I have been to LPN school and had to breach out on my hours due to an issue with my mom. I am going back Aug 13 but I do have a few tips! #1- Do not let everyone elses drama deter you or get you off course! These courses can be so stressful that it just puts people on egde, and sometimes downright grouchy. The drama (and maybe this isn't all places) is crazy!
#2- The amount of info you will have to memorize is overwhelming, sometimes it does a lot of good to take a breather! I found that if I just tried to cram cram cram I ended up losing the info along the way. But if I just sat and closed my eyes for a few (sounds silly), I ended up retaining a lot more.
#3- Dont beat yourself up if you dont master a skill right away. I expected that I would be able to just be able to remember what the book said and be able to pull it off right away- but when I would go to practice, I was so nervous! Just keep practicing and I bet you will be great!
#4- Figure out how you learn best if you do not already know. There are so many different ways to study and learn. Knowing what suits you best right off the bat will help tremendously.
As for deciding what type of nursing you want to do, you will probably decide that when you study! I *despise* the smell of feces, and colostomy bags really make me want to vomit as of now, but studying gastro is SO interesting to me. When I first went in the program, I wanted to do OB or Oncology, but for some reason, the Gastro is grabbing me :chuckle. Keep us updated!
here is advice that is given to medical students as they begin their clinicals. the attitude applies to nursing students as well. the entire list can be found on http://meded.ucsd.edu/clinicalmed/thoughts.htm which is a site on how to do physical examinations.
treat patients as you would want yourself or a family member to be cared for. this should cover not only the technical aspects of health care but also the quality and nature of your interpersonal interactions.
do the right thing. this applies to patient care and your dealings with colleagues and other health care workers. if something feels wrong, it probably is! the rules which govern your behavior in the world outside of medicine still apply, regardless of what others say or how they might act! this can be challenging, particularly when you are fatigued, in a subordinate position or working with others who don't have the same interests.
mistakes will happen. the oft referred to: "primum non nocere (first do no harm)" probably sets an unreasonable expectation. you will all do harm to someone at various points in your careers. those who claim otherwise have either not taken care of enough patients or are not being truthful. we are all human and thus all fallible. when errors occur, acknowledge them, discuss them with colleagues and the patient, make efforts to correct the fall out, and move on. above all, try to learn from what happened and don't allow yourself to forget any relevant lessons (without at the same time torturing yourself unnecessarily). this should help you to maintain a healthy dose of humility and become a better doctor. remember also that anyone can be a genius in retrospect. using this information in a manner that promotes education and growth requires a sensitive touch.
never be afraid to ask questions. if those that you are currently working with are unreceptive, make use of other resources (e.g. house staff, students, nurses, health care technicians, staff physicians). you can learn something from anyone.
learn from your patients. in particular, those with chronic or unusual diseases will likely know more about their illnesses then you. find out how their diagnosis was made, therapies that have worked or failed, disease progression, reasons for frustration or gratitude with the health care system, etc. realize also that patients and their stories are frequently more interesting then the diseases that inhabit their bodies.
become involved (within reason) in all aspects of patient care. look at the x-ray, examine the sputum, talk with the radiologist, watch the echo being performed. this will allow you to learn more and gain insight into a particular illness/disease state that would not be well conveyed by simply reading the formal report. it will also give you an appreciation for tests and their limitations. caring for patients is not a spectator sport. as an active participant in the health care process (rather then simply a scribe who documents events as they occur) you will not only help deliver better medical care but will also find the process to be more rewarding and enjoyable.
follow up on patients that you care for in the er, are transferred to other services, seen by sub-specialists or discharged from the hospital. this should give you a better sense of the natural history of some disease processes and allow you to confirm (or adjust) your clinical suspicions. this is particularly relevant today as patients are shuttled through the system with great speed, affording us only snap shot views of what may be complex clinical courses.
keep your eyes open for other interesting things that might be going on elsewhere in the hospital/clinic. if there is a patient on another service with an interesting finding, go over and investigate, assuming it doesn't interfere with your other responsibilities and is ok with the patient and their providers. this will give you the opportunity to expand your internal library of what is both normal and abnormal.
