Sunday, December 11, 2011

Finally have a minute or two to update you....

I survived my first semester of nursing school. While that may seem trite, I think about those students with much younger brains who didn't make it to second semester. And I'm sad for them.  One of my group didn't make it and when she told me she was dropping, I felt like someone died. I wasn't that far behind them as my pharmacology didn't come up as I planned. I made it by .5 for the C. C's are different in nursing school. Mine start at 83 and go to 78. Anything below that range is a D. My other classes I did fine: How to be a nurse 101- B; and Intro to Nursing- A. Toward the last of it, I was getting ready for the head-to-toe assessment, going through clinicals, and getting ready for finals.
I learned a lot during clinicals. Clinicals are great because you have someone to hold your hand just starting out. I was able to connect to most patients, but was even asked to leave another patient's room. Apparently, she thought I talked too much. I remember asking her one question....oh, well. I took it kind of hard at first, but then realized she was in a lot of pain. Many people came and went in her room. She may not have been able to discern that it wasn't me talking. Anyway, lesson learned. Comatose patient: Don't ask anything. Just wait until they are up and oriented. Other than that one experience, it was really good. I was able to give one patient a bath and she had all the good humor that I hope to have approaching  her age. Another patient was  staring death down, and she had this great attitude. Again, I hope I'm like that.  

Other things I learned included what type of learner I am. Apparently, I'm a visual/active learner. Having tried the auditory route, and massive note taking route, I think I'm better going through the chapters myself, and creating my own visual cues. I studied with several classmates, and shared my notes with them. I got the reputation of being really smart, even though none of that was true. I can make these fantastic notes which apparently helped others make A's but for myself, it just didn't happen. Reeks, doesn't it? A re-evaluation of my study methods are definitely in order.

Another thing I have come up against is feeling responsible for helping others study. I know, I know, how crazy is that, right Even the night before finals, I had someone wanting to study with me. She had not studied as she should (neither had I) and was expecting a miracle. The miracle never came, even until 2:00 AM when I had to shut my eyes for a little while. I got up at 5  AM to go over the stuff I didn't have time to go over while she was there. I passed by the skin of my teeth, .5. That's a little too close. If I had failed that course, I would've had to repeat it next semester. I've got to find the balance of being willing to help when I can, but not feeling it's my responsibility to make sure they pass. It is, however, my job to make sure I pass. Any study methods you can pass along would be great! I have a month before the roller coaster starts up again, and with four classes, 12 hour clinicals, I need to figure this out.....SOON!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 last post was a little tense....

so, I apologize. And I deleted it.  Stress was getting to me. Still is. A friend told me that she benefited the most from putting lots of time into notes. And I have to admit, she's right. Only I can dig through that text and totally understand what notes I've written. So, if I sounded judgmental, I think I was just feeling unappreciated by those I had shared notes with. They don't want to pitch in, it's really about them.
I had another test today and patiently waiting for her to post the grades.I'm feeling pretty good about it.

Next week, I have vital signs check off and injection check off...both on the same day! As far as being nervous, sure, I'm nervous, but not terrified. I probably should be. But I'm trying not to psych myself out.

I have been really enjoying most of my classes, especially Pharmacology. The teacher is passionate about teaching us the right way, and I appreciate her for that.

We received our new schedule for next semester. Here it is as follows:

Mental Health
Health Deviations
Pharm II

We hit the ground running with 12-hour clinicals. Thankfully, I got the new Timberland Pros. Aren't they positively "Ooogle-ly"?? But so far, they are very comfortable. I've been breaking them in every chance I get. Clinicals for this semester start very soon, and I'll be getting my assignment for them Monday. Sounds crazy, but this semester has really flown by.

Friday, September 16, 2011

First week of testing in nursing school

 Yes, it's been a fun-filled week in nursing school. I had the privilege of taking three exams back to back in one week. That's right, Friends and neighbors, my brain got a workout.   Fifty or so hand-written pages of notes from my "how to be a nurse" class.  After studying close to 72 hours total for it, all I got for my trouble was a 76. While that would be passing in regular classes, the range for a C is 78- 83 in nursing school. I missed passing it by one question. We covered: asepsis, infection control, nutrition, range of motion, order for putting on and taking off, personal protection equipment, glucometer skills, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and how it applies to nursing...I think that was it. It was pretty intense. My teacher told me I did better than alot of people on this test, but there was no comfort in her words.
Pharmacology was much better, I got a B.  And the online Intro to Nursing class I got an A.
I think I realized my problem regarding my studying. I spent all my time dissecting the textbooks and comparing them to the outlines.  Basically, I couldn't see the forest for the trees and made it much more complicated than it needed to be. Not playing on my strengths hurt me, too. My thing is visual learning. I've been trying to rewrite notes,  and use auditory learning with an Echo Smartpen. What did help me were sites like Study Blue, Quizlet, and Flashcard Exchange.  I can make my own study guides and the sites will quiz me on the definitions or theories.
       I saw this on a t-shirt that I want to get. It pretty much summed up my week. Day of the exams, I had gone to bed at midnight and got up at 3:30 AM to study until 6:30 AM. I left early and sat in the parking lot to study. Nobody had on any makeup and nobody cared, either, including me.
        I get to do it all again in 2 1/2 weeks......YEA!  But at least I know now how to approach it.
And for those of you wondering, yes, the bag with the wheels
is working pretty well. I went with the Samsonite because the company is as old as! Anyway, it holds about 7 books, nursing that is, 6 or 7 composition books, and two nookbooks, plus all my extra pockets of stuff. Thanks for asking! I would get another one!


