Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Year 2

Hello Readers,

After a much needed 3 weeks off from school, fall semester has begun and it is a whirlwind of classes, NCLEX prep and clinical. This is the last semester before I can sit for my nursing boards and hopefully become an RN! It is exciting and a check point I have been looking forward to, but tensions are high as we all prepare for the big test. This semester I am taking complex care along with completing 150 hours with a nurse preceptor. I will spend 150 hours with a nurse, one on one and begin taking patients (one at a time) until I am comfortable enough to take on a real RN patient assignment. She will be keeping a close eye on me as I learn what it takes to be an RN in a hospital. I have been placed with a nurse in the ICU at Norwood Hospital and I am very excited and anxious to begin my hours and be one step closer to an RN.

I am also enrolled in Community Health Care and will be spending clinical time with Natick Visiting Nurses, Rosie's Place and the Natick school systems. It is enlightening to learn about the kinds of job for RNs and NPs and I am looking forward to finding out if community health care may be a niche for me.

Between school, clinical and work this semester will definitely have me stretched pretty thin, but the motivation to plow through is stronger than ever. We are using a program called ATI to predict the probability of passing the NCLEX (the nursing boards) on our first try. We took one test in the beginning of the semester and we will take one at the end when we have all studied up and utilized a focused review. We will then have Christmas break to prepare and hopefully all be able to to take the test and pass with flying colors come January. Hoping 2015 will bring 60 new nurses from the Regis College Accelerated Masters Program! Until then...back to work.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Summer Session

It has taken me some time to wrap my head around going to school all summer long, but with the first few weeks under my belt I feel good about the balance between school, work and fun in the sun. During the summer all the accelerated students take maternity for half the summer and pediatrics for the second half as well as chronic illness and aging all summer long. I am currently in maternity and doing my clinical at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. It has been an amazing experience so far, I have seen two births, taken care of infants just one or two days old and helped educate nervous parents about how to care for their tiny new additions. Each summer session is very quick and I am sad this Thursday will be my last clinical day in maternity before switching over to pediatrics. I will be doing my pediatric clinical at The Children's Hospital and I am very excited!

The summer is definitely a little less demanding as far as time spent in class and clinical. We still have a fair amount of studying and a number of papers to write, but with class only on Monday and Tuesday nights and only one 12 hour clinical I find myself with a little more free time. Yesterday I was able to enjoy the beautiful weather in Ipswich on Pavilion beach. I planned to do some reading while sun bathing, but instead just enjoyed the day and put it off until the sun went in. I can have a bit of a procrastinating problem at times, but I know in this program it is important to keep up with your reading and work as much as possible.

Getting experience in all the different fields has really helped my consider which track I would like to pursue as an NP. I had originally thought I would like to be a Pediatric NP but upon working with other populations I realized I wouldn't want to miss out of woman and even older adults as patients. After my pediatric clinical rotation I think I will be sure. One of the advantages of the program here at Regis is it allows you to wait until you have finished your BSN before you have to decide which NP track you would like to pursue. This way you have worked with almost every patient population and you can make an informed decision about what you really enjoyed most.

The next big checkpoint is in sight. In September we start our preceptorships, which means we shadow a nurse, give medications, take care of patients and eventually take on a patient assignment of our own with the supervision of your preceptor. I am anxious to find out where I was placed and who I will be spending a lot of time with this fall.

Until next time - enjoy the sun!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Spring has sprung?

Happy Spring! Finally! This semester has been tough and the cold weather was not helping. Now I can get outside with the dog and get some fresh air to break up the studying. The last few weeks have been really hard! The semester seem to start out a little slower and after spring break everything was kicked up a gear and it is just test after paper after clinical. We had a test in Acute Care last week we all thought was hard and didn't do as well as we usually do. In most nursing schools, as it is here at Regis you have to get better than an 80% in all your classes to pass  and move on to the next class. So naturally any grade we get under an 80% sends us all into panic mode. We have 5 tests, 1 paper and several other grades that make up our complete percentage so one bad test with a score below an 80% is not going to hurt your average too much as long as you do well on the other assignments. So you can have a bad test or a bad day, just not too many of them! Our professors were very supportive, we all discussed the test and many people went to their office hours to go over it. But the main thing is it's over and we all have to stop being  bummed out about it and take on the next assignment.

I just finished my last lab simulation day today, which we all of course complained about being added to our schedule, but they are actually very helpful. This semester we spent three days in the lab on campus learning the skills we would use in clinical and doing patient scenario simulations. Today we had a patient with an NG tube, a patient having an asthma attack and a patient with type 1 diabetes. We had to work together and act out the scenarios as if we were nurses in the hospital. Most of us get a little performance anxiety, but it is amazing to see how much better we are at talking to patients, patient education and medication administration now compared to the beginning of the semester and last semester. The professors always say, "what happens in lab stays in lab," so it is a great place to practice. We usually have a good time with the simulations whether students are acting as crazy family members or the patient (with our professor's voice as their voice) is telling us interesting or funny symptoms.

Another week and a half and we will all welcome a short break for Easter. The semester is going by fast, but lately I really feel like I have no free time! I think I took on too much this semester with working 15+ hours a week, a new puppy, clinical and class. If you can hold off on working too much 2nd semester I would recommend it! A flexible work schedule is definitely a must with this program!

