Nov 9, 2005

Two bad days

I've had 2 bad days, there have been worse, of course, but these have to be in the top 10 in my Nursing school experience.
From Friday to Monday I did almost nothing else but study. I normally cram hard a day or 2 before a test and get As and Bs on them, but this time I wanted to make a really good grade on some exceptionally hard material. So from morning to bedtime, I studied for 4 days straight. I made notecards, took practice quizzes, took practice critical thinking essays.....Everything I could possibly do. I had to take breaks of course, with a 4 yr old, you have to but I mostly studied. So...Monday night, the night before the test, I studied, got all my stuff together for morning, checked and double checked my alarm clocks (I set 2, My radio alarm and my cell phone) and went to bed around midnight (kinda early for me).
Tuesday morning I wake up at 9 am. The test was at 8.

Ari is in the living room watching cartoons. I ask in tears, "Ari, did you turn off Momma's alarm?" "Yes " She replies. "Baby, you know we have school today" She innocently replies "I wanted you to sleep." Still in tears I tell her to get dressed as I am getting dressed. I got her to school at 9:10, I got to my school at 9:45.
I walked straight to my Nursing coordinator's office (she also happens to be the overall Nursing program director) and again, start crying again. I look like crap, no shower, I hadn't washed my hair, no coffee, I'm breaking out and not wearing any make-up.
She tells me this test counts as my drop. (we can drop just 1 test, the lowest this semester) I convinced her to let me take the test anyway just to see how I would've done and she agrees on account it would help me on my final. It doesn't count towards my grade. I take that Monday. I know it won't count, and I'm not in trouble but I REALLY, REALLY would have aced that test had I made it there. I could have dropped the Test 1= B and had a high A average instead. I studied so damn hard. I'm very disappointed in myself. And so it wouldn't happen again, yesterday night I moved my loudest alarm, my radio alarm to the top of my armoire very high out of the 4 year old's reach. It woke me up fine this morning.
Today was another story. I mentioned in
another entry how I've been having trouble organizing my clinical schedule to work with Ari's pre-K schedule. I HAD found a way that worked until today. Ari starts Pre-K a half an hour later then the rest of the school. After a dozen phone calls I found a daycare that not only opens early (6:30) but can also take her to school for me. The last 2 semesters, clinicals started between 6:45 or 7 but this semester, they decided we all need to be there and starting at 6:30. It was Ok in Pedi because I talked to my instructor about it, she was really understanding and sometimes I even made it there before she did. Today was my OB orientation. This instructor seems unwilling and seemed pretty upset when I mentioned the possibility of me getting there late. Even after I explained the entire situation. (I have no family in town, my friends work early, there is no daycare anywhere that takes your kids at 6am AND will take them to school). Just after our conversation, a classmate who overheard my worries said there is a possibility that she could get her 18 year old daughter to do it as she needs the extra money. She told me she'd talk to her tonight and get back to me. My instructor is reluctantly allowing me to be late tomorrow. (Did I mention that parking for students at the hospital is 3 city blocks away from the hospital!) I'm going to be having asthma attacks by the time I get there since I'll be running! So I hope this thing with her daughter works out.
The worst of the worst of these 2 days was yesterday night when Mom called from Houston. MD Anderson has turned my stepdad, Jerry away. There is nothing they can do for him. His tumor is sitting right next to his carotid artery and no surgeon will touch it. Jerry wants to try an oncologist in Waco as he was told chemo may shrink the tumor and give him more time. I spoke to my mom last night. She says she has to follow Jerry's wishes. I told her that she really needs to speak to Jerry and ask him how he wants to spend the rest of his time. I really think that Chemo will hasten his death like it did for Mike instead of giving him more time. I think in any case, I would be surprised if he made it until Christmas based on the condition he is now. But she's right, she must follow his wishes, and she doesn't want him to go any more then he wants to. I think the oncologist they see will probably tell them the same, and start Hospice in the works.
History repeating


At 22:38, Blogger WI Catholic said...

Oh, the power high that some instructors get just amazes me, and also makes me angry. Most of the instructors I had went to school as young, unmarried single women without children, and returned to school to get higher degrees with a spouse. While they think they had it hard, they would not be able to be as hard-nosed as they are if they had to do it all alone while raising kids. Whether one or three, it brings with it many things that just cannot change or go away.

