I recently got a facebook message from a nursing student asking for advice. This isn't the first time such a thing has happened and I am sure that her questions and my answers (and others' answers) would be beneficial to other nursing students as well. Let's post Q&As and tips etc for nursing students here.
I just had some random questions on my mind before I go back to school senior year (I'm doing traditional). How long after you graduated did you take N-CLEX and how did you prepare, Did you use one of the companies for a class? This question is for Rivka or anyone else that went to Hopkins. For med-surg clinical I know theres alot that we are expected to know and do, Whats the best way to prepare on Wednesday afternoon when I go to the hospital and get my patient assignment? Thats all for now... Thanks, Shira
I graduated on July 20th, 2007. That day was so anticipated, it has been firmly fixed in my mind. I got married on August 12th, 2007 and moved to Pennsylvania. I studied all of September and took the NCLEX at the end of September. Getting my ATT (authorization to test) was not a big deal, Baruch Hashem. I heard from some of my classmates that it was for them. We had a notary in Hopkins take care of the paperwork for us, which made things easier. In terms of preparation for NCLEX, Hopkins ran the Hurst Review over the week of tisha b'av, so I didn't go. I planned to take the online course, which is cheaper and can be done on your time. I really liked using the online course. The videos were interesting and went over core material that you really needed to remember when taking the test. Also, you can watch the videos as many times as you want (and at whatever time you want, like at 3 am if you are anything like me) I also did review questions from a CD from an NCLEX review book. I am not a big book person (yeh how did I survive nursing school, still unsure) so the computer review Q's were great. I definately definately reccomend the Hurst Review. I don't really know about Kaplan or other reviews, but this one definately helped me. It depends on your learning style, because some of my classmates said they just planned on reviewing all their stuff from nursing school (uh I wasn't that organized and had everything there in front of me and oy, imagine the huge pile they had to tackle) Or maybe they said they'll buy an NCLEX review book and do it by themselves. Obviously, that's the cheaper way to go. This is my theory. You want to pass the NCLEX the first time. You just want to be an RN already. No fussing around, you want it over and done with. So don't you think an extra few hundred dollars (remember how much nursing school is costing) is worth it?! The Hurst Review people guarantee that you pass. That's right, if you don't pass, you get all that money back. I know I sound like an advertisement and that Hurst paid me to say this, I just hate seeing people not pass the first time because they didn't take a review course because they were being cheap.
OK off my platform. Preparation for clinical. If you have clinicals at Hopkins Hospital, you have a great resource called MicroMedex. This program will become your best friend, not only as a nursing student, but throughout your nursing career, because as many medications as you familiarize yourself with now, they keep coming out with new ones. And unless you are ducklady, you cannot keep up with all of 'em. So what do you do when your patient says "uh what is that pink little pill in there, I never took one that looks like that before" and you are thinking "gosh, I really don't recognize the name of that pill... what am I gonna tell him?" You say: "One moment please, and I will look it up for you. Oh, that's a sleeping pill; your doctor knows it's sometimes difficult to fall asleep while you are in the hospital and he wanted you to get a good night's rest." And look at that, you look like a super-duper nurse because you were able to answer your patient's question. OK so when you go to the hospital, you have your patient or 2 and you get a list of all their meds. You look up every single one in micromedex and you print it out. I believe there is a nurse's to do list in there. Print that out. Sit down and read up the H&P, a luxury most nurses don't usually get. (Sometimes at night there is time, which is quite nice. If as a night nurse, you do end up with time to read the H&P and you find something interesting/important, pass it on in report and add it to the SBAR sheet if you use those) OK back to clinical. See if you can pop in on the patient and say hi, I am Shira, a nursing student at Hopkins. I wanted to introduce myself and let you know that I'll be assisting in your care tomorrow. Sounds good? OK now go home and look through the to do list. Which medications are scheduled to be given while you are there? Read up on those and be sure you know them well. You are going to do a full assessment, but in light of this patient's diagnosis, which systems are you going to focus on? What kind of teaching might be necessary for this patient? See if you can ask a nurse during clinical to help you get a hospital approved education piece to go over with your patient.
If that sounds like a whole darn lot, know that I didn't do every single bit each Wednesday night. But the more prepared you are, the better you perform at clinical and the less of a chance you have that you'll end up in a pool of tears.
Hope that helps. Sorry for being so lengthy. Rivka
So now that you've heard Rivka's good NCLEX story, I'll tell you my bad one - I graduated in December 2007 and I didn't take boards until May 1st. I highly do not recommend this course of action. The sooner you take it, the less you forget, and the sooner you get to get on with the whole being a nurse thing! I did not do a review course for NCLEX, but I did borrow a Kaplan CD and book from a friend, I bought the Lippincott reveiw book, and I had a NCLEX made incredible easy CD. I went through thousands of review questions - I think they actually recommend you get at least 3,000 practice questions. I also read that Kaplan book front to back and went over some key topics in old class notes that I knew were my weak points. The best thing you can do is study early and study often and start looking at what you are learning in class now and think how that might show up in a question on NCLEX, which may be difficult to imagine doing until you start going through some review questions. And gee Rivka - we had a cardiac instructor who would skin us alive if we didn't know all our patients meds forward and backwards in our sleep when we showed up to clinicals. Hopkins sounds surprisingly less stressful! Shira - Rivka is right. You can be prepared, and you can be underprepared (hence the pool of tears) - but you can NEVER be overprepared! Good luck with the sleep deprivation!
I wouldn't say Hopkins was less stressful, it's kinda more my attitude toward the whole school thing. Teachers have been saying I need to take school more seriously for years. I haven't really listened to them. Oh well.
