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I will be starting the nursing program at CSU Stan in the fall of 2011.

JenniferWilson74's Latest Activity

  1. JenniferWilson74

    A personal oncology story

    CLNormand, thank you for sharing this very personal post. Firstly, you are not too old to start nursing school, not even close. I just graduated, and I am 40, soon to be 41. When I decided to become a nurse, I was 34... It's been a long journey for me, because I dropped out of high school when I was 17, and had to start in pre-algebra. This alone set me back years, and beyond that, it seemed like one roadblock after the other, but I never quit. I got accepted to nursing school at age 37, and just a few months after I got my acceptance letter, I got a call from my mother. Her breast cancer had come back for the third time in 7 years, and this time, it was advanced, and didn't look good. My mother had been a fighter since birth, when she was born so premature that the doctors put her on a table to die. But 24 hours later, when she was still alive, they thought maybe they should feed her or something, and obviously, she lived. This is what my mother told me anyway (; So when I started nursing school (a 3 yr program), there was always this tentativeness, like would my mother live to see me graduate? If she took a turn for the worst, what would I do? Drop from the program? Every semester began with a heavy heart, because I didn't know how much more time my mother had, or if/when I should drop out to go be with her (she lived about 6 hrs away). The answer came 1 month into my 4th (of 6) semesters. They had given her a 2 month break from chemo, to let her body recover, and when they did the body scan, it had spread like wild fire through her body, and they put her on Hospice. I got the message, and I left school that day, packed my bags and went to be with her, until the end. I remember my mother telling me that every time she went to get chemo infusions, she would tell the nurses how I was in school to become an RN. She was so proud, as I know your mother was. I just graduated, and I am a refined 40-yrs-old, soon to be 41, aging like a fine wine (; I thought my age would be an issue when looking for employment, but as it turns out, my life experience actually gives me an advantage. I got into a coveted new-grad program, and as though the stars and universe aligned, I got hired onto the oncology floor. If this is where your heart is, go for it! What you lack in youth, you make up for in life experience. Never doubt yourself, or the value of what you have to offer. And when you graduate, your mother will be there with you in spirit, and she will be beaming with pride, I have no doubt.
  2. Very well written! I agree with all of the points in the article, and the follow-up comments. I just finished my final semester, and am one week from graduating. I felt very fortunate in that my preceptor and I got along extremely well. Our styles seemed to compliment each others nicely. What I loved about precepting, is the relationship that gets built, and how each shift builds upon the last. Your preceptor knows where you're at every step of the way, and works with you on that level, really enhancing the learning process.
  3. JenniferWilson74

    Stanislaus spring 2015 Facebook?

    I have no idea how to set up a FB page either, lol. My nursing class is the reason I got FB in the first place... and now I use it all the time. The best way I can describe nursing school is a series of peaks and valleys... lots of highs and lows. That is how it has been for me anyway. The broad, general advice I have to give is that first and foremost, the competition is over. After clawing your way to the top, keeping your grades up, and trying to beat out the other 300+ applicants, it can take a little time to switch out of that competitive mode. Make friends, because you and your cohort will come to depend and rely on each other more than you can imagine. The first semester is really overwhelming, you really hit the ground running, and things won’t really slow down until 4th semester, when you do community health and psych. Even then, it’s incredibly busy, I just think by then all the pressures start to normalize a bit as you become acclimated to the expectations. I would strongly urge you to get a good NCLEX book, such as Saunders or Prentice Hall (or both!), and use them to study concurrently with your books on whatever subject matter you are going through at that time. The way you will be tested from now on is VERY different from how you are used to being tested. The questions seem very strange at first, and difficult to wrap your brain around, and difficult study for, but the more practice NCLEX questions you do, the better you get at it. My advice, study the material at hand, and then do practice questions. I remember my first quiz in Health Assessment, I studied so hard for it, and after I finished, I was certain I had an A coming my way. But I got 6 out of 10, a failing grade! As for the rest of it, it is so individualized… we are all so different, how we learn, how we motivate ourselves, how we deal with stress, etc. Feel free to message me if either of you have any questions, now or down the road (: Once again, congratulations!
  4. JenniferWilson74

    Stanislaus spring 2015 Facebook?

