I would like some input on how busy and overwhelmed I will be once I begin school. I feel like I have a good jump start since I have been a CMA for 8 years and an EMT for 2. I pick things up pretty easily. Throughout my prereq's I have gone to school fulltime, worked fulltime, with a child and husband and would usually get A's and once in awhile a B. I know when I was in school for EMT they too said that it would be sooo overwhelming and it was not so bad at all. I kinda think that the same will happen with this but then again I worry too that it will be soo crazy. Any insight?
Also, I am a person who really needs 8+ hours of sleep a night. This is probably my biggest concern. I feel like such a wimp, but I know that I can bust my butt so much in other ways .....but I NEED my sleep. Do ANY of you who are in school get enough sleep .... or is it that, in school there really is no way to get more than 4 hours of sleep. Is that sleep depravation more in the last semester or each and every semester?
Mar 25, '08
Nursing school has been tough. It's about the amount of material that you must learn in such a short amount of time. I mean, my tests usually consist of 10-15 chapters. I usually loose sleep around test time ( once a week or so), but for the most part, if you listen in class, do your readings ( skimming actually!) you will do ok. One of the hardest things for the students in my class in our first semester was learning how to take a nursing test. It is all critical thinking. You have to train yourself to take tests like that. Or at least most of us did. It is doable- I am married with two kids and I work (only part time). I would also say so far, that all of the semesters are busy. Good luck!
Mar 25, '08
If you're deeply attached to your 8 hours of sleep per night, my biggest piece of advice is to chat with people further along in the program that you trust and find out if there are any classes where you don't really need to do the reading. And do your assignments as early as possible so you can work on them a little at a time so you aren't up all night finishing them (I am a big procrastinator, this happened to me a lot).
It really depends on the person, I think, how tired and overwhelmed you feel. I had weeks and months where I was exhausted and sick of it and wanted to quit, and I had weeks and months where I was fine. It just depends.
Mar 25, '08
The amount of work has been a bit more than I expected. I am a 2nd career nurse so I thought I knew what to expect as far as course work, but this is more than most college degrees!! There isn't a reason to really lose sleep most nights. I have 2 kids and so I sometimes have to stay up late to read or study, or do assignments. But that is fine by me as I usually end up getting at least 6 hr a night. I have friends that never stay up past 10pm and they are still in the program (done in may!) Some people in our class stay up until ungodly hours often, and personally I do not see a reason for it. They aren't doing any better than those of us that get our sleep, and they are a lot more exhausted. you do have to be organized and do your reading and assignments ahead of time. I try to start my readings early. I also try to start studying for a test a week ahead of time so I'm not having to cram in those last couple days. There are some times where I have stayed up until 1am or so to get some studying in for a hard test but that is just every so often, not regularly. The times when I've had no choice but to stay up late are clinical nights. We pick up our patient assignments the night before after 4 or 5pm and then are required to be in at 6:30 am the next morning. We are required to have our med cards (sometimes up to 20 meds) written out and KNOW the meds (which requires actually studying the cards the night before) and care plans
done when we get there. That is a LOT to do in one night especially for me since I usually have things done way in advance. So, those nights are tough. And even worse is that you are nervous for clinical and want to do your best and when you are lacking sleep it makes things even harder (for me). We had people who would stay up all night. I refuse to do that. It is unsafe for me and the patients. There were nights I was up until 2am and got up at 5am. NOT FUN. Good luck.
Mar 25, '08
I am not really sure how to put it into words. You are going to be so busy and overwhelmed that if you have clean undies and socks you consider it a good day.
I also thought I had a good jump start since I have been a CMA and Xray tech for 13 yrs but that has really helped me very little, iand in some cases it has hurt me because I have to relearn something a different way than I have been doing it for years. I also worked full time during my pre req's and am a single mother, and maintained high A's. I way underestimated how demanding nursing school was going to be. I think it depends on how competitive your program is, mine is ridiculously competitve. I still maintain A's but it is the hardest, most demanding, stressful thing I have ever done
As for the sleep question it depends on your life. Today I got up at 6am to get ready for work, got off at 5pm, picked up dd at school, feed her dinner, then soccer practice, just got home at 8pm, still have to finish a care plan tonight, I have to get up at 4:30am at the very latest to get to clinicals on time. If I am lucky I will get 4 hours of sleep tonight., and I still will not have all my reading ready for class tommorrow. It is not uncommon to have 300 pgs of reading to do between classes, and I never can seem to get that done.
