About Me

undergrad RN
I'm a twenty-something Canadian student. After stumbling through a few years of college, I finally managed to get into the nursing school of my dreams, where I hope to graduate in 2012 with a nursing baccalaureate degree. I want to offer an honest look into how a modern nurse is educated, both good and bad. Eventually I hope to compare my education to my day-to-day career and see how it holds up. Whatever happens, it should be somewhat entertaining. Find me on allnurses.com!
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Saturday, March 27, 2010

*Tap Tap* Is this thing on?

*Cough* *wheeze*

That’s me blowing the dust off this URL.

Wow, people, can you believe it’s already almost April? I’m almost halfway to being a registered nurse!

Geez, I think there’s an echo, it’s so empty in here :)

You may be wondering why I took an extended break from blogging. The truth, friends, is that my life is Just That Busy, and blogging was an additional stress that I decided to avoid for a while. So instead of apologizing and making promises for content that I can’t keep, I’ll do a brief summary of this past few months and then I’ll get to the rant that brought me back to my blog. I hope you are all coping well with your equally busy lives :)

The fall term from September to December was probably one of the most intense I’ll face in school, content-wise. The term was packed with classes including Patho, Health Assessment, Nursing 270, Mental Health, and 2 labs per week. There was also Pharm on the table but I was smart in taking it last summer because that was a very memorization-intensive class. In all I was taking 17 credit-hours in the term.

My most enjoyable classes were Health Assessment and Mental Health. HA was very cool because it involved all the classical assessment techniques including inspection, percussion, palpation, and auscultation. Our instructor was a seasoned ER nurse who had a ton of stories to back up all body system assessments. She was especially great because she had that snarky, straight-to-the-point way of talking that made things humorous and memorable. Head-to-toe assessments are still tough for me though; I think that’s one of those things you need years to really master.

Mental Health was also an interesting class. I won’t lie – I really wasn’t sure if I like the idea of being a psych nurse. However the instructor for the course is an AMAZING RN who specialized in mental health. The thing that really got me about her was how intelligent she was. She can talk about anything with anybody and be very clear and direct about it. She can argue circles around you. There was no slacking in her class because she would not be duped by a half-assed effort. She saw right through work that was done the night before – she knew exactly how much effort everyone had put in, and graded you accordingly.

We had to split into teams to do a debate in that class. Would you believe that people were actually clamouring to have me as their partner? Do I strike you as fiesty? lol! The debate was great. Our topic was burnout - nurses' fault or system's fault? Our position was assigned and we had to argue that burnout WAS the fault of the nurse and not the system. Tricky! Everyone said we did a great job though.

Patho was a pain in my ass because I absolutely hated the instructor’s teaching style. Call me too picky but I (still) STRONGLY believe that the instructors I am paying good money to teach me a class should be doing that field as a career. At the very least I want a Biology graduate teaching me a class about biology. Unfortunately I had a super-sweet, absolutely batshit crazy RN teaching Patho. I don’t know why. She wasn’t the expert in anything about Patho and any question just dumbfounded her. She didn’t even design the course. She was teaching one developed by someone else. I am a very linear learner. Show me how one theory leads to another and I will be right there with you. But she was so scatterbrained that she would jump around between body systems and the majority of the class would just stare at her. In all honesty, I didn’t go to her lectures much – they confused the hell out of me. My Patho knowledge was almost completely self-taught from a very, very good textbook** (see below for my advice on textbooks!)

Nursing – oh, boy. This was the second-year “meat and potatoes” class about (you guessed it) nursing. Now, after a lot of time spent on allnurses.com browsing the Student Forum, I think how my school handles the nursing content of nursing school is very different from how other schools do it, particularly those in the US. Other schools have classes geared towards different specialties. Medicine, Orthopaedics, OR, OB, CCU... I think that would be incredibly useful for getting a SOLID base of knowledge for each specialty before rotating into one during clinicals. Unfortunately my school believes that all you need to know about nursing is how to think like a nurse and the rest will just come naturally.