    Hi Mish and Princes, welcome to the CSU Stan nursing program! I'm almost done with 5th semester, getting ready to enter my final semester (yay!). Having a class FB page is extremely helpful, I can't say enough good things about it. Congrats on your acceptance (:
  5. JenniferWilson74

    Knitting during class: ok or not?

    This discussion has been entertaining to follow. In pathophysiology, I used to sit next to this girl who could not stop moving or fidgeting in her chair. She always wore this metallic puffy jacket that made a lot of noise as she moved. She would take it off, put it back on, twist and turn in her chair, and whisper to me when she wanted me to repeat something she missed. She also had a small box with highlighters and colored pens that she was constantly getting into, snapping the lid of the box open and closed each time. Now, as I'm reading this thread and looking back, oh how I wish she was knitting instead! Maybe instead of her noisy metallic puffy jacket, she could have worn a nice, soft, quiet hand-knitted shawl.
  6. JenniferWilson74

    The Long and Winding Road...

    What a great story! Thank you for sharing your journey with us, I hope you will continue to post and keep us updated. We have some things in common, I was also #1 on the waitlist to my nursing school, my reaction to getting in was almost verbatim the same as yours, I am also non-traditional (just turned 40), and my mother died less than 2 years ago after a 10-year-long battle with breast cancer. I was just starting my 4th semester (out of 6) when I got the call and knew I needed to go be with her. I took that semester off, and it took me another 2 semesters to get back in because I needed to wait for a space to open. All along this academic journey I have hit many road blocks, trying to get the pre-reqs I needed, getting into a nursing program, and once in, balancing personal life, nursing school demands, and everything in-between. But what I told myself then, and continue to tell myself now, is that life is a journey, not a destination... so ENJOY the ride! Congratulations on your acceptance to nursing school. Buckle up and keep your hands in the vehicle at all times, it can get a little intense at times (;
  7. JenniferWilson74

    Knitting during class: ok or not?

    If someone sits in the back row playing the air trumpet during class, it wouldn't distract the front row, however I BET it would distract the professor, lol!!!
  8. JenniferWilson74

    Knitting during class: ok or not?

    What a great conversation! So I am one of those types who get's easily distracted by what others are doing, which is why I sit in the front row if I can. When I sit in the back, I get distracted by every little thing, and I don't see knitting as being any better or worse then the myriad of other distracting behavior that potentially goes on. As long as the person knitting is doing so quietly and inconspicuously as possible, it really wouldn't bother or offend me either way. I would think that out of respect, they might run it by the professor first, to see how the professor feels. If the professor is fine then I say go for it. If knitting helps the kinetic learner learn, then I see this as a positive thing.
  9. JenniferWilson74

    Tips for Identifying Cardiac Diseases/Disorders

    I agree that as nurses we do not diagnose, but we do need to understand the different disease states, names, and differentiating qualities. Chest pain is not always treated with MONA. Maybe the chest pain is not due to MI, but rather it is pleuritic, or due to cardiac tapenade, or pericarditis. The underlying pathophys is different in each case, as well as how they are diagnosed, treated, and monitored. Nursing implications vary accordingly. To answer the OP's question, you need to understand the underlying pathophys of normal heart function, then you need to understand the underlying pahtophys of the various heart conditions. Don't just memorize S&S and standard Tx, but understand what is actually going on, and why... and go over it as many times as it takes until it becomes so familiar it just makes sense. It helps to really understand the nuances between similar, but different things, such as left sided heart failure vs. right sided failure. Or CHF vs. MI. Or cardiogenic shock vs. hypovolemic shock, or septic shock, etc. Find out your learning style and use that to your advantage. I'm an audible learner (there are tests you can take online to find out what type of learner you are), so I learn best by hearing. I look for lectures on difficult material online, Medcram has some really great youtube videos. Hope this helps, and good luck!
  10. JenniferWilson74

    Summer 2014 Article Contest: You Pick 4 Winners

    When is the deadline to vote?
  11. JenniferWilson74

    I just lost my mom...now what? Seeking program advice.

