What was your first year of nursing school like?

  1. Hello all!

    After stalking the post office for the last week my ACCEPTANCE letter finally came! I start a 24 month ADN program January 2012. Sheesh, I was shaking as I was reading it. As with most schools, the program is extremely tough to get into around here. They take 60 a year into the program and 35% of the schools 3600 full time students are majoring in nursing (per a recent news article).

    Soo, I wanted to get a little info from some others as to what I can expect the first year (particularly the first quarter). I realize most schools are a little different but I would still like to hear. Did you have clinicals the first quarter?

    Its a little bittersweet since I was getting my IUD removed 7/2 so the hubby and I could plan for kiddo #2. I think a slight change of plans is in order!
  2. Visit linzjane88 profile page

    About linzjane88

    Joined: Dec '09; Posts: 270; Likes: 646
    Nurse!; from US


  3. by   iPink
    Congrats! I know your excited and you should be. Getting accepted is not easy and you've proven you're up for the challenge to pursue your dream.

    I'm in my 2/4 semesters of my BSN program. Many days and nights studying, skills lab and clinical. When you get your book list, I would start reading.
  4. by   ro2878
    Congrats to you!

    I just finished Block (semester) 3 of an ADN program (already have a Bachelors and went back to get my RN at age 45).

    Not to scare you, but get ready for a life change! I would read the comments on here about how hard nursing school is and thought "how hard can it be?" Well, it is hard! There is a lot of info to learn in a very short amount of time. If you are a dedicated student you can do it! If others can do it, you can too!

    We had clinicals starting the second month of school. Our first rotation was in a long-term care facility, which included a lot of CNA type work (not being demeaning to CNAs- but it is a lot of bed making, helping patients dress and eat, etc.). You will get to give meds to patients after you pass a med skills check off at school. As you progress through school, you will learn new skills and use them (under the supervision of your clinical instructor and an RN that you shadow for the day.) At my school, the clinical rotations change with each block. We have 4 blocks and we have gone through Block 1 long-term care at a facility, Block 2 med surg at a hospital, Block 3 peds/L&D/med surg at a hospital. Block 4 for us will include psysch and then critical care. To give you an idea of how some of your skills progress, you will start out giving oral meds in Block 1 and by Block 3 you will be administering IV meds.

    At our school, the hospitals and days of clinical and lectures change each block. You do get to request first and second choices for which hospital you want to go to. Clinical days are enjoyable but can be tiring since you start at 6:30 and can be there for 12 hrs. Of course, hours will depend on your school. You also have to pick patients the day before, review their charts, and write the "dreaded care plans." Care plans are very time consuming and you may be up late into the night (especially when you first start out) doing them. You will definitely grow to hate care plans!

    Hope this info helps. Best of luck to you!!
  5. by   JROregon
    We spent the first 5 weeks working on patient assessment, actually on each other. This gets old pretty quickly. I think week 5 or 6 we began working in the hospital. We would go in the afternoon or evening before clinicals, pick a patient (and then 2 patients), write up a patient prep that covered the pathophysiology of the patient's condition(s), medical treatment, clinical manifestations, labs and the meaning of each lab value that was off, our plans for focused assessments, and then 7 nursing diagnoses for each patient. We would do lots of CNA type work, assessments, give meds (like in the 2nd term) and any other skills learned in the skills lab...... oh yeah, skills lab - we would learn the skill, practice it and then sign up for a time to demonstrate it with an instructor. Then there were the tests every other week. Pharmacology was a class all on its own. Then there were papers to write for both classes.
    Keep that IUD in place and keep on truckin' Congratulations !!!
  6. by   ajeanpants
    The only way I can describe nursing school is as a roller coaster. This past year has taken everything out of me-- physically, emotionally, PSYCHOLOGICALLY (lol). But it is so worth it. You will look back at the end of each semester and see how far you've come and how much you have to be proud of yourself for. You may feel like you're completely losing it some days, but it gets better and if you have supportive people in your life it is an amazing experience. Take the good with the bad, let the little things roll off your back, and keep the big picture in mind You'll be studying meds, learning SO much about assessments and documentation and basic clinical skills, and also spending time in clinical. Good luck!
  7. by   ro2878
    So true!!
  8. by   Piglet68
    Intense....its the best way to describe it....no make that emotional....no make that amazing....than again a little scary....than again a lot of work. It's actually all of these things and more.

