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Found 33 results

  1. Justtrynagetby

    Struggling! LPN School

    Hello all, I am currently in the LPN program and I’m only on the 3rd day but I am freaking out !! I have ZERO health care background or history not to mention I have no medical terminology knowledge or medical work background either. I feel like I am overwhelmed already. Does any one have any tips or advice because I’m already rethinking school? I’m a single mom and I’ve been out of school for about 2 years and just getting back into the groove of that is challenging all on its own. I actually cried the first day because this is all so new to me. Most people who enter the program have some type of health care history like being a CNA or something. I also forgot all my A&P since it’s been 2 and half years since I’ve taken it. Even just reading the fundamentals of nursing is challenging because there’s a lot of nursing terminology that I’m just dumb founded by. If anyone can send some positive advice I would greatly appreciate it. I’m probably just overthinking everything but I just feel like already I’m having a hard time grasping what the heck is going on when my instructors are talking. Especially about the nursing assessments and such. Thanks !!
  2. Tam Nguyen

    Digital/ Hardcover Books

    Hi, I am starting Nursing school in the Spring, and I am purchasing books for the classes. I would like the advice whether or not should I purchase digital book? Or hard-cover is a better option? Thank you so much!
  3. Mayflower22

    First week done. I'm overwhelmed

    First week completed. Even though we are remote, I'm still feeling overwhelmed with everything. They said you don't feel comfortable until year 3. Hopefully I will get there someday. I do have great support. When did you feel comfortable as a school nurse?
  4. Dear Nurse Beth, Am I too old for upgrading from LPN to RN? I am almost 53 years old and I currently work as a LPN. I already had applied to nursing schools LPN bridge programs but each school I applied to has some type of obstacle to pursue my goal. My goal is to finish nursing school in 2 years, so by the time I am 55 , I will be a RN. But through the years in the periods of my application to different schools, I am usually dissuaded because of their requirements that would take another year for me before entering proper nursing school. It's not actually 2 years as they advertised but 3 years because of the prerequisites and other requirements. To add to it, the requirements are challenging like Chemistry, TEAS, etc. One school has already accepted me but it takes for them 1 year after finishing the course before they can send you to clinicals. For years I have been trying to enter nursing school and each school required me to do a difficult thing which I did but turned out in unfortunate terms. One example is a school that I applied and then mistakenly told me to take Psychology -Life Span Development and because the admissions director put it in paper as Psychology- Life Development. I took the prerequisite Psychology -Life Development instead of Lifespan Development which they require. I spent more than a thousand dollars for a course that is not even required by any nursing school. So when I turned in my grades for that course, the admissions director told me I have to take Life Span Development and the intended goal I have to enter nursing school is this fall. But because of that incident, I am discouraged. Another school told me that if I missed the application on this certain date, I will be in to the next school year and by that time I am 55 years old since I cannot enter the next year 2021 school year. I am so discouraged and sad about this because it has been since 2014 I tried to go to pursue my RN and it's been more than 5 years, I still am not there but only prerequisites. I am starting to give up and feeling depressed. I am so old to be doing this. Everyone is telling me that I should go for it and never mind the age but for me age is a factor in nursing. If I start late, then I will only accumulate only a few years of pension or SS benefits. Plus the fact, my body is aging. And that is the reason why I want to be RN because I want to have varied opportunities aside from bedside nursing. LPN does not have that a lot of options. I am giving up. I am so terribly sad because all schools I would like to go accepted me but wanted more from me. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications, I am a honor/Dean's List student in every school I attended to, I have excellent grades and I am a good and skilled LPN with 7 years of experience but fate is not on my side. Why is it so hard to enter nursing school in this country, USA? I thought there's a shortage of nurses and schools are persuading people to enroll in nursing schools. In my birth country, the Philippines, all you need to do is to pass the SAT , submit your transcript, have the finances , and then you enroll. Here , why is it so hard ? Nursing school is hard , and so is applying for nursing school is hard. I don't know what to do and think anymore. Dear Starting to Give Up, I'm sorry for your disappointments and feel your pain about being advised to take the wrong class. I remember when I was in school, the counselors were not trusted 100% and we students learned best from each other what classes to take. That's not as it should be, unfortunately, but when a counselor tells you something, double-check the facts in the college catalog. I've always maintained college students should be awarded 1-2 credits just for navigating the system (that's a joke, but not really). It is difficult. You have expectations of finishing in 2 years, but if you are going to pursue this, you have to adjust your expectations to the reality, see if the reality is acceptable to you, and then commit to the process. You expect that it should be relatively easy, but the reality is pre-requisites, pre-admission testing, and waitlists. At the same time, I am genuinely puzzled as to why you are having such an extremely hard time. You say you have been trying unsuccessfully for over 6 years, and you've made very little progress. Do you see any of that as swimming upstream and a life sign that this is just not working out for you? Is it fate, as you say, or are you bucking the system? Or repeatedly following wrong advice? It seems you are trapped in some negative energy force that may partially be of your own making. Here's another important thing to consider- without your BSN, your career options as an RN will be limited primarily to the bedside. If you go forward with this, you will typically spend 2 years at the bedside before moving into a non-bedside role- but most of those require a BSN. I am really sorry for your struggle and frustration. I hope you can find some peace around your decision. Best wishes, Nurse Beth
  5. konya65

    Wanting to give up

    I have been a CNA for almost 15 years and I have taken almost but two of my RN pre-req's. I have two kids now but I really want to make a better life for us. I thought that if I did my LPN then I could just go back but this is the third time I didn't pass a class by three points. I don't know if this is for me anymore but I love the medical field. Then I just don't know if I want to do something else. Should I just give up? or should I keep trying? I just am so tired of falling short and not making it.....
  6. NurseStudentK75

    Nursing School Acceptance

    For all of you out there struggling to get into nursing school, I say hang in there and stay strong! I decided to start my path to nursing school about 2 years ago at the age of 37. I had friends that criticized my decision to go into nursing so late in life. Ignore those people. They are battling their own insecurities and are not as fearless as you are. Surround yourself with positive and supportive people. I first began by becoming a CNA to be certain that this career path was meant for me. Then I took my pre-requisite science classes. I am so thankful I already had an associates degree and didn't need to take any general ED classes. Every semester I struggled to get into my classes. I begged the professors to let me in. I made sure my classes were my priority. I'm proud to say that I received and "A" in Anatomy, Physiology, Chemistry, Microbiology, Developmental Psychology, and Medical dosaging, respectively. I also started volunteer work through Cope Health Solutions at Riverside community hospital so that I would have exposure to patients. When the time came, I applied to Chaffey nursing school. The day I received my letter in the mail, I was nervous, excited, scared, you name it! I was informed that I was selected as an "alternate student". That's not exactly what I was hoping for, but it was better than getting a rejection letter. I attended the student orientation and then began studying for the TEAS exam. I passed the TEAS, and immediately started the process of completing all the requirements such as updating my BLS card, physical/drug/TB tests, background check, etc. I basically purchased all the equipment and supplies as if I were accepted into the program. Even though the deadline to submit the packet is January 8, I completed and submitted it on December 12. The wait to receive a phone call to let me know whether or not a space became available was one of the most challenging and difficult periods of my life. Then yesterday, only 1 week before the start of classes, I received the glorious call informing me that a space became available! After I finished jumping up and down, praying and thanking God for this blessing, kissing and hugging my husband and in laws, I went in to receive my admissions packet. I also registered for my classes and purchased my books. Classes start next Tuesday and I CANNOT wait! I wrote this post because in the past I would always come on this site to read about other people's experiences and see what they did and how they got in to nursing schools. I know the frustration of waiting, the fear and feeling of doubt, the sleepless nights and worry. Hang in there, stay positive and do your best. In the end, it will all work out. Wishing all of my fellow student nurses the best of luck!
  7. Hello all- I've been accepted to a nursing program at my local community college, and I was wondering what those of you who've already been through it would recommend to prepare. What sort of gaps did you encounter between prerequisites and beginning nursing-specific courses? I have four months before classes start and was planning to at least start reading the textbooks ahead of time. Are there other good resources I should be looking at? Thanks in advance to anyone who has advice!
  8. SamanthaRM

