Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Important Notes on the Nursing Profession


The past week has been one of slight turmoil amongst Saskatchewan nurses.  The SALPN (licensed practical nurses' licensing body) has been working to pass bylaws to allow them more responsibilities within the hospital.  The Saskatchewan Union of Nurses (SUN), does not agree with these bylaws.  SUN's president Tracy Zambory stated "We have grave concerns on patient safety in the province and what this is going to mean to the citizens of the province when they go into the health care system".  You can read more about this debate here.

If you are a non-nurse, a licensed practical nurse (LPN) is a nurse with a diploma from a technical school, this is a rigorous two year course.  A registered nurse (RN) is a nurse who has gone through a four year bachelor's degree program at a university.  SUN is the RN union in our province.

I do not want this post to turn into a debate about who is educated better, who is a better nurse, or any other politics that seems rife in the health care field these days.  Both LPNs and RNs play a vital role in the care of our patients - when we work as a team we make the hospital setting better for everyone, most definitely for our patients.

I received a troubling comment regarding registered nurses recently, stating that the only reason SUN is lobbying against the proposed bylaws is because registered nurses are "greedy" and don't want to cede our "overpaid" territory to licensed practical nurses; and accusing registered nurses of caring only for our paycheck and not the patients who we are supposed to be caring for.  I try to remind myself that people with this opinion must have it for a reason.  Perhaps it is because they had a poor experience in the hospital with their nursing care, after all, not all nurses are perfect.  Or, perhaps they just don't have an understanding what nurses truly put into their careers every day in order to give the best patient care possible.  

I don't pretend to understand why other people take the opinions that they do, and I have given up on trying.  But you can bet that I am not going to sit quietly while the career that I have put five years of stress and tears into gets called down.  Don't call me greedy when I am about to give my life's work to taking care of other peoples' family members.  

Was I "greedy" when I didn't use the bathroom for my entire 12 hour shift because I was too busy caring for other peoples' sick family members to take two minutes to pee?  Did the nurse holding a patient's hand as they slowly slipped away, so that they didn't have to die alone, only care about her paycheck?  That nurse's own family member might have just died or been gravely ill, but here she is taking care of someone else's loved one.  When someone is sick and alone, with no family visiting in the middle of the night, and has fears about their declining health - you can bet that it is a nurse sitting by their side, helping to ease their fears.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.  I certainly have mine.  But I think it is time we all take a little more consideration into what we say to one another, we are all fighting our own battles.  You never know when that "greedy" nurse will be holding your hand and comforting you.

If you have been a patient and received less than perfect nursing care, I am truly sorry that that happened to you.  That isn't fair.  But for every impatient nurse, there is a whole slew more who will treat you like their own flesh and blood and give every bit of themselves into making sure you are well taken care of while you are in our care.

If you are a fellow nurse (be it RN or LPN) then know that I have great respect for you.  You are in a career that many people wouldn't be able to do.  And if you are a nursing student like myself, then know that we have something to be proud of.    

Monday, 22 September 2014

Asking rather than telling - it's not the easiest lesson to learn...

I write this post today with my "humble wife face" on.  There have been days during the past year and a half of being married that I have thought to myself "Man I am a great wife, I've really got this thing down".  And then there are a lot of days that I realize "Good grief I am a rookie at this, I can't believe Brett is still sticking around.  Thank goodness he's a stubborn farmer".  Today was one of those days.

I will admit that I occasionally lean toward the bossy side of things.  I have been known to tell people to do things rather than asking nicely.  What can I say, I am a born "teller".  But all jokes aside, I know this is something that I need to continually work on.  I can see the difference in Brett's attitude toward a task if I ask him nicely if he wouldn't mind doing something for me, rather than instructing him to do it.

A prime example of this would be last week when I phoned him to the combine (I was in the city at school) to tell him he needed to cut the tent worm nests out of our apple tree ASAP.  Needless to say, he didn't respond in the most pleasant manner.  One tearful phone call to my mom later (who so kindly said that she would go get rid of the tent worms and told me not to worry) and a few episodes of Gossip Girl to relax me later, I realized, how could I possibly blame Brett for getting cranky with me?  I'm sure that he felt like I was downplaying all the hard work that he has been doing, all the long hours that he's been putting in, by basically saying "Why haven't you done this already?"

It is easy to get into the grove of things once you've been in a relationship with someone for a long time.  Easy to sometimes forget to think of the other person's feelings before saying something that might come across as more unkind than you want it to.

I am going to be challenging myself to try to get better at asking rather than telling, as I believe this is my "wife weakness".  What do you think is your weakness in your relationships?  Are you a natural born teller like myself?  What are your strengths?  I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments :)

Friday, 19 September 2014

Gratitude // Oh Hey Friday Link Up

My first couple of weeks in community health has realized how much in my life I should be grateful for.  There are so many people in the world with so little, who still see the glass half full and not half empty.  It really makes me look at my life and how I can often slip in "glass half empty" mode and realize I should be counting my blessings a little more.  Even though Thanksgiving (for us Canadian's) is still a few weeks away, I was inspired to write today's Oh Hey Friday list about the five things I am most grateful for this week.

