Confidence v. Competence

Confidence: A feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s own appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities. Competence: The ability to do something successfully or efficiently.

One can have either of those, without having the other. I’ve seen high levels of confidence accompany a mediocre performance. I’ve also seen experts who still harbor self- doubts. Generally speaking; however, it’s expected that increased competence leads to increased confidence. That’s the theory, anyway.

As a new nurse, my confidence in my ability to perform skills competently is somewhat . . . . shall I say, lacking? It’s not non-existent, but it’s certainly shaky. I question myself almost constantly, because I’m worried about the potential of making a mistake. I even hesitate when performing skills that I’m fairly comfortable with – like taking medications out of the system, reconstituting antibiotics, and documenting things on the computer.

I may be competent at those things, but confidence hasn’t come along, yet.

Other things, that I feel less comfortable doing or have only done with the supervision of my preceptor, are enough to make me doubt my decision to become a nurse. Those same things, once done, also make me feel positively elated.

My last two shifts were very good ones, all things considered. I got to try some new skills and I succeeded at some others without help for the first time. I hung an IV antibiotic entirely on my own. I called a doctor’s office to pass on a patient’s request. I gave report on my two patients at the end of the day and the oncoming nurse didn’t have to hunt me down for additional information. My preceptor guided me through de-accessing a port, drawing blood from a PICC line, and documenting the phone call to the doctor’s office.

I did well enough that she’s declared that I’ll have three patients during my next shift, which happens to be tomorrow. I only had two for a total of three days. That’s a good thing, because I’ve only got another seven weeks of orientation to go through before I’ll be expected to be able to handle six patients more or less on my own.

I say more or less, because even the nurses who have been on the floor for months or years still ask each other and even more experienced nurses for help. During one shift, I saw a nurse ask another whether or not it was appropriate to give a patient all three blood pressure meds that were ordered. On another, I saw two nurses reach out to a third for help starting an IV that they didn’t feel comfortable trying. Another day, a nurse on the floor asked for help starting a Foley catheter, because it’d been months since her last and she was worried that she didn’t remember all the steps.

The patient that needed blood drawn from her PICC line was also the patient I hung the IV antibiotic for. The blood draw came first and my preceptor talked me through it. I have to admit that it wasn’t as difficult as I’d imagined it would be. The steps are fairly simple, really, and I could write them out now just from memory. Hanging the IV antibiotic was actually harder for me, because I’m intimidated by the pumps and the tubing. It doesn’t feel simple to me, for some reason. Yet, it’s essential that I figure out how to work the pumps competently.

After I did get it hung and her connected and was cleaning up my mess from the process (alcohol wipes, tubing wrappers, and empty flushes), she said, “You know, you did that quite well. You’ll be a very good nurse, once your confidence goes up. You know how to do the things, you just need that confidence in yourself.”

I thanked her, sincerely, and told her I’d be back to check on her in a while. She’d been a nurse for thirty years (half of that time spent in Ireland, where she’s from) and we’d been having micro-conversations throughout the shift. She’s a fan of medical texts, wants her master’s degree in alternative medicine, and likes cats.

She thinks that, one day, I’ll be just as good a nurse as any other.

I hope she’s right. I really, really do. I’d hate to disappoint.

Words, of course, can have multiple meanings. Context and intent are important. Another definition of confidence is actually, the feeling or belief that one can rely upon something; firm trust. It’s similar to the other definition, but somehow strikes a stronger chord in me. I don’t merely want confidence insofar as it means to feel self-assured . . . I want it insofar as I want to feel that I can trust myself, rely upon myself.

Of course, trust takes time to build between people. Why should I think that it won’t take time to build with myself? I’ve already come a long way.

I haven’t been brought to tears by anything that’s happened at the hospital. I’ve learned a ton and I’m still learning a ton. I’ve made a few small “mistakes” – quotes, because my preceptor says they’re not actually mistakes – but I keep trying and am getting better.

Ah, but now this feels like one of those cheesy 60-second commercials for Building-a-Better-You in just five minutes a day. Get the handbook for just $9,99 plus shipping and handling! Guaranteed to boost your confidence, improve your mood, and brighten your outlook, or your money back!

Presented to you by the fabulous Billy Mays. Duh.



Personal growth is a funny thing.

Trying to be mindful of it while it’s actually happening is akin to trying to watch grass grow. It doesn’t seem like anything is happening while it’s happening . . . but when you watch a time-lapse of it or see a before and after picture the changes are glaringly obvious. In the same way, it’s not by watching the second hand that we can see and appreciate the changes in ourselves, but in looking back across a span of time.

One of the features that FaceBook has rolled out in recent times is the presentation of FaceBook “memories” – posts that you made on the same date, in previous years. This feature has been met with some mixed reviews .After all, who honestly wants to be reminded of the exact day their dog died when they happen to be on a beach holiday? Or, on the other hand, who wants to see how thrilled they were in the early days of their relationship with the person they’re about to divorce?

