My new life is starting now

First block DONE

Eighteen weeks later we are done with first block. We’ve lost three people ( that I know of) from our day cohort unfortunately. That happens though, its known that not everyone that starts, will finish. I am so relieved to be done with the first semester and smoothly moving on. We get three weeks vacation, from December 10th until January 2nd. Block two will be med/surg , pediatrics ( I look forward to it) and OB. We will be using the same books from last semester, sparing us hundreds of more dollars. Adding to the excitement is the fact we have our clinical assignments already. I will be going to Maricopa Integrated Health care..otherwise known as COUNTY. With only stating COUNTY, you can imagine what fun that will be,and what we will get to see.

The major thing I’ve learned in block one is that stressing gets you nowhere. I’ve learned the flow of exams, and what to expect. With the experience comes a sense of peacefulness. I’ve learned that if you pay attention in lecture, ( I didn’t go to many lectures btw) , if you practice NCLEX questions pertaining to the subject being tested, and study you will pass. But you have to put a little effort in. I promise though its very accomplish-able. I want to  state that I am a single mom, work two jobs, and am full-time in two community colleges, and I was still able to spend time studying, working, and tend to home life along with having a social life with my son. Youtube is a great study guide, many people present things differently and hearing/seeing from anothers point of view can help ( it did me), google NCLEX questions in the area you are being tested on (prenhall had very good ones with rationales). 

I am still in awe that I am finally doing what I’ve wanted to do for so long..nursing school. The last 18 weeks have gone by SO fast, its incredible. Heres to block TWO! 

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We are in our second to last week of the first block of the rest of my life. We have an exam this week on the GI system ,and then our final next week. We get a three week break after that.   Last week was our last week of clinicals and it was nice to not have to wake at 3am to get ready for a long twelve hour day of clinicals.  We had twelve weeks of clinicals, twelve hours once a week at the SNF. For me i didn’t really learn anything new, and the only new experience for me was passing meds ( which lost its glamour quick).  

A few things I’ve been thinking of that I wish I would of known ahead of time…

Stressing gets you nowhere. It does get easier. 

   Man I remember stressing super hard about passing everything, and getting perfect grades. Now i just want to pass with the 76 i need. I am retaining everything, and am acing my clinical side, so aside from that I am doing PERFECT. 

I can’t stress the importance of having clinical experience prior to going to nursing school. I have learned so much in my short time as a CNA within the hospital/hospice/home health and rehab that i have done in the last four years. I came into this knowing alot of procedures, medications, what to expect and what to not expect from patients. If you are working…ask questions/get out of your scope and ASK ASK ASK. I always ask nurses, docs and everyone i can why they are doing what they are doing, what they expect and what the heck is going on. I have always been answered with amazing educational responses. They understand what its like being an undergrad with a goal in mind. 

You don’t really need all the books they “Require” of you. Our program was requiring a 600+ 100 tote  that i opted to not get through the bookstore. I Bought all my books on my own through amazon and craiglist and paid a total of 250$ out of pocket. With that said, I didn’t really need the diagnostic book, or drug handbook . I really didn’t need the tote either for the first block. That would of saved me about 150$. I don’t think I have opened the diagnostic book once yet, and the drug handbook I have a few on my tablet that i take with me and can get easier and even more up to date access. 

Bring busy work with you to the clinical site. Hide some notecards in your pocket. It was super slow, and noone really needed or wanted our help . With that said I think we had a crappy clinical experience due to our instructors preference. She only let us work with the RNS or herself. Well there was only one RN in the entire facility and only one of her. She said she didn’t feel comfortable with us working with the LPNs. Well in our class we had three groups, and the other two were allowed to work with any LPN or RN. So they had more opportunities. 

You can spend hours studying, read every single piece of material you have, and yet you won’t get the test a hundred percent. I know i personally and many of us in my class, second guess our self, or read too much into the question. Our exam questions are taking from the NCLEX, so they are NCLEX style questions and they can be tricky. 

You will HATE check all that apply…and the majority of your questions will be this format. 

I recommend buying lots of materials. I have always even before getting accepted into this program have bought older, used nursing books. You can’t have too many reference materials that may present something differently, that you understand. There are many different NCLEX practice books out there…get as many as you can. Success and Saunders are good ones. For us Saunders was a requirement…that one was a good one. 

Youtube is a good resource. Yes of course its not reliable, but you can use your common sense and see whats good information and whats not. When other people present stuff….it can help you GET IT. There are lots of cover songs and such that i remember…they are usually obnoxious but they STICK! 

Time WILL FLY, be confident and soon you will be the nurse you WANT to be. 

As for me, I am excited to finish the first block, move onto the second and get into block three and four. I can’t wait to be an Emergency Nurse. Bring on the rush!!! 

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