Orientation completed......starting 1st semester

  1. Hello everyone!

    I haven't got a clue on what to expect this first semester. I have worked in the medical field for 10 years. First as a medical assistant (giving shots, blood draws, BP's) then an EKG technician
    went back to school for two years for my surgical tech (handing insturments and sometimes first assisting in surgery) which I am currently employed at a local hospital on a contingent basis. I understand I have more knowledge about the medical field than some girls coming out of high school but I have no idea how much this experience will help me in the nursing program. I know I have ALOT more to learn but if any of you that had medical experience before going into the program could shed some light on how it helped you it would be greatly appreciated!!

    Thank You

    Raynee
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   KC CHICK
    Well, you definately have more experience than I did when I started. It may help and it may not. I graduated this May. My nurse educator at my new job said that he had a few years of military nursing experience before he went to school in the 70's. He was actually held back a semester by his freshman instructor because she felt that he needed to "think like a student". I don't know if he felt the same way then, but he now agrees w/that old instructor. Some of the 'tricks of the trade' and the way different facilities do things are not liked by instructors. My advice : Do it the way they want you to do it - to get through and pass. It's the 'ivory tower way' in school and on Boards.
  4. by   truthsayer
    at 39, i've decided to shift my career from rehabilitation counseling to nursing. i put myself thru college doing personal care aid work at a nursing home and private duty. i have a BS and 10+ years experience counseling ppl w/ a variety of physical and psychological disabilities. i'm not a stranger to having patients die or working w/ suicidal patients and working w/ hospital and local MD offices. i enjoyed this kind of work and decided i wanted to work more directly w/ patients. i took the past year to take anatomy & physiology, biochem, chemistry and other basic areas i lacked a foundation in. i did well and got into the local ASN program. my prob?

    at the new nursing student orientation last week, we were introduced to instructors, rising level 2 students, and info on the program in general. they told us the good, the bad, and the ugly about nursing. i thought i was mentally prepared for what was coming due to my prior professional experience but i was surprized at my intense level of panic after i walked out of that room. i got nauseated and thought i would have to stop the car to throw up before i got home. i knew i had "butterflies in my stomach". i haven't had an anxiety attack about school until now. i know every student nurse in that room was terrified.

    right now i'm trying to talk myself back into enough self-confidence that i can walk into class august 16th w/o passing out or throwing up! i thought my age and prior experience would help my self confidence. NOT!! i prob just need to laugh at myself. i have a trusted friend who is a guidance counselor at this college and was a professional collegue when i worked. i talked to her about my misgivings and she reassured me that it was common for the staff to try to scare any weak students off at orientation so they'd have time to get new students in their place before classes start. i have no reason to doubt her.
    does this tactic happen in other nursing programs? i'm trying to regain my perspective before school starts. i believe in my heart i will be a good and ethical nurse. i was a good counselor except that i was dealing w/ it from a psychological viewpoint. now i will be responsible for learning actual life saving techniques. i know what i've seen out there and thought i was walking into this w/ my eyes wide open. now? my brother is an emt of about 10 years experience. he told me after he assesses the situation and tells himself,"oh, SH**!!!!!!!!!", he goes on instinct, andrenaline, and training. he assured me that repeated practice drills would prepare me like they have kept him prepared.

    any advice from those who've been there would be appreciated.
  5. by   crnasomeday
    Oh my gosh truthsayer...what exactly did they say to you?!? I mean, I can't imagine what they were trying to do if students left there with a panicky feeling. That should not happen.
  6. by   truthsayer
    what did they say? well, the level 2 students gave us a 3 page handout called "words of wisdom to nursing class of 2003 from nursing class of 2002". i'll just name off a few things that came up that day.
    1. apparently, class 2002 had severe problems w/ some students thinking that some staff were racist. the person who caused most of the probs was the class president but they didn't know until it was too late. it caused a lot of upheaval and dissention in the class the whole first semester to the point learning was impacted.
    2. they told us if our marriage was weak it would get weaker. if our marriage was strong it would be shaken. but our new family was going to be the nursing staff and students for 2 years and our families would just have to understand and back off if they want us to be successful in the program. that upsets me b/c i consider myself a disciplined student and know where to draw the line w/ fun and work. i learned as a professional that it's best not to consider the ppl you work w/ as family b/c it's too easy to put in your own personal probs into an inappropriate environment. it's good to be friendly and supportive to co-workers but there are personal boundaries one shouldn't cross to maintain a healthy professional relationship.i don't want to disregard my instincts about this as it caused many probs in my professional life before. to me, i think that's what happened in #1.
    3. student nurse horror stories like the student who was doing a clinical in a hospital psychiatric unit. the student restrained a patient but the patient escaped and jumped out a 6th floor window. with my keen interest in psychiatric nursing and prior experience, i think that one hit home the strongest.
    4. skills check offs: we have 3 tries to get a skill checked off. level and staff said they don't mind given extra help but if we can't do it in 3 tries then we get booted out of the program. well, that hits my performance anxiety. they said that the nursing lab is open til 10:00 at night to practice.

