Year 1 is in the books! I cannot believe how much I have learned in the past twelve months and am amazed with my progress. My favorite course was Pediatrics/Maternity and my least favorite course was Mental Health/Psych. However, I loved each and every one of my clinical experiences and can honestly say that Regis clinical faculty will prepare you 110% for the real deal. My clinical instructors constantly sought unique cases for us to be involved in and they really work closely with each individual to make sure you master your clinical skills. Since several of my previous posts somehow went missing, I am going to post a quick recap of what my schedule was like this past year.
8-12- Professional Nursing lecture
12:30-1:30- Math class
7-10- Professional Nursing lab
8:30-10- Health Assessment lecture
10-11:30- Health Assessment lab
7-3- Professional Nursing clinical
8:30-10:30- Acute Care lecture
2-8:30- Mental Health/Psych Clinical
8:30-10:30- Acute Care lecture
2-5- Mental Health/Psych lecture
7-7- Acute Care clinical
8-12- Pediatrics lecture (first half of summer), Maternity lecture (second half of summer)
1-4- Care of Aging Adult lecture (first half of summer ONLY)
7-7 Pediatrics clinical (first half of summer), Maternity clinical (second half of summer)
I also had a graduate assistantship for the fall and spring semesters. Just a reminder, that an assistantship is 7.5 hours per week during which you work for a department on campus. In return, you receive $2,500/semester reduction in your tuition. This is available to full time students only and everyone will receive an email the spring before you are to start the program about how you can apply for one. The above scheduling may seem busy to you so you might be thinking how you could possibly add 7.5 hours on top of all of that? My answer: it is doable and it is worth it! However, you REALLY need to be organized and on top of all of your assignments. The best way is to get a planner and write down what you need to do each day. It may sound tedious but I swear it will save you so much time in the long run of things.
The school incorporates ATI books for each nursing course and these are pretty standard and outline what you need to know instead of getting wordy and intricate like the textbooks. While you have textbook and ATI readings assigned each week, I found it was more worth my while to study with ATI and only use the textbooks for topics that I was confused about and needed more detail on. The textbooks will go into intricate detail on everything.
Here are some other tools I recommend purchasing before you start the program. They are not required but they really helped me get through the content. (1) Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN Examination and (2) Mosby's Pharmacology Memory NoteCards. The Saunders book is based on the most recent NCLEX test plan and will highlight the important information for each topic that you should know. The NoteCards have fun little cartoons about different medication classes that will aid in memory if you are a visual learner. I am not necessarily a visual learner but they really helped me! There are some apps you can download for your smartphone and/or iPad to do practice questions in your free time: Lippincott Q&A Review NCLEX-RN is $25 but worth the money and NCLEX mastery is another good one. You can also follow NCLEX Mastery on Facebook and they post a question of the day with answers and rationales. This is a good way to get some practice in while surfing your newsfeed. Medscape is an app that is handy for medications and it is free of charge. You just have to create an account.
Lastly, you are going to feel overwhelmed at times, particularly with Professional Nursing and Acute Care Nursing. I initially struggled in both of these courses and came out very successful. You cannot give up and you have to seek help early and often if you are struggling. Once you get used to NCLEX style questions, you will perform better on the tests. And remember, when you feel there is more than one answer, there is always ONE that is the MOST RIGHT!!! If you don't remember anything else I said, remember this haha!!!