Life of a Nursing Student

Ever wonder what it’s like to be a nursing student? It is a great adventure in every Nursing experience. Get to know more about the exciting life of a Nursing student.

Getting ready

Just like any other profession, there are some prerequisites needed to enter the nursing academe.

Before you could enter the nursing program, you must take the required subjects in high school. These include English, Science, and some Math subjects.

After my high school graduation, what I did was to look for schools where I want to study nursing. After, choosing the school, I took their entrance exam. Then I had an interview with the college admission officer. Some schools required the enrollees to undergo annual physical examination. This is also an opportunity to be aware of some basic medical procedures that you will usually encounter as you practice your profession. After passing the entrance exam, medical check-up and interview, I prepared all the requirements needed and started my nursing journey.

Congratulations, you are in!

You are now starting the journey of your nursing adventure. This is the time you will get to know the subjects that are you going to complete, the protocols, required paraphernalia and others. General subjects usually fall on this phase. The first few years of your nursing education is like a preparatory stage. This is just like a training for a baby that needs to learn walking and to speak. This is the stage where you started to learn the common nursing and medical terms, paraphernalia, books and regular practice.

The acquaintance periodnursing books

Most of the major nursing subjects fall here such as Anatomy, Fundamentals of Nursing, general psychology and others. This is the time I got to know my body parts and their functions. For some nursing schools nowadays, teaching human body parts (Anatomy) involves using of human body part models and visuals. Aside from studying, there are some days that you have to do experiments. Also on this phase, the students do the skills demonstration or the so-called “return-demo” where in you need to perform the procedure of a certain nursing practice. The student needs to recite the steps and the reasons behind those steps. Sometimes a student needs to use a dummy for demonstrations, but most of the time your classmate will be your acting patient. This what makes nursing classes more fun. You don’t have to sit all day trying to digest all your professors’ dialog, but you too need to move and act. Some of the skills that you will learn from return demos are applicable to your daily living. An example of this is bed making, proper hygiene, physical assessment and etc. Because of these return demos, I have learned that whenever I have to do something, there has to be a good reason behind it.

Nurses’ Kit

Just like other  college students, nursing students need to have theirtoools
own set of tools. Most of them have this carry-on Nurse’s bag or in my time, it is called O.B. bag. Inside this bag includes the thermometers, surgical/bandage scissors, bandages, first-aid kits, stethoscope, sphygmomanometer (commonly known as “blood pressure apparatus”) and others. This idea of having this kind of bag not only applicable to my nursing career but also to my daily activities. Up to this date, I still manage to keep a Nurse’s bag in our house which contains the medical tools that I use for my loved ones.

Clinical ExperienceDemo

After the return demos, here comes the nursing exposure or the clinical experience. The clinical experience is often times the keystone of the nursing
student’s career. It is the time you are about to perform what you have learned from your nursing classes to a real patient. This may sound chilling but don’t you worry, your clinical instructors will guide you all throughout your duty. On your first few days, most of your tasks will be taking blood pressures, interviewing your patients and charting (documentation). Sometimes you are going to shadow the nurses while they’re performing their tasks. Some nurses-on-duty will also teach you how they do it and often times they let you do it on their patient. It is not always that your exposure will be exclusive to hospitals.
During my clinical exposures, I was also assigned to one of the private psychiatric institutions. This is the most challenging duty that I have ever had. Although it may sound scary to others, I felt safe and thankful. On this exposure, all nursing students will learn how to use the therapeutic communication, to be compassionate and to see those patients not as abnormal beings but as humans that need help and extra understanding. Other clinical exposures include assigning students to a community, school clinics, and large companies. In community exposure, students conduct health prevention programs same with school clinics, and large companies.

Group activities

Aside from thesis which is common to all college students, nursing students also do case studies and presented to the panel or fellow students. Students select one patient to study. It is quite exciting because you will learn what are the causes of the patient’s disease. The series of his/her disease. This type of activity doesn’t require students to memorize but to familiarize. This what makes studying nursing very cool.

Cost of Nursing Education

Everyone’s connotation of taking up nursing is quite expensive. But to give you an idea, there are some ways to avail nursing education in cheaper ways.

Tuition – During my time, I wasn’t looking for the best schools but I was looking for an affordable school as you know the price of pursuing a nursing profession is somewhat costly.

There are some schools and organizations here in the US that is affordable and sometimes offers scholarship programs. Community colleges which offer BSN programs cost lower than large universities.

For community colleges, tuition for full-time ranges from $864 to $3,168 per semester. Whereas, cost per credit hour usually ranges from $72 to $216.

Books –  The cost of books differs, it depends if you buy a brand new or a used one. Usually, it is only on your fist few years that you are required to buy those books but moving forward you may not need to buy anymore. Books cost from $1,000 to $3,000 each year. You may try borrowing books from others who were recently completed their semester or visit the library more often to gather all the information that you need. This technique works for me throughout my college years.

Miscellaneous Fees – these cover the uniforms, vaccinations, Name tag, Supplies and apparatuses, Healthcare programs, graduation fee, laboratory fees and other fees which vary depending on the school you are enrolled in. These may cost around $600 to $800.

Being in a nursing school is one of a kind experience for a student’s life. You may have bad days, bad grades, sleepless nights, and heartbreaking moments with your patients and professors but the value of the experience that you will get is priceless. Aside from learning inside the classroom, you also learn to face the reality of life.  This what makes this journey seems to be a roller-coaster ride feeling.

Additional references:

About the author

cherry-ann-vincentCherry Ann A. Vicente was born and raised in Laguna, Philippines. The eldest among her four siblings took up Bachelor of Science in Nursing and became a Registered Nurse in 2009. She was an active volunteer of Philippine Red Cross, an organization which is a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. After a year of doing charity works, she started to work in a primary hospital as an Emergency and Staff nurse. A small but terrible one, she used to assist geriatric, pediatric and post-operative patients where most of them are classified as critically-ill patients. She was working in the hospital for almost two years when she got pregnant with his only child. Then she stopped working for a while and focus on taking care of her child.

Currently, she is a freelance writer and a full-time Quality Analyst for an insurance company. Her passion for serving others continue as she signed up in Philippine Red Cross and became a blood donor. She uses her writing talent to widen the awareness of the society regarding the value of Nurses. She may not be working in the hospital now, but by assisting others to their health care concerns, she is still practicing not only her profession but also her vocation to save lives

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