End of 2nd Semester and Summer Thoughts

Hey guys! It’s been a while since I’ve been on here. I have made so many plans to post a lot on here and to make videos, but this summer has been amazing and I don’t want it to end… ever! I’ve also been working on my health! (Go me!)

I had been taking classes non-stop before entering into a nursing program and that involved me taking classes during the summer and winter sessions so that I could apply by a certain time. It all paid off because now I am enjoying my summer and preparing myself for what is to come for my 3rd semester.

Let’s talk about 2nd semester, shall we?

My second semester was great, I passed clinical with an “A” and theory with a “B”. I enjoyed all the new information I learned while in clinical and in class. I can definitely say that my study habits have changed based off my instructor. I never really have found a uniform way of studying that will suit every professor I have.

Each professor has different ways of reviewing for tests and helping us prepare for their tests. Slowly but surely, I have been figuring out these NCLEX style questions. Critical thinking is SO important in nursing school. If you can’t think critically as well as out of the box, then maybe nursing school isn’t for you. Patient’s lives are in your hands!

After going through clinical in the med-surg setting again, I have come to realize that I really love it, and I am hoping I can start off in med-surg as a new grad. Although, I am going to try and take any job I can get!

(I can’t believe I am already half way done with my nursing program, and in less than a year I will be graduating and planning to take the NCLEX! Ahhh!)

Anyways, like I’ve talked about in a previous post, I really cannot see myself working in pediatrics, although I can definitely see myself working in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) or L&D (Labor & Delivery) down the road after working in med-surg for a bit.

A word of advice: Try not to listen to your upperclassmen. Some will try to scare you that the next semester you are going into is going to be scary/hard/crazy.

Everyone experiences their semesters differently and goes through their own type of stress. I have been told plenty of times that 3rd semester is going to be very hard and stressful. I have been doing my best to block that kind of thinking so that I can ensure that I will go into this next semester with a positive outlook on what is to come and what I will learn.

But for now, enjoy your summer, study as you should, and always remember to breathe. Tell yourself that “everything is going to be okay”, because it will be. You have to be the one to make it that way because no one else is going to make everything “okay” for you. Study like you mean it and always reward yourself! (Even if it is a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream). OH! Also remember, it is okay to cry! Crying is good for you! 🙂

Have an awesome day! 🙂

“On the other side of your maximum fear are all of the best things in life” – Will Smith

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Why I Don’t Like Pediatrics

So… yeah! That post title must have gotten your attention. Well, it’s true! I cannot see myself being a Pediatric nurse. As much as I love children and babies, I just cannot see myself going through every shift with them in pain or discomfort. It is very sad!

I wish I can make all their pain go away, and I am sure most of these children have no idea what is wrong with them or why they are in this unfamiliar place, and that makes them more upset. I bow down to those nurses who do what they do as Pediatric nurses, I definitely learned a lot from the nurses I was paired with for each of my clinical days (especially their soft voices, and their never ending patience).

On one of my clinical days, the corner of the floor I was on was full of many babies who just would not stop crying, I started to go a little crazy and even contemplated if I wanted a baby of my own. HA! Kidding! I want children for sure!

I am finished with my OB and Pediatric rotation, and I can say that I really enjoyed OB. I especially liked Labor and Delivery and NICU. There is something about working in critical care that just intrigues me. I am excited to see what my future brings!

I am still unsure as to how I want to start off my career as a nurse… my options are:

  1. Start off in Med-Surg and go into a specialty (that being L&D or NICU)
  2. Go straight into a specialty (if available)
  3. Take any job I can get!

I have heard that I can’t really be picky, as it is sometimes hard to get a job. We will have to see how the market is once I graduate and get my license.

Oh! Have I mentioned I will be starting to plan for my wedding in the fall?! Can you say “stress”? I plan on meditating every day to keep my cool. HA! I’ll be planning my wedding during my 3rd and last semester of my nursing program, ahhh! Wish me luck!

How did your OB and Pediatric rotation go? If you haven’t experienced it yet, are you excited? Neutral? Not looking forward to it? Let me know!

Have a fabulous day! 🙂

OB and Peds… so far!

Hey there! I’m back with a short update. I’m going to tell you how my 2nd semester has been going so far.

Obstetrics

Love it! Love everything about it! Especially clinical, where I can get hands on practice. I really enjoyed rotating through the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) and L&D (Labor and Delivery). I didn’t know I would like NICU until after my experience. If I went into the specialty of becoming a NICU nurse, I guess I could see myself “giving back” because I was admitted to the NICU as a baby for a week or two.

