Ebola. Compassion. And the lack thereof.

Today was the first day in a while that “Ebola!”  was not at the top of my Facebook trending arrows.

As has been noted before….Most Americans really only started to give any concern to Ebola once it arrived in the country.

Sadly we have gotten now to a point where most people can not even learn about the disease and what to do about it because they are in full on panic mode.  Most do not want to learn facts they just want to practice wild speculation.

I’ve come to realize too that there are several persons that are also in general unhappy with their lives, and rather than addressing that, they are grabbing onto each new news item and using that to express their anger/unhappiness.

In response to this, a video has been made by physicians from Vanderbilt and Johns Hopkins.

One of the most frustrating things to me is that instead of thinking logically through the questions and concerns we have, we rush to throw a blanket on them and push them away.

People are saying they feel unsafe now that there is an “Ebola risk”  but in reality, we are always at risk for “Ebola”  or some new disease that may threaten us or our families.

Leaving you with a beautiful music on the compassion of the Savior.  And wondering why so many of these “right wing Christians” are so keen to do exactly the opposite of what their main book, the Bible teaches in these situations.

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Clarity

So this week, the job situation changed for me somewhat.

I really was feeling so unsure about what to do..  known evil….unknown evils?

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So you know sometimes you just really wish for the clarity from God to make a decision.

Moses, you know…

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So where was my “flaming shrub”?

Well it came.  As soon as I started to consider, the signs started hailing down on me.  I had one of the worst weeks ever at the hospital.  So many things were wrong and crazy.  By today I had had my last straw.

I filed the application, an interview was set up.  Wednesday.

All I need to do is find something nice to wear and let my boss know I’m headed downtown for a meeting.

I’m always amazed at how an emotionally trying day can be totally exhausting….

I do have some fun weekend stuff to look forward to, but wow.  My life is about to get really different.

Life gets crazy

So….

On Tuesday I got a call from our “Parent” institution.  I knew that they had some positions open.  I had inquired casually, but I wasn’t so sure how the team would feel about working directly with me.  It’s one thing to have a great relationship every 4 weeks when someone calls.  Another entirely to consider if you want that person in the room next door to you.

So I let it slide.  I’m so busy and there are some changes afoot at the Parent institution that could be concerning.

On tuesday the boss let me know that he was calling “On behalf of the team” that they were very interested in having me interview and basically offering me a job if I would go through the interview hoops.  That was a real compliment to me and it did make me happy though it opened a can of worms for me as well.

This job would be essentially the same job I do now except that I would no longer be solely responsible for all of the regulatory and reporting functions that are so problematic.  No longer would I be solely responsible for 2% of medicare reimbursement payments.  (If I screw something up with reporting/regulatory- they take 2% of our reimbursement and we still have to figure out how to provide the care the medicare pts need. with less.).

No longer would I need to write all the policies.  NO longer would I have to attempt to lead a painful and miserable Infection Control Committee.

I could just do the surveillance of my areas assigned, contribute to policy research and development, and educate.

Main draw back.

30 minute commute.

Current situation is very amenable to training.  I get up live 5 mins from the gym and work.  Workout shower, go to work, hit the gym again after work.

thats an hour a day where I’d need to organize better, etc.

I spoke to the CEO about it yesterday.  Immediate response- “How can we improve things for you”  I love her.  But I’m not sure that this is going to be enough to get me to actually stay.

It’s hard to know what to do.

Now just Hurry up

The project is on.  I fly out Thursday night.

Admit I’m a bit nervous as I have not been in Nigeria for about 10 years.  (Man, I am old..I actually feel old.) In addition, I travel alone for most of the first part of the journey. Not so thrilled about hitting Lagos all by myself lonesome, but having done it before I can do it again.

This is particularly good timing, as my coach examined my back last night. He poked and prodded and threw me up on the table and pulled and pushed on it and said, Yes, you have strained your QL.

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Exactly “how” I did it is a bit of a mystery.  It really isn’t that bad a strain but it is noticable when I do certain things, like sit-ups.  He did actually work on it a bit and this morning it feels a bit better.

That said. I will be resting and not doing a ton of running while over there.  Or Maybe I will be doing treadmill running.  The hotel states we will have access to the “Triple A fitness center”  but what that is, is always a bit of a mystery.  Chances are, given the location, that it will possibly be nicer than my home gym.

There has been some criticism of the entire project…of all projects, People stating that there are “too many people on the ground”  but in reality, there really are not that many people on the ground doing this work, and in my defense, we are going as a pre-emptive measure to teach the proper use of this protective gear.  I myself did not think I was very knowledgable, until i spent monday on a hospital systems wide conference call and realized that I do know a few things.  And well…maybe there are too many people.  Some times good intentions are just that.

So we will see…

And I am certified.

Whew.

Today I took the exam for National Certification for Infection Control.

It was no joke.  I started to study for this thing back in January 2014.

