LPN school: The First Year

by Ms Kylee 10,743 Views | 9 Comments

  1. 19
    March 5, 2007.

    My first night of LPN Nursing School. I was sick to my stomach, nervous as a cat, and ready to quit before I started. Sheer determination made me walk through that door to the classroom and find a seat. Sheer stubbornness kept me coming back night after night, and giving up my weekends.

    It took me 40 years to get to that point. I had tried for 5 years to be able to enroll and take the spot where I was sitting in now, but life got in the way. I had a parent who needed surgery (twice) right when classes were starting, financial aid that didn't come through, and a parent's death.

    The program director introduced herself. She seemed friendly and nice. Later was I to learn what a not so nice person she really was.

    As I got through several classes, I found myself enjoying Anatomy, and disliking everything else. I was terrified I would flunk out.

    I had a talk with myself and gave myself a stern butt kicking. I told myself it was better to try and fail than not try at all.

    Nobody could tell me what this experience would be like. Even my best friend who had gone through a full time program wouldn't offer any advice or tips. All she would say was "You'll figure it out on your own soon enough."

    Sure enough, I did. I learned many things during this first year:

    *Study your bum off. You can't learn if you don't read and study it often.

    *Ask questions. If you don't, you're sunk.

    *Think of ways to remember things. I got through the Heart test by singing the Bayer Asprin commercial. I couldn't get it down in my head until I found the words to the commercial and started singing them. Looking at the words and singing it in my head made it all click. (Thank you, Schoolhouse Rock! You saved me again!)

    *Lots and lots of coffee. I'd be lost without my cup o' joe. It's also the perfect excuse to take a needed study break. I could always justify a break when I needed to make a pot.

    *Index cards to remember incidental things and big things. Reviewing them before the big test has given me better grades than I could have hoped. If I ran out of index cards, I write everything on notebook paper and carry it with me to review during the day of the test. Reviewing while in the bathroom got to be a habit quickly. Nobody disturbs you when you are in the bathroom. It's a few minutes of peace and quiet. Most times.

    *Get paperwork done early. I stress a lot less when I know my paperwork is done and turned in. This was difficult to do since I'm the great procrastinator.

    *Keep mouth shut, stay under the radar, and play the game. You won't win with nursing instructors, and there is no sense in trying. Smile and nod, and say Yes, Ma'am, No, Ma'am, Yes, Sir, and No, Sir. You will save a lot of grief.

    March 3, 2008.

    The new part time class started that night. I peeked in the room and saw a large class, probably just as nervous as I was a year ago. I wondered if they knew what they were getting themselves into.

    Mentally, I wished them all luck, knowing they would need it. They were also getting the better instructors than I have. I also wondered how many would be there in the end.

    One of my classmates caught me in the hall and pointed to the new students. It really rang home with her when I said "That was us a year ago." We both looked at each other with a sense of amazement and accomplishment. My classmate said "Kylee, we made it through the first year." I nodded, smiling. Then I turned my back so she couldn't see me wipe the tear from my eye.

    I made it through the first year!

    Then I started thinking about all of the things I have learned.

    *Dressing changes
    *Bed baths, AM and PM care
    *Vital signs
    *Foleys and straight caths
    *Pulling IV's
    *Giving injections
    *A world of other things

    I have been pushed and pulled in many directions. I have been challenged beyond my wildest dreams, and I've come through. I've surprised myself. Things I would have thought were impossible a year ago are now things I do on a routine basis. I don't say "I can't" anymore. I say "I will try". I amaze myself every day.

    It has been a long and stressful year with another one to go. As much as I complain about Nursing School being awful, I really know this was the best decision I have ever made and followed through on, and it will be so worth it in the end.

    Last edit by Joe V on Mar 9, '08
    alexg524, Over50NewCareer, ACK_LPN, and 16 others like this.
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  3. About Ms Kylee

    Ms Kylee joined Oct '06 - from '1 W. 161st St. Bronx, NY'. Ms Kylee has '6' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Med Surg, Hospice'. Posts: 840 Likes: 677; Learn more about Ms Kylee by visiting their allnursesPage


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    9 Comments so far...

  4. 3
    You know, this post is really nice! A lot of my fellow students complain and say that they haven't learned enough and how the program we are in is cr@p! Well, I say, "I know a lot more than I did when I came in last March! YOU JUST REMINDED ME OF THAT FEELING AND THAT I HAVE MADE IT THROUGH MY FIRST YEAR TOO! I almost quit my program feeling that I could find a better one with more instructors, more class time, and more clinical practice...but someone said to me, "Do you think you can just DROP out of this program and instantly take a seat in another?" SO TRUE! A seat in a nursing program is HIGHLY COVETED AND HARD TO COME BY! So I'm glad I stayed, it WILL be worth it!

    I heard something on TV a few days ago and the guy was talking about how adversity makes you stronger....He said, "When you go to the gym and lift weights, it's an opposing force right? Well when you keep at it, what happens to your muscle? It gets STRONGER!"
  5. 0
    Wow that is alot of stress I am trying to get in to a nursing program right now. This is more stressful than I thought. I have a dumb question i am trying to bring my scores up in the reading comprehension, sentece completion, and my math so they will reveiw my application again. do you have any suggestions?
    Thank you,
    Hope to talk to you again.
  6. 0
    To be or not to be,

    My local community college offered a NET (Nursing Entrance Test) prep course to help improve your scores. It helped because alot of us did the basic concepts of grammar and some math skills in 1902 and may not remember things! LOL. So check your local Community College and see if they have the class...ours was FREE!
  7. 0
    "I heard something on TV a few days ago and the guy was talking about how adversity makes you stronger....He said, "When you go to the gym and lift weights, it's an opposing force right? Well when you keep at it, what happens to your muscle? It gets STRONGER!""

    VERY TRUE! I LOVE IT!
  8. 0
    Hello Everyone,

    I'm new to allnurses.com. I'm 6 months into a LPN program ! I would describe my first 6 mths the same way. Although I have learned quite a bit I'm ready to be done with this. I look forward to getting some good advice from you all. FYI : Please excuse any mispelled words, since starting nursing school I have been unable to spell " regular" words....LOL
  9. 0
    Thank you for this posting. I am a brand new Clinical instructor for LPN students and it had helped me remember how challenging Nursing school is. I do feel empathy for Nursing students.
    You have courage that I admire, especially in not quitting.
    I wish you the best and thank you for sharing.

    Clayah
  10. 0
    Thank you for the insight. I have been an LPN instructor for the past six months. I just love it. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and feelings. I will remember them as I plan lectures and clinicals for my students.
  11. 0
    thanks for sharing, im a upcoming second year student this year, i have been nervous as hell in my first year and can't even recite, i would follow your tips...thanks...
  12. 0
    This post really his home I am in my second term they say this is our make or break term... And it doesnt help having a class of children that never learned respect for others or their instructors. yelling and whining to get there way and runnong to the dean because they dont like a teacher its rediculous the stuff that hs been going. Last week I got dragged in their dramas I was so ready to quit but I am not letting children push me out

    I may be old and fat but I have wanted to be a nurse all of my life now its my time I refuse to let the whiners get to me but I also refuse to keep quiet any longer my plan is next time they behaves like children is to stand up and say "one two three heads down, when you can behave you can sit up" maybe that will shock them straight


    I have loved what I have learned so far clinicals are awesome our staff at the facility loves to teach us all kind of things and our instructor is awesome.

    cant wait to see whats next......................


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