First semester of nursing

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    I am starting NS in less than 2 weeks. I am so excited about starting, but I am also curious on what to expect. I would like to know what areas are really covered during the first smester. I am a PCT so that helps me alot when it comes to patient care. I have been trying to relax because I know I am in for a ride once school starts. I just want to have a heads up on what to expect. Thank you everyone in advance for your advice.
    gdoubleu likes this.
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    The only thing I can tell you to do that would be universal to NS is to start practicing NCLEX questions, and read rationale behind all answers, right or wrong!!
    In my school 1st semester is usually basic understanding of the nursing process (ADPIE), Hx of nursing, learning skills, etc. Usually you do your clinicals in LTC and sub-acute areas.

    My advice is: don't lose sight of your dream! You may breeze through, and you may struggle, stay positive and focused and graduation day will hit you before you know it!

    Cheers & Good Luck!!
    Felicia327 likes this.
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    Thank you so much Angel@MyTable.
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    I remember my first semester of NS and honestly it blows...however its do able obviously just stay focused. GET ORGANIZED it will def help, study study study! FInd a method that works for you, study groups worked well for me however u have to have a good group, not on that just chats with one another. Also procrastination and memorization stope here! Its a lot of material and it can become very overwhelming so u must stay on top of it! and ull do great!
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    My first semester is in September but everyone's program is different. Look over the courses you registered for. My first semester consists of Pharmacology, Pathophysiology, medical calculations and an intro to nursing class with a 7 week lab and then a 7 week clinical in a hospital (geriatrics).

    Some students find the first semester to be a breeze since you usually only have one clinical, while others are overwhelemed by the amount of informations they learn. My school kinda adds in an extra punch because you have to take a med calc test and HESI exit exam at the end of the semester before you move on.
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    Good luck first of all. Every school / program is very different.
    My best advice is to find a good group to work with. I have a group of about 4 other students and we all share notes, study tools/guides, etc. Having a support system helps a lot i think.
    Get and stay organized. Find a note keeping system that works for you. I don't necessarily mean how you take the notes but how you keep them organized. Most of the teachers in my program post their slides/notes online. We would download them to our laptops and take notes from there. Rarely, did I actually take pen and paper notes. After each day or so I'd print my notes and put it in my binder. Often, the teachers used Power Point slides and I would just print them 3 or 4 per page to save on paper.
    Do not procrastinate. Period. Once something is assigned you better get started. It never failed that we had 2 tests and two other projects/homework due in one week. We had 4 classes plus 2 labs in our first semester which was quite a lot and it was very easy to get behind and not really even realize it.
    Keeping an agenda is essential for me. I can't just have my calendar on my phone either. I need to see it ALL on paper. I have a child and I am heavily involved in a volunteer organization so I have to keep everything in an easy-to-read format so I don't overbook myself and my time.
    If you do have a family, or if you don't, it is very important to also meal plan. I know that may sound crazy but I always had a light Friday afternoon and that's when I went to buy groceries and plan meals for the next week. Because I was on campus so much, I needed to have meals that would yield good leftovers. It is soooo easy to gain weight while in NS. Having good, healthy food and snacks really helps.

    Keeping a schedule is KEY - at home and at school. If Sunday is an easy day for you, that is when you should group study and do laundry. It frustrated me when I would forget to iron my lab coat or something and have to rush to get it ironed before clinical.

    Good luck!
    meredith
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    Wow! Everyone is giving me some great advice. Thanks again!
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    i just finished my 1st semester and wow...it's tough but doable!
    1. get sleep! (seriously, i didnt realize how important this was until 3/4 way through the semester!)
    2. be open to new ways of studying, but do only what works for you!!! i did try the voice recorder, ( which i did sometimes listen to at night before exams) tried to the study groups, which for me, i think i do best studying the same way i have been during all of my pre-req classes..at home, alone,( i have 4 sons, never really alone!) reading and writing notes.
    3. you are a pct, so i think you will have the comfort level i did not have at all with clinicals! i think that's 1/2 the battle!!
    4. remember you'll get through it....it seemed so overwhelming at first, and like it would never end...and then it was over. i'm hoping 2nd semester goes by quickly too!!
    good luck!!!
    babe48076 likes this.
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    First semester is very general and clinically you basically only help the patient with ADLs and maybe your professor will want you to interview the patient. No medication administration at least at my school, and we only had to write one nurse's note that semester.

    The questions on the test are a little different than how they were in the prerequisite classes so for me that was what drove my A average to B- the first semester. Its not straight knowledge question, they give you a scenario and you have to pick the correct action to take. So for example they will never ask you what is the normal range of serum potassium (3.5 - 5.0), they might give you a serum potassium of 3.2 and then give you a list of food, now you have to pick the food or drink to offer the patient that has a lot of potassium (orange juice, banana, etc). It's weird at first but you'll get used to it eventually. And memorize your medical terminology, the questions usually don't use layman's terms, like it won't say the patient is sweating, it'll say the patient is diaphoretic.

    The nursing books have a lot of Anatomy and physiology information, don't spend too much time on that, i would use that only as a reference if you don't understand something, but there won't be any questions on A&P.

    If i could start nursing school all over again, i'd buy NCLEX review lectures right away (kaplan, feuer, hurst or drexel). Its really a condensed form of the lectures you'll get in nursing school so only the most important stuff is presented. They really give you a good base especially when you start getting into pathophysiology.
    Irinauer likes this.
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    Thanks, Mike 82. I just started to review the the NCLEX last night. It definitely helps because the test questions are different from the pre-reqs. Monday is the big day!!!!


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