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Officially just turned in my last paper of nursing school! The final in med/surg just about killed us all…or so we thought. However, we are all still nursing students (nobody failed!) and the timing was just right. After finishing one of the harder classes of the year, we were blessed with St. Patrick’s Day to celebrate. No one knows how to do it like the Irish!

Without a worry in the world we all set off to have a wonderful, green weekend. I got all dolled up to head downtown for the parade and a few cocktails to celebrate not only my heritage, but for all intents and purposes, being finished with school!

Now the countdown is almost a little nerve-wracking. Five weeks of senior practicum at Children’s Hospital, and then I have to face the real world. Less than three months away from NCLEX, and about four months away from tying the knot. Life is speeding by me like I am standing still.

For senior practicum, many of us have been assigned to the night shift. I am not much of a night owl, however there is nothing that coffee won’t help get me through. I look forward to experiencing nursing from a different perspective and practicing as if the patient load were my own (knowing that I have the support and guidance of my preceptor).

We have entered the TERRIBLE TWOs! We officially have two weeks of class left, two more tests, two more papers…and then practicum! It has been a long road but we are seeing the light.

As times get stressful, we always know that we can turn to each other for support and comfort. Though sometimes crying seems cathartic…I much prefer laughing! Several of us went out for a night on the town and enjoyed dinner at The Rio downtown before laughing the night away at Comedy Works. It was so nice to have a stomach ache from laughing instead of one related to stress.

All of my classmates and I are preparing to experience what life will be like working three 12 hour shifts a week during senior practicum. We have been placed at hospitals across the metro area, extending all the way from Longmont and Louisville to Parker and Littleton and everywhere in between. The placements include labor and delivery, intensive care units, pediatrics, medical/surgical floors, and pre/post anesthesia units. Oh the stories we will all have to tell one another at graduation!

This year has flown by and reality is sinking in. Though we will not be studying for class tests any more, we will be studying for the mother of them all…NCLEX!

5 weeks down, and only 10 weeks until graduation! We have all been waiting eagerly to hear where we have been placed for senior practicum. Drum roll please…I was lucky enough to be placed at Children’s! It is such a phenomenal facility, dedicated to teaching and based on the family-centered care model. It is a wonderful place to get experience and develop a well-balanced approach to care.

Thank goodness for having Fridays off this past 5 weeks, as my car turned into an oversized snowball during the latest storm!

After the roads were cleared and my car was defrosted it was back to school for our pediatric final…only to walk through another 1-2 inches of fresh snow! Campus is so beautiful when covered in fresh powder. The major plus to the colder weather is that it makes it easier to sit in sweatpants all day and study! (As opposed to putting off studying to be outside enjoying the sun)

We ended our pediatric class with a mini party of sorts, and several of us enjoyed a wonderful breakfast (or just pie) at the All-American Village Inn! It has been such a blast having a wonderful group of people to spend every waking moment with. We have grown so close, and enjoy each other’s company, and we are already saddened to think that we won’t be together that much longer!  However, we always know that we are only a Facebook page away!

As this year continues to speed by, I have so many blessings to count…where I have come from and everything I have to look forward to! Even those early mornings (that I usually despise) have been a reminder of what we have to be thankful for. It makes is much easier when you start your morning drive with this kind of view.

I love living in Colorado!

The countdown is on. Only 12 weeks of nursing school left, 6 months until I get hitched, 2 months until my sister gives birth to my second nephew, and 2 weeks until my first nephew is 5 months old! So much has changed so fast, if I blink I might miss something! Life is so exciting right now.

We are two weeks away from finishing pediatrics, and I have found my passion…little people! Our instructors have always referred to children as little people, and now I have a better appreciation for that nickname. The kids we have worked with are so brave, beyond their years, and most of the time they say the darndest things that would bring a smile to anyone’s face. My experience at Children’s has been first class; what a difference a teaching hospital makes in your clinical experience. I am sad to be leaving for now, but keeping my fingers crossed that I will return for my senior practicum.

Children's Hospital Colorado: world renowned and state of the art!

The January group of accelerated students is well under way and it has been a pleasure offering words of advice and encouragement to them. Before they know it, they will be approaching senior practicum and graduation. Sit back, hold on, and enjoy the ride!

Happy New Year! Our month long break was just what the Dr. ordered. Many of my classmates traveled, some worked, and others (including myself) just lounged! It was rejuvenating and gave us an opportunity to enjoy the fresh air of the wonderful Colorado winter. Who could ask for better weather when you have time to enjoy it? However, in return for being able to enjoy the temperature being in the 50s & 60s during the end of December, we were cursed with one of the worst snowy and windy commutes on day 2 of the semester! Thankfully we all arrived safely, though many of us were frazzled by the time we got to class almost an hour late.  Then the very next day we were graced with the beautiful picture of the moon above the mountains as we drove into school…I can’t say that I was up early enough to witness such beauty over break!

What a great way to start the day. This is part of the reason I love living in Colorado!

I speak for the entire class (knowing that we have some Green Bay fans, some San Francisco fans, etc) when I say that we all enjoyed ending the break with a bang…GO BRONCOS! Most people were not expecting a win, but it was still nice to think that we were going to be able to sit down and watch the entire game without worrying about finishing our homework. The victory was just icing on the cake!

Though I was not able to attend this game, I have this picture on my desk in a “Broncos #1” frame!

The newest class of accelerated students is under way…one week down! It has been fun having the opportunity to mentor the new students…and to remember back to what seems like forever ago. However, we have all made it through that busy first semester and we know they will too. Good luck to the January group!