I am still not sure how I want to go into the specialties after I graduate. I have been going back and forth between going straight into a specialty (if available), or going into med-surg and then eventually going into a specialty. I still have a little more than a year to make that decision though! No rush!

Pediatrics

I knew from when I started my program, that I did not want to be a pediatric nurse. I have yet to go through my pediatric clinical, so I will have to update you all when that happens. I have found that I am enjoying my OB lectures more than my pediatric lectures.

Studying Update

  • I have found that watching YouTube videos have really helped me in my studying for my OB and Pediatric exams. Like I have said in my previous posts, I am a visual learner. I cannot sit and read for long periods of time, and I only use the textbook to get more information on a disease process that isn’t making much sense.
  • So far, studying off of my power points and attending review sessions with my professors are helping so that I can focus on what I should be studying.
  • Practice questions haven’t really been helpful unless they are practice questions that my professors created.

Overall, I am enjoying OB more than Pediatrics, and I can’t wait to get into Med-Surg again for the second half of my semester!

How is your semester going so far? Learn anything knew for clinical? Let me know!

Have a happy day! 🙂

 

New Year, New Semester!

So the holidays are pretty much over, and I can honestly say I am ready to go back to school… is that weird? Probably, but I am SO BORED! I haven’t had a real break from school ever since I made the decision to become a nurse, which was back in 2014.

Ever since Fall 2014, I had been taking classes non-stop in order to get into a nursing program as soon as I could. It paid off!

I am happy to just be doing NOTHING, but then again, I get this need to have to be doing SOMETHING. I was always going, going, going, and my mind and body got so used to it. I am also happy to just have some time to myself and not be so busy every day, but I was just so used to being in school all year long. I am hoping that I will go on some sort of vacation or trip in the summer and make it worth while!

I plan on getting some reading/studying done, and updating my medications before my second semester starts on Monday. I want to get ahead of the game so that I don’t feel like I am falling behind with all the new information we will be taught. I have been hearing from the upperclassmen that this next semester is a less intense than the rest of the semesters, so I am excited about that!

I am going to continue the same study technique from last semester in hopes that I will get by just as well as I did last semester! Crossing my fingers! I’m shooting for A’s!

Anyways, until my textbook comes in, I am going to kick my feet up, get some organizing/cleaning/hobbies in before next Monday, and just enjoy the freedom I have. HA!

What do you plan on doing before your next semester? Do you plan on trying something new for the upcoming semester? Let me know!

Hope you are having a fantastic New Years! 🙂

Staying Organized in Clinical

I still have a lot to learn, but for being in my first semester of nursing school, I’d like to help out the incoming nursing students going into their nursing school this upcoming Spring semester! Here are my top 5 tips to being successful in clinical while in your first semester.

1 – Time Management

Please ALWAYS wear a watch. There is nothing more embarrassing than not knowing the time and needing to ask someone. You need to be prepared, and usually being in complete uniform includes wearing a watch.

Your professor should give you an idea of when you should be completing your charting and when you should be getting your work done with your assigned patient(s). For example: bathing, ambulating, oral care, turning, feeding, emptying foley’s, procedures, etc. If you are on top of those tasks, then you will have more time to chart and do any paperwork you need to finish before your shift is over with. I also like to have extra time to help out my RN or CNA with any help they may need with their other patients.

2 – Clipboard/Binder

I was using a clipboard that would fold in half to keep information confidential, but I have found it to not be as useful for me. One, the clipboard would fold my papers, and two, it was hard to keep track of my papers. I switched over to a 1″ binder to hold my medication references, and to hold other documents I need to fill out to turn in to my professor.

Some of the upperclassmen still use their clipboard, and don’t have a problem with the papers folding, and still feel organized even with more than 1 patient. I will soon be taking on 2 patients, so I feel it would be best if I switched over to a binder

3 – Pen/Pencil/Penlight

Just have these… you need them for recording information, and you will need your penlight to complete your head-to-toe. You can buy disposable pen lights online. I started off using a pencil to complete paperwork that was to be turned into my professor just because I was still learning, and I could erase my mistakes. I also just recently bought erasable pens because writing in pen looks neater.

4 – Eat, Hydrate, and Pee

Not so much an organization tip, but more so time you should be dedicating to your own self care. Nurses are notorious for holding their urine, and notorious for UTI’s. Also, drink something and eat something, because you need to be awake and ready for whatever patients you will have that day and you have to be completely alert.

