Back into the swing of things

The first 2 weeks of my course have been and gone so quickly, and as you can imagine they were very busy (hence this only being the first post since starting the course).

I’m getting back into the swing of UNI life with classes, studying, working, feeling sleep deprived, studying, and procrastinating, then more studying
.well, you get the picture 🙂 I know things are only going to get busier, more stressful and more complicated but it’s all a good experience, so the pain is worth it.

I’ve found the most difficult things I’ve had to get used to again are time management and avoiding procrastination (and I’m sure I’m not alone here). It seems there are always more interesting or pressing things to be done other than studying. Then after procrastinating for however long, doing other things that could wait for another time, or that don’t even need to be done at all, I realise I have very little time to complete what actually needs to be done. Which creates more stress, and pressure, making me feel overwhelmed and slightly helpless about the mountain of tasks to be completed. The danger with all of this is that, if you’re not careful, it becomes a vicious cycle throughout the semester leaving you feeling like you’re ‘behind the eight ball’ and that it’s impossible to catch up. You pull a regular all-nighter to finish an assessment or to cram for an exam, you’re never completing all your readings and tasks for classes each week and you find that, generally, your assessment marks are nothing to boast about.

Well, although I feel like I’m at the beginning of this vicious cycle I am reining things in before they get out of control. I refuse to fall into that cycle. I’ve got higher expectations of myself at university this time around and failing because of being disorganised and not managing my time properly is not an option.

Understanding content

I had never thought a nursing degree would be easy, and in many ways university in general isn’t easy either. There is always plenty of reading to be done – often whole chapters, if not multiple chapters of your textbooks, need to be read each week. Add to that any activities your tutors want you to complete before coming to class, and of course assessments and revision for any exams you may have. For a couple of my subjects, but mainly for the subject that covers Anatomy & Physiology (A&P), I have had to re-think the way I study and even the way I learn.

I often find that if I don’t understand how/why something works, or the reasoning behind it, I struggle to grasp the concept completely and don’t really learn properly. However, with A&P I am finding that I just have to learn by memorising most things and I won’t always understand everything as easily as I can understand other things. There’s nothing wrong with this, it’s just another way that I am finding I need to shift how I learn to get the most out of the subject. With A&P it’s all fact-based learning, there isn’t really anything much that changes and it’s not up for interpretation like some other subject’s content. So taking this into account it really should be easier for me to learn. We’ll see how I go…

Clinical Practice Unit (CPU)

In order to practice the practical skills for nursing, the universe has Clinical Practice Units (CPUs). These are like mini hospital wards with mannequins, which have varying degrees of functionality, in the beds as patients. They are odd-looking mannequins with googly eyes and mouths wide open. They have weird ‘bits’, including being able to see their insides and some even have amputations. The classes we have in the CPUs are predominantly practical classes so that we can learn and build our practical nursing skills. So far we’ve started off slowly with learning correct hand-washing and bed-making techniques, but as we progress the simulations will become more complex and time-consuming, which is good. The practical component of my course, not surprisingly, is already my favourite part of the week.

Now, I really need to tackle some readings and some prep for a couple of assessments next week, and seeing as I’m not going to procrastinate any more 😉 I better get going. Feel free to ask questions or suggest a topic you’d like to hear about.

I’ll leave you with this cute ‘Stages Of Procrastination’ from chibird.tumblr.com

(http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lhigp34nOa1qc4uvwo1_500.png)

I’m already nearing the crisis stage hahaha

procrastination

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Only 3 days to go!

Finally I’m counting down the days and not the weeks until my course officially starts!

I’m still excited and am also starting to get a little apprehensive about it all but I think that’s just me stressing a little about how much work there is to do at uni and about everything else I still have to manage outside of uni. However, I know that it’s all going to work out, even if I do end up with a severe caffeine addiction by the end of it all 🙂

This week we had our orientation session, which provided useful information and allowed all the unit coordinators/teaching staff to introduce themselves. They were running campus tours and library tours so we could get used to the facilities available to us. I had already found a lot of the information beforehand but it was good to start meeting other students who are in the same course.

Two current nursing students spoke about their experiences and gave us all a bit more of an idea of what we really can expect during the course. I found this quite interesting because the two students seemed to come from very different backgrounds, had very different experiences in the course and were both doing well with their studies. They both had very different experiences to share so it really helps you appreciate that everyone experiences their studies in such different ways.

Other than orientation the only other step forward is that we now have access to our e-learning sites for the units we are studying. So we can now see what we have to do each week, what our assessments are and what is expected from us. This is when it starts to become more daunting because you finally see how much work you’ve got to do!

Until next week….when the fun really begins!

 

Some new info to add to ‘A Pleasant Surprise’

So…I previously did a post about my surprise at being offered a place in the Advanced Bachelor of Nursing course – you can read that post here:  ‘A Pleasant Surprise’

Well, a little bit of info that has made me even more excited about being accepted, is that they only accept a maximum of 30 people into the Advanced Bachelor of Nursing!
To put that into perspective, the uni has accepted approx 1100 places for the Bachelor of Nursing this year.
Makes me feel a bit special 🙂

I’ve picked up a stupid cold somewhere and am feeling pretty blah, so this little bit of information was enough to brighten my otherwise yucky day 🙂
 

success-kid

A Nursing School Survival Pack…made by a kindergarten teacher

My fiancĂ©, who is a primary school teacher (kindergarten at the moment), surprised me with a Nursing School Survival Pack – a little pack full of things that will help me get through the ups & downs of a nursing degree.

It is such a fun and thoughtful gesture and it made me realise that in him I have a supportive partner who is willing to put up with me throughout the stressful times that I will face during this nursing degree. Not only will he put up with me, but he will try to reduce some of the stress I face, all whilst facing his own stresses and challenges as a primary school teacher. And this is one of the many reasons I love him!

