WORK/LIFE BALANCE FROM A MOM AND NURSE PRACTITIONER

The perfect crepe

7/25/16

Crepes were a special occasion meal in my family growing up, and a breakfast dish I always thought was decadent. When I discovered later on how crepes could be savory and sweet I had to learn how to make them. It turns out a simple crepe recipe is easy, even for someone who is culinary challenged, such as myself.  The simple recipe I follow is as follows:
Ingredients
*4 eggs
* 1 cup milk
*1 cup water
*2 cups all purpose flour
*1 tablespoon butter

Beat eggs, milk, butter,  and water together. Wisk in flour 1/2 a cup a time, being sure to remove all lumps. Scoop 1 cup of batter onto lightly greased non-stick pan on medium heat. As edges cook after approximately 2 minutes flip with spatula. Cook on other side for less than two minutes and removed from heat. Add your favorite fillings and enjoy. Some of my favorites include mixed berries and powdered sugar, apples and cheddar cheese, and nutella and banana. What are your favorite crepe fillings?




Summer Book Challenge Book #1

7/23/16

I finally made it through my first book on my summer reading list. It turns out finding time to read is not so easy with a two year old. Since I have been reading mostly non-fiction this past year, I decided to change it up and start my summer reading list with a piece of fiction A Tale for the Time Being: A Novel. This novel, a story about suicide, teenage angst, family, Zen Buddhism, time-travel and quantum physics, is not exactly a light beach read, but definitely intriguing. The story starts off with a Japanese-American writer "Ruth" living on an island in the Pacific Northwest finding a diary and watch washed up on the beach in a Hello Kitty lunchbox. She begins to read the diary of a Japanese teenager "Nao" and quickly becomes absorbed into her story and becomes obsessed with knowing where Nao exists today and perhaps preventing an ill-fate to Nao. Without giving away too much of the story, Nao grew up with her family in Silicon valley until her father was laid off after the dot.com bubble, leading her family to move back to Tokyo. After moving back to Tokyo Nao is subjected to brutal bullying and isolation at school, while at home dealing with her suicidal and deeply depressed father. After a year of misery at school her parents send her to spend the summer with her 104 year old Buddhist monk great-grandmother where Nao discovers her family history and the art of zazen. I found some of this book hard to read, which I now realize may be because my family went through a move when I was 12, and I felt I was reliving a lot of the emotions through this book. Although parts of the book are macabre, the story is beautiful, thought-provoking, and sweet. If you've read it comment below.

Nurse Practitioner board certification: Where to start

7/22/16
Several of my coworkers have recently finished NP programs, and have asked me questions regarding my preparation and choice of national board certification. First off, why certify? All but five states require national board certification. California does not require board certification, however many employers still require the certification. If in the future if I wanted to practice outside of California, I would still need to have the national board certification.  This leads to the next question, which exam should you choose? The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and American Association of Nurse Practitioners  (AANP) both are recognized nationally, however the tests do vary some in their testing matter and cost. The initial cost of both tests is comparable, and both require renewal every 5 years. The AANC certification exam has more content on research and policy. This website does an excellent side-by-side comparison of the two exams. I ended up choosing the AANP exam because research is not my strong suit, and I wanted to avoid those questions. I joined the AANP for the discount on the exam, and have kept my membership active for professional development and resume purposes. This leads to the next question, how do you prepare for the certification exam? This really depends on your study style and time frame for taking the exam. In the past I have always had the discipline to self-study for any exam, however  this time was a bit different. I had a five month old son and was working full-time while preparing for the exam, so my free time to study was limited. I signed up for a 2.5 day intensive review with Fitzgerald, a respected APRN education company. The course was a overload of information in a couple of days, but I thought it was very well taught and very interactive, which was helpful. I also borrowed the Fitzgerald CDs and books, which contained essentially the same information as the course. The CDs were great to review the information while commuting to work, and then I would quiz myself with questions from the book nightly. I took the exam three months after I started studying, and passed in on the first try. I would recommend taking the exam as soon as possible after graduation while the information is still fresh. Here is the link to the Fitzgerald book I found helpful.
  
