Kaplan NCLEX Prep Course Review

Hello again, everyone! I know I promised you a Kaplan NCLEX prep review awhile ago and alas, I didn’t deliver on time…it’s been a whirlwind around here but thankfully I’m slowing down for a bit as I prepare for taking the NCLEX!

I took the Kaplan NCLEX Preparation Course right after Christmas; it’s typically a four day back-to-back class but I choose the weekend class option, so my four class days were split into two weekends. This was the only option that worked with my holiday and work schedule, and I was initially upset that I had to split the classes in that fashion, however it turned out much better than I expected.

Each day we met for 3 hours in the morning, then had an hour-long lunch break, and then met for another 3 hours. In the morning on the first day of class our instructor gave us explicit detail on how the NCLEX works and began to introduce the strategies Kaplan uses to answer questions. After that morning session, every session thereafter was mostly going through and answering questions using the strategies that we were being taught. On the last day of classes, we took a “readiness” test (even though our instructor said it doesn’t indicate whether you’re ready for anything or not) that consisted of 180 questions and then got together in the afternoon to discuss the test questions and answers. The last hour of class we discussed “what to do now” and how to continue preparing for NCLEX based on how many weeks after the last day of class we’d be taking the NCLEX.

The strategies that Kaplan introduces in order to answer NCLEX questions are BRILLIANT. I especially love that with purchase of the prep course I have access to over 2,000 more questions to practice with before taking the NCLEX. I have been doing 150 questions a day and practice tests as I lead up to taking my test. And I have found that even if I don’t know the answer to a question, if I use the strategies that were taught to me I more often than not can arrive to the right answer anyway!

I highly, highly recommend taking the Kaplan Prep Course due to the fact that it’s not just content review but actual STRATEGY to answering questions. The content review comes AS I’m answering the questions every day and as I look up the stuff that I realize I don’t know/forgot!

It IS an expensive course but I just considered it part of being in nursing school…and TOTALLY worth it if I pass the NCLEX the first time, right? All I know is that I don’t want to regret anything should I happen to fail the NCLEX on the first try (crossing my fingers that I DON’T). I want to know that I’ve taken the necessary steps to passing it on the first go-round.

And there you have it! It’s not a super complex review, I know, but in all honesty the class itself it not very complex – but completely worth it!!

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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 final 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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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 🙂

Officially a graduate!!!

Officially a graduate!!!

Entering Week 12

It’s the start of week 12 already!!! In a little under 5 weeks I will be graduating!! (And just in case you’re wondering, only 29 days until my last final and only 32 days until pinning!!!)

I’ve had some changes with my CCI schedule…in the middle of October I got an email stating that I was no longer allowed in the ED at the VA due to them taking precautions with potential Ebola situations, so I was given a new preceptor and a new floor – a med-surg floor. Honestly I wasn’t thrilled, for several reasons. I had grown to love being in the ED and I knew what was expected of me, I LOVED my preceptor and we got along really well, and I was scheduled to be done with my shifts on Halloween. Due to the timing of when I was able to get ahold of my new preceptor and begin shifts with her, plus the fact that she works 8hr shifts instead of 12hr shifts, meant that my CCI shifts were stretched out a bit further into November. Instead of only having 4 (12hr) shifts left to complete, I now had 6 (8hr) shifts to complete.

I also thought that I wouldn’t enjoy this new change due to the fact that I’d be on a med-surg floor, but honestly I’ve really had a good time with my new preceptor and on this floor with these patients!! I’ve done a TON more charting and medication administration, as well as looking at lab trends and looking into the H&P of these patients, which I really didn’t do in the ED because our patients were with us for such a short amount of time. At this point I’ve taken up to 3 patients, I’ve given report on 3 patients at the end of the shift (not very successfully, but thankfully the nurse I was giving report to was kind and gave me tips for how to do it better next time), and I should be taking 4 patients on my next and last shift which is this upcoming Wednesday. I can’t believe my VERY LAST CLINICAL IN NURSING SCHOOL is this Wednesday!!!

