I love reading all of your posts, I still remember how anxious I was (well, really, I still am, just anxious to get it done already instead of waiting for it to start already :-p)
Don't panic if you don't see anything under your "My Documents" for some it didn't show up until July. Enjoy your summer, I know how hard the wait is, but seriously, these next months will be the last breather you have for a while.
The nights/weekends fills up fast. If your on the lower end of the GPA pool, you even might get stuck with a different campus. I know..scary, but it is known to happen. All is not lost however, they DO let you switch, if you find someone to switch with, and there were even a couple of people that I *believe* were moved due to extenuating circumstances. Just in case someone didn't know, the day program has both a morning, and an afternoon option. Here is the schedule: Nights/Weekends- Clinical on Saturday from 6:30am to 4:30pm, Lecture on two weekdays from 6pm to 9pm. Mornings-Clinical on 1 weekday, 6:30am to 4:30 pm, lecture from 9am to 12. Afternoons-Clinical on 1 weekday, 6:30am to 4:30pm, Lecture on two weekdays from 1pm to 4pm.
Now for sistermargo's questions:
Wait until Orientation to buy those books. I suggest using the time between getting your letter and orientation (you'll get your letter around the second week of Sept, and orientation will be around the second week of Nov) to buy those things you will need for the program OTHER than books. (Scrubs, shoes, stethoscope..etc, I'll post a list in a bit). This way, after orientation, you won't have as much to focus on. Enjoy these next months, get your affairs in order, and basically make sure there is as little as possible available to stress you out once nursing starts.
Once you are ready to buy the books you have two different ways to go about it. Both of the books I suggest buying are available in the book package that HCC offers. You will need to get the package (about $500). You can do this once books are available in early Dec, BUT if you are like me, and can't buy books until bookcharging, I suggest buying older versions. The calculations book and the potter/perry book are available online for cheap, if you buy the old versions. I got both of them for about $25 including s/h. (granted, they were a few years old..but the info doesn't change THAT drastically between the new and old versions) You will still need to buy the package once bookcharging starts, as there are several books and guides and access codes and whatnot in it that you will need, and it really is cheaper to buy the package, but at least this way you can get a head start.
You'll need to study the first 8 or so chapters of the calc book, everything but Apothcary (except drams and grains), Body Surface Area, and Enteral. Don't pay any attention to administering IV meds either, you won't be doing those until NP 2. Focus on conversions, the math is simple, but the conversions you need to memorize (ex..how many ml's in a tsp? how many tsps in a tblsp? how many pounds in a kg?, etc)
In the potter/perry book, you need to study Vital Signs, Health Assessment, Infection Control, Hygiene, Wound Care. These are the topics for your first three weeks of clinical, and you will be checked off on them in the nursing lab prior to attending the hospital. Health Assessment is a gigantic chapter, so with this too I will post a little guide in a bit. Some of the chapter you will never use, and not be expected to do either. Learn what is normal, so that you can assess for what is ABnormal.
Clinicals is one day a week, for 10 hours.
No one dropped from my class, but I have no idea about any of the other classes.
As for the test questions....They try. It's all in how you take tests, and how you think about the questions, and how well you know the material. It helped me to underline the key facts in each question, then to cross out the answers which made NO sense or very little sense. Try to narrow it down to two answers, if you can. Once there you just have to put yourself into the situation, and think about what you would do. Most of nursing is common sense. It is hard to describe though, until you actually take a test.
As for the hospitals...here is what I know, and what I've been told. There are 5 hospitals (that I know of) that are used for clinicals. They are as follows:
1.) Town and Country---I had this hospital, and it pretty much sucked. It is a very small hospital, and well, some of the staff is great...the rest, not so much. You'll be on the med-surg floor, and will find that there are very few computers available for you to use (which you will need to do, as most of your Pt's med info, etc will be obtained from it), very few dinamaps to use (the portable BP machine), and basically no freaking O2 sats to use.
2.) Florida Hospital Carrollwood---I've heard better than Town and Country, still a little small though, and still making the transition to all electronic.
3.) Florida Hospital Tampa (fletcher and BB Downs--- I've heard it is a good teaching hospital since it is so close to USF, but haven't spoken to anyone who has personally had clinicals there)
4.) St.Joes---heard this is the best. Great staff, variety of Pt's, big, but not overwhelmingly big.
5.) TGH---again, great teaching hospital, but parking sucks, and is confusing to maneuver around. You'll see a huge variety here though.
