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Follow Your Gut Being Productive and Choosing to Withdraw

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How can I study smart in nursing school?

Many people don't want to waste their time. It has to be this year, this semester, if I don't do it now, I don't know what I'm gonna do. Many feel that if it can't be done this moment, it isn't meant to be or they have to change majors. I am here to share my story of what I should have done in the beginning, following my gut, and why I chose to withdraw from my program to return again in fall 2015.

Follow Your Gut Being Productive and Choosing to Withdraw
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Hello everyone! First off, I know that this isn't the happiest of topics to stumble upon, and this post is by no means written to scare future nursing students. This is just for insight and to share my experience with you all as many of you have been generous to do in the past for me.

Let me begin with the moment I was accepted into my program:

I was thrilled. I was a bit in awe, but who isn't when they finally reach the weed picking moments when you are among the chosen few. Am I right? I didn't want to waste any time. It was straight to the instructors' offices to ask them what they think I could do to maximize my understanding before being overwhelmed with material that was unlike anything else I had ever done.

So, you would think that I would have been advised to read ahead what I could during some of my spare time, right? Wrong. "Nope, we don't want you using the time you could be spending with your families studying or reading ahead, because once school starts, there will be no time for family."

Okay, so let me start off by saying that this was some of the worst advice any instructor could have given. I appreciate the intentions, but let's face it, we hate stress and struggling to make it after working this hard. Not to mention that this same instructor said we would be "fine" once school began. Right? Wrong, again.

We waited until school began, and guess how many chapters they expected us to read within a weeks time? 21. Yep, and let me tell you something, we are already spending 24 hours a week in the classroom lectures and labs, so we only had the time after we got out of class to read. Not so easy for people with families, jobs, and other responsibilities.

My advice to anyone in this situation where they told these same things; go with your gut instincts and read ahead. Ask students in the upper levels of your program if you can get a copy of their reading calendars so you know the pace they expect you to do everything. Spending an hour or so before school starts on reading the materials will lighten your stress, your load of learning, and give you more time with your families even during classes. Who doesn't want that?

Now, for ALL students facing the possible "W" word....Withrawing:

I go to a school that looks at what is called a didactic score, also known as your test average for the course. Each course has it's own didactic score and our school considers a failing grade a didactic average below a 75. This is probably familiar to those already in nursing school, but this was all new information and pressures added that I wasn't aware of before starting class. This might be something that you all can find out before hand.

I did really well in the beginning, even though it was the most demanding with our reading amount. I passed my first fundamentals exam with an 87, and my first pharm test with a 90. I thought I was going to do very well, and boy did it take a turn soon thereafter.

I was so scared about failing our first lab check-offs. I had heard about how strict some instructors had been by others sharing their experiences online. So I figured that I could focus more on getting past my first check-off, which was an immense amount of steps and knowledge, and then turn right back to pharm and study for the next exam. I was soooo wrong in doing this and didn't realize it until I got my first failing grade since high school.

My pharm tests are comprehensive so from that point on I struggled moving forward and barely passed my subsequent tests for pharm. I was constantly stressed out about pharm that it began to make me push fundamentals to the side to focus more in my other class. Make a mistake once, okay, make the same mistake twice....shame on me.

So it came to be that I was skipping several chapters in fundamentals to try making sense of my comprehensive pharm exam materials. I was lucky I managed to still make in the 80's in fundamentals. I started to become very disappointed in myself that I let my grades fall and got so behind I couldn't maximize my learning, and in fact I was looking at failing the class.

The deadline for withrawal was coming up, and I had a choice to make.

There are only 3 possible scenarios:

  1. Try to make it through with a minimum of a 75 in pharmacology and fundamentals and succeed. However, it will mean that I will struggle to learn in the later courses and will also lower my GPA, A LOT. This is especially bad for people who are considering to get higher degree levels later on.
  2. Try to make it but fail, which would mean that I could never come back to my same school and reapply, my GPA will be tarnished, greatly lowering my chances at getting in anywhere else, and it was all a waste of time and money
  3. Withdraw before the deadline, come back in 9 months having already read and knowing what is expected along with all those months to spend time with family while I learn the material before classes start again.....hmmmm

So as you can see, it took me quite a bit of deep thinking about the pros and cons to make my decision to drop my classes and to come back next fall new and refreshed....and AHEAD. I hope this gives some insight to you guys out there. Read ahead, find out when to read first so you will have a good rhythm down when classes start. Don't worry about lab skills so much as the theory, because that is the reason most students struggle and/or don't succeed. Use the 'Learning Objectives', study guides and try to use supplements made for your required texts, because the answers will be the same. If not the same texts, at least use supplements made by the same publishers because their information will be more "on the same page", if you will.

I am actually very happy I made this choice, and I can't wait to really maximize my learning in these next 9 months. Best of luck to all of you!

NURSE ON!

NNM

Hello everyone. I am NeoNatMom. I have a beautiful 3 year old boy and have been married to my wonderful husband for 5 years. We are both studying, working and trying to build a better future for ourselves and I hope you enjoy my posts. Feel free to ask any questions! I love helping any way I can :)

3 Articles; 23,165 Profile Views; 674 Posts

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25 Posts; 902 Profile Views

Wow 24 hours a week!? I'm in a full time ADN program while taking one online class at a time for my Bsn. Lab, lecture and clinical combine for 13 hours a week

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41 Posts; 2,446 Profile Views

Motivating! Thank you for the advice :)

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54 Posts; 3,314 Profile Views

I think what you show here is your ability to prioritize in the face of conflicting information from others. Don't know (I am a beginning student too), but I'd guess that ability will serve you and your patients very well as time goes on.

