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Joined: Feb 20, '11;
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First, what are you calling a CNE degree? If you are referring to an MSN in education, that is not CNE. CNE is a certification for academic nurse educators and is not a degree at all.
Second, the only person who can make this decision is you. Try shadowing a clinical nurse specialist for a day and a nurse educator for a day, and get an inside view of what the job is all about. And if you do go to school for one thing but decide you want to do the other, it's not the end of the world. Many schools offer post-masters certifications, so you could essentially get the education for both areas.
My deep sympathy to the OP - dealing with multiple preceptors is the pits.
Hopefully, the OP is being provided with specific, objective information about progress toward the goals of orientation. If not SHAME ON EVERYONE. Orientation should not be a game of "gossip" with everyone providing their opinions on how well/awful the orientee is doing. There should be defined criteria... 1) what needs to be accomplished, 2) timeline for accomplishment, 3) criteria by which success will be judged. Any other type of system is completely sub-standard, from an educational perspective.
The OP should be able to refer the latest preceptor to documentation that reflects what remains to be accomplished - so they don't waste time and effort going over the same things over and over. "Prioritization" is very difficult to measure so it should be associated with criteria that are measurable such as "responds appropriately to all crisis-level alarms" or "adjusts schedule to accommodate urgent physician orders". See how these would be much better to work on than simply "does not prioritize appropriately"?
As an educator who has worked with new grads for plenty-five years, the OP's situation is very familiar.
In my experience, the primary stumbling block to managing a 'full load' assignment is the inability to prioritize. New nurses tend to apply the same level of urgency to each and every task that in on the 'to do' list because they do not yet have a frame of reference that helps them quickly categorize everything into "must do" high priority, "should do" medium priority or "nice to do" low priority. Preceptors must help them learn to do this.
Just think about a normal work day - a never-ending barrage of new events & demands on your time. If you perceive everything as a high priority, it will be impossible to accomplish it all. The problem is not that a new grad is working too slow.... they are usually working at a frantic pace, not even stopping for meals or breaks. But that work is like an inchworm bobbing up and down at a manic pace, but never getting anywhere. Preceptors need to coach our newbies and help them develop a better sense of the big picture; help them focus on identifying and acting on high priorities - then tackling lower priorities as time allows.
You can try to email the Nurse Managers but there is no guarantee it will work. Most just reply "I am forwarding this to the HR Department".
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One theme I see is the difficulty in adjustment from the school environment to the work environment.
In school things like grades were made to seem very important. GPA, test scores, etc. All of a sudden once you graduate and pass that exam...None of that matters anymore and it is all about how you are at doing the actual work.
This is usually more of a shock to those who did very well in school, because they have assumed (and been told) that these excellent grades will translate them into an excellent nurse. And suddenly, they find themselves trying to learn time management and how to interact with a wide variety of patients, and there is no score...there is no module to just get through...this is it.
Really appreciate this post. I've been in situations where I felt like I bent over backwards to help an orientee "get it." I've helped train several that ended up doing fantastic on my unit. But when the few that really just can't get the hang of it quit or get fired, everyone seems to end up pointing the finger at the preceptors, saying the person was treated unfairly, picked on, etc. It makes me crazy! You just can't make those judgments when you were not the one dealing with the person day in and day out, banging your head against the wall to get them to understand the importance of the work you do! I have made a new nurse (with 6 months unrelated experience) get out of the break room to get vitals that were late. She came back in less than 2 minutes later, picked up her phone... said she couldn't get vitals because the dinamaps were all out. HELLO, that's no excuse, you have a stethoscope, thermometer and EARS! I'm here to help and teach, but passing nclex doesnt mean you throw critical thinking out the window, and laziness won't be tolerated. The best advice I have for new grads who think the experienced nurses are mean is for them to become experienced, go to day shift, and try their hands at training new nurses. Pay your dues, earn your respect, and if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen. I usually love teaching, and helping a new girl get off orientation and able to work independently is a source of pride for me. But some people really need to get over themselves. This is nursing, not nursery school!
First, you probably read books about putting a resume together, or even hired someone to polish yours. Those are good steps, but to set yourself apart from the masses, you need to do more. Before you even start writing your resume, talk to your friends, classmates, professors and employers. Ask them what they perceive your strengths to be. Take inventory of ALL your skills and accomplishments. Women in particular have a hard time promoting themselves. Don't be shy. Start an informal list of your achievements. If you won awards, jot that down; if your GPA was high, put a little check mark beside that, did you spend time supervising others? Think hard... this doesn't have to be a job title, just a job responsibility. Compile your resume in the way that best suits your skills. If you're a young new grad without work experience find a resume template that highlights your academic history; ditto for someone with vast work experience.
