The Dog Ate My Care Plan…

Just a mom/wife/nursing student extraordinaire trying to make it in the big bad city…

Posts Tagged ‘health assessment’

Spring Break!!

Posted by isntshelovlei on March 5, 2010

Health Assessment is over. Finished. Finito. We took our final exam last night and now have to wait 48 long hours for our grades (probably even longer for our final course grades). I actually didn’t think the test was that bad. And since I made benchmark on the HESI I already have an extra 10-point cushion. There were a lot of questions that looked let’s just say “familiar” and I found myself thinking “ooh! I know that!” throughout most of the exam. There were 70 questions total and I was done in about 35 minutes. My professor hesitantly took my scantron—“Are you sure???” I just smiled and shrugged. You know my motto—“Either you know it or you don’t.” I have never been one to sit and stare at test questions as if the answers are going to magically pop out all of a sudden. I have also made it my policy to never change my answers on exams. Most of the time when people change their answers they had it right the first time.

My interview for the nurse extern program was today—I think it went pretty well. It was initially a group info session and then we broke out to tour and interview with the managers of our preferred units. They received almost 600 applications for the program and can only take 32-34 externs so my fingers are crossed—matter of fact while we’re at it, cross yours too! My only concern is the scheduling of it all. They would like for you to work as an extern fulltime—which of course I can’t do or I’ll lose my benefits. So I would have to work my extern schedule around dropping down to a 0.5 FTE at my “real job” (*smirk*), plus my lectures and clinicals since my nursing program runs all year round. Not an easy task, but it can be done!

And so spring break it is—sadly there will not be any sandy beaches in my forecast. I will say it is starting to warm up a little since that record-breaking snow we got but it’s still probably only about 45 degrees on a good day. But at least I’ll get to go to sleep at a normal hour for a few days…

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Buh-bye Health Assessment

Posted by isntshelovlei on March 1, 2010

Health Assessment is just about coming to a close—thank goodness. For a minute there I thought I wasn’t going to make it–my hair even started falling out again. But I’m still here, balding and all lol. We had our clinical final exam/check-offs this past Saturday. You have to do an assessment of one major system (Neurological, Thorax & Lungs, or Abdominal) and two minor systems (CN 1-6, CN 7-12, Cardiac & Peripheral Vascular, or Head/Neck/Face/Ears)—which you basically pick out of a hat. Since you don’t know which ones you’re going to get until that morning you have to know ALL of them perfectly—or at least sufficiently well as clinical is pass/fail. With so many minor details within each system I must have studied for it for a week straight—I even slept with my notes the night before. Instead of visions of sugar-plums dancing in my head I was having nightmares about cranial nerves, diaphragmatic expansion, and liver spans. But it actually turned out ok. My major system was abdominal—which of course was one of my least favorites. I’m just not comfortable with the percussion aspect of it. Liver spans, splenic dullness, tympany over the gastric bubble—most of the time it all sounds like the same ol’ shit to me. And how many nurses really percuss in their daily practice? I am almost 29-years-old and I don’t remember ever being percussed. For my minor systems I had Head/Face/Neck/Ears (and I remembered to hold the otoscope upside down!) and Cranial Nerves 7-12—piece of cake.

We still have to take the HESI tomorrow night and our final exam on Thursday. If we make benchmark on the HESI (we’ll see how that goes), we get 10 points added to our final exam grade. Now I wouldn’t mind that at all…

Up next, Maternity/OB. But first, spring break here I come! Of course it won’t be a full week of pure unproductive bliss since we’re expected to have read the first five chapters in our maternity textbook for the first day of class—oy!

In other exciting news, I have an interview scheduled for the 2010 Nurse Extern Program at the #1 pediatric hospital in the nation! Go me! And from what I’ve heard, due to the economy they’ve had to cut the number of spots in the program in half, so I would just about pee myself if I actually get a spot. It is such a great opportunity—clinicals are such a tease to me at this point! If I’m selected I’ll get to do more hands-on direct care, and in peds at that! For those of you looking for a similar opportunity check out the 2010 U.S. Summer Externship and Opportunity Resource Guide. UPenn puts this out every year; it was recently updated so it should be pretty accurate. Good luck!

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Sink or Swim

Posted by isntshelovlei on February 6, 2010

I figured since clinicals were snowed out this morning, I’d do a quick blog catch-up before I hit the books.

Health Assessment does not seem to be getting any better. Some were optimistic that okay we got that first shocker exam, we would adjust our studying methods, and the next four exams (plus the HESI) would be better. Well we just got back our second exam this past Thursday and the class average was a 69–for both evening classes taking the course! And keep in mind that a 74 or less is a FAILING grade in our program (there is no such thing as a C- or a D). So for the second time the class grilled our instructor for over an hour, going through each answer on the 43-question exam (who makes a 43-question test anyway?), challenging probably a third of them. I think there ended up being only one question that was actually amended and credit given for.