    Accepted! Now what? (NHTI)

    I got accepted to the RN program at my local community college (NHTI, starting this fall!) and I am very excited! Wondering what people recommend that students should brush up on/ study before their classes start? I am currently an LNA at the Hospital and also have done phlebotomy for about a year. Thank you so much in advance!
  9. If you are one of those people who reply with, "I want to help people.", you are in trouble. You need to come up with a better answer. Tell us why you want to be a nurse? If you can convince us you can convince anyone. Take this opportunity to practice ... to fine-tune your answer ... don't be afraid as we are all learning. So... Why do you want to be a nurse?
  10. I have a non-nursing Bachelor's degree (and an MBA). I am 35 years old and I'm considering changing careers to Nursing. What is my best plan of attack? 1. Get a bachelor's in nursing? 2. Get a RN certification (w/out BSN)? 3. Or go for the Master's in Nursing? Thank you for your input.
  11. As a nursing student, you don't have much time to yourself and your calendar ends up looking marked up with no empty spaces. I've learned that it is better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. It is very important to make sure everything is together before classes start because you may not get the time to get it together later. Set your sleeping patterns right, get peace within your mind, and make sure to remove all the clutter in your life. Over the last several days, I've put up a bookshelf in my room for nursing books, cleaned my room, did laundry, cleaned my book bag out, sorted my papers, and reviewed skills I think I need. Yes, I can be a little OCD but I truly believe that what I did will make my mind a lot more clearer for the upcoming classes. If you feel over-prepared, you will feel less anxiety. If you feel under-prepared, you will feel an extreme amount of anxiety. Now saying all that, if you don't get the time to do everything you think you need, it is okay. Write down the basic important things on a piece of paper and strive to do those things. Add 1 or 2 more things on the list if you accomplished the other things. This will make you feel very prepared and accomplished. I am not encouraging worry, I am encouraging diligence and wisdom. You'll need all the peace you can get, believe me. Now this is how I prepared/preparing for my second semester to start: Setting up an calendar with alerts Getting my books and skimming though them. Reviewing class notes. Making connections to people who will be in my class/esp. clinical group. Organizing the books I already have via book shelf. Cleaning my room, book bag, and etc. Making a budget. Things I needed to do this: Bookshelf for books. Google calendar. I put the event names like Lecture, Test #1, Clinical Orientation, etc. I put the places or room number at the college (which is very helpful!). And I also put the time of the events. I love google calendar! Once I put events in the calendar, it synch's with every device I use to check the calendar. It is very easy to work with and you can have the calendar repeat events weekly, bi weekly, or monthly. I set up alerts and reminders on the calendar also. Notes app. I make lists on this app and I use it to make a budgets also. The app is on my phone and laptop and it synch's! Facebook: For connecting with fellow classmates. I myself made a Facebook page for all the nursing students our first semester so we could initiate contacts and form a community. It is very helpful. So if you need rides, reminders, help or information, you go there! The books and notes for the classes you'll be taking. School supplies: Highlighters, pens, pencils, notebooks, erasers, flash drive, etc. Dividers and a binder: You need this so that you can organize your class notes. I use dividers to divide seminar, clinical, and lecture. I also use them to divide each unit. A support group of veterans: This is a important thing to have. If you know people who have been through the nursing program, make connections and ask them for advice. It has been very helpful to me to have 2 friends who are in the second year and my Godmother who has been through both years to help me out. Their wisdom is very much needed.
  12. AspiringNurseMW

    Nursing School APN Acceptance!!

    Background: I am 27 years old with 2 children 4 and 1. I completed my first semester this past fall with a 3.9 GPA for 17 credits. I took the PAX, the entrance exam required by my school, and scored a 150, which is in the 99%. My school actually has really easy entrance requirements (only having one true pre-requisite class complete in order to apply), but it makes it highly competitive, over 2000 applications for 150 seats. However, because of my GPA and score on the PAX, everyone kept telling me that I was basically a shoe-in. Application completed before the December 15 deadline, and the waiting game began; letters would be sent out anywhere between January and March. February begins and rumors are swirling that acceptance letters are getting ready to be sent out, and they are, during the second week of February. People get their letters over the course of two days. Nothing in my mailbox. All the hopefuls in my Micro and A&P class start talking, and I finally get a clear view of what their admission criteria/point system is like. My heart sinks as I get confirmation that my score in the PAX actually did not matter at all, no points assigned for it, it is simply a pass/fail criteria! Furthermore, and kind of obviously, they assign points for co-requisites completed, so although I had mostly A's, someone who has completed twice as many classes as me with B's has a much higher chance of getting in. Started feeling like all my hard work was for nothing. I swear I went through some of the stages of grief; I was angry, cried, in disbelief, denial, but in the end, acceptance. I stopped checking my student account on a daily basis, although up to this point, my status was still pending. I went to the admissions office and also applied to be considered for the surgical tech and respiratory tech programs, as a back-up. I looked up and make plans for the next few semesters to make sure I completed most of my co-requisites as well as any classes I would need to gain acceptance to other BSN programs. Life was moving on and so was I. March comes around, still my status is pending, starting to get antsy and waiting for the official denial. I assumed it was pretty much set in stone since there is no official waiting list at my school and the letters of acceptance that were sent out indicated that their deposits had to be turned in on March 3rd. My family and I needed to move and the apartment we had been pining for was given to someone else with a stronger application. Another blow. Nothing seems to be going my way. But within a few days, we find a new apartment (which I now LOVE and am grateful we didn't get the first one) and move during Spring break. I am barely checking my student account now, I am too busy with moving and kids. I moved on Thursday, and the following Wednesday, for no particular reason other than I was in a place in my apartment with a decent cell phone signal (which coincidentally was my bathroom), I checked my application status. I could not believe my eyes. AAS. NUR, Status: ACCEPTED. No *******' way!! I had refused to hold out hope that I would be among the small group that would get acceptance letters based on the students who did not pay their deposit on time. I did this because I did not want to be further disappointed, but instead, it made it so so much sweeter!! So there I am in my bathroom, fist pumping and dancing in silence because it's 6:30 in the morning and everyone else is asleep. I keep refreshing my page because I have to make sure this isn't a mistake. I keep checking to make sure it says accepted for nursing and not the respiratory or surgical tech that is also listed. Yesterday, I got my official acceptance letter in the mail. I rush to complete all the screenings required. And so my journey is just now beginning. This June I will be starting the short Intro to the Nursing Summer class. I know nursing school will be hard, especially with a family and a part-time job. I accept the challenge. I look forward to someday of being able to reach my goal of becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife (although I am completely understanding of the fact that nursing school may change my course, but it is the primary reason for entering nursing school). So until next time, which will likely consist of me asking a Nursing Student question to be guided by GrnTea and others, LOL.
  13. ProfessorNurseRN

