Friday, December 18, 2009

OBLC is finished!!!!!!!

Wow! Nine weeks have gone by and I out-processed this morning!

To back track just a little: on Tuesday we had another full day of powerpoints. I can't remember all of them but one was about the future of flight nursing. Currently the Army only has flight medics and they are looking to put nurses back on board soon. Another was about the ISR at BAMC. Its the Institute of Surgical Research but more commonly known as the burn unit. Lots of gross burn pictures and some interesting new research ideas.
I also got to do my VTC, video-tele-conference, with Walter Reed. The 12 of us that are going to Walter Reed got to speak with all of the Colonels of the units at the hospital. They answered questions, told us about in processing and told us our offical units. I am going to be on Ward 71 which is Oncology. I'm pretty happy and it was my 2nd choice!

Wednesday we had an admin day all to ourselves. I was able to relax and get some packing done since I did not have any admin things to take care of.

Thursday was our day in the field. We got on the busses at 0700 and arrived at Ft. Bullis around 0800. First we had 3 hours of extremely boring classes about how to build a CSH (combat support hospital) I can't tell you much about how to build it since I didn't really listen. We then got pizza for lunch since we were the first class to have a 100% first time pass rate on TNCC!!! After lunch we had the mass casulty exercise. This was actually alot of fun. Each platoon had a different role, mine was in the ICU. 5th platoon acted as the patients and 6th platoon were the moulage artists. They used lots of fake blood and fake eyes and protruding organs. The mass cal lasted 2 hours and was pretty exhausting. We got back a little before 1700 and I went out for my final night here in San Antonio!

This morning we showed up for outprocessing at 0720 and all it consisted of was standing in line and being handed your folder. You had to make sure your leave form and all your certificates were in it and you were done. very anti-climatic.

I am not leaving until the morning since I have my long drive back east but I am reporting into Walter Reed on Monday and so the next phase of my Army Adventure will begin!!!!!

I do hope this blog was helpful, I had fun writing it! Honestly OBLC was waaay better than I expected and I had some great times out here in Texas :)

Monday, December 14, 2009

I'm TNCC certified!

Yesterday (Sunday morning) we test out. It was a 50 question multiple choice exam and I got a 94 :) It was pretty straight forward. Basically if you reviewed at all and listened in class you were more than fine. We were actually the first class to receive a 100% pass rate on the first try!

We were finished around 1030 and got the rest of the day free so I went on an adventure! I drove to Fredericksburg, TX. It was about an hour and half away and it actually makes a triangle with Austin and San Antonio. It was cute little town with an awesome main street. It had little shops with antique stores and homemade goods. We ate dinner at a great German restaurant and got homemade ice cream for dessert. Definitely recommend the drive out there.

This morning we had a brief by the 66H career manager and human resources. It was actually very informational. I then battled finance for quite some time and hopefully my pay is finally figured out. 3 days and a wake up before we are done!!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Continuing TNCC and video teleconfrence with Major General Horoho

Yesterday morning we continued with four more hours of TNCC powerpoints. We finally got into a warm classroom but it was in the CGs suite so NO food or drink, not even water! I'm not sure which was worse, freezing or lacking all the important water and coffee. The powerpoints continued with each pof the major systems and special populations such as pregnancy, elderly and children.

After a quick lunch we came back to have a video teleconference with Major General Horoho, who is the Chief of the Nurse Corps. She spoke to us for about 30 minutes talking about the future of the nurse corps and the change to standerdized care in all MTFs (Medical Treatment Facitlities) basically all of the hospitals give excellent care but she wants all of the protocols to be the same in each hospital. We then were able to ask questions. It was really quite neat and I enjoyed it. She is a very good speaker.

This morning (saturday!) we got to spend all day doing the hands on portion of TNCC. We broke down into groups of 5 and went through 4 stations and at the end we had to test out. Basically it wa bing able to go through the ABCs of trauma and using primary and secondary assessments. I don't think anyone had a problem testing bu the end of the day. The instructors were great and you had plenty of time to ask questions and practice. Tomorrow morning we get to take the written test of TNCC and be done with it!!

