Amber, BSN

Oh yes it’s been quite some time since I’ve blogged, and obviously a TON has happened! I have FINALLY graduated nursing school with my BSN!!!!!

AND I managed to get ALL As this last, final semester. What a way to end things!! My final GPA for my undergrad is 3.823. I’m super, super pleased. My two goals for nursing school were to make no Cs (I didn’t) and for my finalย GPA to be above a 3.75. Score on both accounts!

I just received my Authorization to Test (ATT) this morning and I have officially scheduled my NCLEX exam. It’s all wrapping up and it’s becoming all too real that I am no longer a nursing student but about to be a nurse (God-willing I pass my NCLEX!). My last shift as a PCT will be on February 5th, and my first shift as a Graduate RN will be on February 23rd – can’t wait!!!

I am in the midst of taking the Kaplan NCLEX Prep Course. I am loving it and highly recommend it – I’ll write a separate post on that later this week. So far I think it’s been beneficial; of course it helps that one of my favorite professors happens to be teaching it and she is just amazing when it comes to explaining ANYTHING.

I’ll leave you with some pictures now to highlight the whirlwind that was pinning, graduation, and graduation parties. ๐Ÿ™‚

We didn't want to jinx ourselves by saying 100% RN until we passed the NCLEX! This was our celebratory cookie cake after our last final. :)

We didn’t want to jinx ourselves by saying 100% RN until we passed the NCLEX! This was our celebratory cookie cake after our last final. ๐Ÿ™‚

Received my college ring during finals week! I'm so happy to wear it!

Received my college ring during finals week! I’m so happy to wear it!

Got my hair and makeup done before my pinning ceremony...

Got my hair and makeup done before my pinning ceremony…

All dressed up!

All dressed up!

So proud to have him by my side during this journey. So happy he pinned me. :)

So proud to have him by my side during this journey. So happy he pinned me. ๐Ÿ™‚

There it is!!! The long-coveted pin!!!

There it is!!! The long-coveted pin!!!

Cardiac cookies for my graduation party the morning of graduation.

Cardiac cookies for my graduation party the morning of graduation.

Nurse-themed cupcakes! And they were GOOD.

Nurse-themed cupcakes! And they were GOOD.

The four amigas...they have been with me from the very beginning and I couldn't have made it through without them.

The four amigas…they have been with me from the very beginning and I couldn’t have made it through without them.

More sweet nursing school friends at my graduation party.

More sweet nursing school friends at my graduation party.

Graduation Cap!! It certainly wasn't the most creative but I thought it was cute!!

Graduation Cap!! It certainly wasn’t the most creative but I thought it was cute!!

Walking down the aisle during graduation!!

Walking down the aisle during graduation!!

We're DONE!!!

We’re DONE!!!

IMG_3399

Smiling with the Chancellor of TWU :)

Smiling with the Chancellor of TWU ๐Ÿ™‚

Officially a graduate!!!

Officially a graduate!!!

Vent Status

Yesterday (Monday) was rough. For the first time in nursing school (I’m not including pre-reqs here) my class had two tests in one day. And those tests were absolutely, purely brutal. The kind of test that makes your head throb halfway through and makes you walk out of there thinking that you’re a failure. I can’t tell you how many times I heard those words yesterday…and after our grades went up for CCI one of the most calm people in ourย class literally flipped out, cussing up a storm and declaring that she doesn’t know why she’s in nursing school since her test grade shows she’s a failure. Of course all of this was in the heat of the moment and of course we all know that we’re not failures (at least I hope we do!) but it’s really hard to know that the test you had just taken was supposed to be REVIEW material for HESI/NCLEX preparation and then discover that the class average was a 79 and that the grades posted online were final grades after “extensive” adjustment to our scores. All this makes it sound like I did really bad but I didn’t…somehow I got a 90! But I feel really bad for my classmates and I’d have to agree with them that it was a crazy hard test and something needs to be done to correct the situation. Because I’m pretty sure I didn’t earn that 90 since I guessed on a lot of my answers and a TON of the questions didn’t even make sense!

And then I thought I had COMPLETELY bombed the communities test. I’m pretty sure they tested in a different language altogether because most of what was on that test was completely foreign to me. I definitely did not prepare well for that test AT ALL. I was told over and over that you have to read the textbooks in communities in order to succeed but since I never read the textbooks and I always do ok (I know I know, not great at all) then I figured that wouldn’t apply to me. WELL I WAS WRONG. I definitely should’ve read the textbooks. I’ve learned my lesson! Thankfully I pulled off a B (HOW?!) and now I know that I HAVE to read if I want to make good grades on the tests. MAN. Thankfully we have three projects in communities that will help even out my test grades by the end of the semester. I think I can maintain a B and MAYBE get an A if I work hard enough. But do I really want to work hard enough? Just being honest here…I’m SO DONE. I’m SOOOOOO ready to graduate and move on.