    The Very Beginning

    In the beginning... If you are a good/typical first year nursing student, the very first patient you ever care for is a terrifying experience. You are convinced that you are going to kill them by taking their vital signs (puncturing someone's tongue straight through with the thermometer is a possibility), that they are going to think you a fool (if they ask you a question and you don't know the answer!) and if they stop breathing- you don't know who to call or what to do. You have to give yourself a pep talk every time you walk onto the hospital unit, much less walk into the patient's room. You don't know who any of the different personnel walking around are. You have no idea what half of the tubing and equipment around your patient is and you are wondering why the room doesn't quite look like the lab at school. And on top of all of this, you are expected to know normal versus abnormal vital signs, put the pieces together and come up with a mysterious concept called a care plan. And then came acronyms... Acronyms and terms are swirling around you like alphabet soup, CHF, COPD, PE, H&P, PA, NP, MD, D-dimer, Core Measures, SCIP measures, sepsis, and c-diff. You laid awake all night before clinical, you got sick when you arrived and you know that your fight or flight response is kicking in. Your hands are sweaty and your mouth is numb and you wonder if you should have listened to your family and went for that business degree. But you didn't, and you are here and you have to make the best of it. You had to take a few tests, pass a few lab practicums before they let you in the hospital and then they had you show up, in a uniform to take care of a real patient. You start... So you start. And with all of this knowledge and fear and excitement running around in your head, where do you start? You start by smiling because it helps you relax. You start by collecting your equipment and then walking in the room. You start by putting into your pockets pens, paper, scissors, a pulse oximeter if you have one, a pen light, and alcohol swabs. You place your stethoscope around your neck and you get a thermometer and a blood pressure cuff. You check your patient assignment on the paper you received with the room number and bed location in front of you. You find out what their name is and who their health care provider is and why they are at the hospital. You knock on the door and enter. And just like that, you become part of another person's life. The assessment... What comes next is what I think is the most fascinating part of a nurse's role. The assessment. And it begins the minute you lay eyes on the patient and it continues the entire time that patient is in your care. You introduce yourself, and you may even shake their hand. As you do you are looking at them. Your eyes are always roving the patient and their environment. What does this patient's head look like? The patient's eyes, nose and mouth? How do their lips look? How is their speech? How is their hearing? What is their skin color? What about their breathing? How does their chest look, and their overall body shape? How was their hand grasp? Their skin texture and degree of moisture? How do their lungs sound and their bowels sound? How do their feet look and how are their pulses? Your eyes follow every line and tube leaving the patient to the place where it ends up. Is it connected to a pump, is it connected to the wall? What are the settings on wherever it ends up? Do they have a catheter? What color is the urine? As you are entering your patient's personal space, you are asking questions. Questions about their symptoms, how they are feeling, what they want to talk about. You can learn a lot about a person this way and get a handle on what they need and how you can help. You take their vital signs and carefully record them, comparing how these vital signs compare to the person you are looking at. If the sp02 is 82%, is the patient on oxygen? How much oxygen? Do they look like they are in distress? Are they pursed lip breathing? Are their lips dusky? Always ask yourself how those vital signs compare to what you are seeing from the patient in front of you and how they compare to the reason why the patient came into the hospital. You can do it... Before you know it, you have your jumping off place. Your very first assessment. As you excuse yourself from your patient to go get some hygiene items for them, you are mindful that their bed is in a low position and that the call light is within their reach. That is simply how you begin. With your assessment. All of your care planning and all of your care, your good nursing care, comes from that assessment. As you leave and reenter the room for the rest of the shift, Advice to the Younger Nurse Me ... train your eyes to continuously assess. And after a while, believe me, this assessment will be like second nature to you. And then you can move onto more phases of the nursing process: Diagnosis, planning, implementing and evaluating. But it all begins with that initial thorough assessment. Start there, and before you know it, you will be well on your way to a successful patient care, a successful nursing school journey and eventually an amazing nursing career! Every single person on the planet has a story. - Unknown
  14. So a lot of you are wondering what your compensation will be following nursing school. I can't speak for each state but in Texas, nurses are paid very well, combine that with an unrelenting passion and proficient skills set, it's money in the bank. (BTW I didn't go to school for grammar and I'm notorious for extra commas) So, where I started working right out of school in July 2017 nurses are paid $24.25 an hour, I started in an ICU. I don't count the full year of 2017 since I was a tech making $11.70 an hour for more than half a year and by the end of the year without OT I made $45,000. In 2018 however, my first two checks were >$5,000 after taxes. How? Well, my base was $24.25, my hospital gives $1.00 raise every six months for the ~3 years for residents plus your annual increase. So after six months, I was making $26 something. I work nights so that is automatically and extra $3.25 per hour for the first four hours of your shift and then an extra $4 per hours for the next 8. So right off the bat, I was making at ~$30 an hours. I worked weekends so my job gives another $6.50 an hour for weekends, so guess what? I worked on weekends. So just for my differentials + base, I was averaging $36 an hour for 36 hours a week. There is always overtime and I only picked up when they offered $10 dollar bonus, which means they tack on another $10 an hour on top of my base, differentials and time and 1/2. I picked up an extra 1-3 shifts a week and for holidays they automatically pay time and 1/2. When you are in overtime and already getting paid time and a 1/2, plus holiday pay + base + differentials + bonus, that's money in the bank because you are getting double base pay plus everything else. Although, I will disclose I had no children and no pets so I was only obligated to myself and my bills lmao. If you have a family or other familial responsibilities it can be difficult unless you have a dedicated partner or support system whom/who are sympathetic to your financial goals. Also, some people love nursing and some people find out it is not for them, I am definitely one of those people who absolutely love my team (physicians, RTs, fellow nurses, social workers, administration, NPs, just everyone) and my profession. I had people who were willing to teach (nurses who were/are 30+ years in the game) as well as a younger nurse who knew the new tricks of the trade. I was never unsafe, for instance, I inquired with my manager about all my OT shifts and she agreed to cancel me if I didn't feel rested enough to work because I was doing the hospital a favor. Your environment has a lot to do with your work satisfaction. I don't mean to rant BTW I'm just telling you all my truth. I never felt burned out and took a 2 1/2 to almost full month vacation every 3 months. I've been to Germany twice, Hawaii, traveled to various parts of the country. Now that I have an extensive skill set, I travel but I still keep my job at my first hospital. I probably will never leave haha I never imagined making almost 6 figures as a brand new nurse and if I can do it, so can you!
  15. As the end of August is quickly approaching, I am starting to see more and more posts in the forums about the start of nursing school approaching for many in our community. I thought I would take a moment to share a few pieces of my story, a few tips, and some words of encouragement to complete the puzzle of mystery, nervousness, and excitement that often makes up nursing school. A few years ago, I began my pre-requisites as a pre-nursing student. I worked hard, studied hard, and in a matter of time it all paid off. I was accepted into my program and was officially a real nursing student. I obtained my first stethoscope, fulfilled my pre-clinical requirements, and before I knew it I was ready for my first day of school; the first day of the rest of my life. The first day of class was orientation and we had to wear our school scrubs. They were rough, uncomfortable, and stiff. But still, we all wore them with pride. One by one we all filled the lecture hall and as I looked around at everyone coming in I saw a similar look on everyone's face. You probably know it; it's the look that a deer gets when they look into your headlights as you're coming down the road toward them. Yeah, that's the one. We were all scared, nervous, yet so excited for the road ahead. After we were all settled in our seats our professors finally arrived, they all had smiles on their faces, a sort of calm in the storm. They began to explain the expectations of the program, told us about the clinical facilities, and even began lecturing on the fundamentals of nursing. At the end of the day we all went around the room and stated why we wanted to be nurses. Most of us said that we wanted to help people, others had a story about health issues in the family that opened their eyes to nursing, others were making a career change, and the list went on. By the end of orientation we were all exhausted and surprised by the amount of work we were in for. Later that day, we went to tour the clinical facility, it was very big and a bit intimidating for us students. We all looked around in awe at the physicians, nurses, and ancillary staff running around to tend to patients and get their work done. I looked around and I saw the nurses in their matching uniforms and on their name badges I saw those two letters that I sought after, "RN." One day, that is going to be me, I thought to myself. I watched as they swiftly moved through the hallways and envied their confidence. As time went on, we started our clinical shifts, we became more comfortable in our program, we got used to the way we were tested, and we were adapting to the workload. Each day got better, time went on, and before I knew it, our professors were talking about the different phases of being a new graduate nurse, how to register for NCLEX and obtain our licenses, and the pinning and graduation fees. Looking back on that first day, now, I can't believe how far I have come. So to you nursing students, I say, it does get better. We all started out scared. At one point or another all of us were the wide-eyed student sitting in your seat feeling worried, excited, scared, and any other emotion you might feel. Many of us have made it through and so can you. During nursing school my best friends were my fellow nursing students, we cried together, we laughed together, we studied together, I mean, I literally can't think of anything we didn't do together. Try your best to make nice with those around you. Granted, you won't get along with everyone, but do your best to learn from each other. Everyone in your program has something to offer. Make friends with the 'A' students, and if you are the 'A' student, help your peers. Also, develop strong study habits in the beginning that you can carry through to the end. During clinical, I was never at the nurse's station, unless I was charting, looking at labs, or looking at the chart. Our clinical instructors did not allow us to stand around, if you have down time, go around the rooms and check on the patients. Getting a blanket for a cold patient seems so simple, but it will likely make their day, and it gives you something to do. Stay busy. Clinical is your time to learn and soak up everything that you can before you get out in the real world. If a nurse says they are placing an NG tube, ask if you can do it! Do not be afraid to try new things. Always take opportunities when they arise and don't be a wall flower as this is your time to learn. You don't learn very much if you are sitting around collecting dust. Even if you don't get the opportunity to do something, go watch! If a fellow nursing student is putting in a catheter with your instructor, see if you might be able to watch. You get out of your clinical experiences what you put in. Even if a procedure is something only a physician can do, watch anyway! Run and tell your fellow students (as long as the patient is okay with it). Even though it may be something only the physician can do; it is still a learning opportunity. You can learn how nurses assist during those procedures. Not only that, but, there have been countless times when I went in to watch a procedure and the physician in the room taught me everything they knew. So, here I am, a few years after my first day of nursing school; a new graduate nurse. I was in your position, student nurses, not too long ago. I remember so vividly how it feels, but mark my words, it does get better. Even if you are not successful on your first try, get up, and try again. Each day will get a little bit easier, don't get me wrong, it is a lot of work, but you will learn to manage your days. Listen to your clinical instructors, listen to your body, and give it your best each and every day. You will be alright; you can make it through, and when your days get rough find that willpower from deep within. Picture yourself as a nurse when you start to feel discouraged, close your eyes, and take a deep breath. I learned quickly the importance of a good support system. Lean on your fellow nursing students and others close to you, take it one day at a time, and study hard. One day, soon enough, you too will look back on your first day of nursing school and you too will be amazed at how far you have come.
  16. LPNtoRNin2016OH

