‘cuz my mama taught me better than that

wednesday was my last day of clinicals and i have to say, when i woke up at 5:30 that morning, i was not sure how i was going to make it through the day. between last saturday and that day, i must have gotten an average of two to three hours of sleep per night, and i definitely do not function well when i have not gotten my usual eight hours. given my emotional state from the previous evening and knowing that my patient for the day had just received devastating news regarding his health/disease process the day before, i was preparing myself for the saddest clinical day yet. but i had to go–this is what i signed up for.

i arrived early and when my clinical instructor arrived, i warned her of the possibility of me breaking down some time during the day. she said i can go home but i told her that i would not have the time to write a paper to make-up for missing a clinical day. i expressed my concern about caring for a patient who would possibly be in the lowest spirits while i am not at my best and she offered for me to switch patients. but i committed to being his nurse, knowing that he would be in this state on the day i would work with him. there was no question, i had to try to make it through the day if not for myself but for him, who was much more vulnerable and fragile than i could ever feel that day. i got permission to skip the morning’s group meeting and headed up to the floor, afraid to face the day.

but i could not have predicted what was in store for me.

i asked the night nurse how the patient was handling the news and she said he was fine, considering the circumstances. this seemed promising. i went into his room to let him know i was here and if he needed anything. it was 6:30 in the morning and he appeared more melancholic than when i had met him exactly 24 hours prior. he shared his bad news with me, not knowing that i was briefed about his condition even before i met him. strangely enough, he was still in higher spirits than any other patient i had had this semester. it made me want to work that much harder for him.

when i met my nurse, i figured i would be stuck with another one who did not care for passing on any wisdom and generally felt that student nurses just got in her way but i was wrong. she guided me that morning and entrusted me with responsibilities i had always been ready for but was never given by any of the other nurses. not only did i have my patient relying on me but my nurse actually believed in me and it motivated me that much more.

throughout the morning, my patient and his family were laughing and joking. i was surprised and inspired. for these people to be there, enjoying the day, perhaps more than any other day, was a scene i was lucky to have seen. i escorted my patient and his wife for a procedure and while i felt their anxiety, i also felt their determination to fight. at the same time, they didn’t treat me as a worker or a servant. they talked to me as a person.

the most touching conversation i had was with my patient when his wife had stepped out to make some calls. he began to reminisce about his life growing up, his father, his old job and friends, his dogs and his granddaughter. he confessed that he was afraid and that he had not gotten any sleep. aside from the feeling of pride that i had chosen those exact two nursing diagnoses for my care plan for him, i felt an immense amount of privilege to have been here with him and his family on this very day. i sat there and offered what i could say but mostly, i listened because i knew the comfort of having somebody there just listen while you let your emotions spill from your chest, through your lips and into somebody’s ears.

as a student nurse, i could not provide much for him in terms of caring for his health at that point. but as a person, i could provide friendship.

the rest of my clinical day with my patient carried on with one goal in my mind: to provide whatever i could, little as it may, not to my patient but for this man. he was a person too. and at the very core, that is what nursing is all about–touching people’s lives when they are at their worst and in turn, being touched by them and their circumstances. it is the human element. i am never going to look at this career as one-sided; i get something out of this too. every day, with every person, will give me humanity.

(that day, the doctor said that my patient did not have a recurrence of his disease but he would need to conduct a biopsy to be sure. i hope it works out for him and his family)

the princess of power

gosh, i’ve felt so deflated lately. i’ve had a series of challenges come my way and i could not figure out how to overcome them. this time last year, i had more clarity and focus but i didn’t have as many challenges then as i do now. i just got my second wind and i’m feeling much better. so here i am again, ready to take on the world.

i am ibarra. fabulous secrets were revealed to me the day i held aloft my sword and said "for the honor of grayskull!" together, me and my friends of the great rebellion strive to free ourselves from the evil forces of nursing school! i. am. SHE-RA!!!

cleopatra, come at me.

Today is just not my day.

A little backstory:
I’m struggling this semester. Nursing school is a lot tougher than I could have ever expected and I’m finding myself considering having to give up my dreams of making As and instead settling for passing with grades higher than 72 (Bs would be nice too). Currently, I have pretty solid Bs in my Assessment and Pharmacology class but below 72 in both Concepts and Pathophysiology. I’m so embarrassed. Between that and trying to manage my financial stuff (thanks a lot, financial aid), I’m finding that it’s not so much that material that’s hard, but rather it’s the amount of time that I’m lacking to get it all learned that makes it hard.

