I sit here in awe that there are only 20 days left until graduation. There are even less days of actual classes! I am doing well with finishing up everything for school. Tomorrow is my last day at the VA for my senior practicum. I have learned so much and feel more comfortable going out into the real world of nursing. For my community clinical I only have 2 more partial days at the school. I have loved working with children of all ages for this rotation. My preceptor and I were talking about my progress the other day. He mentioned how much more confident I've become with my diabetic care along with age appropriate conversations. It's a completely different ball game when you're working with kids compared to adults.
The weather has proved itself recently to be spring. Sometimes I kind of wish the weather were like this all year long.... but then I remember the snow is still fun most of the time. The majority of the snow has melted. In some place huge mounds of snow still remain even though temperatures have been in the 60s lately. I have made time to put down my school work and get outside to go hiking and such. My friends and I hiked up Paine on Monday and then again yesterday. Absolutely loved it!
So although it may seem like I have more free time, I am still doing school work. I do not have much left. One exam in senior practicum and my Capstone presentation. Plus I have 4 finals but 3 of them are a piece of cake. Finals week is going to be laid back and fun for all the seniors to have our last hang out sessions all together in one place.
Recently, I was invited to the Board of Trustees Dinner, by Alumni Mr. David Warren. I am excited to meet him along with so many others this Thursday evening. It'll be a great experience for as I will be entering the Air Force nursing world after graduation. I will blog more about this honor in my next post.
Have a great weekend!
I was talking to one of my friends from home about our Easter Weekends. We both agreed that Easter wasn't as relaxing as we would have liked it to be. My friend graduated last year with a degree in photography. She was explaining to me that her family begged her to do a photoshoot this past weekend. I laughed after she told me how she spent much of the weekend working (for her family, of course without payment) because I had the same encounter. My sister has been quite sick and when I got to her house Friday, I knew we needed to go to the emergency room. Saturday morning 0300 rolls around and I was finally able to bring her home for both of us to get some rest. With that being said, although I was expecting to get a nice weekend break, my mind and nursing skills did not have time to rest. I was thinking about lab values, working with the doctors to advocate for my sister, explaining everything to my family, and getting a little upset with how I noticed some nurses were not doing things the way I've been taught. Anyways, my sister is on her way to recovery even though some of her illness is still a mystery. I have to say it was a really good feeling be able to communicate with the doctors and know what not only I was talking about, but what they were talking about as well. Overall, it was still a good weekend!
Back at here at school.... I have 3 more shifts at the VA and a few more clinical days at the elementary school. Classes are starting to slow down, but my schedule is not getting any easier. I am busy every day! My mind lately has been spinning trying to organize after graduation things and finish up the work I still need to do to graduate!
Tomorrow I will be going to Hanscom Air Force Base for the senior "Smooth Move" Brief. We basically discuss the unknowns of how to get from here to our duty location. It is so much information. I am definitely looking forward to everything I will learn. The goal is to make us feel more comfortable about what lies ahead. It's a great resource we have available to us.
As always, let me know if you have any questions about Norwich or my life here!
I got my duty station assignment a couple of weeks ago. I will be at Nellis AFB, Nevada. This was my number 1 choice on my top 5 dream sheet. As you can probably assume I am very excited!
How things will work from here...
I finish up what is left of this semester, obviously pass all my courses, which are going very well at this point. The first week in May is finals week. I have a few finals but that is it. It'll definitely be a time to spend the last week with friends who I won't see for a while. I graduate on May 9th, a Saturday. The next day, Sunday, I will commission! My parents are planning a couple gatherings for my family members who are coming to attend both the ceremonies. I know how proud I am of myself and how happy others are for me. That weekend will be a time to really spend with family who have supported me so much throughout the years. The first week after graduation I am planning on packing all my belongings and moving to Cape Cod for a couple months. I will then start my study regimen for preparation for the NCLEX. My plan is do to five days a week of 6-8 hours of studying. I will most likely take 2 days off to relax so I don't burn out. I will also be working a flexible job with a catering company. All of this will keep me busy. I will take the NCLEX late June. Praying to pass my first time!!
After I complete this major step of becoming licensed, I will start my Air Force career! My Nurse Training Program is in Tampa, FL. This training is 1-2 months. I am planning on buying a new car (my first one!) and driving down to the training from MA. From Florida I will drive with a couple friends out to Nevada, where I will move in to my apartment off base. My mom, sister, and I are taking a trip to Vegas (the area outside of Nellis) and will be looking for apartments.