    What It Means to Me

    I spent years in grade school, drifting in and out of detentions and remedial classes. My mom breathed a visible sigh of relief when I graduated from high school with a 2 point something. At least I wasn't a high school dropout but not much else either. Overshadowed by my naturally gifted siblings that came before me, I merely existed. No confidence to speak of, immature, unreliable, no drive, no voice, and no direction. A friend convinced to take the STNA course with her, she had come from a family of nurses and was on track to do the same. I literally did not know one nurse at the time. I started the course with hesitation and with perplexed interest that I actually enjoyed interacting with LTC patients during clinical. I picked up the skills needed to pass the STNA examination quickly and still I was hesitant. Nothing had ever come easy to me, not that I had ever worked much for anything before then. My first job was in a typical SNF, too many patients, too little staff, too much management. I didn't even think of nursing school until I interacted with the floor nurses and wanted to do the things they were doing. Sure, my job was difficult, back breaking at times, and the demands were unrealistic. But I liked that for the first time in my life, in the midst of the dementia patients and the never ending call lights, I felt like I belonged. I signed up for an LPN program through a vocational school at 19 with the same friend that I went to my STNA course with. My image on the first day of school was her graduating and me failing out the first quarter. To my shock, I didn't. I don't know if it's because I finally wanted it, or I finally found it, or both but I excelled. Eventually earning a 3.5 GPA, I graduated with my class, one year later, almost 21, and unknowingly almost 2 months pregnant. Well that wasn't in the plans. I was in the denial phase as I studied the next two months for my NCLEX PN. Either the baby or the nerves caused me to puke in the bathroom before I walked through the doors that would decide, in my mind, if I was good enough. I don't even remember the test, it turned off at the minimum questions. The next 48 hours were gut wrenching until I saw the three letters on the computer screen that I never thought I would see. I was a nurse. That was in 2008. The recession had hit, jobs were scarce, and nursing broke my heart for the first time. I went to job interview after job interview. Literally, it had to be at least 50 interviews where I hoped to cover my baby bump and pass as plump. Even after I had my baby, no luck. I had been out of school too long, there were too many nurses, not enough money, no one wanted me. In early 2010, I decided to go on one last interview. By this time, I had interviewed in every LTC I had the slightest chance in. I told my husband that this was it, after this, I had to decide on another path. I was still working in an STNA role, a job I accepted after the birth of my son to keep food on the table. I went into this interview dejected, I flubbed it, bad. I was without direction, confidence, and without hope. I gathered my things, tears welling in my eyes, getting ready to go before the DON even stopped talking. I couldn't hear another rejection when the DON looked at me and said "A long time ago someone gave me a chance and now I am giving you one. There is something about you I like, you haven't given up on looking for a job and haven't felt you were too good to work as an aid while you were technically a nurse. So I am giving you a chance. Are you interested still?". I mustered back my tears and eagerly told her yes, quickly wrote down my first orientation date, thanked her (actually pretty sure I hugged her), and ran to my car. Like I did after so many of the other interviews, I cried the whole way home. But this time, it was because I had a chance. It was rough, I made mistakes, I was unorganized, and I was dangerous at times. The DON stuck by me and made me prove to myself and to her that I was good enough to be a nurse. I had weekly meetings with her where I had to show her how I was keeping myself organized during med passes and how I was charting. She is the reason why I even made it all as a nurse, let alone at that job. A few years passed, I gained experience, and found my place again. I had a lot to learn but it turned out I wasn't half bad. I wasn't afraid to ask questions and I welcomed critiques. I grew into a woman, had confidence I had sorely been lacking my whole life, and I had built a reputation for myself as dependable employee. I literally was surprised at myself. I turned my sight to RN school, thought I might be crazy, but the girl who was lost and then found in nursing told me to try. I signed up for a well-respected university that offered a bridge program for LPNs at a satellite location and started picking away at pre-requisites part-time. I gained more and more steam as I breezed through each semester. It wasn't without sacrifice, I missed time with my kids, my husband, and lost 30 lbs. in the stress of it all. I was poised to apply for my bridge program after two years of hard work when I gave birth to our third child 2 weeks before finals last winter and fell inside the black hole that is postpartum depression. It hit me like a train. It rocked my family and reduced me to the girl with no direction I had once been. I returned to my job only to give my two weeks, withdrew my application to the bridge program, and enrolled in some easy online bachelor pre-requisite classes at the urging of my husband who couldn't bear to see me throw it all away after being so close. My family had to give my newborn son the love I just couldn't find at the time and I had to take every day, minute by minute. Every day felt like it had too many minutes then. It took a village and some strong medications to get me back but I did crawl my way back. I took the summer off to bond with my baby, do some healing, and prep myself that I still had what it takes to finish my RN degree. Now here I am, still licking my wounds a bit but otherwise back to normal. My sweet baby boy turns one today and his gummy smile erases most doubts I have about myself. I applied for my clinical seat two weeks ago and tried to sum up everything I am writing here in this article in a 340-word essay about what nursing means to me that accompanied my application. Everyone goes into nursing for different reasons, not one reason is better than the other in my eyes. It's a selfless job so whatever reason you are doing it for means your amazing just because. What does nursing mean to me though? It means for the first time in my life, I never gave up and I never made excuses. I didn't take the easy way out, I didn't wait for something to come to me, I went after it. I have direction, a path, and laser focus. For the second time in my 28 years, I am truly proud of myself. I finished every class I have taken with a 4.0 and that still is mind boggling to me. I won't find out if I get in till May and as many of you know, it will feel like the world's longest wait. Nursing has broken me and has seen my darkest days but hopefully will see my brightest when I get my acceptance letter and one-day walk across that graduation stage. Because of nursing, I am empathetic because I have been shown empathy by a DON who owed me nothing but gave me everything when I needed it the most. I have confidence because others have believed in me, I have drive because being a nurse has demanded it of me. I am kind because I have seen those who the world has be unkind too and I finally have a voice because so many have needed me too. This job, this career, this passion, it built me.That is what nursing means to me.
  17. My story is one that you hear often. My parents came to U.S to make a better life for themselves, found each other and then one day - BAM I was born. Growing up my father always worked more than one job, and with his red tired eyes he would always say "Mija, tienes que estudiar, no hay nada mas" - Honey, you have to get an education, there is nothing else. So in my mind, there was nothing else. I was determined to get an education. How To Achieve Your Goal In Becoming A Nurse STEP 1 Be Determined and Stay that Way. Ya gotta be determined, and stay. that.way. It is the only way you will get the drive to finish. Nobody else is going to get this degree for you. My determination is what fueled my drive. STEP 2 Be Malleable When I took my first Biology test in my first semester in college I got a "D". A big, fat, dooming "D". I went home and cried on my mom's bed while saying "I'm not meant to be a nurse! How can I pass all the other science classes if I can't even pass the prerequisite for the prerequisites!" But as you can guess, I didn't give up. Instead, I rose up to the challenge. I spent many days in the library studying. Or trying to study, since I didn't know how. I started taking notes, using colored pens and highlighters, going over notes etc. I didn't just stay the same since you need to do something different to get different results. In order to succeed, you need to be malleable - able to be changed, be flexible to reach your goal, but never break. STEP 3 Use your Resources In high school, I was recruited to be part of a program that took at-risk teens and minorities around the hospital. They gave us internships, helped us with professional development and supported us. This program ended up really help me in not feeling alone. When I got into college, I found a different program and sought support. Use your community resources ya'll. People do want you to succeed, but you need to have some initiative and seek out these resources. After all, a closed mouth cannot be