Tomorrow after our leadership and management test, our entire class is going to be taking a class picture for our pinning ceremony, so we get to wear our scrubs but actually look pretty in them for once, being that we can wear our hair down and wear makeup. Everything is wrapping up so quickly now that I feel like I can’t keep track of it all! I can’t believe that we are so close to being done.

A couple of days ago I bought my graduation announcements, all my honor cords that I will be wearing at graduation, bought my diploma frame (it’s gorgeous!) and registered with Pearson Vue to take the NCLEX. AHHHH.

I took my exit HESI about two weeks ago but I made a 904 on it (which converted to an 83%) so I’m going to re-take it. I don’t feel like I NEED to retake it since I made over an 850, however I figured it’d be good practice, plus I BARELY have a chance at making an A in CCI with that score so if I can get a better score the second time around, then my chances of making an A are much higher (they take the higher of the two scores – they don’t average them out, thankfully!).

So here’s what’s left in this semester and then I’m DONE!

  • 2 tests (L&M tomorrow, Communities next Monday)
  • 2 quizzes (Communities quizzes before each exam)
  • 2 projects (One in Communities, one in CCI)
  • 1 clinical (last one on WEDNESDAY!)
  • 1 clinical log (for Communities)
  • 1 HESI
  • 2 finals

I can’t believe it! I’m so close it’s insane!!

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 our 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. 😉

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! 😀 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!

My GN Interview Experiences

I completed 4 separate interviews and 1 call-back interview before I accepted my job offer, so I thought I could talk about my interview experiences to give you an idea of what might happen/what you may be asked. Now keep in mind that every single interview experience is going to be different for every single person so this may or may not be along the lines of what you experience yourself. But at least I hope it’s a general idea.

Only one of my interviews was a one-on-one interview with just myself and the manager. All others were me with at least 3 people interviewing me, and that first interview that I talked about – the ED interview – was me and two other candidates with the panel of interviewers (that was the one and only time that occurred but it was SO weird!). So don’t be surprised if you interview with other candidates, and don’t be surprised if most of your interviews are panel interviews with multiple people interviewing you. All of the interviews I went to were just the “preliminary” interviews to be followed by “final” interviews if you received a call-back for it. I received 2 call-backs total and only attended one before I accepted a job offer. I do know, however, that some hospitals (like the one I currently work at) only interview once and then base their decision off of that one and only interview. And I’ve heard of some hospitals that interview up to three times before choosing a candidate! So at the end of your interview I would suggest asking those that interview you what the process is on moving forward. When I asked that at each one I learned that there would be a second interview – if they liked me –  and then they’d decide after that.

At each interview I made sure I was presentable, polished, and professional appearing. Unfortunately I’m the type of person that flushes really bad when excited/angry/nervous/pretty much any other emotion, but there’s nothing I can do about that except to pretend like it’s not occurring and move right on along with my interview. I don’t let that one issue affect my confidence, even though I HATE that it’s happening at the time. But it’s a fact of life for me and I promise they are not looking at your physical appearance as much as they are paying attention to your answers…because that’s what counts. As long as you are very-well put together and make a good first impression, your spirit is what matters to them.

Ok so here’s what I know you’ve been waiting for: what was I asked during my interviews??

I’ll put it in bullet-point format to make it easy to read; essentially these were all the questions that I was asked during interviews. All my interviews except for my call-back final interview for the CSU were about 10-15 minutes long (one of the managers called it “speed interviewing,” saying they were really just trying to get an initial first impression to determine whether or not to call-back for a final interview).

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What made you choose the nursing profession?
  • Tell me about the time you made a clinical mistake and how it impacted you.
  • Tell me about a conflict with your coworker and how you resolved it.
  • Why do you want to work on (whatever unit you applied to)?
  • Tell me about a time that you worked with different cultures and how that impacted you.
  • Tell me about a time that you were extremely stressed and how did you handle it?
  • Tell me about a time that you showed caring behavior for a patient.
  • Tell me about a time when you had communication difficulties with a patient and how you resolved them.
  • Tell me about a time that you did something to boost the morale in your workplace.
  • Have you worked night shift before? (If you’re applying for nightshift they want to know that YOU know what you’re getting into and that you can handle it.)
  • Tell me about a time that you had to find a solution to a difficult situation.
  • Tell me about a time when you saw a coworker doing something wrong and how did you handle it?
  • If you had a patient with a blood pressure of 200/100, a patient with a blood glucose of 47, and a patient who urgently needed to go to the bathroom, who would you see/help first? Give your rationale for your answer.
  • Tell me why we should hire YOU.