As a farewell to winter here is a video of my sledding puppy!

Monday, March 17, 2014

midterm madness

Hi Readers,

Sorry it has been a few weeks I have been immersed in classes, school work, working and a little bit of fun. We just returned from spring break and I was lucky enough to spend some time with my boyfriend in Florida. He is a merchant marine and had to take an electronic mapping class in Fort Lauderdale and I got to tag along! I spent most of the week by the pool with my iPad studying away and reapplying my SPF 45. The vitamin D was definitely motivating to get through 3 papers and some serious exam prep. My boyfriend works for 75 days on the ship and then gets to come home for 75 days. With some serious waterworks I had to say goodbye to him as he was getting on the ship Monday until the beginning of June. I am hoping my busy schedule will help the time fly by! 

My semester is going well, I am getting good grades and more comfortable in clinical every week. My Acute Care Clinical this semester is at the Lahey Clinic and the floor I'm working on has a variety of patients. There are some oncology patients, medical/surgery, young, old, patients with tracheostomies, wounds and all kinds of other things. It is a 12 hour clinical from 7am to 7pm, which is a long day, but it is a good indication of how working in a hospital would be although we only have one patient each. I am learning so much about patient care, medications and documentation. With the help of our instructor we are doing everything for our patient's; washing them up, giving meds, getting them out of bed, feeding and lots of documenting! It's been great learning how to write nursing notes, document our assessments and advocating for your patient's needs to other members of the medical staff. The day usually goes by pretty quick, but by the end I am so excited for a hot shower and my cozy bed. 

My psych clinical has been really interesting. I am at Bournewood hospital in Brookline and there is a variety of psychiatric units there including general, adolescent and a detox unit. I was nervous the first few weeks, I'm sure the patients could sense my anxiety, but I am feeling more comfortable the more time I spend there. The last few weeks I have been on the adolescent unit. Sometimes it is sad working with kids, but most of them are sweet kids who are just having a hard time. I spend my time hanging out with them in the day room, going to group sessions, drawing, making bracelets and chatting. I talk to one adolescent a little more in depth every week. At first I thought I wouldn't know what to say and they wouldn't like me or would be annoyed, but now it is just a conversation and is even sometimes therapeutic for them. The thing about kids is they tell it how it is, they do not hold back, sometimes my immature side has a hard time not laughing at some of the things they say, but they really give you a good glimpse into their life and their feelings. 

Other than that I am working one day a week at Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport and trying to give my puppy, River, some attention. I have been peeling myself out of bed around 6am to take River for a walk/jog before class or clinical, which is a struggle sometimes. Usually I feel pretty good afterwards and I'm making some progress to getting in shape for summer! Im lucky if I'm just too tired or have too much studying to do River's Mimi (my mom) loves to take him for walks too. That's it for now, thinking spring and hoping for some warm weather soon, but until then lots of cuddling with this little guy!

Thanks for reading! 

Friday, February 14, 2014

A little background...

Hi Everyone!

My name is Megan and I am a first year nursing student in the Accelerated Master's Program at Regis College. I will be writing about my experience in nursing school to try to give a glimpse into the way life is as a graduate student, but first I will give everyone a little background information about myself.

I am 26 years old and I have a BS in Biology from Providence College. I enjoyed a fast paced college life playing division 1 field hockey, working and trying to keep up with a demanding academic schedule. I knew I wanted to pursue a medical career, but upon graduation from college I needed some time to relax and have some fun. I spent a few years waitressing, working as a nanny and traveling. 2 years after graduation I finally got my act together and decided to apply to nursing school. I obtained a job at a hospital in Newburyport, MA where I worked as a certified nursing assistant. From the first information session I knew Regis is where I wanted to be, the staff was informative and welcoming and the program included all the aspects I was looking for. I was thrilled to be accepted and have now completed my first semester (I tell my friends and family I am 1/4 nurse).

My first semester was a whirlwind of class, work and clinical. Before classes started I was lucky enough to find a teeny tiny log cabin about 3 miles from school to rent. The commute from the cabin was wonderful compared to a traffic filled morning from the North Shore. A log cabin in Weston very strange I know, but it is a great little oasis in the woods and a perfect environment for lots of studying.

Although I was used to a pretty packed schedule it took a little while to get back in the groove of studying, taking exams and writing papers. L  I took Professional Nursing, Health Assessment and Pharmacology and did my first clinical at Brigham and Women's hospital on an Oncology unit. Professional Nursing and Health Assessment were the real hands on nursing classes, we worked on skills in lab, practiced taking vital signs, listening to heart and lung sounds and eventually even giving medications and injections. It was very fast paced, but exciting. Although I had some patient care experience my clinical was a completely new experience for me. Talking to and caring for patients with Cancer was a whole new nursing technique I had to learn. I was thrilled and proud to finish out the semester with good grades, but even prouder of all I learned about being a nurse. I could give patients their medications, talk with them about how they were feeling, teach them about their conditions and give them quality care with compassion.

After a nice long Christmas break filled with ski trips and lots of quality time with my friends, family and NEW PUPPY :) I am getting into my second semester of classes and clinical and feeling excited and a little anxious about my newly packed schedule, but I know the hard work will all pay off! There will be more to come about my first year here at Regis College and my journey to becoming a Nurse Practitioner!

Thanks for reading!