Just taking this semester one day at a time.

This semester is flying by! I’m not sure if I’m excited we ONLY have 7 weeks left or terrified we have 7 WHOLE weeks left. Having 3 clinical courses means the work is never ending. I’m honestly just surprised I’ve managed to wake up and make it where I’ve needed to be that day so far this semester. I’ve been terrible at updating here as well.

 

Adult II
After our first test, I really put my head down and studied my ass off for the second test. The content was shock, respiratory (think ARDS, vents, etc.), burns and renal. (Of course I’ve completely neglected my other two courses during this time which I hate myself for now but what can you do?) Let me tell you, MedCram videos SAVED me because I left lecture like “WTF JUST HAPPENED?!” So if you are struggling with either of these topics I highly suggest taking a few minutes to watch these videos.

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Shock / Sepsis Treatment

Mechanical Ventilation (There are 5 videos in this series so make sure you watch them all.)

 

I managed a 94 on the second test, which, quite honestly, shocked the hell out of me. I was just praying I passed when I walked out.

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Typical group study session. Note the lavender essential oil diffusing to easy the anxiety. 😉
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A little pre-exam pep talk with my nursing BFF’s. I don’t know how I’d survive without them.

 

Mental
I am struggling to find the motivation to actually study for this class. It just isn’t my favorite… like at all. I have friends that love it but it just isn’t for me and that’s okay! But I still need to find the motivation to study more. I got an 87.5 on the first test, which I was fine with because I know I didn’t study well. It also turns out therapeutic communication isn’t exactly my forte. 😉 We have our second test next week and I really need to crack down because we only have 3 exams for the class.

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Peds
I’m still not really sure how I feel about this class. I’ve enjoyed the clinicals but I haven’t been like “OMG I LOVE THIS SO MUCH” like some of my other classmates and lecture doesn’t leave me warm and fuzzy either. Our tests are taken in a group setting, which is pretty strange. I was worried before the last test but I was assigned to a great group and we ended up with a 94 on the test. We have our second test next week (the day before mental) and I REALLY need to get my butt in gear and study. I’m so behind after dedicating my life to my last adult exam.

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My favorite place to study before Texas went all 90 degrees on us.

We had spring break last week and it was MUCH needed. Now I just need to put my head back down and grind out these last 7 weeks! We have quite a few students struggling this semester (specifically with our Adult II class) and it is so heartbreaking to see. Nursing school is challenging to say the least and quite humbling on top of that. So if you are a nursing student who is struggling let me remind you of one thing… YOUR TEST GRADES ARE NOT WHAT WILL MAKE YOU A GOOD NURSE. You got into nursing school so I know you’re pretty smart 😉 so I know it’s hard when you don’t see those A’s anymore but it is about SO much more than that now. Keep grinding it out day after day, never give up, and stay POSITIVE. You CAN do it. You WILL do it. Nursing school is hard and unless you’ve been there you don’t fully understand. But as a fellow nursing student, I believe in you.

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xoxo,

D

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S1… the semester that broke me.

I have always heard that S1 was the toughest semester in our program. Well, so far it is living up to its reputation! We aren’t even a month in and I feel like there is no way I’m surviving until the end.

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We have 3 clinical classes this semester… Adult Health II (critical care), Mental Health, and Children’s Health.

Here is a glimpse at what my schedule looks like. Not including peer tutoring sessions.

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The first couple of weeks have been spent in lecture, labs and simulations pretty much all day everyday. I am talking 8 hours of lecture or 8 hours of skills practice. My brain was so fried. I’ve been wondering when we are actually supposed to study this semester?!!!! This week is the first week we have actually been to clinicals and I’m already exhausted.

We had a “Code Blue” simulation, which was probably the most fun I’ve had during a simulation thus far. We got to run a code on a patient without really having any knowledge of what we were doing. Then we watched ourselves on video, went through different prep stations and got a chance to repeat running a code. As you would assume, the second time around was much smoother. 😉

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I am most excited about our Adult II class as this is the area I have been thinking I want to go into once school is finished. This semester we get rotations in 5 different ICU’s, the ED, and a telemetry floor. We did have our first test this week and it covered all cardiac material (which I find super interesting) but I walked out of the test feeling like a bus hit me. The test was rough but somehow I walked away with an 84! I was super happy with it (even thought normally this grade would have brought me to my knees). This semester is not going to be the semester for A’s and I have accepted that.

