I graduated from NHTI's nursing program in 2003. I had previously obtained a Bachelor's degree from UNH in another field and to be honest, going through the nursing program was about 200 times harder! If you have to work or have a family to take care of, it will be just about impossible to take any other classes with the nursing classes- most people get A&P and micro out of the way first. I took Human Growth & Development the summer between the first year and second year (I took it as a distance learning course).
Nursing I- we had lecture twice a week, I think, skills lab once a week, and clinical once a week. Clinical started the second week of classes. As we learned things in skills lab, we would be expected to do them in clinical. Vital signs, bed baths, etc were covered first, then medication administration, and then each week something new: IMs, IV fluids/piggypacks/IV pushes, heart & lung sounds at some point early on, Foleys & staight caths (we didn't learn IV starts; you'll learn that on the job after graduation) First semester clinical was med-surg for most people, but my group was on an orthopedic floor. Most of the floors you'll have clinicals on are used to having NHTI students, and most of the nurses like them; in fact when I had clinicals some of the nurses were NHTI grads and loved to have students. Not everyone, but I never expereinced anything as bad as some of the people here on allnurses have
Anyway, you'll start off just having 1 patient, and by the time you graduate will be expected to take a 4-patient assignment. Some of the clinical instructors are warm and supportive, some less so. As for lectures, I you'll be learning a lot of information in a short period of time. The tests are usually based on lecture material but there will be some things from the readings, and are formatted similarly to the NCLEX. Some people can get by with OK grades without studying- most people needed to devote several hours a week (1-2 hours of study time for each hour of lecture) to really comprehend the information.
Nursing IIA & IIB, I don't remember which is which because when I was enrolled some people would have IIA second semester and some would have IIB. My second semester (whichever course it was) was peds/maternity/geri. Lecture twice a week, clinical twice a week. Clinical is a full 8 hour shift, usually 7-3 if you're in the day program, and 2-10 or 3-11 for evenings. We did 5 weeks on each unit, and studied applicable information in lecture during that time- although not eveyone had the same rotations at the same time, so when we were studying peds in lecture, some people were in peds clinical but others were in maternity or geri. I had my peds rotation at the Elliot, and because they never had a high enough census we would usually just have 1 patient each, plus one person would observe in NICU. I also had a chance to observe in the ED during my peds rotation (because there weren't enough patients to go around). I also had my maternity rotation at Elliott, and since L&D and postpartum are separate there, we spent 1 day in L&D (I was able to observe 2 C-sections and a vaginal twins delivery) and the rest on postpartum. Lots of teaching for moms: babycare, breastfeeding help, diaper changes. We learned how to do newborn assessments, were expected to do full assesments on mom & vitals on baby each shift, and could occasional get to cuddle in the nursery if a baby was in there. Also did Hep B shots on the babies, if there was an opportunity. My geri rotation was so much fun. I was really nervous going into it, because I find elderly folks a little intimidating. We had our rotation at Heritage Havenwood Heights in Concord, which is a really nice facility. Mostly we were on the skilled nursing floor, and would have the same resident each day. I worked with this awesome gentleman who had done a lot of traveling; he liked to show me his pictures. We showered/bathed the residents if it was their bath day, toileted them, gave meds & treatments, brought them to the dining room and helped those who couldn't feed themselves. We also helped the overworked floor nurses & LNAs answer lights. I spent a day with the nurse in the assisted living wing, and also did a home visit/interview with someone in the independant living condos. That was a fun semester.
The next fall, my third semster, was med surg/pysch- 8 weeks in each, two days a week. I think that was the semester we learned cardiac in lecture too, which was really hard for me. My psych rotation was at NH HOspital in Concord; we spent the entire 8 weeks on one unit and were each assigned to a client who we would sit & talk with each day. All we really did there was work on "therapeutic communication"; we didn't give any meds or do physical assessments. Instead of careplans we did something else that rotation but I don't remember what they were called. That turned out to be a pretty fun rotation, even more fun on the days where we went to the recreation room with groups of patients. Did some crafts and played a lot of foosball. The other 8 weeks were med-surg, with 2-3 patient assignements, depending on how we were doing individually. My med-surg was actually on a cardiac floor, with some amazing nurses who loved to teach. I learned so much there. Our instructor also arranged for us each to follow respiratory therapy one day (really learned those lung sounds!) and observe in the cardiac OR- most people were able to observe CABGs, but I was there on a good day and got in to see an aortic aneurysm repair in the morning and then a CABG later. Awesome learning experiences.
Last semester, was when most of us felt that we "got it". Still 2 lecture days and 2 clinical days. We got to pick where we wanted to have clinical (8 weeks one place, 7 weeks another) but were limited to med-surg, cardiac, ortho & rehab. We knew who would be teaching most of the sections, and honestly I choose my rotations based on instructor. So I had 2 more cardiac rotations. I would have loved to have been able to go to maternity again, or NICU, but they didn't offer those. We also did some community health projects that year; in the fall I did the TB clinic & flu shot clinic (great chance to get comfortable doing IMs!) and in the spring we each spent a day with a school nurse and a home health nurse. I was also supposed to go to the state prison one day to follow their nurse but that opportunity got snowed out (gotta love living in NH!)
Speaking of snow days- I commuted to school from the seacoast, and see that you will be going from up north. If the weather in Concord is lousy NHTI may call a snow day, cancelling both lecture & clinicals. If your clinical is in Manchester or elsewhere, and NHTI does not call a snowday because the weather is drivable in Concord but your clinical location is unsafe, your instructor may cancel. But if the weather where you live is lousy and classes/clinicals are not cancelled, you're still expected to be there. We were allowed 2 absences from clinical each semester.
Well, I just typed way more than I intended to. Feel free to post any questions you might have (I think there are some current NHTI students on this board too, and I know there's at least one other NHTI alum on here) or you can PM me.
I also want to add, that NHTI completely prepared me for a career as a nurse. I passed the NCLEX on my first try, and came to my first job with a good skills/critical thinking base. I opted for NHTI over UNH because my father & sister had gone through the program while I was at UNH, and I felt NHTI would better prepare me.