Quote from SnoozieQ
I am a current first year student at NHCTC Stratham. I did do all but two of the pre-reqs. (Which I am going to try to clep one and take one next summer) I feel a little discombobulated, like most of my classmates. I have heard that Stratham puts out very good nurses but right now I am a little discouraged. I got near perfect scores on the NLN pre-entrance exam so I thought I was pretty smart (maybe my ego got ahead of me) but now I feel like I am treading water. I have a 94% average currently. I know that is an "A" but still feel like a "dummy". Any advice?
I graduated NHCTC-Manch a couple of years ago (when the programs were linked) and I have friends who graduated Stratham who are excellent nurses--so, yes, you are going to be well prepared on graduation. You seem to be doing very well on the academic side of things, A's can be very hard to come by in nursing school--what is it that is making you feel as if you're not up to snuff?
Lemme tell you how nursing school made me feel: Even with a previous BA, as well as a number of grad courses, I found nursing school to be the hardest kind of schooling I ever had. Both the volume and complexity of what is covered on a weekly basis is daunting; the format for testing is ambiguous; professors seemed to me to be more capricious, and indeed, more powerful in terms of their ability to wrest you from the program, than any professors I had encountered before; and clinical presented mountains of pre and post paperwork, and the actual experience was most often physically and emotionally draining. It was the hardest academic work I had ever done. Oh yeah, and I had a family to take care of, too, and I worked, but thankfully only very part time.
I think it is true that to some extent one has to check one's ego at the door--this is hard stuff, mentally, emotionally, and physically, and one may not perform to the level one is accustomed. I, who am quite anal about my schoolwork, developed a mantra for my clinical paperwork: "It doesn't have to be perfect; it just has to be done." I often walked into exams after days of review feeling "If I just had one more day to work on this . . ." So, keep in mind that *this is hard stuff* and do your best, but try to not make yourself a crazy person. You will get through it.
I don't mean this as discouraging, just as preparation--do keep in mind that school, any nursing school, is preparing you for "entry level practice," so expect to feel humbled once you start working as an RN as well. Despite two years of a rigorous program, you will very quickly realize how much more there is to learn. Some RNs you work with will be gracious with their knowledge and "coach" you all they can, and some will be pointedly ungracious, and yes, make you feel like the dumb kid in class. I've been in practice for 18+ months and I feel mostly comfortable, but on any given shift I confer with colleagues at least once to confirm the course of action I want to take with a patient's care--sometimes they concur, sometimes I hear "Why don't you try this instead?" And that "instead" maybe hadn't even occurred to me. Luckily, I work on a unit where folks are almost universally helpful--teamwork of that nature is very important to look for in a first job.
One recommendation--get yourself an externship for the summer. I did one in the CMC ED--best thing I ever did. In one week of externship (it lasted six weeks) I saw and did more and learned more than in the entire two preceding clinical semesters.
I don't know if this rambling post has really responded to your concerns--let me know more specifically the challenges you are facing, either here or via email, and I'll try to be helpful if I can.
Best of luck!