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Prepping for clinical

 

I am probably the most nervous for mental health clincials. We are not performing skills or assessments during clinical. We are just talking with people the entire time. I am mostly terrified of saying the wrong thing. We’ll see how it goes!

I LOVE children but I am not sure how I am going to feel about working with them in the hospital setting. So I guess we’ll see how that goes as well. 😉

We have a mental health test this week followed by a ped’s test the next week. The entire semester is just nonstop test after test. But at least we are so busy, it is going to fly by. Right?!?!

I’ve been told by both my boyfriend and my nursing friends I’m already “end of the semester delusional” on more than one occasion and we’re only heading into week 5. But hey, delusional trumps crying! Ya’ll pray my sanity is still in tact come May!

 

xoxo,

Danielle

 

50% RN!

J2 is officially DONE!! Which means I’m officially 50% RN!!

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What studying for finals looks like.. a steady stream of coffee + snacks to keep us going strong!

This semester really flew by and I didn’t really do many updates for this semester! Hell, this YEAR flew by. How am I already half way done with my BSN?!?

For the most part, this semester wasn’t that bad, but I sure am glad its over! My online classes were a breeze and it was just a matter of keeping up with due dates and getting things done on time. One of the classes was self-paced and I finished it by the first month of the semester. I walked away with all A’s in those classes.

For Adult/Med-Surg- well lets just say this was my least favorite class so far. I ended up crushing the HESI with a 1317 (which converts to 99.99%) so I didn’t take the final and squeaked by with an A in the class. Praise the Lord!

Women’s was my favorite class this semester! We had our last test a week before the cumulative final so it was a sprint to the finish. Thankfully, I had done well all semester because the final was a bit brutal. I still walked away with an A!

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Studying L&D with my favorite nugget.

I loved my clinical instructors and clinical groups for both clinicals this semester! Overall, clinicals were way more fun than J1 as well. I was able to see and experience so much during both! I also got to practice a lot of clinical skills, which is always a plus.

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My awesome clinical group with our research poster which earned 2nd place!

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Veterans Day parade!

There were times this semester when I didn’t know if I was going to make it (physically and mentally). For the first month of school I had 3 jobs then I went down to 1 job at 20 hours every week and 1 job pet sitting as needed. I usually ended up only having one day off every week. I really struggled to find balance with my fitness routine this semester but ultimately I realized that getting rest when I needed it was more important. I’m really proud to walk away with all A’s this semester but I have a feeling next semester is going to be very humbling! S1 is known to be the toughest in our program. So I am going to try to relax and enjoy the holiday break because next semester is sure to be a beat down!

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Legit, wouldn’t survive with these girls by my side.
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Celebrating being half nurses!!!

xoxo

How *I* study for nursing school

nursing-this-weekI have never seen a more accurate statement in my life.

How is this semester so crazy? I only have two classes and two clinicals. Oh that’s right, I’m also working 20+ hours a week and we have 3 online classes with assignments galore. And can I just say, group projects in nursing school are such a waste of time. To organize a schedule between 5+ people with different clinical and work schedules just isn’t going to happen. Thank God for Google docs!

I’ve also be able to do more skills so far in clinical than I did all last semester. I’ve inserted an IV, done blood draws, give LOTS of injections (SQ and IM), and performed an EKG.

My clinical instructors this semester are awesome. They are so laid back which makes it easy to be open and honest with them. This week during post conference our instructor was asking us about how we use resources and study for class.

Our conversation went a little like this:

“How do you feel about the teaching methods for (certain class)?” “I get nothing out of class, I read the book to facilitate learning.”
“Do you review the notes before class?” “Absolutely not. Who has time for that?”
“Did the core drug list provided help?” “I haven’t look at that since it was given to us.”
“Did you use the concepts book last semester for J1?” “Only for practice questions, otherwise, no.”
“Did you watch the learning videos for skills?” “Nope, felt like it was a complete waste of money.”

I love that the faculty values our input and wants to take into consideration as to what works for us. But after this conversation I wondered if people in my clinical group felt like I just flat out didn’t care about school? HAH, ya’ll I swear I do and I actually make good grades!

I read a lot of blog posts on “how to study for nursing school” and let me just tell you… Most of it does NOT work for me.

So instead…. Here’s my study method:

As I said, I don’t review any of the material before class. I simply do NOT have time for this with my work schedule and trying to get everything else done that has an actual due date.

I do NOT sit in the front of the class. My teacher called us all “back row beauties” but technically I sit a few rows from the back. 😉

I also don’t review my notes immediately after class. This would be ideal but once again WHO HAS TIME FOR THAT? [Granted I do try to do my reading (for the class I read for) that same week we have lecture on the topic.]

This semester in med-surg (Adult Health) I’m not getting much out of lecture. I have found that reading the section in the book that covers the topic and adding to my notes key facts has been my “go-to” method for that class. My notes usually end up very colorful and I can later remember “ok that was on the top right of the page in pink.”

I also try to do a lot of practice questions from Med Surg Success and also on the Evolve Website questions from our book. I find these REALLY help me identify what I know and what I don’t.

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Colorful and most of the writing is “extra” info from the book. 

For my women’s health class, I get everything from lecture and have yet to crack the book this semester. (I was told to not even get the book, but it was only $30 to rent so I did. Could have saved that money.) Lots of practice questions for this class as well.

I do go to tutoring every week. Hearing the material reviewed again and getting the material in a different format has proven to be very helpful!

I have also made what I call my “nugget” sheets. As I am studying I usually have a blank piece of paper and jot down “nuggets” I think are important. Usually during our study sessions I will quiz everyone from these sheets.

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Example “nugget sheet” from my last Women’s Health exam.

Speaking of group study sessions. I study with the same group of girls almost weekly. I try to go into our study sessions having already studied on my own. We do a lot of practice questions together and also review our notes and “talk out” the things we don’t understand. Having multiple brains working together works well for us.

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So I guess the moral of this is… find out what works for YOU. It may be different from what everyone else is doing or advice you’ve gotten from others. Since this is my 3rd degree I really know what works for me (perks of being a lifetime student). Re-writing the material (nugget sheets) and tons of practice questions are my secrets to success.

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This nugget was so annoyed I chose studying Adult over throwing his ball. Just look at his face. 
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Today’s study set up!

I’m off to spend the rest of the day studying for my upcoming Adult exam.

Happy Studying!

xoxo

J2 so far

This semester is already flying by. I feel like I am always saying that but literally when you are this busy time really does fly by!

Between class, hospital orientation, skills days, and simulations for both of my clinical courses I feel like the last few weeks have been a whirlwind. I calculated that between school and work I’ve been spending just over 50 hours a week at each place. That doesn’t include the time I’ve spent studying and working on assignments outside of class/clinical hours. No wonder I’ve been exhausted!

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The best thing about J2 so far is how much more laid back it is than J1. For our skills day, we were told to review our skills guide, we watched a demo from our teachers then we were expected to immediately check off. Whereas J1 was multiple practice days/labs and our instructors were so rigid when it came to performing the skills in front of them (which I understand why—most people have zero medical knowledge at this point). For our Women’s Health skills day we had a breastfeeding lecture, IV starts, IV spike/push, foley review, newborn and postpartum care, and labor support skill where we learned different ways to support a laboring mom. For our Adult Health skills day we had tracheostomy suctioning/care, NGT insertion, ostomy care, CVAD dressing change, and IV push/IV pump.

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Practicing IV starts. (Note: This isn’t a real arm.)

We had a simulation day in Adult Health where we were in charge of care of a patient with CHF exacerbation. We all had different roles (primary nurse, med nurse, documentation, etc) and we basically walked into the room and jumped into caring for our patient. We have our simulation for Women’s Health later this semester.

I also had my first women’s clinical day and it was so much fun! We only have them every other week because they are 12 hour clinicals. On my first day I was in L&D and I saw a vaginal birth, a c-section, and spent time in the women’s ED. Even though L&D is not a field I’ve ever considered before watching life come into this world is amazing!! It definitely opened my eyes into a different niche in the nursing world. I can’t wait for my next clinical day!

We had our first test of the semester in Adult Health this week. It was over ABG’s, electrolyte/fluid imbalances, EKG interpretation, CHF, CAD, HTN, PVD, Asthma, PN, COPD, and TB… so you know not much to study at all. 😉 I went into the test wishing I had of studied more. I feel like this course is really going to be one that is “self-taught”. I ended up squeaking by with an A on the exam but I am definitely going to spend more time preparing for the next test. We have our first clinical this week in the hospital so I am hoping that is more fun than the class itself.

