Tuesday, January 27th: my last first day of nursing school. Snow in the area pushed the scheduled start time a little later, so my first day consisted of an abbreviated Community and Public Health Nursing course lecture, followed by approximately four hours of “NURS 487: Clinical Practicum and Integration” in the afternoon.
I always feel like I’m drinking from a fire hose on the first day of classes – a feeling that was certainly made worse at the start of this particular semester by a shortened first class, which was a situation beyond the control of everyone except for Mother Nature. As my professors ran through syllabi and deadlines, my visions of lengthening spring evenings spent lounging on the University at Shady Grove’s green lawns became laughable. Well, at least until graduation day on May 15, 2015. (Mark your calendars.)
My takeaways from last Tuesday were 1: the end of my nursing program is, in fact, within reach; and 2: I’ll be spending a lot of time this semester cozying up to my Kaplan-issued NCLEX (that’s the board exam that earns me registered nurse status) prep book and associated on-line questions. The University of Maryland School of Nursing has a pretty great deal with Kaplan, the test prep company, that grants students access to one billion (ok, that is probably not the total number, but it sure feels like it) NCLEX-style questions through a website. If I counted correctly, as part of my NURS 487 course, I’ll sit for 5 or so different versions of these exams over the course of the semester (the NCLEX-style exams are just one component of the course), and then emerge from my preparation a hardened, test-taking machine – or at least something close.
In all seriousness, I’m looking forward to what are sure to be a grueling, but rewarding, 101 days until I walk across the stage on May 15th.