Fast forward to today:
Thursdays are tough because I have 12-hour days at school. I have to get up early to take care of the dog, get dressed and make it in time for assessment lab which lasts from 9-1:30. If I was smart that week, I would have spent several hours finishing my assessment lab manual the weekend before and not the night before (doing it on Wednesday nights is not ideal because I have to wake up at 5 to do my hospital clinicals from 6:30-3). In this case, I did it the weekend before and even had time to scan my manual pages in and type my answers. So I had lab all morning and finished up around 1. Around 1:05, I either called or got a call from Thuy in the hallway after I left lab. Right before I got on the elevator, I hung up with her and went to the 3rd floor to go to our study room. As soon as Iris and I set our stuff down, we went to 2nd floor on to Student Life to get free food. I didn’t expect to leave with my hands full of cookies, glass of milk and corn chips. I opened the door with my foot and proceeded to go up the stairs again to the study room on the 3rd floor. Around 2:30, I realized that I didn’t have my phone. The only place I can think of is that I left it on one of the tables at Student Life while I was getting food. I spent the entire time looking for my phone until I had to go to Pathophysiology at 5. Between 5 and 9, I kept asking my friends to call my phone during our breaks. No answer but not going straight to voicemail so it’s still on. After class, I was dropping Iris off and her bag fell on the back panel switches for my back windows in the car and accidentally opened my back windows. On my way to my apartment after dropping her off, all I could think of was taking a hot shower and going straight to bed so that I can study all day tomorrow. Unfortunately, as I was turning the car off, I noticed that my left rear window is still down. I turned my car on again to get the window up but to no avail. It wouldn’t work. Neither of the front of back panel switches for it work. Of course, I can’t call anyone because, oh yeah, I lost my phone. After 10 minutes, Gibran came home and looked at it. He’s trying to fix it now but I’m worried that he won’t be able to. To sum it up, I’m stressed for the following reasons:

  • My academic standing in Patho and Concepts is shaky (which is relatively ok since a lot of people are struggling with nursing school too)
  • My financial status is a constant worry in my head
  • I’m constantly trying to have to fit in all my classes, labs, studying, homework, clinicals, and regular life stuff (like taking care of my dog and taking care of myself)
  • I lost my phone with no way of communicating with any of my classmates to get any information about school or any of my friends to get my mind off of school
  • And my car is a stupid son of a whore.

P.S. I don’t even have the energy to proofread this post because I’m so exhausted so forgive me if there are any errors.

have a vision? state it.

here’s mine and i need to recite it now more than ever.


I am the person I have always wanted to be. I am in a loving relationship with my family. I understand where I come from and I know where I am going. I have openness for the world and its people and as a result, I have great reverence for life and am humbled by it. This life is mine and I control my destiny—I choose how to feel, how to do, how to move, how to smile and laugh, how to live, how to be. Everything I do is to bring myself closer to who I am meant to be. I am happy.


setting boundaries for introverts

so here’s the thing: i’m a natural introvert. my first reaction to conflict is to internalize and figure out how i will not allow this to bother me rather than communicate how the conflict can be avoided in the future. it is only after years of self-evaluation and effort that i am better able to tell a friend what i need in order to maintain a healthy relationship–a skill i have not fully perfected.

and because i am human and i’m not perfect, there are times when i will indulge myself in my natural tendencies and go inside myself when faced with trouble. often, this happens when my first attempts at communication has been met with resistance and anger. why bother again, right? it didn’t hit home the first time. the problem with this is that while it allows me to reflect back on the things i’ve done wrong and to accept that there are things i cannot control, boundaries are not being set, allowing for people to take advantage or disrespect my space and person.

by the time i realize that boundaries have been crossed, it is usually too late and the norm for the friendship has been defined. so what am i supposed to do? do i do a complete overhaul and set these much needed boundaries? do i just do away with the friendship altogether because moving forward without the promise of change is no longer an option? writer coral levang recommends the former and suggests that doing so means accepting responsibility for your feelings.

indeed, setting boundaries has less to do with controlling other people’s behaviors and more to do with accepting that you are responsible for how you allow people to behave towards you. granted, these boundaries are acceptable providing they are reasonable. for instance, it is completely within your right not to be called by an undesirable name or to expect a friend not to get too friendly with your significant other. however, it is equally unreasonable for you to expect others to change their plans for you simply because you are uncomfortable with the chosen group activities. in such instances, it is best to take yourself out of the equation and let others be. you have a right to yourself; you do not have a right to dictate the behaviors and actions of others.

establishing clearly defined boundaries is essential to any relationship, especially for introverts. because we live in a society that favors extroverts, our very nature can be seen as insecure or unsure. by being confident in your limits and comfort levels, you are letting people know that being an introvert is not a condition but a choice. you are making a choice to live your life in a way that is enjoyable to you without the fear of being thought strange or being pressured to do otherwise. besides, studies show that introverts are the majority. it’s an introverts’ world; extroverts just live in it.

bye bye facebook… or not really

Reynaldo: sorry I fell asleep last night. sorry i had you worried

Ibarra: aren’t you supposed to be working?

Reynaldo: multi tasking

Ibarra: …i don’t see the point of deleting your iphone facebook app if you’re on facebook on your computer

Reynaldo: i deleted it cause I’m on it at work, and then i get on it at home. I figure being on it at work is enough.

Ibarra: haha

Reynaldo: i guess the logical thing would be to get off of it at work and get on at home

Ibarra: …or being on it at home
this sounds like a new blog post