    I have a four year degree and went back to nursing school part time till clinicals started, just this past September. I was so use to being an expert in my field of work for the past 17 years. The first semester was most CNA type of work...geriatrics and rehab facilities. There was a lot of complete care and changing bed linens as well as taking vitals and med administration. The first semester was not mentally challenging with regards to the test but was with getting use to being in a medical facility for clinical.

    Switching it up second semester was unbelievable difficult with regards to the test but amazing clinical experiences. I had labor and delivery, medical-surgical and pediatrics. I have grown much more comfortable in the clinical setting but the tests taking really challenged me and my ego (not an expert in this field at all). I questioned why I was doing this to myself a lot this semester after every test and than I would go to clinical and come home and tell my husband..."This is exactly why I have returned to school for an RN".

    I have two semesters left (hopefully) I will graduate in December. It is no joke how difficult it is. Many of my classmates did not make it through this last semester. It is known as the toughest of the four clinical semester for my schools nursing program. It is often the make or break you semester. Classmates can be challenging....instructors are definitely challenging...and you may even find yourself to be your own worst enemy. However, when I am at that clinical site and I am helping my patients get better...feel more comfortable...or just listening to their concerns I know I have choosen the right field for me.

    Good luck and congrats!
  9. by   Despareux
    I got the cockiness beat right out of me. It's been a very, very humbling experience. Nursing school reminds me of a roller coaster with variable speeds and heights. It's interesting.
  10. by   Piglet68
    Agree it has been probably the most humbling experience I have ever had....very good point.
  11. by   jellybeany
    First semester curriculum is very easy, its learning how to pick the right answer, and how to deal with so much information all at once thats tricky! Clinicals are very easy, you mostly just practice your new assessment skills, generally on geriatrics patients. Congrats, and good luck!
  12. by   cogath
    Congrats, I am finishing up my first year of a BSN program and it is CRAZY. Nothing can prepare you for it. It will change you in ways you can't anticipate. This has felt like the longest year of my life so much has happened and we have accomplished so much. We are always so busy and sleep becomes a stranger. You will push yourself until you think you can't do anymore, and then wake up the next day and do it again. There are times when I have cried and wondered if I can do this. But now that the first year is almost over, I am so proud of everything we have gone through and that I have survived. I am exhausted, but I can tell I am now a leader. One thing you have to have is a positive attitude -- you are a nursing student, yes you can study for two tests, write three internship essays, go to class, work weekends, finish that assignment, and start a careplan all in one week! You are amazing, and you wouldn't have made it into the program if they didn't believe in you. Remember this is only for a short time. Good luck!!
  13. by   Roberta88
    I agree with most of the people on here. It's an emotional rollercoaster and it beat the everything out of me too. But it's what I want to do and there are days that are horrible that I try to remember why I want to even be a nurse and then there days that are so awesome where you succeed at something that you never even thought you had in you and it all makes sense again. Anyways, I'm about to finish my first year in a BSN program. They started us off really slowly. So slowly, in fact, that we were pretty confused. Especially since people were always telling us how hard it was. Crazy enough, I remember being a little disappointed about that. But then in our second quarter clinical started and it hit us full blast. Looking back on my first quarter though, I realize they were really just trying to prepare us for clinicals. We learned pathophysiology and ADLs (Activities of Daily Living) like changing beds and taking vitals. Our theory class seemed to be a lot of common sense broken down into really confusing question formats. 2nd quarter we had pharmacology, a health assessment class, theory, and clinicals. Now our odd class out is nursing history. Anyways, I remember a year ago wanting to know how to prepare myself and rolling my eyes at all the people who said to do relaxing things. But truthfully, nursing school is something you need to take one day at a time. But if you absolutely must do something, I'd say get a head start on the reading.
  14. by   WanderingSagehen
    Wow,.... just finished my first year and I am wiped out. What a wild ride. It goes fast but not while you are in the thick of it. Don't spoil the fun of having a baby with nursing school. You will miss out! Plenty of time for babies later, although your hubby will sort of wish for the baby option in a few short months. Prepare your house, friends and family to expect nothing out of you except a nose in the books and a sore neck at times. You will re-emerge into society 2 years later. (I at least hope I will.) Congrats- seems to take off fast once you get that letter, vaccinations, ordering books, background check, hold on to the reins but loosely!