While you're talking to those professors and employers, ask their permission to use them as a reference. Get their preferred contact information. Don't limit yourself to a few people because you don't want to ask the same people for letters over, and over. (It's flattering to be asked, but time consuming to actually write letters for people. Have a number of references you can rotate through as needed.) And, of course, don't have them contacted by prospective employers until the end of the hiring process.
Now, decide what kind of job you want. There are thousands of people out there who apply for every job they find. You may feel anxious, but casting your net too far and wide won't bring many calls for interviews. There is a reason for this, which I'll explain later. Be realistic in your expectations. You probably have a sense for what jobs are most desirable and where competition is intense (Labor & Delivery, peds, etc.) If this is your goal, it'll be even harder to land your dream job. Not to say those jobs are impossible to find as a new grad, but there are many others applying for them. If your ultimate goal is a job with lots of competition, find another way in: if you want to work in a NICU, maybe start at a Children's Hospital working with more difficult patients. Once you figure out where you want to be, concentrate your efforts to those jobs. Write your resume with that in mind. Using the peds example, focus your resume on your experience with kids; your peds rotation, and any other experience you have that shows you're interested in children.
Now, scour the ads, but don't limit yourself to posted or advertised jobs. Talk to everyone you know, tell them what you're looking for and ask if they have any leads. When you do hear of a possibility, focus on that one job as you write your cover letter. Talk about why you fit into THAT organization, talk about their mission, their organizational structure and why you want to work THERE. (You can find organization's mission statements on their websites and learn other details about them, too.) So, your letter reads something like, "I share Washington Hospital's committment to serving the underserved memebers of the community..." Then talk briefly about your volunteer experience giving flu shots to uninsured patients through your church's medical efforts. You want to make sure you set yourself apart from the other applicants. Your cover letter should be less than one page of easy to read text (no tiny font!)
Making your application specific to an employer or organization is time consuming, but it pays off. This is why you want to be specific in your job hunting efforts. When people tell me they sent out 2000 applications, I know that virtually all of them were read briefly and put in the 'big pile'. You're better off sending 20 specific applications than 2000 general ones.
After you send your resume and cover letter, follow up with another letter expressing continued interest. You may even make one phone call to check in. If you hear nothing after three months, send another resume and a new cover letter (can be basically the same, just tweak it to say you're still intersted in working for them). Tell them you're available for an interview and be upbeat, professionally enthusiastic and pleasant.
Speaking of professional, please do NOT include emoticons, or write your cover letter on pink stationary (honest, I've seen this!) When someone is looking through a pile of resumes (whether electronic or hard copy), the first ones cut are those with such glaring unprofessional appearances, or terrible spelling or grammar.
And, if you're lucky enough to be invited for an interview, wear something professional. A suit is better than slacks and a blouse, but do not show up in jeans! Even though it may be perfectly acceptable to wear jeans to class, to restaurants, etc., it is NOT OK to wear jeans to a job interview. If you have to borrow something or even buy a suit at Goodwill, it would be a great idea... trust me! The person interviewing you will notice what you're wearing.
When you get home from the interview, write a thank you note to the person who you spoke with (or several notes if you were interviewed by several people). Thank them for their time, express your strong desire to work there, and express that you look forward to their decision and "if there is anything else I can do..." If you don't hear something in a week, email or phone them and politely ask if they have made a decision and that you're very anxious to be part of their team.
Yes, writing multiple, specific letters is time consuming, but there is a pay-off. Think of it like this: would you rather get a generic birthday card from someone with a stamped signature? or open a card that you know was chosen just for you and had a handwritten note inside saying what a great friend you are?
Best of luck to all!
Studying And Managing Coursework
It's your first day of class. Your excited, scared, and eager. All the hard work in your pre-requisites has finally paid off, and you are officially a nursing student. Your professor walks in, greets the classroom, and dives right into the syllabus. One look at the syllabus and the anxiety starts to kick in. It is several pages long. "Geez, this might be the biggest syllabus I've ever had!" You turn the page and there is the reading list--- you think to yourself, "you have got to be kidding me...there is just no way one person can study this much material!"
Get used to this feeling. Not only will it start in your very first nursing fundamentals course, but it will continue all the way up until graduation. Nursing school is no joke -- it is very overwhelming. It may seem impossible, but with the right study habits and time management skills, you can and will succeed.
The following are the most valuable pearls of wisdom I can give you in terms of studying and achieving good grades in your courses.
What to Study
Only study what is covered in class--this will cut down your workload significantly and make your time spent studying that much more meaningful.
You must be thinking to yourself "you mean I don't have to read all 1 million chapters assigned by the professor for week 1?!" THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I'M SAYING!