    We are all different, and I can definitely see that from the responses of those who lost a parent during nursing school. I was just beginning my fourth semester (out of six) when my mother's health took a turn for the worse. Her health had been teetering in the balances from just about the time I started nursing school 1 1/2 years prior, and there was always this waiting, and wondering... What would I do when I got that call, and knew she was finally losing the battle with breast cancer, I mean, really losing the battle. That call finally came when I was about 3 weeks into my 4th semester. At first I thought I could be strong and both grieve and continue on in school. I packed my books and homework and drove down to be with her on weekends (she lived 4 hrs away), or that was my plan anyway. I had just completed my hospice rotation (of all rotations!) and I was working on the corresponding paper after having spent all day with Mom at the hospital. I remember sitting there, working on the paper, thinking how ironic it was that I was writing about the grieving process as outsider looking in, when really, I was an insider! My classmates were so great, they wanted me to continue on with them so much, they wanted to support me, whatever I needed, to make it through, but ultimately I made the choice to drop out of school and go be with my Mom during her last weeks of life, a decision I will never regret. She did not go easy, and I was there when she took her last breath. I would like to say she went in peace, but it didn't exactly work out that way. Within the weeks after her death I had many dreams about her, all of them full of strife and suffering. The dream that I really remember was one particular dream, where I was a nurse and she was my patient. She was in her hospital bed hooked up to all kinds of drips, and O2, and beeping machines. I was in my nursing uniform running around the room, trying to provide every comfort measure I could think of, everything I had been learning in nursing school: positioning, analgesics, O2, antiemetics, foley catheter, bowel protocol, and when I ran out of assessments and interventions, there was just one last thing left for me to do, and that was to get into bed with her and hold her. At that moment, I heard my mother whisper in my ear, "Jennifer, I just hurt so much..." It woke me up, and I as in tears. Her voice was so real, and I could literally feel her breath touching my face. I'm not sure why I'm sharing all of this... maybe it is to let you know that it is not only okay to grieve, but it is important. We all grieve in our own way. If that means taking a break from school, whether that is to go to part time, or just take some time off all together, then so be it. Take the time that you need to go THROUGH this process, not around it. I always tell myself that life is a journey, not a destination. Don't be in such a hurry to arrive, because as long as you keep moving in one particular direction, you will get there. In the meantime, live in the moment and enjoy (as much as possible) the ride. Grieve for your mother, and take time for yourself. Get counseling if you need it, but definitely give yourself permission and space to grieve. I guarantee you will be a better nurse in the long run because of it. BTW, I am back in the nursing program, my time off delayed me 1 1/2 years because I couldn't get right back into the program. But not for one second do I regret my decision. I know my mother would have understood if I had stayed in the program through her dying process, in fact, it is what she wanted. But I didn't take the time off for her, I did it for me. And as long as you never stop moving toward your goal, I guarantee, your mother will be very proud of you, whether it is accomplished in 2 years or 4 years, or even longer.
  12. JenniferWilson74

    Shoes for nursing school, any recommendations???

    I highly reccomend the brand SAS. I have very high arches and if I do a lot of walking in anything other than my SAS shoes I get a sharp pain up the middle of my foot so bad that I can't walk. I am overweight and out of shape, and doing clinicals this semester in my SAS shoes was a life saver. My fellow students would be hobbling at the end of the day complaining about how bad their feet hurt. Even though I am heavy, my feet were tired at the end of the day but there was no pain. They are expensive, I paid about $150 for mine (white leather also), but worth every penny.
  13. JenniferWilson74

    Anyone using ATI?

    I am in a BSN program at CSU Stanislaus. I am just finishing my 2nd semster. Last week we took two ATI exams, one on fundamentals and one on pharmacology. For my school we have two tries for each section of ATI testing and we need to get above the national average or we don't pass and are out of the program. We don't know this average until we take the exam. We take the exam on a computer in computer lab at a designated time with a proctor, and at the end we see our score and the national average, and if we are above that average then we pass. If not, then we have one more chance, and if we don't pass the second time, then we are out of the program. From what I hear, it is not uncommon for a few people not to make the first exam, but the second time everyone makes it. From what I hear it is very rare that someone will be held back because of these exams.
  14. JenniferWilson74

    Any study tips for an upcoming 2012 nursing student?