Friday, August 26, 2011

The more you learn, the more you realize how much more you have to learn

And I've never felt this was true as much as this week! My first day was this past Wednesday,  August 17th, and no, I didn't sleep at all! I kept having that dream of being late so, I checked my clock on the half hour.

We made our way in, 60 of us in this particular class; all ages, shapes, colors, nationalities were accepted.  I had gathered all the paperwork we had to present for admission for months, terrified I had forgotten something important. All three semesters met in an auditorium and we were welcomed by our upper classmen.
Our main speaker was very enthusiastic and it was the first time I had seen her smile since my journey began. It was great knowing that others had sat where I was sitting and were about to graduate.

First, we began to go over syllabi, exam dates, and how to use the online resources. Then we started talking about clinical dates, uniforms, back up plans for transportation, etc.

Monday was the LONGEST DAY EVER! I was there from 8 am until 4pm. My brain hurt when I got home, and then the headache started. I was very glad to have the following Tuesday off as it's a future clinical day. Wednesday was almost just as long...just til 2:00. Thursday is lab/lecture, so its an abbreviated pharmacology day, 8:00 til 10:00. I was off today, but spent most of it working on my required online class.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sticker shock!

No, these aren't all my books, but pretty close. Fact is, I'm still buying them. Wow, they told me I'd have to sell a kidney to pay for school, but I don't guess I fully believed them. So far, I am up to $206. That amount was six books I found on Amazon. I still have $500 more to come up with in books and supplies. I hope the subsequent semesters aren't this expensive.
    Thankfully, I had the foresight to get my laptop when I started prerequisites, and even got one of these: 

It's been pretty handy on this traveling thing I've done this year. And it looks like it will spare my back.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

That butterfly feeling

"When you find your path, you must not be afraid. You need to have sufficient courage to make mistakes. Disappointment, defeat, and despair are the tools God uses to show us the way."
Paulo Coelho

Every time I start thinking about what this August is going to hold, I get physically sick on my stomach. Seriously. Like I did when I was pregnant with all three boys. I'm trying to figure out if this is normal or not. In my heart of hearts, I think I believe it is normal, but it's really freaking me out.

In a former life, I was an on-air personality at a well-respected, top 40 radio station. When I first started, I was really nervous, but eventually I got to the place that I could be talking to you in my studio, ask you to "hold that thought" , and go into my spiel. When the weather, or commercial was over, I could pick up exactly where I left off. My oldest brother was in the control room when I did this once, and he was amazed. My question is: is it like that in nursing school where you can get over the butterflies and do what you need to do without being scared to death?
Have any of you nursing students felt that way? And when did it get easier?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Happiness is Getting Your First Nursing Book!

I'll admit it....I'm a planner. I hate last minute ANYTHING. Am I a control freak? No, I'm thinking I'm not. Most control freaks like to control EVERYTHING and EVERYBODY. I am way too flawed for that. But, being that everything hinges on Pharmacology in nursing school, I felt the need to investigate the HOW. How do you "study" ahead for a course you haven't had yet and will determine whether or not you have the moxie to see it through the end? Here's what I've discovered, anyway, on how to study for Pharm:
1. Learn starting from category of drugs. (Seems logical)
a. side effects
b. toxicity
c. action
d. contra
e. endings names of drugs

2. Mnemonics is a good way to study, too. I found a cool site to start with: Medical Mnemonics.

3. I have found that doing a simple search on Google can be a great asset. Apparently, real teachers don't care who they teach as long as someone out there learns. You can find Power Points for lectures on any subject under the sun. And teachers love to have students learn at home, so do some research. If you want to dig into Pharmacology, this teacher, Jerry Carley, RN, MSN, MA, CNE, has this great nursing info site, including pharm. Click on his name and check it out. He's brilliant!