5 – Always prioritize

Your patient comes first, not your charting. If you are on a tight schedule to get your charting done, it is important that you let your professor know you had to help your patient, and that your charting might be in a little late. They will be understanding. Safety always comes first. Although, it is okay to say “no” to certain tasks because your charting is a priority. You are not the only one on the floor, and there are plenty of other people that can be asked. Don’t be taken advantaged of!

Hopefully these tips help you going into your first semester. It definitely is a nerve-wrecking experience, but with practice, and more experience, you will learn to organize yourself with ease. Also, I can’t stress this enough… get your CNA certification before entering your nursing program… knowing those CNA skills really helped me!

Have a question? E-mail me! futurenursenicole@gmail.com

Ciao!

First Semester: Ending Part One and Starting Part Two

Welcome back! So I survived the first part of my first semester in nursing school, and I couldn’t be more happy about it. I passed my clinical portion with an A and I passed my theory portion with a high B. I busted my a** getting high grades on my exams after that first fail. But, I did it, and that is what matters, right? It gives me that much more motivation to push myself even harder for this next part of the semester. I’m going to update you all on how things have changed since I first began this program…

Studying

Remember how I told you guys that I would make outlines when I studied? Well, I threw that study technique in the trash, because no one has time for that while studying for a nursing exam.

SO, the main technique that I use while I study is listening to my lectures again and taking extra notes on printed out Power points. I find this really helps and helps me focus on what my professor wants us to focus on for the test instead of just focusing on the reading. Sure, the reading helps to reinforce what was taught in class, but I have done fine with focusing on the Power points for the majority of my study time.

I also do practice questions wherever possible. From the book, online, in my lectures, you name it!

Organization

I have come to a conclusion that keeping everything in one place is less stressful. I initially had a binder for theory and a binder for clinical. Now, to just reduce my stress level, I am keeping it all in one 1″ binder. I like to set up my binder as follows:

  • Information for part 2 of theory and clinical
  • Clear pockets with important handouts that I use for reference
  • First tab: Assignment references
  • Second tab: Clinical references
  • Third tab: Case studies
  • Fourth tab: Other
  • Folder for graded case studies or handouts worked on in class

I keep my clinical schedule in the front of my binder

I have other binders that I keep at home that I use to keep me organized:

  • Exam and Quiz Materials
  • Printed Power points of my lectures
  • Extra copies for clinical
  • Graded assignments

Note Taking

As I previously stated, I take extra notes by hand on printed Power points when I go home to re-listen to the lecture when I am studying for an upcoming exam. Although, while I am at school and in class, I use my iPad to record my lectures and take notes on the downloaded powerpoint. To see how I take notes on my iPad, see this post.

Overall, I am very content with how my program is going so far, and I am comfortable with how I have organized myself. I decided to not attend study groups as I do not do well in them, and I personally think they are a waste of my study time. Study groups may work for a lot of people, but when it comes to understanding the material and thinking critically, I have to learn it on my own.

Nurses are different in how they provide care. I understand there is a certain way to provide care, but it takes time to really understand why there is a specific way of doing so and what makes it so important. If that makes sense?

Anyways, I still have no life, and I am okay with that HAHA! Logan and I are officially moved in to our new apartment and are so happy with how we have set it up.

How is your program going? I’d love to know! Let me know if I can help you out in any way. You can email me at futurenursenicole@gmail.com

Have a fantastic day! 🙂

Quick Update: First Month of Nursing School

Hello! Welcome back! Sorry it has been a while (about a month as indicated by my title). The first month has been a rollercoaster of excitement, fear, sadness, happiness, and… FULL OF ANXIETY! Let’s dive in, shall we?

First Test

Let me start off by explaining to you (if you aren’t in a nursing program already) that most (if not all) nursing programs have a different grading system. Some will say passing is anything >75%, >80%, etc. According to the grade I got on my first exam (72%) I was considered failing. Yes, I totally cried and thought of every reason as to how I’m going to be a terrible nurse, and if nursing is for me… which is totally extreme but I over think things way too much. After talking with my professor, friends, and my fiancĂ© of course, I found out that I was just being crazy and I had to forgive myself. 72% is not that bad, and my professor said it is still very possible to recover from that fail.

Why did I fail you ask? Here are some reasons as to why I performed the way I did:

  1. I read too much into the question being asked on the exam.
  2. I didn’t read all of the answers choices thoroughly or completely.
  3. I was stuck between two answers and picked the wrong one.
  4. I didn’t study as much as I wanted to and should have.
  5. I didn’t study the right material that was important (I didn’t study the objectives that were given to us by our professor and instead studied the objectives from my textbook and made complete outlines for all the chapters in the book that we were going to be tested on).

