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~Welcome to the World of Nursing!~ Schools of Nursing in the USA / Studying Tips

The views expressed here are based on my own person experience and are my opinion alone. If you are terribly frightened or if you feel you have entered the gates of hell, well maybe you have, and might I suggest you seek help in the "real" world. However, please read the following. It is meant as a guide and maybe some advice but in no way claims to be the answer to your paritculiar situation.

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Great!~ That is the first step to becoming the wonder nurse that you want to be!~ It is at this point that you need to be aware that most colleges have an entrance exam for their Nursing Program. Although there is no pass or fail grade on this exam, the Nursing Department at your particular learning institution will accept the high scores. For example, if the college is accepting 40 people then it will take the top 40 highest grades. This exam is a general test and the way you can study for it is by getting a College Prep book or even a GED book will do. Your college advisor will tell you that you don't need to study for it and to just take it. However, you are going into the Nursing Program. It is important to be aware that you have picked a very intense profession in which the courses are intense and unlike any other college course. I would also suggest that you sign up early for your classes and that you get all of your prerequisites out of the way. It may also be imprtant to point out here that any one nursing class can only be taken twice once you have been excepted into the program. After that, they reserve the right to not allow you to continue. For much will be expected of you and of course, you will do your best!~
    Most Colleges and Universities will assign you a mentor. If not, ask your Nursing Advisor if there is anyone who would be willing to hook up with you and tell you what to expect and answer any questions you may have. I have found that they can be great as far as telling you what to expect from a particuliar teacher and so forth.
    Once you have been assigned a mentor and recieved a Nursing Advisor, take all advice about courses from your Nursing Advisor NOT your College Advisor. Like I mentioned, Nursing is like no other course!
    You can expect your books for your course to run in about the $300.00 range. Since you are new to the college and the profession in general, I suggest you buy any book that is mandatory on your booklist. It doesn't really work to share books since there is so much reading.
    You will find that there will not be too many/if any, tutors available to tutor Nursing. If you find that you need help, and I am sure you will, ask your Nursing Advisor if there is a graduate who is willing to help. Don't worry if you find that your grades are lower in the Nursing classes than in other classes, this is normal.

    While in Nursing school, you may feel that you cannot keep up with the reading or that the teachers are picking on you. CALM DOWN! I must say there are two basic elements that will get you through 1). Hard work and 2). Getting to know your instructor. This is my opinion only, but there is no way you can keep up with all the reading! At first you will, but as the semester wears on and your patience wears then, you will find yourself skimming here and skipping there--this is fine. Get to know your instructor. If he/she is one to take her questions for exams out of books--READ, READ, READ. However, if they tend to take it from lecture, and a lot of the time they do, then, excellent nursing notes will be fine. (this is why I suggest that you not miss or skip any classes. If you must, then get the notes from someone you know is an excellent note taker.) You will not get he feel for the personality of your instructor until the end of the sememester, so I suggest that when you first start out, read as much as possible. When I was in school, I had 50-100 pages to read in a week. I never kept up to be honest, but do try.
    NO YOUR TEACHERS ARE NOT PICKING ON YOU! Both the colleges I went to had the same type of mentality. They had a military style about them--emotionally. If you find this to be true in your case, they are doing it for your own good. Always come to class prepared and do your best! The teachers come across as tough for two reasons: 1) Someone's life will depend on your ability to think fast and to perform under pressure and 2) It won't always be easy to interact with clients, families and yes, even doctors. Nursing is not for the emotionally weak. So, if you can't make it through nursing school you'll never make it in the world of nursing. Cheer up, your teacher likes you and in the end, he/she may even tell you so. You can count on it at graduation time!~
    The following was sent in by a friend named Laura. You can contact Laura by email here.

    Calm down, sweety! First, take a deep breath and let it out. Now, don't get worried about the end of a journey you're just beginning! Everything in life starts with "START"! Your instructors are not going to expect you to know everything day one. It is a long, arduous, but very rewarding journey through nursing school. You have chosen to enter one of the most noble and self-sacrificing of professions. You're nursing Instructors are there to guide you through every step. Yes, it is hard work, but anything worth acheiving should be. I can't tell you how many times I wanted to quit, or crawl under my desk and hide! I also can't tell you how proud of myself I was when I graduated, tied for valedictorian, with a 4.0! I never thought I could do it! I've been a nurse now for 7 years and have recently begun teaching myself! There is no feeling like passing on the knowledge i worked so hard to learn, and it is so rewarding to see one of my students finally "get it"! So trust me, your teachers are rooting for you, your family is rooting for you, and all you have to do is have faith in yourself! Some words of real advice:
    1. Find the brightest of your classmates and stick to them like glue! Don't go for cool, go for SMART!
    2. Start a study group, and make ALL members commit to attending all sessions!
    3. While it is admirable to help fellow classmates, limit the number in your study group. Any more than 6-8 gets out of hand.
    4. To help the rest of your class, have tutoring sessions 2 or 3 days a week. Whatever student is doing well in a subject leads the session, take turns. One of the best ways to learn something is to teach it to another.
    5. Make rules for your study group up front! Trust me, don't worry about coming off as a b_t_h. War stories and true confessions can get way out of hand real fast! Also, food and studying go together, but get the "pitching in" thing out of the way up front,too. We actually had a kind of "dues" for pizza and soda!
    6. Try to make studying fun whenever you can!
    E-mail me for some suggestions!
    7. Seek out practicing nurses (especially where you do clinicals) and learn from their experience!
    Everyone in the medical field is a born teacher, so just keep your ears and mind open and you'll learn a lot!
    My very best friend in the world was the first nurse to ever write me up for something! Instaed of getting all pissed off, I asked her what I should have done differently. She has been my mentor and best friend since, and is the one who encouraged me to teach!
    So, I guess the most important advice is to always keep a cool head and look at everything as an opportunity to learn.
    Best of luck to you and God Bless!
    E-mail me and let me know how you're doing!

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    Email: anneliese@caring4you.net