nursing school jitters

  1. Hello everyone,

    Hopefully, if everytihng goes okay with my finances; i will be starting nursing school in January 2007, which is only 4 weeks away. I am so super nervous and have been thinking about it all the time. Sometimes, I lose sleep over it because I want to do well but i dont know what to expect in a accelerated RN program. I have a bachelors in biology but have no previous medical experience. Is it normal to feel like this before school and everyone tells me that its very stressful and that I willl not have a life-is this true? Those of you who can relate please tell me that its doable and that people do well in these programs.

    Any advice on this one would be greatly appreciated:stone :stone
  2. Visit ashlee22 profile page

    About ashlee22

    Joined: Dec '06; Posts: 19


  3. by   arciedee
    I'm right there with you... starting school in January accelerated program, non-medical background, etc. I expect that it's going to be like nothing I expect... if that makes any sense But I'm trying not to stress out about it at this point. I figure I was accepted because the school believes in my abilities. Thousands of other people have made it through, why can't I? Many of my classmates are in the same boat. I'm just going to take it one day at a time. It's overwhelming, to be sure, but we'll be able to do it, and maybe even do it well. Good luck and try to enjoy your last few weeks of freedom.
  4. by   Daytonite
    It's doable. Many people go through accelerated programs. What will be your ace-in-the-hole, so to speak, will be your ability in already knowing how to study and organize your study time. The concepts of nursing you will need to learn will be no different from what the traditional students are also learning. You just won't be getting any of the regular breaks in time that they get. So, time, for you, is the big difference. Since you've already got a bachelor's degree, you already know about using the library and how to look for references. I have found it very helpful over the years to get a couple of different sources to read on a subject. It helps to read the same material put in a different way by another author. The repetition of reading the subject again and again also helps you retain and understand the material. Critical thinking is important in nursing and you will realize fairly quickly that you will be required to pull together information from those pre-requisite classes (A&P, chemistry, disease process) along with the new information you will be given about nursing principles and using the nursing process to problem solve.

    I would use part of the holiday vacation to get your study area and materials organized. If there is anything you personally want or need to get done, do it before school starts. Once school starts you will be off and running with very little time to do any major personal projects. You will literally be eating, sleeping and walking around thinking about nursing 24/7.
  5. by   ashlee22
    Thanks Daytonite,

    That was awesome advice; i'm already buying all the books and organizing myself; How did you study for nursing school? I know everyone has a different technique. Do you have any good techniques that you can share?
  6. by   arciedee
    I also wanted to thank Daytonite for the study area advice. I actually just told the BF the other day that I want to reorganize the spare room so that it can be a study space for me. I'm also trying to figure out what I'll need for materials and get that stuff organized beforehand.
  7. by   Daytonite
    Here's some of the things I did when I was in nursing school. Although we had a required nursing textbook, I bought a second popular one that was on the market at the time. What I did was call the bookstore at UCLA and found out what the title was of the nursing textbook they required their nursing students to use and that's what I bought. When we were studying various subjects I would also "consult" this other textbook to see what it had to say. I also had an older nursing textbook that my mother had found somewhere that I also used as a consulting reference. I would find things in there that weren't in the newer books, especially basic nursing. So, I guess one of my recommendations would be for you to get at least one other nursing textbook. Get a used or older one. There are always people who are looking to get rid of their old books.

    I also had a Taber's dictionary. Whenever I was reading anything from any of the nursing textbooks, I had my copy of Taber's alongside. I looked up any words I didn't know immediately. If I thought I might forget the definition, I would write it in the margin of the textbook. I still have a more current copy of Taber's as well as a Mosby's medical dictionary. There is a lot of stuff in these reference books--and pictures now! Taber's specifically has a lot of information of interest only to nurses in it.

    Another book I eventually purchased outright was Matheny's fluid and electrolyte book. I really can't remember if I first purchased it when I was a student or shortly after. I have currently replaced it with its most recent edition. Fluids and electrolytes are just always going to be popping up. Even when I was studying for my national certification in IV therapy, it was electrolytes that were my undoing. As good a student as I was in chemistry, I just have always had a problem putting electrolytes and ABGs together.

    Our instructors gave us course objectives. I wrote out the answers to those objectives on notebook paper that I kept in a 3-ring notebook. Many of our test questions were based on the information we were supposed to learn in those objectives. I also used to write out the signs and symptoms of the various diseases along with their medical treatment and nursing interventions and why they worked. Actually writing care plans wasn't as big a deal 30 years ago when I was in school, but we did have to know all the basics that you need to know to plan the care. That hasn't changed.

