Third Quarter Nursing School Recap

Hello and welcome back to my nursing school quarterly recap! I feel like it’s been a while! I didn’t get a chance to post throughout the quarter because my weekends were pretty preoccupied with the school work. However, I am now on summer break. Let me tell you, it is much needed after this year of school. It’s crazy to think, but just like that my first year of nursing school is over!! In 1 year I will have my ADN.

Anyways, this quarter was definitely a game-changer. We finally got into an in-person clinical, which we attended weekly (more on that below). The topics we learned about were also more focused on the disease process and nursing interventions rather than just a broad overview or a glimpse across the lifespan (also more on that below).

To see my previous nursing quarter recaps, check out the links below!

If this is your first recap of mine, I will just go over some of the things that I learned during each week or in each course. This will give you a better idea of the structure of the program and what you’ll be learning about (if you’re curious). Of course, everyone’s program is structured differently.

third quarter nursing school recap

Third Quarter Nursing School Recap

I think that it would be most helpful to first tell you about the layout of my week if you are trying to plan for your third quarter of nursing school. Like I said above, every nursing school and instructor structures their classes different and you might have more or less of a workload compared to my school.

Weekly Schedule

  • Monday: Off!
  • Tuesday: Mornings every other week were tests. Tuesday afternoons we had a Zoom lecture.
  • Wednesday: 2-hour class in the morning where we learned the skill of the week for lab.
  • Thursday: Clinical! I had a swing shift clinical from 3 pm- 1 am Friday.
  • Friday: Lab during the afternoon for 4 hours.

Overall I felt like my weekly schedule allowed me enough time for some downtime and time to complete assignments. However, my big assignments each week were on the weekend. We only had 3 days to work on them and we couldn’t do them until after clinical. Since I had lab Friday and clinical until early Friday morning, my weekends were consumed by these assignments!

Weekly Workload

Every week we had about the same workload and assignments due so I will get into that now!

  • Weekly textbook readings (topics for each week down below)
  • ATI for the skill of the week
  • Pre- & post-class assignments (varied in length from a discussion post to a mini pre-quiz)
  • Database (we get the information to complete it and we have to turn it in by Sunday at 8 pm)
  • Care Plan (we get the information to complete it and we have to turn it in by Sunday at 8 pm)
  • Learning log (goals for the following week at clinical and a reflection on our time)

In addition to the weekly assignments that we had above, we also had 2 major assignments over the quarter:

  • Pharmacology presentation (presenting a drug to the class)
  • Patient paper (a 10 page paper presenting our patient, the pathophysiology of their disease, 4 care plans, and database)

The patient presentation definitely threw me for a loop and I wish that I had started working on it sooner! I didn’t get to study as much as I usually do for the test following the paper and it was my worst score. But, after that, there are basically no other assignments besides the final clinical paperwork.

Lecture Topics

I enjoyed the topics this quarter a lot more than the previous quarters. We are finally moving into disease processes and our role as a nurse. This quarter was our med-surg #1 quarter, so it followed that theme. Each week we covered a new topic, which I will list below!

  • Week One: Intro to Med Surg
  • Week Two: Fluid and Electrolytes (post on how I studied for fluid and electrolytes to come soon)
  • Week Three: Pre-op, Intra-op, and Post-op
  • Week Four: Diabetes Mellitus
  • Week Five: Musculoskeletal & Connective Tissue Disorders, Trauma
  • Week Six: Immune System and Infectious Diseases
  • Week Seven: HIV/AIDS, STI, Autoimmune Diseases
  • Week Eight: Shock
  • Week Nine: End of Life
  • Week Ten: *Studying for final*

Clinical

Like I said above, this quarter was the first quarter that we got to go back to clinical! We previously didn’t have an in-person clinical due to the pandemic. This quarter we went to clinical once a week and worked on a med-surg floor. The highlight of my entire quarter was successfully inserting an IV start on my first try! I was so excited, I didn’t expect to even get the opportunity to start an IV, let alone get it done on my first try.

Twice during the quarter we also got to do a specialty rotation. The specialty rotations for this quarter were OR and wound care. During the specialty rotations were are only allowed to shadow and are not allowed to do skills like we normally would on the floor. I realized through my specialty rotation that I loved the OR and it might be where I want to specialize after nursing school! I went into this quarter thinking that I wasn’t going to like it and that I was going to love wound care. Keep an open mind on your different rotations because you never know what’s going to click for you and just feel right!

I am not going to go too in-depth on my clinical from this quarter because I plan on posting a few posts specific to what to expect during clinical, anxiety during clinical, and how to make the most of your clinical experience. However, I will say that it definitely made becoming a nurse feel more real since I was actually able to practice all the things I’ve been learning on actual patients.

Lab

The final component of this quarter was lab! My program teaches us all the skills that we are going to learn (aside from PICC lines) during the first year of nursing school. During the second year of nursing school we no longer have labs, but we have multiple days of clinical.

The skills that we learned and checked-off this quarter were NG tube insertion, wound care, IV push, IV insertion, and bladder irrigation. We also did a day of intradermal injections on each other in class.

First quarter I struggled a lot with learning the skills because there was just so much in such a short amount of time. Not to mention, everything was new to me because I didn’t have any CNA experience. If you are also feeling this way, it gets easier, I promise! Some of the skills may be more complex, but you’ll get the muscle memory down fast.

Overall Thoughts

I am so ready for summer! This quarter has been one of my favorites so far, but I’m ready for a break. I would say that second quarter had been the hardest quarter yet. I was able to become more competent and confident in the nursing skills that we are learning this quarter and practice my therapeutic communication with patients. 3rd quarter is definitely the game changer in nursing school, or at least in my program!

I hope this helped you know what to expect for your third quarter in nursing school, or hope you just enjoyed the update if you’re following along on my nursing journey! 🙂

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For more nursing school posts, check out below!

Thanks for Reading and Good Luck!

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