (the most ignored ism!), questioning the value of extending life without extending the quality of that life, and overall focusing on improving what life is like for the elderly



Well, there ya go.  I'm getting tired of starting sentences with "I".  I hope this will be of interest to someone - but if not, it will probably be a topic of interest (and much derision) to my future self.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2021, 06:10:02 pm by heids »
VCE (2014): HHD, Bio, English, T&T, Methods

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Re: Letís try again: Heidiís nursing journey journal
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2021, 06:58:09 pm »
+11
It's great to see you back again!

Usually I might step in with some form of advice or a question but I feel like you've explained yourself so clearly there's nothing for me to ask & I feel like you'd already know any advice I'd have to give. If you are possibly thinking no one might be interested I'd say you've forgotten a bit about some of the older mods at least :P. I have also seen a few people around with interest in nursing (albeit not nearly as much as med) so I'd be surprised if no one uses this as an information-source as well.

Best of luck with nursing & I'll be keenly waiting for updates :D

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Re: Letís try again: Heidiís nursing journey journal
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2021, 07:49:01 pm »
+3
Ooh, goody, I was hoping you'd make a uni journal. :)

Will be interested to hear updates.

I would ask questions but I've probably asked them all/will ask them sometime. :)
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Re: Letís try again: Heidiís nursing journey journal
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2021, 08:48:55 pm »
+3
Yay for this journal!

I'm keen to hear more, when you share <3
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homeworkisapotato

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Re: Letís try again: Heidiís nursing journey journal
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2021, 01:25:58 pm »
+3
Hi Heids! I've read your HHD guide like 50 million times, I'm so excited to follow along on your journey!
Your passion for nursing is so inspiring, so I'm looking forward to the next update  ;D
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Re: Letís try again: Heidiís nursing journey journal
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2021, 10:15:33 pm »
+1
2.  Aged care reforms: challenging ageism in healthcare (the most ignored ism!), questioning the value of extending life without extending the quality of that life, and overall focusing on improving what life is like for the elderly

I really admire your desire to contribute to an area that is, like you said, commonly egregiously neglected. I'm looking forward to following your journey! :))
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Re: Letís try again: Heidiís nursing journey journal
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2021, 04:41:47 pm »
+1
You know, in school I always assumed that everyone finished high school, got into their desired degree, completed the degree in 3-4 years, and got a full-time job in that field and stayed there for years.

hahahahahahahahahahahahaHAHAHAHAHAHA
Also, I don't know about anyone else, but this is the best start to a uni journal I've ever read. :P
Even though I intend to do it all that way.
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heids

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Re: Letís try again: Heidiís nursing journey journal
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2021, 01:46:46 pm »
+10
Thank you for your interest and comments, everyone!

@Bri Honestly, I'm happy to take all the advice I can get.  Sure, I'll definitely be the stereotypically snobby know-it-all mature-aged (ripe old age of 22, get off my lawn) student who looks down on 'those kids straight out of high school'.  But ultimately, I just have SO much to learn.

@homeworkisapotato wow, someone reads that thing I wrote so many years ago?!  Glad to know I'm not completely forgotten ;)

I really admire your desire to contribute to an area that is, like you said, commonly egregiously neglected. I'm looking forward to following your journey! :))

I've constantly come across the idea that the good nurses go to ICU/ED, while the 'dregs' go into aged care.  That in itself is telling.

It seems to me that we've lost a lot of the historical respect we had for the elderly.  They typically have extensive life experience and a lot of wisdom from past mistakes.  They have a rich history of memories, hopes and dreams, skills and achievements, hardships (often unimaginably so), heartbreak, and romance.  Yet we write them off with dismissive phrases like "OK boomer" (boomers are currently on the young and privileged end of "the elderly", but still).  We laugh at them, judge them for beliefs and behaviours that we too would share if we'd grown up in the same setting as them, and talk very diminutively to and about the elderly.

From what I saw of residential aged care, I honestly think that I'd want to kill myself before being incarcerated in your typical nursing home for 10 years.  I don't mean to say that life is without value after a certain point, but living situations can be pretty restricted and meaningless.

I plan to spend a lot of time learning about voluntary assisted dying and palliative care, and how we can improve delivery of home care, and how we can change social speech patterns to and about the elderly.



On this note, I'm currently trying to apply for part-time/casual PCA jobs in aged care.  I'm really worrying about whether I'll be able to juggle work and uni to my satisfaction, as it's important to me that I do both, and my expectations of myself have only grown since last time.
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Re: Letís try again: Heidiís nursing journey journal
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2021, 08:07:15 am »
+1
From what I saw of residential aged care, I honestly think that I'd want to kill myself before being incarcerated in your typical nursing home for 10 years.
I absolutely agree with this. Personally I think they do a pretty good job of it, but it's still a nursing home. I think your aims are pretty good ones. :)

Also, 'good' in a nurse can be fairly subjective, can it not? For some places you want a certain type, for others, others. And our elderly have contributed to who we are (even ignoring the fact that, if they weren't around, we wouldn't be) as a society and as families. I hadn't realised that what you're describing is true, but you could very well be right.

