3 More Tests!!

A week from today, I will be DONE DONE DONE with this crazy, hellish semester! I’m so excited right now…I don’t think I’ve been in this great of a mood since the first day back. I’M ALMOST DONE!!

Of course I have to study for finals…I’m three days away from the first one (Mental Health on Saturday) and I haven’t studied yet. But alas, such is my normal habit. Honestly I really will try my best with the three remaining days I have but I’m not expecting much. At this point (sadly) I will be happy with accepting my Bs and moving on.

Just so ready for it to be over.

 

Adult Health Simulation, Round 2

Yesterday (Friday) I participated in my last simulation for Senior 1. It was the exact same simulation that I participated in as a Junior 1, only this time I was on the other side of the same coin. It was terrifying…especially after hearing stories of my classmates breaking down into tears on Wednesday (some of us went Wednesday, some of us went Friday).

I had nightmares about this simulation on Thursday night. I dreamt that I froze and couldn’t do anything…and then I dreamt that we were notified that the simulation was canceled due to SNOW! That’s how badly I didn’t want to participate. I knew that I would be all by myself (the instructors had released the wrong schedule to us – the schedule that showed us who we’d be paired with and which patient we’d have) and the pressure was intense. Most of my classmates were paired with another S1 and everybody had two J1s. Except for the lucky few of us that they decided would be alone with their J1s. I was told later that they specifically picked the strongest of us to participate on our own (a blessing and a curse!).

So when I got to campus yesterday morning I reviewed some of the paperwork that we had to chart on and steeled my nerves as best I could. I didn’t feel at all prepared but I had to do it so I just had to deal.

The first thing we did was practice with IV pumps for about 45 minutes. This was EXTREMELY helpful to me since I’d never been able to practice on one in simulation OR clinical. So I actually feel like I could work an IV pump for the first time! I had a lot of fun doing it and I think it really helped me calm down.

Then we moved on into the “ER-triage” part of the simulation. This time, instead of being stationed at one patient to get a thorough history and assessment, the S1s were paired off (except me) and rotated amongst the five patients in order to do a quick assessment and move on. We were supposed to be able to get enough information to be able to prioritize the patients afterward. I thought this part was a bit harder than I was anticipating. Completing a “quick” assessment is not an easy thing for me to do, plus I think I was so nervous and scatterbrained that I did not ask all the right questions or get all of the information that I needed.

After the ER we spent a bit of time together as a group prioritizing the patients, and then we moved into the ICU lab in order to take care of our patients for the actual simulation part of it.

I was paired up with two J1s and was given a CHI patient (closed head injury). At this point in the simulation, since everything had been happening in “real time” since Wednesday, my patient had decompensated quite a bit. His GCS (glasgow coma score) was 3 which is usually an indicator of brain death (although it’s not confirmed until other tests have been performed), he was intubated, his ICP was 22 and climbing, and really we were there to make sure his body remained viable.

I really wish we were given more time than 45 minutes in the actually simulation to get things done. I had been told in report that the patient’s ICP was 22 and if it was above 20 for over 5 minutes the physician needed to be called. So the first thing I did was check the patient’s safety equipment, vent settings, IV fluids, and took a quick look at the monitor to make sure that there weren’t any pressing concerns other than his ICP. Then I set about trying to call the physician about his ICP. And after the physician gave me orders to give the ordered Mannitol, it took me FOREVER to give that med! I wasn’t sure how long to IV push the med so I had to call the charge nurse. Well the charge nurse told me it couldn’t be IV push so I had to dilute it and give it IVPB. Then she says “wait, let me double check that,” after I told her the only form we had the Mannitol in was for IVP. Meanwhile the J1s are doing a thorough assessment (thank God) and checking the patient’s blood glucose.

Finally I’m given the go-ahead to give the Mannitol as IVP so I have to draw it up and prepare it, and then give it. Well, while I’m giving it, one of our instructors walks in and goes “that’s enough interventions for now! Time to start cleaning up and preparing for the next shift to come in!”

WHAT?! That wasn’t enough time at all! I didn’t even have time to get anything else done!

At least I didn’t walk out of there crying. I thought I just might. But I really should’ve managed my time better and I should’ve been able to get more done during our shift than just give the Mannitol. Ugh. I’m disappointed in myself.

