Sunday, February 12, 2006

My typical week of first semester nursing school

It's been awhile, sorry. I had a busy week, first round of tests. They went okay, one great score and one disappointing-but-not-terrible score. I was going to go into a little detail about a class when I realized that I never explained my schedule. So...

SUNDAY

Preparation for Monday's clinical. Starting in a couple weeks, I'll go to the hospital on Sunday afternoon, copy down data from the patient's chart, write brief summaries of their medical diagnoses and treatments, note what medications they're taking and possible side effects, construct a list of things they are at risk for, and possible nursing interventions I can perform. I'll explain the profession jargon in a future post. I'll be quizzed on some of this material tomorrow morning first thing.

MONDAY

6:30 AM - 3:15 PM Adult Health Clinical

This is where I go to a facility and care for a patient. As we learn more in my Thursday classes (see below), we do more for the clients. In addition, I read the medical chart, gather data, and come up with nursing diagnoses that may require interventions. All the information I gather and things I do for clients are recorded in a big database that takes anywhere from 5-10 hours to prepare and is due every Wednesday afternoon.

TUESDAY

My "day off". I can squeeze in some errands, but mostly I finish my client database and study for my Wed-Fri classes. I also have to read and watch videos up at school to prepare for an online quiz we have to take before attending Thursday Skills class. If you fail the quiz, you have to write out a long explanation of everything we're going to do on Thursday. I usually take the quiz on Wednesday afternoon.

WEDNESDAY

8 - 11 AM Adult Health

A lecture class on body systems, disease and wellness, etc. We take breaks, but I'm sure glad the instructor is lively or my classmates and I would be glazed over. Coffee is a lovely thing.

11:30 AM -1:30 PM Mental Health

Just like the name says, but this is a "what is going on?" class. We're never quite sure. There's lecture, handouts, and somewhat irrevalent videos that aren't coming together so far. I'm also beginning to think that either the profession of psychiatric nursing causes one to become odd, or that odd people become psychiatric nurses. It's a "Chicken or the Egg?"-style dilemma.

4 PM - 7 PM Spanish for Healthcare Professionals

Thank goodness fluency is not the goal. I have to be careful not to blow it off. It's a three hour class and I'd hate to get a B in what is fairly simple course. I'm surprised at how much I remember from my Spanish classes ten years ago.

Some time today I also have to finish reading and complete workbook exercises for Assessment class first thing Thursday morning.

THURSDAY

8 AM - 10:30 Health Assessment

This is a practical class where we learn head-to-toe assessment in a mock hospital setting. I'll take some photos and post them soon. This is a fun class because it's hands-on. Lecture classes are fine, but psychomotor learning is welcome relief. To date, I can now take a health history, assess nutrition, measure vital signs, and assess lung sounds and function. I'll be learning about the heart and major vessels this coming week.

1 PM - 2 PM Office hours

I staff the UT Nursing Student Association office and work on any projects I have going as Breakthrough to Nursing coordinator. The position is about encouraging and retaining nursing students of color, guys, and the older-than-average, as well as learning about transcultural nursing. I'm the first person in the job and I'm enjoying defining the role.

2 PM - 4 PM Clinical Nursing Skills

Another practical class that's more about procedures performed on or for patients rather than as a way of gathering data. I can exhibit standard precautions (handwashing, gloving, use of mask and gown), check blood glucose with a finger stick, move a patient in bed or transfer them from bed into a chair, and make a bed while a client is in it. This week is bathing and hygiene. We have to wear bathing suits and "Prepare to get wet!" Nervous giggling will surely commence.

FRIDAY

11 AM - 1 PM Aging

A lecture class on the social, psychological, and physiological changes that occur with aging. This is my most interesting lecture class, mostly due to our lecturer's engaging stories and examples.

That's my normal week. Whoo-hoo.

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