I can't believe I have less than a week left. This really has gone by fast.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A not so jolly holiday run

Our morning started with a brigade, yes thats right brigade run! It was a very windy 35 degrees outside and we had to be there at 0440 for us to start running at 0540. It was all of OBLC, and all the AITers which is ALOT of people. The waiting in the cold was absolutley miserable but the Commanding General did show up and run in a santa suit!
After taking a steaming shower I got to return to our still freezing lecture hall for another round of boring powerpoints. Again I can't tell you what they were about. And after a quick lunch we got settled in for the first 5 hours of the Trauma Nursing Core Course. Which we get continuing education credits for.

Let me first say a big thank you to Mrs. Wiles.This course I feel is a broad review of critical care. Everything is coming back pretty quickly and I don't think it will be too bad. They have some pretty decent trauma pictures and it is the most interesting and relevant thing we have done here but sitting in that cold auditorium is getting very old.

By the way if you get lucky enough to be here during the Christmas time drive over to the generals houses and see the lights. Beautiful! You should check them out even if its not Christmas time because they are simply gorgeous houses.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I don't know what I want to be when I grow up!

Nurse Track started yesterday with a full day of more powerpoints. and more powerpoints. and more powerpoints. Really I'm not too sure what I learned yesterday, obsviously nothing too earth shattering. We also had PT yesterday, today and will have it again tomorrow. I led PT yesterday which I think went well. Most people said I did a good job anyways. We did a 20 minute run and then some calisthenics. Its been rather chilly here too and really windy! And the lecture hall we use doesn't have working heat=freezing!!

Today speakers from each of the specialties. We heard from nurse anesthesia, community health, psych, med/surg, nurse practioner, ER/Critical Care, perioperative and L/D. The crazy part was the labor and delivery nurses was a group of 5 officers that came from Ft. Hood and one of them was Captain Danelle (sp?) who is the former Ann Robles of ODU! crazy, huh?

So I don't know what I want to be when I grow up but starting out in med/surg really doesn't seem too bad.

Oh and they did say today that in the next couple of classes they are going to have the direct commissionees come two weeks early to learn all of the basics of the army which i think should help a lot.

We have a couple more powerpoints tomorrow morning and then start the TNCC course in the afternoon. Hopefully its not too hard considering I haven't quite finished the coursebook yet. We shall see.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Things to do in and around San Antonio

Even though I was orginally going to keep this blog strictly OBLC realted I have had requests to give some good idea of things to do. I for one have tried to go one as many adventures as possible during the weekends so I will recap the best ones.

-Gruene, TX: A fantastic little part of New Braunfels, TX. It has a great antique shop, the oldest
dance hall in texas, a fun general store, and a fantastic restaurant called the gristmill. I have gone there 3 times!

-Cowboys Dance Hall: A great bar/dance hall. I learned how to two step here which is great fun by the way. I also saw a real live rodeo and they have live music most nights. Its usually $3 to get in unless its a rodeo or famous band.

-The Riverwalk: Honestly this didn't impress me that much but its fun to check out. Its in downtown San Antonio and there are alot of bars and clubs. The covers are pretty pricey though. There are some fun shops though along the water.

-Austin: Its about an hour and half away but totally worth the drive. There is great shopping, food, and nightclubs.

-Kayaking down the Guadalupe River: Fantastic fun and very relaxing and if we went when it was hotter we could have gone tubing. There is a military discount and I went twice!

-Schliterbahn: Its normally a water park but during Christmas they turn it into a huge light festival. We had so much looking at all the lights, sliding down the dry water tubes on sleds, and sitting on santas thrown. I hear it is also a really really good water park during the summer.

-Natural Bridge Caverns: So much more fun than I expected. Really cool caverns and the tour we took was only $16 with tickets bought from MWR. You can also splurge and for $100 go spelunking but I did not. It was beautiful though and the caverns were 77 degrees with 100% humidity.