I disagree.

I postulate that in order to think like a nurse, I need to understand where nurses are basing their clinical judgement, and to do that I need to have a solid knowledge base.

Yes, you can teach me about ADPIE and NANDA and NIC and NOC, but all of those things are pretty much meaningless without knowing where patients are supposed to be baselining and what interventions we have available, and – most importantly – WHY we would use them!

So what did we learn in NURS 270? Well, several (SEVERAL) classes on meaningless hippy jargon about the power of caring and crap like that. Pardon my language and perhaps condescending attitude but either you care about people or you don’t – talking about such nebulous concepts as “the power of caring” and different ways of "living the patient experience" is a waste of time for everyone. The people who do care already have the intuition needed, and the people who don’t care aren’t coming to class. Even if they were, it’s not something you can teach in a classroom. I think if someone seems like they can’t or won’t care about a patient, it’s probably better addressed in a one-on-one clinical evaluation. The vast majority of us found all of the exercises to be common sense. IMO, the people who really needed their viewpoint adjusted were skipping class anyway.

We learned absolutely nothing about any of the nursing specialties. No baselines for knowledge, whatsoever... just whatever we gleaned from Patho and Pharm and lab time. I most definitely felt like this inhibited my learning experience in clinicals for this term because I had to learn everything on the fly. Which was in itself a good skill to learn, truthfully.

So, anyway, the Fall term was all classroom time. Some more useful than others. Some instructors I loved, some I loathed. Some great learning opportunities, and a whole lot of self-teaching after class in the library. I definitely learned a lot! More than I would have believed could ever fit in this skull of mine ;)

Well, I think that summarizes the Fall semester. I do have a lot to say about this term as well but I’ll make another post about it.

If you’re a new reader, welcome, and if you’ve stuck with me since my last post... wow, I appreciate you :)


vi said...

love your blog. =) my mom is an RN and has always encouraged me into the nursing profession, but i've always thought i'd go on from a BS in biology to medical school .. now i think i like nursing more! i've been reading a few nursing blogs and all of you are so sweet and informative. thank you for this post. <3

lou said...

OMG Im so happy your back!! I was a little worried about you... Now that I've started nursing school I completely understand how you could have disappeared for so long though.

I was JUST voicing my fears about the possibility that we will also have a crazy RN, instead of a science prof, teaching us patho next semester after my A&P class the other day. Im sure thats' the way my school will address that course which makes no sense... Sounds like you're managing to make it through - nice work!!

I really enjoyed reading what you you've been up to but no pressure to post all the time. Once in a while is just fine :)

Glitter Scrubs said...

Fiiiinally you're back!!! ..not that i checked like every other day haha. Year 2 down woo! I found it slightly insane too.

What is it with the Patho courses? My instructor for Patho was absolutely psycho. I'd potassium push myself if i was a patient of hers.

Love the debate part. We did a huge presentation on the stereotypes that revolved around male nurses. At the end we split two groups and had them debate over the feminine connotations of the word 'nurse' and proposed the option of a title change so there were no gender undertones .. ie: stewardess --> flight attendant.
nurse --> ?, medic, healthcare professional, {insert opinion here}. The classroom divide was VERY interesting!

What are your guys' clinical rotations like? We had to learn the head to toe assessment last year and we've done med-surg, geriatrics and general acute med. But I noticed you're doing psyc and we haven't done that yet. I guess every school is different. Even within BC the schools have different schedules.

Anyway glad you're back! I need my nursing blog fill lol!

undergrad RN said...

Thanks guys :) Even though I haven't been posting much I've definitely been following your stories! Glitter I loved all of your Olympic coverage ;) sooooo jealous!

As far as clinicals we did 3x5 week rotations; one med, one surg, and one psych. Some people got peds as their med or surg.

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