Back To Reality

Back To Reality

Only six more weeks of school!
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Unfortunately spring break has come to an end. Fortunately, the weeks that follow spring break before summer are some of the fastest you'll ever experience.

If you're a senior in high school, you'll be shocked to see how fast your last year of high school went by. Prom will be coming up, and you'll start to say your last goodbye's to people you've virtually spent your whole life with

Similarly, if you're a freshman in college, you won't believe that you graduated high school a year ago already.

Lastly, if you're a senior in college, get ready to be thrown into the real world real soon. The only way you can delay that is if you're leaving college just to go back to continue more school after (yay for higher education @MedStudents @LawStudents).

These weeks for college students will be filled with the middle round of exams, and then final exams. Finals will hit us like a bus as they always do, but at that point you have three months of not thinking about school once, what's better than that?

The weather will start to get warmer (hopefully.... @Syracuse), people will start to hang out more outside, and you can almost taste the freedom. You see the light at the end of the tunnel, if only you could get there sooner.

Once these weeks go by, I will enter my third year of college and no longer be an underclassmen. My big will graduate and it will just be my little and I in our sorority, and will (hopefully) be getting ready to study abroad.

Back to the reality that is school, it sucks that spring break is over. When you first get back, it's going to feel like the days are dragging and you just can't fathom how you're supposed to get through another six weeks of school.

As you get back into the rhythm of things, you see that March blends into April and once you're in April you realize finals exist again, and then next thing you know it it's May, you just finished your last exam, and you're moving out of school.

Another one gone, another year bites the dust.

The time between Spring Break and finals is actually my favorite. You feel the energy of your school go up because you're in the home stretch of finishing up for the year and everyone just seems happier. Even the chronically stressed take a step back and appreciate all the hard work they've done in the year.

Take these weeks with a grain of salt because before you know it it'll be over. Life goes on and time doesn't stop for anyone, so enjoy your time in the places that you are while you can!


Cover Image Credit: Anna Russo

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Not My Michigan

A Michigan student-athlete turned Registered Nurse on the Michigan Medicine contract negotiations in 2018.

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It's May 1st, 2016. I'm bright-eyed, eager, and graduating from the University of Michigan as a Nursing Student and Student-Athlete.

I am ready to take on the world the way that Michigan taught me how: fearlessly, compassionately, and wholeheartedly. I bleed blue. I know what it means to be a Wolverine and to represent the Michigan Difference in everything I do. I wear the block M on my School of Nursing scrubs and my Michigan Dance Team uniform well aware that it represents goodness, tradition, and excellence. I am determined. I am inspired. I am ready.

It's Monday, September 17th, 2018. What does Michigan mean to me now? I used to be so sure. Now, I simply don't know. So, what's the deal? How did my view on an institution become so indifferent in recent months?

I chose U of M to start my nursing career because it had the widely known reputation of putting its patients first, respecting its nurses, and providing the best care to patients in the state (5th in the country, to be exact). In my first year, as I was clumsily learning how to push patient stretchers, titrate intravenous vasopressors, and to communicate with the medical team, I proudly participated in our hospital's effort to achieve Magnet status.

When Nursing earned Magnet Status, an award given by the American Nurses' Credentialing Center and indicator of the strength and quality of Nursing at Michigan, I felt that same pride as I did in May of 2016.

I knew in my heart that I picked the best institution to develop my nursing practice and to give high quality, patient-centered care to anyone who walked, rolled, or was carried through the doors of Adult Emergency Services. The hospital's goals were aligned with mine and those around me. We put patients first, and more specifically, we put patients over profits.

I am lucky enough to work at a hospital that has been unionized for more than four decades. When I started working, the concept of a union was foreign to me. For those who may need a refresher, unions promote and protect the interests of all employees. They collectively bargain with employers to secure written agreements for employees regarding pay, benefits, and working conditions.

Collective bargaining agreements are legally enforceable contracts holding employers and employees to mutually agreed-to workplace rules and process to provide a fair and just workplace. The University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council, an affiliate of the Michigan Nurses Association, has been working diligently since January to bargain with the University of Michigan to protect me, the 5,700 nurses who work within the institution, and our patients. I'd like to think they're the good guys in this story.

Here's where things get sticky: David Spahlinger, president of our prestigious U of M health system, has publicly stated that Michigan is "committed to maintaining current staffing levels," but will not make this commitment in writing. Common sense is reflected in the most high-quality research on the topic of nurse-patient ratios and its direct effect on patient care.

Appropriate staffing allows me and my coworkers to give the quality of care that I know we have the ability to provide. High staffing levels are associated with reduced mortality, falls, medication errors, ulcers, restraint use and infections. Unregulated staffing is a significant barrier to nurses' abilities to provide optimal patient care and prevents Nursing at Michigan from providing what we know to be the Michigan Difference in healthcare.

UMPNC held voting on a work stoppage for unfair labor practices last week. Out of 4,000 votes cast by nurses at the U, 94% authorized a work stoppage in protest of the University's unfair labor practices. No date is set, but our elected nurse bargaining team now has the authority to call for action.

Thank you to Katie Oppenheim, who chairs our union, for reiterating in an article to the Detroit Free Press that a work stoppage is not our goal. "Our goal is a fair agreement which respects nurses and guarantees safe staffing. The university can remedy this situation immediately by stopping their unfair labor practices and bargaining in good faith."

I am proud to be a nurse and I hope that our efforts to keep Michigan a patients-over-profits institution are recognized at the community, state, and national level. Anne McGinity, David Spahlinger, and those who have the power to make Michigan the magical place I once thought it was, make like Nike and just do it. For the love of patients, nurses, and our great University. I know we are better than this.

(Stay Tuned, folks).

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It's Okay To Not Be Okay

Don't think that you have to be "on" 100% of the time, because that's very unlikely.

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A lot of people don't realize that it is okay to not be okay because they think that they have to be 100% 24/7, but that is unrealistic. You need to understand that everyone struggles and that you are not expected to be on top of your game every second of every day.

This doesn't mean that you need to go around telling everyone you're doing horribly when they ask you how you are doing, but don't let yourself believe the lie that it's not okay to not be okay.

I had a woman recently tell me that her faith in Jesus was questioned when they realized that she wasn't okay. She was so heartbroken because she knows where her faith lies, but that doesn't take away the hurt in her heart considering her situation. She knew that Jesus would and will see her through this situation, but it was going to hurt.

It's not okay for us to undermine others' worth when they're not okay.

If you're telling everyone that you're "great" 99.9% of the time then you're lying. I hate to say that, but we all struggle and nobody is exempt from it. Some may handle those days and moments better than others and that is great, but it's unlikely that those never struggle or have struggled a day in their lives.

I don't believe that this means we should relish in our angst, hurt, and disappointment, but that when we are hurting we shouldn't be made to feel less. We will have moments of weakness and while it's okay to not be okay it's important to seek someone we love and trust who will help point us to Jesus who will comfort us.

When you're hurting and you're not okay please seek Jesus. Find that person who holds you accountable and let them be there for you. Don't think you're not allowed to hurt, because it is okay, but don't let it consume you.

Jesus loves you and He will always comfort you, but you have to be willing. Seek Him and allow Him to hold you when you're not okay.

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