(Sunrise on my drive to school last week.)
The last 4 weeks and 3 days have been nothing short of insanity for me and my fellow nursing buddies. I knew that pharm would be hard but I never imagined I’d fail my first exam in nursing school in this class. When I say fail, I don’t mean under 59% like most standard grading scales. I mean under 75%. Yes, you will not pass the class or an exam if you cannot maintain a 75% or better. In general, this makes sense. I don’t think most people want an average nurse caring for them who doesn’t even know 80% of her or his job.
It’s absolutely unrealistic to think that I could ever learn everything about every drug, but understanding basics….I’m there. In two days I will take my first med passing comps and I’m exhausted! The physical, mental, emotional and spiritual stress I’ve gone through has been so hard. I’ve cried more this month than I have in a long time BUT it’s a good way to get rid of stress! 😜
Next week we start a new class and I’ll have my second round of clinicals at the end of November. It’s mind blowing how fast this goes. I have no clue what day of the week it is. But I have my family and friends supporting me and I couldn’t do any of this without them.
Hi friends! Before the weekend I wanted to share an important post with you all. I don’t get too personal on the blog very often so this is one of those rare occasions when I will.
I have a brother who is younger than me. We currently live 15 minutes from each other. He is happily married to an amazing lady whom I love with all my heart. She has made him the happiest I’ve ever seen him. Together, they are amazing. Before he met his wife, my brother had been through the marines, fought in the Iraq war, and has dealt with more mental health issues than I care to admit–and none of those issues are his fault. I mean, I’m not sure if you can blame mental health on any one or thing, but there are obviously times when people and situations can make it worse or better. He has started a blog to talk about his mental health and how it has evolved from childhood, to the marines, and after. I am certain that there are many people out there who can relate to his experience either personally or by someone they know.
I’m so proud to be his sister. Our relationship is far from perfect but we love each other and I am so grateful that, despite all the shit he’s been through, he’s still here with us sharing his story, living his life as a husband and being an awesome uncle to my kids. Please follow the link below and check it out. Give him a follow, like, comment and share.
The Mental Marine
I have finally, after years, figured out how to study in a way that works for me. All I need is blank paper and lots of different colored sharpies. I use these to alternate the words and notes on a page so everything stands out separately. I figured this out when I realized that I am truly a visual learner.
This summer has flown by. I have been buried in notes, power points, and care plans galore and I could not be happier! I have never worked so hard academically before in my life. It’s been a true test of my passion and drive in nursing. Here is a quick summary of the past 3 months, my first semester in nursing school!
- Health assessment started in May and ended in June.
- Comps for health assessment included a complete head to toe assessment.
- My lab partner and I nailed the comps and celebrated with breakfast and beer-duh.
- We started transforming care in mid May and this included learning about management, leadership and nursing theories while applying a biblical view to the career of nursing. It was not my fave but I bonded with several classmates and learned about spiritual boundaries.
- End of June I started foundations in nursing which I was super stoked for! The first 2 weeks covered CNA skills but ended up being an nice reminder on some skills that I rarely practice.
- After a few weeks, we started to cover more important nursing topics like the nursing process, fluids and electrolytes, oxygenation, pain management, and more.
- The last 4 weeks of this class were so intense. I felt the physiological demands of the class on my body as I studied harder than I ever have before. The anxiety and stress levels were through the roof. My efforts paid off, though. I aced the hardest exam of the program thus far.
- By the end of the class, I was experiencing adrenal fatigue. I could not physically stay awake or think straight. I suddenly started to second guess practice questions. I consoled in my tutor and she gently told me to stop studying and take care of myself. I did just that.
- I passed my lab comps this past Friday. The stress and anxiety leading up to this major milestone in the class was worth every effort. Passing was hard And I came out sweating bullets!