As usual I am linking up with The Farmer's Wife and September FARM - click on those links to check out more of the Oh Hey Friday link up.

1.  My mom. 

 For the past couple of weeks I have felt like I've needed more help than usual, and with Brett in the field, Mom has more than taken up the slack.  It is funny how no matter how old you are, you still need your mom.  Between making me feel better when I was homesick after having transferred universities (and having a small crying fit on the phone to her) and driving 30 minutes to cut tent worms out of our apple tree because Brett is in the field constantly and I am away at school, she has really gone the extra mile and I truly don't know what I would do without him.

2.  My awesome and hardworking husband.  I am so lucky to have a husband who will put in long hours of hard work to make sure that our company is a success and we are able to afford my schooling.  He is so supportive and loving - I know that I can go to him with any problem and have him listen.

3.  The good weather.  Finally we have had some sun and warmth after last week's cold spell finally left.  Brett and the guys have been able to get lots done in the field - thank goodness (so maybe we will actually done harvest before it snows).

4.  Transportation.  This one may seem really stupid.  But in my clinical I am working with so many people who can't afford gas for a car let alone a car itself.  I'm realizing how much I take for granted having a car and being able to afford to run/service it.  I don't think twice about driving the two hours home to the farm every weekend, or two and a half hours to my cousin's place for her birthday party.  It is such a minimal thing for so many of us, but we should be grateful because it isn't a given for many people in the world.

5.  Health.  It doesn't take much time in nursing school to realize how lucky you actually are to be healthy - both physically and mentally.  There are so many people in the world who live with illness (be it physical or mental) and have those illnesses interfering in their everyday lives.  Over the winter I had a minor day surgery on my toe and it was a huge ordeal to me - I was having panic attacks because of it for Pete's sake.  Looking back now, I can see that I reacted that way because I have been so blessed to have had good health (so blessed that I couldn't handle one small procedure that caused me a little pain and made it hard to walk).

What are you grateful for this week?  I think it is an important part of life to reflect on these things and realize how many good things we have in our lives, even if they are small.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Oh Hey Friday // Top Moments of the Week

Hey!  So, two weeks into my "post every three days" resolution, I miss a post.  Bad blogger.  But of course I am back for the Oh Hey Friday link up.  I am linking up with  The Farmer's Wife  and  September FARM today; if you want to see more of the link up, check out those links.

So, onto best moments of my week:

1.  This post (The Unfortunate Reality of Some Farming Years) totally exploded!  It has had 4200 page views since Monday.  This is by far my most popular blog post to date and I am so so thankful to all the readers who checked it out.

2.  In keeping with the previous theme, we finished combining our mustard.  I was the first whole crop that we got off and in the bin (that is the upside).  Our yield was pretty bad, but at least it is one thing done.

The change a few months can make.
 3.  It is riding boots season!!  It has gotten pretty chilly here so I have busted out my riding boots and I'm not giving them up until spring (yes this a high point of my week).

Yep, I am using my school bag to prop up my mirror in this picture.  Sometimes you've just got to rough it when you are renting for such a short period of time.
4.  Grad photos were this week!  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, just 7 more months and I will be a graduate nurse (and hopefully an RN soon to follow).

5.  We started clinical for our community rotation this week.  We are working in a community that has been called one of the worst communities in Canada.  After only 3 days I have learned so much and I can tell that this is going to be an amazing experience.  I hope to write more about my experience as time goes on.  But I can already tell that as much as teaching will be part of my job as a community nursing student in this community, the people of the community will teach me so much more.

I hope you have a great weekend!

Monday, 8 September 2014

The Unfortunate Reality of some Farming Years

The saying "you win some, you lose some" has never applied to any career quite so well as farming.  Unfortunately, it is looking like it is going to be one of those not so great years for a lot of us farmers.  To be clear, I am not sharing this for sympathy.  When you start farming, you've got to know that things won't turn out perfect every year.  Having both grown up on farms, Brett and I understand this.  We knew going in that some years you get too much rain, others you don't get enough.  A lot of years you get hail and have to watch the crop you put so much time and money into, get broken and beaten by mother nature.

That being said - even though we know that more often than not you don't get the perfect weather - it has been hard watching our first crops under our own farming company go from beautiful and flourishing to broken stems, bleached seeds (by too much rain) and cracked shells.  That beautiful mustard crop in the picture above (probably one of the best that Brett and his dad have grown) got hit by hail a couple of weeks ago and was estimated at over 60% loss (some of our other crops faired better, thank goodness).  I know that seeing this happen has been harder on Brett than on myself.  After all, other than the money we have tied up in these crops, Brett has the time and work investment.  He is the one who put in 16 hour days seeding and he is the one who missed out on fun stuff because he had to spray and scout for weeds, disease and bugs.