fed. STEP 4 Ask for Help This one is straight forward. If you need help, ask for it. Tutoring, financial aid, mentoring - ask for it. It is okay to ask for help. I got tutored for several of my classes in college, no shame in that! STEP 5 Keep your Support System Close. Tacos. I love tacos, tacos make me happy, and my parents knew this. So one day, during finals week at 11:00 pm, my dad bought me tacos, because he saw I was stressed. This is just one of the many examples that I have of my support system helping me to mentally survive. No matter how small the deed is, let them care for you, nurture you, uplift you. It doesn't have to just be your family, it could be a mentor, a friend - somebody. STEP 6 Keep Like Minded People around You. I was fortunate enough that my best friend is also a nurse, and we were both studying to become nurses around the same time and would often study together. This was often the only socializing I had in nursing school. Before nursing school, I make friends in community college, and we would all study together and socialize together. STEP 7 Realize Failure is Okay I didn't actually fail any classes but realizing that if I did fail and it was okay, was a big relief for me. There was a time that a professor was threatening to fail me in one of my clinical rotations (that's a story for a different time), and somebody I looked up to sat me down and let me know it was okay to fail. But if I did fail, to just get up and finish it. Just reach your goal! (but try not to fail of course) I really wish I could come up with three more points because it is really bothering me I didn't get to ten, but that is all I have. I did it and you can do it too!
  18. I wish I were one of those people who had a cool story about what compelled them to go to nursing school. I come from a family of doctors and nurses and have a caring soul, so I figured I too would go into healthcare from a young age. I originally started out as a Pre-Health major (biochemistry specifically) at the University of Florida, but unfortunately that didn't suit me. By the time I decided I wanted to go to nursing school instead of be a doctor or dentist, I had hurt my GPA with very hard weed out classes and couldn't get into UF's Nursing program (my GPA was around 3.35.) They also are the only school in Florida that does not offer grade forgiveness, so even if I retook the classes I got poor grades, they would have just averaged the scores. So from a cost-benefit perspective and with an Associate in Arts degree, I left UF and got my CNA license. I figured this would be my first step in becoming a nurse, and if nothing else, I would start to pay off some of my student loans. This was one of the hardest things I ever did. I still wonder if I made the right decision sometimes. I gave up the amazing and fun university lifestyle for stinky patient rooms and endless evening shifts (sometimes 16 hour doubles.) What had I DONE?! My first weeks as a CNA were horrifying. Being only 19, I had never even seen a catheter or colostomy bag. I challenged the state exam, so I had not even seen this stuff in a school setting before. My first two nights on the job I cried at the end of my shift and slept a total of two hours those nights (waking up frequently with images of colostomy bags in my head.) I was taking care of 13-14 patients, as we were heavily understaffed. I remember that all I could think about was the terrible smell of C-diff and how THAT MUCH of anything could come out of a human. I started looking into other schooling options--- I was so traumatized that I almost gave up on nursing. I couldn't help but think I had neglected a patient and was going to lose my license in my first week. But I'm so glad I pressed on. My time as a CNA was the most valuable thing I could have done to confirm that I would make it in the nursing field. My facility was very understaffed, poorly organized, and hard to deal with at times. They would call me at 5 in the morning asking me to come in and work a double. But I still loved my job. My patients adored me. My nurses trusted me to do the jobs that they couldn't trust the others to complete. My DON had me training new CNA's after only three months. And best of all, I finally was making a difference in people's lives. Even in some of the worst imaginable working conditions, I felt like I could do my job as well as some of the aides who had been there for years. In the time that I was a CNA I was looking for a school that would accept me with my less than perfect GPA. This is a harder feat than you may think in this day and age. Many schools in Florida (especially BSN programs) will only look at GPA and MAYBE a TEAS or HESI test score (UF did not even look at that.) So finding a program that I was competitive for (that wasn't $40,000 a year) was nearly impossible. Now, about a year later, I have been accepted for the fall semester at Palm Beach State College in their RN program. I start in just two weeks! My story of becoming a nurse is just beginning, but in many ways I believe I am already a nurse at heart. When I finally came to peace with my job as a CNA, I began to truly enjoy my experience. I can't wait to start school in the fall and show everyone that the beaten path is not the only way to reach your greatest potential. I hope that I will find a specialty that truly calls to me, and I will continue my education as far as I possibly can.
  19. Because you haven't entered the program yet, it may feel like some or all of this doesn't apply to you, but my hope is that you'll read all that I have shared and that as you go through your chosen program at least some of what I've shared will be helpful. On Instructors: It is not a requirement that you like them, only that you treat them with respect and do your best to learn from them. They are not out to get you; their objective is to provide you with the information and tools you need to become a good nurse. Sometimes an instructor may seem difficult to work with, but even that situation should be handled in a respectful and professional manner. They cannot possibly teach everything to each different learning style. If you do not agree with an instructor's teaching style, speak with them about ways you can adapt in order to succeed. It is also not their job to spoon-feed you the information. They spend hours creating a lecture, maybe with a PowerPoint presentation, and the syllabus. If they took the time to go over every detail in the reading, this would be a MUCH longer program. Do the reading. Study. That's your job as a nursing student. On Administrative Support Staff: We are here to help, but please also treat us with respect. Last-minute requests for help - for example, if you need a copy made - are ok once in a while, but frequent requests show a lack of consideration for our time and shows that you are not prepared, which is unprofessional. Use correct grammar and spelling when composing an email to the staff or faculty. Using text-speak (ex. "r u" for "are you") or all caps is unprofessional and shows a lack of respect. Request assistance, do not demand. I am happy to help, but stating flatly what you need and expecting compliance is unprofessional and shows a lack of respect. (Are you seeing a theme here?) Ex: demand - "I need another copy of the reference letter from Professor Smith. I'll pick it up in an hour." Ex: request - "I have an interview coming up and wanted to know if you have time to make another copy of the reference letter from Dr. Smith. If so, would it be possible for me to pick it up in a couple of days?" The request shows an understanding that the staff member has other responsibilities and a respect for their time and effort. As they say, you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. Please check your email and, if applicable, your class' Facebook page before calling or stopping by to ask a question. If we have already taken the time to answer your question in email or on Facebook, it's frustrating to have to repeat ourselves because you didn't take the time to read. On Some Common And Not-So-Common Sense: All of your life the importance of getting the best grades you can has been pounded into you and you may even be a straight A student. I'm going to ask you to loosen up your attitude toward grades a little. While grades are important, the ultimate objective is understanding and retaining nursing concepts. When you transition into practice in two years your patient won't care if you earned an 89.4 or a 91 in your class, only that you can provide safe, competent, compassionate care to help them through a difficult time in their life. Nursing school is not like anything you've done before. Be FLEXIBLE. Your previous methods may need tweaking or even a complete overhaul. If you are struggling in a class, seek help A.S.A.P. If you wait until mid-terms, it may be too late and you may end up having to retake a class. Take advantage of the services offered to students at your school, whether it's help with studying skills, guided study sessions, tutoring or paper-writing assistance. Even though you've clearly written papers and been studying for years, you may learn some new methods that work better for you. You are responsible for how successful you are. No one else. You can view that as burdensome or empowering. It's your choice. (I'd pick empowering.) When you start the program you are likely to feel frustrated and overwhelmed and you may want to blame faculty or the program for your difficulties. If you are attending a program with a high NCLEX pass rate, think before you blame. After every class graduates, the students who started off complaining the loudest are usually the ones expressing the most gratitude and saying how well we prepared them for nursing. FINALLY! Or In Closing: We, staff, faculty and administrators, are all here to help you succeed and are, even if it may not always seem like it, cheering for your success.
