Dear Nursing student,
So you are in your fourth semester? For some of you this is your final semester and for others you might have one more semester to go. For me, fourth semester was my final semester and man was I ready to be done, as I’m sure you are too!
So what does fourth semester look like? My final semester of nursing school was full of stress, testing, and making friends while preparing for a new career. During fourth semester you are taking some of your final test before you get ready for NCLEX. You are studying like crazy for not only your testing but also for you NCLEX. Everything you have been preparing for is about to become a reality. For most nursing schools you are taking med-surg two, learning about Intensive care. You’re probably doing a lot of talking about obtaining your license and and consequences if you break a law. My school also did a big pharmacology review.
But what is just as important as the class room, clinicals. Many schools assign students to a unit or a specific preceptor to follow. I followed a nurse in a stepdown unit and I got to function as a nurse, not just a student during this. This was the most exciting part of the semester for me. I got to see what it was going to be like coordinating care for more than one patient at a time. This was really important for my future career. How excited are you for the clinicals?
Now lets look at our check list of things that need to be getting done as graduation comes closer.
- First of all, have you applied and accepted a nursing position yet? Many place start the application process about 6 months before you graduate. I applied for a job in June and graduated in December. I accepted a position in an intensive care unit (ICU) for my first job, however this is not a place for everyone to begin. So of you will start on a medical surgical floor, some in labor and delivery, others may even be on a mother baby floor or pediatrics. Through your nursing school semesters you have learned about all of these nursing practices but not everyone has found exactly where they want to be, and that is ok! Find a place that gives you learning opportunities but won’t be to overwhelming while you are just getting started and growing.
- Second this on our list, after you have a job lined out we need to talk scrubs. Will your position require you to wear a certain color or style scrub set, or will you be able to wear whatever scrubs you want? I got to opportunity to wear whatever scrubs I wanted in my unit. I went down to my local scrub shop and tried on so many styles, brands, and colors. I settled for 3 pairs to start. I got the brand Infinity by Cherokee but now after I have been working for a while I own a lot of Figs. My best suggestion is to start by going to a local store and trying on scrubs to see what feels best.
- Third, make sure you have a work bag that is totally stocked! I bought a Thirty-One bag and filled it with the most important things for work. My stethoscope, a notebook to write all the advise in that I am given at clinicals and the beginning or my days in my new nursing position. I kept a bunch of pens, all colors and brands but my favorites were the erasable pens. I also carried pencils for school and work as a back up if my pens didn’t work. I also always carried post-it notes so I could add notes to my report sheet, or write down when a doctor came in the room. You will learn what all you need in your back for work and school as time goes on.
This is just the beginning of the list of things that need to be done prior to graduation. Make sure you pay close attention in school to figure out how to apply for your NCLEX and your license. Your nursing school will point you in the right direction for these steps at the end of your program.
As always, best of luck this semester, your have almost eaRNed it!