4. is a great tool to find tips on how to study pharm, vent or just about anything else nurse related.

5. Networking. Don't underestimate the power of networking. I have found that most people have knowledge and experience that they are willing to share if you just ask. This past semester, I became friends with the most wonderful lady who just happened to be an LPN. (She had to take A & P again because of a technicality) And she was a wealth of information and mostly, inspiration. She made me believe I had a shot at being a nurse. I will forever be grateful to her. We studied our hearts out for that demanding class. A study partner is going to be your ACE in the hole.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Orientation of Sorts

I was ill prepared for the "orientation" segment of my nursing journey. Since I was an alternate, I had missed the first round of orientation. There were only 4 of us at this meeting. The administrator passed out the material, and we began to go over over everything. 
  I knew the shot record requirement was going to be a problem. In Florida, there is no centralized office of immunizations, and mine were done in the docs office over 40 years ago. It doesn't help the the doctor is dead as well.  So, I went to the health clinic and had them draw MMR titers. Also got the Hep B that was recommended. My arm had a huge knot from that shot.  Cool. Got that done.
Getting there early afforded me the "privilege" of going first to get my classes. I will be in class on Mondays from 8:00-4:30PM, with  the "How to be a nurse", essentially. (Lecture and lab are back to back). Tuesday is a clinical day which starts at 1:30 through 7:30. (Hey, I was an alternate: beggars can't be choosers.)  Wednesday is Pharmacy I , and the second lecture for the "How to be a nurse". Thursday is the Pharm lab. And Fridays...I collapse;)  Not really, but initially, I probably will.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Surviving A & P II

 So, finals are done and we all survived them. Anatomy and physiology just about killed me. Half the test was over endocrine and reproduction, and then the rest was cumulative. It's fairly sadistic to do that to students. But they do it. I felt like the class is what I would call a "weeding out" class as it started with 34 students and we ended up with 22. If you don't pass with at least a C, you have to repeat the course. So, a lot of people decided to end it before they choked on a bad grade. My crowd did pretty well, and my study partner, an LPN herself, kicked butt and took names. Afterward, we all felt like we had been prisoners in a war who were finally released. It appears I  got a C, which is fine with me.   I have a Russian friend I've been in school with for awhile who pulled straight A's. She had a 32 on the ACT, so she was rolling admission for the RN program. She's really a sweet lady, and has taught me so much about her culture. Hard to be envious of anybody that works that hard.

I'm taking the summer off to ride bikes with my kid and generally goof off. I have a few notebooks from my friend the LPN as she graduated from the program where I am headed. I also got some textbooks from a local trade in store in dosage, pharmacy, medsurge, and the actual NCLEX-PN book from Saunders. So far, I've noticed that the A & P is rehashed throughout the courses. Really, really, really glad I passed.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

I'm in !!!!!!!

Despite the whole world going to hell in a hand basket around me with war, weather woes, and political mayhem, I received a call from my school. They offered me a shot at this fall's LPN class!!! So, I went today to fill out my intent form. The Pickle had to go with me as Hunnybunny was on a job. Could have rolled over and died when I was talking to the administrator, a very no-nonsense chick, and my 7 year old is removing the lid to the evaluation bin! She got on to him, and I wanted to die. Of all days, why did it have to be today that he acted like a 7 year old??
Anyway, I am stoked, scared, and very, very tired of studying for finals this week. I wrote a paper on JFK the movie for my humanities class and I have back to back finals on Sunday in anatomy and physiology plus a lab final. Joy, joy......
but still- I'm "walking on sunshine"!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Contained Joy

Well, I thought I would update you all on the school situation. They told us to check our information network at school by April 1st to see if we've been accepted, letter to follow. I did, and I was not considered for the RN program at all but I am an alternate (3) for the LPN program this fall! Personally, I am very excited, but you'd think I'd lost the showcase on The Price is Right the way the info has been assimilated. One person told me to consider other options. And some have been very ... "Aw, that's too bad. But I give you kudos for even trying." Huh? Did I miss something? I'm an alternate, for crying out loud, for a nursing program! I am in my late 40's and being considered to study with others to become a nurse. What more do these people want? No, I'm not a brain, most of the people I know that didn't get in sported a 3.8. I'm nowhere in that vicinity. But, hey, I MIGHT get to be an LPN! That would be so cool! Why is that not good enough for these people?
Done ranting. Thanks for listening.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

What did you do in class today, Honey?