pay particular attention when things don't seem to add up. chances are someone (you, the patient, the consultant) is missing something, a clue that the matter needs further investigation. challenge yourself and those around you by continually asking "why... ?"
before deciding that another provider is an "idiot" for adopting what seems an unorthodox or inappropriate clinical approach, assume that it is you that are short some important historical data. give others the benefit of the doubt until you've had an opportunity to fully explore all the relevant information. and in those instances when it becomes apparent that mismanagement has occurred, focus on communication and education rather then derision and condescension.
become comfortable with the phrases, "i don't know" and "i need help."
every once in a while, push yourself to become an expert in something. first hand knowledge is a powerful tool, one that is available to anyone willing to take the time to read through the primary data. become informed by delving into the original literature pertaining to a particular subject. you may find that the data is robust and the rationale for a clinical approach or treatment well grounded. as frequently, i suspect you'll find instances where the data is rather shaky, and the best path not as clear as guidelines or expert opinion might suggest.
be kind to others and yourself.
there is magic in medicine. it does not, however, derive solely from technology, testing, or diagnostic aptitude. rather it more often comes from your interactions with patients, a touch on the sleeve, sitting at the bedside and treating them (if only for a few minutes) as a fellow human being and not as, "that guy with lupus."
bookmark this thread: Medical Disease Information/Treatment/Procedures/Test Reference Websites - medical disease information/treatment/procedures/test reference websites. the weblinks on it will be of great help to you during your nursing studies. the list has been expanded but was originally found on an lpn school site and was for its students to use to help them with their study of the different medical diseases.
also i am unsure about what type of nursing i want to do- any tips?
this is not something you need to be worrying about now. concentrate on school and your assignments. there is a lot for you to learn in the coming months. you will experience many type of patients and nursing over the coming months and that will help you decide what kind of nursing you will want to do when you graduate. keep an open mind because there are probably things you've never experienced or considered. school exposes you to a little bit of everything. learn as much as you can about each area you have clinicals in.
also, your instructors will be evaluating your performance throughout your months of schooling. when you apply for your first job as an lpn the only persons that your first employer can go to for any kind of job reference as to what kind of lpn you are going to be is your nursing school instructors. they will have been the only ones who have seen how you performed lpn duties during your school clinicals. you will ge asked to get a reference from them for your first job. keep that in mind throughout your months of school. while the instructors are your mentors and teachers, they are also the ones evaluating and giving you your grades. pay attention to the rules you are given because some of them are based upon what employers demand of employees. as a former nurse manager who interviewed and hired a lot of new graduate nurses, both lpn and rn, i will tell you that these are some of the things that we asked the clinical instructors to comment about on the reference questionnaires we sent them to fill out:
whether these behaviors were present:
initiative - autonomy
dynamism - energy
positive outlook - not targeting lpns, but some of the most negative people with the most negative attitudes i have had to work with have been cnas and lpns. some of that, i realize, is due to the way others treat them, but many carried the chip on their shoulder all the time.
orientation to the client and co-workers (ability to provide customer service)
high adaptability - flexibility
tolerance to pressure
oral communication - speaks clearly with precision and accuracy
written communication-precise, accurate, grammatically correct
intellectual ability - aptitude for pharmacy school
leadership - takes initiative and motivates others
ethics - honest, integrity, ethical behavior - unethical people = mistakes and incident reports = problems
empathy - considerate sensitive and tactful in response to others
reliability - dependable, responsible, prompt and thorough - we particularly asked about the student's attendance record. we did not want to hire someone who had a history of calling off all the time and having to make up days. to an employer that translates into having an employee who is unreliable, calls off of work, who we have to pay out sick time too, find replacement staff for and end up paying unbudgeted dollars that could have been spent on something else.
judgment - displays critical thinking skills, common sense and decisiveness
interpersonal relations - able to get along well with peers and superior
adaptability - reacts well to stress, posed and controlled
professional appearance - maintains good personal hygiene, appropriate attire, well-groomed
congratulations on starting your journey as a nurse. don't hesitate to ask questions if there is something you are having difficulty understanding. we've all been there. best wishes to you!