S.N.I.T. – Student Nurse In Training

  And I’ve just started! Lol.

But yes, I could feel my left eye spasm off and on throughout last week as I manuevered my way through our second week.  THERE IS A TON OF READING and MEMORIZING to do.  Notecards are destined to be my new best friends! Notecards for key terms, notecards for drug categories and their effects – both good and bad. Notecards for blood pressure rates, etc.

Pharmacology class is three hours long covering at least 2 to 3 chapters that were assigned reading the week before.  Luckily, our instructor doesn’t require us to know both the generic and the brand name of the drug – that information will be on the test – but we do need to recognize the name to know the type of drug it is.  Hence the notecards.  She recommended preparing 4 notecards for each drug classification that covers brand and generic name, therapeutic effects, adverse effects, and contraindication. The lectures are basic in information because we’re encouraged to participate and ask questions.  I’m not sure what I’m doing yet enough to ask questions!

We also participated in skills lab for the second week.  Last week we learned how to take vital signs.  This included trying to take blood pressures via the manual cuff. It was hard trying to find the brachial pulse – those of my classmates like me, that don’t have any experience working in the medical field were fumbling around the elbow air in search of the elusive pulse. then trying to listen for the systolic and diastolic sounds through the stethoscrope.  Yeah, not so easy that afternoon. My instructor even asked me if I had ever had my hearing checked.  I informed her my hearing was fine! In fact, it had been check before I started school as part of the entrance requirements. What was wrong is that the room was nosy with all 10 of use (not counting the instructor) talking all around me. Once I got home and took my pressure I was able to hear the sounds – **happy dance**.  And there are programs online that are blood pressure simulators to help you hear the sounds and determine where they start and where they stop.  I need time and practice to develop an air for the sounds just like when I was dispatching for police – it takes a bit to get use to listening to the police radio and being able to make sense of the chatter.  They called it a dispatcher ear.

Yesterday we also covered bathing a patient in bed – both male and female -aa well as changing an occupied bed.  Because there are several of us and limited beds and maniquins to practice on we had to work in groups. I was paired with two students who are currently techs in a hospital. I am purposely trying to team up with at least one of them each time – also considering the others have moved into cliques – but I think they are a good source of knowledge at this point as am happy to ask them to teach me. I watched the two of them make an occupied bed with ease. Hopefully, I’ll be able to muddle through it if I have to do it anytime soon.

So next up is our first time in clinicals. We meet for orientation and then have our first full clinical session the following day.  My group is assigned to a rehabilitation center – while some of the other groups are going to the VA or a nursing home.  We’ll see how it goes working with real patients.





{January 25, 2016}   The Start

This is officially my second week in school, but last week was really orientation week, so we haven’t started lectures or skills labs and clinicals actually don’t start until next week.

What I learned last week – there is A LOT of reading assigned in all the classes! We’re talking 2-3 chapters per week per class. It really is going to take making a plan, scheduling my life activities and trying to stay focus.  Easier said then done. Lol.  But they do try to help you by emailing out the sylllabus and assignment schedules in advance along with the power point presentations for the lectures in advance.  And they encourage students to record the lectures as well.

I purchased an app called Notability for my IPAD which I think is awesome! Not only does it record lectures, but it uploads the power point and you open it when the lecture starts and the program ties the power point to the recording. This lets you go back when you’re reviewing the power point and you can click on a word and the recording takes you to where that word was mentioned in the lecture.  You also have the ability to make notes both written and typed on your documents.  You can also take pictures as well.  Hopefully, this will help me when I go to review the material.

Today is the first day of my Pharmacology and Drug Calculation classes. This includes a math review as well as a large amount of vocabulary words.  In reading the book I was happy to find that the material does make some sense to me – I’m also trying the trick of explaining the material outloud to myself in my words, not the books to see if I understand it.  Now we’ll see if I can sit through four hours of lecture and understand what the instructor is talking about!

I’ve spent some time organizing my materials and setting up a system so that I can have what I need to review before each exam.  One of the tricks a 2nd semester student suggested is to take the objectives listed at the start of the chapter and answer those questions when you’re done reading and after the lecture to see if you have learned the material highlighted because a lot of the test material comes from the objectives.  Our syllabuses contain objectives as well for each area of lecture given that should be reviewed as well. I’m making flashcards for the vocabulary that I’m going to section off by exam. Target sells this compact plastic index card holders that will work perfect for this.

Another thing that I’m glad I purchased was the book bundle that includes an electronic version of the book as well as the hard copy. I know there are some people that have no problem using only a digital copy of a textbook and I’ve tried that, but I like having the physical copy of the book too. This bundle package is really good – it downloaded all the books I purchased and not only can you highlight, but you can create notes from your highlights, add extra notations to the highlighted passage and import thoses notes into a word document.  It will even cite for you which will come in handy when I start to do clincials. (I’m told). The program even reads outloud to you! I found this handy when my attention started to wander. I put on headphones and followed along as it read to me. It’s not the best reader in some parts because it will be reading a sentence and come to an illustration like a box and start reading the box and then finish the sentence after because of the layout of the book.

I’m excited to get started with the actual classes though I am nervous about clincials. I have no idea what to really expect when it comes to thoses sessions. But we will be have skills labs this week to help us get ready, plus we will be learning how to do nursing plans in the upcoming week and a half which is a mystery to me right now.