Well, I peed in a cup. I had to do urinalysis on my own urine. They make fake blood for blood typing in lab, why can't they make fake pee? I feel like its some invasion of privacy, making me a Guinea pig for our exercises in lab.  Isn't this some HIPAA violation? I was in the control group that didn't have to eat chips and drink water.
As far as being my own guinea pig, I wonder if it's like that in nursing classes, too?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

 So, this is day one of the Waiting Game. Honestly, it reeks. Here's what ended up happening with my "Rolling Admission" :
I did far too much assuming. And I don't have to tell you what assuming does.....
What did I assume? It boils down to a misunderstanding of the word "cumulative". When I attended [insert name of unaccredited christian college here] way back in the beginning of the '80's, I did not apply myself. Oh, I applied my self to my work-study job as a nurse's aide; as a floundering student disc jockey on the college station (was a broadcast major); and applied myself in the dating scene, but I didn't apply myself to studying. I was a 2.0. I almost got a 4 year degree with a sad is that?
Years pass, I go BACK to school in the 90's. This time as a Paralegal Major. My basics transfer, and in my 30's, I find that I CAN do well in school. I received my AAS with a 3.2.
Now, going back to try for my ADN, I've done even better than that, making the Dean's list this past Spring (for the first time in my life!) with a 3.56, and that's in my 40's. However......(you knew that was coming, didn't you?) when figuring my scores for the rolling admission, they figured them ALL. All 192 hours that I've taken in my life.  As I looked at what was my cumulative score, I ASSUMED that since they had all my classes, the score I saw was the score that was going into the selective admission process. How wrong I was! After they averaged EVERY class attempted, I came from a 3.56 to a 2.51. That is bare minimum for the rolling admission. It is all based on the GPAs from 2.5 to 4.0; the NLN minimum score is 70, I made a 75. And the prerequisites of A & P I, the dreaded Algebra, English I and II, Psychology and Developmental Psych, and the nurse's aide requirement. So......I did all that, and even started working on the other requirements for the ADN to knock them out of the way. Now, I don't know if I'm going to be able to get in the RN program.
I decided since I could apply to two selective admission programs, I would go ahead and apply to the LPN program. The LPN program is based on ranking points of grades received from prerequisites.
So, apparently their decision making timeline is the same as the RN program. April 1st, I will find out which, if either, program, will have me. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Good News/Bad News Scenario

First, the "good news" application packet for nursing school admission is complete. Now, the "Bad News".....when looking at my scores/classes that were on my transcript, I assumed they had figured up my Gps from there. They did not. They took every college credit/attempted credit and averaged them together....all 192 credit hours. I went from a 3.56 to 2.51, which killed my "rolling admission" to the RN ADN program. So, I'm allowed to apply to a total of 2 nursing programs and I applied to the LPN program as well.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Anatomy and Physiology II....what was I thinking?

I really, really, really, really.....HATE studying for this class. My first test was a bust, but with the extra credit, I will at least get a C on it. I was so disappointed in myself, but then the teacher said this class had the highest average ever...81%. I somehow felt much better. Anyway, enough grousing. I have a test Sunday. Onward and upward...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I took the NLN.....

And lived to tell the tale. It was a 3-hours siege on my nerves. No calculator, can't take your coat off it you get hot, so better take it off before you go in. But, I got through it. 

I knew I would reek in math, and I wasn't disappointed. The verbal part saved me on that, and the science? Well, some of it I hadn't had in A & P yet. So, I guessed. I'm not going to spill my score because so many others were far better than me, but I will say....I got the rolling admission!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

It boils down to 1 test

High noon, January 24, 2011, I will be taking the NLN exam in hopes of qualifying for my school's nursing program. In case you haven't heard, I was 5 points short of the rolling admission from my ACT score. It wasn't a bad showing for 30 years, but it wasn't enough. Thankfully, my college will allow you to take the NLN in hopes of a better score, and they will take the better of the two scores. 
I'm more nervous about the math than anything else as it has been my Achilles' heel for most of my life. But I DID get through Algebra, so it shouldn't plague me so.
Anyway, just wanted to update. Will write more after I get my results. Pray for me! I need a great percentile to get accepted this fall.

Friday, January 7, 2011

And so it begins : Anatomy & Physiology II

Another semester with Michael Phelps through Anatomy & Physiology? Well, I wish he were part of the bargain. It might make it a lot more enjoyable. I've checked Blackboard to see if my new teacher has posted a syllabus and what, if any, reading she has assigned. I'll say this: she's thorough. The semester doesn't technically start until Sunday, and she has the entire semester's PowerPoint on the website. Also, all of the lab. I'm one of these people who has to get all my assignments on Outlook so I don't have those nightmares of not being prepared for class. I got a B in A & P I, but I feel I should have/could have gotten an A. This semester will undoubted prepare me for Micro, which I heard can make you lose your religion Our first unit: Blood!
Any studying tips for A & P II are appreciated!