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!

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The Terrible, Horrible, No Good Day

Yesterday was super duper rough.

I’m not saying I haven’t had other terrible days, and I’m not even saying that this was anywhere near the worst day I’ve ever had (or even have had this semester of nursing school!), however I feel the need to vent about yesterday, so I shall.

The day started off with a three-hour last-minute study session with my partner in crime before our second Adult 2 test. And I walked out of that test feeling like I’d been pummeled by a professional boxer who had a vendetta against me. While I was definitely hoping for a B, I wanted at least a mid-to-high B that way my average (the 76% I had from the first test) could have been brought up some. Well, I made an 82%. Better, for sure, but still not a decent grade compared to the effort that I put into this test and the confidence that I had walking in. And still not enough to pull my grade out of the “C” range.  I shouldn’t be disappointed, especially when I’m not failing and I’m barely on the line between a C and a B and can easily pull myself up with the next three tests (3rd exam, HESI, and final). However, I just don’t understand how a course that I love the material SO MUCH can be the one that I’m doing the worst in. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I seriously have never taken a test that hard before. And I almost stayed until the last possible minute finishing up, when I’m usually out with PLENTY of time to spare!

So that was a bummer. But an even bigger bummer and one that really puts my issues in perspective (the perspective that I don’t have it that bad at all) is the fact that one of my closest nursing school buddies is currently failing Adult 2. Both of her tests now have been below the passing grade of a 72% which means that if she definitely doesn’t pull her grade up then she’ll have to re-take the class and she’ll no longer be graduating with us. That’s such a hard concept to think about because we have been friends since day one and there was never a thought in our mind that we wouldn’t be graduating together. And there’s no reason (that we see) that she’s not getting better grades – she’s always done well in classes and she DEFINITELY knows the material. So the fact that she’s failing is just mind boggling, for both of us. I swear this class is so so so much harder than any we’ve ever taken before, even in nursing school. We’ve decided that we’re going to get together the weekend before the tests now and go over TONS of practice questions. We have to do better!

Then to top everything off, our mental health lecture yesterday covered addictions – alcoholism in particular. And because of my family issues with alcoholism, it was a tough lecture to stomach and I actually had to leave at some point because I felt like if I didn’t then I’d just start bawling right there in class and make a fool of myself. This was the lecture that I’d been dreading all semester, and it certainly came at the wrong time. I eventually went back into the classroom but I have to admit that I’m not sure I really heard much of the lecture at all. As soon as we were released I realized that all I wanted to do was go home and curl up in bed, wishing the day away and in fact this entire semester.

How much longer until I’m done, again? Will I ever be done??

 

The Face Of…

I have the day off from women’s OB clinical today (we only go every other week) so I figured I could get ahead today and complete ALL of my paperwork for the next two clinicals. So far I have only thought this and haven’t begun any of it…procrastination at its finest.

I also have to complete a research quiz that opened yesterday,

Find an article for my third research assignment to send to my instructors for approval,

Begin working on my aging group project,

And study for my 2nd women’s health test next week and 3rd adult 1 test the week after.

AND this week I have my women’s health lab simulation (which is bound to be quite fun and exciting, I’m sure). But along with it comes all the paperwork to be completed prior to and during the simulation.

So far my day off isn’t looking quite so enjoyable anymore. But hey, at least I got to sleep in (until 10!! WHAT??).

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Just…Ok?

Before I started nursing school, I didn’t think there was any way I could ever NOT want to be in nursing school. I was just so ready to be IN nursing school that I didn’t acknowledge that the reality would someday mean that I was sick and tired and ready to be done.

Don’t get me wrong; I really enjoy learning and increasing my nursing knowledge. I also realize that the learning is going to happen for the rest of my life.

However, nursing school is exhausting. Taking 16 credit hours of intense nursing courses in one semester is exhausting. Knowing that I still have this semester and then two more after that is exhausting. Knowing that this semester is supposed to be the easiest semester is exhausting.

I can’t help anymore but to constantly look forward to that day when I  graduate and all my hard work will have paid off in the form of a beautiful piece of paper. I can’t wait until I can take the boards and become a registered nurse. I can’t wait until I am actually putting all of this nursing school theory into actual practice with my very own patients.

