Nursing. School. Life.

Orientation: Check

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Not what I envisioned, but then again, just thinking about what I was envisioning is pretty hazy at the moment.

As usual I was running late. I was only late by five minutes, and another minute or two walking up and down the hall trying to find the room. When I did, I walked into a classroom with almost every seat filled and people talking at the front. I immediately found a seat and tried to figure out what was going on.

Turned out the people talking at the front of the room were students in the current batch. In two months we will be running into them again, when we finally start. They stood up there, joking about the long hours; warned us of the strange things we will encounter during clinicals; and how we need to stick together. Hmmm… thanks, but no thanks. They just finished ten months of this, and yes I know they know more about this than I do. But stubborn me likes to think that I know better. I need to work on that.

I was sitting in the back of the room, hoping they would just finish already, when I kept hearing my name.

“Psst… Stereotypicalone!”

Why hello there… a gal I went to University with! I haven’t seen her in years, so it was a pleasant surprise.

“Excuse me, did you go to Local High School and did we play on the same team?”

Hello to you too! It’s been a decade since I’ve seen her, and she looked exactly the same.

Just what I was afraid of. The downside of choosing a program locally was that I would run into people I know. I was hoping I would be in a room full of strangers, so I could start off fresh. But then again, knowing a couple of people going into this is a bit of relief.

Finally, the students left the room and the Program Coordinator  started her talk. She walked us through the Orientation Packet, which covered everything we needed to have completed before the first day of classes.

Requirements for ABSN Program – For the most part, a rehashing of what we already knew. To be considered for the program, an applicant needs the following: an undergrad cum GPA of at least 2.7; a C+ or better in all science prerequisite classes; and all prerequisites completed before the start of the program.

Pathophysiology – A prerequisite for the program. You have the option of taking the course at another school, or taking the 2 week crash course prior to the start of classes. The Director assured that it was more refresher than anything, but I chose to take the class elsewhere (and currently in the running for a B). Sometimes I wonder if I did the right thing.

Course Sign Up – I have been spoiled by technology. In the past I was able to register via the telephone or online. All relatively pain free, and at no inconvenience to me. Oh, ABSN school… why must you live in the Dark Ages? Part of my Orientation packet included the registration forms I need to the Registrar’s office to sign up for my classes. These copies have already been filled out and signed by Program Coordinator and in the next few weeks I’ll be able to sign up for these classes (summer session):

  • Introduction to Professional Nursing I (4 credits)
  • Pharmacology (2 credits)
  • Introduction to Professional Nursing II (5 credits)
  • Maternal Child Health (5 credits)

Physicals & Immunizations – As with every school/job out there, you need to have a recent physical before starting. Also required are any lab work you may have, and it must be on “offical laboratory letterhead.” At first, I was stressed out over this, due to the fact that 1) don’t have a doctor; 2) don’t have insurance; and 3) can’t afford to drop a large chunk of money to pay for one and whatever blood tests/shots I may need. It turns out I was stressed out over nothing, because the school will do the physical, draw for titers, and give the necessary immunizations. For the most part, I think I’m set with my immunizations, and I’ve got the labwork that confirms I’m within the normal range. The one thing I found strange about all this is that they ask for a two-step PPD test and their results. Their reasoning? By using the two-step process, they are getting more accurate results and reducing the risk of false negatives.

CPR Certification – Thankfully, I already had this taken care of through work. If you’re looking to apply to nursing school, you need to take the CPR class for Health Care Providers given by the American Heart Association. The American Red Cross program won’t fly here. It also must be good for the length of your program. I took my re-cert back in October, and I am good until October 2010. When you get the card, make a copy of it (front and back) and keep it in your application folder. The same holds true for all your important paperwork- MAKE COPIES AND KEEP IT IN YOUR APPLICATION FOLDER.

Malpractice Insurance – The joys of professionalism and the health care field! Accidents do happen, and I sure hope that none of you are intentionally going to go and hurt your patients. Being the litigious society we are, all students need to have some type of malpractice policy before starting. The policy lasts for a year and is relatively inexpensive ($20-30 for a coverage of at least 3 million). I don’t know how many insurance companies there are, but my school is using NSO (Nurses Service Organization). Copies of the application forms were included in the orientation packet, but it looks like they could be done online (whew).

Uniforms – White top (with school patch on sleeve), white pants, white shoes (no sneakers or clogs). I never wear white and now I’ll be wearing white for the next twelve months. Suck it up, right? The downside to white everything, and I am sure the Midshipmen can attest to this, is that you are visible to everyone. Thinking about wearing those polka dot undies? Think again. The school uses a uniform shop the next state over, so I’ll have to head down there and try some out. As for shoes, hopefully they have something nice, but I’m worried I’ll get some orthopedic looking monstrosity.

Plagiarism – Bad. Don’t do it. Also, must send in a certificate of completion that I know what plagiarism is.

Criminal Background Check – Apparently some clinical sites ask for this, but none of the sites that are lined up for the year require them. If they do later on, the check and the drug test are all out of pocket. Thanks, school!

Transportation – Program Director emphasized that each student should h have their own vehicle. The school located in the middle of suburbia and public transportation is spotty at best. Clinicals are all over the place, and trying to coordinate that with mass transit would be nightmarish. Hopefully everyone in the class has a vehicle, or at least access to one.

With all that out of the way, Program Director dove right into our first nursing course, Intro to Professional Nursing I.

Class #1: Intro to Prof. Nursing I – PD is teaching the class and had attached a syllabus, containing information we needed to know before the start of class. There was a brief course description and objectives; breakdown of the exams and their weight in our overall grade; how grades will be determined; and a list of the required textbooks:

  • Applying Nursing Process: A Tool For Critical Thinking, 7th ed. (Alfaro-Lefevre)
  • Math for Meds: Dosages and Solutions, 10th ed. (Curren)
  • Fundamentals of Nursing: Health and Human Function, 6th ed. (Craven & Hirnle)
  • Fundamentals of Nursing: Health and Human Function – Procedure Checklists, 6th ed. (Craven & Hirnle)
  • Fundamentals of Nursing: Health and Human Function – Study Guide, 6th ed. (Craven & Hirnle)

A quick check on and priced these books at under 200 bucks (as of Sunday, ~$170-$185). Not too bad, considering these books should cover Prof. Nursing I and II.

I have less than two months to read the dozen chapters assigned for the first day alone. Not the whole chapter, but the topics that are outlined in the syllabus. Not to mention having a look at the procedure checklists and taking a look at the NCLEX questions that go with each chapter. I’ve got plenty of time, right? If I really wanted to, I could go over the chapters for the first two classes.

Breathe, stereotypicalone… breathe.


Written by stereotypicalone

April 7, 2009 at 12:49

Posted in Nursing School

Tagged with , ,

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