Heeellllooooo my lovely cyber friends! It's your Riveting Mama here, happy to make some exciting announcements! Nope, not THAT one! Heh....
You may have noticed my absence lately. Well, school has ended, which brought on THE BOARDS!!! Allow me to explain how this works. There are two nationally regulated exams I have to pass in order to start practicing; a practical and a written. My practical exam was last Saturday, May 11th. I showed up to school with six other classmates at 8am. Although he was not allowed anywhere near the testing area, my main instructor was waiting with breakfast for all of us and to provide us support. What a sweetie, right? So, they pick out eight assesments/skill demonstrations at random for us to complete. We have to pass all of them to move on to the written exam. We do know what type of situation we will be getting into before hand, but we don't get to know the specifics. I entered the first station. Spinal injury and bloody guy in hypoperfusion (shock). Easy. Then, came the two big ones: general medical and trauma. My medical patient was a person who was having trouble breathing, but he was kind enough not to stop breathing while I was treating him. Again, sweet! Then, I went into trauma. I actually felt pretty good going in. I've always done well in this area. I entered the room and was told my patient was ejected 60 feet from a car that was just involved in a motor vehicle collision. He's doesn't appear conscious, is made up to look like death warmed over, and his leg is in a most unnatural position (well, as unnatural as it could be without really being broken :). I have 10 minutes to treat him and get him to definitive care. It's actually not as complicated as it sounds. The key with trauma is prioritizing. Step back and say, "What will kill
my patient in the next 5 minutes? 15 minutes? 30 minutes?" Then
treat the concerns in that order.
This would have gone so much better if my proctor hadn't been a f*cking idiot. The test works like this: I assess and treat my psuedo-patient like I would a real one. As I move along, the proctor gives me feedback about what I'm supposed to be encoutering. For example, when I examined a part of the guy's obvioiusly broken leg, the examiner tells me when the guy is responding to pain (tib/fib fracture for anyone who cares). As I was assessing my patient, the proctor kept giving me the wrong information. I'd ask for rate of breathing, he'd giver me a pulse. Twice. I'm examining an arm, he's giving me feedback on a leg. My hands are on the back of the head, and this nut job is talking about his pupils. I'm treating flail chest, and he's talking about the guy's abdomen. It got to the point where the proctor who was acting as my patient sat up and told him that he was screwing up big time. And then, he's stopping me and asking me what intervention I performed for such and such like he couldn't remember. So, what happened? I ran out of time. And, so did three other people. Fortunately, we got to re-do it with a new proctor and we all passed! We would have anyways, since we are allowed to re-test up to three that day, but yeah...I was glad I could drink when we all went out to celebrate afterwards!
Apparently, my school is really on it, at least in some respects, because my authorization to test letter was electronically sent to me that night. I logged onto the Pearson website (they are the company that administers, like, EVERY professional test in existence), and they happened to have an opening the following Tuesday morning. I figured, if I don't know what I need to by now, I won't learn it in the near future. So, I took the appointment. When I arrived, it was kind of like being processed into a military establishment of some kind. I couldn't bring anything in with me except two forms of ID. I was searched, fingerprinted, and photographed. My prints were also scanned before I could enter the testing room and after I finished and was allowed to leave. I know, right? Back in the day, you sat down with a paper test. If you got more than such and such % of the questions correct, you passed. Not anymore. Now, you take the test on a computer. Google CAT testing if you want to see how it works. The computer pulls test questions from a database of thousands of questions. The questions asked are at varying levels of difficulty. The computer is interested at what level the tester can answer questions correctly. So, as you test, the questions will get easier or more difficult depending on how you answer. When the computerized "Man Behind the Curtain" determines that no matter how many questions he asks you, you will continue to perform at an acceptable level, or that you will continue to bomb it, the test stops. You don't know how you did, you're just told, "Thank you and good-bye." Mine shut off on or around question 78. I felt like I failed, but then again, the thing was designed so I would get half of the questions wrong anyways. If that doesn't mess with your head, nothing will. When I got to my car, I pulled my phone out of the glove box and googled the ammount of questions most people had the test stop at (I know, I know). The first search option was 70. Apparently, about 60% of people who have it stop there pass. It still didn't make me feel any better. So, I went home and refreshed the website every 30 minutes (ok, more like 20). At 3:30, I got a message of congratulations.
After that, things moved fairly quickly. My card arrived on Friday morning. Since I had already applied for licensure with the state, I just faxed it over to them. I received word this morning that I was licensed. I have spent the majority of the day tweaking my resume and applying for jobs. Granted I have 10 years of healthcare experience, and five of social services experience (I worked in two fields at the same time), but I've never practiced in this role before. My hope is to enter a job with a larger, more stable company that offers decent benefits before adding an addition to my family. I've wanted to change my career focus for awhile now, and I'm really glad I waited for this step to be complete. Eventually, I will want an advanced degree, but I'm fine with becoming a mother before that happens. Like I've said, I have my whole life to do most of the other things I want to do. So, it's onward and upward for me!
Oh yeah, I received an email yesterday telling me that the national registry wants me to provide feedback on my testing experience. I'm not sure that they could handle my feedback so I declined. Ok, ladies, I'm reading all of your blogs/posts and will be commenting soon! Let me know how you are all doing! I feel like I've missed so much, and really, it hasn't been that long at all. Cheers! ~K