Thinking like a nurse (or just, like… a nice person).

I am now nearing the end of my first semester in nursing school which leaves me only five semesters to qualification. The school rumour mill claims that our third year is mostly all practical experience placement with very little contact time on campus, so it feels as if I’m already almost a quarter of the way through the academic part of my degree.

This morning I had my first opportunity to try to think like a nurse. While waiting at the bus stop on my way to school an unfortunate man sat next to me and proceeded to vomit on his shoes. When he first sat down he seemed agitated and was smoking a cigarette like his life depended on it, so I didn’t want to bother him by making a big deal and just gave him a handful of clean tissues. I felt pleased to find that I could turn off any ick factor to the vomit and just see an unwell person in a situation any of us could find ourselves in (I have). Maybe the training works! Maybe I have actually absorbed something positive. One of our lecturers claims to be throwing a bucket of water at us and hoping we’ll catch a mugful. Such optimism!

I’ve now had three essays back, and two mini-report things. The essays have all been high distinctions and the two minis were a distinction and a credit-plus. While I am pretty much utterly thrilled over those marks it’s also adding a layer of neurosis to my education, since I keep wondering when the good marks bubble will burst. Assumedly by then I will at least be au fait enough with mental health that I can counsel myself.

When I told my grandparents about my marks my grandpa replied, “Good! Now when are you getting a job?” Oh, family.

Get a jorb? :(


A/W10 preview

The fashion of the new season: fleece, fleece and more fleece, and all of it Kmart-bought.

I think I am getting a good peek at what a winter studying in Launceston holds for me. Aaron has gone to bed ill, so I can’t study all tucked up in case I disturb him. My hands are frozen, my feet are frozen, and by God, I cannot make myself read any more about Urie Bronfenbrenner and bioecological development, I just can’t. To make matters worse, I don’t really feel like I’ve crammed my head full. I’m just too cold to focus on a poorly-scanned chapter from a book.

I love it.

Tomorrow we get our first proper assessment returned to us. I know I phoned this one in a little bit, and I have been more and more worried about it since I handed it in. We were asked to write in report format, which could be: “However you think a report might look like.” Don’t give me that kind of margin! I will declare a report to look like a big piece of butcher’s paper with crayon scribbles on it and “SUPPORT CHILD PEDESTRIANS – BAN CARS” as the heading. Mind, they must have seen me coming, since they reined us in with a 1300 minimum word requirement.

Anyway, frozen fingers crossed! I imagine I now know enough about this particular developmental theory to blag my way through at the very least. Am telling myself that if I only had a couch I would totes curl up on it with a blanket and get so much reading done my textbook wouldn’t know what hit it. I suspect that might actually be true! I like couches, and I do rather like my textbooks.

Maybe I should have just cosplayed this gal instead.

What am I doing at uni?



I am six weeks into a Bachelor of Nursing at university. That means I have twenty weeks of lectures left for the entire year, as each semester runs for thirteen weeks.

This first semester is all about theory. We have four units, and each week is composed of one lecture per unit and then its corresponding tutorial. One class is all about the culture of nursing as well as its past, present and future – it’s “navel-gazing” as our tutor described it. Another unit is essentially high school health all grown up – health care issues faced by the wider Australian community. Our third unit is paediatric nursing theory, and the fourth is mental health (my favourite).

Next semester is rumoured as time to get serious. There’s a bioscience unit that keeps getting mentioned like an academic boogeyman. Ooooh, bioscience. Ooooh, if you fail it you can’t take any units in second year. Ooooh, cadavers. It’s an attitude which irritates me. If it’s so big and scary then give me the textbooks now and let me start exorcising worry demons with the holy sword of preparation! (Last night I paid too much attention to the existence of Dragon Age and now I am jonesing for Baldur’s Gate.)

