Pretzels, Puppies, and Physical Assessment. Ch 3

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by Julie Reyes Julie Reyes, DNP, RN

Specializes in pediatrics, occupational health. Has 6 years experience.

Nursing school can be a lonely road, especially if you are an online student. You look for friendship in the strangest places - even if you have to resort to talking to your own kids....This is the third chapter in my journey through nursing school.

How do you study for physical assessment?

Pretzels, Puppies, and Physical Assessment.  Ch 3

There are some very major differences between taking classes in a classroom versus doing them online. The one difference that gets to me the most is the lack of a social life!!!

I live in the boonies next door to some cows.

My day starts off like everyone else's day - chaotic. My daughter has to be at school at 5 am for track and cross country practice. After I drop her off at school, I go back home and get everyone else off and on their way. Now it is ME time. I sit down at my computer to tackle the assignments at hand and handle pressing matters....which at the time means seeing if anyone left me any messages, sent me emails, or if I can catch any of my friends online to chat!

Later on, I decide I better really get down to studying. My current class of concern is physical assessment and the upcoming - full blown skill assessment checkoff I have to go do at the university. Since I am kind of a slow learner, I am trying to make my life easier by learning all of the acronyms I can on things like the cranial nerves (remember that one?

On old Olympus' towering top a fat vicious goat violated a hat - if you use the nice version). Of course, we have to assess every nerve in the checkoff. My advisor let me borrow some tools of the trade to practice at home with, and to use on my "patient". I am trying to convince my husband to be my patient with no luck (unless we play doctor, but AN is NOT that type of site!) - but he did let me practice my cranial nerve exam on him. Yesterday, I may have burned his eye a little bit, when trying to do the eye exam with the light thingie.

I am pretty sure I will never have to do an eye exam on any patient I ever have...or test their taster for that matter...but if I ever have to, I will just have to review it before I do it. I just cannot see this information staying around in my long term memory... I am just trying to make it through the class and remember it long enough to pass the NCLEX. That may not be how most people go through school, but honestly, I am just trying to stay above water.

I can't believe how quiet my house is when everyone is gone. It is what most people pray for - a little quiet so they can study! I just hate it - and I imagine to myself that all the lucky nursing students in actual school settings are having so much "fun" and HUMAN INTERACTION. Well - I will just have to study hard the rest of the day, I tell myself....I can talk to people when my family comes home!

So - here is the thing....my daughter comes home first, and she is a teenager...a typical teenager who needs to have "space". I follow her around the house like a lost puppy. She sighs and asks me, "Mom, how was your day? Would you like me to watch a tv show with you? We can go to your room and chill out for an hour and then I have to go do homework." Yes, that is my daughter telling me she will spend some time with me before she has to get to 'work'. We get our pretzels and honey mustard and head to the room to watch Gilmore Girls, and I talk her to death during the entire show. She is all too glad when the show is over and she has done her duty of spending time with me! Haha! Poor girl, I torture her!

By this time in nursing school, I have pretty much figured out how to study. I am very nervous for the checkoff though. I head to the university on the day of my checkoff. I found another girl in the program who needed to do hers as well, and we agreed to be each other's patient.

I was the first patient, and then we switched off. I must say this very important point: if you ever have a chance to go second, do it! You can learn from the other student on what you want to do - and not do! I made it through the entire physical assessment, making a few mistakes and skipping a few of the nerves. I wrote out my assessment into the paper chart to show I know how to document. I did the happy dance all the way home because I made a very good grade and passed the class! The biggest reward for passing this semester is that now I will be able to start clinicals! I cannot wait to buy my very first set of scrubs!

Nursing World - watch out - Julie's coming to town!!!

My journey begins!

For the rest if the story, see

Go to Nursing School? NEVER!! Ch 1

Culture Shock & Big Girl Panties - Ch 2

Pretzels, Puppies, and Physical Assessment Ch 3

Tales from the Crypt....uh.... I mean Clinicals. Ch 4

Give me a BREAK!!!! Ch 5

RN: Judge and Jury Ch 6

Virtual Reality Ch 7

Avoid Kids at ALL Costs! Ch 8

The End of the Tunnel...Holy Cow - is that LIGHT?! Ch 9

Julie Reyes

Julie Reyes, DNP, RN

44 Articles   260 Posts

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2 Comment(s)

Liddle Noodnik

Specializes in Alzheimer's, Geriatrics, Chem. Dep.. Has 30 years experience. 4 Articles; 3,789 Posts

You have a marvelous daughter! Even the coolest of parents cannot expect that kind of response to their need for human contact (as if teenagers are human, haha!) Keep up the good work!

Julie Reyes

Julie Reyes, DNP, RN

Specializes in pediatrics, occupational health. Has 6 years experience. 44 Articles; 260 Posts

Liddle Noodnik said:
You have a marvelous daughter! Even the coolest of parents cannot expect that kind of response to their need for human contact (as if teenagers are human, haha!) Keep up the good work!

:D Indeed - my kids are every breath I take! I am such a joker and softee that my poor kids have had a lot to deal with in their life - I am either laughing or crying (oh - you know those darn Hallmark commercials can really eat your lunch!!!)!

brown eyed girl

brown eyed girl

Specializes in LTC/Sub Acute Rehab. 407 Posts

Family is always the first to receive "free "healthcare! Lol!