First Semester

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    Orientation is next wednesday for my school and I'm really starting to think about the first semester. What was it like for you? What did you like/hate? Do you have and tips or advice? I have worked as a nursing assistant before is that anything like the first semester? Comments and advice are much appreciated!
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    Quote from kay0324
    Orientation is next wednesday for my school and I'm really starting to think about the first semester. What was it like for you? What did you like/hate? Do you have and tips or advice? I have worked as a nursing assistant before is that anything like the first semester? Comments and advice are much appreciated!
    For some schools, the first semester's content is similar your nursing assistant course--you learn the basics about feeding, washing, turing, vitals, etc. However, other schoolshave realized there is so much for the student to learn that they are requiring their students to already have their certified nursing assistant license. For this school, the first semester will include teaching lab values, ABGs, and a clinical and other areas that other schools teach in the second semester. Either way, you are going to feel somewhat disoriented as if you stepped onto a moving escallator.
    kay0324 and RNintraining72 like this.
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    My first semester was certainly a whirlwind. Each program will follow a different curriculum. They do teach you much of what a nursing assistant would do, like bathing, oral care, making a bed with a pt in it, feeding... Things like that. Ours also focused on oxygenation, safety, catheter and NG insertion, general hospital rules, ethics, intro to pharm, medication math (also had Mental Health our first sem). The clinical portion, to go along with our nursing foundations/therapeutics, was a good semester to essentially get you comfortable in a hospital and how things work, like confidently walking into a patients room while they're sleeping to get vitals. The material wasn't that hard, it was the course load!
    RNintraining72 likes this.
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    For me the first semester was hard just because it was hard getting used to everything otherwise it really isnt that bad. I long for my first semester Actually though, for me, each semester seems to get a bit better.
    kay0324 likes this.
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    Just finished my final this morning on my first semester! Finished with a high B! Background: ADN program (but I have a bachelors degree in other area so this was the only class I had to take) and used the Lippincott Fundamentals Book. Working 30 hours a week.

    Here is how my semester went:
    -Went to orientation and was super excited - it was a lot of information that didn't QUITE make sense at the time. We had all these online programs to connect to and online hospital orientations - but that went fairly smoothly.

    -We had 2 lectures a week and one lab or clinical a week. Lectures were pretty much like every other college course and pretty on par with "101" level classes in the manner of teaching talking with a PP presentation up.

    -The TEST on the other hand were a totally different story. You will encounter questions that will present the material you learned in real-life settings. And you can read and memorize all you want - you really have to get to the WHY's behind everything since some of the answers all seem to be the same. The called this critical thinking - I call it common sense. Don't over think the questions and don't make any assumptions. Just take the questions at face value. If one of the answers is something you have heard 10,000 times - that is most likely the answer. If one of the answers is primarily about safety and fits the situation - that is most likely the answer.

    -Labs - since you have worked before with patients you should be fine. Our skills were Hand washing, Making a bed, Making an occupied bed, Using restraints, Bed Baths, NG tubes, Catheters, Enemas, Health Assessment, Medications (including shots!) and taking vital signs. We would start our morning with new skills and then afterwards we would get checked off on the skills we learned the week before. I would say people either had the hardest time with the catheters (maintaining a sterile field) or the health assessment (had to do it in a certain time period). I personally couldn't take a blood pressure to save my life.

    -Clinicals - after 5 labs we ventured on to the hospital. We went in groups of 8 and they partnered us up. We had 4 days at the hospital from 6:30am to 2:00pm. First day was just orientation where we watched videos on hospital safety, looked around and took care of some HR issues. The next 3 we were assigned a patient and pretty much did whatever we could get our hands on. I took vital signs, did blood sugars, gave medications and stood around waiting for something to happen. It was kind of boring but other classmates who went to different hospitals had better experiences.

    -Care Plans - we had to make a basic care plans for our patients. They are easier if you have an interesting patient or a talkative patient. We have barely started to scratch the surface with these so I don't have much more to say.