I feel like there were more but I will say that a lot of these were repeated at each interview. They’re very behavioral based questions to try and get to know you. I never got a question like “what are your strengths?” and “what are you weaknesses?” so just remember you could prepare all day long for some popular interview questions and yet they never get asked at all (I was ready to go if they asked me these questions, lol!).

Here are some of the questions I asked at the end of the interviews – always ask questions at the end!! Doing so shows that you’re interested in the position and that you’re making sure it’s a right fit for you as well.

  • What qualities/personality are you looking for in a new grad nurse on this unit (whatever unit you’re interviewing for)?
  • If I’m selected to move forward in this process, what comes next?
  • What are the expectations, responsibilities, and duties of the nurses on your unit?
  • What happens when census is low on your unit?
  • How often do nurses on this unit float? And relatedly, how soon in my job will I be expected to float?
  • How do night shift and day shift differ as far as workload and keeping busy?
  • What is the RN/patient ratio when there’s proper staffing? What happens when staffing is low? (Ask for differences between day shift/night shift if you applied to both positions.)
  • What is your average patient population on this unit? What is the acuity of the patients on this unit?
  • Staff: how do you like working on the unit? Do you have good teamwork/team morale? How long have you been working here?
  • Manager: what is your management style?
  • What is the average length of nurse tenure on your unit? (AKA how many years do nurses stay on the unit? If there’s fast turnaround then that’s not a good sign.)
  • What are the reasons given when nurses leave this unit?
  • What type of professional development opportunities are available?
  • How does the orientation process work and how long does it last?

So there you have it! Remember that your interview experiences will differ from mine but the biggest point I hope that you take away from this is that you have to give a good first impression and you need to be prepared! Come prepared with your own questions to ask your interviewers based on the unit you are interviewing for and what you want to know about it. Don’t ever NOT ask questions at the end because it looks like you are uninterested. And if you have time, don’t just ask 1 or 2 questions because then you look like you’re only asking them to fulfill the requirement of asking questions at the end. Have a good list ready and whatever isn’t answered in the interview process – ask!

And remember to trust your gut instinct. If you get a job offer but you had some reservations about the staff and the manager in the interview process, you might want to get more information before accepting that job. Especially if you have to sign a contract for that job – you don’t want to be stuck at a place that you don’t mesh well with for years on end!! The interview process is just as much about them trying to feel you out as it is about you trying to feel them out.

So, next week when I’m done studying for the two tests that I have on Monday (AAAHHH!!!) I will give y’all an update on how my semester is going thus far…Almost done with week 6 already!! WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE???

Graduate Nurse Portfolio

I’m going to apologize now for the quality of these pictures but I only have an iPhone and I was in a hurry when I took them (about to go to my first interview) so you get what you get. 🙂 Anyway, I wanted to write a post on how I put together my nursing student portfolio to take to my interviews; also if you click on the picture of my resume and enlarge it, you can see how I set my resume up. I hope it helps some of you out the way that this knowledge passed down to me did!

I bought 15 leatherette 1″ binders with the intention of taking approximately 3-5 to each interview to give to those interviewing me. In reality I took 5 to each interview but only gave one away each time because they didn’t want to keep my beautiful handiwork! LOL!

