Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I'm on my way to the East Coast to do disaster relief. Irene left a hell of a mess and the American Red Cross is on the ground to help.

I've been a Red Cross volunteer for a couple of years now. Up 'til now I have been doing local response-- I've worked dozens of house fires and a few local floods-- but this is my first assignment to deploy out of town as an RN.

Being called up for a national disaster is an interesting experience. After getting the phone call, I must start travelling within 24 hours. That woke me up pretty fast, because I knew I had a lot of stuff to do at home before running out to a two-week trip. Yet, for the deployment itself, I can't prepare all that much, because I don't know where I'll be assigned or which kind of disaster nursing I'll be doing.

I have a flight to the in-state airport, I have the address of HQ, and I have a way to get from one to the other. I'll figure out the rest of the details once I hit the ground.

Friday, August 26, 2011

My band

I'm starting a band with some other new RNs. We call ourselves "Tracheal Shift," and we do Inuit throat singing over heavily downtuned electric guitar.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Everyday nursing

So I've officially accepted the hospital job. It doesn't start until mid-September, which means my next few weeks will look exactly like the previous few weeks. Yet I'll be a lot happier. Now that I have a start date, this is not unemployment; it's vacation!

But one of the coolest things about being a nurse is how my skills are useful even without a job. I'm not even talking about volunteer work. I mean just getting to answer healthcare questions for my friends and family. I love this.

Earlier this summer, my brother and his wife called with some pregnancy questions. A week ago a friend dropped something heavy on his foot, and wanted to know about the infection risk from his prescriptions. Last night, I helped a friend and his daughter figure out which OTC cold meds could be safely combined, and which would interact or overlap.

One day questions like this may become a chore, but right now I geek out at every chance to show off my RN superpowers. It's one of the reasons I'm sure I have chosen the right career. Back when I started as a techie, fixing mom's computer just never had the same zing to it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Two for two!

I've got verbal offers from both places I interviewed. Woohoo x2!

Choosing between them is going to be interesting. The long-term ICU has an intensive training program for dealing with high-acuity and stepdown, but is very specialized to that kind of nursing. The Large Hospital System fellowship has a much broader training scope and a much wider variety of positions.

There's a salary difference, too, but the one that pays more will require a contract to work there for N months. I'm not certain that the extra cash is worth giving up that much freedom. (If money were my top priority I would have stayed in IT.)

What the hell, I'm going to not even think about that stuff now. Time enough when the paperwork arrives. For now I'm just happy that I've got employment lined up and will not be spending the rest of my life on the couch.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Two shots

Yesterday was the interview for the fellowship I talked about in my previous post. That was a short meeting, with some "tell me a story about" bits (easy) and some of those annoyingly squishy behavioral questions (less easy). I think I did well enough and I feel good about my chances.

It helps that I've passed NCLEX already. And it helps that there are between 60 and 80 openings in this fellowship. Plus, I killed time talking with some of the competition from other schools, and I like to think I compare favorably against them (if I do say so myself).

A few of my classmates were also there to interview at the same time. They're all quite brilliant and very nearly as awesome as I am, so they should get the next spots after me. :)

Then, today, I interviewed at a long-term acute care facility. I gave them my resume at a random job fair a short time ago and was shocked to get called in so quickly. This one felt like it went very well, to the point that they spent more time telling me about the job than asking questions. They even gave me a tour of the facility and a description of how scheduling works. This place only has four openings, but I get the distinct impression that the interviewer wants to offer me one.

The LTC says they will send out offers next week. Given the choice I would prefer the hospital, but they won't be deciding for 2-4 weeks. If I do get an offer from the LTC right away, I wonder how long I could stall before answering?