Still, it can be interesting to look back at what you were posting about three, four, or even five years ago.

Two weeks ago, one of my “memories” was a post from five years ago. In it, I talked about being overwhelmed by the thought of working 45 hours in a week and related that my boss at the time must think of me as some sort of super-girl. I was stressed out.

Reading it when it popped up, I laughed, because I’d just worked six days straight for a total of about 65 hours. I pointed it out to my other, who I’d been with at the time. He laughed – both at the drama of the original post and at my own amusement with it.

Now, it’s Monday and I’m taking a day off from both of my current jobs. I wasn’t scheduled to work at the hospital, which means that I was scheduled to work at the call center. I texted my boss there and let her know that I wouldn’t be coming in due to general mental/physical/emotion exhaustion.

I worked seven days last week for a grand total of just over 75 hours – four days at the hospital doing 12.5 hour shifts and the others at the call center doing nearly the same.

This morning, I woke up with the intention of going to work, even though everyone – including my mother, co-workers at both places, and SO – told me to take the day off.

Then, I cried, because we’re out of peanut butter. And again, because I dropped a sock.

I recognized that I reached my limit, for the time being. I required time to recharge. I poured a bowl of Reece’s puffs and watched HGTV for a couple hours. I read a little. I cleared out my email and finally sorted through all of my hospital orientation paperwork. I ate some chocolate. I’m writing this blog post.

I thought, “The me of five years ago would have had a full blown anxiety attack at the mere mention of working 75 hours in a week. I pushed my limits by doing it, but I now know that I can do it, if I really need to. I also know that I don’t want to do it.”

Limitations are strange things. They can be shifted by choice, by chance, and by necessity . . . but it’s been my experience that most people wait until necessity demands.

Personal growth and shifting limitations are like two sides of the same coin . . . you don’t have one without embracing the other. Growth is change, but it’s a type of change that is almost unanimously seen as positive. Shifting limitations also denote change, but the connotation can range from wonderfully awe-inspiring to depressingly constrictive. One is upward and outward, but the other could be that or could be downward and inward.

I’d never gave these things much thought, until recently, but then I realized that I thought of limitations as being synonymous with boundaries. I also viewed both rather negatively. Not as obstacles that could be challenged or even overcome, but as virtually inescapable boxes that I found myself locked within. Other, stronger individuals might find it within themselves to beat against the boxes until they broke or more intelligent people could find ways to exploit weaknesses in the construction . . . but I, having a primarily docile and contented nature would merely daydream about what may be beyond the box and not about how to leave it.

In fact, while imagining what might exist beyond the box was as good a pass-time as any, the thought of actually leaving the box was nothing short of terrifying. Because, while I may think spectacular things were outside of it, there could also be incredibly dangerous things. Even the process of getting out of the box could be painful and exhausting.

However . . . at some point in the past month that belief has shifted. Almost entirely due to one question that I’ve found myself asked by my co-workers at the hospital.

“Why did you decide to choose working in a hospital?”

I answered without thinking, the first time.

“Because personal growth is a good thing,” I said.

Later, I wondered why I’d said that. I mean, yes, I thought it was true. Growth is good, after all. Personal growth must, by default, also be good. But . . . growth also means pushing limits and boundaries, right? Is that what I’m doing? Did I do that by becoming a nurse, even thought the thought of the responsibilities involved made me feel nauseous? Am I still doing that by deciding to work in a hospital, even though I’d probably feel more comfortable in a nice, quiet doctor’s office or clinic?

. . . well . . . I guess I must be . . . right?

Right. Which means, in sum, that I am pushing my limits and finding new ones and becoming a “better” person for it all. It also means that, contrary to my usual way of thinking, limitations and boundaries aren’t boxes that I can never leave.

They are, actually, more like obstacles on a course. Or, in my nerdy brain, like quests in a video game. Both of which may be challenging to get through – maybe even brutal – but which lead to a two-fold outcome, most of the time. That outcome being 1) feelings of achievement/greater abilities/more experience and 2) the possibility of facing greater challenges/finding a new course or quest altogether.

My life doesn’t have to take place inside an indestructible box.

It can take place on a map and I can decide what turns to take and whether or not to abandon the path altogether for a time and if I want to stop to rest for a while.


“Do not fear going forward slowly; fear only to stand still.”– Chinese Proverb

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu


Tomorrow morning, at about 5:45, I’ll wake up and go through a mental checklist.

  • Brush my teeth, wash my face, comb my hair.
  • Pick out a pair of matching or complementary scrubs.
  • Make sure my pockets are filled with my  penlight, pen, and scissors.
  • Pack my wallet, inhaler, folders, jacket, and lunch into my backpack.
  • Double check to make sure I haven’t forgotten my badge or stethoscope.
  • Wake him up and make his breakfast drinks and make sure he has a lunch to take.

