Advice for Block I'ers

  1. Hey folks,

    Thanks for all of the posts about nursing school. Does any one have any advice for those of us starting Block I at the CC's this Spring? Secrets for ace'ing clinicals? Things to watch out for? Care plan advice? Good/Bad sites? Recommeded books? Thanks in advance!

    Congrats to all of those who will be starting, and good luck to those waiting to get in!


    Tip #1 - Keep the night before clinicals open. You will need 2-4 hours to choose a patient, and create a care plan. Therefore, if you have clinicals every Wednesday (7a-7p), keep every Tuesday open.
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    About CrazyPremed, MSN, RN, NP

    Joined: Jun '05; Posts: 347; Likes: 99
    RN-BC: Tele, ICU, Psych; from US
    Specialty: 9 year(s) of experience in Telemetry, ICU, Psych


  3. by   mattsmom64
    here's a couple.....

    1. invest in Saunder's NCLEX book. Read the chapter about how to take critical thinking tests. Also review the content that you covered in class and go through their test questions. This will really help alot.

    2. Type out your care plans and save your meds to a spreadsheet. This is a real time saver. You will find that you have to write up a lot of the same meds over and over.....

    3. If you can afford it, invest in a pda. I have one and downloaded Davis' Drug Guide, a lab guide, Tabers, a CarePlan program, and RN notes. This has been so helpful. I no longer have to lug around a 50lb backpack to clinicals. I also recommend to download the programs from Skyscape. They offer free desktop companions which enable you to cut and paste information into your care plans (it really saves me time since I'm a two finger typer!)

    4. I also invested in a nursepak. It is a little goofy looking (a nurses version of a pocket protector!) but it is really helpful because you avoid fumbling around looking for things while you're performing skills on patients. I bought mone at Nurse Pro Pack - Pro Pack, Med Pack, Nurse Pack, EMT Pack, Thera Pack. Most of the nurses I work with use them and swear by them as well.

    5. You are right to allow plenty of time for picking patients. It normally takes about two hours at the hospital to find a patient. You have to find someone to help you out so you know who is being discharged (being extra friendly to the charge nurse always helps....introduce yourself and let them know what you can do and that you are there to help), find the chart (these can sometimes be very hard to find, the Docs may have them, dictation, the patient may be off the floor ets....),, and then you have to write out all of the meds and patho etc....Once you get home it can take around 3 hours for research and typing everything up. Make sure you are familiar with your meds because your instructor will most likly be asking you about their actions, interactions, and reason for giving them before they allow you to pass them to the patient.....

    I hope this helps......
  4. by   Curious1alwys
    I don't like to give advice anymore since each program is different and has its own challenges but some general ones are....

    1. Know how to copy and paste. Save everything you type. Ever. Make sure you can copy and paste that. Only download stuff you can copy and paste. You get the picture. Mattsmom is dead on there!

    2. Pick pts as early as possible. Try not to work that day. You will be 100% glad you didn't. Picking early gives you more time. More time=more sleep AND a greater chance that you are actually learning something from it. (Sometimes I wonder)

    3. Work on your a**-kissing skills. You will need them. Everday, for everyone. Learn to feel the fear but do it anyway. You can be pissed off, but stuff it and keep pushing onward. The teacher is always right, there is no use in fighting it. And it doesn't matter if you were right too..The sooner you get past it and forget about it the better off you will be. (goes back to that a**-kissing part). Your nurse is always smarter than you. No matter what, that is how you should act. Even if you learned something different in school. Remember, you are a lowly student and she/he is a competent nurse that has so much to offer you. PERIOD. Acting any other way will get you nowhere.

    4. Read everything you can about medical diagnosis, s/sx, inteventions, lab tests, procedures, anything will never feel like you know enough but you should atleast try to pretend to have a clue. You need to know a little about everything and a lot about the biggies (CHF, MI, CAD, HTN, RF..etc)

    As far as classwork, I am one of those people that can get an A on a test as long as I show up for lecture. DON'T EVER MISS LECTURE UNLESS YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT. YOU WILL NEVER MAKE UP FOR IT.

    Can't think of anything else right now. I am on break my brain isn't working today....

    Most of all.......FEEL PROUD that you made it in!! If I can do it, you can do it! Don't listen to anyone who tells you different. Good luck to you!
    Last edit by Curious1alwys on Dec 24, '06
  5. by   boomerfriend
    Here's my advice:

    Don't sweat the clinicals. It's a pass/fail class. Unless you really injure someone, are dangerous, insubordinate or don't show'll pass. The trick is learning from the experience. Learn how to do care plans, don't get caught up in the number of skills performed. It will all get done eventually. Be open to constructive criticism and ask lots of questions....from anyone who will talk to you (techs, houskeeping, docs, nurses, etc). Don't be afraid to aks for help and admit you don't know.

    Spend the lion-share of your time on your class work. This will be the thing that makes or breaks a student. If you don't pass these, you don't move on. Keep on top of your studies and get in a good study group. This is the most important thing.
  6. by   MsBruiser
    Quote from boomerfriend
    Here's my advice:

    Spend the lion-share of your time on your class work. This will be the thing that makes or breaks a student. If you don't pass these, you don't move on. Keep on top of your studies and get in a good study group. This is the most important thing.

    Sometimes study groups don't work for everyone. A study group isn't essential - only if you find them helpful. If you do want to be in a study group be sure to pick one with SMART PEOPLE. Some real dumbos in my class study together and their grades show it.

    All other advice is really, really good:

    1) Pay attention to the previous posts about dealing with nurses/instructors - they are always right and fighting 'em won't get you anywhere.

    2) PDA has been my lifesaver. Tabers, Davis Drug Guide, and Lab Guide are all that I have ever needed. Just amazing how I have most answers right at my fingertips, and in my pocket.

    3) Your first few care plans will take a long time. Then they should become much easier. If you do a good job on the first few, you will get a good reputation, and instructors will soon tell you "enough." So do a good job. Work smart - be sure to type and save them. Then you can "save as" often and keep recycling them. A lot of them are a waste of time - but looking up diseases and drugs is crucially important - so spend some time doing that.

    4) Buy the best shoes you can afford.

    5) Buy a good stethoscope - shouldn't cost more than $60-$75.00.

    6) Don't miss a class. Beyond the difficulty of studying for tests, instructors always remember who is there and who is not. I have seen a person get tossed from my program for lacking .4 points. Her attendance was terrible. In fact, so was her demeanor. Pretend to pay attention even if you are bored.

    7) Your classmates are your collegues - not your instant best friends. Keeping that in perspective can help lower the gossiping/backstabbing threshold.

    8) Remember what is important - don't kill or hurt the patient. Everything else is icing on the cake. In fact, keep repeating to yourself "this is not medical school." The stuff isn't that hard - especially if you focus on what is important and get good at ignoring the fluff.

    9) Read allnurses. There is really good advice to be had here.
  7. by   cardiacRN2006
    Quote from Stopnik
    Sometimes study groups don't work for everyone. A study group isn't essential - only if you find them helpful.

    ITA. I only did one study group in NS and I received my worst grade on a test as a result.

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