  20. As a traditional student or non-traditional adult learner, nursing school can prove to be one of the more demanding ventures that you will ever experience. Nursing school is daunting enough for a student who is not employed; however, the experience can be twice as imposing for people who contend with full-time jobs, family obligations, bills and other responsibilities. In this day and age, many students must maintain full-time employment while attending school full-time to stay financially afloat. Even though some individuals choose to live off the proceeds of federal and private student loan disbursements to keep from working while going to school, other people are reluctant to borrow money or unnecessarily add to the amount they will eventually repay. Staying employed while attending school is a fiscally sound way to stay out of student loan debt or, at the very least, minimize the amount of money one borrows. While many instructors will recommend that students not work during nursing school, full-time employment is very much manageable as a full-time nursing student. Here are some tips to handle both nursing school and a full-time job. Don't be afraid to neglect some tasks If you are normally a clean freak, it's okay for your living space to be a little messy while you are a nursing student who works full-time. If your family has come to expect time-consuming home-cooked dishes prepared from scratch every dinner, it's alright to serve leftovers, sandwiches or other time-saving meals. Remember that your time is finite during this venture and you must use it wisely. Manage your time sensibly One of my former schoolmates was a busy wife and mother who admitted that she still ironed her sheets to ensure they were never wrinkled. After hearing this revelation, we all told her she needed to spend her time on the stuff that truly mattered such as schoolwork, her kids, the husband and the job. Ironing the sheets is a poor use of one's very limited time during nursing school because, once you lay on those sheets for several hours, they are going to develop wrinkles anyway. Obtain a planner You will be juggling multiple tasks, duties and responsibilities as a full-time worker and nursing student. A planner is one school supply that will help you stay on track to remind you of due dates, appointments, projects and other upcoming events that a busy person might forget. Don't be a lone wolf Although much of your time will be occupied by school and work, do not neglect your family and friends. Be sure to carve out the time for your friends, significant other, and immediate family members. Also, solicit their input and support. Furthermore, if any of your classmates seem like decent people, network with them. After all, no man is an island. Do not procrastinate I know it is tempting to put that essay, research project, or study time off until the last minute. However, you cannot afford to squander valuable time by putting assignments off until the day before they are due. Instead, set aside some time to study each day to keep from becoming overwhelmed on the day before a major test or project. Temporarily revamp your expectations If you received a 4.0 grade point average in your prerequisite courses, keep in mind that it is normal for GPAs to drop somewhat during nursing school. If you are accustomed to a full night's sleep, keep in mind that this might not always happen if you are a full-time student who also works full-time. In other words, shift your expectations during this time in your life. Seek out time-saving activities whenever possible Instead of cooking on a daily basis, prepare a large amount of food on the weekend, deep-freeze it and reheat as needed. If you have some responsible classmates, form a study group and divide the mountain of tasks between members to save some valuable time. If you regularly stop at a convenience store for snacks, also use the time to refuel your gas tank. Evaluate every activity in your life to determine if you can trim some time. Find a place to study -- and stick to it If you find yourself becoming distracted while studying at home, you might be better off using the library as your quiet spot. If you are fortunate enough to be able to study at home, find one place in the house and claim it as your personal space. If you live with others, let them know you are not to be interrupted while studying unless it's an emergency. Take advantage of resources at your workplace Some people are lucky enough to have occasional moments of downtime at their jobs. It would be wise to use this downtime to study if nothing else is happening. Some self-righteous people might say, "They aren't paying us to study!" To these people I respond, "Upper management isn't always working every single minute when at work." If you're feeling stressed, take advantage of any employee assistance programs (EAP) that your place of employment might offer in the benefits package. Definitely use the tuition assistance if your employer offers it unless, of course, you dislike any of the strings that might be attached. Be mindful of your career goals You are in nursing school to eventually become a nurse, I assume. Therefore, you should treat nursing school as if it is one of your urgent priorities. It is best to invest your time and effort on your educational plan so as to learn as much as you can. After all, you want to pass NCLEX on you first attempt, right? Be cognizant of your goals and continually remember why you are in nursing school. Good luck!
  21. The licensed practical nurse (LPN), also referred to as a licensed vocational nurse (LVN) in the American states of Texas and California, is a highly valuable healthcare member of staff who has acquired basic nursing education, received training as a generalist nurse, and obtained occupational licensure to render routine care to medically stable patient populations with predictable outcomes. LPNs have been part of the US healthcare system for generations. Be cognizant that the LPN's scope of practice is completely subject to the state board of nursing in which professional practice occurs. This means that some state boards of nursing (BONs) enable LPNs to practice within the sphere of extremely broad scopes of practice, while other state BONs employ very restrictive scopes of practice that place considerable limits on the skills that LPNs are authorized to perform. A person who is interested in training to become a licensed practical nurse may opt for one of two stimulating academic paths. Associate's degree programs and diploma/certificate programs are the two main ways in which an individual shall gain entry into the practical nursing profession in the US. While the most frequent pathway into the practical nursing occupation is successful completion of an approved diploma/certificate practical nursing program, this option was discussed in great detail in a previous piece of writing. Expressly, this piece is going to shed more light on the associate of applied science degree in practical nursing, also known in California and Texas as the associate of applied science degree in vocational nursing. The less common educational route to a practical nursing career is satisfactory completion of a state-approved program that results in conferral of the associate of applied science (AAS) degree in practical nursing. In fact, many members of the public and a small number of nursing professionals are unaware that some LPNs possess associate's degrees. These associate's degree programs are usually offered at community colleges, regional state universities, vocational schools and technical colleges. AAS degree programs in practical nursing tend to be more prevalent in certain geographic regions such as the Midwest, Intermountain West, and West Coast. The associate of applied science degree in practical nursing delivers a well-rounded education with a slightly wider breadth than the diploma/certificate program. Prior to being granted the legal title of 'LPN,' graduates of associate's degree programs must achieve a passing result on the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN), the national exam that leads to professional licensure as a practical nurse. Practical nursing students who are enrolled in associate's degree programs attend classes at the different types of schools recorded in a preceding paragraph. In addition to a high school diploma or GED, successful completion of specific prerequisite courses is typically necessary for admission into an associate's degree practical nursing program. Moreover, the admissions process can be competitive if the practical nursing program receives more applications than available seats. Most practical nursing programs instruct students in the following focus areas Nursing Fundamentals Medical-Surgical Nursing (Child / Adult) Clinical Practicum / Hands-On Nursing Skills Geriatric Nursing Psychiatric / Mental Health Nursing Maternal / Postpartum / Obstetric Nursing Pediatric Nursing Medical Terminology Pharmacology All students in practical nursing associate's degree programs are required to amass several hundred hours worth of hands-on skills training, also known as clinical practicum. Practical nursing clinical rotations take place in various healthcare settings such as acute care hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, doctors' offices, group homes, and extended care facilities. Clinical practicum time is deliberately designed to provide students with valuable experiences through patient encounters and hands-on procedural skills such as vital sign checks, medication administration, wound care, injections, urinary catheter insertions and oxygen therapy. The vast majority of associate's degree programs are approximately two years in length. Click on the link below to view the layout and curriculum of the associate of applied science (AAS) degree in practical nursing at North Seattle College: Associate of Applied Science in Nursing at North Seattle College
