First Impressions, Part 2

On Wednesday of last week, we had a child health skills lab day. It was an entire DAY (0800-1600) dedicated to learning child health skills before we get into clinical in two weeks. I wasn’t sure how it was going to go…especially because we were given 12 pages of “fill in the blanks” to use during our skills lab that we need to know before our first test.

In order to prepare for our skills lab we had a couple of questions on assessment to answer as pre-work. As far as pre-work goes for a skills lab, I’d have to say it was the easiest I’ve ever been given. I’m assuming that’s because they knew we’d be filling in 12 pages of paperwork during the actual day.

We also had to watch a video that showed an NG tube insertion for a young (probably about 2 yrs) boy as pre-work. And that made me bawl. Yet another reason I don’t want to be a pediatric nurse.

So the day started with a 90 minute lecture that REALLY captured my interest and made me excited about child health nursing. What??? Yes, I said excited about child health nursing. It really helps when you have faculty and an instructor who are just SO SO passionate about being pediatric nurses! The lecture went into different skills we should know/brush up on before we get to clinical (tracheostomies, NG tubes, G-buttons, how to collect a urine specimen on a child, etc.) and then we were dismissed to begin our day rotating through the different skills labs stations that had set up throughout the building.

A treasured classmate and I rotated through them together. First we had to go to the computer lab and complete case studies that reflected different cultural situations in pediatric health. Then we went to the math station and completed a TON of different pediatric math calculations in order to prepare us for our math test and for clinical. After we ate lunch we then finished the last two stations: administering meds through a G-button and NG tube, setting up a syringe pump, and then pediatric assessment for children of different ages (including measuring the head/length of infants and weighing diapers).

All-in-all it turned out to be a VERY fun day and I feel like I am much more prepared to go into the hospital now for our child health clinicals. The 12 page paperwork wasn’t at all hard, either. And now I have it to use for study purposes for our first test!

On Thursday we had our adult health orientation. Some parts of the orientation were overwhelming, some were fun, and some were just tiring. The day started off at 0800, where we (and by “we” I mean just the two clinical groups that have the same clinical instructor) gathered to go over the paperwork that our clinical instructor expects from us every week after clinical. That was a 3 hour long process! That was the part that was overwhelming. Thankfully she went into GREAT detail about what she wants, however I gathered the sense that it will probably take around 4-5 hours to complete paperwork every week after clinical because it’s just so intense.

Then we all were released to go to UTSW (St. Paul) and meet the shuttle to Zale Lipshy (the other UTSW hospital). Once we got to Zale our instructor took us to their renowned neuro ICU and we were given a tour. I know and have known several AMAZING nurses who work(ed) at Zale’s neuro ICU and love(d) it, so I was thrilled to learn that we are given a clinical day there! The tour was amazing, all the nurses were met were SUPER friendly, and it REALLY pumped me up for adult clinicals. I’m so thankful that I was put in the UTSW clinical group!

After we got the tour through the neuro ICU, we caught the shuttle back to St. Paul Hospital to eat lunch and then go over the UTSW orientation paperwork and PYXIS training. Both were boring (and tiring). But we got it done (in about 4 hours!), and then we were given a tour of all the floors we’ll be on at St. Paul during our rotations. All of us will be on different floors, some overlapping…I’m on 4 different floors for my rotations at St. Paul: the CVICU, the MSICU, a med-surg floor, and an imaging/GI unit. I’m super excited about the ICU floors, of course, especially the CVICU since I’m such a huge fan of cardiology. πŸ™‚

And that completed our day! After our tours finished, we were released to go home. At that time it was already 1745 and I was just so ready to get home, eat dinner, and go to bed, unfortunately. I got up so early every day last week that I was pretty tired early on in the evening, even though I still had so much to do.

I have a feeling that I’m going to be playing “catch-up” ALL semester! I had a whole list of things to do over the weekend especially because it was a 3-day weekend for MLK day…but alas I probably only got through 1/3rd of the list, if that.

So that wrapped up my first week! It was overwhelming, tiring, and fun. As I said before, I am very excited about what I’m learning this semester, however I’m nervous about the work load of S1. It’s going to be heavy…and I’m already starting to wonder WHEN I’m going to have time to actually STUDY. Hopefully I can pull it off – and PASS this semester!

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One thought on “First Impressions, Part 2

  1. You’ll do great! I can remember when the realization of “real nursing school” hit me. I couldn’t believe how much was expected of us and was absolutely positive that I would never find the time to finish it all (and still be able to eat, sleep, and shower). As time goes on you begin to realize that somehow you are getting things checked off of that list, and making it through those crazy exams. When it’s over you’ll wonder where the time went, and be unable to believe how much you’ve learned.

    Keep up the good work!

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