Monday, October 31, 2011

Life as an Emergency Nurse

I realize it's been quite awhile since I last posted on my blog. Life has changed quite dramatically since I started my new job in the ER at OHSU. I have been working 3 twelve hour shifts on average per week. I'm still in "orientation" which means that I have a nurse who is dedicated to me that will teach me everything there is to know about being an ER nurse. My preceptors basically show me the ropes around the department and are a great resource when I have questions, etc. I have been working 3pm-3:30am shifts for the last 4 weeks. I will switch to my permanent 7pm-7:30am shift next week (eek!).

The biggest change has been switching my time clock and getting used to being awake at weird hours and eating at even stranger hours. My body definitely get confused when I have "dinner" at 2:30am. I don't know if I can even call it "dinner" since it feels just plain weird eating at that time. I know I will get used to it once I get used to working in that time frame. I've done okay with switching my "sleep" clock to sleeping in the day and staying awake all night. I am fortunate that I can switch back to day time on the days I'm not working. It can be tricky to see Brandon some days since our schedules are completely opposite of each other. All things we will learn and adjust to eventually :)

Even with the crazy schedules, being awake through the night and sleeping from 8:30am-4pm, I am loving this new job. It's definitely a steep learning curve and each day I work I feel like I'm a dry sponge trying to soak up everything around me. Sometimes it is quite overwhelming but I work with an amazing team who supports each other at the drop of a hat so that makes it so much better. God is watching over me and I know that this is the place where He wants me. I am excited to be His hands and care with His heart to all that He brings seeking help in a very stressful, scary time.

I am excited to continue to learn and grow. Emergency Medicine is fascinating. To see the complexities in God's design and how everything is so connected and meaningful - it just continues to blow my mind of how big and great God is!

More to come is a picture Brandon took of me as I was on the way to my first day in the ER.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Dinner & DIY: Soy candles

Brandon and I went over to Andrew & Jenna's apartment last night for some dinner on the rooftop. We had a yummy dinner on their apartment's rooftop. There were quite a few cozy sitting areas for hanging out, having a meal, or sitting around a fire pit. The weather was perfect for an outdoor meal, however it did get a little chilly after the sun disappeared behind some buildings. 

view on the rooftop
our yummy dinner
After dinner, Brandon and Andrew had to go to lab to do some studying for the test that they have on Monday, so Jenna and I decided to do a little crafting while our hubbies were studying away. 

Jenna had supplies to make soy candles and we had been wanting to make candles for fall so we decided to try it out. They turned out great! It was fun experimenting with different scents and colors (we tried food coloring and that definitely didn't turn out so well...haha). It was pretty simple to make. 

All you need is soy candle wax, scents (be creative), double boiler (or a big pot with a small pot placed inside), wicks, candle holder (we used mason jars which turned out really cute), something to hold your wick in place during the cooling process, and decoration material (fabric for the cover, labels, markers, stamps, etc.). 

soy candle cooling -- we used skewers to hold wick in place

Let the decorating begin
We made our own labels
Finished candles
We were very pleased with how they turned out

We had fun creating and crafting together. Stay tuned for more Jenna & Catherine creations :)

Orienting to OHSU

My first week of orientation has finally come to an end. It was a new experience for me. I have never had an orientation to a hospital so there were lots of things to learn and that were new to me. Outpatient and Inpatient is very different, so I had to switch my mind over to inpatient care.

Each day was packed full with various lecturers and activities. The first two days were the generic orientation to the hospital -- going over the basics like benefits, payroll, eating locations, how to clock in and out, etc. Of course we also talked about teamwork, diversity in the workplace, and the culture of OHSU. It was very informative. I'm looking forward to joining the healthcare team at OHSU and participating in all the wonderful ways they care for the community.

Wednesday and Thursday was for nurses. The training was geared towards nursing -- how to operate their IV pumps, equipment, restraints, etc. We also were trained on many different point of care tests (POCT). POCTs consist of tests that can be run by a nurse at the patient's bedside, i.e. blood glucose, H&H, strep test, pregnancy test, urinalysis, stat troponin and chemistries levels, etc. It was very interesting and I learned  a lot and was happy to have "hands on" activities. These skills will be used all the time in the ER so I will get lots of practice.