So the semester ended on Friday! I did it! But on Sunday early morning, mysterious pain set into my upper abdominal area. I thought it out for a day and went to the ER today. Turns out I most likely have an ulcer caused by all the stress! 😩
I’m home resting now. Hoping this second semester isn’t so hard on my body.
On Friday, my lab partner and I had our first lab comps where we had to perform a full head to toe assessment on each other. We had to memorize and perform all the assessments for each system and do it in less than 20 minutes. If there is anything I hate, it’s being timed. Also, being watched at timed. So I am not your typical Leo who likes to perform and be the center of attention–in fact, I hate it! So this is something I really need to get used to and I’m sure it will get easier but the first time was stressful.
The good news? We PASSED! It was pass/fail and remediation for failing was to be done next week and we are so glad that we nailed it! We both certainly made a few minor mistakes but nothing that would have put the patient in any harm. We celebrated by heading up to a famous cinnamon role breakfast spot and had some food all the while in disbelief that we had passed.
Next week we start foundations. We are half way through our transforming care class and our first clinicals start in August.
Nursing school has kicked off to a wild, intense, fun start! I really cannot believe it has already been a month. We have had this past week off which has been much needed and frightening…I have realized that a week off is not a week off of school–ever. I need to ensure that while I have some nice time off from going to class two days a week, that I need to ensure that I am doing SOMETHING everyday. And, dare I say, I miss class. I’m sure this feeling may not last and it may change over the next 23 months, but for now, I still love it despite how hard it is.
A few things I have already learned since nursing school started:
- Make time for studying, even if for an hour, every day.
- Write power point notes out (this is for all you tactile/visual learners)
- Connect with 2-4 people in class–they will become lifelong friends (I can already feel this happening!)
- Take a break at least every hour on long study days.
- Practice lab sims and procedures on your spouse, mom, boyfriend–whoever will let you do a head to toe on them, over and over again.
- Kids are a lot easier to listen to than adults (great lung and heart sounds!)
- Sim mannequins are as ridiculous as they sound-lots of pretending and acting involved so just let that nervous performance energy go.
The biggest challenge for me so far has been figuring out the best way to study for me. This is not like any other schooling and education I’ve had before and the study techniques I used in previous classes are not enough for what I’m doing now for nursing school.
The best thing so far is the relationships I’ve already made with a few amazing ladies in class. We are all different ages in different stages of life and we have two huge things in common: we love God and we are passionate about nursing. These two factors alone, I know, will help get me through this rigorous program.
I’m doing my best to update often but once a month may be all I can manage between classes, work, and family.
Nursing school has officially started! I cannot believe it has already been two weeks. I have been wanting to write since the end of the first week and already realize that posting once a week may be more challenging than I had hoped. In preparation for school starting, I was able to order my scrubs and books ahead of time. I was also able to access the online portion of the class a week before. Even that slight advantage has not given me a head start! You dive right into everything at 100mph and there is no stopping in sight!
The first week was great. My general excitement was at an all-time high. I was getting to now the other people in my class. Our first lab was on vital signs so I felt very confident in the first exam, which we had this past week. I got an A! This second week, however, has been a lot harder and more intense. There is so much to learn! We have been working on skin and neuro assessments. For me, these are not hard tasks. What is hard is memorizing the steps and the methods without forgetting anything. Today I really felt the pressure. I cried. It was a good cry. An overwhelming cry of realization that this is real and it’s going to be real hard. I’m ready, but damn this will be a crazy 24 months!
I am still working on my study methodes so that is part of some of the frustration I’ve had. I am hard on myself and I do overthink sometimes so my amazing tutor keeps bringing me back into the sandbox. 😉
Anyone else just starting nursing school? Please share your experience! I will do my best to keep this blog updated often. I’m taking Health Assessment and Transforming Care right now. This is one of the rare times I will be taking more than one class at a time. I’m already thankful there are only 3 weeks left in health assessment, not because I don’t like it (I LOVE IT!), but because balancing more than one class at a time is hard.
That’s all for now!