'those kids straight out of high school'
*cough, cough* Talking about me? :P
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heids

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Re: Letís try again: Heidiís nursing journey journal
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2021, 04:48:16 pm »
+12
I've only done one week, making my judgments of uni extremely premature, but the two main takeaways so far:

1. The positive: The RESOURCES! The LIBRARIES!  :o :-* :D  I'm pretty good at self-teaching, but it makes a MASSIVE difference having targeted and summarised resources, verbal explanations, people to answer questions, a directed (and deadlined) plan, and more access to books and articles.  I'll probably learn twice as fast in this environment than trying to struggle through vast, untargeted, internet resources. 

(It's strange: learning simply via internet access feels like a combination of drowning and dying of thirst.  There's such a vast flood of broad information, and you can't decide which resources or topics to prioritise.  At the same time, you're locked out of useful textbooks and journal articles etc, and while you can find these resources or equivalents, it takes a lot of time and effort to dig rather than a simple search finding it immediately.) 

I feel deeply, deeply privileged to have access to this education; after 5 years out of the education system, I'm truly appreciating the value like I haven't before.

2. The negative: The STUDENTS!  At least give something a 10-second shot before asking an idiotic question.  Ten seconds of research is all I ask.  I know I'm being horribly judgmental, but the average literacy and common-sense and self-reliance skills don't seem amazing (and of course AN is the best place to be judgmental ;) )

I know it'll get way better further into the course, but I'll likely find it frustrating and isolating for a while.  I bet teaching staff hate teaching first year first semester subjects; so far, it looks like pulling teeth.

I'm keen to meet some mature-aged students, because while I can visually pass as one of the young'uns, I'm really a snobby self-righteous grandma inside, minus the wise life experience.  ::)  At work, I interact with people of all ages, but most of my volunteers under 20 are unusually driven and mature people - which is why they're volunteering!  I also just gravitate to people older than me.  So it's a while since I've been surrounded by people younger than me, with little drive or experience.

I'm really trying to strike the balance between being proactive/engaged, and not being Hermione.  It's tricky; I don't know how to socially fit in without intentionally dumbing myself down, and I don't know how to stop being as internally judgmental as you've seen above.

I'm going to note down everyone who seems genuinely driven or asks intelligent questions in classes, and actively seek them out.  I have two people I plan to introduce myself to next week.
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heids

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Re: Letís try again: Heidiís nursing journey journal
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2021, 04:59:03 pm »
+11
Week 5 already!  Compared with how long I waited until uni started, it's absolutely flying by.

I'll do a social update another time.  Suffice it to say, I've already given up my goals of being social at uni; I'm focusing on socialising elsewhere, rather than changing myself to fit in with a group of people that are so different to me.  I don't mean that I'm not being friendly, but I'm also not going out of my way to conform or spend extra time with co-students, when I have others that already mean more to me.

Instead, I'll talk about the 2500wd cultural competence essay I submitted yesterday, worth 35% of the unit.  Not hugely important, but important to my brain, which has unreasonable, intense and anxiety-inducing standards.  1st semester is hard, not knowing how I'm performing or what a "good" essay looks like.  I thought I'd have feedback from last time, but no, I apparently deleted or lost it all.

Still, I learnt a lot for next time; I'm writing this here as part of my learning process, not because I think anyone wants to read it haha.

1. Time management approach: good. A month before the due date, I allocated myself specific days to work on specific paragraphs.  That meant that I never worried about it on other days, and I knew that I was on track at all times.  I still got stressed at the end, but only because I wanted it to be perfect and I didn't know how.  I knew I had a submittable completed piece a couple of days before, even if it wasn't perfect.

2. Perfectionism and over-research: very bad.  I got bogged down in WAY too much detail, far above and beyond what I needed to.  In the end, I cut out a tonne of what I'd written, and still ended up with over twice the number of recommended references.  I was pretty inefficient in a lot of ways, honestly.  And I'd often find I just couldn't write; my brain was screaming at me that I had no idea what I was doing and it wasn't good enough.  Hooray for crippling perfectionism!

At the same time, for HD marks, the rubric kept saying "comprehensive and insightful discussion".  But how the HELL can I, for instance, comprehensively and insightfully discuss my culturally-affected beliefs on death/dying and use of medications/alternative therapies in 300 words?  300!  My whole essay felt like an oversimplified quick glance.  Hopefully that counts as comprehensive and insightful enough.

