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So this is my last blog.  I can’t believe how fast time has flown.  I have been blogging for Regis for a whole year and as I was thinking back to when I first started, many things have changed.  In one year I completed 7 Regis online courses, tested out of 1 pre-requisite (CLEP), completed 20 hours service learning, and a 45 hour community health practicum.  I am now down to only 1 course before my BSN.  Last year at this time, I couldn’t even imagine being this close to my first goal.  It makes the next goal for my Master’s more attainable.  Another personal goal I have attained in the past year is losing 20 pounds.  YAY!  It’s an amazing feeling to have accomplished so much in a year.  Of course, as I’m writing this I’m totally and utterly exhausted.  These accomplishments haven’t come easily but it takes HARD work to achieve success.

So HCE 604 is almost completed.  As I have mentioned in my prior posts, it is a very candid and highly communicative class.
The last few weeks, class members have been in charge of facilitating a forum.  It has been a great learning experience and the forums have been very interesting.  I’ve mentioned this before but this class is so time-consuming and it’s hard in the summer to sit and do my schoolwork.  Thankfully my instructor has understood my last minute emails asking for an extension on my forums or papers.  Although I’m enjoying this class, I’m looking forward to its completion. This week we are doing a Task Force Simulation.  It’s so confusing but basically we are running an ethics committee for a case study.

I met with my preceptor for my Capstone and Practicum last week.  I’m starting to get excited about this practicum and my project.  I haven’t decided on a project yet.  I’m thinking about it.  My preceptor is Abbe.  She is the director of the oncology and
surgical department at the facility I work at. I’m looking forward to her insight and teaching.

I am also in the process of putting together a powerpoint for my department to begin a volunteering program in our department.  I thought of this as I was doing my service learning through Regis at Master’s Manna. My manager, Stacy, has encouraged me to put something together.  As a department, we will volunteer on Friday evenings.  I’m excited about how this will positively affect our department as well as the community.

Dan and I celebrated our 11th anniversary onAugust 12th.  We had a wonderful dinner at PF Chang’s and on the 13th went to Block Island for the day.  It was a great day of relaxation which is something we NEVER do. We basically explored the island for a couple hours, had lunch and then lay on the beach for a couple hours. Then we headed home on the ferry, looking like lobsters.  Haha.  Abry starts second grade next week.  I can’t believe how fast time flies.  Kids grow way to fast!  We also went to Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, Mass a few weeks ago.  We saw a Revolutionary War reenactment.  It was really cool.

The Revolutionary War reenactment. It was pretty cool.

All of us at Sturbridge Village

The kids

My ultimate comfort food, Poutine. It's a French Acadian "delicacy"; French fries, cheese curds, and gravy. Yummy!

My favorite Block Island picture, the ocean in the background

Well, as I sign out for the last time, I would like to thank everyone who had the confidence in me to write this blog.  I also want to thank those that have read itand put up with the many pictures of my family.  I hope I have helped someone decide that if this crazy person can do it, they could.  I have thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity and am looking forward to what the next person has to blog about.

I have totally lost track of time.  I can’t believe that it is August already and I only have 4 more weeks in Health Care Ethics.  I have to say that this class has been the most challenging of all.  I know of some classmates that are taking another class simultaneously with this one.  I don’t know how they are doing it.  However, I am doing well in the class despite my being overwhelmed.  I also am learning so much from the discussion forum dialogues.  I think I mentioned in my last blog about how interesting the discussions are.  This week, two classmates and I are in charge of a discussion forum.  The topic we chose to discuss was on the case against a Doctor at a Medical Center in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.  We are discussing the ethical dilemma of euthanasia during catastrophic disasters.  So far, it has been a very interesting discussion with different aspects being brought out.  One of the good things about online learning is that most people are more open and honest in posts then they would probably be in person.  It creates a great learning environment with many different perspectives. 

I still have so much that I need to do as I begin the downward slope towards the end of the class.  I have a Professional Ethical Platform that is due by Tuesday of next week and then I have a major Ethics project due week 8.  I can definitely see a difference between an undergraduate class and a graduate level class.  The amount of work I have to do seems to be a lot more.  I know it will be worth it but boy is it hard to not get overwhelmed at times.  Thankfully, as I have mentioned before, the instructors are so flexible. 

 I am also on track to start my practicum in September.  The hospital and Regis are in the final process of finalizing the contract and my choice for preceptor has agreed to mentor me.  I feel like things are falling into place and there light at the end of the tunnel for my BSN.  I can’t believe that I have been working towards this for almost two years and I have less than 3 months left.  I have to say that time truly does fly by, especially when I’m so busy doing schoolwork.

 I have also been busy with summer activities such as swimming dates with the kiddo’s and a week long summer camp.  Last week was our church youth camp in which I assisted as camp nurse and helped in other ways. 

 

Scene during my early morning walk/jog during camp

 

Dan and I at the bonfire the last night of camp

 
I even had a chance to speak this year which was nerve wracking.  Who knew that speaking for 45 minutes to 30 teenage girls from the ages of 12-19 could be so nerve wracking?  Haha.  I did survive and there is hope for me to becoming a public speaker. 

