Hello fishies!!! So i figured I'd recap on the last 1.5 semesters so everyone following has an idea of what to expect.
The program itself is not super hard. My only advice for anyone is to read your chapters before hand. I see so many people barely passing, and complaining of all the hardships they suffer (kids, works, blah). This program is meant to be a long term career change, and opens your pathway to many different and successful programs that you need to be an RN for in order to begin (ie. CRNA, NP, BSN, DNP, CNS) or into the field of nursing in general. If you treat it as such, you will be successful. The school is very nurturing of its students. They offer every opportunity to find out what is giving you a hard time (counseling, remediation).
Be prepared to be put on the spot in front of your peers. If you are given homework that is due the morning of a clinical day, do it. Make 2 paper copies if possible, keeping one in your backpack, and another in your clipboard (pocket, blah blah). I've forgotten mine 2 times, and both times I was almost sent home or was told that the day would not count towards my clinical hours (while being expected to participate) and had to make-up an extra day. When you start working on your med sheets (you will know what this is when you start doing them) keep them saved on your computer so you can later copy and paste meds you have already worked out (changing scheduled times and dosages as per new patient orders). Did i mention read???
The first semester is split into 2-8 week sessions. The first 8 weeks you will take Fundamentals and it's concurrent clinical course. The first 2 weeks, your clinical will be held at the school in the simulation labs. You will find out which hospital you will be assigned to during the second week, and will be expected to pick a patient during the first day of hospital orientation. Every week after that, you will pick your patient the day before your clinical day, meaning, if you have class on Wednesday, and clinical on Thursday and Friday, you will go to the hospital after class on Wednesday, pick a patient and have the information ready by Thursday at 6:45 am. Do not do what I did, and work on them at night, because you will find yourself working into the morning hours, and may not get enough sleep. You will do it.... and you will remember my post. My schedule for the 1st 8 weeks was as follows, Tuesday and Wednesday I went to lecture from 8-12ish. Expect to stay later sometimes. Thursday and Friday were clinical days, usually from 6:45 (be there at 6:30) until around 1 pm. All clinical paperwork (time consuming) was due on Monday morning before 7am. Find a way to do it Friday evening or Saturday. I found myself procrastinating, and almost missed 3-4 assignments because I didn't start until 2 am on Sunday.... Don't do this, I warned you, you will remember this post.... Sometimes, you will have tests on Tuesdays, so do the paperwork on Friday if you can so that you can study during the weekend. Testing is taken uber seriously. Don't talk, Don't look around, Keep your sheets covered. When it is time to review the test, don't be that group that keeps talking, NEEDING to get the last words in.
The second 8 weeks, you will take Commons and it's clinical component. Same format
: 2 days of lecture and 2 days of clinical. You won't start hospital clinical rotation until week 3. The difference... Clinical is held Tuesday and Wednesday, and Lecture on Thursday and Friday. What does this mean as far as time management you ask?? Well, you may have a test on Thursday, BUT remember that you just came off of 2 days of clinical, plus, you were busy doing the paperwork, picking a patient and completing med sheets on Monday. This is why reading ahead and studying when you can are so important. That is 3 days of having no choice but to focus on something other than the test. I heard so many people complaining of balancing work and life with school.
**Soap box disclaimer***
I work 2 jobs, 1 full time 7pm to 7am as a Respiratory Therapist, and another part time through the Baptist System. I also have 3 kids, and am the sole provider for my family. My wife is a stay at home mom (so much respect for her) and underwent surgery during my semester. My Grandfather also passed away, but was on hospice for the last 6 weeks of the semester. I found myself studying on the nights I could visit him at his bedside. Please don't complain of not having enough time in front of me. If you want this bad enough, you will find a way. I won't make what I make now as a RT when I get into nursing, but my goal is to get into CRNA school, which requires being a RN first, working in an ICU. I want this pretty bad.
***End of soap box***
I was lucky enough to have summer break between Semester 1 and 2. I just finished taking Pharmacology last week and managed an A. You won't be as lucky because you don't have a summer break between your first and second semester, so you will need to take Pharmacology during your second semester along with Mental Health. From what I have heard from people in my cohort that expedited their timeline (they took semester 2 during the summer, allowing them to finish next May instead of next December), you will have to continue to manage time. The first 8 weeks of the second semester, you will take Complex (basically Med-Surg II, Commons being Med-Surg I) This is where you learn to put in IVs, and manage IV pumps (I know people look forward to this). The schedule looks like such: Monday: Lecture from 9-11, Tuesday and Wednesday: Clinical from 6:45-~1pm, Thursday and Friday: Lecture from 9-12. Yup... 5 days a week for 8 weeks. You can do it though!!!! IBIY!!!!! I am going into this working 4 nights a week, sometimes going into class straight from work. Next is what is great if you took Pharmacology during the summer. Since I don't have to take it, I only need to take Mental Health and its clinical component, which is 1 day of lecture and one 12 hr day of clinical. That means 2 days a week for me!!! You will have to take it with Pharmacology, which means a 4 day week. I can say that Pharmacology is very doable. Read, and do your med books. This are more time consuming than med sheets. Start on them the weekend prior, and try to finish the week before the test. You will thank me later.
Not sure what to expect during Mental Health, but here is where i get invested in your thread for this class.
Since I took pharmacology this summer, and I am a Respiratory Therapist and want to work as much as possible during the winter (overtime=$$$$$), I decided to take Complex this Fall (first 8 weeks) and not take Mental Health until next Spring (last 8 weeks). That means I will be taking it with everyone in your cohort, since you all will be taking Commons and Mental health next spring. Some of you will have all your pre-reqs done with (psych, developmental psych, sociology, english, ethics) and be allowed to take Maternal/OB, and Children/Pedi during the summer (which is what I am doing since I am taking the last 8 weeks of this year and first 8 weeks of next year off, which will catch me back up with my cohort's original grad date (Dec 2016). So I look forward to working with you all for at least Mental Health.