Leave any comments or questions about the board certification exam below!

We have a problem

7/8/16
It would be an understatement to say I am saddened by the recent police shootings of unarmed Black men yet again, and the subsequent shooting of police officers in Dallas.  Although our law enforcement clearly needs reform on this issue, I think at large there is a lot of continued racist undertones in our society that perpetuate racial biases and violence. I can personally say that being married to a Black man and having a mixed-race child has made me much more sensitive to these seemingly innocent things our society does to further reinforce racial biases. I have been guilty of saying things that are not racially sensitive, and made assumptions based on race as well, but just looking at the big picture makes me cringe at the times I have said or thought these things. For one, some people assume because there is no overt racism, there is not a problem. People think today because I am White and married to a Black man, that we are a progressive society and that everything is fine. What they overlook is the fact that I still hear racist comments all the time about Black people when they don't realize I am married to a Black man. Even people who know me well will still say things that about race that make me uncomfortable, and think nothing of it. The other major problem I see with the conversation about race is that our society is still insisting we define how Black people dress, act, and speak. I blame people from all sides for this. I think some well-meaning comedians reinforce these stereotypes and because we've all gotten sick of being PC we like to joke about the stereotypes, but at the end of the day this is only worsening the problem. My husband his whole life has had to deal with people telling him he's not "Black" because he doesn't talk in Ebonics, has light skin or likes to swim. The fact that we deny someone their identity because they don't fit into the stereotype shows that there is still a huge problem with how we see people of color. Yes, it's easy to point fingers at racist cops, Trump, and White supremacy, but let's look at our own views of race. What are we saying behind closed doors? It's not only overt  racism that is only the problem. It's the people who don't speak up. It's the people who think it's not their problem. It's the people who think there is no problem. It's people who refuse to believe people are anything more than a stereotype. I worry about these issues not only for my son and my husband, but because it angers me that nothing has changed from when I was watching the Rodney King riots 20 years ago in elementary school. Having the conversation at home that we have a problem with race is a step in the right direction. Self-reflection is a step in the right direction. Silence is not. How many more lives have to be lost before it becomes "our" problem?
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. ~ Edmund Burke

Camping with a toddler

7/6/16
I have fond memories of camping trips with my family growing up. My husband and I have had the bond from early on in our relationship over camping, and we have made it an annual event almost every year since. The addition of our son to the family has made camping a bit more tricky. Although getting him outside and having the time as a family is something I value especially with our lives so "plugged-in" these days, camping with a toddler is not exactly relaxing. What I took away from our recent trip was as follows.

1.) The more the merrier.
We invited several friends, which was a huge help which allowed us to take turns cooking or setting up the tent, which is impossible while keeping an eye on a wandering two year old. Take turns having someone watching the toddler as his or her top priority. With open water, fire, choking hazards and wild animals, toddlers need supervision while camping at all times.
2.) Be flexible with naptime
Our son did enjoy running in the open space and would eventually tire himself  out and fall asleep in a chair or under an umbrella. We would make sure he was protected from the elements with a good physical sunscreen, hat and shad. Trying to keep a regular nap schedule, such as at home is not feasible so being flexible is key.
3.) Bring a good supply of toddler toys and toddler food.
This seems like a no-brainer, but keeping a toddler occupied and well-fed is key to preventing melt-downs and tantrums. We brought bubbles, which turned out to be a life-saver. We also brought some canned soups he likes, as our son is not ready for most of the foods we eat camping, such as hot links and ribs.
4.) Limit camping to two nights
Honestly I have never been so exhausted after a camping trip as this recent one. As much as I loved the time with family and friends, after two days of keeping up with a toddler and roughin' it, I was ready to go home to my sleep number mattress.