Although you "should" read everything, it's just not feasible. There are not enough hours in the week to do all that reading and simultaneously prep for clinical, eat, sleep, and maintain your health and sanity. Take it from me. During my first fundamentals course, I read and studied every single page, box, etc assigned in the syllabus. I was too scared to skip anything. I was so anxious that I even started studying 3 weeks before the class actually started, which accumulated into over 5 weeks of studying by the time the first exam was even given.
It took a serious toll on my health, yet I continued to read and study every page, box etc for the remainder of the course. By the time the first semester ended, I was mentally and physically exhausted and I told myself I didn't want to do this anymore. I vented to a friend of mine who was a senior nursing student getting ready to graduate, and she told me to only study what was covered in class. I thought to myself, " there's no way," but I had to try something or else I was going to end up withdrawing myself from the nursing program. So I took her advice with me into my next course. The assigned readings/ chapters list was comparable, if not larger, than the list for my fundamentals course. Even though deep down I wanted to read all of it to be on the safe side, I only read what was covered in class. I got a 96 on the first exam.
For example, let's say on the syllabus your teacher assigned chapter 21, " postpartum assessment and complications " to be read and studied. However, during class, he or she only teaches certain sections of chapter 21. ONLY STUDY THOSE SECTIONS! There is a reason for this-- the professor is covering what he or she deems the most important information, which translates into the information that will be covered on the test. I used this technique all the way until my very last exam in nursing school, and not only did it prove to be correct each time, but it was probably what saved me from burning out and subsequently withdrawing from school.
How to Study
Study what you need to know as a nurse.
What I mean is this: your professor won't care that you can describe why the pain felt during a heart attack is due to the buildup of lactic acid as a result of oxygen deprivation and every biological step involved in anaerobic metabolism ( and these processes are covered quite extensively in nursing textbooks). Sure, it's nice to know, but your not getting a degree in chemistry. Instead, they want to know what YOU would do if a patient presented to the ER with chest pain, important nursing actions to take during this situation, and why you take those actions. Study what you need to know as a nurse.
In addition, applying what you study is most important and this is where the bulk of where your testing will come from. From day one your teachers will speak of critical thinking and the nursing process, and your licensing exam will focus heavily on these concepts. These principles are exactly what makes nursing so difficult and also why so many people will not make it through nursing school. At this point, you're probably asking yourself, " Well how do I know if I can critically think and apply what I have learned? " Practice applying what you know with NCLEX style questions. One of the best pieces of advice I can give you is to purchase an NCLEX practice question book early on in your academic career. Purchase a book that divides the questions up into sections, ie cardiac, oncology, etc. so that you can use them to study when you are covering different topics in school.
Time management is also essential to success in nursing school yet very difficult to get a grasp of early on. To effectively manage your time, there are several steps to take. First off, get a calendar. On the very first day of class, mark each and every quiz and exam on the calendar. Next, and probably most important, study every day. By no means do I mean 4-5 hours a day. Not only is that foolish but you will burn out fast. Study 2 hours a day, and as far in advance as you can. Not only will you be adequately prepared, but the information will stay in your long-term memory-- there's no such thing as cramming in nursing school the night before, you've gotta know this stuff forever. For example, let's say your test is in two weeks. Start studying the very first day the teacher presents the information.
Take notes in class, and clarify any missing portions with your textbook. Learn this information, then start practicing the information with corresponding NCLEX questions. At first, you will probably get a decent amount of the questions wrong. BUT THAT'S OK! This is how you learn, and when you go back to do more questions you will start to notice that there is only so many ways they can ask you about a given topic or scenario. Also, do every question you can get your hands on. I used to go to Barnes and noble, pay for a coffee, and take all of the NCLEX books out of their nursing section and do them until I got sick of them. If you practice questions and study your notes like I said for 2 hours a day up until the exam, you will be an expert by the time you have to test and I guarantee you will pass, probably with flying colors.
"What do I do when I'm crunched for time and can't take notes from my textbook?"
This is coming from a very jealous girlfriend myself.... The only way you will truly get her trust that you will not hurt her like that is to make sure you watch what you say to her about your fellow students. I am not saying to lie to her or keep anything from her, but you do not need to go into detail about specific people in your program/ classes because it will only raise suspicions for her. I sometimes let my brain wander and get the best of me, but as long as my boyfriend doesn't play into that and add to my scenarios and crazy ideas i've come up with they all seem to fade away. Girls have a lot of competition now and perfect girls are everywhere you look, so just keep in mind that she needs to feel like she is your main focus.:redlight: I can not stress enough....do not ever tell her that there are pretty girls in your class...even if there are, just make sure you do not feed into that if she asks, tell her you don't notice things like that anymore because you are commited to her. Hope this helped.
All of California. Job market is IMPOSSIBLE. Everyone should avoid nursing as the odds of getting a job are stacked way against you. Better speak 2 languages, have CNA experience and have family in the hospital you want to work. Also helps if you like lumpia and speak tagalog.
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