Archive for finding a job

Last Leg of the Journey

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 02/17/2014 by Angel D. Vargas

2/17/2014

EKG is over. I am aware, even before the class ends, that I will get an “A” on the final exam for the course. My practical goes very well for me because I’ve helped so many others pass theirs. I remember the concern from my girlfriend about “wasting my energy on others who don’t deserve it,” and my insides squirm a little. Have I stretched myself too thin again for my fellow students? Why continue to go above and beyond to make sure that others pass? Did they put forth the same effort that I did? How many hours did I spend on crowded trains with rude passengers trying to go over class notes while reading a pocket guide to EKG? How many times did I have to go over the placement of electrodes and sensors with fellow students who’d forgotten the color order, and couldn’t even define what an “intercostal space” is?

How often did I tell other participants to “just breathe” even when they were prepared to give up on themselves?

Pride and contentment at my own success flow through my veins. But a throbbing soreness in my neck and a stabbing pain behind my right eye remind me of the costs of my accomplishments.

For the Certified Nursing Assistant portion of my training, we get a different teacher with a new approach to her subject matter. From the beginning, this older Caribbean woman drops all the notions of a stoic barrier between herself and her students. Her sense of humor hits home right away, and pupils are instantly at ease. I like this nurse, who happens to be much older than our last instructor, and clearly uses her vast breadth of experience to inform and encourage us.

Despite how refreshing her demeanor is, I suspect that this spells a certain kind of trouble for which I am not fully prepared. The day that she hands me the first quiz taken by another student and asks me to grade it, I know I’m screwed. She’s not only set me up to take extra responsibility that I didn’t ask for, she’s made me an easier target for unwelcome scrutiny from my fellow peers. It feels like a repeat of the last class, and I don’t like the feelings that resurface as a result.

What I don’t anticipate is that our instructor has given the green light for the slackers of the group to take full advantage of a decidedly more relaxed situation. People seek patterns to behavior as in all else, and in this regard, I prove no exception. I can identify the three leaders of the class because I am one of them. I can also identify the silent but deadly achievers who seek to fly in under the radar. However, I am less than impressed to discover that there are those among our small group who would sooner brush this class off than put forth a solid effort. I cannot judge the reasons for such foolishness, but these are the same people who look to me for comfort whenever they decide to shut down their phones and tune in to perform a patient care skill.

And it is the practice of patient care skills that truly separates this class from all others. No amount of academic achievement can substitute for the effort placed into such practice. Despite the fact that I may be the only student to have read the rather boring text book from cover to cover, I know full well that skills and desire are the great equalizers here. More to the point, my training program is almost over. All of us will have to go our separate ways and find our own roads to travel. I will walk my road without most of my peers when I get my certificates.

I’ve just celebrated Valentine’s Day and my one year anniversary with the most wonderful of girlfriends. I’ve tried to make both days special for her, and she has done the same for me. Exhaustion has derailed some of our individual efforts, and the stresses of my schooling and her freelance work have manifested despite the best of intentions. To make matters more interesting, my job has summarily cancelled my weekly hours for an unspecified period of time. However, due to a set of carefully chosen words from my boss, I’ve decided not to pursue unemployment for fear of legal reprisal down the road. Still, I am thankful. The time off has provided me with a means of preparing for two certification tests, both of which I took on the same day despite my initial hesitation. The effort has proven exhausting. Like a Samurai weary of war and bloodshed, I want to lay down my sword, strip off my armor, and just hold my loved ones close.

The next adventure will be an externship at a long term care center. The notion of a four day assignment at an unknown location worries me a for a great many reasons, not the least of which is the harsh winter that has done little but dump snow on our city. Wearing a white uniform in such conditions has done little to improve my patience with the winter season. Having to purchase white sneakers before the assignment makes my stomach churn a little. The thought of traveling with increasingly irate straphangers will, at times, cause me to imagine homicide with a slight smirk on my tired face. Despite all my misgivings, I will be ready. This is among the last of my challenges. I will face it and find my way home.

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: