Life after the first round of nursing exams…

Wow.. The first 5 weeks of nursing school FLEW by. I guess when you are on the go 24/7 that will happen. Looking back I can’t believe how much we have already learned in just over one short month. We also finished our first rounds of exams… and survived them!


I have 3 classes this semester because I took Patho last semester (soooo thankful for that!!).

There is so much money spent in this picture!

Nursing Assessment across the Life Span : We are essentially learning a focused assessment each week on a different system and by the end we’ll be able to do a complete head to toe assessment of a patient. So far we’ve learned how to conduct an interview, obtain health history, complete a pain assessment, obtain vital signs, and perform focused assessments on the skin, hair and nails, thorax and lungs and the abdomen.

Concepts and Clinical Competencies: This class is essentially fundamentals of nursing where we are learning different nursing skills. The labs are so fun and will turn into our first clinicals at the hospital soon. So far we’ve covered asepsis and infection control, documentation and delegation, skin integrity and wound care and medication safety. In lab we’ve covered hand hygiene, PPE, mobility and transfers, wound dressing change, urinary catheterization and giving oral and injectable meds.

Learning how to give injectable meds!
Who knew giving injections could be so fun?! Could have something to do with the huge empty cup of coffee!

Pharmacology: This class has SO much information but I honestly love it! So far we have covered basic principles of pharm, CNS and PNS drugs, infant/children and geriatric considerations, anesthetics and psychotherapeutic drugs. I have definitely spent the most time studying for this class. We have a wonderful teacher who is retiring after this semester so I am so sad the incoming J1’s won’t get to experience her teaching.

One of the MANY drugs charts we had to study for Pharm. 


The fourth week of school we had our first nursing test in Concepts. Then came the fifth week of school where we had an Assessment test on Monday, a Pharm test on Tuesday, a vital sign check off in Assessment on Wednesday and a medical math test in Concepts on Friday. I was literally at school on Monday for 13 hours between tutoring, tests, class, and studying!

It was quite the week to say the least but with a little help from coffee, Jesus and my wonderful support system I made it through. I also had a few glasses of wine to celebrate! I am also happy with my grades from the first rounds of test. All of my studying definitely paid off!

Alas there is no rest for a nursing school student. We have 3 more weeks before spring break in which we have another round of exams and a practicum check off in Concepts. For this we will randomly draw a skill we have learned and perform it in front of our clinical instructor as a pass/fail so no pressure! This week also marks our first week in the hospital so I am excited about it but also nervous.


Here’s to another week!





Surviving Nursing School 101


I know there have been LOTS of posts on how to survive nursing school but this is what has helped me maintain my sanity thus far…



  • Get. A. Planner. As soon as we got our syllabus for each class I wrote down every due date, assigned readings, exam, quizzes, check off… EVERYTHING. Each class is color coordinated as well. Yes, this took some time but it was super helpful to keep me focused and on track.


I love my Lilly Pulitzer planner! It is so colorful and fun 🙂

  • I also have one binder I bring to school each week for all my classes with that week’s lectures/assignments. At the end of the week I transfer everything to individual class binders. This keeps me from bringing so much stuff with me and helps me not to forget anything.

Set realistic goals:

  • Between assigned readings, case studies, pre-lab assignments, pre-class assignments, etc. there is NO way to get EVERYTHING done. Prioritize what is most important and what can wait.


Time management:

  •  This sort of corresponds with setting realistic goals but organize a schedule of what and when you will study/do assignments. I am working and going to school so I have a limited amount of time when I can actually get work done. I try to knock out all my assignments for the week the weekend before so I can spend my evenings reviewing lecture notes and studying.


  • Talk to other nursing students in your program. Find out what classes were crucial to read for and which ones weren’t so important. For our program, getting the Pharm book was a waste and reading for Assessment is crucial. Good to know! (We have a mentor program and my mentor has been SO helpful!)


  • I also have my schedule on my Google calendar to help visualize what my week looks like.
  •          calendar_2016-02-15_2016-02-20-3
  • Follow link to see a view of my typical week. (Ok, even I can admit that looks a little scary!)


Have a life outside of nursing school:

  •  Yes, you have to spend most of your time devoting your life to school. Yes, you will have to decline invitations to do things with your friends. BUT, you must make time for yourself. You cannot commit your life 24/7 to nursing school or you are asking for a burnout. If you know you want to have dinner with a friend Saturday night then spend most of the day studying. (Again with time management!)


Take care of yourself:

  • You only have one body, take care of it! We are studying how to care for other people so what does it say about us if we clearly are not taking care of ourselves?
  • I have always been a meal prep fan but now it is crucial because there is NO time to make food during the week. I usually make the bulk of my meals on Sunday’s.


{My Fit Mark bag has been a life saver! I holds enough food to get me through the day and the ice packs keep everything cold!}

  • I still find time to hit the gym 3-4 times per week (hello, endorphins).


  • And lastly, SLEEP. You cannot expect to be fully functional if you are sleeping 4 hours a night. Plus, at some point you really aren’t learning/retaining any information once you are just so sleep deprived.


The most important thing I tell myself every day is… “You can do anything, you cannot do everything.”