Sunday, January 30, 2011

So far, so good...

This semester is turning out to be a lot more enjoyable that last semester, and there seems to be a lot less pressure on us as students. The instructors seem to be spending a lot less time introducing us to new concepts, and instead are trying to show us how to use the concepts that we have been taught to make the connection to actual patient care.

My lecture class has been focusing on role of the nurse issues and concepts, and how to practice within the scope of the Nurse Practice Act. We are getting into a perception unit right now, and will move on to maternal-infant (my favorite) next.

We just had our first clinical day this past week. I actually did two days of clinical; one day was in a long-term acute care children's facility, and the next day was my regular med-surg clinical day. The children's facility was an interesting, but sad experience; a lot of these children are CPS cases, or have been victims of abuse or neglect. I am glad that I was able to go, but I don't think I could handle it emotionally to work there. I have an opportunity to go back later in the semester, as well.

As far as my regular clinical day, I am in the same hospital as last semester, but with a different instructor. It's always hard to get used to a new instructor, and their expectations, but I think I am really going to like this instructor, as well as learn a lot from her. I didn't get to do a whole lot this week; I had to be checked off on PO meds again, and did a lot of drink-fetching for the patients. It was good to ease back into it, though. Next week, we begin team nursing, and I am actually the team leader. I'll have three other students working with me, and we will be in charge of 4-6 patients. We actually evaluate each other, and I hope I do a good job with it. We'll spend the next four weeks in teams, rotating through the positions of team leader, medication nurse, treatment nurse, and float nurse. I am excited, but nervous about it.

Later in the semester, I get to go back to the specialty areas where I am considering working. I am looking forward to that, because I am still unsure exactly where I would like to work. I started nursing school with my heart set on labor and delivery, but as time has gone by, have become more interested in pediatrics. If I am being realistic, in order to get a pediatric job, I will have to drive into the medical center downtown, but I don't want to be that far away from my kids. Most of the local hospitals have very small pediatric units, and send the more acute cases to the children's hospitals in the medical center. I think I could really like labor and delivery, so that may be where I will apply initially. Who knows if I will even be able to get a job in a specialty area; I may end up in a med-surg unit (although I really hope not) for the first couple of years. I don't think I want to do ER, OR, or ICU, either. It's so funny that I can actually talk about looking for a job in the near future...

We are supposed to be doing somewhere around 350-500 NCLEX/HESI questions per week this semester as a way to practice for our actual HESI test on April 8th. I have been trying to make the time to do that, but have not been successful every week. This week, I had class or clinical every day, and that combined with the stubborn sinus infection that I had, was exhausting. Having a week like that makes it so hard to study, or do any other work outside of class. I'm determined to pass the HESI on the first try, so I need to keep my eye on the prize.

Have a great week!

Looking for guest writers

Does anyone out there have a nursing school experience you want to share, or maybe a great resource that you have found beneficial? If you are interested in writing a guest post, please send me an email to the address in the sidebar.

Helpful sites/resources

I am trying to compile a list of websites that nursing students or even professional nurses might find helpful, with resources for different topics, notes, NCLEX or HESI help, etc. If you have a site that you like, please leave it here in the comments, and I will add it to the list in the sidebar.

I know I have neglected this site lately; I had envisioned it as being a resource of its own for nursing students, but I am finding it hard to juggle school, my family, my house, and my Cub Scout leader responsibilities. I am trying to do a better job of managing my time, and hopefully will be back soon with more posts. In the meantime, any suggestions or comments that you have would be greatly appreciated!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Last semester, here I come!

My final semester of nursing school starts on Tuesday. I can't say that I am fully ready to spend a large majority of my time either studying, or worrying that I am not studying enough, again, but it is so nice to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. These past couple of years have been a crazy whirlwind, and I sure hope that I look back on them and think that all of the sacrifice was worth it. I started school when Zoe was eight months old, so that is all that she has known.

This semester is supposed to be all about preparing us for the transition from the role of the student to the professional nurse, and they cover resume writing, as well as do their best to prepare us for the HESI, which is a standardized test that we will take in mid-April. We have to pass that test in order to graduate, as well as to sit for our national boards this summer.

I have three classes this semester: theory, which is our lecture course, an online jurisprudence class that helps us to pass a jurisprudence exam (another requirement, by the state, I think), and clinical. We no longer have a lab class; we've learned all of the lab skills that they deem are important, and are supposed to be ready to practice any of them in the hospital. Let me tell you a secret; I learned how to start IVs from a 7-minute YouTube video, and I have practiced once in the lab on a severed arm from a mannequin. That arm bled all over the place, because I guess I didn't do it right. There is no way that I am ready to start an IV on a real live human, so I am planning to practice in the lab to hone my skills first.

Like I tell myself every semester, I am going to try my hardest to better manage my time, keep up with the kids and the house, and spend less time on Facebook. I do have the added pressure of needing to study for the HESI this semester, and look for a job, so I am sure I will have an even harder time sleeping than I normally do.

I am hoping that six months from now, I am gainfully employed in a job that I enjoy, and look forward to going to. I keep wavering back and forth as to which department I want to work in, but I think I will just be happy to quickly get a job. I really thought about pursuing a school nurse position, or a position in a doctor's office, but neither of those jobs will pay what I need to make to climb out of the debt that I have put us in the past couple of years, and one of the reasons that I left teaching (not one of the main ones) was that I didn't want to work 40 hours a week anymore. Sure, I won't get weekends, summers, and holidays off, but I only have to work 3 days a week, which means I will get at least two days a week where I will be home alone. Bliss! Maybe that means I'll once again have time for regular hobbies.

For now, I have to keep myself busy with printing out PowerPoint presentations and completing the assigned reading. May 11th, here I come!
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