First semester nursing students...how's it going?

  1. Are you all swamped and overwhelmed too? I have a full-time workload even though I'm in a part-time program. Just had my first two tests last week but haven't yet received grades on them. I am anxious for some concrete feedback! We've had skills checkoffs but those are pass/fail. Needless to say, I don't feel entirely comfortable with the BASIC skills yet. I mean, if I had the time, I would practice them more, but I have hardly any time as it is. I know it's so important for me to know these and I'm a long way off from feeling like they're second--or even first--nature. My clinicals have room for improvement, too. We are in them for a relatively short time this semester, and I was hoping they would be structured a little better. We seem to spend way too much time in conference and not enough time with pts. And our group, at least, would like to have more direction from our instructor--she's nice but vague about what's expected of us. Of course, that's just my observation as a newbie. I expected a trial by fire, I'm getting it.

    After this first semester, we can apply for a PCA/PCT (similar to a CNA) position at one of the area hospitals. I'd really like to do this b/c I've had no healthcare experience up to this point. However, I would only be able to work on a very limited basis; either very short shifts or 1-2 days a week at the most. Do any of you know if either one of these arrangements are possible?

    Ugh, well, thanks for letting me "talk". I'm trying to figure out ways to keep my stress level down. Will it always be this high? I have a family and I'm a stay-at-home mom. I need to be the best person I can be for my husband and son, but it's been less than a month and I am feeling the pressure!

    So, tell us, how's it going for you?
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  2. 32 Comments

  3. by   jdomep
    Hi,
    First semester here and Overwhelmed too!!! We are in the "part-time evening/weekend" program. "Part time my %^$# LOL " anyway... I have an 83% average so far on our first 3 tests - not as high as I am used to but I won't complain. Our instructors rotate to us so the last exam had 3 different instructors test questions on it so that really makes it difficult to figure what they want from us KWIM? I am suppose to sign off on our basics in clinical this weekend a little anxious about that. So we'll see


    My 4 children are my FT job but we too are allowed to work as a CNA once semester 1 is over and they will let us work whenever we want If once a month is all you can handle then that is fine with them. So maybe over winter break I can pick up a few hours? It just depends...

    Good luck and I think I have found a nice little home here on allnurses:roll
  4. by   Ortho_RN
    Our hospital also allows us pretty much to tell them when we can work... I am in my 2nd semester and I only work on Fridays and every other Saturday... So I get 3 days on a paycheck... ANd they are cool with it...
  5. by   nrselisa
    I'm stressed too. I just signed off today on nutrition, urinary & bowels. Friday I sign off on meds. Wed. I had a test & Thursday I have a new pt for clinicals. Tonight I have to study, study, study. Hubby was off tiday & I HOPED he would do some laundry, but it looks like I'll being doing that tonight too I just can't wait until Christmas vacation!

    Lisa
  6. by   Vsummer1
    On the lecture part I and a few others are sharing the high score. On the clinical part I have a B in the written tests. Here is my problem: the practical. In our program we get the book, watch a video, and then sign up to be checked off after basically figuring it out on our own. The only instruction we get from our instructor's is at check off. Then we have the practical test. Each test is two tasks. Only two people in our class passed the first round.

    We must perform flawlessly several items, which we pick out of the hat. This combines several items we had in check off, the rest just figured out ourselves. I am failing. I have tried this four times. Today my task was to change a dressing on a patient in isolation. I gowned, gloved masked and performed the dressing perfectly (without breaking sterile technique or isolation technique) BUT I did not have a sink to wash my hands after I removed my gloves. It is located outside the room. I held up my hands and said I don't know what to do... by going outside the room to wash my hands, I fail. So, they failed me. We are supposed to play "imaginary" and make believe that there is a sink in the room.

    I did not sign up for drama, and am terrible at acting. The other scenario I failed was changing a wet to dry bandage. The bandage I was changing was not wet, we had to "pretend". After I removed the old bandages, by grasping the bandage in the middle as we were taught, my hands would not be contaminated. We then can continue with the clean gloves and apply our sterile gloves over them (this was again in isolation). My instructor informed me that my hands were covered in "serosanguineous fluid" and failed me. But, of course, the bandage I removed was not covered in serosanguineous fluid, it was DRY (they could have at least put water on it to simulate it being wet which is what they did in the check offs) and from my limited knowledge could only relate to what I was seeing/touching, not what they were setting up as make believe.

    I can understand why I was failed the other two times for forgetting the bed brake and forgetting to raise the bed rail when I went to get supplies (and this one was just a butt on the bed, no dummy on it at all, but still a stupid mistake). Those were stupid things I COULD see I did wrong!

    So, bottom line is... unless I pass tomorrow I fail out of the program.

    Any one else go through this play acting with no instructor teaching you technique prior to your failing???
    Last edit by Vsummer1 on Sep 30, '02
  7. by   Mkue
    I think the pressure will help us to become better nurses. When we get out into the real world there will still be stressors.