Except for the Nursing Boards back in 2000, I have never had to take an exam that would have such public results.  Over the years I’ve taken many many EKG exams, drug dosage calculation tests, a few pre-employment tests.  You name it. One of the requirements of my job in the job description is that I become certified in Infection Control within 2 years of hire. Currently only 44% of those describing their job role as Infection Prevention are certified by CBIC.  So, less than half.  Passing rate for the exam in recent years has been about 65%. More than half, but not 90% or something encouraging.

For most certification exams, tons and tons of study guides exist. For the CBIC?  There is one endorsed by the APIC the association for professionals in Epidemiology and Infection control.  And a 500.00 text book.  I spent money on an online review, only to find it was the APIC text put into slides that talk.  Yay.

There is only one practice exam out there.  It makes sense.  There is usually ONE Infection Control practitioner in a community sized hospital.  There are usually 500 other nurses in that hospital.  Those nurses take Critical Care exams, Emergency Exams, Progressive Care exams, Orthopedic specialist exams…in much higher numbers. There really isn’t a huge market for prep materials, like there is for the nursing boards.  So it becomes a bit of a crap shoot for someone like me.  When one’s job is on the line, even if the job is not that satisfying, it is very stressful.  I was so concerned that if I failed that any of the good work I’ve done would be invalidated.

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Plus…let’s admit it.  It is humiliating to fail.  To start with the test center people know you just flunked.  They see it every day, so not a big deal to them, but to the person failing, how awful. It isn’t like the test center attendant could have passed the test, but still.

To begin the process, I sent my application to the Certification Board in May.  I had to provide copies of my Bachelors Degree, a signed affidavit that I did indeed work in Infection Prevention as my primary role, identity proofing documents.  In a few weeks, I received an email with a code giving me permission to register for the exam.  Once registered I had 90 days to take the test.

I decided on today because this is right about the same time I took my nursing boards and I clearly did ok with them.  I think we are all a bit superstitious in funny ways.

Once I was given permission to test, I had to look for a test center.  The closest one was 1.5 hours away in Tampa.   Ugh.  I knew if I failed I didn’t want to make that drive.  I signed up for an 8:30 am slot.  I walked in at 8:15 on the dot.  In the tiny cramped waiting room were about 7 other people, mostly young ladies.  I mistakenly assumed they were all taking nursing boards.  (Yes, I sometimes also have a myopic view of the world)  When they had me confirm my exam I saw that not one was actually taking any nursing exam at all.  It was amazing though how nervous we all were.  Not one person was sitting still.  All of us were tapping toes, fiddling with paper, and trying to be confident.  I could FEEL the tension.

Eventually they called my name.  I signed in, confirmed personal information, was photographed, and actually wanded for metal.  Whoa.

Then the nice young man set up the exam and I went to town.  I immediately wrote down some formulas that I felt I needed on the scratch boards, and then start to fool with the tutorial.  I am TERRIBLE at going through those “How to use”  things, and actually should have paid better attention, at one point, on question 27 (of 150) I almost shut down the whole test!

I then started the exam.  The questions, thank Heaven, were actually related to Infection Control.  Some of the more ambiguous questions from the practice review did NOT make an appearance here at all.  There were several that I had some problems with.  I completed the test, and then went back and reviewed all the questions, especially the 3 I had not answered, and the ones marked for review.  At a certain point, I just got fed up with second guessing and trying to figure out what the right answer was.  I hit submit.

The screen went gray.

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I wasn’t sure what to do…stand up and be done, or wait, or..

and suddenly a little survey came up.  Imagine…waiting on your score…and they start asking “Do you feel the test prep materials were readily available?”  “How satisfied are you with the test taking location?”  I answered them dutifully.

And then

10462737_10203354342995925_853402590802254603_nI would have cheered if I wasn’t in the nice quiet test center with everyone else around me clicking away.  I then almost burst into tears.  I have never been so unsure taking an exam before. The feeling of relief was really something incredible.

So….now one of the 44% certified in Infection Control….Still don’t adore the job, but…at least I have the option to take it or leave it.

 

Great News!

So this week  I received an email…  See a little while ago, before my coach and I had decided on our racing schedule, I entered a contest for a free entry into Space Coast Marathon (and Half Marathon).  I then forgot about it and assumed I didn’t win.  Space Coast introduced a big fancy medal series this year.

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So, Space Coast sold out.  I was a little disappointed, because In addition to the Medal…Space Coast has some really good basic Schwag.  A T shirt of course, the medal of course, but also a lovely Beach towel, and a variety of other goodies.  It’s a fun Space themed race close to the Space Center here in Florida.  In addition the course is very flat and has been called fast.  But at any rate.  It was off the table for me.  Until Wednesday…when I got this email.

 

We are excited to have you run for Natalie’s! Please fill out the attached entry form, and scan it back in to me. Also, since you are a sponsored athlete for this race we will be providing you with a Natalie’s running shirt you will need to wear for the race. If you could let me know your shirt size, men or women’s cut, along with an address to send the shirt to I would appreciate it.