Your class will most likely have three groups for clinicals (at least, it is this way for morning and afternoons, I'm pretty sure Nights is this way too, but not 100% positive) You won't necessarily get to really choose your hosp from the entire list. You'll most likely get two options, and get to choose from there. For instance, my class was told before NP1 by our professor that we could choose to have clinicals on Tues or Wed, but did not mention which hospital was which. It ended up that the Tues group had clinicals at Town and Country. There were two Wed groups, one at Town and Country, and one at Florida Hospital Carrollwood. Every professor does things a bit differently, in how they decide who is where. For NP2, I had hoped to be in St.Joe or TGH, but just found out that once again, we'll be at Town and Country, and this time, Florida Hospital Tampa. Suffice it to say, I am going to inform I don't give a darn which day he puts me on, as long as I'm at Florida Hospial Tampa, and not Town and Country.
The hospital options are entirely different for the Plant City and Southshore campuses...I have no clue which hospitals they use.
And..here is what you do in clinical. The first thing you'll do is get there about 6:30..don't be late, each minute you are late counts towards an absence. If you are late a combined total of 45 minutes throughout the semester, it is counted as an absence, and those are hard to make up.
Your professor (not necessarily your lecture professor..I had Mrs. Coleman for lecture, and Mrs. Bruser for clinical) will give you your Pt assignment. Then you'll head up to your floor. There you will find the Pt's nurse, and hopefully hear the report they are given from the night nurse. You'll, in a perfect world, be able to introduce yourself, and let your nurse know who you have, and what you can/will do for them that day. Your day will include giving them meds (only if you have your prof with you, otherwise you won't) bathing them, depending on if they are Total care, Assist, or Self, changing their linens if you are able, helping them use the bathroom, changing diapers or emptying cath's if those are present, doing a dressing change on a wound, again, if it is present, and you are allowed to (depends on the type of dressing, and the doc's instructions) feeding if they are total/assist, vital signs at least twice, Accuchecks and insulin injections if ordered. Going with them, as allowed, to any procedures/tests they have scheduled, and doing a Head to Toe assessment on them. When you are not doing anything for your Pt, you can answer call lights, and look up information on your Pt for your care plan. This sounds like a lot, but really, at times you will be pulling your hair out, and other times you will be bored. It all depends on your Pt for the day. Your professor *should* (mind did, but I don't know about all the others) vary your Pts. For instance if you are halfway through the semester, but haven't done a dressing change yet, she/he will probably try to give you a Pt that needs a dressing change. If all you have had are Pt's that are able to communicate with you, he/she will probably try to assign you a Pt that can't communicate with you for one reason or another. Your professor, when doing Pt assignments, will take into consideration what you have/haven't learned, and will most likely not give you anything you can't handle. If you do find you have a Pt that has something you can't handle, you are more than welcome to express your fears to your professor, they might give you a new Pt, or might help you with that Pt, to help YOU overcome your fears. In a perfect world, your clinical instructor is your friend/guide/mother/whatever...they are there to assist you when you need assisting, and prod you when you need prodding. They will not coddle you, but they understand that some of this stuff can be scary and intimidating.
So then, around 3pm each day, you will head to a pre-determined area, such as a conference room, and have "post-conference", here each person will talk about their day, what they learned, what was intriguing, etc. Sometimes you'll be given something specific to talk about. For instance, if your Pt had a special procedure done, your instructor might want you to explain to the rest of the group the procedure, what it was for, yadda yadda yadda.
Clinical day in a nutshell. The first *at the hospital* clinical day, you are normally paired up with another student, and, in my case, we weren't given a specific Pt that day, we were told to be basically, techs for the day..in order to get familiar with the hospital, and to practice all the skills you learned in the first three weeks of school, such as bathing, linens, vitals, etc. That first day, answer as many call lights as you can. The more you deal with, the more confident you'll become. I have a weak stomach, so I PURPOSEFULLY, exposed myself to as much nasty stuffy as I could that first day.
After that you will have 1 specific Pt everyday, either assigned as I described above, or in some cases, you'll be assigned to a nurse, and then allowed to pick your Pt from her list of Pt's (all depends on your instructor, although, the rest of it will be the same, regardless). There will also be days where you will not be assigned a Pt, but instead will be observing in some area of the hospital. At Town and Country, each person had 1 Endoscopy observation day, and 1 ER observation day. There might be more areas, in some of the bigger hospitals.
Start your care plans EARLY. If possible, use the first Pt you are assigned for your care plan. The first care plan is a biotch. It takes time getting used to, trust me. When you have downtime during the day, hop on a computer, or pull your Pt's chart, and write down EVERYTHING, so that you'll have it for your Pt.
The things you will NOT be doing in your first semester of clinicals: inserting anything into your Pt, unless it is an injection. So, no IV's (in fact, you won't be even administering any meds into the IV's) feeding tubes, foley's or other caths, drainage tubes, any kind of tube...blood transfusions (in any of your semesters). There are some things that your "technically" not supposed to do, but will probably be allowed to, once your instructor has done it with you once...those include removing IV's, and removing foley's.
That's all I can think of at the moment. I'll post some specific lists of things to study, and things to buy shortly. For now, though..off to bed for me!