Nursing 101

Hi everyone 🙂 In honor of my first time being able to celebrate National Nurses Week, I just wanted to blog about why I chose nursing, how I got to where I am, and what nursing means to me.

W H Y  N U R S I N G
So long story short, I went to college straight out of high school and got my undergrad in exercise science hoping to be a PA or PT. I started to do more community service work with my sorority my senior year of college and I had one opportunity where we were paired up with a child who had a life threatening disease. We accompanied her and her family to her chemo treatments and kept her company. I began to have more exposure to the hospital and nursing and just fell in love with the hospital, especially nursing profession. I knew I had to be a nurse at that point.

T H E  P R O C E S S
So it was too late to do nursing cause I was about to graduate college, so I graduated, took some pre-reqs at a community college, which I definitely recommend because it’s so much cheaper, and then applied to multiple nursing schools. There are various types of nursing schools out there: accelerated, associates, and the standard 4 years. I could had did the accelerated option because I already had a bachelor’s degree, but I did not know there was one, so definitely do your research! My program is a associates 2 years RN program with a collab RN-BSN with Penn State so I was able to get my BSN in less than a few months.

The process to apply to nursing school may differ from school to school but you would need to meet some basic pre reqs (English, Math, Anatomy, and Chemistry), a personal statement or answer their question in an essay form, letters of recommendation, transcripts, and an updated resume. In addition, they may require a pre-entrance test such as TEAS or HESI. For me, I bought the TEAS book and read it and studied it for like 3 weeks and I was fine. As soon as you think you want to do nursing, I would start researching schools and making a checklist of their requirements. I actually made an excel sheet of all the schools I was interested in and wrote out deadlines, and have rows to check off if they require something. I would also tell professors or bosses ahead that I would like them to write me a letter of recommendation in the future. Just remember to be on top of deadlines and if you get denied to one, don’t get discouraged and keep on trying 🙂

H O W  T O P A S S  N U R S I N G S C H O O L
You definitely have to stay organized, prioritize, and get your time management down. Get a planner and write down all due dates and exam dates. I planned ahead to schedule time everyday to study and not cram all at once. My plan was to study real hard and do well on the exams so I don’t have to stress as hard when it came to finals. I definitely still had a life because I went out a lot, even went on vacations, and had my blog to balance, so the key is to plan and time manage. I even brought my index cards out to study and downloaded a lot of NCLEX apps so I can study on the go. If you put your mind to it, you can definitely do it 🙂

H O W  T O P A S S  N C L E X
My school used the program ATI for prep throughout our whole nursing program. Personally, I didn’t really like it but I used it in school to help a little. During our last semester of school, we had an ATI review which is basically by every NCLEX subjects. I studied my notes from each subject and then did strictly practice questions through U World. I highly recommend U World! I did it for like a little over a month and then took the NCLEX. U World is very helpful! I love the explanations and you can also choose the subject you want to get tested on. Just put some time each day to work on it and you’ll be fine! Just don’t push yourself too hard and remember to take care of yourself. Take a break the day before taking your boards and the morning of and just relax. Apparently everyone leaves the test feeling as if they failed so it is normal to freak out lol I definitely cried driving home. Thankfully, my test shut down in 75 questions, which is the minimum needed to pass OR fail. However, don’t be so worried about the number you’re on, and take each question one at a time.

L A N D I N G  Y O U R F I R S T  I N T E R V I E W
If you have a clinical rotation you really like, definitely introduce yourself to the nurse manager there and say you’re interested. Most likely, she will remember you and give you an interview. She might even save you a position! For me, I went on hospitals websites that I were interested in and applied like crazy. I didn’t hear anything until like a month later so do not get discouraged! After I interviewed, I received many job offers but somehow it was not what I wanted. Then I went back to a floor I did clinical on and got an interview with the nurse manager. I interviewed with her and got hired the same day! To me, it felt really nice and comforting to start working at a place I was already familiar with and with two of my nursing school friends.

Preparing for your interview: I googled nursing interview questions and put it together in a doc so I can practice what to say. Definitely don’t answer it like it is scripted but it does give a sense of what to say. Most interviewers will ask why nursing, why this speciality, how do you deal with stress, etc. I would also research the hospital and what their values and mission statements are. I also put together a portfolio with: cover letter, resume, RN license, CPR license, unofficial transcripts, letters of recommendations, and any other certifications or awards.

M Y  S P E C I A L T Y
Growing up, I always wanted to work in pediatrics. It’s really hard to get in though as a new grad because most places want critical care experience. I could had did a new grad residency at a pediatric hospital in the city but I did not want to work there and wanted to get my critical care skills down. I currently work in critical care on a step down unit. Basically, they are too critical and unstable to go on a regular med surg/telemetry floor, but not that critical to be in the ICU. I have to admit, it is tough because sometimes I feel like my whole assignment is an ICU assignment but it is a learning experience and I love critical care! I love feeling like I am doing a lot to help my patients. Once I get comfortable with critical care, I might look into a part time pediatrics position but I am very happy with where I am now.

W H A T  N U R S I N G  M E A N S TO M E
Nursing means a lot to me. It means finally finding a career choice that is not only rewarding but also fulfilling. It also means being able to make a difference in someone else’s life and saving their lives. I used to think saving a life meant actually doing CPR or some life-saving measures to bring a patient back to life, but that phrase means so much more to me now. For me, it means making a difference and being present in my patients’ lives. So many of my patients have thanked me for “saving their lives” and I was so confused like I really did not do anything LOL… but by being there for them, being patient, being supportive through their vulnerable times really made a difference. I am so happy that I decided to go back to school a second time to pursue nursing because I could not see myself in any other profession.

H O W  I B A L A N C E  N U R S I N G & B L O G G I N G
I have a regular google calendar with my work schedule and events as well as a content calendar to plan out my collabs and sponsored posts. I use the app UNUM so I can plan out my feed and keep up with deadlines. I’m so glad I am a nurse because I only work 3 days a week so I have 4 days off. I definitely take advantage of my days off to plan and shoot content. It’s all about being organized and planning ahead, just like with everything else!

Hope everyone enjoyed this nursing themed blog and if you have any questions about nursing or anything at all, feel free to ask me 🙂

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