    i've given 100% to my studies in the past year but i've rarely spent a whole day working on skills and reading. i'm not taking a full load this fall--just 10 hours b/c that's all i need. i figured that would give me time to do my schoolwork and clinicals plus remain a wife. i think i have a strong marriage.i want to include my husband in my life. i don't want to live my life in a bubble as a nursing student. i don't think that's a very emotionally healthy thing to do and would lead to higher burn out in the program. at least i feel that i would come to feel burned out if i don't have emotional involvements outside the program. i will only need to be full time one semester in the next 2 years. i took everything required i could ahead of time in deference to my commitment to becoming a nurse but also to have family time. now i'm wondering if my planning to have as light a schedule as possible is going to pay off. this is just a sample of the things we were told and the reasons these things really upset me.

    they mentioned don't worry about the housework piling up--i have never have! that's the one thing they said that won't bother me. my husband is great at keeping house, thank god!!!! i mainly cook,do my laundry,(hubby does his own) get groceries and do pet upkeep. if i won't at least have time to do those things, then i need to do some real soul searching about how much am i willing to sacrifice for this.
  7. by   crnasomeday
    (Now please bear with me, because I just got off work and I am really tired).....
    God love you truthsayer. I feel so bad for you right now because it seems like your upperclassman are not very good role models. I just wrote an email to a soon to be nursing student who had some of the same kinds of things said to her and I have to say that its all *crap*. I don't know what it is that makes people want to make others feel like they can't succeed. I mean, I see that sooooo much. People just talk about how hard everything is, and how much time you'll have to devote, and how you'll have no other life to speak of, and just how much everything will suck for you. Why can't people just say, "You know what, you're going to do great! Relax, don't be nervous, take your time, enjoy the experience, you're going to be fine. You're going to make a great nurse." I guess that wouldn't give them as much joy as they get from making people feel anxious and scared.
    I can't speak on the racism part of things, but as for the marriage and family part, let me just say this: If a couple has a weak marriage, well just about anything is bound to make it weaker. Right? I mean it doesn't take any stress at all to do harm to a marriage that is not strong. On ther other hand, a marriage that is in good shape is not going to be shaken by nursing school. That is just ridiculous. The key is always remembering your priorities. Though nursing school educators may like to make it seem different, the priorities are 1) God; 2) family; & then 3) school. A person who puts those priorities in any different order is bound to have trouble. And as for "family" being staff and other students, well that is also B.S. I know who my family is, and the last time I took a head count, none of my nursing professors or classmates was included in my family. If I can't claim them on my taxes, they are not my family Sure, some things will fall by the wayside. Clothes may not be ironed, dishes may not be done, floors may not be mopped, but so what...those are not very important things in the grand scheme.
    Don't let horror stories frighten you. I mean this is nursing, and some bad things are going to happen from time to time. You knew that right? Re: the patient that escaped from his restraints and jumped out the window - that is sad. I don't know what else to say about that other than sad things are going to happen. I mean, we can look at these situations and learn from them, and that is all we can do ex post facto.
    Lastly, the skills you'll be doing really aren't that hard. I know that they seem that way at first, because you get so worried about performing them exactly right in front of the instructor, but they are really pretty simple. No one feels totally comfortable with them though until they actually perform them for the first time on a real patient. You know what I mean? Doing trach care on a dummy in the lab is one thing, but after the first time you do it in the clinical setting on a real live person you'll feel totally comfortable and you'll never forget what you need to do.
    Let me just end with this: You will do fine truthsayer! You will make it through nursing school with mind, body, and soul intact. Keep your priorities straight, while always keeping your eye on the prize. You will make a great nurse!!
    Be blessed....
  8. by   truthsayer
    i feel a lot better now. i really appreciate the support. i also took the bull by the horns and opened by textbooks. this means i can't return them now if i change my mind but! i needed to see for myself in the books if anything looks familiar to me or too difficult to handle. after doing this i really feel relieved. i am familiar w/ some of the material and the procedures don't look that bad from the pictures and instructions written in the books. what's even funnier is that i've had some of these procedures done to me!! the ones done on me like IV's, CT scans, MRI's, injections, etc. will help me visualize how to do it and how it feels when it's being done to you. some of the nursing interventions like dealing w/ family and the patient are also familiar as i have done similar things as a counselor. for one talking w/ a family or patient about terminal illness. i volunteered briefly for hospice and have some hands on experience there. i just have to stay focused that i am not a total novice at this. if i had gone into nursing as i considered at 18, i know i would not have been mature enough to succeed--i didn't really know what i wanted to do with my life and i had a busy social life w/ dates, working, etc. 21 years later i know i have the maturity required. i'm settled down with a good husband,i don't have lots of social demands, we don't have kids, and i don't have to work while i go to school. i have very few of the distractions i had at 18.

    i'm remembering my self-confidence and why i chose to do this. i'm glad to know that i don't have to choose nursing school over God and my family. my family and spiritual life is what gives me the inner strength to face all this. i know i need support outside of school! i'm not crazy! LOL i know how to keep my priorities straight as i learned much about professional behavior when i worked before. there were times i had to put my conscience above my profession and my duty to family above my job. this doesn't diminish the type of professional i was or nurse i will be b/c i show the same kind of respect and tolerance for others.

    thank-you again for your insights. it means lot to me! i will keep y'all updated on what the first day of school is like.

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