-Natural Bridge drive though Safari: This was right next to the caverns and it was a small drive through safari. It was pretty cool. You paid per person and you got one bag of feed per car. You could buy more feed for $1 a bag but one bag really was enough. They had lots of deer, elk, buffalo, ostrich, zebra, llamas, and more. Some of the animals were really friendly and stuck their whole heads in the car!

Tanger/Prime Outlets: Great shopping! The largest outlet mall I have ever been to. Fantastic deals and soo many stores. Definitely worth it!

SeaWorld: So much fun and its free with your military ID! We got to see Shamu and feed dolphins and they had clydesdale horses, penguins, alligators, and even fun rollercoasters.

Sixflags: Our tickets were $24 through MWR and we even got vouchers for one free picture. It was off season so part of the park was closed but there was still alot of fun stuff open. It was pretty empty so many of the rides we got to stay on and ride over and over again. I am pretty sure we rode each roller coaster 3-4 times.

Orange Mexian place: The best mexican food we found. It is right out the side gate on Harry Wurzbach road. I am not sure of the real name but the restaurant is orange so you'll be able to find it. It has great beans and good salsa.

The Purple Garlic: I just discovered this place today. Great italian place.

Korean: There are three great korean restaurants in the area all pretty good and KiKu even has good sushi.

The Time Machine: A fun themed restaurant. The food is good, nothing fantastic but all the waitstuff dresses up as movie characters and they act like them too.

NorthStar Mall: A really nice mall with lots of high end stores. Saks 5th ave, macys, dillards, guess, and more.

Obviously I still have 2 weeks left so I will add should I go on any more adventures however with the CNCC class this weekend I am not sure too many more opportunities will arise.

OBLC graduation!!!!!

This morning we all officially graduated from OBLC. It was rather anticlimatic since none of us are really done but nonetheless we had a nice little ceremony. We had a guest speaker Colonel somebody who gave your standard supposed to be inspirational speech. We had to memorize the Soldeirs Creed and sing the Army Song. There were two awards given out the first was the top male/female PT scores and the second was the Lynch leadership Award each platoon adviser nominated on officer and the top 6 were then pitted against each other. The winner was actually from my platoon!
We were done for the day around 1230 and our tracks start tomorrow with PT at 0500.

What I learned:
-We are the last ever OBLC class. The next class is going to be called BOLC

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Last week of OBLC!

So our last week of OBLC is actually just more painful powerpoints. We did have an entire day devoted to CBRNE learning which we then had to test out on. They gave us all the information on a CD so we could bring our laptops and have an open notes test. We also had our regular final today. Again they gave us a study guide telling us exactly what we needed to know and they gave us probably about 15 answers of the 50 questions. We turned in our MOPP gear that we never actually wore along with our textbooks and compass. Tomorrow we are turning in the rest of our TA-50 to CIF.
I also had my Academic Evaluation Report which was pretty silly. I met all standards and received a pass for the course. Monday is our graduation and OBLC will be over. Of course I still have the 2 week nurse track left though.
We recieved the schedule for Nurse Track and it appears pretty intense. PT everyday and lots more lectures and the weekend long Trauma Nursing Core Course.
We were supposed to have an inspection of our Dress Blues but our platoon is full of slackers and we somehow got out of it.

What I learned:
-Texas gets cold!! It is 38 degrees today and it might snow tomorrow!! :(
-It is very easy to escape from the company level lectures. There is no accountability once they begin
-The Finance office is very very painful to deal with. I am still working on getting all of my pay and it is week 7!
-Transportation is wonderful. If you are getting your goods shipped all you have to do is attend a 45 minute briefing and then you sit with a counselor who helps you fill out all the paperwork and schedule the pickup and drop off. I was able to designate my parents as people who can release my goods and the movers will pick up my stuff on Dec 16th so it will already be in Maryland by the time I get there.
-By week 7 the DFAC food is getting very old. But its free so you are guilt tripped into eating there