The worst of the worst for me was the English class where she considered being tardy for class to be 'unprofessional'. This, in a school FOR adults returning to school as well as new high school grads. This with most of the class members who were working people. And I worked the night shifts, all weekends, until 7:30 AM (was allowed to get off at 7:15 after report, but you can imagine that does not ALWAYS work...) and lived twenty minutes from school, plus walking time from lot to classroom.

She gave out her assignments ONLY on Fridays, so that we could work on them over the weekend. DUH... I WORKED 12 hour weekend shifts, and she still refused. They were due on Mondays.

She marked me down each time I was late for class, and wrote that I was inconsiderate and unprofessional! I had explained to her, but she did not care. It was power all the way. She was in control. I have never had any bad grade on any final paper, but she gave us until 3:30 PM on the final day to get our term paper turned in. I was IN her office by 3:10. She was not there. I spoke to several others there, had two 'witness' the time my paper was turned in... and she still was not there when I left at 3:45 PM. When I got the paper back, she had written 'Turned in late, again. D'

The next semester, her class was routinely released fifteen min into the class time for her failure to show!! Several classes! She was ill, and often unable to come, but had no time to call and tell the school to notify her students, many of whom drove an hour for her class, which for some was the ONLY class they had on that day. So, who was 'unprofessional'?

Hang in there, this too shall pass. Click off those days until you are finished with her, do the best you can, without being too hard on yourself. Don't feel less for doing what you can. 'Take what you need, and leave the rest'. And if she marks you down in grades as a result of things you cannot prevent, just know that it is her problem, her power, her control issues, and there is not much you can do about it as a student but to appeal.

God bless!

By the way, I worked full time, went to school with minimum of 12 credits, and raised three by myself, so I understand what you are going through. If you need to vent...

At 01:09, Blogger Jo said...

Thanks so much for your encouraging story and your kind words on Mike's memorial page. It's good to hear from a single mom/student veteran like yourself. I'm hanging in there, this particular instructor is just so much colder then the others I've had. (I've been lucky with my instructor assignments) Fortunately she doesn't control my grades entirely as we have a Pass/fail thing in clinicals and our tests in class are multiple choice on the computer. I don't think she can fail me in clincals for being 20-30 minutes late since when I've warned her and past clinicals started later. I may be doing extra credit work to make up but it'll be fine.
Thanks again for reading,

At 03:53, Blogger WI Catholic said...

Long ago, my mother was a third year student with only about three months left to go (no four year or two yr programs then). One of the nuns was very hard on student nurses. Mom had missed time due to her own illness, and then due to her mother's death from cancer. When she returned to Milwaukee, she was scheduled only half time. Sister informed her that only paid her room and board, and therefore did not count toward graduation, and she had NO IDEA when she could begin to schedule Mom full time again. In other words, Mom was working for nothing at the school (this was in days when many nursing schools almost staffed hospitals). Mom would miss boards with her class, and it would be nearly another nine months to a year before she could graduate and take Boards (in those days, only offered like two times a year). Mom walked. She regretted it many times, for sure, but each time she wanted to challenge the LPN test (which one could do back then), she would end up pregnant, including the last time, just before they stopped 'grandfathering' in this way, at the age of 44.

Years later, she heard via other classmates that Sister had gone publically before her Community and begged forgiveness for the cruel way she had treated so many students, driving many out of nursing completely.

When I went to LPN school, we had one 'hard nose' but NICE teacher, not at all like the power hunger ones. But when I returned many years later for Dental Hygiene, I had one instructor who also drove many of my classmates out. She denied 'weeding out' students, but she really tried with several that she never succeeded with. I was one. I made up my mind that no one would take from me and my kids what someone had taken from my mother many years before. I now have two careers, both in Heath Care. I am the 'RN' of the Dental field, and an LPN in medical. And I love it. I was able to support my kids and myself, and put them through smaller private schools to help. (The teachers knew every student, so they got away with

Keep plugging, and you will soon have that nursing degree in hand, take your Boards, and forever have something that NO one can ever take away from you. Even if you choose later to return to school for a new degree, in something unrelated, you will always be a nurse.

God bless! (By the way, most of my nursing until a few years back was in PEDS or OB/GYN/Nursery. It was very nice to rock those babies and children.


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