Step away from the podium


If you can’t communicate well, you shouldn’t be teaching. If you can’t compose a sentence clearly, you shouldn’t be teaching. If you grow frustrated when students ask questions, you shouldnt be teaching.

I am currently enrolled full time in an MSN FNP program. That means I am taking 4 classes. Two of those classes are being run by DNPs who have failed to learn how to communicate effectively. It is creating a special kind of hell for me, and with 10 more weeks to go, I am getting fed up of playing guessing games with my professors, wondering what their expectations are for each assignment.

Rubric? What rubric? Syllabus? The syllabus for both of these classes is an absolute joke. There is nothing specific about due dates, and it will elude to things like “group projects” but that’s it – no description, no due date…

It amazes me that people at their level of education have zero communication skills. Zero. In nursing, being able to communicate with others is of tantamount importance, and yet, these folks cant even explain their assignments clearly. Each assignment generates an entire class full of questions, and each answer only further muddies the waters. How does that happen?

Oh. And you dont get to be cranky about answering said questions. Be clear in your expectations, and maybe you wont be bombarded with emails asking for clarification. And when your clarifications require clarifications? Yeah. THAT is a problem.

I am paying big bucks to attend school. I am not taking out any loans, so instead we are tightening out belts and going without to make the financial commitment work. I want the most for my money, and this, quite frankly, is a disappointing return on my investment.

I feel angry and powerless to do anything about it. I feel like I have to keep my head low and plow through. But this is painful. And stressful. And I frequently find myself wasting my most valuable resource – time- because what I *think* the assignment is and what it *actually* is are two different things, only to become evident after I already spent hours on said assignment.

I’m going to have a glass of wine.


Diet Changes

Since I left the hospital, I have not only started graduate coursework, but also have worked to get a handle on the remaining obstacles to good health. My weight became a real impediment to my job and my daily functioning, and between Lyme Disease, nursing school, and night shift, I put on a record amount of weight.

A friend told me about the Ketogenic diet, a high fat, moderate protein, and low carb diet, that is meant to control the hormones that direct weight gain and weight loss. During that time, I have become a huge fan of Dr. Jason Fung, a nephrologist out of Toronto, who treats his diabetic patients with this eating plan, along with fasting. He has two books that I highly recommend if you’re curious: The Obesity Code and The Complete Guide to Fasting. That said, he has plenty of free videos on Youtube that are incredibly educational, and completely intuitive. He doesn’t talk above the listener or below them, and I like his delivery style.

About 3 months in, not only was I losing weight steadily, I was noticing that my hunger had really bottomed out. The next logical thing to do was to include fasting. I had already been intermittent fasting on a 16/8 schedule at the suggestion of my Lyme doc, so I moved on to a 36 hour fast once weekly, and then progressed to the alternate day fasting when I had some experience under my belt.

At first, it was easy. And I was dropping a good deal of weight. But it didnt remain easy. My second semester of grad school started, and the alternate day fasting was beginning to take it’s toll. I was hungry and tired on fasting days, and I was unable to focus on my homework. So I decided to switch to a 5:2 fasting plan, where you fast for 2 nonconsecutive days in a week. This plan has been in place for the past two weeks, and I am struggling with it. I was unable to get as much homework as I wanted to today because I was unable to focus, and I am tired, hungry, and cold.

I think it’s time to return to basics. Time to go back to just intermittent fasting, either on a 16/8 schedule or an 18/6 eating window. Time to tighten up my food choices, and pay attention to those sneaky carbs. I need to remind myself that this isn’t a race, the weight will come off, and that it will take some time to undo the metabolic damage my body suffers from. This is a permanent change for me, and I need to do the things that will bring me success in the long run. And if that means adapting my fasting to a more reasonable approach, then that is what it means. I still need to be able to focus on school, and my other family obligations.

In the end, I will still meet my goals.

In case anyone is curious about ketogenics, here is a link  to an article in JAMA.