Friday, September 1, 2006

First WEEK recap of nursing school

The week has finally ended--it's Friday!!!
So how was my first week of nursing school? Well, besides long--it was GREAT!!!
I am impressed with my program--all of the instructors and faculty are amazingly nice and supportive. They're constantly complimenting us and saying we're the best. As a student you can feel that they want you to succeed and it's quite refreshing.
My first class began at 12:00: Fundamentals of Nursing. This is basically where we learn the basic things that are needed to know when it comes to Nursing. The book is gigantic. Our professor is a nun, but no she doesn't walk around in full head dress and a ruler, slapping students on the wrist! In fact, she is a nurse practitioner (I am pretty sure all my professors are, except Patho) and she is soooooo NICE. I mean, she is serious about the profession of nursing, but you can tell she wants us to succeed. In fact, every single instructor and faculty member that I've come across so far has been this way--as I mentioned.
At the end of this class, we have a HESI, so it's definitely an IMPORTANT class (well, all of them are).
At 4:30 I had Pathophysiology with a retired Gastroenterologist. He told us to guess how many patients he has had over 20 years. Most people guessed around 10,000. He put the figure up on the board--100,000. And 20,000 colonoscopies!! He's an awesome professor because he has a lot of real life stories to go along with each disorder that we study. Also, he isn't crazy and doesn't expect us to know every single detail from the book. He told us to read the chapters once--then look at his slides, answer review questions in the study book, and then he will tell us which slides to focus on from his powerpoints. I have my first quiz on chapters 1-4 next Thursday. It covers the cell biology, genes and genetic diseases, altered cellular and tissue biology, and fluids and electrolytes (and acids/bases). I'm nervous since this is the first real test so far. Also, our grading scales is 93-100=A, so it will be tough. I just need to study hard and not focus so much on the number so much as retaining the information.
I have this day off, but I went to a meeting of the Internation Health Service collaborative. I was the only nursing student out of like 100 medical and college of public health students. I definitely joined and I hope to MAYBE go to the Dominican Republic in December to help.
This was a good day. We had our hospital orientation! The only sucky part is that my hospital is an hour away, sooooo we car pooled and got there quite early so we wouldn't get stuck in traffic. Basically, we sat around and talked about hospital policy while filling out forms. During lunch, the nurse recruiters brought us free food and then spoke about the hospital and how awesome it is. It's a magnet hospital and also it is one of the Top 100 Hospitals in the US...woohoo. At first I did not want this hospital at all, but now I think it is an excellent choice for me. I could even see myself working there after graduation. We'll see.
One cool thing about orientation is that we got to do Accucheck glucose checks on each other. It was fun to see blood and all that neat stuff. That was the first skill I ever got checked off on! See, we have these tiny little spiral bound laminated books that are color-coded according to our semester (Semester 1=Green, Semester 2=Yellow, Semester 3=Red, Semester 4=Blue, and Semester 5=Black) with a list of every skill we will have to master. There are three boxes next to each skill. The first box represents a skill that was completed in the lab correctly. The second box (level 2) is for the actual patient, which our preceptor (nurse) will check off, and the third level or box is when we do it independently on a patient without prompting need. It is a very cool thing to keep track off for my entire nursing school career.
Anyway, back to the orientation--we did glucose checks and isolation gowning, etc. Finally, we got to visit the floors we'll be working on this semester. I don't know how every other nursing school works, but mine is something like this: At the beginning of nursing school you're assigned a hospital with 11 other students--this becomes your TEAM. You are then a part of that hospital for the entire 5 semesters. It becomes like home and the team members sort of become like a little family within nursing school. THEN, you're assigned to a preceptor who is a nurse that works in the hospital. Basically, you follow that nurse around and she is your instructor and ...guidance. I was afraid of this because what if the preceptor didn't want a student? Well, it turns out that my hospital only picks nurses who actually WANT to be preceptors.
I am on the Gynecology/Women's Med Surg/Pediatrics (kind of confusing!) floor. My preceptor is so awesome and nice--she seems quite down-to-earth, so I am relieved.
It was scary at first because our task was to complete a seek-and-find while we were on the floor. My team brought me up there, introduced me to my preceptor, and then left me all alone! haha. I am the only student from my team on the floor. Some students have others with them, but not me. I think this will be beneficial because then I won't rely so much on another student as a crutch, you know?
During my seek-and-find a woman came back from surgery, so I got to go in the room and watch them transfer her to another bed and do vitals!! yayyyyyy for seeing things.
Once the day was over, I was pretty damn tired. The night before I had only gotten about 3 hours of sleep somehow, so I went home, read one chapter of physical exam, and then went to bed at 7pm. I slept for 14 hours!! It felt GOOD!!
Physical examination and assessment at 12:30--awesome professor. She's upbeat, happy, and has a sense of humor. This seems like it will be a class where I learn a lot, but it will be fun,so it won't seem like learning.
4:30 was Patho again.
We had to wake up early to take "pre-HESI" exams, which have no effect on our grades. They're just to "see where we are," which is a lot of pressure!!They covered math, vocab, grammar, biology, Anatomy and physio, and reading comprehension.
Meh. I did pretty bad on math--74. The rest I got like 85, 88, 89, 89, and 93--not in that order. I got the highest in grammar, go figure. I think second highest was AP and then biology. I guess that is average. Whatever. I happened to glance over at the girl's screen next to me and she was getting like 95's and crap...making me feel pretty inadequate and STUPID. Tests suck.
Once that was over, I got to go home and read for about an hour and a half (because I sort of wasted a lot of time making food). Lab was at 1:00, which was what I had been waiting for!!
First, we had to go into these virtual labs and do some BP's, pulse, temperature, and respirations on the computer, which was kind of weird. Finally, we got in the lab and did the things.
One thing we had to do was go behind the curtain and "observe" the SIM man and now we have to write some sort of report--I'm not quire sure because I haven't looked at the workbook yet.

So far I have been checked off for:
-Glucose monitoring
-Isolation cap and mask
-Isolation gowning and gloving
-Temperature :Axillary
-Temperature: Oral-electronic thermometer

Now I must go begin reading 4455235235 pages. Hope next week is even better!


Kristi said...

Congrats on having a great week and getting those check off's done! We are having our first check off next week. I'm getting nervous.....argh!

KHP said...

Goodness, you've been busy! =)

I'm so happy to hear that the first week has gone well! I can feel your excitement practically jumping off of my computer screen. And I remember how I felt when I first started school, too.

Can't wait to see your progress.

travelrn said...

I am thrilled that your first week was a success. Let me suggest a great resource book for future nurses. Go to to review a book on 'surviving' your first year as a nurse. The best to you in nursing.