Good Advice Karma Given Here!

  1. hello fellow students ~ i have a story that you probably haven't heard... and on this board you hear a lot.

    i'm in block 1... three weeks in to be exact.

    i have no kids or hubby/bf to juggle. i have no employer to please. i have no rent to pay.

    i acknowledge these wonderful advantages that allow me the opportunity to focus 110% on nursing school thanks to my family. i am a lucky woman and beyond all sorts of grateful for this opportunity. i was called for school and put in my 2-week notice at the desk job the following day and began preparations for the two-year journey towards the nclex.

    did you catch that last little bit critical thinkers? a desk job. i have no acronyms after my name like of the student body i attend classes with. i am not an na, lvn, abc or xyz. i'm a drop out art student from the san francisco bay who saw a call for nursing and paid my dues. completed my pre-reqs, co-reqs with high marks, and have enough humanities under my belt to give away to the needy.

    the maricopa county nursing programs generally consist of 30 students (so i understand), and my particular school has placed 40 of us due to rio's dropping the program. i've already put in many 'up till 3am' nights reading, lab module studying and so on and i just can't seem to get into the groove of this. this is like no other class i've taken (duh ). i can't even wrap my head around how to organize for this class. my lab partner asked me to pull out a print-out and i had to flip through all ten of my binder tabs thinking
    "okay, ... i would have put that under review material.. but then again, maybe it fit better under lecture printouts"

    i'm a mess. i've met a handful of very nice, very supportive people, two of which are or techs (they are the best for advice and love the opportunity to help, teach and tell gruesome stories). with 40 semi to advanced students crammed into a lab trying to learn dressing changes and sterile field setup, it's a bit hard (and discouraging) to have to brave the stampede of people fighting for faculty guidance. the faculty seems unorganized and only responsive to the people who already have a grasp on this stuff to begin with. i don't want to slow the program down and luckily i have a great partner who, like me, has zero experience in the medical field. she and i are learning together, however we're both a bit intimidated , frustrated and overwhelmed .

    bonus material: today was our first check off. vital signs. i practiced it up, down, left, right and standing on my head rehearsing. it was our first opportunity to earn points. i passed, but barely. due to a nasty cold i can't shake, my ears are plugged up and i had to retake the bp four times! i explained i wasn't making excuses, but it was very difficult for me to hear the diastolic. the one time i did nail it.. the instructor said
    "sorry, you'll have to redo it because i couldn't see the gauge because of glare from the lights."
    i walked away today with 5 points instead of 10. i cried on the way home. this is all the teachers know of me now.

    you know my story now and i apologize for the length of it, but i need some advice and encouragement here.
    how do i deal with the organizing?
    the huge crowds?
    the fact that (i'm pretty sure) i'm the only person of forty who basically failed my first check offs?
    how do i continue on knowing that i can't cut it despite all my advantages to succeed?
    thanks to anybody who can throw in their
  2. Visit alliphx profile page

    About alliphx

    Joined: Jul '08; Posts: 17; Likes: 3
    Student; from US
    Specialty: Student at deciphering the acronyms.


  3. by   SAHMStudent
    Chill. OUT. Seriously, take a deep breath. You are an adult, you were a professional. I don't know what your desk job entailed, but like me, it sounds like it was no where near a medical facilty or people in need. Firstly, remember that. You did your job, I would assume well. You dropped out of art school, and did something non-artistic (?) so you know how to adjust to a changing life plan, how to adjust to a different work style and way of thinking.
    Second, organize yourself the way you are most comfortable. If you feel handouts should all be together, do so. If you feel lab handouts should be with lab work, then do that. Third, you deserve to be there just like the rest of the alphabet soups. You did the work to get you there. They might have those degrees, but I would hope your nursing program doesn't give auto-entry just for that.
    Finally, don't worry about the other people. I know, I know, easier said than done, especially when you already feel inferior for not being able to do a BP in your sleep. But there will come a time when your work/life experience will help you, just as their experience is helping them now. And if what you say is true, no hubs, no kids, no rent to pay, then you are probably way ahead of many, and they are jealous of you. I am.
    good luck.
  4. by   seasoned hopeful
    i am in my second semester of ns. i have never had such a rollar coaster ride. literally, one minute you are up and the next crashing down. those things seem to happen to most of us alot. it is such an emotional ride as well. the more we learn, the more we realize what we have to learn. i was proud this semester, when i realized i had been doing to school for 2 1/2 weeks and had not cried yet. we yesterday was the day>>>>>>>>>>>>> it is a rocky road, full of rocks and ruts, but if you really want to be a nurse, and it sounds like you do, you have to keep your eye on the prize, and understand that failure is not an option.

    bless you and all the best of luck. you have a lot of people who are experiencing the same thing as you right here on allnurses. come in anytime.........kinderd souls here.
  5. by   tiffanyleigh0212
    a few things I do is I have 3 binders (clinical, lab, lecture) and 3 different colors to match the binders, easy to spot out and know what is what. in the binders i have dividers seperating syllabus.. handbook, then notes.. I bought some of those little page labeling things, that look like dividers but there just the clear thing and you attach it to the page, ANYWAYS i got some of those and labeled each content so it was easy to find. now with handouts, if the handouts pertain to a specific content and something i keep for my use, i'll put it under the category it fits into, if it's something I need to do and turn in etc, i put it in my folder.. then once your folder starts getting full i file them at home (i was told to never throw away anything) also on my clinical and lab binders it has each of the objects in the beginning of each.. i also have a planner and write down everything. that's just a few of the things i can think of off the top of my head. hope this helps and if i think of anymore i'll come back!
  6. by   alliphx
    @SAHM - I am chilled. Thank you. You heard the worst kind of rant.. a fresh one. You made a wonderful point about adjusting to life situations. I've already worn many hats, and I guess I need to realize that nursing is going to be the toughest mental shift yet. I worked out a plan of attack this weekend including a better, easier organization of material. I think this will help the battle. I think I'll also try a bit more aggressive stance on getting one on one instructor time in labs, or use the resources of experienced students. Thank you my friend for the helpful advice.