But looking on the brighter side…I’m almost DONE with CCI! All I have left are 5 clinicals (My last one will be on Halloween if all goes well!), the HESI, and an EBP Presentation. We don’t even have a final in that class. YES!

My Leadership and Management class is going well so far…the first test was a couple of weeks ago and I made a 97. Amazing. We only have two more tests (one during the semester and then one final) and that’s it for that class. I’m hoping for an easy A. We’ll see. ๐Ÿ˜‰

And communities so far has been my nemesis. I am NOT cut out for community health, as much as I thought that I would love to get my Master’s in Public Health once I graduated. Unfortunately it just doesn’t hold my interest…not at this point in my life, anyway. And the fact that the tests are ridiculous on top of all the crazy projects we have to do makes it even worse. I’m sorry I’m whining so much but this is exactly how I feel right about now in the semester. I just want to be done.

Ok moving on to more exciting talk…graduation!! I ordered my cap, gown, and class ring last week! AHHH!!! And we finally found out when our official graduation date is: December 13, 2014. I LOVE IT! I’m going to graduate on 12/13/14! ๐Ÿ˜€ I also signed up for an NCLEX prep class with Kaplan after Christmas. I’ve heard that it’s super beneficial to take an NCLEX prep class and this one just happens to be taught by one of our S1 instructors and she has an AMAZING way of teaching. I’m so excited about it.

I think that’s all I needed to get off my chest for now. I promise a post is coming about my experiences so far in my CCI clinical ED placement! It’s been a great time so far!

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.

 

About Grades…

Well let me start off by saying that my first test of my senior year was a flop. A huge one. And I was devastated.

Last Tuesday (a week ago today) I had my first test and it happened to be in Adult 2. And it happened to cover only cardiac material, which I LOVE. I also happen to love adult nursing more than psych and child health right now so I was feeling pretty confident about this test.

Well I took the test and walked out feeling…meh. Not horrible but not great. There were quite a few questions that I circled (circling means I don’t have a confident feeling about my answer, or I don’t have a freaking clue about the content material at all). But we had test review immediately after the exam (we go over the most commonly missed questions on the exam), so I focused on that and tried not to get my hopes either up or down.

Well the test review was pretty horrible. We reviewed about 10 commonly missed questions and only 2 of those questions did I answer correctly! My hope was sinking. I was already at an 84% and knew that I had probably missed even more. But there was still hope that I could keep my grade a B…

Until I got my actual grade while sitting in Mental Health lecture and my heart nearly dropped out of my chest right there.

76%!!

I didn’t want to be (and still don’t want to be) a crybaby about this grade, but it hurt so bad. I’ve never in my college career made a grade this bad. The lowest grade I’ve EVER made has been an 80%. And I really thought I was prepared for that test…had studied for that test well and LOVED the material so thought I knew it inside and out.

So, I had my first public meltdown in the middle of campus after our Mental Health exam and before our CH tutoring session. So thankful for good friends and classmates who were able to understand and to give me greatly needed hugs and words of encouragement. And remind me that grades DO NOT MAKE A GOOD NURSE. (It’s really hard to remember that when you’re a type A personality, however).

And then the week redeemed itself when I was able to observe the ongoings in a psych ICU, take care of patients in the CVICU for adult health – and watch a thoracentesis procedure while I was at it (LOVE THE ICU!!!) – and go cocktail attire shopping for a nursing gala that I have been invited to this week at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas. Also, due to Texas’ crazy weather, Thursday afternoon the Dallas campus closed due to icy conditions on the road (which meant we got out of clinical 2 hours early), and then our CH clinical was canceled for the next morning! Which gave me time to go shopping and study for the CH test that we had yesterday (Monday).

Our CH class is rumored to be one of the worst classes to get good grades in by those who have taken it and survived it. And I was crossing my fingers to just get a B – especially after my horrible Adult 2 grade and knowing what has been said about CH in the past. The test covered a lot of growth and development (NOT my strong suite; I learned this in developmental psychology when I took it!), respiratory, and assessment of a child. I had 13 questions circled when I walked out of that test, although I will say I felt better walking out of the test then I did the Adult 2 test.

I ended up with a 90%!!

I am just as shocked about that grade as I was about my Adult 2 grade. To tell you the truth I wasn’t even striving for an A in CH because I was just convinced it wasn’t possible (not many get As).

