Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Missing Nashville

At the beginning of our marriage, I was extremely homesick.  I know, Bham is only a short 2 1/2 hour away from "home", but considering I was a wuss and went to college in my hometown, I had never been away from family and friends for more than a week at a time.  While I have grown out of my homesick phase, there are days when I get slightly nostalgic, and wish I was home.  And yes, I still call it "home".  I mean give a girl a break, if my dad occasionally still refers to Memphis as "home" after being away for 20 + years... I'm doing ok.

Here are the things I am specifically missing today:

1.  Obviously my family.  What's a Sunday lunch at the Smith compound without mom running around frantically in the kitchen trying to get everything done on time?  Or staying up late watching movies with dad, going to Buddy's soccer games, or Ash and me yelling at the TV whenever the Titans are on.

2.  Our friends.  Some of my best friends have actually moved away from Nashville as well, so they understand my "pain".  Love you Bug, Heath, and Ashleigh.  But the rest of my crew is still in the good ole' Ville having fun without me :)  I'm extremely blessed to have such an incredible group of friends, most of whom I have been best friends with since middle school.  God is good.  Not to mention, that all of Matthew's best friends also live in Nashville with their wives.  Thankfully, we get to see them fairly often.

Not all of us.. But this was the most recent picture I had with the most of us in it.  Sad part, it was Speight's wedding and she isn't even in the picture!  Sorry Speight!
But.. here we all are, back in the good ole' days of High School. 
We'll be hanging out with these guys not this weekend but the next in Gatlinburg!
3.  Harpeth Hills.  While we have been incredibly blessed to find a great church home at Homewood COC here in Bham, with an awesome young marrieds' CORE group... I sometimes still miss being at Harpeth on a Sunday.  Not just because I'm biased to my dad's preaching...which is so true by the way.  I also miss seeing familiar faces, being involved with happenings going on there, and obviously church camp.  :)

My senior year at Harpeth Hills, where we won 3 Trunk or Treat competitions in a ROW!
4.  Gerry House and the Big 98.  Can I tell you how depressed I am that this man is retiring before I even got a chance to move back?!  Radio in Nashville will never be the same.  After listening to him day in and day out on my way to school every morning in high school and college, I can't believe he's about to be gone!  I may be inconsolable for months!
You sure Gerry?
5.  Eating out.  I still CRAVE Baha Burrito, Satco, Puffy Muffin, and the Coop.  Thankfully, my mom is the greatest, and almost always has take out Puffy Muffin for us on Saturday for lunch whenever we come home for the weekend.  Another tradition we have started is to stop and get Baja Burrito on the way up to Lexington...we've done it almost every time.  We love Moe's, but sometimes it just doesn't cut it, it's not the same, not even close.

2 chicken fajitas with a side of queso dip is calling my name!
That's all for today... Excited about a weekend at home and my good friend Lindsey's wedding this weekend!  Oh by the way... I've been off for the last 3 days... Jealous?  I know my hubby is :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

75 Questions Later...

I PASSED!  I have officially taken and kicked the NCLEX's tail.  I could not be more relieved. 

Throughout nursing school, we all talked about how there was no way that the NCLEX could be that horrible, we would all do fine, etc...   This all changed when I started hearing horror stories from my classmates who were lucky enough to take it before me.   After reading a 1200 page NCLEX textbook, reading another prep book called the Hurst review, and taking over 1500 practice test questions... as I sat down to take the test, I still felt unprepared. 

I'm usually a fairly calm test taker.  I get anxious beforehand (I told my dad an hour before I took it that I felt like I was going to vomit), but after I sit down and start taking it, I'm fine.  Thankfully, this was true for the NCLEX, and after about question 5, my heart rate had slowed, despite the fact that I could still hear it beating loudly through my head phones. 

So this is how the test works.  You start out with fairly easy questions, and as you get them right, the questions get harder.  If you get them wrong, your questions get easier again.  Eventually, if you're doing well, you should be getting questions that you have NO IDEA what the answer is... this happened to me.  The minimum amount of questions you can get is 75.  So, if your test cuts off at 75, you either did really well, or really bad.  As I was sitting there about to submit my 75th question, I kept thinking, "Do I want more questions, or am I good enough to be done?".  It didn't matter, my test cut off at 75.  My heart stopped. 

I called Matthew as I was leaving the test site, and told him that I had absolutely no idea how I had done.  I know that I had at least 20-25 "select all that apply" questions, which people had told me that when you get those questions, it means your doing well...but honestly, how do they know?  Why they can't give you your results right after the test is beyond me.  It's torture.

There is apparently a trick to see if you passed that you can do early before you get your "official" test results 48 hours later.  You go onto the testing website and try and re-register to take the test.  If it takes you to the credit card page, then you know you failed, but if a message pops up saying "Contact your member board", it supposedly means you passed. 

I was too nervous to check this out myself, so I called M to see if he would do it for me.  He told me he would call me back in 40 minutes to let me know.  An hour or so later he called me and didn't say anything about the test but said, "I think I'm going to come home from work early today".  At this point, I know something's up.  His tone is off, and I knew he was busy that day at work...no way he needed to leave early.  I immediately ask, "Did you check it?"  He replies, "Well, I dunno, I'm not sure, I...."  At this point, I'm on the verge of a full blown panic attack and said, "JUST TELL ME WHAT IT SAID!".  He tells me that when he tried to submit to re-register it took him to a page that asked what test I wanted to register for.  I'm still freaking out, so I hung up on M and called my friend Erin to ask her if that means I failed, or if I was supposed to go back through and do the whole thing all over again.  Long story short, M didn't go far enough into the process.  I eventually got the message telling me to call my member board.  Lesson learned...Man up and do it yourself next time.  My poor husband had no idea what to do when he thought I had failed... bless his heart.

At work two days later, I officially get the results on the Alabama Board of Nursing website.  There I was...Andrea Lynn Hardison, RN.  I finally got to sign something in my patients chart with RN after my name later on that day... sweet.  You can see it for yourself, https://www.abn.alabama.gov/apps/lookup/verification.aspx  Just type in my first and last name, and there I am :)

I'm off for the next 3 days.  This 3 days a week thing is the best thing since sliced bread.  5 days a week is for the birds...or everyone else in a normal profession.  But the best part? (Besides my first paycheck that I got last Friday)  I don't have to study when I get home from a 12 hour shift.  I'm done.  I was straight up crazy when I contemplated starting back to school this Fall.. no thanks.  Not the spring either.  The earliest this girl will be hitting the books again is next summer...the earliest.   I'm enjoying being a normal, working, adult.  Hello real world!


Andrea Hardison, RN, BSN