So it isn’t that I didn’t study correctly, or at all. I did learn from my mistakes and talked to multiple peers and upperclassmen about some tips and tricks to studying and how they got a passing score. Some of those suggestions were:

  1. Listen to the lectures again to note anything you missed during lecture (RECORD YOUR LECTURES IF YOUR PROFESSOR LETS YOU!!!).
  2. Do practice questions from the book, online program, and review practice questions from Quizlet (specifically ones designated as NCLEX questions).
  3. Use your study guide textbooks.
  4. Review charts and tables from assigned reading.
  5. Ask for help when you need it and attend study groups if needed.

I personally do not do well in a study group unless I am teaching someone something that doesn’t necessarily have a rationale to a different answer (ex. chemistry or math). I feel as though I wouldn’t be able to teach anything regarding nursing material because it is something you have to understand and interpret yourself. BUT, I still try to attend study groups and maybe get some more information from other people that I may have missed. My next exam is this coming Monday and YES, I am totally freaking out and trying to keep my calm. I know what you’re thinking, “So why are you blogging if you are freaking out?”, because I’m venting OKAY! Don’t judge me! HA!

First Clinical Days

YES, I was a nervous wreck on my first patient care day. Which is weird because I have always been so used to interacting with patients and clients with no problem before starting my program. I guess something about being in a school uniform and being fresh off the boat was what made me so anxious. I was paired up with another student on our first patient care day to alleviate the stress, which was good, but was also irritating because we were focusing on different tasks.

My second patient care day was also nerve wrecking because 1. I was by myself, and 2. I had to get all the information I needed for my care plan that is due in 2 weeks! Since we are so crunched for time, I felt rushed and felt that I could’ve asked more questions to my patient but I also had to chart on the computer, do vitals, do my head-to-toe assessment, complete my assessment on paper to turn in, and come up with two different nursing diagnoses (as well as implementing them with our patient)… talk about a busy day! I could only imagine how stressed out nurses are when handling 5 patients! Oh, might I also add that the computer system is SO tricky and takes some time getting used to!!!

Everything Else

Do I have a life? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA NO! I can guarantee I won’t for the next 2 years either! When I do go out to have fun, I feel so guilty and feel as though I am wasting time when I could be spending that time studying. This also goes for my mornings on the days I don’t have theory or clinical… I am NOT a morning person. I cannot get up and start studying immediately. I have to eat breakfast, wake up, and be awake 100% before I can start studying. So I am easily an afternoon/night studier. I bet you can imagine me on the mornings I do have class… See picture below LOL

ANYWAYS… back to trying to survive on the daily. I actually really enjoy what I am learning and everything is very interesting. I also can’t believe how fast we are learning skills. It has only been one month, and I already know how to insert a Foley catheter, like wait… I thought yesterday we were just learning how to give someone a bed bath. But seriously, things are going 200 mph and I can’t read fast enough, HA! I work with it though. It is all about time management, whether you are a student nurse or a RN. You can do it, I can do it! We are in this together! Thanks for stopping by an reading about my life in nursing school thus far!

Ciao for now! 🙂

P.S. I am moving in about 2 weeks, and can you just imagine how quickly that stress level went up?! Bring on the sleepless nights of studying and unpacking. WOOHOO!

Orientation and First Day of Nursing School!

Hey everyone! Wow… it has been quite a whirlwind since my last post and so much has happened. Let’s just jump right in!

Orientation

I had my orientation about a week ago and that was an incredible experience and it was so much information thrown at us. Throughout the day, my brain felt like it was on overload, but that is totally okay because I was also super excited for everything to begin. Our class went over rules, signed papers, overlooked out schedules, etc. Compared to my first day, orientation was more like a pre-orientation. On orientation day, we also started our first lecture, so it was super important that we all had our first reading assignment done before coming into class. So technically, I “started” nursing school a week beforehand to get caught up on reading.

On my way to my school in the morning, I felt so overwhelmed with emotions. Good emotions! I was nervous, scared, anxious, but I was also excited, happy, and filled with joy! I ALMOST cried in my car while driving, HA! It just hit me that I actually got to where I wanted to be in a short amount of time, and I was so proud of myself and what I had done thus far. I am so fortunate to have gotten into the school of my dreams, without having to be put on a waiting list! If you want to know how I felt when I got accepted, see this post.

