Wow. The American programs are really different to ours here in Australia.
- In first semester we did very basic manual handling, basic patient care (bed baths, showers, making an occupied bed, mouth care) and vital signs.
- Second semester we did oral medications and any other meds that weren't sub-q, IM or IV, we did IV fluids (without infusion pumps), sterile fields and basic wound care and we very briefly touched on caring for a patient with an IDC, NG tube or colostomy bag. We didn't cover inserting them, just the care of them.
- Third semester we covered injectable medications via sub-q and IM routes
- Fourth semester the major skills we focused on were IV medication administration via burette, blood transfusion and inserting an IDC.
I'm currently in my fifth and second last semester and I'm not sure what skills we'll be learning this year. In third year we take an elective in first semester plus an advanced med surg subject. I'm currently doing my elective in critical care and I'm on placement in a tertiary referral neurosciences ICU where I've been able to do everything from taking ABGs, suctioning traches & ETTs, inserting IDCs and pushing meds via CVCs. I'm doing my major (i.e. my whole last semester) in paeds so I don't know what that will entail yet. I think we cover chemo drugs in final semester though.
In Australia nurses don't insert IVs or take blood typically. Those are advanced practice skills that you need extra qualifications in. & other skills like inserting NG tubes or an IDC on a male often require you to be signed on to a register at the hospital you work at saying you've been assessed and are competent in that skill.
For those of you who say you learnt every single nursing skill there is to learn in the first semester, what did you do for the rest of your course?