Nursing School Thus Far

It’s hard.

I heard that over and over again before I started nursing school but I shrugged it off. I was used to taking 5, sometimes up to 7 classes at a time and making all A’s throughout the semester. I figured those who complained about nursing school were just not used to big workloads and/or didn’t study enough…etc. But WOW. I’m only taking 3 classes (with two labs) and I can only shake my head at times at the foolish naivety that I entertained about nursing school.

My first test is in less than a week!! To tell you the honest truth I haven’t begun studying for it yet. I feel so behind; I still feel like I’m trying to organize myself and keep everything straight. There’s just so much to read and look up, and pre-lab assignments, and reviewing clinical skills, and so on and so forth. Thankfully this test is in concepts; if it were pharmacology I would be hyperventilating right now.

Speaking of pharmacology – it’s certainly my favorite class, but most definitely the hardest. There’s SO MUCH to learn and memorize and just know. We’ve been going through study questions in class and in tutoring, and it only makes me realize how much we’ve learned in such a short amount of time and yet I know none of it. Eek!

But I am still SO thankful to be here. This is certainly not an opportunity that everyone gets, and I am so incredibly grateful for it! Now…if I can just get into a study routine that works for me…

A 1" stack of papers that I printed on Monday for THIS ONE WEEK of school. It's all powerpoints, EBP articles, additional readings/charts, and assignments. Whoo!

A 1″ stack of papers that I printed on Monday for THIS ONE WEEK of school. It’s all powerpoints, EBP articles, additional readings/charts, and assignments. Whoo!

An evidence based practice (EBP) article for concepts...

An evidence based practice (EBP) article for concepts…

A nursing student pretty much lives in the library.

A nursing student pretty much lives in the library.

My First Week!

It was a whirlwind, but it was fun and I can’t believe it’s already over. I survived my first week of nursing school! Haha.

My very first class was assessment lecture. It was a lot of “introduction to the class” stuff, and then we covered vital signs and the 5 steps of the nursing process (assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, & evaluation – or ADPIE):

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So far I’m already behind in reading the chapters from my assessment textbook…but I’m (hopefully) going to get caught up on that today.

After turning in a whole bunch of forms and immunization information and buying a lock for the lockers, I wrapped up my first day by receiving my lab kit for assessment and concepts labs. As soon as I got home, which took me 1.5 hours in Dallas traffic, I tore into the lab kit like it was Christmas day. We received so many exciting things in our kits! A foley catheter, a wound care kit, sphygmomanometer (BP cuff), syringes, needles, a penlight, saline solution “medicine”, fake insulin, a tuning fork, and lots of gauze/tape/alcohol swabs, etc.

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Tuesday was a LONG day. We started the day off with a UNITE bagel breakfast (UNITE is our CON’s mentor/protege program) to get introductions out of the way between new students and their mentors. I looooooove my mentor. She’s awesome and we are SO alike; I can’t wait to get to know her better and learn some tips and tricks for surviving and making the best of nursing school.

After the bagel breakfast I had pharmacology, then lunch, and then concepts. Both were long classes with a lot more of the whole “welcome to this class and nursing school” introductions; I know already that I will love both classes. ESPECIALLY pharmacology. 🙂 I am slightly worried about the fact that we have weekly quizzes in pharmacology at the end of each lecture – two questions each, with only 3-5 minutes to complete the quiz. At the end of the semester, we will end up having completed 20 questions that in total will be worth 20% of our class grade! Our quizzes in total are literally worth one test grade in pharm (as we have 4 tests and each are worth 20% as well). So, in order to prepare, I’ve been told to read the professor’s notes for the upcoming lecture and practically memorize them if possible. Eeek!

I have assessment lab (4 hrs) on Wednesdays, and concepts lab (6 hrs) on Fridays, and after my first labs this week I fell in love. The labs are going to be the best part of nursing school for me, easily! I love the hands on aspect and having the satisfaction of actually feeling like a nurse in those moments. And, in assessment lab, we actually have “charting” assignments on a simulation EHR program!