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NurseGirl525 is a ASN, RN and specializes in ICU.

3,663 Posts; 32,689 Profile Views

We are lucky at my school. That's how I feel anyway. We take courses in 4 week increments. We did fundamentals and fundamental lab in 4 weeks. Then we started med/surg lecture and lab. The lecture is 12 weeks and the lab 4 weeks. We got done with lab and started into clinical for 8 weeks. It sounds like a lot but really the way it's structured it helps with organization. I did well in fundamentals, fundamentals lab, and med/surg lab. Hoping to recover from my last test and get a B in med/surg lecture. The last test was a beast. We had our first clinical day last week and just kind of got am introduction. Good luck to you in the spring!

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malenurse69 specializes in ICU.

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Sounds like to me you have issues with effective study methods or bad time management skills. My program is just as rigorous (taking 18 credits including pharm), I work 24-29 hours a week, and I'm maintaining straight As. Withdrawal is an option only if you don't have a solid study habit in place or you cant manage your time appropriately. This was the right option for you, but most people I see in my classes adjusted and are thriving (Most don't work however.)

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Thank you all for reading my post. I do feel like our program could have been more organized, but unfortunately, we had 4 of our instructors leave in the summer before our classes started. That definitely played a part.

About my study habits and management skills (MaleNurse)

You are very correct. It was difficult for me, but I left out a big part of myself in this post....I have ADD. I struggle to pick a method and stick to it once my grades fall low enough that I begin to stress and cannot focus. In the beginning, all I did was made sure I read the materials. I didn't take a single note, but I am a person who learns through discussion. It is the way I can systematically rationalize my thoughts and validate my understanding. I did very well using this method, but once I fell behind, I didn't trust my methods because the stress wouldn't allow me to make the same rational understandings I did before. I tried making outlines, flash cards, and anything I could think of but I was still so scared that these methods wouldn't work, that I wouldn't complete all of the reading in time and did poorly. Now I can learn from those mistakes. I am someone who needs more time to learn, so reading things ahead is something I will probably need to do throughout my program to be able to succeed. I am very lucky my school allows me to reapply. I will definitely have a success story to post about in the future :)

Congrats on your grades as well. But unfortunately, the majority of our class, though they are passing, are not making straight A's. Every institute is structured differently, so I don't think I am alone when I say that though there are some who do manage A's in nursing schools that are demanding, it is not that common. Perhaps your program is better structured, but I definitely see that as a good thing for you and your peers. All in all, I wish everyone the best, and hope to have another story on how my second try is a success.

NURSE ON EVERYONE!

NNM

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3 Articles; 674 Posts; 23,165 Profile Views

I would like to see how I did in a school with that same structure. It sounds easier for myself personally because I am better at focusing on one topic at a time (people with ADD, like myself). I wish you the best of luck in your program and hopefully my school will be more ready for the next entering class (we lost 4 of our nursing staff right before classes started :/ ).

NURSE ON!!

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nbs45414 said:
I think what you show here is your ability to prioritize in the face of conflicting information from others. Don't know (I am a beginning student too), but I'd guess that ability will serve you and your patients very well as time goes on.

Thank you for the compliment. I am good at prioritizing if it is done well ahead. I should have followed my gut and did the early reading. I left my confidence in an instructor, and I didn't stop to think, "my teacher is not going to be my means of learning, only a guide". I can't wait to get back into the program and flourish. Thanks again for the kind words. I wouldn't be doing the best for future patients if I kept moving forward the way I was.

NURSE ON!!

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I just noticed this....my apologies for any grammatical and/or spelling errors. Especially not spelling withdraw correctly, haha.

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vampiregirl has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Hospice.

1 Article; 701 Posts; 13,747 Profile Views

Not sure if it's option for you to consider, but is just taking a class or a few at a time an option?

It took me a while to complete nursing school (6 years), but I worked full time during the entire time I was working on my degree. For me, this was the best option. There were several classes I had to withdraw from and reapproach later d/t to life circumstances.

I wish you good luck for whatever works best for you and your family!

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3 Articles; 674 Posts; 23,165 Profile Views

vampiregirl said:
Not sure if it's option for you to consider, but is just taking a class or a few at a time an option?

It took me a while to complete nursing school (6 years), but I worked full time during the entire time I was working on my degree. For me, this was the best option. There were several classes I had to withdraw from and re-approach later d/t to life circumstances.

I wish you good luck for whatever works best for you and your family!

I wish that were an option. My school's program is structured in a way that once you start, you cannot stop, and the classes are taken at a structured and predetermined time. It's okay though, I will be better after this. Congratulations on making it through. To me, 6 years is fine. I took my time in my prerequisites, allowing me time to make a 4.0, which will help me once again when I reapply. Everything I have chosen to do, regardless of it meant taking longer to graduate, has helped me down the line. You and I saw the silver lining to taking our time, even with our outside responsibilities. Best wishes for you!

NURSE ON!

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