  22. A month ago, I wasn't nervous. I was pretty much just excited. The reality of nursing school didn't start to sink in until I had put in my notice at work, but still, my first day still felt so long away. My last day of work was 2 days ago. I've given myself 2 days to veg out, get our house and affairs in order. We're going to be poor. It's going to be very hard. This is the only way for us to do this. Next week my daughter will be home from daycare with me. We'll spend my last free week trying to get into a routine. Now that I'm officially unemployed, I'm terrified. The reality of it all has sunk in finally. I'm a nursing student. Our lives are forever changed from this point on whether I become a nurse or I fail out. I've read through numerous threads about how hard classes are, how tough clinicals can be, putting in IVs, blowing veins, writing up care plans, etc. As I read, I could feel the blood drain from my face. Self doubt became stronger and more uncontrollable. I've gone to my husband numerous times already and have asked him how I'm going to do this and that I'm going to fail out. He (kindly) reminds me all the time that I will learn. This is what I'm going to school for. All of my classmates are right there with me, learning with me. I just have to be sure to study hard. I've since decided that I have control over this. I want this, so I'm going to make this happen. I've realized just how powerful the mind is, how powerful fear is. Fear has the capability to hold us back. Fear has been holding me back for nearly 30 years now. I'm tired of letting fear control my life. I want to reclaim my life and be the person I want to be and the person who I feel I really am. I have another obstacle to get through though: shyness. During my interview with the director of nursing, I was asked what my weakness was: shyness. I don't feel shyness is necessarily a weakness in general, but in the nursing program, this is my weakness. It's held me back so many times in my life. I've missed out on life because of it. Now, every opportunity I get, I work to overcome shyness. On my last day of work, I was called into the kitchen where I found all of my coworkers waiting for me. My face turned beat red. I could feel my insides churning. Then I thought, "You're going to be a nurse. Buck up." Suddenly, the way I felt changed. Parts of me were still trembling, but my face no longer glowed a fierce red. I had more confidence. Why shouldn't I? I'm done sweating the small stuff. I'm done worrying about things that I don't have control over. I'm done worrying about the unknown. I think back to when I took my TEAS at the beginning of July. I read thread after thread about how hard the TEAS were. I've been out of school for 10 years with less than 2 weeks to study. When I was worried or consumed in self doubt, I was absolutely useless. Once I accepted it is what it is, everything fell into place. I've realized that confidence and a positive attitude go a long way. I'm now looking ahead to my first day with confidence and excitement.
  23. Dear Prospective Nursing Students, I am sure you are dying to ask me this: "What were your stats?". I know that was the first question that popped into my mind when I began to consider nursing. After finding out how small the size of the programs were and how competitive they all seemed to be, I just did not know how well I matched up. To help those of you who are anxious about how competitive you are as an applicant, I invite you to compare yourself to my stats. I plan to breakdown my statistics into three categories: academic, work experience, and extracurricular. Additionally, to show how diverse program-worthy statistics are, I will compare my achievements with my girlfriend Holly's stats. The statistics below are what admitted us into the University of Miami's Accelerated Nursing Program starting in May 2016, with a class of 70 students. Academic Profiles: Me: Bachelors of Science degree in Health Science with a concentration in Informatics from Stony Brook University. I graduated with a GPA of 3.17 with a D in Calculus, which I later retook the course and got a B-, and a D in Cellular Biology. I was named onto the university's Dean's List only 1 semester and I received a partial athletic scholarship all 4 years. I fulfilled many of my nursing pre-requsite courses at Stony Brook University and the remaining courses were completed at Delaware Technical Community College, including the reattempt of Chemistry to turn it from a C at Stony Brook University to an A at the community college. I finished with a 4.0 GPA and was named to the university's President's List. My overall nursing pre-requiste GPA is a 3.6. Holly: Bachelors of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering from Stony Brook University. She graduated with a GPA of 3.39 with a D in Physics, which she later retook the course and got a B+. She was named onto the university's Dean's List 6 times and received an academic grant all 4 years, while also receiving a partial athletic scholarship that lasted 2 years. She completed a majority of her nursing-prerequisite courses at Delaware Technical Community College, finishing with a 4.0 GPA average and named to the university's President's List as well. Her overall nursing pre-requisite GPA is a 3.9. Work Experience: Me: I completed a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) program with a class size of 7 students at Delaware Technical Community College, receiving experience as a student CNA in a long-term care facility if Milford, DE that lasted about 4 months, totaling 75 clinical hours. Additionally, I am certified in BLS/CPR. Following the program, my attempts to find a CNA position were not in my favor and instead I got hired as a crew member at Dunkin' Donuts and Chipotle, which I both currently work at (Dunkin during the mornings/days and Chipotle during the evenings/nights). Holly: She completed the same 4-month CNA program as I did, completing 75 hours of long-term care facility experience as a student. Additionally, she is certified in BLS/CPR. Following the program, she got hired as a CNA at an assisted living center, which she currently works at. Extracurricular Profiles: Me: During my undergraduate career, I was a member of the NCAA women's Division I soccer team at Stony Brook University for 4 years. I was apart of a mentorship program run by student-athletes for student-athletes for 1 year. I gave back to the Long Island community through annual sports-related events that I attended with my soccer team, including training sessions at an elementary school and a National Women and Girls Sports Day function. Lastly, in my senior year, I presented personal research on Diabetes/Nutrition at the university's Health Science Annual Symposium along with 30 other health science majors. Holly: During her undergraduate career, she was a member of the NCAA women's Division I soccer team at Stony Brook University for 2 years. She gave back to the Long Island community through annual sports-related events with the soccer team, as well as with a Sandy Relief club. In her junior and senior years, she devoted her time as a lab assistant to professors within her major of Biomedical Engineering. Also to consider, we each wrote an essay about our personal, professional, and academic goals, and neither of us had a letter of recommendation completed by our references. I have no idea how the University of Miami selected the both us, given our diverse profiles in my opinion; however, I hope that what you can take from this information is that grades are absolutely not everything, being involved in virtually anything is beneficial, and hard work is valued much more highly than you think. All I can say is stay hungry, stay humble, and take advantage of every opportunity you can, in both nursing and non-nursing related activities. Good luck, Eliza Mendoza
  24. Did anyone else get an acceptance to the May 2016 RPN program today? I see on their webpage that I need to complete a: Criminal Record Check Record of Immunization CPR Level D & Standard First Aid Certificate Should I start on those requirements right now?
