Current CT Community College RN Students Advice For Newly Accepted

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    Hello! Current or previous students who have experience in the CT Community Colleges RN program! I am starting this thread looking for advice you can give all of us newly accepted students who will start our first semester as nursing students in the fall! Are there things you wish you knew before you went to orientation? How much money should we save up? What expenses will we incur? What "insider" bits of information have you learned, that you wish you knew on your first day? In particular are there any things we can get out of the way or take care of while we await our semester to begin? For example get a physical, CPR cert, stock up on whatever color scrubs we need? Start the search for all-white shoes? Please share your suggestions, thoughts, ideas, and advice! Thank you in advance to all those who will contribute! WE THANK YOU!
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  3. 46 Comments so far...

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    I congratulate all of you accepted into the CCC program, this time last year, I was sitting where you are now. I'm finishing my second semester at Three Rivers and I'm very happy with the program to this point. My advice would be to get ALL of the medical issues taken care of now. You will need a physical, a PPD test, the Hep B vaccines and then a titer test, get your CPR certification DONE. And, keep track of dates yourself (if your CPR expires you can't go to clinical without it), don't make anyone else track you down.
    You'll get information about uniforms at your orientation which will likely be in May. You will need all white shoes, no clogs or open backs- not even the Dansko ones. You may get very little notice on some things (I think I found out about mandatory orientation 5 days prior)- learn to be flexible.
    Not to sound preachy, but you're all adults. Just take responsibility for yourself and your learning. You'll get the readings for the first semester at orientation. If you're someone that learns well by reading- do the reading. If you're someone that learns from lectures, know that sometimes things are taken directly from reading materials that are not covered in class. If you don't know how you best learn, find the tutoring center at your campus and try to figure that out before you start the semester. You're going to hit the ground running and you need to be prepared for a decent volume of work. There are times where the schedule is unpredictable and yes, you may feel like they don't understand that people have a life outside of school. If you have kids- find child care, back-up child care and a back-up for your back-up. You're not going to experience anything happening to "just you". The teachers aren't piling on extra readings just for your, they're not writing purposely tricky test questions just for you, everyone is going through it, so don't whine about it and don't make excuses.
    I've talked about myself before, but just to tell you, I'm a career-changing returning student (at age 37 I'm not the oldest in class, but sometimes I feel quite old). I work full time and I have three children. I'm getting through and it hasn't taken over my life. Am I flying through with all As? Nope. But I'm getting out what I put in, and for me it has to fit into the rest of my life. I've had good teachers, excellent clinical experiences and I think that the education is of similar quality to past degrees I have earned.
    I am happy to try to help, and I'm long-winded, as you can see. You're headed for an experience that's got some challenges. The tests are unlike anything I've experienced before and there's bound to be some frustration at times. Remember, it's do-able, because others have graduated before us, and the teachers really do want to prepare you for nursing. It's not their job to hold your hand, it's their job to give you direction. Follow-through is up to you.
    jdoll, RNinthemaking1986, ORnurseCT, and 1 other like this.
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    Thank you so much for your post JBMMommy! Can you give us an idea of what kind of homework/studying is required outside of class and clinical? Are there papers to write or all tests? When you are home with your family do you have to study all of the time or do you have some free time to focus on/ enjoy them? Finally, can you tell us what the two "lecture" classes each week are like? Sorry for so many questions, but your life/work situation sounds a lot like mine so your responses are so helpful! Thank you again!
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    I'm happy to answer as many questions as I can. For the first semester your grade is based on five exams and a final. The clinical portion is pass/fail (and you have to pass). Second semester we have the same number of tests but there is also a group presentation and a small discussion presentation. Second semester also has an on-line pharmacology component that has four exams and three written assignments.
    I've tried to minimize the impact my schooling has on my kids- it's been tough on my 8-year old. I need second shift clinicals to accommodate my work schedule so I'm not home for bedtime two nights a week. I don't study on a daily basis, when I have chunks of time I use them as efficiently as I can. I did all of the summer reading so throughout first semester I was already familiar with the information. I know some people that say they need to study multiple hours per day, so I can't say what will be necessary for most people.
    They don't think that four hours straight of lecture is effective for learning. The two sections of the lecture are just two blocks of lecture with a break in the middle. (I would have preferred four hours straight and only use half a day, but that's just me.) The time in between lectures can be useful for going to the lab if you need help, though. The people in the lab are very helpful.
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    Thank you! I have to take micro this fall semester on top of my nursing courses; did you have to do the same? If so, was it managable? (I was unable to register this summer because the only classes available near me conflicted with a summer academic research project i'm participating in). In regards to the reading list you received at orientation (which yes mine is in may), are they the text books that are assigned? If so do they release your fin aid to be able to purchase them? Other wise how much money am I looking to invest for the materials? Do you recommend any websites that sell the nursing materials we need for low prices? (i'm concerned about income because i work part time and rely soley on fin aid to take care of my school expenses and i don't have any savings to fall back on) I'm planning on picking up extra hours at work this summer if possible and looking for scholarships, grants, etc for school. Random tangent aside I'm willing to do the leg work, i'm just looking for a head start. I don't want to be blind sided with having to purchase a thousand dollars worth of items when i only have a hundred dollars to my name!
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    GCC has orientation on June 8th (uniform purchase is this day also). Any advice on uniforms, sizes, amount needed, etc?

