What's the difference between first and second semester?

  1. I'm winding up my first semester experience. As a group, we've gone from pairs of blithering idiots frightened of giving a bed bath or even speaking to a real live patient to independent people injecting needles, measuring solutions and inserting this and d/c'ing that. Poop doesn't scare us anymore and one body part is no more intimidating or embarrassing than another. Our stethescopes are no longer a fashion statement and they actually don't feel foreign to us anymore. We've come to appreciate the smell of a fresh GI bleed first thing in the morning. It's pretty cool when you think about it (Not the GI bleed being cool but.. you know what I mean). We still travel in groups when a new procedure comes up and we ooh ahh and our instructor is still by our side whenever we give meds and do dressings and the like. We started off as 9 and it looks like we will end as a group of 6.

    So to those who have gone before me, how will second semester be different? What sticks in your mind as culture shock between the two semesters? Please do tell.
    Last edit by wonderbee on Apr 14, '04
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   J Lynn
    I just want to say that I think It's so great that you only have 6 students.

    We have 31 students and because of the large amount, I've only been on the Med Surg floor about 5 or 6 times in 9 months. I still haven't inserted a Foley (among other things) and i'll be finish school in 3 weeks. I wish we had a small group so we could get more experience. Now I don't feel like I know enough to go work in a hospital.
  4. by   Havin' A Party!
    Good post, Kitty!
  5. by   jenrninmi
    Quote from J Lynn
    I just want to say that I think It's so great that you only have 6 students.

    We have 31 students and because of the large amount, I've only been on the Med Surg floor about 5 or 6 times in 9 months. I still haven't inserted a Foley (among other things) and i'll be finish school in 3 weeks. I wish we had a small group so we could get more experience. Now I don't feel like I know enough to go work in a hospital.
    You have 31 students in your group? Or 31 students in your class?? I'm sure the op was talking about her group, not her class. Or don't you get divided up into groups? Doesn't your school divide you up and each group does rotations at different hospitals?:uhoh21:
  6. by   jenrninmi
    Quote from RNKittyKat
    I'm winding up my first semester experience. As a group, we've gone from pairs of blithering idiots frightened of giving a bed bath or even speaking to a real live patient to independent people injecting needles, measuring solutions and inserting this and d/c'ing that. Poop doesn't scare us anymore and one body part is no more intimidating or embarrassing than another. Our stethescopes are no longer a fashion statement and they actually don't feel foreign to us anymore. We've come to appreciate the smell of a fresh GI bleed first thing in the morning. It's pretty cool when you think about it (Not the GI bleed being cool but.. you know what I mean). We still travel in groups when a new procedure comes up and we ooh ahh and our instructor is still by our side whenever we give meds and do dressings and the like. We started off as 9 and it looks like we will end as a group of 6.

    So to those who have gone before me, how will second semester be different? What sticks in your mind as culture shock between the two semesters? Please do tell.
    Sounds like my first semester was much different than yours. Ours we learned to assess a patient and take vitals. We practiced on eachother. We also had volunteers come in to practice on them, and we also followed a nurse around for a day.

    Second semester we had our primary care rotations and Maternal Child Rotations. We had 4 in our group for primary care and 8 in our group for maternal child. Our Med surg starts May 3rd for six weeks then I have Peds.
  7. by   dwag
    The biggest difference I found between 1st and 2nd semester is that in 2nd semester there is less hand holding and more expectations. The instructors expect you to know how to do the basics and expect you to be confident in your skills. We also upped our patient case load. Our first semester we rarely cared for more than 1 patient at a time and during our second we care for 3-5. Also, the content we learned was more complicated and it really built upon that which we learned in first year. Also, we have less traveling in groups to various procedures because our clinical days involve so much more responsibility - we don't have time to take a break. Our instructors still double check our meds with us but they no longer go with us and they will only stay with us during procedures if they are complicated.
    Don't worry. The first week of clinicals of my second year I was terrified but now I am so much more ready to begin work because I was challenged. It is nice that you have a small group because you can really develop team work that way and help eachother out.
    It is really funny that you said you no longer consider your stethoscope a fashion statement - looking back I think i really did too!
  8. by   dwag
    I meant b/w first year and second year - sorry (not b/w first semester and second semester)