We’ll leave the house at about 6:20 and get to the hospital by 6:30. We’ll eat breakfast together, because otherwise my nerves would get the better of me and I wouldn’t have a meal until after 1:00 PM. I’ll show my employee badge and get a discount. It will still feel incredibly weird to sit in the cafeteria with other employees while I nibble at some bacon and half-listen to the morning news. I’ll say, “I don’t know why I’m so nervous.”

He’ll say, “Neither do I. Just take a deep breath and do it. Nothing bad happened on any of your other shifts. You’ll be fine. Eat some more of your eggs.”

Maybe I will and maybe I won’t. But I will walk upstairs at around 6:53. I’ll clock in.

It will be the fourth day of my hospital preceptor period. I get ten weeks and have finished the first, which means I only get another twenty-one days. Twenty-one days to become more comfortable with the thought of being entrusted with the care of five to six patients. Right now, the thought still makes me feel sorta sick to my stomach.

Like I pounded down a few mixed drinks and then hopped on a roller-coaster.

The first three days didn’t go badly. On the first day, which was meant to be strictly observational, I ended up starting to help Nikki (my preceptor) pass out medications. I got to see her do some charting. I met several of the doctors on the unit and a lot of the day shift nurses and techs. I also met the supply guy, a woman from an oxygen company, and a case manager. No one died and I left feeling tired, but optimistic.

On my second day, Nikki had me do the majority of the medication passes and I only made two mistakes (she didn’t consider them mistakes, but called them part of the learning process). The first was pretty comical – I accidentally broke a saline flush by pulling to plunger out . . . thus dousing myself and the floor. The second made me feel a bit like an idiot – I didn’t recognize that a patient’s diastolic BP measurement was too low for me to give him his dose of amlodipine . . . Nikki pointedly asked me to double check it and I realized my near-mistake. She later explained that it probably wouldn’t have had a negative impact, but she wanted to make sure I was being mindful. Again, no one died, but I left feeling overly emotional and a bit defeated.

On my third day, it was a struggle to make myself go in. I was tired and worried about what was going to be asked of me. I was afraid of making more mistakes and of making Nikki think I’m not competent. Once I was on the unit and moving, things got a bit easier. I had two patients assigned to me by Nikki after we took shift report – both of whom I’d met and helped take care of the previous day and both of whom had assured me that they think I’ll be a great nurse. I didn’t want to disappoint. Nikki had me pass out morning medications again, then I performed assessments and charted on both of “my” patients. By the end of the day, we’d discharged both of them, plus two others, and we’d gotten two new patients in. The day was packed and it didn’t leave much time for nerves.

Now, having time to reflect some, I realize that I’ve done/learned quite a bit in just the past three shifts I’ve worked. I learned how to work the medication dispensary machines and where to find the most commonly used supplies. I have memorized the names of the nurses and techs and doctors I’ve met. I can now call the telemetry office for updates on my patients’ hearts. I know how to chart the assessments that are due each shift (full body, pain level, safety concerns, teaching, and plan of care). I got to see both admissions and discharges (though I don’t think I could do either successfully). I learned the difference between a conditional and an unconditional discharge. I figured out how to navigate from the cafeteria to the unit using the employee halls and elevators.

I also got to watch the insertion of both a Foley catheter and the straight-cath procedure. I saw a port de-accessed and learned a lot about how chemo-therapy is administered. I realized that even nurses who have been nurses for months and years still ask other nurses for help and advice. I witnessed Nikki and another nurse comfort a woman who was hallucinating snakes and bugs by hiding her IV pole, bedding, and remote in the bathroom after “killing” them. I talked with her distraught husband and he showed me pictures of their grandchildren.

Sitting here, I can remember the names of all of the patients I’ve seen thus far. I can think about their stories, their families, and their conditions. I am awed by their resilience and their optimism. I feel guilty for being nervous about taking care of them. I want to be the best I can, for them, but I also have to allow for the fact that I’m a brand new nurse. I am trying to learn how to help them all. I keep apologizing for being slow, but Nikki says I’m doing just fine and not to rush.

There are a couple of things in particular that I want to learn tomorrow.

I need to learn about the compression stockings that the patients have as part of their VTE prophylaxis. I’ve never really seen the stockings before and wouldn’t know how to set them up if I saw them. I know that all patients are meant to have them, or else be getting blood thinners. I know the theory behind them, but nothing else.

I also want to ask about the parameters for blood pressure meds. I know that 105/59 is too low to administer amlodapine, plus Lasix and Entresto. I don’t; however, know what the actual cut-off numbers are or if there is some sort of magic list I can reference.

I want to get more familiar with putting in orders through the computer system. I know the basics of it, but not the details. There’s a button for orders, you search by provider, you enter the type of order (usually telephone or written), you search for the right order from a list of hundreds, you select it, and then it’s approved . . . but there are also protocol orders that can be entered without having a provider’s direct instruction. And some orders are generated automatically upon admission. It’s sorta overwhelming.