  25. After reading here on allnurses for some time and observing the amount of questions from potential students regarding what hallmarks identify quality nursing programs, I thought I would draft this article. I did considerable research on programs based on the specialties I was interested in, the structure, and the clinical experiences provided when I was school shopping. I really wish there had been more information available to me regarding the importance of quality clinical experiences. I was extremely lucky to attend an outstanding program, and because of my experiences I wanted to share information regarding the education model used and equip you all with a few more tools to use when considering your future school. With the advent of so many for-profit, poorly designed programs out there, the stories of students being taken advantage of are more and more common, and that is something I hate to see. Another recurring theme I see here on allnurses is that students are struggling during their clinical experiences. There seem to be many, many horror stories of clinical nightmares ranging from the professional team dynamic on a nursing unit, to personality clashes with faculty and staff, and difficulties with nurse preceptors. While I'm sure that these are multi-faceted issues, I wanted to share my experiences in a nursing program that utilizes the DEU or Designated Education Unit model of clinical teaching. In many "traditional" nursing programs, clinicals are structured something like this: Students have assigned clinical "days" of the week based on their faculty's schedule (or the school's schedule) Students visit the hospital the night before to receive patient assignments Students must look up pertinent information on their patients: chart, meds, history, allergies, etc in preparation for the next day's clinical. Students are assigned to a nurse preceptor who is in charge of the care for the patient to whom the student has been assigned; often the faculty assigns the patient to the student. Students may work a short shift or have limited hours on clinical days as paperwork may be due *that* day, which limits time at the bedside and may result in students spending time in the "break room" instead of hands-on learning. The student arrives to clinical, completes a day's work (or in some cases, shadows) The student turns in a care plan for their assigned patient, oftentimes the same day. There are a few limitations to the "traditional" model. Many of the students I know who attend programs that utilize this model spend hours of the night before clinical trying to complete paperwork and looking up medications, and arrive at clinical exhausted. Additionally, these students often do not attend report, get their assignment, and take charge of their day as they would in a normal work setting. Reading a patient history, getting a summary, and proceeding with care requires a very different learning skillset and level of critical thinking than poring over the patient's chart and looking up meds for hours. You simply do not have this kind of time when you begin to work as a nurse. Sometimes, the nurse preceptor to whom the student is assigned may not know they are getting a student that day, may be a new nurse themselves, or may not enjoy teaching. It seems that this is where a lot of conflict begins between student and preceptor. The DEU model takes place on units that are specifically designated as teaching units. In my area, these units have relationships with the local nursing schools, and policies and procedures are well developed and clear. The student's scope of practice, do's and don'ts, and learning objectives are well established. Nurses from DEU's volunteer to be preceptors, and in the case of my program, attend classes through the University that orient them to the nursing program's objectives, precepting methods, policies, procedures, teaching styles, etc. Most of our preceptors are extremely experienced nurses with a wealth of experience who truly enjoy teaching. Students are paired with preceptors that appear to be compatible with their personality, skill level, and the like. While this might not always be possible, efforts are made to ensure a good fit between student and preceptor, and both are fully instructed on protocols for handling any conflicts which may arise. In a DEU program, the students follow the schedule of their assigned nurse preceptor for the entire rotation. This may include day shifts, nights, evenings, weekends, 8 hour shifts, 12 hour shifts, etc. Also, the students are not required to visit the hospital the night before to receive assignments; the student is assigned to a nurse, not a specific patient. The student arrives early, attends report, reviews the patients' charts, and sets up their day alongside their nurse preceptor, just as a licensed nurse does on a daily basis. Many times, in the later semesters of the programs, the clinical faculty is not even present for the entire shift. A mid-term and final evaluation is conducted between the student, nurse preceptor, and faculty, and this evaluation is exactly like a professional performance review. Clinical paperwork, such as care plans, are turned in weekly to the clinical faculty, typically via email; generally only one care plan is due per week. Post conference takes place during a typical class day, not during clinical. Students are still expected to know their meds, know their skills, and know their patient's backgrounds before administering any medications or initiating care. Technology is welcomed; medications can be looked up in a variety of software programs if the student needs a refresher prior to administering the med, but everything is done on the unit, just as a licensed nurse would do. The first two semesters of the program are weighted very heavily for lab time. Before the student performs skills in the hospital setting, they have become proficient in the lab; lab equipment is purchased based on the brands and models used on the DEU to ensure familiarity. Pharmacology is also heavily front weighted, and competency expectations are clear and quite high. Excellent reference materials are provided in the classroom, including commonly encountered med "cheat sheets" based on DEU protocols and preferences. Overall, my experiences with the DEU model have been outstanding. During my first medical rotation, my cohort actually was not able to participate in this model because of a massive overhaul of the hospital's electronic medical records system. For this rotation, we were assigned nurse preceptors on the fly, more like the traditional model. While I still had a terrific experience (especially because the hospital had tons of float and travel nurses to facilitate the EMR change), I could definitely see how problems could occur. The advantage was that I was able to observe many different approaches to nursing. The disadvantage to the traditional model is that the student must establish rapport, "prove" their skillset, and review what they are allowed to do each time they meet a new nurse, which can be a hindrance to skill development, time management development, and autonomy. By the "advanced" rotations that took place during the second to last semester of my program, all of the students were expected to carry a full patient load of 4-5 patients (depending on the unit's policy. ICU =2, for example), complete assessments, administer all meds, draw labs, communicate with physicians, and complete all charting on time and accurately. Charting was cosigned by the nurse preceptor but was part of the patient's actual medical record. 85% of this work was conducted independently or with stand by assist. This second to last semester served as preparation for the student's final practicum in the specialty of their choice, if accepted. The DEU model overall allows for tremendous growth, student confidence, and truly prepares students to enter the "real world" of nursing. While all students enter the profession with a great deal to learn, the flexibility of this model truly helps students to become functional team members and lets them work at the pace of the unit. Students who are ahead and demonstrating more advanced skills are pushed and provided with additional challenges and responsibilities; those who need a bit more time are accommodated and brought along more slowly. The DEU model provides excellent networking opportunities for students. Throughout all of the rotations, the student has the chance to develop relationships with not only their nurse preceptor, but their nurse managers, physicians, support staff, and even HR in some cases. Many students in previous classes have obtained employment prior to graduation. This goes both ways, however. If a student is not meeting benchmarks, constructive feedback is given and consequences are made abundantly clear. My program wasn't perfect. I had a lot of gripes (mainly about a lot of petty things, I know now!). After reading so many student horror stories on AN, speaking to my peers who are completing their degrees at a variety of different schools, and doing some basic research, I took every complaint back. I feel tremendously privileged to have attended this style of program. I feel that my time management and critical thinking have grown exponentially, and I was able to secure a coveted final practicum slot on a specialty unit that offers limited access to students. The DEU model strives to improve upon the traditional model by meeting the needs of both the seasoned preceptor and the student nurses who are anxious to learn, all the while keeping patient care in the forefront. I hope this information will assist you when you are evaluating your program options. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of choosing a program with good NCLEX pass rates, good completion statistics, and that is (most importantly) full accredited. Don't be afraid to take your time when evaluating schools; ask questions and dig in to the school's stats, get feedback from other students, talk to hiring managers in your community. (Be professional, of course!). How are clinicals conducted? How many hours does the program include? What type of technology does the simulation lab offer, and how often can you get in to the lab to use it? The job market continues to be tough, and equipping yourself with the best education possible is one step you can take on the road to achieving your dreams. Here is some more information on DEU as well as a link to one of the school's utilizing this model: Implementing Quality and Safety at the Unit Level in an Innovative Clinical Education Model Dedicated Education Unit: An Innovative Clinical Partner Education Model University of Portland (Not my school, but a nice summary) Thanks for reading, have fun, and get out there and own your nursing school experience!