But hey, that’s the purpose of these simulations, right? Figuring out how to be a nurse and manage time and take care of the patient?

I just hope that next semester when I am (hopefully) following a preceptor around that I will learn very well how to manage time and take care of my patients. I’m ready to be a nurse but I don’t want to feel like I can’t organize well enough for this job!

 

S1 in Pictures

I’ve been really bad about including pictures this semester…mostly because I’m lucky if I even make the time to write a blog post, much less hunt down the pictures and upload them. But there have been a lot of pictures taken this semester, and I’ll include a few of them now:

Trying to navigate my way through the endless assignments at the beginning of the semester.

Trying to navigate my way through the endless assignments at the beginning of the semester.

We successfully completed our ACLS/Code Blue simulation!

We successfully completed our ACLS/Code Blue simulation!

Learning how to insert artificial airways during a code/trauma situation.

Learning how to insert artificial airways during a code/trauma situation.

Dr. Bailey's Rockstars! This is on the side of the crash cart we used during the code blue simulation.

Dr. Bailey’s Rockstars! This is on the side of the crash cart we used during the code blue simulation.

Studying for the first Adult 2 exam...if only I'd known!

Studying for the first Adult 2 exam…if only I’d known!

All prettied up for the Nursing Gala we attended in February!

All prettied up for the Nursing Gala we attended in February!

Partners in Crime. At the Nursing Gala!

Partners in Crime. At the Nursing Gala!

My usual study routine involves dogs hanging out with me while I read.

My usual study routine involves dogs hanging out with me while I read.

We learned about the renal system through the use of candy aides...loved this child health lecture!

We learned about the renal system through the use of candy aides…loved this child health lecture!

My birthday came and went...and with it came lots of candy from classmates! They made the day spectacular!

My birthday came and went…and with it came lots of candy from classmates! They made the day spectacular!

Studying for our 3rd Adult 2 exam...did much better this time around!

Studying for our 3rd Adult 2 exam…did much better this time around!

We walked in March of Dimes! It was my first official 5k, too! :)

We walked in March of Dimes! It was my first official 5k, too! ๐Ÿ™‚

Attending the Redbud Award Festival as outstanding student leaders on the Dallas campus. :)

Attending the Redbud Award Festival as outstanding student leaders on the Dallas campus. ๐Ÿ™‚

HESI For the Win

I really should not be advocating not studying as much as I have in my blog. But I am trying to paint an honest picture of my journey through nursing school, and as it stands right now I am SUCH a slacker when it comes to studying. Typically I cram two days before the test and hope for the best. Definitely not the best method but somehow it’s working – and since this semesterย I really don’t have much time to study during the week it’s really my only option.

Took my HESI a couple of days ago (Tuesday). Too bad it is only worth 5% of my Adult 2 grade because I KILLED IT. And I did NO studying for it whatsoever. In fact, I read an entire novel this past weekend before the test. Oops. But, something can be said about how thoroughly TWU teaches us because I felt like I really knew all the information the HESI presented to me, even without studying and “brushing up.”

I ended up making an 1146, which is higher than both my J1 (1116) and my J2 (925) HESI. Converted, I made a 99.99% and was in the 93rd percentile.

I told my best friend that I wish we were in S2 and that had been my grade for HESI – because in S2 the HESI is worth 30% of your grade!

Speaking of S2, we received our “preference sheet” on Tuesday before our HESI. It had a ton of options on it for instructor led clinicals, preceptor led clinicals, and then of course our community health clinicals. For our Critical Competency Integration class (CCI) I chose preceptor-led clinicals and my #1 spot was the VA, followed by Parkland and Methodist Dallas. We shall see what happens, but I’m pretty sure I’ll get the VA this time. I already turned my preference sheet in; because the VA has to start a background check so early on those who will be “working” there then I should hear back pretty soon.

So what classes do I have next semester? I have CCI, community health, and leadership and management. CCI is the “big” one. This is where we have either instructor-led or preceptor-led (if you’re lucky) clinicals, and have to complete 120 hrs of clinical. We will be reviewing everything we have learned the past 3 semesters in the CCI lectures in order to prepare us for the exit HESI and then NCLEX. This class is worth 6 credit hours but I hear it’s tons of fun.