On Friday all the nurses took core competency assessment tests specific to the units we would be working on to test our knowledge and skill level in those areas. I took the critical care competency test. It gave 3 case scenarios that I had to go through. They will analyze it and it is used as a tool to give the unit educators and preceptors an idea of what needs to be focused on during orientation.

Speaking of unit orientation, I will be starting my first shift in the ER this Monday (in 2 days). My schedule is kind of crazy for the next 2 months as I will be working various shifts (7p-730am, 3p-330am, 1p-130am, 7a-730p). I just hope my body can keep adjusting to all the different time zones I will be operating in. Eek. This will be first time ever doing a night I hope I will be able to get through it.

I'm nervous about starting in the ER just because of all the stuff I need to learn and know how to do. I have a huge learning curve ahead of me and I am praying that God will help me not get overwhelmed and just help me step by step. Pray for me!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Castles and Crafts

Yes... I know this is a strange title, but it makes sense if you read on. :)

This week has been full of fun activities and get-togethers so I thought I would share about all the blessings and evidences of God's grace in my life this week ---

Monday -- We usually have a dinner get together every Monday night with some new friends (med students and significant others) we met at OHSU. It's quite fun as the 2 other spouses that come are in the nursing world, one being a nurse and the other finishing up nursing school. We all can relate really well with each other and can support each other knowing what we are all going through at this time in life. It's been really encouraging!

Tuesday -- Brandon and I were able to connect with some SPU friends. We even got to see Daniel Meyer, who was Brandon's roommate Senior year, who has been living in Japan for the last year and a half or so. It was great catching up with him, meeting his girlfriend, and visiting with other SPU friends.

Wednesday -- That morning I went to the new MH PDX campus (i.e. the "castle") to check out the place and help with setting up the place. I met up with Hannah and Liz. We had a time of prayer over the church and then proceeded to do random tasks that needed to be done. It was really cool seeing the place and seeing what an amazing blessing and gift God has entrusted MH with. That afternoon, I had to go up the hill (yes, I rode the tram!! I'm getting better each time) to HR to sign some paperwork for my new job. I got my orientation schedule and went through all the "need to knows" before next Monday. I still don't know what shift I will be working or anything pertaining to my job. I will find out soon I'm sure though. I'm excited to start work and start learning lots.

This morning (Thursday), Jenna (one of my new friends -- her husband, Andrew, goes to med school with Brandon) and I had a nice long walk along the waterfront. The views were amazing and we had a great time talking about life, our nursing world, and the new adventure we are on with our hubbies. It was so refreshing and to finish the walk off, we enjoyed a delicious iced coffee from Starbucks. We then headed back to my apartment to work on some craft projects. We both love to craft and we had a blast making cards and working on some fall projects together. I look forward to many more walks, good conversation, coffee runs, and craft days.

Brandon continues to enjoy his Anatomy class and preceptorship in the Pediatric ER. He has made a lot of new friends and is enjoying learning about medicine. He is also helping out with MH PDX as it prepares to open its doors with weekly meetings next month. We are excited to see what the Lord has in store and all the ways He will be glorified through it. 

The Lord continues to encourage and grow us as we continue to make friends, learn about our new community, Portland, and seek out His will for our lives. He is faithful....always. 


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

He is Faithful

For all of you who have been following me recently, you know that I have had quite the past 2 months going through ups and downs in trying to find a nursing job in Portland. God has used these past 2 months to teach me things about Him and about myself. He has showed me time and time again how He will always provide. He is faithful and His timing is perfect. I have definitely had times where I've felt very discouraged in this process, but have also had times where God has used my situation and circumstance to teach me something new about Himself. God continues to open my eyes to His greatness and how He is totally in control over the what seems "impossible" in life. My mind continues to be blown at His greatness and faithfulness and grace poured out for me. In Christ alone, my hope is found.

God totally worked a miracle this week. Just wait til you hear this -- it will blow your mind.

To preface the story -- I have always wanted to become an ER nurse. I really like the environment and the fast-paced running around from one "fire" to the next, being able to give the best care possible and see the best outcomes for the patients that come through the doors. I have never worked in a setting like an ER...let alone a Level 1 Trauma ER. All this to say...

I was put in contact with the ER manager at OHSU through an ER doctor that Brandon had met in one of his sessions. I emailed the ER manager hoping to get the chance to talk with her about ways to improve my resume and make it more competitive to eventually get into an ER. She gave me helpful pointers and suggestions which I was very grateful for. She told me that they are looking for minimum 3-5 years of ER experience (which I don't have). At the end of our conversation, she mentioned that she would soon be posting a full time position for the ER and that if I wanted to apply I could. So of course I jumped all over that and applied immediately. This was on Monday (last Monday).