    Quote from dwag
    The biggest difference I found between 1st and 2nd semester is that in 2nd semester there is less hand holding and more expectations. The instructors expect you to know how to do the basics and expect you to be confident in your skills. We also upped our patient case load. Our first semester we rarely cared for more than 1 patient at a time and during our second we care for 3-5. Also, the content we learned was more complicated and it really built upon that which we learned in first year. Also, we have less traveling in groups to various procedures because our clinical days involve so much more responsibility - we don't have time to take a break. Our instructors still double check our meds with us but they no longer go with us and they will only stay with us during procedures if they are complicated.
    Don't worry. The first week of clinicals of my second year I was terrified but now I am so much more ready to begin work because I was challenged. It is nice that you have a small group because you can really develop team work that way and help eachother out.
    It is really funny that you said you no longer consider your stethoscope a fashion statement - looking back I think i really did too!
  9. by   lilbiskit78
    Hmmmm the difference between first and second semester?? Since I am 4 weeks away from finishing second semester I guess I am a good person to answer this. I think the biggest difference for me is that we have been able to be more independent. Our teacher does not go with us for PO meds, or for piggybacks (after she sees you do the first one correctly)...and if I need to do wound care, I feel okay doing it, picking out my dressings, ect, without her standing there instructing me (actually, I feel much better WITHOUT her there). Another big difference to me is the level at which they expect you to understand your patient's condition.....the pathophysiology, being able to explain what is wrong with them, look at their labs and understand why they are what they are and what it all means. I know so much more about lab values than I did 4 months ago. Also we did not chart much first semester and now we chart everything...I used to hate charting but now am more comfortable with it, just write what I see. Anyway, it is getting better slowly. I actually felt for the first time the other day I knew what I was doing...had a pt with 2 piggybacks scheduled at 0900....made a decision based on times and the meds which one to run first....the patient's RN said "Mr. SO & SO has 2 piggybacks at 0900, I would do them like this.....it was exactly the way I had planned......I know it's a small thing but it made me feel good!! Congrats on finishing 1st semester!!

    Lil
  10. by   Jen2
    For me first semester was just the basics with adult med surg patients. I am almost finished with my second semester in my ADN program and there is a world of difference. For 1, during our second semester we have our OB, Peds, and OR rotations. This was a big step for us, because we are still not really sure about adults yet and here we have babies who totally manifest things differently and not to mention the difference in meds and calculations. So I would have to say that it is the age and condition of the patients that I am dealing with that is the biggest difference. However, every program is different in how they set things up. Will you be having maternity/Pediatrics for your second semester?
  11. by   NurseWeasel
    The biggest thing to develop between first and second semesters in our program was cynicism. :| The next biggest would have to be our confidence level. We went from blithering idiots who were not only afraid but didn't know HOW to give bed baths, to having the knowledge & confidence to go in and provide care without scaring (or amusing, as the case may be) the patients. We're in our preceptorships now at the end of our 3rd of 5 semesters, and we're doing great. I'm surprised at how much nursing school has managed to affect / change ME, despite all I'd heard about it doing so... I really truly thought I was at a point in my life & career where I was "beyond" such impact... but apparently I was wrong :chuckle

    I'm totally with ya on the stethoscope fashion statement! But I do still love it when the staff nurses come to US asking for hemostats & scissors, because they KNOW students carry that stuff, lol.
  12. by   RobSLCC
    Yup, I always felt like the stethoscope was a cool accessory, now its got a purpose. Also their is only 8 students in my group. It's cool, I've done meds, bolus feedings, catheters, BS's injections, wound dressings, assisted with trach care, suctioned trach, drainded some JT tubes(Yuk), Vitals, 4 process recordings, and 6 care plans. :hatparty:



    Yippeeeee! Can't wait till next semester, but happy to have summer break.
  13. by   wonderbee
    Quote from Jen2
    Will you be having maternity/Pediatrics for your second semester?
    We'll be having OB and med/surg II during second semester. We get peds during third semester when we pair up with a psych rotation. I guess the OR rotation comes in the med/surg II gig. I'm very interested in checking out the OR.
  14. by   perksrn
    I guess my biggest complaint is that 2nd year doesn't bring as many changes as we expected. For instance, have you ever had a test question that said: Mr. Smith, an 86-year-old male is receiving a blood transfusion for severe anemia. He is beginning to complain of low back pain, dyspnea, and a generalized rash. What is your priority intervention?

    1. Call the physician
    2. Stop the transfusion
    3. Slow the transfusion to KVO
    4. Give the patient a bed bath and change his linens

    Not to minimize the importance of being clean in the midst of anaphylactic shock, but we are taught one thing in class, but even in the second year- unable to practice true prioritizing or delegation. Just today, I was trying to finish assessments, administer meds through NG tube, and tend to a patient with a FSBS of 58 when the nurse went to find my instructor to tell her I had not given a patient her bath yet. The nurse was furious. The CNA...chatting with friends down the hall who were thrilled that "the students" were there! Imagine the attitudes we will encounter in a month or so when we try to delegate to these people.
    I can hear many of you saying, you are never too good to give a patient hands on care...what better way to inspect your patient....etc. What about teaching me how to prioritize nursing care FIRST, then offering to help with other tasks as able? I am not too good to do ANYTHING, I just want to gain as much experience doing what is practical so that I have more to offer when employed as a new graduate. I have passed up many opportunities to do or see procedures because of this. Sorry for complaining, it was just a heck of a day!
    Just 3 more weeks!

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