I’m now a little bit more than half way done with my first semester of nursing school. I have mixed feelings about it, I’m really looking forward to being done (altogether, not just this semester), and I’m trying to reserve judgement, but so far I’m not really digging it. I hope I like being a nurse more than I like nursing school.
First, I feel as though I could organize a better curriculum. Everything is completely schizoid. We have 4 seperate components. We have lecture, skills lab, assessment lab, and clinical. In my humble non-nurse opinion, I feel as though it would make sense to organize nursing school in the following fashion: You learn about Concept A in lecture, then in assessment lab you learn how to assess Concept A in a patient, in skills lab you learn how to perform skills associated with Concept A and then in clinical you practice using Concept A on real live patients. Logical, no? Not really how it goes. For insance, this week in lecture we learned about making patient teaching plans, in skills lab we learned how to give IM injections, in assessment lab we learned how to assess lung sounds, and in clinical we passed meds and gave bed baths. No wonder we all feel like we’re going insane. We have to read different chapters for each portion and complete totally unrelated homework assignments for each. Other than learning how to fill out pathophysiology concept maps, learning how to take blood pressure, and learning how to count pills (and now sterile wound care) I feel as though I have learned nothing. I feel no closer to being a nurse than I did 8 weeks ago.
Second, and there are pros and cons to this… but I feel like my pariticular clinical instructor is not really very good. She’s very nice, but not very demanding… So right now, while we’re trying to wrap our brains around the millions of hours of paperwork we have to fill out, it’s useful to not have a very pro-active clinical instructor. But I think my clinical group is going to be in for a RUDE awakening when we’re assigned to someone new next semester who expects us to be on-top-of-everything-STAT. Some of this I’m sure is on us, but our clinical instructor (it’s her first semester as an instructor) has not really been proactive in setting up a relationship with this nursing home. We repeatedly get booted out of the meeting room and have to be constantly hounding the MAs to let us assist them with things. I think this is another instance where the school could be a little more organized. I feel they should set up a relationship with the nursing home a little bit better. There are only 8 of us, there are certainly more than 8 employees, I think they should arrange it with the nursing home so that when the medical assistants arrive for their shift, tell them to swing by the front desk and pick up their extra set of hands for the evening. I think we would learn a lot more if we were assigned a medical assistant to follow for the day rather than following just 1 elderly patient who may be hell bent on refusing care for the day. I also feel we would not be getting on the nerves of the actual employees like we currently appear to be if we were just helping one person each instead of 8 of us trailing the nurse with the med cart around trying to learn how to pass meds.
Third complaint, we’re spending a full 1/4 of our time in nursing school, at a nursing home. While these patients are good to practice certain skills on, and for the most part fairly easy going… I kind of feel like once you give a bed bath, you’ve… you know, given a bed bath… I don’t think that’s really something we need 15 weeks to practice. They tell us virtually nothing ahead of time so I don’t know what other rotations we have but I know this summer, we have a 12 week semester, 6 will be med-surg, 3 will be OB, and 3 will be peds. Am I wrong to be thinking we’ll getting more experience in those settings? Shouldn’t we be spending less time giving bed baths and spoon feeding at the nursing home? I don’t want to belittle the experience we’re getting or this particular population, but I haven’t done anything new, or related to our in-class learnings since maybe the second week at the nursing home. I guess partially why I feel like the nursing home is a waste of our time is related to point two in the previous paragraph. We don’t really have any relationship so to speak of with the nursing home, so rather than using us as additional patient care helpers and giving us some direction… the activities director has officially requested that 4 students per evening supervise residents watching a movie. That’s nice and all for the residents, but we’re paying tuition to learn how to do things related to nursing? We’re not paying to watch old 80s movies?
Anyway, so that’s my take on nursing school 1/2 way through the first semester. I hope the actual learning picks up a little next semester so I actually feel somewhat prepared to be a nurse by the time I graduate (I already know how to insert a VHS tape and press play, thank you very much, that’s not what I’m paying for) I would also really like it if our curriculum gets even a SHADE more organized for the next semester, but I’m not going to hold my breath.