Until then…I leave you with pictures of my week.

This week two clinical groups came together for orientation at Denton Presbyterian for our skills check-offs and our hospital orientation. Skills checked-off: NG tube insertion and care; tracheostomy care, central line dressing change, nasopharyngeal and trach suctioning, ostomies.

This week two clinical groups came together at Denton Presbyterian for our skills check-offs and our hospital orientation. Skills that we were checked-off on: NG tube insertion and care; tracheostomy care, central line dressing change, nasopharyngeal and trach suctioning, ostomies.

Partners in crime, part 1.

Partners in crime, part 1.

Partners in crime, part 2.

Partners in crime, part 2.

Applying tegaderm during my central line dressing change.

Applying tegaderm during my central line dressing change.

Partners in crime, part 3. This is my clinical group for adult this semester. :)

Partners in crime, part 3. This is my clinical group for adult this semester. 🙂

After only 3 weeks of school, my 3" binder is almost completely full. This is how you know a test is coming up! Lol.

After only 3 weeks of school, my 3″ binder is almost completely full. This is how you know a test is coming up! Lol.

This is what I did at work during some down time in the night. Study!

This is what I did at work during some down time in the night. Study!

I can't get enough chocolate lately...it's SO horrible. :(

I can’t get enough chocolate lately…it’s SO horrible. 😦

Tired

I’m sitting here attempting to study the abnormals for assessment and all I can think about is bed. I want to sleep. I want to sleep for a whole day and then get up and then go back to bed and sleep some more.

Missed my first question on a pharm quiz this morning…

…but I made up for it with a 96 on my third concepts test this afternoon.

So tired.

Screwed on Backwards…

…my head, that is. This week has been CRAZY and I think this “nursing school” schedule is finally catching up to me. Last Thursday before pre-clinical I forgot my lab coat (we have to wear business casual and a lab coat for pre-clinical); I had to leave my volunteer shift at Children’s early in order to be able to go back home (Ft. Worth) and get it before I could go straight back to Dallas again. I was in traffic for TWO HOURS round trip just because I forgot it. NEVER AGAIN.

This past Wednesday, I forgot my stethoscope for assessment lab. I was able to borrow my partner’s for the BP measurement, but then we were able to practice for our final vital signs check-off coming up in a couple of weeks (listening to heart and lung sounds and differentiating normal from abnormal) and I had to use one of the cheap lab stethoscopes. It worked fine, but the quality was so much worse than mine. Fortunately I can differentiate between crackles and wheezes really well already. I was hoping my lab instructor didn’t notice that I’d forgotten my stethoscope, but she did. She didn’t give me much grief about it though, thank goodness.

Then last night (Thursday) I went to pre-clinical and got my patient from the charge nurse, accessed their chart and wrote down all their information, wrote down their room number on the documentation form that we (students) all sign in and out of, and went home. Well, just as I got home and started preparing my pre-clinical paperwork, I get a call from one of my classmates saying that she noticed that I and another classmate had the same patient. Because my other classmate had been to the hospital first, and written down the room number first, I no longer had a patient.

I was furious with myself. I didn’t even CHECK to see what patients my other classmates had on that documentation form before I left – which is the whole purpose for having that piece of paper in the first place!!

So I finally had my nursing school breakdown last night, bawling when I realized my mistake. I was just so certain that I would get an “unsatisfactory” because I hadn’t paid attention enough to realize that I got my pre-clinical information on a patient that one of my other classmates already had. It was too late at that point to go back to the hospital and pick out another patient, which now also meant that I wouldn’t have any care plan work completed this morning before clinical.

I called my clinical instructor last night and told her what happened, barely keeping from crying on the phone with her – I was that upset. But thankfully I have the greatest and most laid-back clinical instructor ever! She told me it was ok, I would just have to get a patient in the morning and instead of “front loading” my clinical paperwork (getting some of it done before clinical), I would have to “back load” it and do it ALL after clinical today. Fine with me!