First day

Thanks to orientation, a previous class, and another event my program hosted, I felt less nervous when it came to my first day. I felt like I could conquer anything and I felt READY! My day was long, and was chuck full of important information, that got me thinking, “I need to organize STAT“. HA! But seriously, we went over so many different topics, that I knew I would be tabbing things left and right when I got home.

It was a long day and I had to wake up very early, and I was so exhausted by the end of the day. I could’ve easily taken a nap as soon as I got home, but didn’t.

I will update you all next week and let you know how my organizing went because I need to crack the whip and get started immediately before I get scatter-brained!

If you have gone to your orientation, started school, or have organizing tips, I would love to hear from you. I want to know how your experiences went! This is such an exciting time!

Ta-ta for now!

We should have done something fun…

Yeah… what is fun? Fun (noun): something that provides mirth or amusement (Source: Dictionary.com). Well… my summer isn’t what I imagined it would be. The fiancĂ© has a better job that requires more hours at work, and I’m working/taking a class… NOT FUN!

Actually, my ONE class that I decided to take this summer is pretty much a pre-orientation/pre-nursing school class. I get to hear about some stuff about the nursing program I’ll be going into in August (which is just around the corner!). This is an online and in-class participation class, so it would be impossible for me to go on vacation for more than a week. Missing one class is missing a ton of information, so I’m being a good student and staying put… at home… in my office… staring at a book and computer screen… FUN! *sigh*

Logan got a new job that requires him to work a normal 12-8pm shift (oh, that’s not normal?) and, therefore, I don’t get to see him until about 9pm… Boooooo! I’ve also been working a bit (about 4 hours/5 days a week), which is not too much, but keeps me busy!

So between our schedules, it would be impossible to do any type of vacation. Especially unplanned.

What do I plan to do instead?…

As mentioned in my previous post… relax. I’m enjoying doing nothing, because I know I won’t be able to do such a thing when school starts. Logan and I are going to try planning a vacation maybe for this winter or next summer. We are currently saving up for our wedding/honeymoon, so nothing too fancy or extravagant.

What are your plans the rest of the summer? Have any day trip ideas for Logan and I?

E-mail them to me at futurenursenicole@gmail.com

Have a terrific day! 🙂

 

Keeping Myself Busy

If you’re anything like me… you are probably impatiently waiting to start nursing school like I am… but I realize I have to keep myself busy until then. Here are some activities I am currently doing as well as plan on doing over the summer to keep myself busy:

Work

That’s a given. I plan to work as much as I can and save up as much as I can for my wedding/honeymoon. I’m not too sure how much I plan on working once I start my nursing program, but I was told that the absolute maximum I should work while in nursing school is 16 hours. Nursing school is a full time commitment and requires almost 50 hours a week of class, clinical, and study time.

School

I decided to take a pre-nursing class which goes into depth about different study skills. Not only is this keeping me busy, but I’m getting a little sneak peak into how the nursing program will pan out. It seems as though I can’t give myself a break from school because I feel this need to be doing SOMETHING. I’ve been going to school non-stop since Fall 2014, whether it be many classes or just one. I’m that crazy girl who enjoys school and studying!

Painting, Scrapbooking, and Sewing… Oh My!

I absolutely love being crafty… my only problem is finishing something I start! HA! I’ve organized and dedicated a portion of my office to my craft supplies. Different crafts I like starting have to do with:

  • painting (acrylic and watercolor)
  • sewing
  • scrapbooking
  • knitting/crocheting
  • wood burning
  • photo album assembly.

These crafts keep me busy, and also challenge me to be creative! It also stimulates my need to be doing something.

Blogging/YouTube

Hellooo… blogging of course! I also plan on making videos for YouTube as I’ve announced in my previous post. Some topics I plan to tackle are:

  • Preparation for Nursing School
  • My Journey through Nursing School
  • Organization
  • Q & A’s
  • And much, much more!
  • (If you have a request or suggestion, please email me! futurenursenicole@gmail.com)

Relaxing

I feel like every person entering a nursing program should rest as much as they can, and prepare themselves for what is to come. I’ve heard different opinions from previous nursing students and friends who are RN’s, of what to do before starting. Majority of these individuals have suggested resting. You deserve it! Sleep in, nap, watch Netflix, workout, go out and have fun (as time allows). I personally suggest simulating a schedule similar to what your schedule will be like for nursing school about a month before. Waking up early right off the bat will be awful if you don’t get yourself used to it beforehand.

Most of all… have fun, be healthy, and stay cool!

Have a beautiful day!