Despite my anxiety over all of tomorrow’s unknowns, I’m going to try to take my advice and just take it one task at a time. I’m going to try to be less critical of myself and more open to trying new things. I’m going to strive to be less distressed in the event I do mess something up or ask a silly question or need to be shown how to do something again.

And tomorrow, when I get home from the shift (which is, in theory only twelve hours long, but in actuality is about 12.5 hours long), I will make another post and see where I’m at. And then, the next day, I’ll go back again and hopefully learn more and do more.

Checking In

I truthfully didn’t realize how long it’s been since my last post. Looking back over the past twenty days, I’m a bit taken aback. I meant to stop and write a dozen different times and really have no excuses for not doing so. My evenings (which are relatively free) have been spent doing nothing more intense than sitting on the couch while I channel surf, for the most part. A few things have happened though.

  • I went to an interview with hospital B – they made a low offer, compared to hospital A. I told my acquaintance about it and he agreed that I’d be stupid to turn down hospital A. I’m slated to start orientation tomorrow.
  • I bought a scale, found out my actual weight for the first time in six months, and decided to try to make a lifestyle change. I joined Healthy Wage – a site that lets you bet X amount of money for X amount of months that you’ll lose X amount of weight . . . if you succeed, you’ll get a pay off, if not then you’re out the money you’ve put in. I’m betting putting in $25 a month for eight months with a weight loss goal of 50lbs. If I win, I”ll get a payoff of $770. I started last Sunday and I’m down 6.4lbs. I’ve walked a total of about 41,250 steps. I’ve upped my water intake and lowered my carb intake.
  • I was able to make it to the Flogging Molly concert Friday night and spent yesterday walking around Disney Springs with my other half. It was a great day for it and I actually ended up buying both my mom and my dad a Christmas present. My little sister sent back, “LMAO! You realize Christmas is like ten months away, right?” when I told her that, but I bought them both art and was worried it would be gone by the time Christmas rolled around. (Shout out to Nathan Szerdy – he’s a great artist and his site is – no I’m not being paid to shout out.)


My goals for today are pretty basic, seeing as I’m not feeling particularly well.

  • Clean the apartment.
    • Including laundry
    • And vacuuming
  • Choose an outfit for tomorrow.
    • Make sure I have all my “nurse” things.
    • Decide what scrubs to wear.
  • Pick up car payment money from sissy.
  • Visit with Harley at work on the way there.
  • Stop and get mommy some flowers just cause.


I passed the NCLEX-RN. I am now a registered nurse in the state of Florida.

To celebrate, I bought ice-cream from a local shop that’s basically heaven-on-earth as long as you’re not lactose intolerant and like ice-cream. My choice was peanut butter ice-cream with peanut butter cups and cheesecake pieces. Success was sweet, no doubt.

Now that I know I passed the NCLEX-RN, I’m finding myself more able to reflect on the test itself. Of course, upon pain of death, discussing test items is strictly prohibited. Honestly, I can’t say I actually remember any of the questions. I was so nervous, taking the exam, that it really does feel like a dream, in retrospect.

The test itself can have anywhere from 75 to 265 questions. Mine shut off at 75.

I knew that either meant I completely failed it or completely aced it.

Because I took the test on a Friday, I didn’t get my results until this afternoon. I paid about $8.00 to get them early, because I couldn’t stand waiting until tomorrow. After 48 hours of being certain I failed and wondering how I was going to study for a second attempt and being depressed over losing out on the offer for the oncology position I wanted . . . seeing the word PASS on my results page made me giggle maniacally.

Now, I’m having a celebratory beer and mac n’ cheese.

Mac n’ cheese is my favorite.

Tomorrow, I’ll create a proper post or maybe even two. Whist trying to kill time today, I completely cleared out and organized my closet/dresser. I donated a very large trash-bag worth of clothes. I think it would be fun to do a wardrobe based post and reflect back on it in six months or so, to see what’s changed and what hasn’t. Mainly, because I’ll be making enough to get more clothes and will – hopefully – lose enough weight to get back into some that don’t currently fit me.

Until then; however, I hope everyone enjoys the last hours of this Sunday night.


Resolution has a couple of predominant meanings and associations. To be resolute is to have made a firm decision about something. To resolve something is to settle it. Interestingly enough, being resolute does not automatically resolve things.

My decision to accept the oncology nursing position is resolute.

The conflict that creates with my acquaintance is not resolved.

Per my last,  I was torn between accepting the oncology position and holding off in order to appease an acquaintance who was trying to get me a job at the hospital he works for. The real conflict was between career practicality and loyalty to someone I know.