Ah!!! There are so many awesome things approaching so fast! I'll keep you posted on my semester in the next blog post.
Have a great weekend!
I had such a good Spring Break that I forgot to write a post during the week to update you all. South Carolina was absolutely perfect. I stayed on the Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge. It was so peaceful. The best part was there wasn't any snow! The first day I woke up it was 65 degrees and sunny. I went for a long run and couldn't stop smiling. Oh how I miss the sun! Over break I got some nursing homework done but also caught up on sleep and spent time with a dear friend. On my flight back home I looked out the window and was greatly disappointed by the snow's presence. I forgot how much we've gotten around here. Today on campus, it is currently snowing.... UGH! I love the snow don't get me wrong... but I think I'm tired of it and ready for summer.
Back to the grind of homework and studying. I am well rested and motivated to finish my last 9 or so weeks on a good note!
I will blog again soon... this simply was a blurb about break. Next to come this week is more about what I have left to complete this semester AND information on my permanent duty station for the Air Force!!
Have a good afternoon!
I currently I have 104 hours completed for my Senior Practicum at the VA. I have 64 more hours to go. It is such a great feeling to have more than half of my hours done. I’m learning so much at the clinical site and am really excited to graduate to be a nurse.
This week I had clinical Monday and Thursday. I had my rough draft paper due for Capstone on Wednesday. Tuesday was quite chilly early in the morning for PT. Luckily it warmed up later on in the day for us so as a wing we could use the Shaw recreational facilities and snow shoe up Paine Mountain. It was a lot of fun even if it was a cold day.
I have an exam in my comprehensive nursing course on everything covered in Maternity and Pediatrics. It makes me nervous because these are my least favorite/strong subjects. I’m working hard to do practice questions and put together all my study guides. It really pays off that I typed up all my notes throughout nursing school. This allows me to have something to look over now, along with to have for reference this summer when I start my NCLEX study regimen.
Next week I will be leaving on Thursday for CT. I am going to South Carolina for spring break and will fly out Friday evening! I am so excited for a break! I can’t wait!!
I’ll blog again soon!
Recently I have talked to many perspective nursing students, some on campus at Norwich and then last weekend I was a guest speaker for a CNA class at Barnstable High School on Cape Cod. Some questions that I'm receiving are really good questions. I remember as a senior in High School how helpful it was to hear a student's opinion and advice. So this post will be dedicated to some good things for you to know, some advice, things I wish I had known going into nursing school, and an opportunity for you to comment, asking the questions you may have.
Some Good Questions I've Received Recently:
What are things to look into when I'm deciding between more than one nursing program?
Accreditation. You want to make sure your nursing program is accredited. Accreditation agencies are paid by some nursing programs to give them accrediation status. Basically this means that coarses and cirriculum are based on the best nursing practice. It also assures that the cirriculum along with clnical rotations are requiring specific hours and topics. Accreditation is essential for getting a good job after graduation and providing the best education to prepare for the NCLEX board exam. Also, I would visit the school. For example, I knew Norwich was accredited and I visited the campus to specifically see the nursing lab. It was nice to see the technology and simulation equipment available. Lastly, make sure you look into when clinical rotations start for each program. Norwich starts Psychology clinicals during sophomore year. This is a great opportunity to get hands-on experience your second year in nursing school. Most nursing programs do not begin clinical until the third year.
How is High School different from college, course specific?
I told the class I visited last weekend that the biggest thing besides the new found freedom (if living on campus) is your schedule. You may have classes for 4-6 hours every Monday, Wednesday, Friday but then on Tuesdays, Thursdays you may only have 2-4 hours of classes. The scheduling is nice, but with all the work that you need to accomplish you need to time manage your free time. The adaptation phase takes some time, but as long as realize your goal is to graduate nursing school you will be able to manage free time with friends and the time to do your homework.
Can I still participate in club activities and sports while studying nursing?
Yes! Nursing school is very demanding and although studying will take up the majority of your time you will be ale to participate in clubs and if you choose to do a sport. For me I do ROTC and am quite involved with that, so I chose not to play my high school sport, basketball. There are people in our program who play sports, have part-time jobs, and families while also going to school. I think the major thing is realizing why you are in nursing school and understanding balance between sports and hobbies. You will be able to pick and choose your interests once you are in the program.
