Tuesday, October 13, 2009


If you're not a nursing student, you will probably be bored silly by this post. Don't say I didn't warn you...

I do feel like it is an honor and a privilege most days that I was able to get into the nursing program, because there are a lot of people who did not get in. Since it is so hard to get into the program, you would think the instructors would be top-notch, and for the most part, they are. I absolutely love my clinical instructor, who is also the team leader. She challenges me and always makes me think about why I choose to do something or what would cause a patient to have a certain diagnosis. I think I am a better student because of her.

The way our program works, we have units divided into two-week blocks, and we generally have a test after every two units. Each instructor takes a unit to prepare objectives, Powerpoint slides, and other resources that are posted on our class website, and that same instructor gives the lecture for that unit. We generally have a quiz every Monday on the material that we will be covering that week. That does seem odd to me, to quiz us before we cover that material. All of the instructors also take turns going to lab with us, and each one seems to have her specialty. Most of them have their MSN, and a few are Nurse Practitioners. They do not have teaching backgrounds, and some are better at lecturing than others.

I prefer an instructor whose lecture style makes me think, and who is able to give related information to the topic we are discussing from her past experience. I cannot stand going to class and having a Powerpoint read to me. I will not pay attention, and get very frustrated. I would much prefer reading it on my own, and having additional information given to me during lecture. I also prefer the instructors (just about all of them) who give us a break every hour. There is only so long that I can pay attention, and I need to get up and walk around every so often. The chairs are not the most comfortable in the room where lecture is held.

The instructor who we have had for the last two weeks is one whose strength is not in lecturing. She has a gravelly voice, speaks really slowly, mispronounces half the words, and gets offended when we don't know what she is talking about. In my opinion, she should not be allowed to lecture. You can tell that most people share my opinion; the students start nodding off, because there is no need to pay attention. Everything she is saying is right there on the Powerpoint (and last week she gave us her notes on the bottom of the slides, so we really had everything that she said), and her voice just lulls you to sleep. The students who are not nodding off are getting noticeably agitated, and fidgeting in their seats. I believe that I could stand in front of the class and present the material in a better way, even though I have no nursing background. I could at least pronounce all of the words and not use the same monotone voice the whole time. I would also show up early, make sure I had all of the materials that I need, and have the computer ready to go. Punctuality is a big deal with most of our instructors, but this one generally takes 30 minutes to get everything set up and ready to go, and always has some sort of technical issue that one of the other instructors has to go and help her with.

I learned that I will go crazy if I listen to this woman, so I make sure to take some other work to class with me to do. If I'm not going to listen, I may as well spend my time doing something that is productive, right? The sad thing is that I really didn't learn anything from her lecture, and did poorly on the quiz that she gave us today. I left today feeling so angry and frustrated, because I really feel that our time was wasted the past two weeks, and someone else should have done the job.

Thank God my clinical instructor will be lecturing for the next two weeks. She is extremely knowledgeable, and has an interesting voice when she talks. She also will show up early, be prepared, and will make sure to keep our attention. I'm not sure the one who lectured today even cared if she had our attention. We did have some bogus group project for about ten minutes, but that was all the student interaction that we had today.

The best part about today's lecture was the fact that the instructor ran way over time, and two other instructors were standing in the back of the room, waving their arms for her attention. Once she realized what they were doing, she acknowledged that she was running over time, but her way of wrapping up her lecture was to continue to read the slides to us, but ever so slightly faster. Yesterday, the other professors started interrupting her at the end to make announcements, and she would ask if we had any questions about her lecture in between their announcements. Get a clue, lady!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A week in the life of a nursing student

I'm still here, just unbelievably busy with school. I was mistaken in thinking that it wasn't all that difficult, and that I didn't have to give up most of my time to study. Then, we started clinicals. I love being with the patients so much more than sitting in lecture, but the paperwork is out of control. I spend 12-15 hours each week looking up each patient's diagnoses, looking up their medications, deciding on the proper nursing interventions, then typing up my care plan. Those are due on Wednesday, and inevitably, it's Tuesday night, and I am wondering why I've waited so long to get the work done. I can't do schoolwork between about 3:45, when Zach gets home, until after dinner, usually around 7:00. I have to help Zach with homework, cook dinner, and spend some time with Zoe during that time.

Here's what a week of nursing school looks like for me (not that you asked):

I have lecture and lab on Mondays, (lecture from 8-10:30 or 11:00, lab from 1:00-2:30) and there are always objective questions and readings for lecture. Sometime we get the information far in advance, and one time, we got it the night before. We always have a quiz on Monday, so it is important to complete the work early enough to be able to go over it at least once. I have a two hour break between lecture and lab on Monday, so that is usually when I go to the computer lab, watch whatever video we need to watch, then do the reading for lab. Lecture on Tuesday is a continuation of Monday, and there's no quiz on Tuesday, so Monday night would be a good night to work on my care plan. Unfortunately, I usually stay up way too late on Sunday, so Monday night I crash.

Tuesday nights we have Cub Scouts. Darren usually takes Zach to the meetings, and I cook dinner, clean the kitchen afterward, and bathe and put Zoe to bed. I usually have about 15 minutes of silence before the boys get home, then get to work on my care plan that I shouldn't have put off.

Wednesday and Thursday, I have clinical from 6:30-1:30. Our care plan is due on Wednesday, and we have a math quiz. I generally pass out those afternoons around 5:00, because I just can't stay awake any longer. Wednesday night, I try to start my care plan from that day, and look up any drugs or diagnoses that my patient from that week has. Thursday night is our TV night, with Survivor, The Office, Grey's Anatomy, and Private Practice.

We are off most Fridays, unless we have a test, and I drop Zoe off, go and get my allergy shots, then come home to do schoolwork, run errands, or clean. I never get enough done on Fridays. I will end up watching the recorded TV that I didn't get to watch that week, making phone calls, or playing on Facebook.

On the weekends, we clean the house, do laundry, go grocery shopping, and I try to spend some time with the family. I usually take Saturday off schoolwork, and study on Sunday. I've had to give up any social life that I had, and don't have time for phone calls anymore. I sure am looking forward to semester break! We have Thanksgiving and the day afterward off, but no holidays until then. Zach has Columbus Day off tomorrow, but I have school, unfortunately.

I just have to keep telling myself that the time taken away from family, dinners out that we can't eat, phone calls, TV shows, and debt will all be worth it in the end...