I am half way finished with my 1 year accelerated BSN program, and so far I like it for the most part. Our classes have been really interesting and in depth regarding disease processes, etc. and I'm doing quite well. One thing that is starting to worry me however is what I perceive as a big gap between the didactic and our clinical component. Clinicals, quite frankly, kind of suck. Mainly we just shadow nurses, very little hands on. The only hands on stuff I've done (after 4 months of clinicals now) is remove an IV catheter, take vitals, do an assessment, and give out a few medications. We can only give out medications if our clinical instructor is with us, and with 6-9 students per instructor, we are lucky to give out medications once per rotation. I've given one shot - a vaccine. We're not allowed to do anything with IV's at all - we won't have ever inserted an IV or practiced a blood draw when we graduate aside from a 20 minute lab dedicated to it (we stuck a dummy arm once). I just feel like when I graduate I will be totally incompetent and it's scaring me a little. Anyone have a similar situation?
The odd thing is, my program is supposedly very well regarded. We are ranked highly as far as nursing programs go, and hospitals in the area prefer our grads over any other school around. I don't understand what I'm missing here. Is it common for nurses to have little hands on practice before graduation??
I got my BSN via the accelerated route and felt the same way...until the last semester when I had practicum. If you have a practicum, you'll get a LOT of experience there! Many of the skills turned out to be the easy to learn once you have done them a few times. However, I still haven't had the opportunity to do a few. I think assessment takes the most time to learn, imho. Each time I do it I get a little better. Like Ashley said, you can also use the time to work on critical thinking skills.
Even if you don't get a chance to do technical skills during clinicals, spend the day understanding EVERYTHING you can about patient labs/medications/assessment data and trying to integrate it with what you know. A few clinical instructors brought out equipment for us to practice with, too. You can ask about that. We didn't get much lab time so sometimes the instructor would let us play with an IV pump for a while. A nursing instructor was the one who taught me blood draws (more than halfway through) and I had no trouble doing them thereafter.
From what I am hearing most people in our group got hired fairly quickly. I was just hired this week after looking for a month. Many of the floors my former classmates are working on have binders and workbooks for them to continue training and learn about floor specific concerns.
I never went through a residency program, but the hospitals here do have very thorough orientations. It's practically "school...continued." You'll learn fast. If you aren't the type to learn quickly...you wouldn't be halfway through already. I remember! Six weeks for a class and a test almost every week with multiple papers due and clinicals? Sheesh!
Last edit by Damask on Mar 23, '12
: Reason: More readable