What to expect in your first week at TECO:
Be there no later than 7:15am. Wear scrubs (doesn't matter what kind) and closed-toed shoes. CELL PHONE OFF AND AWAY. Not on silent, not on vibrate, but OFF, preferably in your car. Your name will be on a card in front of your assigned seat. On your first day, you will meet the instructor. She will introduce herself, give a brief overview of the program and hand out the syllabus. The senior LPN students will then serve you either a late breakfast or lunch, so don’t bring food with you. The senior LPN students will then give you words of advice one by one, and you will be all be assigned one of them for support or questions. An icebreaker activity to help you get acquainted with your classmates is always included. During the final two hours of the day, there is typically lecture, because your first exam is only a couple days away. She will hand out powerpoints to you, and you may want to bring your “Nursing Fundamentals” book. There will be homework assigned the next night (there is homework every day). You will watch a video about the nurses who worked through hurricane Katrina, and you will cry (don’t worry, we all do).
Tips: Listen carefully to what she says regarding policies, dates, rules. Write them down as she says them, and DO NOT ask stupid questions (no, you can’t switch seats, no, you cannot bring a laptop or tape-recorder) or ask her to repeat herself more than once. Be respectful, attentive and PROMPT. Early is on time, on time is late, and late is NEVER ACCEPTABLE. If you are late on an exam day, you fail, no exceptions. If you are late due to a traffic accident that is not your fault, no exceptions. It is your job to be there, and be there damn early.
What you will need on your first day: Fundamentals of nursing textbook, Fundamentals study guide (it contains the homework you will need to complete daily), pen, pencil, HIGHLIGHTER, organizer/binder because there is a LOT of paperwork, sticky tabs or post-its to mark your place in the book as well as the homework guide. What you will need soon: calculator, erasers, large heavy-duty backpack or rolling backpack. Once you get your student ID, bring it EVERY DAY or you will be sent home.
The second day begins like every day until the end of the program: You come in, leave your homework on the instructor’s desk, sit down, take out your powerpoints (you must print them out every day before class, so prepare to buy a lot of ink cartridges) and quietly wait for the instructor. All of this should be done BEFORE 7:30am. At some point you should receive your ID badge. Immediately put in on, and have it with you EVERY DAY, worn in a HIGHLY VISIBLE AREA ON YOUR CHEST or you may be sent home.
Exams: They are constant, and during the first two months you will have them almost daily. They start at 7:30am sharp. HAVE YOUR DESK CLEAR OF EVERYTHING except for a few no. 2 pencils (no pencil case, no folders, NOTHING). Everything is done on scantron, and you will be given paper to use for the written portion of the test. DO NOT WRITE ON THE TEST ITSELF. Questions are mostly multiple choice, but there will also be select-alls (in which anywhere between one or all will be correct, and you must choose everything correctly or no credit is given), completions (fill-in-the-blank), and short answers, in which you may be asked to list and/or describe in detail. When you are finished, you hand in your test and are free to wait in the main hallway or computer lab until class resumes. DO NOT ASK WHEN GRADES WILL BE GIVEN. DO NOT RE-ENTER THE CLASSROOM WHILE THE TEST IS IN SESSION. They will be given sometime during the day, sometimes immediately, sometimes before lunch, sometimes after lunch, all depending on when the instructor grades them.
After class resumes, answers that were missed are gone over in class and thoroughly explained. This will help you understand the rationale behind the correct answers. Don’t panic. Keep calm, you will see some answers you got wrong, but that doesn’t always mean you failed. DO NOT ARGUE YOUR GRADE. DO NOT ASK TO SEE THE TEST OR YOUR SCANTRON IF YOU FAIL.
Tips: When you receive your test, multiple choice is first, written answers are last. It is VERY easy to miss questions on the last page, so the FIRST THING you should do is flip over to the very last question and WRITE THE FINAL QUESTION NUMBER DOWN ON THE PAPER THEY GIVE YOU. This will prevent you from missing questions. Believe me, this may save your grade down the road. I have seen people miss questions at the end of the test they didn’t notice numerous times.
Books: Some can be bought used, certain ones can be past editions because they have the same info, but your A&P books come with a passcode that is only active for one year, so you will either need to purchase a new book or purchase a used and then buy additional access on the website.
Mrs. Braitsch (Mrs. B) is the program director. She will instruct you during the first part of the program, and at periods throughout, primarily when it comes to the nursing portions. Mrs. Bellom is the other instructor, and teaches the science-based portions and pharmacology. Mrs. Braitsch is an old-school military nurse who values respect, maturity and a good work ethic. If you lack of the following, you will need to make adjustments. She expects everyone to act like adults, so any teenage shenanigans will get you in the hot seat. She will be really scary at first, and you may even dislike her, but by the end of the program, you will be SO GRATEFUL because she will make you into one hell of a nurse. Mrs. Bellom is AWESOME, incredibly helpful and you can always go to her for advice. She and Mrs. B are a team, and don't EVER try to talk badly about one to the other, or ever say anything that would imply such a thing. TECO has an awesome reputation, and we have recruiters come before we even graduate. Not everyone will make it (Only 8 of us made it in my class), but the people that do will have no trouble finding a job.
As far as clinical instructors and sites where you will be training (hospitals, nursing homes, health department), that will come later, in about 6-8 weeks.
Lol, notice those ALL IN CAPS sections? That means they are hot-button things that you will see someone do and get yelled at for. DON'T BE THAT PERSON! Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
if you have other questions, concerns or just wanna chat about the program (or buy my books, lol).