I will be starting Riverside's program in January and whould like to know if anyone has any advice, tips, or first hand knowledge about the program.
Oct 11, '05
Hi. I am a senior nursing student at Riverside School of Professional Nursing graduating in December 2005. My best advice to you is to spend the time reading the books as boring as it may be. Test questions will often be based on information from the textbooks that wasn't specifically covered in lectures. There is a computer system called Meds Publishing that you will have access to. It is an online program that has NCLEX type questions on it. Each semester you will be allowed access to content relevant to the course you are taking. During my schooling it wasn't mandatory to utilize it but I think that it is mandatory now. Anyway, it is invaluable at improving your test taking skills. Practice with it as much as you can. They will tell you until they are blue in the face that it really helps. IT REALLY DOES! There is a mentoring program in place at the school. Most incoming students are matched with a student further along in the program. Use your mentor as a resource. They have been where you are and will have some valuable advice for you. Mrs. Brooks, the student advisor, will ask if you are interested in the mentoring program. I suggest you tell her yes. Also, familiarize yourself with the Health Sciences Library. Even if you just go in and shelf browse one day, it gives you a whole set of resources that most students don't bother to utilize. It will enhance your learning. Clinical rotations are challenging but for the most part you are prepared to do what is handed to you.
No matter what you have done in your past with regards to education or work, nursing school is a totally different ball of wax. It challenges you in entirely new and different ways. It's a whole new way of thinking. Embrace every learning opportunity you have and put your heart and soul into it and you will do fine.
Good luck and enjoy it.
Oct 11, '05
Thanks for responding! You gave some great advice and I will be sure to use it as I go through the program! There are a couple of things that I am curious about. I've been told that we will do our clinicals in groups. Are the groups chosen for us or do we get to choose groups amongst ourselves? Will we practice bed baths, IVs and injections on each other? I'm really anxious to get started. Our orientation is scheduled for November but, as of yet, I havent heard a specific date.
Have you had good experiences with the instructors? DO you feel that they have prepared you to be sucessful once you graduate? Congratulations on being a senior!
Oct 14, '05
Yes, you do clinicals in groups and no you don't get to choose your groups. They generally split the class into two or three groups of no more than 5-6 students, however the class sizes have been getting bigger since I started school so the group sizes may change. You practice IM injections on your classmates but not IVs. You practice IVs on "dummy" arms in your second semester and final semester. There are not many opportunities during clinical to start an IV but they will allow you to do it if you happen to come across one. You just need an instructor with you to do it. Bed baths are practiced in lab on your classmates. I think those are taught in your third semester. One of the frustrating things about this school is that although they have a new state of the art lab set up for it's students, they are lacking in equipment. So you will find yourself doing a lot of pretending. "Well, I would be wearing gloves for this procedure if there were any in the lab"...and so forth.
As with every educational experience, there are good instructors and not so good instructors. You generally learn very early on who falls into which category. For the most part, the instructors are knowledgable about theory and helpful in clinical. My advice to you is to respect the instructors who are the toughest on you. They are tough on you because they see something in you that you probably don't see in yourself and they push you to find it. Some instructors are much more intimidating than others. The best way to handle them is to be 110% prepared. Do your reading and prepare for clinical. Research medication that you know you will be giving and know the side effects, action etc. about each drug. You will always shine if you spend the time preparing. Nursing is not rocket science but it takes a diligent person to be competent.
I will be starting my final round of clinicals this coming Tuesday and I feel entirely prepared to work with just a preceptor and no instructors around. Your skills and confidence come with time and you will swear in the beginning that you will never be able to care for more than one patient, but it will happen.
I'm sure you'll do fine.