I am just wrapping up level 1 and have some advice for those entering the program (you can take it or leave it, but this is advice I wish I'd had before starting the program!):
- Invest in a good stethoscope; it's worth the extra $30-$40. You can't hear delicate heart and lung sounds with a cheap one. When you're at the hospital it'll remain with you at all times so there is minimal risk of losing it or having it stolen. Check out the Littman stethoscopes online or at Life Uniforms on Rt 4 in Paramus.
- Take the summer to read ahead!!!!! Trust me, keeping up with the reading is by far the toughest part of nursing school(you will be reading your textbooks cover to cover basically)
- Do not let yourself get behind in class. If you're a crammer, you'll need to learn new study habits. If you fall behind, it's almost impossible to catch up because every week brings more and more work. If you keep up and read a little bit every day, you won't become overwhelmed.
- Review some of your A&P. You will be expected to know a lot of the things you have probably already forgotten. A lot of Physical Assessment is a review of anatomy.
-Buy a really good Nursing Care Plan book (they don't list it as a "must have" book when you start the program, but you WILL need one!)
- Save your money on the Basic Dosage Calculations book that they want you to buy. It was waste of money since all of the information in the book is listed in your Pharm book.
- Buy a pocket-sized clipboard...trust me, you don't want to carry a full-sized clipboard with you all day at the hospital. We all ended up buying this one: Anodized Clipboards
. You can choose whatever color you want and the best part is that it fits perfectly into Bergen's uniform pockets. It will make walking into/out of patients' rooms way easier!
-Buy Fundamentals for Success (not on your list of required readings, although it should be) and begin reviewing it this summer. You will need to learn HOW to answer questions on the exams because they're way different than questions you're used to answering which is why A students become C students in the program. They require critical thinking which is a learned skill. My advice: learn how to answer NCLEX style questions while you have the summer off!
- When you walk into orientation, know that whoever you're sitting next to will most likely be the people you team up with in the program so choose wisely
hehe. It's shocking how fast you'll make new friends; this whole process is a bonding experience for sure..
- Don't listen to the negative chatter from those in upper levels (you'll hear a lot of talk about the dropout rates, failure rates, etc)... just do the best you can do and you will get through it!
- The program is really tough, just know that going into it. Be prepared to spend many, many hours outside of classroom time. Prepare your famillies, your jobs, etc in advance by letting them know that you will need their understanding and support..
- Record class lectures or take really good notes because the tests usually include exactly what is discussed in class
CONGRATS AGAIN AND BEST OF LUCK!!!