And I was supposed to take my first Mental Health exam today but the Dallas campus is once again closed due to icy conditions on the road. Our exam has been rescheduled to next Tuesday, which is awesome because I hadn’t had ANY time to study for this test due to having to study for child health! I’m pretty thrilled to have a day off, to tell you the truth. Of course I’ll be getting a lot done school-wise today but it was nice to sleep in and not have to go anywhere.

So there you have it…a whole post about grades. Not very exciting I know but it’s sadly amazing how much grades seem to affect how we feel about ourselves throughout the semester. I know I shouldn’t be THIS concerned about my grades but I do want to get into graduate school in the future and I want to have the GPA to do that…

Also, I was looking at new graduate nurse internships for critical care areas and they want at least a 3.5 GPA in the DFW area. WHAT??? I guess because those positions are so competitive they have to have applicants that stand out somehow. Makes me sad. So therefore, I am concerned about my grades.

So far S1 has been hard but I feel like I’m finally getting to that point in the semester where everything calms down and smooths out into a regular rhythm and routine. I don’t feel as stressed and my life doesn’t feel quite as chaotic now. And I’m already a 1/4 of the way done! I’ll be saying goodbye to this semester before I know it!

 

 

 

Semester’s End

Well, I’M DONE!!

I have successfully completed my J2 semester. I made it out of my Women’s Health test – even though it was a crazy hard test – with an 88, which gaveย me a solid B in the class. I’ll accept that with glee! So that means that this semester, I made 4 As and 1 B.

I’d like to say that I’ve been relaxing ever since then…

But I really haven’t. I have been going going going since finishing a week ago and I’m afraid I’m going to just keep going in that manner until school starts again. I had no idea running an organization was so time and labor intensive. It’s been good though so far, especially since I feel like I’ve learned SO MUCH in such a short amount of time about nonprofit organizations and everything involved in keeping one smoothly running.

I woke up this morning to an email that let us know that our clinical sections had been uploaded to Blackboard. I’m so excited about where I ended up:

For Child Health Competencies I’m at Children’s Medical Center

CMC

 

And then for Adult 2 I’m at St. Paul University Hospital, which is one of the UTSW hospitals.

coats-stpaul-large

 

For Mental Health I’m at a place in Arlington I’ve never heard about before. I’m sure it’ll be a great rotation though!

 

And there you have it; that’s my nursing school news for now. Hopefully here in the next few days when I’m not working or volunteering or trying to wrap my head around this organization, I can relax and enjoy some of the Christmas Cheer going around.

Merry Christmas!!!!!!

Close Call

I just barely scraped by. BARELY.

That adult health final was rough. I just can’t even put into words how hard that final was. It made me feel like I hadn’t learned ONE thing all semester. I certainly thought I was prepared…but let me tell you after having received As on all my previous tests, this final felt like a punch in the gut. I LOVE learning about adult health, but this final certainly wasn’t reflective of that.

I took the test and then, even though it was online, I didn’t get my grade right away. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ About an hour later, a classmate posted on Facebook that the grades were up so I booked it onto our blackboard site and scrolled down to the bottom.

I made an 80.

I felt my heart drop. I needed an 82 to get an A in the class. It was the same exact scenario from last semester with my Assessment final!!

But then I remembered that I got 2 points for my final grade due to my HESI score. So I texted my instructor to ask her if the grades had our HESI points added to them already or not.

THEY DIDN’T!!!

So I ended up making an 82 and getting an 89.5% overall course grade, which rounds to a 90, which equals an A!

Seriously, scraped by. Barely. But I’m super happy that I made an A and super excited that my Adult Health 1 class is OVER!

J2.15

I always know when finals are right around the corner because my stress level is THROUGH THE ROOF. This week has been stressful…there’s been some school drama that I’ve had to deal with (in regards to my transitioning as the 2014 president of the nursing student association) and plus we had two tests this past week that I barely had any time to study for. In fact, the HESI that I took yesterday I had zero time to study for.

So on Wednesday we had our third women’s health exam. I studied for a day – on Tuesday – due to wrapping up other assignments on Monday (but now my aging and groups classes are FINISHED!) and finishing up my research paper over the entire Thanksgiving break. It wasn’t really a hard test, and considering ย I studied for less than 24 hours, I’m proud to say I made an 86. But that almost guarantees me a B in my women’s health class due to the fact that I need a 100 on my final to get an A. HA! Not happening.

