It has officially been one month for me of being in nursing school! It went by FAST. I wanted to write this little recap of my last couple of weeks for those who were wanting to know how it went or those who are curious about how their first month of nursing school might go. In non-school related news I posted an update this week here! So let’s get into, my first month of nursing school recap!
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First Month of Nursing School Recap
So, this quarter is different because of COVID. Usually the program that I am attending is 100% in person and we go to nursing homes or the hospital for clinicals. This quarter half of our classes are online (via Zoom) and we are implementing social distancing, masks, and safety precautions to attend skills lab. There is also no in-person clinical and we are using a program called Shadow Health to attend to virtual patients. We do assessments on the virtual patients and it’s actually really cool and fun! It’s less pressure too, at least for the first couple of weeks getting a hang of things and absorbing the massive amounts of information that is thrown at us.
Here’s what my schedule is looking like…
The classes in the blue are what I attended via Zoom and the classes in the purple are the ones that I had to go to in person. Every week is a tad bit different, some weeks I have tests on different days and usually I have class longer on Mondays and Fridays. Friday clinical will end up being from 8 am- 1 pm on a normal day.
Week one probably went by the fastest. There was much more reading to do than in a normal week and I had my first test. My first test was on dosage calculation and I will be having that test every quarter with it gradually getting harder. It was a really easy test starting out this quarter after reviewing stoichiometry from chemistry and different conversions.
In my fundamentals nursing class we learned about nursing theorists, different theories, and the basics of providing care. In my assessment class, we learned about what to do before completing nursing assessments, what nursing assessments are, and why we do them.
This week for our lab application and simulated lab we learned about taking vital signs. We practiced taking blood pressure on mannequins and each other. In our lab we can only be within 6 feet of someone else for 15 minutes at a time (even with masks). I bought a blood pressure cuff to practice at home which I highly recommend anyone else who is starting nursing school does. My school also loans blood pressure cuffs too.
There was much less reading this week than the previous week, but going through all the PowerPoints, textbook chapters, and other readings take at least one day (if not 2 or 3). We had our first paper due this week on nursing philosophy as well as some other assignments we didn’t have the week before.
In my foundations class we learned about ethics in nursing and healthcare. Then, in my assessment class we learned about the HEENT (head, ears, eyes, nose, and throat) assessment. Each week we learn more about the assessments we will be conducting and at the end of the quarter we have to put it together for our final. Finally, in lab this week, we practiced taking blood pressure and other vitals and then had our first *virtual* clinical on Friday!
I had my first assessment test this week, which will be a weekly occurrence. It’s on whatever we learn the previous week and is just a multiple choice NCLEX style test.
This week I had my first pathocard due which is due every week from now on. Basically it’s to help us learn about a new disease every week (this week was diabetes) and how to explain it to someone in non-medical terms. This week in my assessment class we learned bout pulmonary and cardiac assessments. I feel like out of all the assessments we will be learning and putting together, listening to breathing sounds will be my weak point! In lab this week we practice bed baths which I will be testing on soon. Then finally in my foundations class this week we started PHARMACOLOGY.
If you haven’t heard, pharmacology is a unit that is infamous for being a ton of information to learn and also being difficult. My test is week 5 so I am *currently* studying for my test today (right after posting this!). Currently I don’t find it to be too difficult, but I think I will have a better idea after this test! I will say that it was a TON of reading. I think I had to read 80 pages of a textbook for just that class alone. Not to mention the video lectures, class time, powerpoints and the like.
This week was a little bit of a struggle in general because Danny and I moved out! I didn’t have clinical on Friday because of a faculty work day so that worked out great. Still I was unpacking a ton and not focused on school.
This week was probably my most overwhelming week yet. We were assigned a group presentation due the following week for my assessment class (on diverticulitis) and also a self-care plan assignment in foundations. This will be my first care plan! We went over the nursing process further in depth this week in foundations to prepare us. Care plans are basically the nursing process written out. Next week a care plan on ourselves is due. We have to choose something that’s affecting us that (like lack of sleep or anxiety) and find a nursing diagnosis for it.
In assessments we are learning how to conduct an abdominal assessment. It seems pretty straight forward and isn’t as difficult to hear as breathing. This is the last ‘assessment’ component that we will be doing for our final so now I need to practice putting it all together.
Then finally in lab we practiced more on bed baths, blood pressure, and also medication administration which we learned about this week!
I think I’ve finally got a routine down and have a grasp on the work. This final week has been the most overwhelming because of the added assignments due next week. Pharmacology is also double the information that we usually learn for a quiz and I need to get it all down before Tuesday.
I’ve realized that I need to practice more for lab at home and also complete the reading for the next week a week ahead. This helps me to stay ahead and not drown in work! For week 4 I ended up doing the reading the week of and just felt like I had way too much to do.
So far I am enjoying it! I am so glad that all the instructors actually want you to achieve and will do anything in their power to help you. Also, the other people in my cohort are all so supportive of each other! It’s helpful to be able to talk things out wit others who are trying to learn the same thing.
That’s my recap of my month week in nursing school! I will be posting a part 2 recap for my second month in November!