I need to get off here now and go study.
Mar 25, '08
The first 3 semesters are VERY hard. Tha amount of material you have to learn is crazy! But semesters 4 and 5 get easier, your patients may be sicker but you class work winds down so you have more time to focus on clinicals. Like I am in my 4 th semester and I only have class on Fridays. They slowly give you more and more responsibility. But a word of advice find one or two people you click with and stick with them because they will become your lifeline. They will stick up for you if you are late/sick, so these relationships are very important!
Mar 25, '08
I was constantly bracing myself for the outrageous stress and overwhelming workload of nursing school... and don't get me wrong, it had its moments... but overall it has not been nearly as difficult as I was anticipating. I am very blessed to have good recall, which has helped immensely in taking tests, but it has just never seemed that difficult to me. I think it's because I'm older (43), I have quite a bit of life experience with 4 kids, and I've always been very interested in medicine and healthcare, so I've always read a lot about it. Especially meds. I've always read everything I can get my hands on regarding any meds that I or anyone in my family will be taking. If you catch on quickly, and EMT school didn't seem difficult to you, I really think you'll be ok.
OH, and I have never stayed up till the wee hours doing homework or studying. I have almost always gotten enough sleep. Almost - there have been a few times - mostly during the earlier semesters - when I was doing pathophysiologies on 6 different conditions, along with making med cards and plans of care, etc. THANK GOODNESS they've cut those out now. STAY ORGANIZED - the most important piece of advice I can give you. Really.
Last edit by Cfitz on Mar 25, '08
Mar 25, '08
It must depend on what type of program you are in. I am in a 2 yr ADN program and so far, halfway through my first semester I am not having any crazy, long nights or studying, or excess stress over the material we need to cover. I havn't had an exam that covered 10-15 chapters, though. I would hope that's an accelerated thing! I think everyone should state what kind of program they are in so the information they scare you with is actually relative to what you might experience yourself. I was petrified to start nursing school after reading some posts here, but overall it's been very manageable so far
Mar 25, '08
I will be doing an ADN program at a Florida Community College.
Mar 25, '08
You will be very pressed for time so plan in advance, multitask and/or ask for help with household/meals/bills etc before the semester begins and you get behind. I record the lectures and listen to them when doing other tasks; good for picking up instructor's voice inflections which helps focus studing for tests. Study as you go, study with a group that is focused, not chatty, and process ideas for assignments in your head even before putting them to paper. I agree with others-clinical prep night is a high stress/low sleep. I have all lab value +/- typed for copy/pasted options into document; same with medications. Anything you have utilized in the past should be readily available if you need it again to save time on clinical prep nights. It is doable, just very busy and focused.
Mar 26, '08
Everyone warned me about how busy I would be and to kiss my life, family, hobbies, goodbye. I've found that to be totally incorrect. Compared to working 40 hrs/wk or the 3-4 12 hr shifts I used to do, I feel like I'm on vacation!
I do spend a good deal of time studying, but I'm at home when I do it and I can stop and do something around the house that needs done.
I still get to take my kids and do fun things with them and I still have plenty of time for my own hobbies. I go out to eat, shopping, and to the movies just as much as ever, maybe more.
I never come home as exhausted as I used to from my previous job.
I've really enjoyed the extended "vacation" that NS has afforded me. I'm going to miss it when I graduate and have to find a job!
Mar 26, '08
I am in an ADN program (5 semesters) and we HAVE had exams that covered an unreasonable number of chapters. The one that goes down in history was a renal/cardiac test - it was 22 chapters. It was NUTS.
I have to say that it has been sort of roller-coasterish - some units were very doable; few chapters, more time; other units have been nuts with many chapters and less time to study them. It all seems to even-out though.
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