There is so much criticism of farmer's nowadays.  It seems like the whole world has an opinion on what we do - from "anti-GMO" to "organic only" to "anti corporate farming".  If you are of one of those opinions, I am not here to tell you it is wrong.  I just want to give people some perspective on the people behind the farms.  Yes, we use some genetically modified seed varieties, but we also grow a lot from seed we grew the previous year.  Yes, we spray and fertilize, but we only do so when absolutely necessary.  Yes, our farm is a "corporation", but it has been family owned for over 100 years.  But despite all of this, we have the same heartbreak that the farmer using no GMO's and no spray or fertilizer has when the crop that had so much money and so many hours of work put into it, doesn't end up being what we hoped.  All in all, we are just people trying to feed our families and keep the lights on - while also trying to feed your family at the same time.  The pasta you are eating might have come from the durum of southern Saskatchewan, the margarine you are eating could have come from our canola, maybe the mustard on your kid's sandwich did too.

Brett and I are so blessed, because we have insurance and two sets of parents who would do everything they could to help us out if this year got really ugly.  But there are a lot of farmers out there who probably aren't so lucky.  There is a good reason behind why so many farmer's suffer from depression and mental illness - this can be a stressful way to live your life.  And there are lots of farmers running their business on operating loans who won't be able to make their payments this year because they got too much rain, or not enough - or because they didn't get enough in July and got way too much at the end of August.

The next time you hear or see something saying that all farmer's who aren't running an organic, non-GMO operation are bad and don't deserve support, try to remember that we are just people doing our best.  And if you are the praying type, could you say one for all the farmers to get their crops off in a safe and timely manner?  We'd sure appreciate it.

I hope this post could lend some perspective; or, if you are a farmer/farmer's wife going through something similar, know that you aren't alone.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Oh Hey Friday // Need Something to Read?

Happy Friday!  It is going to be an awesome day because I get to go back home to the country to see my farmer.  Linking up today (as usual) with The Farmer's Wife and September FARM.  Today I've got five other awesome blogs for you to check out.  These are five (other than The Farmer's Wife and September FARM) that I can't get enough of.  These bloggers have not clue who I am - so this isn't an advertising post - they're just some of my favorite reads/resources.

1.  The Small Things Blog.  I have mentioned this blog before in a few posts.  I seriously love reading Kate's writing and watching her videos.  She is an amazing resource for hair and makeup tutorials, and also just seems like an overall awesome person.  It is hard to pick a favorite post from Kate, but you should absolutely check out her hair tutorials (from curling to straightening to updos, this girl can teach me how to do anything).

2.  Essie Button.  Essie Button is a major online makeup guru.  Funny enough, I actually heard about Essie Button from The Small Things Blog.  She has great makeup and skincare posts.  Her monthly product favorites posts are my favorite (like this one).

3.  Elm Street Life.  This was my very first blog I started reading, so it holds a special place in my heart.  I found her via this bow clutch sewing tutorial on Pinterest (obviously).  I find Whitney's writing so inspiring and always leave her site feeling happy.

4.  Two Twenty One.  I recently discovered this blog and it is awesome for organizing projects - like this under the kitchen sink organization post.  Also, she just had an adorable baby, so there are lots of posts about that (which I love).

5.  Un-Fancy.  This has been another new discovery thanks to The Small Things Blog.  This blog has a lot of writing on the capsule wardrobe concept, which is what I am trying to use for my new cleaned out wardrobe (I am hoping to post on this, but am still trying to get it fine tuned).

I hope you can enjoy some of these reads this weekend, and that you have a relaxing weekend!  I hope that my own weekend will be less relaxing and that we will be able to get through some harvest that has been stalled because of rain.  Catch ya Monday!

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

And Just Like That...

Nursing school starts again tomorrow.... Everybody panic!!!

Just kidding... Sort of.  It is hard to believe that my last summer as a university student has come and gone.  Next summer I will be a real grown up and working (hopefully) full time.  In some ways it feels like I just started this journey.  It still seems like yesterday that I was attending second year orientation, not knowing anybody in my class, not really knowing what I was getting into.  Fast forward a couple of years and I have friends that I feel like I have known my whole life (and can't imagine not having in my life) and a prospective career that has become more a part of me than I ever thought possible.

The start of this year is feeling a little bittersweet.  Sweet because nursing school has been the most challenging thing I have ever done - in so many ways - and I will be glad to not have OSCE's and exams and term papers breathing down my neck.  But the inevitable down side is that a part of my life is soon to be over - I've been a student for five years now, it feels like that is all I know how to do.

But times will change and life moves from one period to the next.  So, fourth year, I am ready for you.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Biscuit Topped Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

Hello!  Not very often I am around these parts on a Monday.  But since it is a new month, I am turning over a new leaf.  As it often does, September has me inspired and ambitious so I am going to try get back into the groove of Monday, Wednesday and Friday posting.

So to start us off, I am going to share with you a delicious casserole recipe.  I found a similar recipe here on Pinterest when I was searching for field supper inspiration, but as it usually goes in my house, I had pretty much none of the ingredients.  So I took the idea and ran with it.  Here is what I came up with:

The boys loved this one (to see more of them enjoying it click here).  Hope your family can enjoy this too.  See you on Wednesday!