It’s very interesting to be back at uni after my spectacular failing to earn an English degree in 2001/2002. It’s a different uni, for starters, so they may just have always done things differently. And it is also a very different course – one with an actual career at the end of it. But what really strikes me is that I feel much, much, much more support from this university than I ever felt from my first one. The new uni seems to have really embraced use of the internet, which suits me much more than other communication methods. Overall, it just seems to care more about the students somehow. I don’t remember having a course co-ordinator for my BA, but we very definitely have a very accessible co-ordinator for nursing.

I’m tentatively positive about the whole uni and nursing thing. Perhaps because I haven’t had a proper assignment back yet. Unlike many of the other students, I have no clinical experience, so that whole area could bring a pretty rude awakening. I am also well aware of my mathematical weaknesses. So, we shall see! A fellow student works for a local pathology lab and he suggested I could use my phlebotomy certificate to get some work there – unbeknownst to him, I have only ever drawn blood from a rubber arm. It’s definitely something to look into, but I may wait until I’ve determined that five seconds holding a cadaver’s liver doesn’t make me flee back to the safety of the temping world.

Status update #8: 5th of April, 2010

My poor oft abandoned blog.

I have recently had reason to be writing fairly regularly. It’s made me want to start writing informally more, so here I am. I am quite willing to admit I never expected myself to become an accomplished and frequent blogger. Sure, over the last few years I have had plenty to babble about, but I could never really make it crystallise into anything much.

So, here I go again. I have some goals this time:

  1. Writing practise.
  2. Keep friends and family up to date.
  3. Connect with professional community.

Location: Launceston, Tasmania, Australia
Employment: Forget it! I am a student suckling on the teat of the Commonwealth of Australia.
Place of residence:

The bottom bit is ours! (Earth realm is ours!)

Flat on the hillside! With Aaron!
Doing: Studying! I got into a three year nursing programme. I am one term in, with the second term of first semester, four assignments and two exams to go ’til holidays (and work, hopefully).
Decisions: Nothing nearly as important as I have previously blogged about. Mostly things now like, “Should I cut sugar out of my diet?” and, “Will I find any temp work during the mid-year holiday?”

Having just spent about five weeks in a row studying the importance of nutrition, I am feeling bucketloads of guilt over my Easter indulgences. We ended up with more junk than planned because family visited and left us with lollies they didn’t want to take home. I attempted to create an antidote last night by way of chicken and vegetable soup with brown rice, but have cancelled that out again during the course of today. Our lecturer in health care repeatedly stated his belief that we should be the healthiest generation. We have the most advanced knowledge about nutrition and the most advanced resources, says he. Based on personal experience, my unhealthiest food-based part of my life came about when I was utterly, utterly, completely miserable with my daily life, particularly my soul-destroying job. How can we help people whose only daily enjoyment comes from a chocolate bar? I had to eventually choose to help myself, having shelved advice from people who cared about me as something I’d come back to later.

The same lecturer steered us toward the CSIRO’s 12345+ Diet, which treads the familiar food pyramid plan path. I may undertake a project of dedicatedly following the plan and see if it saves me from this post-Easter headachy, tummyachy grossness.

Status update #7: 2nd of August, 2009

This past weekend has been spent almost entirely by reading a wonderful blog that goes by the title of Brain Scramble, RN. I’ve spent weeks combing through the internet, but have felt a connection with few of the nursing bloggers’ writing styles. Caroline’s blog has been a godsend because I identified intensely with her – right down to the fact she uses Excel spreadsheets to maintain control in her life. I am lost without my budget spreadsheet!
For my birthday last week Mumsy gifted me a couple of nursing books I had been drooling over and I’m working my way through those – nerding out in my lunch breaks at work by scurrying off into quiet corners to engage in voluntary study!
The course I want to get into opens their first semester 2010 applications this Monday and closes them again at the end of September, so I have two months to work as hard as I can at figuring out how to write a personal statement that works for me. I’d also like to have St. John’s first aid training under my belt, and I am embarking on a four week phlebotomy course beginning on the 15th of August.