I won a sponsorship from Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company.    What is neat is that this is a company that I like, the juice they create is GREAT!  They are nice people, and we see them often at running events..The juice is available in lots of states, so check them out.  my favorite is the Honey Tangerine.  (No honey involved, but tastes like it was.)!

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This was so exciting to me.  I of course, being a total Geek got very thrilled when I saw the “SPONSORED ATHLETE”  statement.  I took a moment and reeled myself in from the feeling of reading this.  I am after all, a Registered Nurse.  I’m not an athlete.  And I’m still struggling a bit with my training for the marathon.  This statement did not make me any faster, or more qualified, or anything, I was just super lucky to win this entry.  Right before I got this email I had had a very nice exchange with my coach…about skipping my weights workout.  He was very supportive.  So of course after the elation wore off..

I was in a bind.  My coach.  our plan.

14836701-worried-face-holding-his-head-with-hands Several of my friends surprisingly suggested that I just “don’t tell him”  I admit I considered this, but then, decided that I’m not all about being dishonest.  I can always do what I want, but we have been working together for some time now.  He gives good advice and when I follow it, I tend to have good results.  It would have been entirely disrespectful of me to just not tell him.

So I headed to the gym and foam rolled like a maniac.  I was hoping to discuss it with him in person.  I never saw him.  He may have been at work, but..I didn’t see him.  Usually I see him on Thursday mornings, in passing after my speed workout.  But on Thursday morning, he wasn’t present either.  Bummer!  So I bit the bullet.  I sent off an email about my speed work times, and then explained my situation.  Spent the entire day feeling very tired from the speed effort and concerned as he didn’t reply to that email.  I returned to the gym for more foam rolling.  (My hip is bothering me.)  I saw him there, but he was working with lots of people. I could see him moving from one person to the next and they all seemed to need something from him.  I’m getting better about not bothering him at work, so I finished off the rolling, and waved very vigorously at him poor thing.  (He gave me a one hand wave back….I just for some reason needed to connect with him!).  Still no reply to the email. Later that evening I did hear back.

race. go for it.

And that was all.  Friday I got done with work early.  Did my Monster swim of 3200 yards.

lock-ness-monster-and-unicorn-swimming-buddies_originalI then went and did the arms/abs weights on the schedule.  Typically my Friday afternoon gym session is kind of lonely.  Everyone runs out of that place!  I was, however, a bit earlier than normal.  I did some weights, yawned a lot, and saw that my coach was super duper busy with patients.  He tends to scan the environment, so I know he knew I was doing my workout, but he was really SO busy, I avoided even waving at him.  I would feel better about this if we had been able to have a conversation in person, but it clearly wasn’t meant to be.  We usually have a more in depth email on Sundays, so hopefully he will have a bit more to say.  It was such a surprise.  It’s so rare that someone like me gets free race entries and such that I do want to take advantage of it…but at the same time….I never want to screw up the plan.  Still.. I just don’t see how one 13 miler will screw it up, but I do know racing too much can totally ruin a schedule with an A race.  So we’ll see!

 

Freaky updates

So this week contained a Friday the 13th.

Apparently that is why every strange thing occurred this week at work.

I, like most Emergency Nurses, am superstitious.

If you say the name of a patient who comes to the emergency department- they will show up.

If you mention that it’s Quiet, it will soon turn into a 3 ring circus with a Lion in charge.

(note- you can say it is peaceful, etc, but the Q word, of the busy word… whew)

Full moon means a difficult shift.

just when things seem as strange as can be, they usually get stranger.

Etc.

In my home life, I don’t note the dates as often so…I think it’s just hospitals and other joints that operate around the clock.

Anyway.  My Week.

On Tuesday or Wednesday, I had a meeting on the calendar for our entire office.  We occasional have these…usually totally a waste of my time.  But something felt a wee bit different about this.

A new Head of our department was announced.  It is a physician.  I probably should have seen it coming- the physician has been asking many questions over the past few weeks.

I like her and I was pretty excited about it.  Of course after the big announcement and all of us going back to work- questions started to swirl in my head.  It would seem our department is now rather heavy on management.  As in- we have 2 managers under the physician, each of these managers handles respectively 2 or 3 people.  Hmmm.

Soooo….basically I went on with reporting to my manager and business as usual.

Then Friday, I get an email from the Chief Nursing Officer.  Seems she wanted some information on a variety of things, which I tried to give her.  Then we discussed some other things, and it seems that eventually the plan would be to move me under HER.  But no one wants to say that outright.

security-350x350I personally do not care who is my boss.  The CNO would be loads better than my current situation, but it would have been hard to tell anyone that.

In addition, I Love Job Security.  Right now with the restructuring…things feel pretty insecure.

So…Lets hope for the best shall we?