    I am almost done with my first semester, just three more weeks! Every school is different and your experience will be unique, however I can tell you what has made it so difficult for me. First of all, you will be doing physical exams on someone (and vice versa) and if you have body issues this can be difficult. I have psoriasis on 80% of my body so needless to say I have major body issues. When I started the program, just the thought of pulling up my sleeve to have my BP taken sent me into an emotional tailspin. But I got through it and I am a better, stronger person because of it. Second, you will be performing many skills in front of the critical eyes of your professors. Our professors are hard on us, and expect us to "connect the dots" and "critically think" meaning, they are expecting us to know stuff that isn't necessarily in the book or that they havn't necessarily taught us. This aspect left many of us feeling beaten down and stupid, but after we started talking and realizing that we were not alone, it has become easier to bear. Third, the exams/quizes are just a different kind of hard. I could read and study a chapter exhaustively and still fail a quiz. The questions are often abstract, obscure, and what makes it most frustrating is you could take the same exact question with possible answers to each of your professors and you would get a different "most right" answer. So the right answer in one class may not be the right answer in another class. To cope with this I have just started making sure I understand the material and if I don't do so well on a quiz I do my best to just let it go. In our program, there is a lot of self studying, self teaching and self motivation. Our professors will show a skill (sugh as inserting a foley catheter) ONE TIME, and if you didn't happen to be in open lab during that time, then oh well. But, you better still know the skill when skill check-off time comes. The emotional journey has been a series of peaks and valley, triumphs and defeats. My reccomendation for you in brushing up on your anatomy is to know the heart (anatomy, blood flow, systole, diastole, pulmonic, peripheral, BP, etc), and to know lung anatomy and gas exchange (hemoglobin, chemoreceptors). Those are the biggies. next I would brush up on the bones and the major arteries (brachial, femoral, etc) If I could go back in time I would buy the Prentice Hall Nursing Comprehensive Review for NCLEX-RN and start practicing NCLEX style questions. In the chapters, start with the basic reviews of the heart, lungs, fundamentals, safety, infection control, and then take the quizes if for no other reason than to get an idea as to what NCLEX style questions are like, what the rationales are like, etc. This would have helped me emmensely. Prentice Hall has a series of books for nursing students called "Reviews and rationales". I bought many of them and they have helped me emmensly because they take what the book has and put it in bullet points. One other must have book is the NANDA International Nursing Diagnoses Handbook. If your teachers are like ours, they won't really explain what nursing diagnoses are all about, but they will expect you to know and fully understand it. The NANDA book has been essential for homework assignments that required me to give or understand a certain ND. Hope this helps and GOOD LUCK!!!!
  15. JenniferWilson74

    Why does anyone go into nursing?

    I start NS next semester (BSN) and I chose this career for three reasons. First, when I started this journey (3 yrs ago), everything I saw on the news and read on the internet said there was a severe shortage, that jobs were expected to grow exponentially for the next decade, and pay scales and job security were primo. Second, I live near a CC with a great ADN program and a CSU with a great BSN program. And finally, I was doing restaurant management, which I hated (my husband did too) so we made the decision for me to quit and go to school full time. When I started going to the CC it seemed like EVERYONE around me was going for nursing. There were so many people going for nursing that it became a cliche, and I found myself only reluctantly telling people my major. Also at that time, nurses were being shipped over from other countries to cover the shortage, so I believe there must have been a true shortage AT ONE TIME. But, not so much any more. Also, when I started I saw that the ADN program was only two years, but as I quickly learned, my pre-reqs had pre-reqs and the classes were impossible to get in without first building up some units. The CC selects their qualifying students by way of Lottery, which is done once a year. Last fall, they had over 900 applicants for 160 seats! So I am going the BSN route for which entry is competitive and because I kept my GPA high I was able to get right in. So basically, I'm at a point where I've come too far to stop now. I'm just hoping that in the next three years things start looking a little better for nurses and the economy in general.
  16. JenniferWilson74

    Average IQ of a BSN nurse

    So maybe what you are asking is, are there any nurses out there in the world who have made it through nursing school who have scored 115 or less on an IQ test. I'm going out on a limb here and saying the answer is YES.