The teachers piled on the readings and homework assignments, and my eyes bugged from the long lists of things to do for each course. I thought first semester was hard, but the homework for second semester is even more extensive. The textbooks are also massive. There's no need to lift weights at the gym anymore, seriously. I just have to lug my giant Medical-Surgical Nursing In Canada textbook around. I dread picking that book up.
On the happy side, there's also something new and exciting for second semester - we get to start practicing at the hospitals! Our first assignment will be one healthy elderly person at a local hospital, and we'll likely be shadowing nurses initially or working in pairs to do simple tasks like taking blood pressure, changing beds, and giving bed baths - things we learned to do in first semester.
So the first two weeks of lab was mainly devoted to reviewing the key points from last semester, and demonstrating to the teachers that we were ready (or ready enough, anyways). We got to practice on very life-like robots that blink, breathe, have blood pressure, have lung sounds, heart sounds, etc. They can even have swollen legs. The teachers video taped us practicing different kinds of assessments on these "dummies" and gave us feedback.
What can I say about these videos? Well, first of all, I look like a very squat nurse. The camera in the simulation labs is in the top corner so we get an almost top-down view. If you've ever played a top down or angled-down video game, you'll know that everyone looks sort of short and squat. Sigh, so unflattering camera view aside, I groaned often in watching myself make mistakes. I'm also apparently paranoid, checking and re-checking constantly. That can be a good thing in real life, but it's also slow.
All in all, my clinical group didn't do so badly. We all have a lot to work on before we'll become great nurses, but it was a great learning experience and we were able to pick up on most of our errors immediately afterwards, which is a good sign. "Oh no! I forgot to _____!" was something everyone was saying after they walked out of the room.
That's why these simulation labs are so important. Now that we've screwed up in the lab setting, we're less likely to screw up again in real life. We'll all be jumping on each other's cases for things that we noticed each other missing before.
So, week 1 and 2 are over, and week 3 is coming up. On Friday I'll get to tour the hospital!
I'm still a little scared about working with real people as a student nurse, but I'm also really excited to be able to help someone. Students from the higher up semesters told me to value this clinical experience since we'll have more time to talk to the patients and to build relationships. This is because we have only one patient, and we're very limited on the kinds of tasks we can carry out. As time passes, we'll be trained to do more things, and we'll be given more tasks. This means that we'll be more busy, with less time to spend chatting with the patients.
So, I'm ready to chat! Hopefully, my patient likes a chatterbox :P
Have a great week.
PS - My sister brought that mousepad for me from Hawaii. It's pretty cool, huh?