In assessment lab this week we learned how to take vital signs and complete a “general survey” and a pain assessment on a patient…aka, our partner. That was fun; thankfully we will have MANY more moments to practice taking blood pressure measurements, because that is not a skill that is easily learned! I came home and practiced on Steven a couple of times already, but I think I’m going to have to start doing it every single night if I am going to get any better at it – even though I learned it a year ago in my CNA course!

In concepts lab this week we learned how to give a bed bath, perform perineal care, make an occupied bed and an unoccupied bed, and put on and take off PPE (personal protective equipment). Because of my former CNA training I’ve done these things before, but it’s great going over it again and having time to practice these skills. I can’t wait to get in the hospital (about six weeks into the semester) and use these skills on actual patients!

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First time in our scrubs! 🙂

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Learning to put on and take off PPE!

And, aside from a couple of assignments and lots of reading assigned to us already, that wrapped up my first week in nursing school. It’s still hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that I’m a nursing student now. Wow!!

And, since today is MLK day and I have the day off, I’m going to do a lot of reading, get my pre-lab assignments done for assessments lab, and continue reviewing my “calculate with confidence” online course so that I can ROCK the drug calculations test in week 5! 😀

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I AM A NURSING STUDENT!!

Organizing for Nursing School

Nursing school starts TOMORROW!!! Ahhh!!! I’m so excited…and also somewhat nervous. We’ve already been given so many documents and a few assignments/quizzes due before classes start tomorrow, so I’ve been busy organizing and completing tasks this past week. I finally feel like I’m organized in such a manner as to lessen the stress of trying to keep on top of everything for nursing school; I thought I would share my tips and tricks. 🙂 Hope it helps!

I will use a 1.5″ binder to bring to school everyday. On the outside I posted my semester schedule, and inside, I divided the binder into 8 sections.  The first 3 sections are for loose leaf paper, my weekly schedule (I’ll go over that in more detail below), and all my class syllabi. The next 5 sections are utilized for each class, as I have pharm, health assessment, health assessment lab, concepts, and concepts lab/clinical.

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The purpose of this binder is mainly to take only one week’s worth of assignments/powerpoints/documents to school. After that week is complete, I will empty out all of the documents into bigger binders – one for pharm, one for both concepts & its respective lab, and one for both health assessment & its respective lab.

To keep track of assignments and tasks for each class, I bought a smaller 3-ring binder (on the right) and divided it into 5 sections – one for each class:

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I love the fact that it’s divided, that way I know exactly what to do for certain classes. It’s just easier for me to keep track of everything this way…and it’s such a satisfying feeling I get when I’m able to cross something off the list!

I also make a “reading assignment” list in order to have a document that I can quickly look at and determine what chapters I need to read that week:

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And my favorite part is my weekly schedule; my mentor at TWU and fellow nursing student gave me a template that she created to keep track of all of her separate schedules given to her by each class. Instead of having to rifle through each schedule every week in order to determine what is due, I made a week-by-week document with each of my classes on it and organized my schedule that way:

 

And there you have it! Now I’m off to finish printing documents and get some more reading done. 😉

My Office

Over this past holiday week I straightened up and decorated my office some, getting a cozy and comfortable space ready for nursing school…I’m sure I’ll probably spend most of my time in this room! I really like how it turned out – especially because I repurposed a plush sofa chair to use in my office and bought a cute side table to set beside it. Hopefully the chair isn’t so comfortable that I end up falling asleep in it, haha!

I cleaned off my bookshelf as well, boxing up a bunch of fictional books that I won’t have time to read and making room for all the nursing books that needed a home. I found room for all of them, and even have a little extra room for future books. 🙂

Looking in from the doorway - to the left is my desk and paper shredder.

Looking in from the doorway – to the left is my desk and paper shredder.

Looking in from the doorway - to the right is my bookshelf and sofa chair.

Looking in from the doorway – to the right is my bookshelf and sofa chair.

A closer look at my desk :)

A closer look at my desk 🙂

I have my whiteboard set up to the left of my desk - and notice the Keurig...this will be a lifesaver, I'm sure!

I have my whiteboard set up to the left of my desk – and notice the Keurig…this will be a lifesaver, I’m sure!

A closer look at my little reading nook. I love the floating shelves!

A closer look at my little reading nook. I love the floating shelves!

Look at all those nursing books!!

Look at all those nursing books!!

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams...

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams…