Dear Junior 1's,
1. Prepare to study your butt off like you never have before. Were you one of those students who didn't really have to study in A&P or Micro? You just skimmed your notes the night before the test and still made an A? Well you won't be anymore. Getting a C is a victory! They make it hard for a reason, there's going to be a life in your hands one day.
2. The professors don't hate you. They don't want to see you fail. They are there to help you. But you bet your behind they're going to push you as far as you can be pushed, because this is the semester they weed out the weak from the strong. I strongly believe this is the semester that will shape you into the kind of nurse you will be. It's your foundation, don't give up.
3. Read. Put down all your medical supplies for the first few weeks. I know you're excited, but this isn't Grey's Anatomy. Pick up your Health Assessment and ATI Skills book. Read them like your life depends on it. The fun stuff will come later.
4. Practice, Practice, Practice. Practice how to take vitals like it's never going to go out of style, because it won't. After your know how to take vitals like a BOSS, practice your other skills the same way! Practice on humans, practice on bananas, practice on chickens. Practice, Practice Practice! Knowing how to properly insert a foley catheter, give a IM shot, and insert an IV is essential after your first semester and the rest of your career. Don't screw it up.
5. Love care plans. Learn how to develop a care plan properly and practice that too.
6. Use this time to find an area of interest. It came easy for me. But if it doesn't, no big deal. You've got forever to decide.
7. Make friends with everyone. They're going to be by your side for the next two years, there's no reason to have any enemies. You're not competing anymore. You're all going through the same thing, be supportive. You're a team now. Act like it.
8. Take everything seriously except that one class they throw in as a filler. I mean no disrespect, but use your time wisely. Time management is essential and setting priorities is a must from the get go!
9. Don't over think. Your first test may make you feel like you're having a panic attack, it's okay. Every one else is probably having one, too. Your first test will help you to learn how to study. It's not important to study small details anymore. You have to study it all, the entire big picture. Nursing school tests are like no other. All answers will be right, but what answer is the most correct? Always remember, safety first and pain never killed anyone (within reason).
10. Get a planner. Self explanatory.
11. Relax some, but study more.
12. There's hardly ever an absolute. But if there is, you better remember it. For instance, a diastolic murmur always indicates heart disease, or alcohol always interacts with medications.
13. calm down, relax, and laugh a little. This is only 2 years of your life.
And make a pinterest board of your journey :) Here's mine I share with my former lab partner but forever my person, Liz, who on the first day of Health Assessment lab I said "hey girl, wanna be my partner?" and we've been pretty much inseparable ever since.
P.S. Hey, Penelope Design giveaway is still going on!