I am a nursing student…though, I haven’t really gone into much detail about the process. I’ve been a little mum about nursing school experiences for the obvious reasons. Mainly, I’m terrified of violating HIPPA. It’s crazy how easily that can be done! Now that the semester is winding down, I’ve had the chance to wrangle my thoughts and share them.
In my honest opinion, the first semester is not as hard as most people say it is. For real! Our program starts with one course. A Nursing Fundamentals course. It’s basically a regurgitation of your pre-requisites and CNA I course material. So if you paid attention in Anatomy & Physiology, Microbiology, Psychology, and passed the state board to be a Certified Nurse Aide, you’ll have a great start! The most important tip I can give is to READ AHEAD. It also helps to stay organized.
I also entered into this semester thinking that working was a bad idea. Wrong! Since the course load was pretty light, I picked up a PRN job. It in no way affected my grades. Honestly, the stress of being broke had more influence on my focus than working did. I mean, if you can find the time to work, do it! Working in a hospital as a nurse’s aide is a great way to get your feet wet. The only hang up I had was switching roles. For example: Friday mornings, I would be in clinical rotation as a “student nurse”. Friday nights I would be clocked in as a “nurse aide”. Compound that with remembering appropriate policy and procedures for two different hospitals. At times it gets a little tricky remembering your scope of practice and how things are done.
Manage your time. Everyone that has ever been in nursing school would agree. Time management is key! I am busy; but I still have a glimmer of a life. That’s enough for me right now. The extra time I have is spent in tiny indulgences: going for a long walk with my dogs, vegging out with my husband, having a cup of coffee with a friend, etc. Do as much of your school work as you can; but remember to get a good night’s rest. Set a cut-off time. If you can’t finish it by that time, get up early the next day and finish. I mean, what good are you going to be in clinical if you were up all night working on your care plan? How will you be able to perform on minimal hours of sleep? See what I’m saying.
Don’t stress about A’s! Seriously. I gave that up once I got accepted into the program. The main goal of nursing school is to make you as good as YOU can be, and to get you to pass the NCLEX. It’s great to strive for A’s; but if you fall into a string of B’s and even C’s, don’t worry. Just focus on being consistent. Also, work on being more critical with your thinking. Be more sensitive to your intuition. Great nurses have strong critical thinking skills and are really intuitively tuned-in. Many students are awesome test takers; but when it comes to finding the most appropriate Nursing Diagnoses and Care plans…not so much. It is not enough to be able to know topics word for word, you also need to be able to apply them in real life-like situations.
Most of all, don’t get so caught up in being stressed out about the work load. It’s a lot. I’m not going to lie. Take it all in stride. If you have been accepted into a nursing program, you were selected because you have ALL the potential to succeed. You can handle it. Remember that this is a once in a lifetime experience. Enjoy it!