So needless to say, this class “ain’t been no crystal stair.” But this is only one class out of thirteen, the second semester out of seven. Everyone’s all fired up and stressed out which doesn’t help matters any. After they’re done chewing out the professor (who is only playing the hand she was dealt by the higher-ups), they want to march on down to the Director and Dean’s offices to give them a piece of their minds as well. But really, what is that going to accomplish? If you got a 40 on the exam, you’re still going have a 40 on the exam after you’re done running off at the mouth. So now what are you gonna do? Sure some of the teaching methods could probably be improved, and the amount of information involved would definitely be better spread out over fourteen weeks instead of seven, but those changes most likely won’t happen in the next three weeks. So stop focusing on them and start focusing on YOU. Maybe you have to study a little more, sleep a little less–whatever it takes. I understand that this is a supposedly part-time program geared toward working individuals with outside responsibilities so we already feel spread a bit thin. I am still working a full-time job and have three kids, so trust me, I know. But it all boils down to how much you really want it and what you’re willing to do to get it. I for one will be damned if I’m gonna let this one class stop me from becoming a nurse!

So as Dory from Finding Nemo would sing, “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…”

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Now Back To Your Regularly Scheduled Program…

Posted by isntshelovlei on January 31, 2010

That’s right. Winter Break (and nights that involve a solid eight hours of sleep), is officially over. Back to the grind.

This semester they’re shaking things up a bit (BIG shocker there). So instead of taking two classes simultaneously for 14 weeks, we’re taking Health Assessment for seven weeks and then Maternity/OB for 7 weeks. At first I thought it would be better to only have to concentrate on one subject of books, BUT now you have to learn everything twice as fast! So even though we’ve only had four classes so far, we’ve already had to read about 20 chapters! My brain, is so overstuffed with information, that I am starting to have dreams about Kaposi’s Sarcoma, black hairy tongues, furuncles and frickin’ cranial nerves! We had an exam last Tuesday; we have an exam this Tuesday. I have to do a genogram and health teaching project in the next two weeks. And check-offs are fast approaching at the end of February. Sheesh. Things are moving so fast I feel like a walking case of vertigo!

Clinicals are good so far. Again, it’s a lot of information being crammed into a few short weeks, but my instructor is good. She’s thorough and always willing to answer any questions you may have. My lecture instructor, on the other hand, replies to 90% of our questions with “It’s in the book.” Gee thanks. Well instead of me coming and sitting in this classroom for three hours listening to you read off the powerpoint, maybe I should just stay home and read the book. She’s nice and all, but it just feels like yet another course where I basically have to teach myself. What exactly does my $480/credit get me around here?…

Well this is going to have to be one of my shorter posts–duty (aka studying) calls!

~Peace, love, and coffee 🙂

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Slow and Steady Wins The Race!

Posted by isntshelovlei on December 18, 2009

So it’s a wrap! At times I wasn’t sure that I would be able to do it (or that I even wanted to anymore), but I made it through my first semester of nursing school! I also got my first B in about eight years—damn philosophy/ethics! It was a high B at that—like an 88.5—so close and yet not close enough. But I’m actually okay with it. My primary focus was on nursing and I did extremely well. Finals were not as bad as I expected them to be; neither was the dreaded HESI. For anyone planning/needing to take it, what I found to be really helpful were the case studies and practice quizzes/tests on Evolve. I also liked that they gave you the rationales for the correct and incorrect answers—it really helps you learn to critically think through the scenarios. I’m not saying the HESI was a breeze because it wasn’t, but it was manageable. Some of my classmates may not agree with me seeing as though the class average on the exam was a 613. But I got a 1033—not too shabby. So I’m feeling pretty good—and it was comforting to know that all of the stress, the meltdowns, and the hair loss were actually turning out to be worth it.

But now when I get home from work I find myself totally stupefied. No chapters to read, no care plans or concept maps to develop, no exams to study for—what in the world am I supposed to do with myself for an entire month? And has cable always been this crappy?—there isn’t anything good to watch that I haven’t seen enough times to be able to recite the script on my own. I will get to spend more quality time with my family though. It gets so hectic during the semester that sometimes I feel like I’m just a family member visiting from out of town. Even my son has said a couple times—“it seems like I haven’t seen you for three days!” Between getting up at the butt crack of dawn to go to work, not getting home from class until after they’re asleep, and then tiptoeing out to clinical like a thief in the night on the weekends—sadly, sometimes that’s almost true. In order to pull this off everyone is making a few sacrifices—not just me.

During the break I’ll also have a little time to work on a few scholarship applications (times is hard, lol)—I know for one the deadline for the FNSNA scholarship is coming up in mid-January. Join me for a little friendly competition?  

But before I know it I’ll be bored out of my mind and ready to go back to school (and back to bedlam). Spring semester I’ll be taking Health Assessment and Maternity—maybe I’ll get to catch a baby or something 🙂

Happy Holidays and New Year to all—I’ll see you in 2010!

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