Community health is just what it sounds like – community health. We will be doing a couple rounds of school nursing, homeless shelters, possibly home health and hospice nursing, etc. I’ve heard that the projects in community health are a beat-down but I’m actually quite excited about this class. Especially because at one time in my college career I was contemplating getting my Masters in Public Health (MPH). We’ll see if this class revives that desire or not. (More school?? Don’t know if I can right away).

Leadership and Management is an online class mostly, with a couple of class days and I believe tests are on campus as well. I’ve heard this class is difficult but doable.

I’ve heard from several S2 classmates that this next semester is SO much better than S1. As a general rule you have a LOT more time on your hands and the content isn’t as overwhelming. I’m so ready for that! Especially because I know we’ll all be trying to apply for jobs and handles any interviews that come our way (hopefully – crossing fingers!). I also know that dealing with senioritis is going to be a huge hurdle – because I’m already feeling it! It’s really going to be hard to come back from an awesome summer off and then go into our last semester. But I’m sure it’s also much easier knowing that it’s the last semester and graduation is literally right around the corner. The thought is mind-blowing!

Well I guess I’ve rambled on quite enough now. I have a test this upcoming Monday that I’m supposed to be studying for and obviously I’m procrastinating by writing a blog post. ๐Ÿ˜‰ This test – child health – is the last one before finals! Tomorrow I have my last child health clinical (last clinical for this semester, period), and next Friday I have my last simulation for this semester. Then finals. AHHH it’s all wrapping up so nicely with a neat little bow. Can’t wait!!

April Showers

April showers bring May flowers? Is that how that saying goes? Regardless of the saying, I think it can be well understood that all I have to do is get through April and May will bring beauty and rest to my soul.

I’ve actually been doing quite well since spring break. Surprisingly, I’ve had more motivation to just sit down and “do it” and I’ve been able to stay on top of my assignments and studying without feeling the immense pressure that I did before spring break. And I say that it’s “surprising” because usually after spring break I’m all done in!

Last week marked the end of my mental health clinical (yay!!) and yesterday (Thursday) marked the end of my adult health 2 clinical!! I only have one more child health clinical – next Friday – and then I’ll be done aside from a simulation later in the month on campus. That simulation will be awesome, I think, because it’s the same one I did as a J1 with the S1’s, except now I’m the S1 and I’m sure I’ll be criticized by the J1’s…all in good fun. It’ll be neat to see the other side of the same coin. At least I know what I didn’t like about the S1’s that I was with that semester and hopefully won’t do the same things as an S1 myself.

This semester I’ve had some really great patients, some super sick patients, and have discovered that although I could’ve sworn I would never want to work in peds that it’s definitely a fun place to be. (I still want to do adult ICU – but I’m not opposed to applying for peds ICU). I’ve also learned that med-surg nurses are not “less competent” or any less/worse of a nurse just because they work in med-surg. They are SUPER busy and definitely just as smart and they really do make a difference for their patients.

Since spring break, I’ve taken three tests – child health was bright and early the Monday morning we got back to school – and I’ve done pretty well in each. In child health I made an 88%, which is great considered how very little I studied (it was spring break!!). In mental health I made a 93.75% (the highest grade this semester!), and in adult health, which I just took this past week, I made an 88%. Those grades have me sitting so far with an A in mental health, a B in child health, and a B in adult health. YAY! I’m just hoping I can keep it up, especially in adult health, because I don’t want any Cs!

What’s left for me in these last 4 weeks (how’d I get to this point?!):

  • We find out next Tuesday what next semester will be like, and will get to apply for preceptorship. YAY.
  • My adult health 2 HESI is next Tuesday as well. Hopefully I can study some this weekend before taking it!
  • Next Friday is my last child health clinical, and because it’s on Good Friday we will be getting out at 1230 instead of 1530. Score!
  • Child health exam 3
  • Poster project presentation (will give me 2 points toward my overall final adult health 2 grade!)
  • Adult health simulation with the J1’s
  • New student orientation for incoming J1 nursing students
  • FINALS! My first final is on a Saturday, boo…and then I finish them off on Monday and Tuesday, May 5th & 6th – and then I will be DONE!

You know you’re close when you can put everything you have left to do in a bullet point list! YEE-HAW. I’m ready.