{January 18, 2016}   Worse Time Best Time

So, here it is just a couple of days before the start of school.  It’s been a crazy time just getting to this point.  I attended “Student Nursing Boot Camp”. This is a day long seminar that is put on by the student nursing club at Pima College. The presenters are mainly current nursing students who give incoming students their view and opinions on school, including tips for studying and preparing for tests and  the clinical porition.  It’s also a chance to scare the heck out of the new students!  We were told these next two years would be both the worse time of our life and the best time of our life. You can expect to cry and be stressed out, but at the same time you will enjoy both what you are learning and you will make good friends with your fellow students. They are the only ones that can understand what you are going through and may be the ones to give you the most support to get through it. It’s also a matter of finding a balamce between school and your personal life – so that you can have a personal life.

We got to take a tour of the skills lab and look at the computer runned “patients” (dolls) that we will be practicing on. They were cool with eyes that blink and they are able to talk and make sounds like groaning and coughing. The college has the lab are made up to look like hospital units incluing the equipment that is currently used in most hospitals.

Scheduling, I am learning, is a strong key to success.  You need to get good at scheduling and planning your upcoming week. This includes scheduling exercise and down time and even a task like making dinner.

In the last couple of days I’ve received my syllabuses for drug calculations, intro to Pharmacology and the Nursing lectures and skills labs along with the reading assignments schedules and testing dates.  OH man, tale about being overwhelmed – there is A LOT of reading for the lectures and the pharmocology class. One of the second semester students has gotten into a routine of reading 20 pages a day. 5 days a week to keep up with her reading. That sounds like a doable goal to set.

So my first week starts Tuesday – but this first week is really nothing but orientation sessions. I don’t even start drug calculations and pharmocolgy until next Monday.which is good because I don’t have my books yet!  Hopefully my financial aid increase comes through this week so that I can get what I need. This is just another thing that adds stress.


{November 4, 2015}   Another Step Forward

Well, I’m still progressing on getting everything that I need lined up before the start of the semester.  I’m definately more relaxed with regards to my vaccinations.  While I won’t have the 3rd shot of Hep B done before school starts in January I spoke with the administrative assistant at Pima Nursing and she assured me that they are going to be working with me and that it will not be an issue that prevents me from starting as scheduled. So THRILLED to hear that!! I was worried and was not looking forward to having to start the process over again in the new competative program they recently implimented.

I received my fingerprint clearance card late last week, so that’s one more thing I can cross off my TO-DO list!  LOL.  That is probably the least thing that I worried about (except for worrying about getting it before the end of November). I have my physical scheduled for the middle of this month – and that is going to cost me $66! Ouch!  I would have done it through my doctor but I’ve already had my yearly free wellness check that my insurance allows so I was afraid that it would cost me more to to through my doctor than the clinic the school recommended.  Plus they do these physicals all the time and know what they need to do to complete them correctly.

I also have to schedule my CPR class for sometime in the next couple of weeks.  It’s only a half day and they actually have classes available on Saturday’s which works perfectly.

Other stuff that I’ve been looking into were shoes for school. I need some comfortable solid white sneakers. I’ve done some research online and found Skeachers was a brand that was continually recommended as a good shoe for nurses. And luckily there is a skeachers store near my home so I can go check them out and see what they have to offer. Hopefully, I can find something that will help keep my feet from getting too tired standing for long periods of time. I’m going to be going from sitting for most of my work day to standing….

{October 21, 2015}   My Journey Begins

So, after numerous pre-requisite courses and sitting on a waiting list for about 2 years, I am set to start the nursing program at Pima Community College in January 2016.

I attended the mandatory orientation earlier this month. We met the dean of the program along with a couple of administrators and were given a lot of information regarding what we needed to complete prior to starting school. Prior to the orientation I had to go get fingerprinted so I could apply for my fingerprint clearance card with the state police. AND it takes an average of 4-6 weeks to get the application proceessed provided no “additional research” is needed. Meaning you don’t have anything in your criminal history – considering I have worked almost my entire adult life in a law enforcement or prosecution office I am happy to say that I don’t anticipate having any problems getting my card.

I also had to work on getting all of my vaccinations they require done by the end of November. The problem I may have is with my Hep B series because I will only have two of the three shots completed before January 1, 2016. The third shot will not be administered until March, well into the semester. I’m worried about it – I have to wait at least 4 weeks from today to take another titer test to see if my immunity levels are high enough to get a pass. Keeping my fingers crossed on that one.

I also have to schedule and complete the CPR class for health care providers as well as getting a physical done. I’ve scheduled the physical with a local Concentra clinic on the recommendation of the dean. The drawback? It’s going to cost me $66.00 out of pocket. My insurance is covering the vaccinations but not the physical.

There’s a whole checklist of things we have to do before lthe end of the year. And we were told in Orientation that if we failed to provide all the necessary information and complete all of these tasks we risk getting dropped from the program and having to re-apply under the new competititve system. Thought the dean did mention a couple of times that we’d get moved to the Fall semester – he didn’t say And while I’m excited about the upcoming semester, I”m also nervous about the amount of studying that is going to be needed to learn the material.

It’s going to be a journey!

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et cetera