    In the second year of nursing school we all got to know each other fairly well and most of the students who weren't serious had dropped out. There were about 5 of us who clicked well together and we had a regular weekly meeting time, only once a week, where we met at one of our homes in an evening to discuss the course objectives. While, in general, I do prefer to study on my own, I don't discount the importance of also listening to what others have to contribute. I've gotten a few points here and there on tests because of something I heard someone discuss in a study group. Also, in the process of explaining a concept that I know to someone else, I am also reinforcing it in my own mind. That is invaluable as a learning tool and an important concept in adult learning that some people ignore. So, time permitting, I will usually discuss and explain things with other students. It's also a good idea that a group should try to figure out what kind of questions you are likely to be asked on a test and rationalize out the answers before you are even faced with that likelihood on a test. If I need time to study, I know where I can go to hide from everyone. A place where other nursing students aren't likely to go is always a good getaway choice! When I was at a large university, I used to go up to the music listening rooms in the library because they were sound proof and only had a very small window at the top of the door so no one could see you. I also used to take naps in there. There were also unused, unlocked small study rooms in the library where you could go in, shut and lock the door and no one knew you were there. My university library also had classrooms that students could use to meet in for their group study. They could use the blackboard, desk and whatever equipment was in the room. My worst habit, however, was lying on the floor at home on my stomach with a pack of cigarettes and a can of Coke while I was reading. I stopped the smoking a long time ago, but the lying on the floor like that probably contributed to my long-term back problems.

    The last piece of advice I would give is one that I will admit I am bad about following myself. That is not to procrastinate. Start working on any projects that are due or to start studying right away. Waiting until the last minute to start something is not the way to do it--ever.
  8. by   Rosa2Little
    Fantastic reply (as usual) by Daytonite!! Ashlee22, welcome to the boards.
  9. by   shoegalRN
    I am starting a BSN program 01/17/07 and I have been an emotional reck. It's all I can think about. I am leaving a job I have been on for over 13 years and I don't have any medical experience either. These boards have been a great help to me! I'm glad I found it while searching for nursing scholarships. I do know of a couple of people who are currently in the excelerated BSN program and I have been told it will consume your life. I've also been told just the traditional BSN program will consume your life.

    You'll do fine. Good luck to you!
  10. by   Megsd
    I am starting my second quarter of an accelerated BSN program in January. Here's my summary of first quarter which may help (or hurt) your jitters:

    First, it is very normal to be scared before you start, and you may be even more scared when you go to class and get the syllabi for your classes and see the mountain of info they expect you to know by the end. Each term is an absolute whirlwind. Some days I felt like I knew a lot, other days I felt like I didn't know anything.

    My first quarter was 18 credit hours. I took pathophysiology, advanced health assessment (which included a head-to-toe exam you had to get 80% on or fail the class regardless of exam grades), theory/laws in nursing, and med/surg (which included lecture and clinical and made up half of my GPA). I had at least one test per week, all four finals were cumulative at the end. I started clinicals at the hospital the second week of the quarter. I spent roughly 15 hours per week in class and 10 hours per week in clinical. On top of that I probably studied about 20 or more hours per week. I always took at least a half day off per week to do something for myself, like go on a date (gasp!) or spend an afternoon with friends. It was very stressful, but I found the information fascinating which made it easier for me to devote the time to learning it.

    My recommendations for people going into an accelerated BSN program: realize that you all start out not knowing anything about nursing, and your instructors know that. Ask lots of questions. Realize that as daunting as the mountain of info on your syllabus is, your instructor's job is to help you understand it all by the end. Take it one day at a tme. Study every day and do not fall behind. Catching up is very very difficult. Take some time for yourself, even if it's just a few hours a week, because what's the use in getting through nursing school if you're crazier than your psych patients when you're done?

    Good luck to you guys entering in January. Be prepared for a wild ride.
  11. by   I RN A
    As long as you prepared to have no life outside of the NS you'll be fine.
  12. by   darwinsbluefish
    I am currently in a BSN program and I also have a BS in Biology. I was worried about starting nursing school because I knew it would be very different from what I was used to. It takes a few weeks to adjust, but you will do great. The background in science will help you...because you're already a complex critical thinker. The Biology background breeds that into us. This helps tremendously with the NCLEX type exam questions that can be a little scary in the beginning. Nursing school is hard, but it is the most rewarding thing I have ever done. My nursing classmates are like my extended family and we help each other through the tough times. It is a different atmosphere from the cut throat Biology classes in which everyone wants into medical school so badly that they will sell their soul to get there. I am much happier in pursuing my nursing education than I ever was while pursing my biology degree. I hope that you are happy with your nursing experience, let us know how it goes. I wish you a successful 1st semester as a new nursing student :icon_hug:
  13. by   ashlee22
    THANKS SO MUCH!!!!! All of your kind words have really helped me a lot; I am really glad I am a part of this site; You guys have made me feel so much better; I will let you all know how it goes:spin: :spin: :spin: :spin:

    And good luck to all of you as well!!!!!!!!!!
  14. by   USCUAmber
    Dont feel bad...I'm in the same boat as you. I'm scared to death about starting nursing school myself. I start in January and I am terrified at what Im going to be faced with. Just relax and try to take it easy. Thats what I keep telling myself. We can both get through it