Me speaking to the teen girls

Well that’s all I have for now so far.  For all those that are getting ready for the fall semester coming up, good luck and let me know if you have any questions or if I can help you in any way. My next blog will be my last.  It has been a great journey and I hope that in some way I have helped someone if not only myself.  Melissa

This is my last day of vacation and back to work tomorrow.  I spent the first five days of vacation at home with the kids.  We had a park day and then a swimming day.  Then our family went to Buffalo for a long weekend.  We went to Darien Lake, an amusement park which was lots of fun.  We also spent a few hours at Niagara Falls.  It was great to get away even though I had homework.  I was actually very stunned when after driving to Buffalo; I logged on to Worldclass and realized I had over 120 unread posts.  That was only for my first week of Health Care Ethics.

I have to say that this group of students has been the most interactive of any online classes I have been in at Regis.  I am still a little overwhelmed by the syllabus and my motto of taking it one day at a time is everyday being tested.  My prior Ethics learning module from The College Network and my Advanced Leadership Concepts have really prepared me and prefaced what I am learning in this class.  It’s a good review and goes into even more in depth.  The class roster has individuals from many different backgrounds in the nursing field as well as geographically.  Another thing I like is that the instructor is involved in the discussion forums.  He contributes as well as probes for further thinking.  I just started my second week, six more weeks to go.

I am waiting to hear about my practicum which is set to start next class.  I had to submit for a contract and I’m waiting for that to be all set.  I recommend to anyone that has a practicum to start preparing for it as soon as you can.  It can become a long process if a contract is required.  I will definitely breathe a sigh of relief when it is all finalized.  Well, hope everyone’s summer is going well.  Any questions or comments, please ask.  I am more than willing to be a resource for anyone who is looking into the RN to MSN online program through Regis University.  I am so thankful to have the opportunity to learn in such a great environment with such a diverse group of classmates. 

The family at Niagara Falls

Dan and I at Niagara Falls

Love Niagara Falls

Jack jamming to music at a Bible Bookstore in Buffalo

So I finished NR 622 Advanced Leadership Concepts and have started HCE 604 Healthcare Ethics.  Let me started off by saying that I really enjoyed NR 622 but I’m glad it’s over.  One thing about the 8 week online classes is that you finish just about when you start getting tired of it.  Now it’s on to another subject which has a lot of similarities.  Ethics is a very interesting subject as well and although I’m looking forward to it, I do understand that it will be a lot of work.  I looked over the syllabus and outline and became very overwhelmed.  As I was reading some of the classmate intro’s, I was reminded to take it one step at a time.  So here it is the beginning of July and starting my last class of this summer semester: one class closer to getting my BSN and also closer to my ultimate goal of a Master’s in Nursing. 

One of my last assignments in NR 622 was to share with classmates in our discussion forum a celebration we had planned to celebrate the finishing of this class.  Many had plans for the long holiday weekend such as camping, cook-outs, manicures, etc.  I didn’t have any significant plans this weekend.  Dan and some guys worked on our roof.  I just spent some time with my kids going to the walking trail, park and starting on HCE 604.  However, I am on vacation from work this week and we are leaving for Buffalo, NY this week.  I am so excited to get away from Connecticut for a long weekend and hang out with my family.  I have to say that my schoolwork will not be far away from me.  I still have some stuff to do but at least I can say I’m on vacation.  Woohoo!

I’ll keep you updated on Healthcare Ethics but now it’s time to hit the books.  As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to ask! Mel

Abry and I on a walk in the woods

Strawberry picking

Awesome Raspberries

View of Meriden from Castle Craig

So, two weeks have already gone by.  I can’t believe how fast the weeks go by and I’m in week 6 of NR 622 Advanced Leadership Concepts!  We have been discussing the many theories and styles of leadership.  I finished the rough draft of my “Essence of Nursing Leadership” paper.  This week we all submitted our rough drafts to a classmate and have to critique a paper.  Once we get our critique’s back, we can finish our papers and submit the final draft for our grade. 

I also started thinking about my next Practicum that starts in September.  It’s my last class before getting my BSN.  So as I was thinking about where I could go and who I can have as a preceptor.  I kept thinking about someone at my work.  She’s not in my department and isn’t my direct supervisor so it should be ok.  I emailed her and she’s looking over the paperwork.  I am waiting to hear back from her and am hoping she will agree to be my preceptor.  I am really looking forward to this class and all I can learn about leadership hands-on.  But first, I have to get through Health Care Ethics, my next class.  I have heard that this class can be a challenge but I think I’m up to it!

Last week we had a thunderstorm that knocked out our power for about 20 hours.  I didn’t realize how much I depended on electricity until we didn’t have it!  I was able to submit my assignments on time but because I rushed, my grade reflected it.  Not that I got an awful grade but it wasn’t my usual grade.  It’s ok though.  When I first started at Regis, I was so intent and felt like I needed to get 100’s on everything.  I was upset when I got a 96 on an assignment! Now I put in the effort but I don’t worry about it so much.  I can’t worry about it too much otherwise I will go crazy.  I guess what I’m trying to say is relax, study, get your work done but don’t stress!