On Wednesday morning, I received a call from the ER manager saying (to my complete shock) that she wanted me to come in for an interview for the ER position I had applied for. I was floored. I couldn't believe that is what I was hearing. Even the opportunity to interview for an ER position would be well worth it and rewarding to gain experience interviewing! I was pumped and God really encouraged me with this. I knew that the only way I got this interview was because God orchestrated it.

I went in for the interview yesterday (Monday) at noon. I went in feeling confident in the Lord and had a peace about it - no matter what the outcome. I knew I was up against very competent, well-trained ER nurses. I had nothing to lose though. I met with the manager and unit educator. My interview lasted about 25 minutes (including a tour of the ER). This was by far one of the shortest interviews I have had! :)

The interview came to an end and I thanked them for giving me this opportunity to come meet with them. They told me that they would be contacting me mid-week with the decision. I left unsure of how it went, but again I was resting in the Lord knowing that this was His doing and He had a perfect plan.

3 hours phone rings and to my complete surprise it's the ER manager calling me. I had no idea what to expect. First things I hear "we really liked you and would like to offer you the position". I immediately blurted out "Are you serious?" and the ER manager chuckled a little and said yes. I couldn't even believe it. God 100% carried me through as He has always done. He knew my heart's desire and gave me that. I feel so blessed to have this opportunity ahead of me. I will have a lot to learn in the 10 weeks of orientation, but am confident that God will carry me through and give me the brains and energy that I need to succeed in this position. I'm so excited to start working again as a nurse. I know God has called me to this profession for a special reason -- to be a light to all that I have the privilege of caring for and to all that I will work with.

I start the 26th of this month. I am trying to figure out what I am going to do with the last 12 days of freedom :) Study study study would probably be the wisest choice.

Thanks for all your encouragement, support, love, and prayers. I will keep you updated on this new season of nursing.

1 Thess. 5:24 --  "He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it."

Monday, August 29, 2011

Job Hunting

It's been a little over a month since I started the hunt for a nursing job in the Portland area. Although it has been discouraging and disheartening at times, God has used this time to draw me closer to Him and bring about a deeper reliance and trust in Him. It is so easy for me to lose focus and become frustrated at all the loop holes I have to jump through to get into a hospital nursing job, but at the same time I am encouraged in the Lord because I know He has the perfect job for me which He will reveal in His perfect timing. He has never failed me once. God has always provided and I know He will always continue to provide. 

The lesson in it for me is to not try and take things into my own hands, but let go and let God. Ofcourse, I continue to apply to jobs, interview for jobs, etc. But my focus has changed from looking on the outward circumstances to looking above on what God is doing and how He can use me during this time of not working. Because I am not working right now, I can be home and do fun projects around the house, get all the house cleaning done, cook, bake, create -- all things that I love to do but don't have as much time for when working a job. 

I have found great encouragement and comfort in reading Isaiah 40-41 which speaks into my current situation. No matter what difficulties or trials I am facing today, God's Word remains true -- Be comforted, do not fear. Take your eyes off yourself and your circumstances and focus on Him, your great and incomparable God, your Redeemer and Present help in time of need.

I am confident that God is saving the perfect job for me. I am excited to see what He has in store for me down the road. At this point, I am hoping to work either at OHSU or Doernbecher but have also started applying at Legacy. I have about 8 applications in that are under review - please continue to pray for God's direction in my life and patience :)

Isaiah 40: 8 -- "The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God stands forever."

Saturday, August 20, 2011

White Coat Weekend

What a fun last 2 days we have had! Brandon's family came down late Thursday night to be here for his white coat ceremony on Friday (yesterday). We started off the morning with a yummy breakfast at this place called "Mother's Bistro and Cafe". It was so delicious. Then, we went to the Rose Garden to see all the roses in full bloom. The visit was not complete without some pictures of course.

The Teng Sibs
After the Rose Garden, we made our way to the White Coat ceremony! It was a very nice ceremony with several great speakers, the presentation of the white coats, and then reciting the Oath of Geneva (previously known as the Hippocratic Oath). There are 128 medical students starting at OHSU this Fall. It's amazing to hear what some of these students have already accomplished! It's quite a diverse class - some have their Master degrees, for some this is their second career choice, some students are businessmen or engineers or english majors. They have come from all over the nation and world.