This semester is going to be very enjoyable, not to mention that it will just fly by. I am thrilled to be starting my semester off at Children’s Hospital for pediatrics. I will then be moving into our last academic course, for lack of a better term, which is Care of the Adult II for which I will have my clinical at Presbyterian St. Luke’s on the Oncology floor. But the kicker is waiting with baited breath to hear where we are going to be completing our Senior Practicum! I will keep you posted as I anxiously await my placement.

Enjoy each day, because life can speed past you like you were standing still!

Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa! Whatever you celebrate…enjoy the time with your friends and family.

Our class is jumping for joy this holiday season because the biggest gift to all of us is a month off of school! We completed our 30th week of class, concluding the first 2/3rds of the program. Half of us finished out pediatrics and the other half completed mental health.  Now we can all breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy the holidays…a little more stress-free.

As my classmates and I wrapped up our time at Fort Logan State Mental Health Hospital, we had the privilege of sitting in on seminars presented by the Social Worker, Occupational Therapist, Recreational Therapist, and a Music Therapist. They all gave us a look into what they do on a daily basis to improve the quality of the clients’ treatment. The insight that each therapist had on the treatment of mental illness came from such unique perspectives. Using the various disciplines to care for the clients at Ft. Logan provides a very well-rounded treatment plan. The music therapist caught my attention when she asked us to “write” our own song…I am not sure you can call it writing when all I did was fill in what looked like a Mad Gab…but we all were impressed with our talent! After we finished composing our song, she told us we would then have to create the band that would perform the song. Needless to say, the first ones up were Lorissa (on the xylophone) and me (on the drum)…to perform Lorissa’s song. Thank goodness the truly talented music therapist led the singing, while playing her guitar. We had a blast and learned that an enormous amount of life lessons can be hidden under something such as playing a song in front of peers (this exact activity is part of group therapy sessions).

Lorissa and Me getting ready to rock during our performance!

The week before break, a number of our classmates were fortunate enough to be inducted into Sigma Theta Tau, an International Honor Society of Nursing. This honor society recognizes those students in the top of their class for outstanding academic achievement. Our entire class is so competitive, it was difficult for the organization to determine who would be inducted. There was a nice ceremony that brought together University of Colorado students with Regis students and honored scholars from traditional programs all the way through doctoral programs.

After the induction, we took a group shot of the May Accelerated Regis Students with our honor cords.

As many of our classmates were ready to depart for their vacations to…Hawaii, Chile, West Virginia, California, Peru, Iowa, etc…our “class clown” aka entertainer, organized a fabulous Christmas Party. He was able to reserve a place downtown where we all were able to share food, drinks, and many laughs before heading our separate ways for break (thanks Kieran!). Let me just say, the majority of us strapped on our dancing shoes! It was a blast enjoying each other’s company and conversing about things other than school. We had a great turnout, about 35 (of 47) classmates and almost all of us brought a friend or significant other. I just have to say thank you to my fellow classmates…we are very lucky to have such a great group!

One of the many pictures of the fantastic dance moves!

On that note, enjoy this holiday season and I will be chatting with you again in the New Year!

 

 

 

What is there not to like about the fall? We have had beautiful weather, Thanksgiving is approaching quickly, we are two weeks away from completing 2/3 of our program…but wait, the only thing to dislike is that our close knit group of 45 students has officially been split up! Dr. Cullen, director of the program, explained that we were like a litter of puppies that don’t like to be separated. Well that is true, it feels like we are missing our better halves! Monday was the first time that we were all back together in the same room at the same time…and it was not for learning purposes, but rather for feeding our faces! We earned money to have a pizza party (that our class decided to turn into a pot luck so we could have a feast instead of just a pizza party) because we raised so much money for our philanthropy event. As a class, we worked toward gathering donations that would be compiled into a basket for auction at a gala event for Denver Safe House. As a class, our basket raised the most money for the charity event, $1250. That money will go to providing: 16 sessions of individual counseling, 22 nights of individual shelter, and 35 session of teen counseling…quite an accomplishment! Some members of our class went to help out at the gala, and finished off the night on the dance floor.

Lorissa, Ashley, and Megan representing our class

Some of the gentlemen also represented our class as they took the title in the 3-on-3 basketball tournament that the College of Health Professions organized! They showed everyone what nurses are made of…or should I say student nurses!

Jason, Chris, and Mark posing for the camera after their tournament win!

This middle 15 week session/semester has been a relief compared to our first semester, allowing us a little more time to sit back and smell the roses! The course load has been a little more bearable and we have fewer classes to juggle at one time. It has been a lot of fun having some time to enjoy each other’s company outside of class and blow off a little steam! Almost half of our class and their friends or significant others headed downtown to enjoy some dinner and pool at Wynkoop Brewery. It was such a fun night. Then a few weeks later, a handful of us enjoyed a tour of one of Colorado’s very own…Whiskey distilleries! That was right up my alley (seeing as I am as Irish as they come, or as Toby Keith says I am a “little whiskey girl”!).

right outside the distillery

As we are less than 3 weeks away from our month off, I think I speak for the entire class when I say we can’t wait to have some “mental freedom” from school! Half of us are finishing up our mental health rotation (I am completing mine at Ft. Logan State Mental Health Facility/Hospital). It has been a great learning experience in developing therapeutic communication skills that will be valuable to use with any population we will work with in the future. The other half of the class is finishing up their pediatric rotation, which sounds like it has been a great experience as well.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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