In the end, the career practicality won out and I’ve decided that’s also being loyal to myself and what I want. It took a while to come to terms with that; however, because what I want is usually to do what other people want me to do. I am a go-with-the-flow person a large majority of the time. It’s hard for me to admit when I want to do something that isn’t in keeping with that aspect of my personality. Being “selfish” – or even just being viewed as being “selfish” – is something that I strive against, normally.

After all, I’m going into nursing, because I like to help others. It’s what I’ve always done. I know I will make a good nurse, because of that. But . . . my nursing school instructors all stressed the value of being a little selfish. If you only think of others, if you only act with their interests in mind, you’re limiting yourself to their ambitions for you.

For example, my acquaintance wants me to get hired at the hospital he works for, because he believes I can help to improve their image. He literally said, “When you get an interview, make sure to present yourself as energetic and excited to learn. We’re all so beat down every day that we thrive off of new  enthusiasm.”

I get that and I would love to be responsible for revitalizing an entire hospital system single-handedly, but . . . I’m not a cheerleader or mascot or a PR representative. By accepting that role, I would feel committed to it. I would burn out in trying to spark others. Or, even if I thrived, it would be at the expense of my other goals and wants.

In contrast, by being “selfish” through accepting the position I’m actually excited about, I am starting on a path of my own choosing. First, oncology nursing while I complete my bachelors and my master’s degrees. Say, three to five years there. In the meantime, my other half and I are saving like mad to buy land and build a house. Once those balls are rolling and I have my master’s, I go into teaching nursing while still working PRN at the hospital. Or, I decide to do travel nursing for a while to pay off everything rapidly. Eventually, when I’m done with working in the hospital, I switch to working at Hospice while I teach. Some day, I’ll be able to comfortably retire.

That’s the story I want to write. It’s why I can say that I’m resolute regarding my choice, even though the conflict regarding it isn’t resolved. Even if things change completely, because life is unpredictable like that, I’ll at least be comfortable with my reasoning. I’ll know I did make a choice that was good for me – selfish, maybe, but not in a bad way.

And, even though I’m still sick with a combination of the flu and a cold, I’m happy right now and looking forward to the future with a real sense of curiosity.

If that’s not a good way to live, then I don’t know what is.

Tacos are Simpler

Conflict . . . a struggle between two opposing forces.

Or, the thing that drives the plot.

An individual life, much like an individual story, is built upon conflict and the reaction to it. Page turners are those books that build up the suspense surrounding a conflict. Most of us are familiar with the concept of “binge watching” a TV show for the same reason.

Conflicts create questions. So. Many. Questions.

Who will get what they want? What will they do to get it? How will things be affected?

A couple days ago, I posted about how I got an amazing job offer after my very first interview in the field. It’s the hours I want, more money than I’d hoped for, and on an oncology unit of a well-respected hospital. The elation was tangible.

Enter, conflict.

I have a friend – an acquaintance, really – who works at a competing hospital that is literally right across the street from the one I was offered a job at.

I did also, in fact, apply at this other hospital, at the same time. But, two weeks later, I still have not gotten so much as a, “Thank you for your application,” memo.  That’s okay.

But . . . I posted on a certain social media site that the interview went well and the aforementioned acquaintance responded that he hoped he’d be called for a reference. Wanting to be tactful, I sent him a private message explaining that the position was at the other hospital, but that I appreciated his congratulations nonetheless.

He replied and asked me to hold off on accepting the position until he could get me an interview. He asked my top three unit choices. He wanted to know how much I was offered. He said he could get me what I wanted, no problem.

I gave him the information. As my other half put it, I didn’t really need to give the other hospital my answer right away. A bid war could be a good thing, for me. And there is a certain appeal in the thought of working at a somewhat lesser hospital, because maybe I could make a positive change there. Plus, it’s the one I was literally born at! And he is a friend . . . in a manner of speaking . . . I can hold off . . .

Well. I did. But –

Enter, more conflict.

I received an email this morning from the oncology unit’s HR rep. Asking me to please respond to the offer letter that I was sent to verify that I do, in fact, accept it. I need to do this by then end of the business day in order to reserve my slot for the upcoming orientation cycle and set the ball rolling with the other paper work.

Alrighty, then. A bird in hand is better than two in the bush, as my mother says.

Still, as a courtesy, I let the acquaintance know. I messaged him and explained that they needed my response. The call he assured me I’d get yesterday never came. The neurology position he told me about isn’t listed in the application portal. Still no word from the application I did submit. I let him know I truly do appreciate his efforts and told him I’d still consider the hospital in the future or if something caused this offer to fall through.

He sent back, “Hold off for a second.”

Commence nail biting.

I sent back that I will. I also pointed out – politely – that none of my other classmates who applied for the same hospital have heard back either. I noted that his own wife, who became a nurse two years ago, ended up getting a job elsewhere due to the same issues. I admitted that it concerns me, because I’m worried it indicates a company-wide problem that hasn’t been corrected in the two years since she had the problem herself.

He hasn’t seen the message, yet. It’s been about forty-five minutes . . . .