So, for your portfolios you’ll need 3 things: a nice presentation binder, resume paper, and sheet protectors. These are what I used:

  • INFUSE Premium Leatherette 1″ Presentation Binder, Black
  • Avery Recycled Economy Weight Sheet Protectors
  • Southworth Exceptional Resume Paper, 100% cotton, 24lb, Ivory

Depending on which hospitals you apply at and what they require with your application/interviews, you’ll want to have these documents ready to go (the order they are listed in is the order that I put them in my portfolio):

  • Exemplar (if your hospital requires you to write one…it’s usually a 1-page essay)
  • Cover Letter
  • Resume
  • References
  • Certifications
  • Awards
  • Letters of Recommendation. I started asking for these through the summer; I’d recommend asking your professors to start writing them about two months before you’ll need them! If possible, ask them to give them to you electronically that way you can print several copies of them for your portfolios. You’ll probably want around 3-5 LOR; all from current/previous managers (if applicable) and your clinical instructors. Hospitals will specify if they want more and if they want them to come from specific individuals.
  • Unofficial transcript
  • Immunization record (I just printed mine off from my school records)
  • Extras: if you want, you could probably put in any publications that you’ve had, a list of organizations that you belong to, etc. But remember you don’t want your portfolio too long or convoluted!

Please also keep in mind that you want everything printed on the same resume paper, and in the same font & format. Please note how my layout is practically the same on every page. You do NOT want to put “titles” on your resume, cover letter, and your letters of recommendation (what I mean by this is putting the word “resume”  on your resume; they will know its your resume when they start reading over it!).

Pg 1 of my graduate nurse portfolio: order of contents

Pg 1 of my graduate nurse portfolio: order of contents

Up close and personal: order of contents

Up close and personal: order of contents

Pg 2 & 3: exemplar & cover letter

Pg 2 & 3: exemplar & cover letter

Pg 4 & 5: resume

Pg 4 & 5: resume

pg 6 & 7: references & certifications

Pg 6 & 7: references & certifications

Pg 8 & 9: awards

Pg 8 & 9: awards

Pg 9 & 10: awards

Pg 9 & 10: awards continued

Pg 11 & 12: LOR

Pg 11 & 12: LOR

Pg 12 & 13: LOR

Pg 12 & 13: LOR

Pg 14 & 15: unofficial transcript

Pg 14 & 15: unofficial transcript

Pg 16 & 17: unofficial transcript continued

Pg 16 & 17: unofficial transcript continued

Pg 18: student health immunization records

Pg 18: student health immunization records

 

What I wore:

  • Hair brushed, combed back into a neat ponytail
  • Stud diamond earrings (only 1 pair!)
  • 1″ non-flashy black heels
  • Grey slacks
  • Black blazer
  • Bright pink/black/grey/purple sleeveless top underneath the blazer for a pop of color
  • Black leather nondescript purse
  • VERY minimal makeup; light mascara & eyeshadow with face powder & concealer
I forgot to take a picture when I was actually WEARING the outfit; but this gives you at least an idea of what it looked like! ;)

I forgot to take a picture when I was actually WEARING the outfit; but this gives you at least an idea of what it looked like! 😉

 

And there you have it! This is my graduate nurse portfolio and I must say I am very proud of it! Hopefully next week I’ll type up a post about the types of questions I was asked as well as which ones I asked myself. 🙂

Keep Calm, I’m…

Going to be a Cardiac Nurse!!!!!

After my PCU and CSU interviews a couple of weeks ago, I was called back for final interviews for both, as well as an interview on my floor and an interview at a CVICU. The interview on the CSU (cardiac step-down unit) was first, and I went to that not expecting much more than to get some great practice with a panel interview and practice with the type of questions that I would be asked.

As it turned out, I met several of the staff and charge nurses on the unit and got great vibes from them, was asked if I wanted to tour the unit after my interview  (which I did, and LOVED), and left the interview feeling like I REALLY wanted to stay on the unit as a new grad nurse. That night found me tossing and turning in bed wanting to be chosen for that job and yet feeling conflicted as to the fact that if I chose that job I’d be leaving a great unit and people that I love at my current job.

I got a call from the manager of the CSU the next day offering me a night position on that unit…a call that I missed and had to listen to on voicemail because I was getting ready for my interview that day, the interview on my floor with my boss!

I wanted to call her back right away and accept the position – in my gut, I had a great feeling about the job and  I just KNEW that I wanted to start my career as a nurse on that floor. But I called my mother-in-law and then best friend first to get some advice on what to do, especially since I was about to go interview for the position on my floor, and they both told me to at least interview with my boss first and see what she had to say about the position on my floor.