I've talked to many high school seniors who have taken the CNA course through their high school. I never had this opportunity because my high school didn't offer it. However, if you can try to get into a CNA course to become a nursing assistant do it as soon as you can. I strongly think that every nursing student should be an aid at some point. If you've read my previous posts I've mentioned my experience at Cape Cod Hospital this past summer. I learned so much as an aid and when I came back to school, clinical was a breeze. Skills take time to master and if you can get a job as an assistant your basic skills will come more naturally, which are essential in the clinical setting.
I hope this was helpful! Let me know what you want to know or other questions you have that I can answer. Have a great weekend!
Here's what a "normal" day looks like to me. As a senior nursing student I don't have as much time in the classroom but rather more time is spent at clinical. I will give you an example of two days, one on campus and one in the hospital.
Normal class day:
0500 Wake up, get ready for Air Force PT
0530 Arrive at PT, workout with my peers for an hour. Sometimes I will even lead workouts or small group exercises. It definitely depends on the day.
0700 I go straight to chow (breakfast) from PT. I like going at this time because it's not busy and almost always after PT, I'm starving!
0730 Shower, tidy up my room, get ready for the day ahead.
0800 Usually by this time I will start to do some studying or homework. In my senior year as a nursing student my classes don't start until the early afternoon. This morning time off (one day a week I have class starting at 0830 until 1600, so obviously on that day my schedule is quite different) I focus on whatever it is that is my priority for the week.
1200 I will go to chow for lunch and then head straight to class.
1300 I have class from this time until late afternoon. After class I will try to fit in time to go to the gym for another workout or I will spend the afternoon to do more homework. It depends solely on how much work I have and if I feel a destressing workout will help me focus.
1800 I normally go to dinner around this time. After dinner I will focus in on studying again or doing other work that is due.
2100-2200 I am a person who needs my sleep so I personally try to head to bed around this time. Depending on what I have going on for the next day, it's good to go to bed early because most of the time I will have to wake up and do it all over again.
For a nursing student, a clinical day presents itself with the following... I wake up between 0430 and 0500. I will try to eat something in my room before I leave. Most clinical sites take around an hour to travel to. Report from the previous shift will start at 0700. Once I get my patient assignment, I work with their assigned RN to communicate my responsibilities. Patient care is throughout the day, starting with AM care, such as a bed bath and a linen change. Documenting takes place all day long, while cooperating with other health care workers to provide care to the patient. Most days nursing students will get a 30-minute lunch around noon and head back to the unit to finish patient care. The clinical day normally ends around 1600, but sometimes can go until 1900 depending on the rotation. For seniors, we have mostly 12-hour shifts for our practicum. After every clinical session we have a conference with the other students and instructor to talk about the day; what we went well, what we can improve on etc. And then it's time to head back to campus. I usually go straight to chow when I get back. Then if I have any homework I'll do that after. By the time 2100 rolls around I am extremely wiped out and usually head to bed.
I hope you had fun reading about my normal routines. If you have any questions, ask away!!
Unfortunately, in nursing school there is not much time to watch football throughout the season. That is why I am happy to watch the game this weekend! I'm a Pats fan so I'll be routing for New England.
This week was another busy one. I think you all can just assume that for this semester without me saying it. Since I had a proposal and annotated bibliography for my Senior Capstone course due this week, I will explain this in detail. In the last semester of nursing school we are responsible to complete a literature review, including a written report on the findings. The topic is chosen by each individual. My topic is "Patient Falls and Intervention Effectiveness." I have always been intrigued by this topic and seen how fall interventions in practice can greatly be improved on. Every two weeks for the first couple months, this class requires a submission on the assignment. Step one was due this past week, consisting of a written proposal for the topic along with an annotated bibliography. The annotated bibliography summarizes the nursing articles I will be using for my research and determines if the information presented is relevant to my topic's study. In a week and a half I will have step two due. This is going to be an integrated synthesis review of the nursing articles I am using. This course also has curriculum with lessons and exams.
Tomorrow I am doing a night shift at the VA to get my hours in. Wednesday I have an exam in the senior practicum course associated with the VA. Thursday I will be at the Elementary School. And... Friday I am taking off to Cape Cod with one of my friends!
Enjoy the Super Bowl!