    @SeasonedHopeful - I'm glad to know that tears are common in this journey! and I've taped "FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION" on the wall in my study corner. Thank you for sharing your experiences and tips!

    @TiffanyLeigh - Wonderful advice! Thank you for that! I think I'll implement your idea of multiple binders and a home filing system for the unneeded stuff that accumulates. You're awesome!

    Kudos to you all! Thank you for taking the time to read my rants and respond. You all offered wonderful advice and tips.

  7. by   Nurse_Diane
    The fact that (I'm pretty sure) I'm the only person of forty who basically failed my first check offs?

    Do you know this for sure? And even if it's true, why would it matter? you had a bad day, plain and simple.

    My first quiz in critical thinking: my grade was 4/13. Whoops.

    I graduated 3 years later Summa Cum Laude and have a fabulous and fulfulling job as a Hospice Nurse.

    Learn from it and MOVE ON. You have plenty more chances to make it up. Life is full of ups and downs. It's up to YOU how you react to them. Learn from your mistakes.

    Best to you,
    Diane, RN
  8. by   labvalues
    Relax! You were sick and not feeling well. You will have plenty of other opportunities to look good in front of your instructors. I just started a second-degree program and we all freaking out because we all bombed our first test. Our instructor told us we would all have slip ups and to just keep up the hard work and it will come to us.

    As for organization, I have found it's best not to get bogged down in the details of what should go where. I have a folder for each class with a "to do" and a "done" side. When the whole unit is done, I put it into a binder for safe keeping.

    When it comes time to keeping track of my assignments I write or type out a whole list and check stuff off as I get each task completed. When I first write out my lists, I honestly want to cry sometimes, but crossing off the completed tasks gives me such a gratifying feeling.

    Good luck and keep up the hard work!
  9. by   KristeyK
    Welcome to nursing school! lol. Like someone else mentioned, there WILL be those, such as myself, who are jealous of your situation. And yes, it's been an emotional roller coaster. My first Med Math exam I BOOOOOOOOOMBED. Ended up 0.5 points shy of an "A". I can do DA in my SLEEP. WOOHOO! As for semester two- Med-Surg has already made me cry twice. (Like you, I have no previous medical experience.)
    However, I am an organized FOOL. I bought the little colored tabs that Post It makes (I think Avery makes them now too) and I label the pages in my binder according to subject. For instance, for Med-Surg I have a label for Electrolytes and one for Resp. As we go on, I'll add them for other subjects. I do the same thing for Patho and Pharm. (We're lucky in that each class is timed with the others so we're covering the same systems at the same time. LOVE that!) As for the handouts, I have one of those small three hole punches in each of my binders so I can immediately punch it and put it in my binder. Handouts that need to be turned in go into a folder.
    Also, I put the same labels into my textbooks so I am easily able to find each system. (This cuts down on the amount of time it takes to flip to the correct page. Sounds silly, but it cuts down on my annoyance level, so it ends up being a huge deal to me. LOL!!!)
    Good luck! Remember to stop and breathe when you start to feel overwhelmed.
  10. by   Saysfaa
    I think you got good advice above.

    I see just one small detail to add.... I do the inspirational sayings thing also. I've found they do help. I think they help better if they say where to go or what to do instead of where not to go or not to do. Maybe "Success, nothing less" instead of "Failure is not an option".
  11. by   not.done.yet
    Organize the way that makes sense to you. 10 binders sounds, well, overwhelming. Carry around only what you are working on that day. And keep in the active binders only the material that will come up on your next exam or check off. Have separate binders for skills, lecture and clinicals. Buy the fancy pocket folders that go into them. Once you have an exam or check off and it is behind you, transfer that information to a big binder you keep at home where you can access it easily to study for finals later on.

    You are definitely NOT the first 40 year old to fail a skills check off. There are tons of us here! You can do this. It is boot camp, to be sure - but lesser people than you have gotten through. Keep your chin up!
  12. by   CBsMommy
    I didn't have any experience before nursing school and I get really good grades and haven't failed a checkoff yet. Here's how I organize:

    1) I have a binder for each class. For instance, when I was in Fundamentals, I had one binder that I shared for both class and lab and also had those little dividers to split them up into categories. So, under my class tab I had: Class handouts, my notes and the instructor's powerpoints. Under lab I had: 2 copies of the checkoff sheets (you never know when you'll need another one) and anything else they decided to handout in lab.

    2) As for studying, while I read the chapters for that week, I would take notes and then compare them to my instructor's powerpoints (which she refused to post until after her lecture).

    After I was done with the test on the material, I would file away everything at home as well and start all over for the new test. That way, I wasn't carrying around unnecessary papers. Don't throw them away though, you will probably need to review them for the comprehensive final at the end of class.

    And please, please, please, don't spend a ton of time getting organized when that time could be better spent on studying. Good luck to you! This nursing school creature takes some time getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, you will do fine! Good luck and just remember to breath!