    -Math - we had to score a 90 or above on a 10 question math test. The questions were basically: Dr orders 10mg of FeelGood Drug / On hand: 5mg/2ml. How much would you administer to patient? We lost one classmate to this. Next semester it will be IV flow rates.

    -Other stuff - We had to take non-graded Kaplan test that I didn't think correlated with the class at all (I made 60's on all of them while making high B's and A's on the unit test). But all the nurses at the hospital we went to claimed Kaplan was the program they recommended for the NCLEX. So I guess there is a method behind the madness.

    -Online computer documentation - they had us use this program that lets you practice on a computer program close to what hospitals use. From my very limited experience I saw the nurses charting more than anything - so if you have a chance to use a program like this - I would recommend using it.

    Hopefully I painted a pretty good picture of what a first semester is like. Mine was fast and furious due to it being a summer semester but I never felt overwhelmed. I gained some weight (5lbs?), haven't watched TOO much TV but still watched my housewives, True Blood and the Olympics and could work 4 nights a week at a busy tourist trap restaurant as a server. My friend did it with a husband who works 60 hours a week and a 9 month old and worked at the same place 3 nights a week. She got a B also. I am looking forward to the fall semester where maybe there will be a little more breathing room and I can walk some of this weight off.

    -
    kay0324 and justinpark09 like this.
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    I haven't started yet (do so on the 15th) but I have my syllabus, outline, and required work/labs for health assessment practicum. From what I can tell, and what I've read so far: we will be going straight into interviews, Assessments, etc. From the assignments it appears that we just dive right in!

    It's a LOT of reading!! And that's an understatement. That's also for
    Just ONE Class! Brace yourself. I knew it would be a lot.. But I didn't know it'd be THIS much! I think we have like 7 assignments (total) due by aug 30th, which is also the first exam. (omw! That's like 3 weeks from now!!)
    KLBatchelor and RNintraining72 like this.
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    Janessa07 - thank you very much for the detailed, informative response. Having half a clue about what to expect, which I feel like I do now thanks to your post, makes me feel a bit better. The nerves were really starting to get to me!
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    Quote from CBLNurse2Be
    I haven't started yet (do so on the 15th) but I have my syllabus, outline, and required work/labs for health assessment practicum. From what I can tell, and what I've read so far: we will be going straight into interviews, Assessments, etc. From the assignments it appears that we just dive right in!

    It's a LOT of reading!! And that's an understatement. That's also for
    Just ONE Class! Brace yourself. I knew it would be a lot.. But I didn't know it'd be THIS much! I think we have like 7 assignments (total) due by aug 30th, which is also the first exam. (omw! That's like 3 weeks from now!!)
    Thanks for posting! I start on the 15th as well and I WISH they would go ahead and post our syllabus but they won't until the 15th. I'm glad you gave us a genaeral idea!
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    Im sooo jealous of you guys who have syllabus/assignments ALREADY!! Im able to get my books 8days before school but I won't be able to get an actual syllabus until the 22nd BUMMERRRRR. We do have a physical assessment quiz scheduled on our calendar for the 31st (they did tell us that @ orientation). I still dont even really know how the classes are broke down/consist of. Granted, Fundamentals is one. Drug Dosage is a self study course but not sure about other courses. BUT, WE SHALL SEE.....in 12 days!!!
    kay0324 likes this.
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    Quote from shellbie3j
    Im sooo jealous of you guys who have syllabus/assignments ALREADY!! Im able to get my books 8days before school but I won't be able to get an actual syllabus until the 22nd BUMMERRRRR. We do have a physical assessment quiz scheduled on our calendar for the 31st (they did tell us that @ orientation). I still dont even really know how the classes are broke down/consist of. Granted, Fundamentals is one. Drug Dosage is a self study course but not sure about other courses. BUT, WE SHALL SEE.....in 12 days!!!
    If I remember, tomorrow I'll let you know the topics we are going to be doing in health assessment the first couple of weeks. I don't have my syllabus for the basic nursing practicum course (fundamentals) yet, but hopefully I will soon! Maybe it'll give you an idea of at least where to start.
    RNnme3j likes this.


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