Friday, October 22, 2010

Ready for a Breather

At the peak overlooking Dundas with two sisters and an almost-sister.

I am halfway through my second semester of Practical Nursing and about to start my third clinical placement. But first I have a week off. There is quite a long to do list to complete before the week is out, but hopefully I will also get some good relaxation in.

I am qualified to administer medications now, and I have been learning about respiratory and cardiac assessments. In the second part of second semester I will be learning about wound care. Academically I am doing well, but although I had a good report from my clinical teacher, I feel I have a lot of room for improvement in my clinical skills which will come with practice, I hope.

Life as a nursing student can be a challenge. The workload is heavy, even with a reduced courseload. It is hard to get the right balance and to maintain a social life outside of school. This coming week I will visit a friend I haven't seen since August, before she had her baby.

I am a good student, but I want to translate that into being the best nurse I can be. I hope that by the end of the year, I will be a more confident and competent nursing student and put into practice all I have been studying.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Of Ruins and Renovations

The words echo in my mind, "Remember the height from which you have fallen." Jesus' words to the church in Ephesus, I recall, flipping to the back of my Bible. I wonder if these words apply to me. Have I forsaken my first love?

It is true I have been finding less and less time to spend with God, and that the long services at church frequently leave me in a state of half-hearted worship, wishing for the service to end. I am more often in a state of worry and anxiety than in a state of calm trust in God. My infrequent prayers are generally me promising God I will renew my devotion to him, which I am aware has lapsed as of late.

So maybe I am in a state of free-fall, plummeting towards the earth. But how do I change my heart and my attitude? How will a repentance be more than hollow words spoken out of guilt?

I want to be someone who lives what they profess to believe, but the disconnect is worsening, and the chasm between where I want to be and where I am is widening.

The truth is that I don't believe my own prayers. If it depends on me and my will-power and my ability to change myself I will never get there. I need an inner transformation, a renovation of my mind, a revolution in my habits. I need God to change me.

The thing is he has promised me a new heart, a renewed mind, a new self. The words are there written in my Bible. So why the disconnect, why the multi-layered guilt, why the impoverished spirit, when the riches are already mine by Christ's finished work on the cross? If there is now no condemnation, why do I feel like one of those condemned ruins about to be flattened?

Do I trust in Christ or am I like a wave tossed by the sea? Is his work enough or must I add to it?

Please take me, God, and mold me like clay. Please move into my house and renovate it. Fix the structural damage. Throw out the junk I have been holding onto and organize the clutter. Redecorate it so it is beautiful again. Restore me, renew me, transform me. I don't want to live in the squalor of broken dreams and empty promises.

Monday, October 11, 2010


The world is charged with the grandeur of God, as Gerard Manley Hopkins once began a wonder-filled poem. It is in evidence in the variegated beauty of the fall foliage and even in the delightful tastes of a Thanksgiving feast. This Thanksgiving we enjoyed time with family, heaping platefuls of delectable dishes, and a hike to the Dundas Peak where we saw a panoramic view of Dundas valley clothed in yellows, reds, oranges, and greens. Even in the rain with seemingly hundreds of fellow walkers, it was a spectacle worth the hike.

In honour of Thanksgiving here is an incomplete list of things I am thankful for:

1. My lovely and loving family who continue to put up with my foibles with admirable grace.
2. My health and strength, both mentally and physically.
3. The opportunity to study nursing, even if I complain about the rigours and the challenges.
4. God's continual grace in my life and my church family who help channel that grace to me.
5. An overabundance of good food to eat.
6. The freedom I enjoy both as a citizen of Canada and citizen of God's kingdom.
7. The stunning beauty of the world created for us to enjoy.
8. My ability to think and to write down my thoughts intelligently.
9. A warm and cozy house to live in with my own room and space, even if I don't always keep it tidy.
10. My adorable nephew and niece who are two little miracle children.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Moments of non-brilliance

Yeah I guess we all have these moments, when we don't think through the implications or the consequences of our actions. But that I should have two such moments in one day makes me a little red-faced.

Today I walked into a room with contact precautions without gown or gloves. The patient was the one to point it out to me. Somehow I hadn't noted the sign on the door, and I helped open all her breakfast items before I was informed of my omission. It is all the worse because I had worked with the patient before, and used the gown and gloves, donning and doffing each time I entered or exited the room.

If that was all, maybe I could shrug it off like a badly fitting coat. But no, in helping another student with her respiratory and abdominal assessments, I committed the ultimate crime. Her patient also had contact precautions and I carried in some papers and a book to help with the assessment, and then, I PLACED THEM ON A BEDSIDE TABLE! Also my fellow student had papers she was writing on on that table. Somehow we hadn't thought of contaminated papers and books that couldn't be properly cleaned afterwards.

A nurse informed us of our error and our teacher was also notified of it, and later asked us to talk about it at post-conference. We both felt a little foolish, because it hadn't occurred to us until we were cleaning our stethoscopes that our papers couldn't be similarly disinfected.

Chalk it up to a misfiring of critical thinking skills, and a lesson learned the hard way. This red-faced nursing student will be thinking through each action and its implications from now on, especially with contact precautions!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Happy Birthday Christina!

To my favourite teenager and a most excellent sister, Happy Fourteenth Birthday! You are a mature, talented, intelligent, and athletic young person and an awesome human being! I love you, I'm proud of you, and I am so glad to have you as my sister. May God bless you in the year and years ahead. Time goes so quickly; it doesn't seem that long ago you were a precocious two year-old who was the cutest little person around.