Single Status Update
Well, semester. On Friday I finished my first semester of an accelerated nursing program to earn a BSN. I have never ever been pushed so hard in school. This is why I've been gone. Going into it, everyone said it'd be hard, and I knew it'd be hard. But actually dealing with it is something else. This blog is probably going to end up as a tl;dr bitchfest, but for my sanity I need this. So hell it if it's crap or whatever. As for what an accelerated program is, it condenses 2 years of knowledge into 15 months. We started in June and already did 5 classes tacked on one after the other and one at a time. It's similar to summer classes, except shorter. Each one has been about 2-3 weeks long. But it follows the same idea of an exam or two each week and not having much time to prep. Each class ran from 8:30-4:30 five days a week. Of course, we'd be let out sooner sometimes.
The first four classes were certainly not easy, but they were fair. If I wrote about them I'd seem like a teen bitching about high school. But for those of you who didn't know me in my teen years, I'll do it. There was a class where we had to memorize a 10 page script for our final while also dealing with the exam or two each week and the stress of balancing it all. But the plus side is it just needed to hit on a "checklist" for points, which was 3-4 pages. Not to mention some of the categories for the test were random, so we didn't know what we'd get. We had about 2-3 weeks for this class, but didn't start prepping for finals until several days before. Not fun, but not horrible. The second hurdle was balancing clinical homework with exam prep for class number 4. Clinical was 3 days, class was 2 days at the end of the week. So we had to work on our clinical projects and then stress about the exams before we even met for lectures. But she was fair, and once again it was manageable.
Now we have class number 5. There was nothing good about class number 5 except that it's over, and I pulled an A-. The teacher was stubborn, always blaming others for problems. Refusing to curve exams unless the questions were really fucked up. And started the first day just with a negative tone (such as saying "if" you pass rather than "when"). There are 42 students in this program, and this is when people started failing tests. I failed 2, hence why the A- was a blessing. This is a class of overachievers. If you ever saw that person in your class who gets pissy about a B+, chances are they'd be here. So my point is that this wasn't normal, especially since the information for many of the questions weren't from her lecture, nor were they in the book.
We also had several exams per week. It was very normal to go to class, do a lecture, lunch, learn skills, practice skills, then have a written and skill test the following morning. Then after the test we'd have a lecture, learn skills, have time to practice skills if we're lucky, and come in the next morning only to repeat this hell. Sometimes we had a day where we didn't have exams though. Sometimes we even had two days! But we had 10 exams total (5 written 5 skills) in a two week class. We had to learn how to use a catheter in a day! Not even a day, actually. And there were also "autofails" where if, say, I broke sterile technique, I'd fail. But hey, at least not all of them had that. And if we recognized it and said so we wouldn't fail. But the stress was still there. We all cracked in our own ways. And it didn't help that our teacher occasionally gave us false facts. She mixed up serous fluid and sanguine, eschar and slough, and even had the bright idea to be a smartass about it when it was questioned (before we confirmed on our own later). This was just from our final unit, I didn't even count her errors from earlier lessons.
So you might be thinking, who cares? It's life, it's college, get over it. Except for the fact that the people in this class are going to be caring for you when you need it most. So is it really a good idea to be teaching us information that isn't true? And that's the extra stress, because we had to go out of our way in this course to work around her incompetence. We had to stress about what we should know that we didn't learn. We had to stress about what skills to study to be tested on and often need to pry information from her (she said she was "giving us a gift by telling us what to expect" as opposed to memorizing an entire skill sheet the night before an exam). Even telling us what MIGHT be on it was a gift, according to her. But by the end I think everybody just stopped caring and we went through the motions. She told us what skills we needed, we were tested on the skills, we sucked on the written tests, and onto the next.
But it's over for now, and I start fall on the first of September. We will have 3 classes at once, multiple clinicals, and these classes are much longer. So it'll be hard, but that's fine. I knew it'd be hard, and teacher number 5 was the only one who was incompetent, so this hopefully was a one time thing.
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What does accelerated nursing program mean? Like, you do it all in a shorter time than normal, or..?
I'm a nurse (infection clinic at a state hospital), and all I can say is that you'll see/feel/experience aloooooot of cool/sad/gross/funny/weird/etc stuff, guaranteed! :)
That sounds awesome! I mean, in terms of the variety of things you get to see. Not so much all the infections you can pick up!
But yes, accelerated is essentially a second-degree program. I did my prereqs like A&P, Bio, Chem, etc before the program so when it started the content focused solely on Nursing. Everyone in the program had a bachelor's degree in something else. And my program was 15 months long, not counting graduation - NCLEX. This way was better for me.