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No way I’d make it through without these crazies!!

xoxo,

D


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Summer Update!

Well summer came and went and I’m already into my second week of my J2 semester. How is that even possible?

The first part of the summer was hectic as I bounced around between my 3 jobs. I started working as a PCA and well… it was interesting. I am much more comfortable interacting with patients, ambulating and assisting them with ADL’s but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me question why I was in nursing school. But then, there would be patients or patient’s family members that touched my heart and I would realize “this is why.”

Finally, at the end of July, I got a break. Some of our favorite Texas friends got married and we had so much fun at their wedding. We visited Pagosa Springs, Colorado with K’s family. Colorado in the summer is so amazing! It was our first trip to Pagosa and it was such a cute mountain town. We did a lot of fly fishing and spent time w/ K’s family and his extended family.

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Wedding Fun!
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Tubing the river with the family
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Parelli Ranch BBQ!
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Horseback ride through the San Juan National Forest

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Catching trout!

We came home from that trip for two weeks then flew to North Carolina and spent a week in Nags Head with my family and some of our friends. The Outer Banks is my favorite place in the world and it was such a relaxing week spending time with my favorite people in my favorite place and I left with my heart so full! We came back to Texas for a few days and one of my best friends flew into town. We had the best time showing her around town and literally eating our way through Texas! The day after she left was the first day of school. So the last month of summer was insanely busy but with all good things!

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Seriously, how adorable are these two little men?

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Cheers!

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Eating our way through Texas! May have visited Steel City Pops more than once!

Now, it is back to reality. The first couple of weeks of the semester are always hectic and I’ve still been juggling work between it all. This semester we have 3 online classes (Aging Family, Nursing Experience with Groups, Intro to Research) and 2 clinical courses (Adult Health I (Med Surg) and Women’s Health). More coming soon! 🙂

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Leaving you with a picture of this nugget because he’s just the cutest!

xoxo

D

FIRST SEMESTER IS FINISHED!!

Nursing School Update..

FIRST SEMESTER IS FINISHED!! OFFICIALLY A  J2!!

Now to pick up where I left off..

Simulation Day

We had a simulation day at school in the high fidelity lab and with “real patients” (aka volunteers from the school). It is mostly for the S1 students but as J1’s our job was to obtain a history of present illness and health history from the “patient” in the ED then SBAR to the S1’s as they made their rounds to each patient. We then went into the high fidelity lab where our patient had “progressed” and was now hospitalized. The J1’s just had to do a head to toe assessment while the S1’s were in charge of the care of the patient.  It was a fun experience and I’ll be excited to experience it as a S1 with more to do!

Head to Toe Assessment Final Practicum Checkoff

We had to perform a head to toe assessment on an assigned partner with our instructor watching and grading us. Even though I practiced a lot I was a little nervous. I forgot a few things but ended up remembering them before I was finished and getting everything done. The grade is just pass/fail so I passed and moved on!

Fundamentals HESI

What a weird test! It wasn’t really possible to study for it so I just did a LOT (400ish) practice questions. I didn’t feel like I was doing that well during the test and some of the questions were just straight weird but I ended up with a 1285 (99.99%) so I was pretty pleased!

FINALS

Man.. I spent a LOT of time in the library over finals week. I mean like almost 50 hours in 5 days. I wish I could have just brought a sleeping bag and stayed there. BUT hard work pays off and I walked away from J1 with all A’s!

After our last final we went to lunch to celebrate surviving and moving onto J2. This semester was hectic and stressful and on top of that I was working 2 part time jobs. But with the help of coffee, Jesus, motivation from my nursing friends and support from family/friends,  I was able to survive with my sanity! Our program doesn’t go through the summer so except an EKG elective I’ll have the summer off from school. I am SO looking forward to a break. I will also be working as a PCT this summer  so I’m not sure how much of a break I’ll get with 3 jobs but at least I won’t be in school full time as well.

1 semester down… 3 to go! Happy Summer everyone!

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Every week seemed impossible until it was over this semester.
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Last clinical day with our awesome clinical instructor!
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Celebrating with my favorite nursing friends!!
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J2’s!