Location: Cardiff, Wales, UK
Employment: Landed a three month contract and am two weeks in.
Place of residence: Mum’s flat, where it appears I will be staying.
Doing: Reading nursing books and blogs while freaking out about my applications.
Decisions: Should I apply for all three schools that would allow me to begin my degree in early 2010 even though I’m none too enthusiastic about two of them, or should I only apply for the one I really want and wait until second semester aplications open and my second preference school becomes a possibility?

Previous decisions decided:
Is nursing really going to be right for me? Obviously, have decided it’s right enough to go ahead with applications.
Where should I spend my time if it turns out it will be a 12 month wait for school and not a 6 month one? Definitely in the UK until December. After that is much blurrier.

Status update #6: Mum’s birthday! 12th of July, 2009

Since the last thrilling chapter I have had another two weeks work in Cardiff, then travelled to Bath & Bristol with Mum, then had a month in San Francisco. The SF time was meant to be only two and a half weeks and a brief visit to see old friends of mine, but we stretched it out a bit. I almost thought I was going to have to stretch it further since I was in the throes of food poisoning at SFO the day of departure after we ate some red snapper that, unbeknownst to us, was off when we bought it. Bad form, Taraval Safeway!

Since my return to Cardiff I have been frantically working away at A) getting work (yes, again) and B) figuring out what to do with my life!
I shall be entirely honest. I spent the summer of my fourteenth year lying on my stomach in front of the TV, pressed down by the weight of the humid air, eating frozen mango cheesecake and being entirely obsessed with M*A*S*H. Yes, I decided, nursing is for me!
Then I got distracted by life and things and began to doubt myself, never once thought for a second I could try things like volunteer in nursing homes during school holidays, and the idea pretty much drained away. At the time when you are supposed to be memorising the TEE score you need to get into the course of your choice I looked vaguely at the nursing ones and memorised them because I had no idea what else to look at. It did not work out.
Well, the interest is back now. So I have been thinking, reading researching schools and mature age entry requirements.
At present, this is the plan: get first aid certificate (£40) and study basic phlebotomy course (£225) before the 30th of September so that I can apply for the University of Tasmania’s 2 year fast track nursing degree. If I get in and I don’t feel ready I can defer a semester or a year, so I’m not biting off too much more than I can chew. If I don’t get in I can set my sights on being ready for the mid-year intake in many other schools offering nursing degrees.

Location: Cardiff, Wales, UK
Employment: Have two potentials in the works. I’m keen on both, but I do have a preference. Fingers crossed for first preference!
Place of residence: Mum’s after she had a pleasant month-long break from me!
Doing: Obsessively reading nursing blogs, researching nursing books, trying to think up auxiliary nursing-related study I can undertake online and through short courses here in the UK.
Decisions: Is nursing really going to be right for me? Where should I spend my time if it turns out it will be a 12 month wait for school and not a 6 month one?

In exciting follow up to last status update: yes, I did get my hair cut. No, I did not buy new glasses.

Easy x-free dessert recipe – fruit crumble.

I’ve had time to play around with this recipe, which I originally found on Cobbler and crumble recipes don’t need to be too specific with measurements, since they’re pretty difficult to ruin, however I have changed the proportions from the original because I found it made too little in the way of crumble topping.

I like the versatility of this recipe. You can be creative with fruit combinations; it works with Splenda replacing the sugar, and it turned out well using gluten- and wheat-free flour. So tweak it however it needs to be tweaked.

X-free Fruit Cobbler

Preheat oven to 190C/375F.


  • 2-3 tins of fruit or 4 cups (if you’re cooking for sugar-free requirements and you use tinned fruit make sure you have fruit  juice with no added sugar and not fruit in syrup)
  • 3/4 cup of any flour (wholemeal works well with this recipe)
  • 1/2 cup of Splenda or brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons margarine
  1. Put the fruit into a casserole dish or baking tray. Include some juice from the tins, or if you’re using fresh fruit sprinkle some lemon juice in.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Blend margarine into the dry ingredients using a fork or your fingers until mixture is crumbly and consistent.
  4. Spread the crumble mixture evenly over the fruit.
  5. Bake for 20-30 minutes.