So I went to that “interview”, which really was more of a Q&A session with my boss (she wasn’t interested in a formal interview since she already knew me) and I ended up telling her about my job offer and the war going on in my heart and mind as whether or not to accept the position I was offered at a different hospital or stay where I knew the unit, the managers, and the coworkers I’d be with as a new nurse. The biggest reason I told her that I was even considering the other job is because the new hospital is 15-20 min away from my house whereas my current hospital is about an hour and 15 min away from my house. I didn’t tell her that I was also considering the other position because the acuity of the floor is higher than the floor I currently work on, and I’m somewhat nervous about staying on my floor and transitioning from a PCT to a nurse; how would the other PCTs react to that?

After I left my interview with my boss, I just knew that I had to call the other manager back. I knew what my decision was and I’d known even before my interview with my boss. I wanted to take the other position.

So I called her back and I accepted her offer to be a new grad nurse in the CSU!!!

The residency starts in February of next year, so that gives me plenty of time to study for and pass the NCLEX once I’ve graduated. And then my life as a real nurse will begin!!

Here are some of the criteria that the CSU deals with:

  • Patients with a primary cardiac diagnosis, or patients with a medical/surgical diagnosis that develop cardiac issues during their stay requiring high acuity cardiac monitoring and/or care.
  • Acute MI (heart attack) patients with or without cardiac cath lab interventions – including post intervention with/without arterial sheaths in place.
  • Patients requiring inotropic pharmacological support.
  • Patients requiring blood pressure support – either for hypertension or hypotension.
  • Post-op cardiovascular surgical patients.

I’m so freaking excited!!! I just want to graduate already and start my job as a cardiac nurse!!!

First Interview Thoughts

Well I thought I’d update y’all on how my very first GN nursing interview went! It’s been SUCH a long week but it’s behind me now and I’m about to start the 4th week of my last semester. HOLY COW!

My interview was last Tuesday for an ER position. I interviewed with two other candidates – which was WEIRD but I actually ended up loving the chance to hear their answers for my future interviews. They were both very smooth and confident with their responses to the questions. I, on the other hand, felt like a bumbling idiot trying to scramble for the words to express what my mind was thinking. It wasn’t pretty. AND, to top it off, before the interview I put on the outfit I was originally going to wear and although the pants fit and the jacket (sort of) fit, the shirt I was thinking of was HUGE on me. It was a tunic! I didn’t really have anything else I liked better but I found a cotton shirt and told myself at least I’d be wearing a jacket over it. Which my hubby told me later looked awful. 😦

So I don’t think I did that well. We were told when we entered the interview room that to make the interview a smooth process we would each take turns answering the questions that were asked of us, with us rotating through who would answer first each time. We were only asked 4 questions before our half-hour was over: “Tell us about yourself”; “What made you choose the nursing profession?”; “Tell us about a clinical mistake you’ve made that has impacted you”; “Why should we pick YOU for this position?”. I feel like if they were to choose out of the three of us, the other two candidates would DEFINITELY be at the top of the list. But hey, I feel like it was a great practice interview…a great one to get the nerves out of my system. AND I learned that I did NOT like my interview outfit, so I fixed that today by buying a new one! And it’s HOT! 😉 We were told that we’d know in about 3 weeks if we were chosen for a 2nd interview. I don’t think I will be, but hey who knows.

But that evening after coming home everything was made better by the fact that I checked my work email and got an email from my boss telling me that the position had been posted for my floor and she was asking me to go apply! If that didn’t make me feel loved at work I’m pretty sure nothing would. I applied right away, of course, and when I checked my application status a couple of days ago I noticed that it said “Interview to be Scheduled.” Sweet!!! I know now that I will SO take that position if offered to me. Crossing my fingers!

I have two interviews scheduled for next week, one for the PCU and the other for a Cardiac Step-Down unit. I really am using these as practice as well since I know that I want to remain on my floor now…but for some reason I’m still nervous about the interviews? Eek. This whole “trying to find a big girl job” thing is nerve-wracking.

I’ll post more later about my first school nursing clinical and my first shifts in the ED at the VA! 🙂

 

2 Down, 14 To Go

Well my S2 semester has begun and I’m slowly starting to wrap my head around the fact that I am, in fact, in school AGAIN and that this is, in fact, my LAST semester.