Stay tuned, for what happens next!

… … …

And, now, back from the break!

Nothing. Still no word.

There are different things that different people do when confronted with a conflict. Some people take a “hero’s” approach and confront the problem head-on. Others, take the “coward’s” path and avoid the issue in hopes it will in turn avoid them or disappear.

A lot of people, if not most people, do a bit of both.

The point is, there are options.

In fact, for some, this particular situation may not even constitute a conflict. There may be no struggle in choosing a path to follow. Their motives or values may be such that the way forward is clear to them.

One person may go, “I’ve given this person a chance to follow-through with getting me in at Hospital B, but they haven’t, so I’ll go with Hospital A.” This is a practical choice.

A different person may go, “I know this person, so I’ll trust their judgement and pass on the offer from Hospital A.” This is more of a loyalist choice.

Some other person may go, “I think I’ll have a taco while I wait a while longer for something to happen, one way or another.” This is a hungry procrastinator’s choice.

Currently, my conflict is that I’m torn between option one and option two. If I’m being perfectly honest, I would love to just accept the original offer. I want to make it official on that social media site everyone shares too much on. I’m ready to make it real. On the other hand, I don’t want to ignore the effort that the acquaintance is making on my behalf. As some people who have maybe read my other posts know, I’m a submissive individual in about every sense. It kinda ups the ante when it comes to the loyalty I feel towards people I know . . . even when they’re people I don’t like particularly well.

No matter how I look at it, personally, I feel the right choice is to thank him again for his effort and then sign my name to the acceptance letter. Despite my feelings of owing him for his time and help – neither of which I actually asked for.

The conclusion.

If this were a movie, you’d get a close up of me typing my name in the “sign here” field. You’d see me take a deep, bracing breath. And then you’d see me hit the “submit” button and collapse backwards onto the couch as if I’d just run a mile.

If this were a book, the chapter might end with a cheeky little, “Well, now that’s done . . . but how will I avoid Mr. M for the next few decades worth of fourth of July barbecues?”

This is neither; however, and I’m going to go ahead and have some tacos.


Technically, I’m giving him until lunch.

So he’s got another hour and twenty minutes to reply to me.

I’ll post the exciting conclusion in a sequel post, so look forward to that, ya’ll.


It’s a rainy Sunday afternoon, here, and I’m curled up on the couch with a bit of a cold. The last few days have slipped away from me and it’s only in pausing to gather my thoughts before this post that I realized how much has really actually happened. Let’s time-travel a bit, shall we?


February 1st, 12:30 P.M.

If you’re on-time, then you’re late.

I took those words to heart when my instructor said them. As such, I showed up nearly ridiculously early for my first grown-up interview. My first nursing interview. I smiled as I walked into the hospital and up to the information desk. I gave myself credit for not stuttering as I told the volunteer that I was there – early – for a 1:00 interview for Mrs. J.K.T. regarding an oncology nursing position. I was directed to the operator who encouraged me to have a seat while I waited.

Conveniently, there were a few seats available right near the elevators. I watched, while I waited. I’d done two clinical rotations for school at this hospital’s sister-hospital, across town. I felt the same thing I did there, here. Happiness, energy, potential. Almost every one (patient, family, employee) gave a nod as they passed.

In my slacks and button-up, with my folder containing my resume and notepad, I was pretty sure it was obvious that I was there for an interview.

Within a few moments, a woman approached me, smiling. I recognized her, because I’d cheated and looked her up on Facebook. She looked frazzled and apologized for being late – even though it was still about five minutes until one. On the elevator ride up and during the walk to her office, she discussed the shoes she wore – they were causing a blister, which was sad, because they were new and expensive. She explained that she was still fairly new to the position of oncology director and was still adjusting to the change from nursing sneakers to business-casual flats.

The interview itself went better than I could have hoped, honestly. She confessed that she recognized my name when I applied, because she’s an adjunct instructor at my alma mater. She was impressed by my resume and I fielded the standard interview questions well enough that she was candid when telling me about the position and about how well she thought I may suit it. She passed me off to a nurse on duty, Mari, who then also reviewed my application and asked me a few questions.

We sat in the break room and another nurse, a technician, and a doctor all dropped in while we were talking. All of them displayed a camaraderie and sense of humor that made me feel at ease, despite my anxiety and my insecurities and my doubts.

After, Mari, directed me towards the elevators and I told her prior to going that I hoped to see her again soon. She laughed and said she expected she would. In the lobby, I got a bottle of water and noticed a few students from my alma mater sitting in the cafeteria – doing one of their own clinical rotations. It seemed like a good sign.

My other picked me up, explaining that he expected the interview would last about an hour – which it did. We had lunch and I told him about it and went back to work.

Everyone asked how I thought it went.

“Good,” I told them. “I’ll call on Tuesday, if I don’t hear anything.”


February 2nd, 3:30 P.M.

