Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My unit!!!

We had a very successful open house for our hospice inpatient unit on Thursday, March 10th and opened on Friday, March 11th with three whole patients. I cannot say enough about how much I am in love with what I do now. I work with some amazing men and women and I feel honored to have a career where I am invited into one of the most intimate moments of my patient's lives. I wanted to share a few pictures of our beautiful unit:

This is one of two family areas. The other is a quiet room while this one has a computer, television and phone:

The butterflies that adorn the corner of the entrance into the rooms that signifies that someone is actively dying:

One of only 2 rooms that have shared beds. The chairs pull out into a single bed:

This is one of the single rooms that includes a couch that pulls out into a bed and there is flatscreen television and ipod stereo that sits opposite the bed:

Another view of one of the single room:

I have been asked multiple times what I do. I have to reflect on this. Technically, I give people a comfortable death whether that be by administering pain medication when they are in pain, wiping their feverish brows, or simply sitting beside them and holding their hands if they have no one else in this world. But it is so much more. I hold weeping wives as their husbands lie dying beside them, I educate sons and daughters about what to expect when their mothers and fathers begin to transition, I assure husbands that although their dying wife may not answer, she will hear every last word he says to her. It is a wonderful job, one that I feel I was placed on this earth to do.

"It should be a sacred day for you when one of your people dies. A sacred day when the sould is released, when it returns to it's home." -Black Elk

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Moving on

Last Saturday was my last night at the hospital.It was definately bittersweet. I am excited to be moving on to hospice, but I have developed some wonderful friendships. Even though I know these friendships will continue, I will miss working with these fabulous people.

Each person at the hospital made me who I am today, as I learned from them all. Goodbye gals, I may be leaving, but you all hold a special place in my heart.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Closer to a place her heart can rest

I'm ready to share this wonderful news with everyone: I am officially a hospice nurse. I gave my two week notice at the hospital today and have been orienting with hospice a little over a week now. It is amazing how things have begun to just fall into place. It has been a great lesson in faith.

I will be working with a local hospice agency that is opening up an inpatient unit where patients will go for symptom management that can't be controlled at home. The atmosphere is calm, and not as cold as at a hospital.

This is what I have wanted to do for some time, and I feel so blessed that I am able to begin my journey so early in my career. I have already met some amazing people at the agency and everyone is extremely loving and welcoming. I couldn't ask for a better place to grow professionally.

My heart is content now and I don't feel as restless. I feel at home :)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Kayla, RN.....MSN?

I have embarked on a new journey: getting my master's degree. What has possessed me to return to school? I haven't the slightest clue. Maybe it's because I don't know what to do with myself if I'm not pushing forward in some compacity or another even if it is aimlessly. I get bored easily being stagnant. So, here I am, during my first week of my master's program classes.

The whole program is online, which is FABULOUS for a night nurse. I can do quizzes at 3am if I so choose. It takes a little less than 3 years to complete and I am liking that time frame. My emphasis will be in education so that when I'm ready for another facet of this nursing journey years and years down the road, I can teach and complete the journey full circle.

I don't know what hubby thinks of this. It's only been a year and a half since I've been out of nursing school and the home we have made together has slowly returned to it's original state. But, now I am turning it upside down again. Not that I imagine anything could be as awful on a marriage as nursing school....really. Just ask him. But he loves me and supports me in such an amazing way that sometimes I even believe in myself. He thinks I can change the world, and for that, how could I not press forward? And that's why I know the next 3 years will be fine.

So, I am standing up to face the unknown as I continue to work hard to figure out my place in this world and what I have hidden inside me to contribute.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I have slowly adapted to life as a vampire nurse. Sometimes all I feel like I do is work and have no time for anything else.
Things I have discovered:
I seem to cry and laugh at very inappropriate time sometimes
I sleep and sleep.....and sleep some more
I miss my husband immensely as we sometimes spend days apart.
I can sleep in our huge king-sized bed all by myself....and I actually enjoy it.
I can accomplish anything when pushed to the brink of breaking.
I love coffee and coffee loves me.
I can stay up for 36 hours straight and not die.

Sometimes it makes me laugh to reflect on what I do for a living. I chuckle at the thought that I can carry on a conversation with another nurse as I hold a bucket that someone is projectile vomiting into. Or scolding someone for flushing because I would have really liked to have seen their poop and then proceed to ask them to describe it in detail. People say that nurses are a dirferent kind of person. We are different. Its hard to have a job where you are responsible for someone's well-being. We are surrounded by death, dying, sickness and unhappiness for twelve hours a day. It's intense and it's real. I am not saying there are not moments of pure wonderfulness. There is no better feeling then when you help someone get better or knowing you gave someone a peaceful death.

I wouldn't have chosen any other profession. I know that my heart beats to do this. I was created for this. And isn't that the American dream? I am being paid for the one thing I was made to do. And that to me, is pure wonderfulness.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A look back

It has been a while since I have blogged my adventures in nurseland. I am officially on my own with my own set of patients for about a week now. To say I wasn't scared that first night when I saw that my name was solely next to a group of my very own patients would be a lie. I was taken back to the time in nursing school with butterflies in my stomach. But, I overcame and now it is on to week 2 and I already feel so much more confident. I work with an amazing group of nurses on the noc shift and I am blessed. They are so helpful to the new grads and I never feel alone.
I am developing my own techniques and ways to do things and am really beginning to come into my own. It still amazes me how far I've come. I was watching a group of nursing students last week and it really set in how much we have learned. I watched as they frantically chose a patient and looked up every medication on the medication record (those that I can recite backwards and forwards now).
It has been a great journey.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Learning about life and love

It occurred to me that I haven't written in quite a while and I felt that to commemorate the official beginning to my night shifts, I would start with a new blog. To be entirely honest, the last week was rough. It is hard to learn so much and still feel so inadequate at the end of the day. I find myself coming home saying to myself "when is the day I know everything?" The answer, of course, is never. I will never learn it all and I hope I never think I do. In such a field that is ever changing, I feel there will never not be something new for me to tackle. But, I suppose that is why I got into nursing in the first place. What a great feeling that I could possibly learn something new every day?

I am finding myself contemplating life, love and everything in between as I meet new patients everyday that touch my heart in a way I never knew would happen. I learn from them all and I am so grateful at the end of the day that I was able to share even a moment with some of the most amazing people I will ever have the chance to cross paths with. To be able to be welcomed into the most private of moments is the greatest gift I think I will ever get out of this profession. A patient I recently had with a bleak prognosis could be found playfully squabbling with his wife as I came in and out of the room. But at one moment, I peeked in the room and saw the wife scooted up to the edge of the bed, caressing his hand and watching him as he slept in the much welcomed dark silence of the room. She would later tell me they have been married for almost 50 years. What an amazing moment to witness. These are the kind of moments that make me want to do hospice nursing even more. I came home to hug Chris a little tighter that night, because merely seeing a glimpse of a time when I might have to be in the same position as that strong woman, made me weak in the knees. Nursing is definitely a heavy profession. I just try to learn every day from those around me.