The first thing that has been hard for me, right off the bat, is of course the early morning wake up calls again and the fact that I know I can’t just come home at night after school and sit and watch TV. Man how I wish I could.

The second thing that’s been hard has been the fact that I’m still continuing to try and exercise and eat right everyday but all I want right now is CHOCOLATE. Hello, stress. Nice of you to show up again. (I will not let this semester de-rail my weight-loss progress!!)

The first couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of information overload and assignments and orientations. We even had a simulation already! Our LAST simulation of nursing school!! It was actually super helpful – more so than any other simulation I’ve completed – and I feel like I REALLY learned a lot from it. We covered topics like IV therapy, oxygen therapy (which masks to use and when/why), as well as giving insulin. Then our simulations covered DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis) and PE (pulmonary embolism).

I met my preceptor last week for my CCI clinical at the VA Emergency Department. She’s awesome and also a former TWU nursing student! I am going to love having clinicals with her…we start next Friday.

I also met my school nurse at the school that I will be attending community clinicals in this semester and she seems super amazing as well. I’m blessed by having great leaders this semester! I start those clinicals next week on Thursdays. My weeks are going to go by SOOOOO fast!

I started applying to hospitals last week and have so far applied to 20 different positions at different hospitals. And then yesterday when I checked my email after finishing up at school I saw that I had an email to schedule an INTERVIEW for this upcoming TUESDAY!!! Already?! I’m so not prepared for this…I’m so not prepared for this…I’m so not prepared for this…

But ready or not I have an interview on Tuesday! It’s for the Emergency Department. I have to put together my portfolios today to have them all ready to go…good thing I already have my references and my letters of recommendation all prepared already! I’ll upload a blog post with my portfolio details a bit later next week.

AND I have a test on Monday in CCI. It’s hard to believe we have a test already and we’ve only completed two weeks of school. 😦 Our instructor assured us that we know the material and that it’s all review for us but it’s still nerve-wracking since the test is worth 25% and I really haven’t even begun to study.

Well that’s all I’ve got for now! Time to go study for my test (with Stars-Wars on in the background…this is serious stuff y’all). Happy weekend!

CCI Clinical Placement

I’m sitting here at work…obviously blogging because it’s extremely “Q”-word around here. I’m afraid that if I don’t do something I’m going to start dozing off!!

I finally learned where my clinical placement for my CCI –  “critical competency integration” – class is. I recieved an email on Tuesday with a list of preceptors to pick from with the message of “first come first served” included. There are five of us students precepting at the VA next semester and there were five preceptors listed, so that meant that whoever I wanted I would have to act fast to pick in order to “claim” them!

2 of the preceptors were in the MICU/CCU, one was in the PACU, one was in the TICU, and the last one was in the ED.

And for whatever reason, my first reaction was to go with the preceptor in the ED. WHAT?!?!

I happened to be the first student to respond to that email, and then I got a confirmation email yesterday that made my decision to go with the preceptor in the ED “official.”

So I’m in the ED this next semester for 120 clinical hours!! I’m actually SUPER excited about it. 🙂

But I’m SOOOOO not excited about the fact that school starts in a little over a week. 😦

I’ve been working on my cover letters for the application process – I’m almost done with one of them! I just learned that two of the healthcare systems in Dallas are opening the application process in early September. HOLY COW! That’s just under 3 weeks away!!

 I’m actually realizing more and more that I’d prefer to stay right here on the unit that I work on now. It’s a progressive cardiac care unit (PCCU) which is basically a step-down/telemetry unit for cardiac patients. I’ve talked to my boss about my desires, as I’ve mentioned before, and she said she would do her best to create a position here for me. Now that doesn’t mean that I’m guaranteed the job but it’s certainly a step in the right direction!!

However I will still be applying to other positions at other hospitals. Can’t put all your eggs in one basket! Surprisingly, I know I will be applying for these positions at most of the hospitals: ICU, ED, and NICU.

Random, right?

Random just like my crazy random thoughts are right now. Alrighty…guess I should get back to “work” – about to start reading about stock markets to keep my mind awake! 😉