It may not even be them. Don’t get worked up.

I took a few slow, deep breaths to brace myself. I’d missed a call while I was working. The number was in my history, but not saved. It looked familiar, but . . .

I sat on the curb just outside the side door of my office. Cars went by, a truck. The noise didn’t block out the sound of the phone ringing in my ear. I closed my eyes and visualized a beach. Waves, salt, sun . . .

Hello, you’ve reached Terry Owens. How may I help you?” The voice was chirpy, southern, familiar from four or five rounds of phone-tag.

“Yes, Terry, hello! I was calling back regarding a call I just received. About the oncology nursing position? I’m sorry, I couldn’t answer -” I had to stop, having run out of air.

Oh, hello, dear. So glad you called back. I wanted to let you know that, after having reviewed your resume further and having interviewed you, Mrs. J.T.K. and our hospital would like to extend an offer to you for that position. Would you like to hear it?

I liked my lips, breathless. “Yes. Yes, I’d be thrilled to hear it.”

A few minutes later, I thanked her and hung up the phone.

Giggles escaped me. I cried. I called my other half.

“They want me,” I told him. “They actually offered me a job.”

And? What are the details?” He asked.

I told him. He pretended to choke.

The offer was good, I thought. Better than good. Most of my classmates talked about wanting to start somewhere for not-less-than $22-$23. I’d have been thrilled with that, but it wasn’t what I’d been offered.

Base pay would be $24. The differential pay for nights is $4. The additional differential for weekends is $3. You’d be hired for nights and weekends, as requested and noted.

I couldn’t breath properly. Quickly, back at my desk, I did the math.

Triple. I’d start off making triple what I currently make.

Fairy-tales come true. They just take some work.


Feb. 2nd, 8:45 P.M.

This wasn’t how I expected to celebrate.

I wobbled, trying to catch my breath and think clearly.

Two 16oz beers, a shot of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, two mixed drinks with 1800 and Sprite. One hour of mind-blowing sex with an attractive out-of-towner on the living room ottoman. It was safe, of course. He was a stranger to me, but not to my other. Our open relationship created some interesting situations, sometimes. This was one of them.

“He’s coming off a bad break-up,” my other had explained, when he picked me up from work and told me about the out-of-towner. “He’s in town visiting family for a few days. He’s clean, has the papers, and he’s a friend. You deserve a night of rough sex and booze.”

Well, who was I to argue with that logic? Plus, he ordered pizza.

And round two, in the bedroom, was actually better than round one.


Feb. 4th, 2:37 P.M.

I’m putting off being productive.

My lower body is so sore that it feels like I tried to cram a 30-Day Workout into one night. My nose is stuffy and I have a sore throat. The DayQuil I’m taking is making me slightly fuzzy, even thought it’s the non-drowsy formula. I still need to do the dishes and go grocery shopping and score my last practice test. All I want to do is play video games and daydream about how I’m going to be making $31 an hour for three twelve hour shifts a week. I’ll be able to buy new bras, and coffee, and go to Universal.

It’s surreal. Doesn’t feel real. In six days, I’ll be one step closer, because I’ll have taken (and hopefully passed) the NCLEX. The job starts March 5th, so I’ve still got some time to brace myself and to research the role more thoroughly. I have to perform a background check, drug screening, and health assessment. I have to get used to thinking of myself as an RN. I have to breath and remind myself that I am capable of learning how to be capable. I have to brush up on IV starts, characterization, and conflict resolution.

But . . . first I have to do the dishes . . . .

The Problem with To-Do Lists

As an individual who appreciates the logic organization, prioritization, and task-orientation . . . I like lists. I think I probably have at least five blog posts that contain actual to-do lists and probably another five that contain miscellaneous lists. There are grocery lists posted on my fridge, check-off sheets on my desk at work, and a list of how many NCLEX practice questions I’ve done per day in my planner.

This morning, I do fully plan to create another To-Do list – this time limited to things I want to accomplish before work. I also feel obligated to note; however, that just last night I was thinking about the potential limitations and pit-falls of making To-Do lists.

It’s very easy to become somewhat emotionally invested in a To-Do list. The act of creating the list requires some forethought and some ambition. Checking off tasks causes little chemical storms of endorphins to release and actually finishing all of the items on a list can generate a great feeling of success. That said . . . failing to check off all the tasks within the pre-determined time-frame of the list can lead to feelings of failure, nagging guilt, and frustration. Additionally, one could be so focused on completing the tasks on the list that it hinders once from taking advantage of spontaneous opportunities to accomplish other necessary things. Or, as it’s been suggested by numerous studies, the act of writing down the tasks creates a false sense of security regarding their completion and they never actually get done.

So many variables! What’s a person to do? (No pun intended.)