And lastly, TODAY, after getting a new patient from my nurse and getting report, I realized that I left my ID in the car! I can only access Methodist’s system with my code, of which I have on the back of my ID and have not yet memorized. So I had to run back out to my car and get my ID, which wasted about 20 minutes of my morning because the employee parking lot is FOREVER away from the hospital entrance.

That has been my week so far…hopefully that’s all the screwing up I’m going to do for awhile because it’s exhausting and I’m tired of feeling like my brain just isn’t there anymore!!

Nursing School Pet Peeve, #1

“Do we need to know this for the test?”

“No, so let’s not worry about it.”

I hear this more times than I can count. And yes, sometimes, I am unfortunately part of that conversation too…but I am trying hard not to be. You see, I feel like most of my class is just trying to skate by with knowing only enough to make a good (or even just passing) grade on a test – and then the information is dumped as soon as the test is over. We were reviewing some drugs in our medication administration skills lab a week ago, drugs that we had JUST LEARNED for our pharm test, and I felt like my classmates and I were grappling for the answers when just days before we’d known those drugs in and out!

Nursing school should not be about knowing “just what we need to know” for a test, neither should it be about just memorizing all of the information for a test and then dumping it for the next. Yes, that was done in pre-req classes and honestly it didn’t really matter. But these classes and information is knowledge I NEED to know for my profession – it’s knowledge that will make me a better nurse. I don’t want to get all A’s in nursing school if it means I did it only by studying for each individual test and not having the drive and curiosity to learn and know more, even if it’s not going to be tested over.

Just some thoughts. In my opinion, everything I’m learning in nursing school should be something I worry about knowing – because one day it could save a life.

 

It’s Saturday…

And while I should really be studying for my upcoming *first* nursing school test, I’ve decided to take the day off and enjoy a day free of books and stress. In truth, I wouldn’t be able to focus anyway and so would then be aimlessly staring at an open book and feeling bad about the fact that I was wasting my day away.

It’s been a full three weeks of nursing school, and so far I definitely have done a poor job of finding a rhythm and actually studying. My day normally starts around 5am, and by the time I get home it’s around 8pm. At that point I usually find myself putting on a TV show and relaxing and telling myself that “I’ll study tomorrow; i’ll do better tomorrow,” because I’m so worn out by the long day that I’ve spent on campus that I can’t even fathom putting in more hours studying.

3 weeks later…and I have a concepts test on Tuesday that I am in no way prepared for. And two tests (pharmacology & assessment) the week after that I haven’t been studying for either; even though I’ve made flashcards for both classes but have yet to review them. I’m super stressed right now about pharmacology considering the fact that I have upwards of 50 drugs (so far) to learn and memorize and at this point I only have a little over a week to do it in.

I don’t have any excuses other than the fact that I’m really overwhelmed with everything we’re expected to read, learn, know, and do, and I don’t even know where to begin with all of it. I’m so stressed out by everything that I’m supposed to do that I decide not to do anything at all.

Now how ironic is that?

And yet what have I been doing with my “free” day today? Part of my time has been spent online trying to find a free clinic to volunteer at, researching the “Summer III Externship Program” at Mayo Clinic, and thinking about where I want this nursing journey to lead me. One day, I’m hoping that after working 2-3 years at a great hospital I can apply to a great DNP graduate program and take my life in that direction. But how am I supposed to accomplish these things if I can’t even focus on this present moment and do a great job in nursing school?

I need to get my act together! No matter if I get home at 7 or 8pm at night – or even if I just decide to stay up at school after my last class – I need to STUDY. And study hardcore. During breaks between classes, I need to study. And when I’m on the treadmill, I need to study. And when I’m eating dinner, I need to study. Because I”m not going to get anywhere in life if I can’t put energy, dedication, and hard work into this gift that I’ve been given.

I just can’t understand why I’m struggling so much with this. Why is it so hard for me to put my nose to the grindstone and “just do it”? Especially considering how badly I’ve wanted this for the past two years. And especially considering where I want my life to go after nursing school – none of which will be possible if I can’t graduate as the best nurse I can be with an equally great GPA.

Ok, enough of my rant and pity party. I can do this!! It’s definitely going to take some adjustment and it’s certainly been a learning curve so far. But I want this so bad, and I need to remember that. Now is not the time to give up on my dream. I can do this.