PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT!
I don't want to look like a know-it-all, but I'm noticing a widespread misunderstanding about surgical masks. This isn't general knowledge outside of the medical industry (and there are even some inside who misunderstand), and in a situation like this year's H1N1 flu, the misunderstanding can be dangerous.
Surgical masks DO NOT protect you from breathing in organisms. Surgical masks are meant to keep the surgeon or surgical assistant's germs away from the surgery being performed. It protects OTHERS. The mask that protects the wearer is called an N95, and if you have not been fitted for the proper size, it won't work for you either. In fact, some people with certain facial features (think wide, square jaws or prominent cheekbones) cannot be fitted for an N95 mask at all. Neither quiara
or I could be fitted, and we're required to wear a respirator in any airborne precaution rooms.
When I explained my idea for this post to Bryan, he thought perhaps I should just let people do whatever makes them feel better. Then I thought "What if someone visits a friend with H1N1, thinking they're safe because of the mask?" That won't do, because likely you'd end up with it anyway. It's not a bad flu, as flu goes, but it isn't exactly fun, either. Courtney, my sister, had it at the end of July; her fever spiked to nearly 105º and she felt like crap, but she didn't get the pneumonia complications. Some people are much more prone to those complications.
Surgical masks are appropriate, however, if you have symptoms and you MUST go out. It's really better to stay in where you won't be exposing the general public, but if you're getting out to go to the doctor and get yourself some chicken soup, orange juice, & Tamiflu, by all means wear a surgical mask. Don't breathe on the rest of us!
This has been an announcement from your friendly Livejournal nurse.
At least, I hope I'm still a nurse. I took the NCLEX-RN yesterday at a Pearson Testing Center in Little Rock. I talked Bryan into taking Friday off, and so Thursday night we put Ganon in the car and drove first to Newport where Bryan wrote the day's schoolwork on his whiteboard & organized it for the substitute teacher, and then to Little Rock. We stayed at the Hampton Inn Little Rock West, which was no more than 4 minutes from the testing site, and has a Krispy Kreme in front of it. I don't like Krispy Kremes even now, it seems. I tried one.
Anyway, I don't know what to tell you about the test experience. I was fingerprinted on the way into and out of the testing area. I had my photo taken before I went in, and had to confirm it was me on the way out. I had to empty my pockets, show them there were no inner pockets to my cardigan, turn my iPhone off, remove my earrings, and then put all these things into a locker. I was allowed the clothes on my back, my locker key, and my ID. That was it. As for the exam itself, I don't know what to say about that, either. I was absolutely certain of maybe 4 or 5 questions, out of the 120-something I was given (the test can range from 75-256 questions, depending on how many are needed to ascertain you will pass). For the rest of them, I used critical thinking prioritized by 3 cardinal rules of nursing: 1) Protect the ABCs (airway, breathing, & circulation), 2) Protect patient safety (consider fall risks, etc), and 3) Consider transmission of infections. I can't tell you what the questions were like or what they contained, because you sign something saying they can sue your buns off for cheating if you do that. I'm not allowed to divulge any of the content. THEY WILL SEND NINJAS AFTER ME. I'M SURE.
After the exam, we ate lunch at the River Market, where I ate the best hot dog I have ever tasted from a guy with a real-honest-to-God-New-York-City-hot-
dog-cart. He had developed a very fiery mustard that day, & when I loved it he decided to name it Hillary Sauce! (I wonder if he was telling the truth? He seemed like a flatterer, but I have decided to believe him.) Also we had cupcakes from Brown Sugar baking company. A very large number of semi-uniformed high school students came in then, and we asked where they were from. Turns out it's a new charter school in downtown Little Rock. I accidentally left my purse in the building, and only realized it when we got to the car. I ran like a madwoman back into the Market & found our table, where I found my purse sitting happily & untouched...at a table full of high school students. They'd been wondering when someone might come back for it. The cash in the purse was still there, sitting right on top. Granted, it was just a $5, but still! I picked up the purse & looked at the students. "You know, if I'd left this purse at a table with my husband's students, I might never have seen it again." They grinned at me. I liked the look of those students--all of them. They all looked...I don't know. Aware. Observant. Bryan said they lacked the "brutish" or "simple" quality many of his own students can sometimes show. If Ganon grew up & went to a school like that, I'd be ecstatic. Bryan said that if he could teach at one of those schools, he'd stay in education for sure.
Then we decided to continue the adventure & drive to Memphis. We went to the Apple store & bought Snow Leopard, and we're not impressed with their new way of doing things. There's no cash register, no place to just walk up & buy something. A concierge helps you with your decisions & then rings up your purchase as well. It's pretty awesome if you're going to buy a computer or make another major purchase. The problem with that is, when you're me & Bryan & you just want to buy a copy of Snow Leopard, you're left wandering around & looking for someone to help you. I saw at least 3 other people in the same predicament as me. We just wanted to buy the OS, but everyone was busy helping people to buy computers or iPhones or iPods.
Supper at Whole Foods Market, of course. We've been out of peanut butter for a few days, and with Ganon's peanut butter & jelly phase in full swing, that wouldn't do. Ganon must have heavy wheat bread (we use double fiber wheat by Nature Valley), Smucker's strawberry jam, and Whole Foods honey roasted PB. So we got some, and Bryan & I had awesome pizza for supper. Ganon was very silly, talking to everyone and refusing to eat...and then he ate ALL the bananas on the way home. *headdesk* Oh my boy. He did turn down a cookie & ask for a banana, so that made me happy.
Came home, and at that point the Tired caught up with me. I had worked a 12-hour shift, driven 2 hours, gotten to sleep a little past midnight and not slept well at all. Then I got up at 6, got ready & took an emotionally exhausting exam and had the above adventure. By the time I got home I was shattered. I collapsed in bed and slept HARD until this morning. In fact, I've had a 2 hour nap already today and I'm STILL exhausted. I feel like I'm never going to be rested again.
I cannot know my exam results until Monday at the earliest. Searching a name on the state registry requires a subscription ($10 a month for unlimited searches) or a one-time name search payment of $5.50. In either case, exam results are not available until at least 72 hours after the exam time, according to the site. Rather than paying $5.50 I will just have them look it up at the hospital, and then I'll know. I want to say I HAD to pass; there's no way I couldn't pass. I'm good
at this. I'm new and I can only carry 3 patients (4 if they're very uncomplicated) at once, but they get good care from me. They feel like I'm paying attention to them, that I'll listen to them, and I have good basic nursing judgement about their needs. I love nursing. It's hard, it runs me ragged and leaves me worn out & used up at the end of the day, but I could not stop doing this job, pursuing this career, if you paid me to. I am a nurse at the bottom of my soul, where everything else is stripped away. I can't
have failed that test.