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.

 

Advertisements

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.

 

And Spring Break has Begun

My peds clinical instructor is sick, which means I have no peds clinical this morning…which means I’m officially on spring break! Of course we have to make up our clinical at a later date, but that doesn’t even bother me because I would’ve rather had an extra day right before spring break anyway. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m sure this is an oft-repeated phrase in my blog, but I’m going to state it again anyway because it’s true. I can’t believe I’m halfway through this semester already!!

I was in the CVICU again yesterday at my adult clinical and I just can’t believe how excited and thrilled I am every time I’m in the ICU setting. I know I belong there and I hope I’d make a great nurse there, too. Of course there’s a huge part of me that really wants to be done with school and be on my way to learning how to function as an independent nurse, however there’s also a huge part of me that is literallyย terrified. I feel like I don’t know ANYTHING! How do they just expect us to graduate, get a job, and – even with the residency positions – be ready to function as a REAL nurse only 4-6 months later?!

Anyway…those are my thoughts for today. Short and sweet, I know. ๐Ÿ˜‰ This spring break is going to fly by soooo fast – especially because I have SO much to do!!

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. ย 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??

 

An S1 Update

North Texas weather has been so fickle! Yesterday it was in the 80s. Today, in the 20s with freezing rain. As a result, delayed opening for school tomorrow – until noon. As a result of that: no child health class (because it’s from 0800-1100) which means I get a whole day off to study for my 2nd adult health exam on Tuesday morning! YAY!

So I haven’t updated in awhile…but these past few weeks have been SO insane! I’m constantly going somewhere and doing something, which doesn’t give me much time to get any studying done. So any extra time I have I’m either studying or taking a break. Most likely taking a break. ๐Ÿ˜‰

But in the midst of this crazy semester, I have learned one thing for sure. I have learned where my nursing passion lies. I have had that “AHA!” moment where I felt a pull towards the area that I want to do nursing in. Any guesses???

If you guessed the ICU, you were correct!! I have come to find out that I am SO passionate about this field of nursing that I just cannot wait for my next clinical day in the ICU. I excitedly look forward to being there and learning new things, taking care of the sickest of the sick. I am loving learning about the critical care content in lecture that we’re being tested over on Tuesday…ABGs, ventilators, shock, hemodynamic monitoring, etc. I feel like I just can’t get enough. I feel like I have been re-awakened and no longer am I just trying to “survive.” Now I feel like I have something I’m striving towards again.

I just have to make it through the next 10 weeks and I’ll be done with this, the hardest of semesters. And then next semester, I get to start applying for my dream job – the ICU!

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!

 

 

 

ACLS Code Simulation

It’s the end of week 3! The one good thing I can say about S1 is that I’m going to stay so busy that the end of the semester will be here in a heartbeat.

My clinical group and I had an ACLS cardiac arrest code simulation this past Thursday, and I had a BLAST. To prepare, we had to do some “pre-clinical” paperwork – basically answering a bunch of questions on cardiac arrests and BLS/CPR – and complete a quiz on EKGs. When we met in the morning we watched a video detailing how a proper code should be run, we were given a schedule of our day, and then we met with our clinical instructor to dig through our crash cart and learn which supplies were stocked in it.

In addition to several break-out sessions during the day where we discussed airway/breathing, medication, and defibrillation, we ran through a code simulation 4 times. The first two times were before lunch, and even though we had no idea what we were doing I feel like those were our best codes. Of course our patient died both times but we were told that was going to happen so it wasn’t devastating. I was the recorder the first time and the one doing compressions/breathing the second time. Being a recorder is NOT fun! There are so many details to keep track of and everything happens so quickly that I felt like I was missing a lot of information in my role. The second time when I was doing compressions I could not believe how QUICKLY I got tired out! I can see why it is so vital to switch roles every two minutes to prevent exhaustion.

After lunch we went to our breakout sessions, and then came back to do our last two run-throughs. I don’t think our last two codes were as good as the first ones because by that time we were tired, we had eaten, and I think we all felt the call to our beds. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I was the defibrillator the 3rd time and the code leader the 4th time. Being on the defibrillator was fun because I had to interpret the rhythms and keep the code leader informed as to what was going on…and then of course I got to shock the patient every two minutes! Being code leader was awesome but I can see how it’d be SUPER stressful, especially during an actual code. There’s so much to keep track of and be aware of, and then you’re the one in charge of calling out when to give meds and which meds to give, when to shock, etc.

All in all it was a super fantastic learning experience and it as horrible as this sounds, I can’t wait to be involved in a real code. The adrenaline of a code situation is right up my alley!