How to prepare for first semester of nursing school?

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    can anyone advise me on the best way to prepare for nursing school this fall? i was accepted into a part-time RN program. i would like to start studying over the summer, so things will be a little easier for me when school starts in september. someone suggested that i learn the 20 most commonly used drugs. what else should i study? should i volunteer at a local hospital? thanks.
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    Lab values are always important to know. What about becoming a nursing assistant? I really think having that hands on experience helped the most. Being a CNA, you become really comfortable with the basics like vital signs, bed baths, assisting in transferring from bed to chair, etc. which is a lot of what your first semester is.
    arbor-vitae likes this.
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    congrats!!!! i think it's great that you're looking ahead...but coming from someone who just finished, i say relax while you still can!!! haha. i think one of the best things you can do is become a cna. first semester clinical will be a breeze if you do (it was for me). it really helps you to gain your confidence and become a better nurse.

    the 10 important drug thing...well that's all well and good but the biggest thing you'll learn in nursing school is that memorization is over-rated!!! those meds will have a lot more meaning and practical applications once you start school. right now, they're probably just words in a book. not to mention, the drugs that are "important" change from floor to floor.

    your first year (particularly your first semester) you will learn to "think like a nurse." i believe that this is one of the most important things you get out of nursing school. and it's the one thing that you really can't learn from a book!

    good luck, you'll do great. all the hard work is worth it!!
    Jatts, arbor-vitae, and rloh961 like this.
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    As faculty at an ASN college I would say brush up on your math. If you can find out what calculation system your school uses and just practice, you will be so much more ahead of your fellow students. We use Dimensional Analysis, which I didn't use when I was a student, so I had to learn it to teach my students! I'm not from the sliderule days, but it felt like it when I was mastering this new way to calculate.

    I agree with an early poster- relax and charge your batteries. Oh, and get a CNA job too! Seriously, working in a hospital or other patient care setting will put you ahead of your other students AND give you confidence. (And make you more marketable when you get out.)

    Congrats and above all, enjoy. You will have the most memorable and intense ride, but it's worth it!
    arbor-vitae likes this.
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    So how do you become a CNA? I live in Los Angeles, so if anyone can point me to the right direction, I would be very grateful. Also, what are the reqirements for a CNA?
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    Get your study area organized. If you have the money to afford it, get a PDA, computer, nursing apps for your PDA, any nursing references that catch your interest at the bookstore. I suggest you look into the Pulse Smartpen system for taking notes in class. Get yourself settled into good health habits, to include a strenuous workout program.
    nellydelly and arbor-vitae like this.
  9. 0
    @ngaki - I don't know about LA, but here in Boston the requirements for getting a CNA position is that you need to be certified. Which will cost you $800.00 to do through the American Red Cross. I think it's expensive, but sometimes you have no choice. You may be able to find a place that teaches and certifies CNA's for free - so check into your local area hospitals about that first.
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    A lot of hospitals will hire you as a CNA without certification as long as you have completed one nursing school clinical.
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    Yes, you have to have your first semester of clinical completed - which they usually count as med/surg experience.
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    Im a CNA in NY and I just looked around for local nursing homes that were providing the class. They paid me an hourly wage while going to class and paid for the tuition. That is the best way if you can find a place to do that! Good Luck!


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