A little joke from within the care pack…

Q:  What did one light bulb say to the other?
A:  I love you a whole watt!

The gallery below showcases his handiwork.

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University…remind yourself it’s an investment

Semester One Textbooks 2013

After spending at least $800 on textbooks and other supplies for 1st semester (including any prerequisites for the course such as first aid certification, police check etc) I am needing to remind myself that university is an investment!

As I stood in the university’s bookshop handing over way too much money for a bunch of books (see photo above), which at this stage I have no idea what half of them are on about, I found it difficult to see the bigger picture.

Once I got home, had a flick through these dense and physically heavy textbooks, I was able to reflect on the situation and even begin to get excited about what these expensive books mean to me. Although there will be times that I will complain about the financial cost involved with studying nursing, it is an investment that I am lucky to be making!

This pile of books, full of  facts and procedures, represent a valuable opportunity at this stage in my life. I have been given a place, as a mature age student, in a course that will allow me to gain a qualification which will give me good employment opportunities throughout my working life. As a nurse I will be able to help other people in a time of need and have a rewarding career as well.

Thankfully in Australia we have FEE-HELP* to help cover the cost of university course fees, so you don’t have to pay upfront for your course. I am benefiting from this and am grateful for this opportunity. However, I am also aware that not everyone chooses, or has, this opportunity to defer their course fees and do work very hard to pay their fees upfront.

 

*“FEE-HELP is a loan scheme that assists eligible fee paying students pay all or part of their tuition fees. It cannot be used for additional study costs such as accommodation or text books.”

 

A Pleasant Surprise

When you’re applying for university in Australia you can change your course preferences between offer rounds even, if you’ve already received an offer. I was curious to see if I’d be able to get into the advanced nursing course because (I really didn’t think I would). So I changed my first preference to the Bachelor of Nursing (Advanced) course….and would you believe it – I got accepted!!

I am so grateful and excited for this opportunity but I am also quite nervous because it is going to be a lot of hard work to keep my Grade Point Average (GPA) at 5.5 or higher. I worked out a few different variations on the marks I need to keep my GPA high enough…. but basically I need to aim for distinctions (75-85) as a minimum to be safe.
It’s not all just about ‘more hard work’ though…you’re also allocated a mentor, who is one of the academics from the nursing department and, who will work with you throughout the degree. You’re also given great opportunities to go to workshops and seminars and to completw further research (beyond the degree) and encouraged to continue into an honours program.

The picture below is even more true now! Argh!! 🙂

Image

Becoming A Life Saver

The first hurdle, before even learning a thing about nursing, is to complete a First Aid & CPR certification….and, much to my relief, I blitzed them both! I received 100% on the written exams and passed the practical components also. Although I had to complete these courses as a pre-requisite for one of the four units I’ll be studying in this first semester, it is a little reassuring as a new nursing student to know that I do have the capacity to pick up, understand and then put into practice some potentially life saving skills.

Previously I had never really thought about completing a first aid course unless it was potentially necessary as part of a job I was in. I can now see how important it is to have training in First Aid & CPR, whether you work, don’t work, have kids, live on your own or are going into some sort of medical profession – it is just so valuable. Being able to act calmly and quickly with the right kind of treatment in an emergency could potentially mean the difference between life and death for those involved.

Would you know how to treat a sting, snake bite, spider bite, burns or scalds around the house? What would you do if someone in your family was having a heart attack or drowned in the pool? Could you provide the necessary aid to give them every possible chance of survival while the ambulance is on their way?
I’d recommend to everyone to get a First Aid & CPR qualification so you can be equipped with skills to help those around you when they’re in trouble.

The courses I completed were run by Surf Life Saving Australia – here is the link for more info:

http://sls.com.au/get-involved/first-aid

Live A Life You’re Proud Of

A few years ago I completed 2 years out of a 3 year Bachelor of Arts degree and was planning to use that degree to go into a post-graduate degree to become a Primary School Teacher. For various reasons my university studies were put on hold and I worked in a few different jobs, never really finding my place in the working world or really feeling as though I’d found a career I wanted to pursue.

In the second half of 2012 I was able to apply to return to university and complete my earlier studies. When I was going through the application process I was offered the chance to be accepted for almost any course I applied for as part of the university’s early offer program. This gift of a broader choice of courses to choose from forced me to sit down, look at what I really wanted out of a career and decide what I felt would challenge me, help me grow and prevent boredom creeping in as it so often had in the past.

So after much thought and discussion with my fiancé (who is a primary school teacher) I decided that I loved the idea of becoming a nurse. I received the early offer into a Bachelor of Nursing and have begun to dive right back into the interesting world of university all over again.
(In Australia a Bachelor of Nursing is a 3 year degree which will give the qualification needed to become a Registered Nurse {RN})

I have always known that I wanted to do the sort of work where you’re helping people, can feel a great deal of satisfaction in your work and will constantly be challenged. I have always wanted to ‘live a life I’m proud of’, as the quote below has reminded me. I know that nursing is definitely going to give me these opportunities and so many others too.

With inspiration from family members and a few friends who are in the nursing profession I am able to gain invaluable advice. I’m grateful that I can use their experiences to help guide me and warn me about what to expect, realistically, as I train to become a nurse.

I’ll be keeping this blog throughout my studies so that I can vent a little, share my experiences, keep a journal for myself and (hopefully) help other people in their journey too. Feel free to comment on my posts or contact me, especially if you have anything you would like to ask that I blog about.

Looking forward to sharing the next 3 years (at least) with you all 🙂

live a life you're proud of

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