We had orientation some time at the end of May. Before classes started I slowly got all my books and materials. You are going to have to get a lot of paperwork done in preparation. I also made sure that I learned dosage. At the end of the first semester you are tested on it and during that time you have so much else going on it's hard to dedicate time to learn it. Also during winter break you have to retest it. In second semester, there will be dosage problems on each test. I would recommend not buying the book. Everything you need will be on blackboard. You will spend an easy $700+ on books. Then there are uniforms, med supplies kits, background check, CPR, etc that you also have to pay for so start saving now. You should plan to spend a little over $1000 before you even start your first class. Please go to Amazon
for the books and Alko for nursing supplies such as shoes (they have to be all white) and stethoscope.
The first semester the classes for evening/weekend are intense since you are taking three plus lab/clinical on the weekend. For the first 7ish weeks until mid-October you will have class Monday-Thursday and lab either Saturday or Sunday. Then the Monday class ends and your clinical begins and you will be in the hospital both Saturday and Sunday. Eve/wnd students start about 2 weeks before the regular semester starts every semester. For fall we started august 16th and for spring we started january 17th. Spring semester you take one class for 8 weeks on tues/thursday and clinical saturday and sunday. after that class ends you start maternal/newborn also tues/thurs and for specialties (maternal/newborn, psych, and peds) clinical is only 1 day a week.
Fall semester is tough because there is just so much information and it's your first time in a nursing course and nursing is just so different. We had 10 people fail first semester who may be your classmates. Spring was hard for some because it is so A&P heavy. This is when you are learning about actual diseases and how to manage them. 8 people failed so far and have to repeat in the spring. Also it's a 6 credit course jammed into 8 weeks. Later today I start maternal/newborn so I dont have any advice on that yet.
Overall for the program, I love nursing and I cant wait to be finished so that I can get out there and be a nurse. Some of the professors in this program are really good, others not so much. The program definitely has it's issues, but you just have to push through. Just make sure you study as much as possible. You are not going to have a life or see your family and friends if you really want this. It's not easy, but if you make friends and have a good study group it really makes a difference. I saw from another post that you have a BS in community health, is that from UMD by any chance. I also have one from there. If you get in and would like a connection to a second year student you can pm me your email.