I completed my service learning hours at Master’s Manna.  I went four hours on two Fridays in a row.  I worked in the soup kitchen where I helped cook, served, and cleaned up.  I had a great time.  The head of the kitchen, Ken, was great!  I also spoke to my manager about starting a departmental volunteering program.  She loved the idea.  I will be putting together a presentation for my department.  In the fall, my co-workers will sign up to volunteer at Master’s Manna.  It makes me feel good to give back to the community.  I really like the service learning aspect of Regis University. 

Well, I hope you are enjoying my blog.  Please leave me any comments or questions you may have.  I like to hear from those who read my blog…if anyone is :)

Master's Manna where I did my service learning

A bowl my co-worker made for me in pottery. I'm thinking I may take up pottery someday.

The kids waiting for Abry's bus. School's almost done for the summer!!!!!

A kitten Dan found outside his shop. We didn't keep it but it was so cute!

These past couple weeks were the hardest I’ve had in a while.  I think it’s because it’s summer and it’s harder to stay motivated on school work when it’s nice outside.  We had a family trip to Boston which was a nice day away even though it was a cold day.  We also had a trip to the ER with Jackson who tripped over a dog leash and fell on his nose.  It also got us a visit to the ENT coming up this week.   To top it all off, a GI virus and seasonal allergies.  It was also nice to have a long weekend off from work for Memorial Day. 

I’m in week 4 of NR 622, Advanced Leadership Concepts.  It’s a very in depth class.  I can’t believe how much reading there is.  At least the reading is mostly interesting.  One of the texts is a little difficult to get into.  That makes a big difference.  It probably seems to be a lot of work because of all the other things going on in my life.  I had to email my instructor for an extension for the forum because of Jack’s accident.  I really don’t like asking but it was a dire circumstance.  I’m thankful for understanding instructors. 

For this week, I have to submit a portfolio index.  I have worked on a portfolio in a previous class and it’s nice to see a continuation of it in this class.  A great deal of effort and time goes into putting together a portfolio but it’s a valuable asset that can make a difference in future employment endeavors.  A portfolio consists of a resume, awards, recognition, degrees, certifications, continuing education, letters of recommendation, writing samples, and any other material that would show continuous learning.  I’m sure that it would benefit all nurses to have a portfolio. 

So, now halfway through this class, begins the downward progress to finishing.  I think I may have said this before but I’m so glad that the online classes are only 8 weeks because it’s a doable timeframe.  It goes by fast and it’s not too overwhelming most of the time. I sometimes wonder how it all gets done but it does.  All the laundry, dishes, cleaning, text reading, forums, papers, service learning, work, church, library story hour, etc, it all gets done somehow. 

I attended a Conference for Women last week which had discussions on conflict management, leadership skills, and assertiveness.  It was very informative and even fun.  The speakers were funny.  I would like to share one of the greatest tips from the conference.  I am very emotional and cry when I’m happy, sad, angry, tired, serious, whenever.  So needless to say when the speaker was giving suggestions on how to stop crying in situations where it isn’t appropriate, my ears perked up.  Although my family teases me incessantly about my new technique, it really works.  So, for all those criers out there, when you are about to burst into tears, clench your gluteus maximus (aka, butt cheeks).  It honestly works and your butt will look good too! J  Until next time…

ER visit for Jack's nose (no septal hematoma)

getting ready for the IMAX show in Boston

I waited in line for a half hour for this box (the best cannoli's ever!)

Quincy Market in Boston

Week two of NR 622, Advanced Leadership Concepts, is underway.  This week I read about 4 different approaches to leadership.  They are the trait approach, skills approach, style approach, and situational approach.  As I study these leadership styles, I reflected back on my experiences with leaders past and present in my life.  I like when I am able to apply what I am learning to real life.  In this class, I also have to complete 4-6 hours of community service.  I am planning on doing this at a place called Master’s Manna.  It is a soup kitchen, food pantry, and clothing closet for disadvantaged in the community.  I have done some hours here in the past and it is a great place and a good experience.  I’m looking forward to completing my hours.  Being a graduate level class, I have realized that it is definitely more time consuming and requires more effort.   The graduate level classes are more challenging but I guess that is why they are graduate level. 

Summer is finally here although it’s been raining with more rain on the way all week.  The flowers are looking good and school will be over soon.  Not for me though.  Two more classes after this and I will have my BSN! I’m on a roll.  Many of my NR 622 classmates are finishing their BSN soon as well.  I could feel their excitement as I read their week one introductions.  Some of my classmates are also new to Regis and just beginning their journey towards their MSN.  I am looking forward to learning from the vastness of their experiences. 

This weekend we are having a family weekend away.  We are going to New Hampshire Friday night and Boston Saturday night.  The kids are excited about taking the train.  They really are easy to pleaseJ I’m looking forward to just get away!

Midstate, where I work

Breast Cancer awareness flowers at Midstate

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