Well, there is hope. There are ways to make effective daily To-Do lists. My method is to limit my To-Do lists to ten items or less and to include a mix of the very-doable and the fairly-ambitious. I also create lists for short time-frames. Weekends are the most time I allow to complete a To-Do list and most of mine are meant to be completed in two hours. Also, instead of looking at them as concrete, I view them as guides. While I would love to mark off every item, I can also acknowledge that there are only so many hours in a day.

All that being the case . . . here’s my To-Do list for this morning! I leave for work in about an hour and fifteen minutes, so we’ll see how far I get along on things.

  • Do the dishes from last night.
  • Make the bed and tidy the bedroom.
  • Pack lunch and drinks.
  • Have breakfast – including fruit.
  • Download new NCLEX questions.

Fairly simple, this morning. I’m feeling very sleepy and woke up when the alarm went off absolutely convinced it was Sunday. I was groggily angry that my other forgot to turn them off until I rolled over and suddenly remembered that it’s only Tuesday.

Here’s to hoping that today is an early day at work!

Sunday Morning Questions

I was up before the sun, but not before the birds.

As I stirred, my other rolled over and asked, “What’s wrong?”

Because, surely, something must be wrong in order for me to wake so early.

Today is Sunday, the only day I’m able to sleep in, this week.

“Can’t sleep,” I answered, stretching.

Time to make coffee.



I perform a few of the same actions every morning, no matter what day of the week it is.

Brush my teeth, use a face cleanser, open the blinds, start the coffee, put on the TV for some background noise, spend some time browsing FaceBook and Pinterest.

This morning, on Pinterest, I found a list of thirty one questions to ask yourself in January. They’re meant to be journal prompts or things to blog about, I believe. I don’t technically journal anymore, though I have on and off since I was very young. Now, I blog. Even though it’s almost the end of January, I thought I’d have some personal reflection time this morning.

I’m not religious, but I do appreciate the quiet stillness of Sunday morning. Soon enough, my other will wake up and I’ll have to begin being productive in a more typical sense.

In the interest of not creating a ridiculously long blog post, I’m going to select just five questions – one for each week of the month. The questions I pick out will be the ones I find the most pertinent to January and my life in general.




Question 1: What is your number one goal this year?

I have a lot of goals for this year, but they all hinge on one thing . . . money. I know, I know, money is the root of all evil and it can’t buy happiness and you can’t take it with you when you die. All those familiar expressions that get thrown around. Well, you know what? I don’t believe it. And my number one goal this year is to become financially stable. I want to have more than 0.02 cents in my saving account and I don’t want to have both my credit cards maxed out all of the time. I want to be able to order a coffee while I’m out, or buy a new pair of sneakers, or get real deli meat/cheese without freaking out.

Question 2: Can people change?

I was going to type, “Well, I certainly hope so,” but that’s not an honest statement. More accurate would be, “I know people can change, but I’m not sure if I can.” People around me tell me that I’ve changed drastically in the past eighteen months of nursing school. They say I’m more confident, more assertive, more poised . . . but I still feel like I’m faking those things. I’m terrified of making mistakes, still prefer to defer to others, and feel like I’m stumbling over myself more often than not. I think, really, the only thing that’s really changed is my reaction to those things. I try harder, now, to continue despite them. Instead of walking (or running) from a challenge, I’m more likely to approach it.

Question 3: What are you grateful for?

My sister – who is forever being patient and supportive. My other – who pushes me to believe that anything is possible. My parents – who raised me to be a free thinker. My boss – who let me continue working while in school. My coworkers – who provided encouragement and perspective during the school/work juggle.

Question 4: What are you looking for from life?

This question stymied me, so I ran a search with it in the field. Three main things came up – a sense of purpose, a relationship with God, and tacos.

I’m not convinced that we are all born with a specific purpose written somewhere in the codes of our DNA, I’m a self-proclaimed atheist, and I don’t particularly like tacos. That said, I do kinda see a common thread between those three things – yes, even the tacos. Finding a sense of purpose, building/maintaining a relationship (with anyone/thing/idea), and eating the perfect taco all seem to lend themselves towards a sense of fulfillment – psychological, emotional, or physical. I can get behind that idea.

I’m looking to find fulfillment during my lifetime. Peace, happiness, success. Too much to ask, probably, but definitely a worthy goal to strive towards, I suppose.

Question 5: What did you get done?

There’s no time-frame associated with this question, but I’m gonna stick to the past week.

I scheduled my first interview for a nursing position, in the oncology department of a large hospital. I completed all of my NCLEX study guide questions. I went grocery shopping and didn’t forget anything on my list. I made it through my first Renaissance Fair without suffering from an anxiety attack. I created a Pinterest board dedicated to clothes, so that I’ll have something to present to my next Stitch Fix stylist. I interviewed someone for a position in the office and encouraged my manager to hire her. I scheduled an appointment to have my taxes done. I made sure my other/myself ate well.


All in all, not too shabby.

And, conveniently, he’s now awake.

Time to embark on the rest of the day’s stuff!