    Good Luck everyone, I know we can handle it !!
  8. by   beaRNwhenIgroUP
    originally posted by vsummer1
    on the lecture part i and a few others are sharing the high score. on the clinical part i have a b in the written tests. here is my problem: the practical. in our program we get the book, watch a video, and then sign up to be checked off after basically figuring it out on our own. the only instruction we get from our instructor's is at check off. then we have the practical test. each test is two tasks. only two people in our class passed the first round.

    we must perform flawlessly several items, which we pick out of the hat. this combines several items we had in check off, the rest just figured out ourselves. i am failing. i have tried this four times. today my task was to change a dressing on a patient in isolation. i gowned, gloved masked and performed the dressing perfectly (without breaking sterile technique or isolation technique) but i did not have a sink to wash my hands after i removed my gloves. it is located outside the room. i held up my hands and said i don't know what to do... by going outside the room to wash my hands, i fail. so, they failed me. we are supposed to play "imaginary" and make believe that there is a sink in the room.

    i did not sign up for drama, and am terrible at acting. the other scenario i failed was changing a wet to dry bandage. the bandage i was changing was not wet, we had to "pretend". after i removed the old bandages, by grasping the bandage in the middle as we were taught, my hands would not be contaminated. we then can continue with the clean gloves and apply our sterile gloves over them (this was again in isolation). my instructor informed me that my hands were covered in "serosanguineous fluid" and failed me. but, of course, the bandage i removed was not covered in serosanguineous fluid, it was dry (they could have at least put water on it to simulate it being wet which is what they did in the check offs) and from my limited knowledge could only relate to what i was seeing/touching, not what they were setting up as make believe.

    i can understand why i was failed the other two times for forgetting the bed brake and forgetting to raise the bed rail when i went to get supplies (and this one was just a butt on the bed, no dummy on it at all, but still a stupid mistake). those were stupid things i could see i did wrong!

    so, bottom line is... unless i pass tomorrow i fail out of the program.

    any one else go through this play acting with no instructor teaching you technique prior to your failing???
    val - my thoughts will be with you tomorrow...what kind of rationale is that? the high score in lecture fails out of lab????

    why is there no accountability for poor teaching:angryfire!!!!

    this continues to perplex me...more and more every day

    good luck tomorrow - this may sound funny but pray to whatever "higher power" you choose on the way in...(always helps me) right before you go in take a few deep cleansing breaths
    (no i'm not some new-age/self-help guru, these just help me... :d )

    let us know how you do
  9. by   Ortho_RN
    Unfortunately this is how many nursing programs work.. Ours is similar, except that if we don't understand how to do something, we can go get the instructor and they will help us. And our check offs aren't quite as strict, but there are some schools around that are.... I think it is just part of the whole "toughening up" process..

    Good Luck
  10. by   dianacs
    "I think the pressure will help us to become better nurses. When we get out into the real world there will still be stressors. "
    Sure there will be stressors, but the nursing program is stressful as it is--are we not learning about matters of life and death? And most of us have already been living in the "real world" and threw out our rose-colored glasses a long time ago. I just think that the BS factor could be turned down a notch.
  11. by   babynursewannab
    Totally overwhelmed. I quit work...my last day will be next friday. I, luckily, have an A average so farin lecture, but am out in la-la land regarding lab. Things are shown to the group so quickly and then we are told to leave to let the other group come in and we will have to practice outside of class. PRACTICE WHAT??? It went by so quickly in demonstration, I'm still recovering from the whiplash. Plus, when the H### do I have time out of class, work, mommy time, girlfriend time, doggy time, housework time and homework time. The mommy, girlfriend, doggy and housework time are already at absolute minimums. So, just like some others, Rock in Lecture, Suck at labs. I'm sure it will get better, but that is hard to make out through all the dense cr*p we have to deal with.
  12. by   Pado
    I am also in my first semester in the program at a technical college. I have been a nurse's aide for 6 years and I feel pretty confident in the class. But one of my teachers used to be a nun and it is definately difficult to handle her additude and out look on things. I do think that if you are in the program it is very beneficial to become a CNA, or as we call them now a LNA. This will help in the lab portion of the classes as well as in the lecture part because it gives you a chance to see how things are done in the real world as opposed to the "fake" world of the classroom. For all of you out there that have children and sre working and doing school I completely admire you, my husband is demanding enough never mind having children. And for those of you that seem like you have a h**lish lab class, make sure you keep asking the questions on the things that aren't being said my your instructor, after all YOU paid for the class! Gook luck to everyone out there, and remember to keep your heads up and remember that what doesn't kill us only makes us stronger!!!!
  13. by   DawnPN
    I'm in week 5 at a tech college in the LPN program and the stress level has started to fall. I think having a few exams under my belt and with that a better understanding about the level at which we are being tested has helped a great deal.

    My A&P class requires a lot of study, but the nursing class seems to "click". Being a CNA has really been a benefit there. I wish I could say the workload decreases, but it doesn't. It's just that I'm not so uptight about the exams now.

    I also have 2 fantastic instructors this semester, and I know I'm lucky to have them. I've read some of the horror stories on this board about instructors who don't "teach" and I'm so glad to be able to say that I don't know what that's like.

    So even though my house is a mess, my kids eat cereal for dinner some nights, the dark circles under my eyes are getting darker, and I get up at 3:30 A.M. so I can study for three hours before the hubby gets up...all is going well.

    A sense of humor helps, too!

    Best to all of us,
    Dawn
  14. by   StudentRN
    WOW, some of these posts is making me think my lab isn't all that bad. First off we are required to be CNA's before we can even apply to the nursing program...I think this is a new state law or something because all the colleges around here now require it.(this is the first year it is required) So our first lab was kinda a review...they set up a bed/patient/room and we had to find things that were wrong and give rational behind it. Example would be abnormal B/P or bread written on I & O sheet, folley bag cinked, bed not in the lowest position....etc Now every week we have a new task that we will be tested on in both theory(instructors ask questions to 2 to 3 people at a time) and skill...example...lung sounds...how to do it, where what sounds are heard, abnormal sounds, how respiration works...so far I have passed all my skills, but I have been so nervous doing them.

    My problem is this stupid careplan I just got assigned...man these are a pain and take forever!!!

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