7 Things I Learned From My First Semester Of Nursing School
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7 Things I Learned From My First Semester Of Nursing School

One semester down, three more to go.

7 Things I Learned From My First Semester Of Nursing School
Thomas Edison State University Blog

Nursing school is a lifestyle change. You have to rearrange your schedule, get used to studying a lot more and accept the fact that watching Netflix all weekend isn't going to cut it. It's also a flood of information from start to finish. Here are some of the things I learned from my first semester.

1. It's not a competition anymore.

When you're a pre-nursing major, everything is a competition. There's only a certain number of spots available and so every time test grades go out, I would secretly hope that people didn't do so hot (don't judge me, if you're a nursing major, you did it too). It wasn't anything personal, I was just fighting for my spot. Now, it's not a competition and all of a sudden, your fellow nursing majors get so much nicer, friendlier, and even more helpful! Now all I feel is proud of my classmates and friends when they do well.

2. You thought your pre-nursing classes were hard.

Trust me, it's about to get a lot harder. Anatomy and Physiology was a breeze looking back on it now.

3. You really do need to study for every class every day to not get behind.

My freshman and sophomore years of college, I was a pro at cramming the night before (maybe two nights if I was feeling particularly studious) and miraculously pulling off an A. That doesn't work anymore. Nursing is hard and there is so much material you have to know. It's not something that you can learn overnight. And the professors were right when they warned us at the beginning of the semester: if you get behind, it's really hard to catch back up. It happened to me. It was REALLY HARD.

4. "Select All That Apply" is the freaking worst.

You know what I'm talking about. They're tricky and confusing and you will always second guess that you're clicking on too many or not enough. Trust your first instinct. It was so hard for me to learn to not second guess myself on nursing tests but if you second guess yourself, it's not gonna go well.

5. Clinicals are terrifying, sometimes boring, but also really awesome.

The first day of clinicals probably falls in the Top 10 scariest days of my life. I was terrified to go into the patient's room, let alone touch her or talk to her. I literally felt like I had no idea what I was doing, and I can honestly say that "Maybe this isn't what I'm meant to do" probably went through my head at least 600 times. Don't listen to that voice because its not true. It'll take a few weeks before you get comfortable walking into the patient's room and talking to them like you actually know what you're doing.

Sometimes clinicals were really boring. If vitals were already done, your patient wanted to sleep all day instead of answer your questions, didn't have any meds, or refused a bath, there probably wasn't much else to do. Our first-semester scope doesn't allow us to do much else. But spend that time looking at the patient's chart. Or find something to do- talk to the patient's family, clean up the patient's room a little bit, help someone else who has a more complicated patient. If your patient does want to talk, sit in there and talk to them; it will make their day to have some company that doesn't only involve needles and blood pressure cuffs. Several of my patients were shocked (and so excited) to find out that as a nursing student, I only had one patient. They loved that they had all my attention.

Clinicals are really awesome. There's no better learning than hands-on learning. And it is so easy to see yourself progress and realize how much you learned in just one semester. Remember the first day when you were scared to count your patient's respirations? Well, now you can walk in there and confidently and knowledgeably give them all 24 of their meds and take their vitals in less than 3 minutes.

6. You will meet some of your new best friends.

You spend a lot of time with your clinical group (and a lot of early mornings) so it's not long before they see the real you. You'll spend so much time with them, that going a week without seeing them feels like months and you'll have to text often in your group message just to get your fix. You will build each other up, advise each other, and be there for each other when things just aren't going great. I didn't know more than half of the people in my clinical group before we started this semester and now we are close friends. We would go out to eat together and even had a Christmas party together. It's easy to get close when you spend full days with them in lab and clinicals. Because nothing says bonding like bathing someone together ;)

7. You will learn SO MUCH.

It may not feel like it, but I promise you it's true. I unexpectedly spent a lot of time in a hospital this Christmas break visiting my grandfather. It was really comforting to know what was going on, know what the beeping machines meant, and what the tubes coming out of him were doing. My family had all kinds of questions and I was able to answer a lot of them. It really showed me how much I learned in just a single semester. (It also showed me I have a lot left to learn, but that's what these next 3 semesters are for).

Bring it on second semester!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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