So that was Wednesday afternoon, and then I went to work after that test, so I was unable to study for the HESI that we took Thursday morning (yesterday). I managed to do some practice tests/case studies on the Elsevier website at work, but not much. So Thursday morning I literally went in not knowing what to expect and just praying to God I didn’t let my professors down by failing the HESI. It was a bizarre test, in my opinion, but I didn’t do to bad. Not as great as last semester (when I ended up with an 1116)…but I got enough to pass the “recommended” threshold for HESI scores – a 925. With a conversion score, that equals an 88. It was enough to get me two extra points applied toward my adult health final, so I’m pleased. ๐Ÿ™‚

And now I’m sitting at home writing this post with the fireplace going and christmas music on in the background because we had an ice storm in north Texas last night, so therefore TWU (the Denton and Dallas campuses) was closed this morning. Which means that the orientation for the new J1 students that I was supposed to be at was re-scheduled for next week, and this means an extra study day for me! My adult health final is on Monday, my women’s health final is on Wednesday, I have to complete my last research quiz by Wednesday, and then…I’LL BE DONE WITH THIS SEMESTER!!!

  • I’m done with my Groups class completely; finished with an A!
  • I’m completely done with my Aging class; just waiting on our group presentation and my last discussion board post to be graded in order to know what my final grade is. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be an A though.
  • I’m almost done with my Research class; just need to finish the last quiz. I currently have an A in the class, but considering the research paper is worth 50% of the entire class grade and my instructor is a HARD grader, I can easily see that A turning into a B. Maybe even a C. Here’s to crossing my fingers that she loves it!
  • I’m almost done with Women’s Health. One last final! I need a 100 on the final for an A, and a 60 on the final to keep my B. I’m thinking that B is much more doable! ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • And I’m also almost done with Adult Health. Again, only the final remains…and I need an 82 on it to keep my A. I will be studying hard! I don’t want a repeat of last semester, when I only needed an 82 on my Assessment final to keep my A, yet made an 80. :-/

So this weekend I’m going into hardcore studying mode! Ready to knock these two finals out and finish the semester. I can’t believe in just under a week I will be a SENIOR!!!

To end this post on a happy note: I did find out this week that I’m going to be the new Concepts/Fundamentals Peer Tutor for the next two semesters! WHOOP!!

I May Have Found My Specialty…

Whelp….I think I found where I want to be when I grow up.

The ER!

I loved the fast pace and the different assortment of people, ages, diagnoses, medications. I loved the idea of not knowing who you were going to see next. I loved the quick turn around. I loved that the doctors were all on the unit and anytime you needed anything you could just turn around and ask them for it. I loved the almost constant opportunity to start IVs. ๐Ÿ˜‰

There were a few cons, however (as I’m sure there will be no matter where I work): the patient interaction in the ER is MUCH more limited than I’m used to. In fact the nurse sometimes wouldn’t even see the patient until she was discharging them (the turn around really WAS fast…). And I couldn’t help but feel that really the nurse was just there to dispense medication and then discharge the patient. Maybe I just wasn’t there long enough but I didn’t see much critical thinking or assessment skills happening. Or maybe it was just the certain ER I was in.

I’m sure in a bigger hospital, and especially one that is trauma level ranked, there is ย plenty more for the nurses to do and I’m sure it’s nothing like what I experienced. However, I still had a wonderful experience and THOROUGHLY enjoyed being in the emergency department. Hopefully I get more rotations in an ED in the future so I can compare and gain more insight on being an ER nurse!

Moving on…yesterday I had my third Adult Health 1 test and came out almost completely unscathed with a whopping 94!! It’s the highest grade I’ve made this semester (sadly). I’m extremely thrilled. Hopefully my upcoming HESI test and finals all produce similar results.

I can’t believe I’m on the tail end of week 12! I literally have only three more weeks of classes, two more clinical days, one aging group project, one research paper, one HESI, one more women’s health test, and three finals standing between me and a very short winter break. Seems like forever away but then again it seems like such a short time given in order to get everything done before I’m finished with this semester. So close!

J1 Semester OVER!

I survived my J1 nursing semester!! In only three more semesters, I will be a graduate!!!

The assessment final was weird for me. I thought it was easy as I was walking out of the classroom, however I ended up with an 80! Which means I got an 89 as a finally grade in assessment, so I got a B. But I’m truly ok with this, as I don’t think even with studying for two weeks straight I would’ve gotten a different grade. I wouldn’t have answered those questions any differently.

So I got two As and one B this semester, and I’m smiling big. So excited to be done with it and moving on to Adult Health 1 and Woman’s next semester. I also have an EKG elective this summer with the associate dean of the nursing school and I’m THRILLED to be able to get into the class and take it!

I’ve applied to several PCT/PCA/CNA jobs at the hospitals in my area and so far have heard back from one of them and had a phone screening. The recruiter said he would send my application to the nurse managers on the units that I’ve applied to, so YAY! Keeping my fingers crossed that some of them like me. ๐Ÿ™‚

And now…now I’m relaxing with absolutely no schoolwork to do. LOVE IT!