Brandon getting his white coat
One happy doctor-to-be:)
The White Coat ceremony was held at the Newmark Theater in downtown Portland. It was a beautiful venue and over 500 friends and families were in attendance. There was a light reception following the ceremony. After the ceremony and reception, we decided to go see where Brandon will be taking his classes and check out all the hospitals up on the hill. The main way of getting up to OHSU is by riding a tram. The tram is about 2-3 miles away from our apartment (an easy bike ride). Brandon will also be doing his rotations at OHSU's hospital and the children's hospital called Doernbecher.

So proud of him!

It was a really fun day and we were really glad that Brandon's family were able to join us! I wish my family could have been there but Anna and Bri had work and my parents are in Singapore. I was reminded again of God's faithfulness and grace in our lives. God has blessed us so much with giving Brandon this privilege and opportunity to serve and care for those who are hurt and in need. I look forward to seeing all the lives he will touch and heal with the skills God has gifted him with...allowing the only Great Physician and Healer to work in and through him. 

Here are some pictures from this weekend...enjoy!

At the Rose Garden in Portland, OR
At the White Coat ceremony

A light reception after the ceremony

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Brandon's First Day

I'm a little late posting this - August 15th:

The day we have been waiting for has finally arrived! Brandon starts medical school orientation today. What a journey it has been! God has been so faithful through it all and continues to be faithful. It blows my mind how He continues to provide for us in so many ways - new friends, new neighbors, new community, new church plant with Mars Hill, etc. 

I still remember the day when Brandon submitted his first medical school application back in May 2010. One year and three months later, he is finally starting at OHSU! God is faithful. I couldn't resist taking a picture as I felt like this day was one of those "first days" that needed to be documented with a photograph. Matt (Brandon's classmate and friend from SPU) will be starting at OHSU this year as well. What a blessing - to have a good friend to start this new season off with! 

God has gifted Brandon with so many talents and a huge heart that wants to serve God and people in need. I am so excited to see the work that God is doing in Brandon's heart and will continue to do over the next 4 years while in medical school. I know this time will be challenging and it will take a lot of effort but I know that God is in control and will get us through as long as we continue to keep our focus upward and not on the circumstances surrounding us. 

I continue to look for a nursing job. I know God has the perfect job out there for's just a matter of His right timing. I am hoping to get a job up on the hill (OHSU) as it would be a really short commute. It is also a teaching hospital which is a huge plus. God continues to teach me perseverance and patience during this time of waiting. In the meantime, I am enjoying this new city and exploring the different parks in the area. I love having time to read books and cook and work on different projects around the apartment. I am learning to be content with where I am at right now and just be open to see what God has for me in this new season. 

Lamentations 3:22-23 --- "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness!"


I decided to start a blog to document this new season of life that Brandon and I have just entered into. Brandon and I moved to Portland, Oregon about a month ago. The move went well as we had lots of helpers. We are so grateful to all our family and friends that helped us with the move down from Kirkland, WA. We are settled in to our new apartment in John's Landing. John's Landing is located in SW Portland. We are right across the street from the Willamette River which divides the city of Portland in half (East and West). It's a beautiful location and God provided us with an amazing apartment that is so close to OHSU and downtown. We are very excited to get to explore and live in a new city and be on mission in a new community.

As most of you know, Brandon is attending Oregon Health & Sciences University (OHSU) School of Medicine this Fall. God has truly blessed him with amazing gifts and a desire to serve and help people in need. I'm excited to see what the Lord has in store for him the next 4 years here at OHSU. I pray that God would surround him with fellow classmates that are believers who can support him along the way in his studies.

I continue the search for a nursing job in Portland. I would ideally like to work up at OHSU or Doernbecher (Children's Hospital) as it would be a very short commute to work, but I am open and just believing God to open up the perfect job for me. It will happen in His right timing. Meanwhile, I am enjoying my time off - reading books, organizing projects, cooking/baking, making cards, etc. There is an awesome park across the street from us which I enjoy going to. The weather has been beautiful! It's been fun to go to the park and read a good book in the sunshine!

I am excited to be able to share what the Lord is doing and continues to do in this new season of our lives.

Ps. 106:1 --- "Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever!"
Stay tuned for more evidences of God's grace...