    Orientation workshops August 16-18th. Does anyone know what this is?

    Registration starts May 2nd (in person 8-4pm ugh). Can you register online after the first semester?

    JBmommy, How long did it take you to do your reading last summer?

    Did you have to buy a lab kit?

    Do you remember how much money you needed at orientation?

    Thanks!!
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    Nikki, They will STRONGLY recommend that you consider deferring your start from fall to spring so you can take micro by itself. I heard a few people did that, and I think it would be wise. The students that took both last semester had exams on the same day three times. A few of them did not pass the semester. If that's not an option, you're going to have to really juggle to maintain those two classes plus part time work. Sorry that I don't have any financial aid experience. Books ran about $1100 for the first semester. Some were bundled with required on-line materials. In my experience they required the 12th edition of Brunner's Textbook of Medical Surgical Nursing. That was $132. If went on-line and got the 11th edition for about $15. The page numbers don't match up, but you can usually figure out what needs to be read.

    Our orientation did not include buying anything. We were required to get our uniforms over the summer, most people got two and it ran about $85. In hindsight I wouldn't have bothered getting the jacket because I never wear it. We had to have a stethoscope of our own when lab started- they run the range of $20- $250, you'll have to decide what it's worth to you. Mine's a little more expensive because I have some trouble hearing and knew I wanted something that was very clear. I picked up a blood pressure cuff to practice for about $12, but that's not required.

    The summer reading was a decent amount of material. I think there were about 28 chapters from the Fundamentals book and they recommend starting the math material over the summer as well. I probably spent a few hours per chapter because I outline as I read. (I haven't had time for that this semester, which is apparent in my grades.) I'm not sure if the orientation days are the same as our start, I can't remember if that's what it was called, we started a few days before classes started as well, but it was a few hours of policy stuff and then lectures started right away.
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    Are the health forms mailed to us? Capital has orientation on June 17 and the health forms are due July 1st. If they gave the health forms out at orientaion, my doctor would be too slow to get it filled out in time.

    I wonder if Capital is going to make us do presentations as well. With 150+ people that would be a HUGE crowd... I would be super nervous haha.
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    I don't think there is an option to defer my start from fall to spring at NVCC so i can complete micro.
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    Quote from cow99
    Are the health forms mailed to us? Capital has orientation on June 17 and the health forms are due July 1st. If they gave the health forms out at orientaion, my doctor would be too slow to get it filled out in time.

    I wonder if Capital is going to make us do presentations as well. With 150+ people that would be a HUGE crowd... I would be super nervous haha.

    I spoke with the nursing dept clerk for NVCC today and she said we will be mailed all our health forms and information shortly.


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