3. Information organisation... mediocre.
I plan to have (at least) 3 documents for each assessment:
a. Research: each article's/source's reference list entry is a heading.  Its relevant content is precisely summarised in dot points below, with any direct quotes in "quotes". (Seems obvious, but I didn't do this at first, and some of my information got a bit lost - I couldn't remember precisely where I got it, which led to re-reading a lot of articles).  Colour-coding of dot-points based on which paragraph it's most relevant to, if desired.
b. Actual essay: with headings/subheadings for outline.
c. Reference list: to be added to my essay soon before submission.  EndNote probably does all this, but I hit enough hitches in setup that I gave up, so I'm manually referencing, and still a bit shaky.
             Italicised entry = completely checked, no referencing errors or commas out of place
             (I might do this with chunks of the essay, so I don't keep re-reading parts I'm happy with)
             Grey entry = not currently cited in my essay (i.e. I haven't written that part yet, or temporarily took it out)

4. Tabs opened: too many.  When searching for articles, I'd often open up a bunch of articles before reading any of them.  I need to be focused: try one, and keep or reject (if keep, document in Research doc with full citation).  Then close it, and open a second article.  I might have a document that records my searches, too; I found myself bouncing round a bit, giving up on one search and then repeating it again later.

5. Next time, I'll print my first draft.  Everything looks more professional and competent when it's printed, which is really what I need to know.  I can also see the bigger structural picture, write things all over it without having to delete them later (I hate Comments in Word), look at it at work without having to pull out my laptop, etc.

6. Reference-fishing: ugh.  So much of my time was spent reference-fishing, rather than insightfully learning things.  Finding the right reference to back an obvious or broad statement can be really hard, and often feels incredibly pointless.

In summary, while I hated almost every word of this essay, I think I learnt a lot from the process.  I was happy with how disciplined and non-procrastinatory (this has to be a word) I was, but felt very inefficient.

RANT ABOUT ESSAY CONTENT
This was a disgusting essay.  Everything I researched pretty much says "what you're doing right now is a really bad way of teaching cultural competence".  We were comparing the beliefs of two ethnicities (it said cultures, but they really just wanted us to pick ethnicities, and said so in as many words) around two health beliefs.  I wasted a lot of words constantly saying every sentence "some people of Indian cultural background may believe..." because no, I refuse to say "Indian people believe in reincarnation and practice Ayurveda rather than taking Western medications and chant mantras when they die".

Direct quote from a lecturer when asked if someone could use a religion rather than an ethnicity: "No.  Religion is not a culture, although it influences culture.  For example, you cannot say that Catholics don't eat red meat on a Friday - as this may not be true of all peoples who are Catholics."  And yet somehow a generalised stereotype IS true of an ethnicity of over 1 billion people, covering vastly different religions, languages, geography, SES, etc?

Some verbal quotes: "What even are African Americans?  You should just do Africa as a culture."
And: "I don't know if Americans have a particular culture as such, there aren't any dominant values and beliefs." (I thought half the point was teaching us that we have internalised culture, and that's particularly important for members of generic "Western" cultures to understand; it's really damaging to think that the way you do things is the normal, innate way, and other cultures are the weird/different way.  Anglocentrism has done the world a lot of harm.)

As I said above, literally every resource I read about cultural competence education said "never do it by comparing a stereotyped list of beliefs of ethnicities".   This unit is getting a really harsh SETU response.

VCE (2014): HHD, Bio, English, T&T, Methods

Uni (2021-23): Bachelor of Nursing @ Monash Clayton

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Re: Letís try again: Heidiís nursing journey journal
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2021, 06:12:03 pm »
+7
Glad to see all healthcare degrees have a ridiculous essay about health beliefs of different ethnicities lol. Sounds like you're absolutely smashing it, Heidi, and I love how organised you are about everything - the benefits of coming to uni as an adult rather than being fresh out of school! I can't help but wonder the things I would have done differently if I entered my course at a later date.

heids

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Re: Letís try again: Heidiís nursing journey journal
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2021, 07:59:48 pm »
+8
Sounds like you're absolutely smashing it, Heidi, and I love how organised you are about everything - the benefits of coming to uni as an adult rather than being fresh out of school! I can't help but wonder the things I would have done differently if I entered my course at a later date.

I don't feel like a master of organisation, by a long shot, but the main difference I'm noticing is being a lot more reflective.  I'm seeking to learn from every experience, and even if I don't apply it in practice as well as I feel I should, I still think it's an improvement.

For instance, I really felt I worked very inefficiently and spent an unnecessarily long time on this essay.  But I'm trying to approach it as a sunk cost, rather than bashing myself up about it, and what can I gain so that I'm more efficient in future?  Some of the things I had to spend time on for this essay were just practice for my future work.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2021, 08:02:13 pm by heids »
VCE (2014): HHD, Bio, English, T&T, Methods

Uni (2021-23): Bachelor of Nursing @ Monash Clayton