Post by mypprincess on Jan 26, 2009 9:10:07 GMT -5
I have taken school maybe a bit too serious, but maybe this is what drove me to success. I Started school with 4 young children at home and with a husband that tried to dissuade me from going to school. But after he realized what my education means for him financially, he gave me lots of support. I couldn't have done it without him. I didn't spend as much time with my kids as I would have liked to when they were so little. I worked hard and studied hard and it paid off. I have a high GPA, an award, grants paid most of my schooling, and NCLEX was a breeze. But now... Nursing also suffered from the down economy.
I cut and paste this from a nursing forum:
From the Editor: Medscape Nurses What Nursing Shortage? Posted By: Susan Yox, Non-Clinical, 08:24PM Jan 22 I recently received this letter from a reader (summarized here):
“I am still looking with disbelief at the email generated from nursing recruitment from a Magnet hospital close to me. I had contacted them recently for nursing employment. I was told in a recent phone conversation that their next new grad registered nurse program would be some 8 months in the future, and that the program was currently closed until then. The recruiter stated that over “700 new grad nurses had applied for only 6 available new nursing positions.” What became of the 694 nursing students that didn’t get accepted? After contacting a national hospital chain, I heard the same story -- a total of 4 new grads were hired from a pool of 500 applicants. What became of the other 496 qualified graduate nurses? Another hospital several towns from me is currently accepting applicants for their new grad program. I asked their nurse recruiter about how many applicants had she received for their 4 openings. She stated that she had received “at least 150 new grad applications for just one med-surg position.”
The nursing recruiters I spoke to reveal a bias against hiring new grads because “they cost us too much money to train when they don’t stay.” According to the Magnet nursing recruiter, to be considered as an “experienced nurse,” one must have worked for pay a minimum of 6 months as a registered nurse. This is an arbitrary rule which effectively stymies the abundant flow of new nurse grads that are willing and able to work now. In addition, I was told flatly that by nurse recruiting that “clinical hours do not count” and that “only paid nursing time counts.” If the new grad’s clinicals are worthless to the hospital, why bother mandating them at all? Apart from this nurse recruiter’s comments being highly uninformed, they speak to a deep ignorance on the part of management as to the actual true value of the new grad’s education.”
New grads – has this been your experience as well? Experienced nurses or nurse recruiters – what are your thoughts?
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#1 of 4, Added By: jtnrn, Critical Care/Intensive Care, 10:45PM Jan 23
My manager recently told me that our hospital ( very large NYC hospital) is now very reluctant to hire new graduates simply because of the cost of orientation. I find this a little strange as the orientation on many units is the same for an experienced nurse as it is for a new graduate. I was a nurse for 3 years before moving to the burn unit and my orientation was 3 months (including critical care clases and pediatric classes); the orientation for the new graduates hired around me? 3 months. Same cost. But it seems that many hospitals would rather work short or use more expensive travellers than invest in new graduates. Short sighted in my opinion.
#2 of 4, Added By: kvsherry, Other Clinical, 04:52AM Jan 24
Finding a new grad job in the San Diego area was tough enough. The fact that it was critical care narrowed my choices even more. Two hospitals (one trauma center one comunity hospital) took my critical care externship into account when considering me for a position. I was lucky enough to be offered positions by both facilities. I am a rarity however. In northern NJ where I graduated, if you did not have your foot in the door prior to graduation, it was very tough to find a position in either Med/Surg or specialty areas.
I think when people talk about the nursing shortage, they are referring to a shortage of experienced nurses to train us new grads.
I am surprised to hear that they consider you experienced after only 6 months of work. I have 9 months of experience and was told by multiple recruiters in the Philly area that I'm not "experienced" til 1 year.
So should all the new grads move out to Arizona to get experience?
I have a BSN and plan on getting my MSN sometime soon. I just had my first baby, baruch Hashem, so I don't know exactly when I am going back to work and school, but it's definitely in the plans. I was considering Pediatric NP, but I think I am now persuaded to go for Family NP. Thoughts?
Unfortunately, I am not currently working at a hospital. I am not even working full time. Its because of the bad economy. One other problem there are not enough nurses is because many hospitals and nursing homes are decreasing the amount of RN's and hiring more LPN's instead. Its less expensive. Where I'm working now, overnight RN's will be taken over by LPN's. They are also reducing the wages and hours. And I hear this from all over.
"I have a BSN and plan on getting my MSN sometime soon. I just had my first baby, baruch Hashem, so I don't know exactly when I am going back to work and school, but it's definitely in the plans. I was considering Pediatric NP, but I think I am now persuaded to go for Family NP. Thoughts? " from Rivka Mazal Tov on your baby- remember it is your primary responsibility now- you will never regret the time you spend with your baby- you might regret your NP decision- if you are unsure - and no one can answer that for you- wait. As I posted and I'm a bit older than you- the overly educated nurses have tough times with jobs
Post by mypprincess on Feb 8, 2009 20:52:47 GMT -5
As far as I know, education opens doors, not closes them. Recently I received phone calls from heimishe organizations that were looking for nurse managers. One needed a nurse to oversee a all their group homes in the area. Another needed someone to manage just one home. Most openings I found so far are for the managing position. With my associates degree this is not even possible.
Good luck on your new position, BTW whats a "Disagreeociates degree" Also. LPN's do charge nurse responsibilities, RN's with Associates degree do all nurse managers jobs including DON. Education is important, I was bemoaning the fact that my friends with their Masters degrees find that the Administrators dont want to pay the differential when they can get an RN with her Bachelors or Associates to do the same job. Some jobs in the hospital demand higher degrees but are not always available. They are in short supply If you really want your Doctorate or Nurse Practitioner license, I applaud you and wish you all the best, Education does open doors!!