Saturday, May 31, 2014

Nursing school supplies

We received an email this week that discussed our "boot camp" class that begins July 10. It also said to be on the lookout for another email that has tuition breakdown, nurse supply pack, and a form that will allow us to register for school. 

In the meantime, a student who just finished her first year gave us some information on extra things we will need for school. 

So here is what I bought:

1. A solid black pair of Nike shoes with gel inserts. They are pretty serious about having solid black shoes. Yuck

2. A purple Prestige gel watch with a second hand and military time. 

3. An extra USB

4. A badge reel...purple is my signature color...

5. An extra penlight. They will give us one in our supply kit, but they are easily lost. I bought this one, but I got it in purple. :)

I am so ready to get the rest of my supplies, books, scrubs, etc. Let's do this!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Nursing school goodies

My friend got me a cool shirt to congratulate me on admission to nursing school...

Hardy, har, har!!! :)

And my parents just got me a few more goodies..

I'm a lucky gal!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Step 4: Paying for Nursing School

We haven't heard back from the school yet with all of the registration details but we do know an approximate amount that we will be required to pay. 

At my school, it costs approximately $10,000 to graduate with a degree in Nursing. I'm not a teenager or a twenty-something...I'm a thirty-something. Well, I am one of the lucky ones, I think. We have a little bit of money in savings to put toward tuition and fees, and my husband works full time so that I can devote myself full time to nursing school. 

That being said, we still have a budget. It's not always easy to support a family on one income, much less, send a family member to college. 

So what are the options?

Well, first, look into scholarships! Never underestimate the power of the scholarship application. Many times students don't apply because they don't think they will qualify, leaving very few applicants for scholarships. APPLY! You never know; you might get one! Two of the hospitals in our area give out scholarships to nursing students. It may not pay for the entire tuition, but every little bit helps!

Also, grants are a possibility. Grants are a great resource because that is like free money! You don't have to pay back free money. A little bit, or a lot...take it and run with it!

And finally, look into student loans. This might be a possibility for me. I called our local credit union where we have the majority of our accounts. They have a student loan program that can give me a $10,000 loan for 6.4% interest and would only require monthly interest payments until I graduate. Then I would be required to repay as if it were a personal loan. Some loans defer all repayment until after graduation, which gives you some time to graduate and get a job. 

Personally, my husband has no problem with us getting a loan to pay for school. I, on the other hand, would love to be able to pay as much of it in cash as possible. No one wants to graduate and then be burdened for years with loan repayment. My plan is to save every penny, above and beyond our family budget, in my tuition account. I have a few hundred dollars in it already but hope to have a few more by the time school starts. I am also cleaning out the house and selling items on Varage Sale, because like I said, every penny counts. 

Let's see how much money I can raise by July! 

However you do it, get the money...get the education...become a nurse!!!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Step #3: You got in!

Monday, I was notified by email that I was accepted into the 2014-2016 Cohort and would need to either accept or decline by Friday at noon. 

Um, I replied ACCEPT almost immediately!

So it is now Thursday, and we wait to hear about all the specifics. 

Through the grapevine, I have heard that boot camp begins Summer Session 2, which is July 10th. That is the only thing I know about the program. 

Right now, I am so excited (and a bit scared) to begin. When do we get our scrubs? How do we register for classes? Do we have to go out an buy anything on our own? How much is tuition? What does the schedule look like? Can I personalize my stethoscope? So many questions!!!!

The director of the program emailed me after my acceptance of their offer to let me know that we would be getting information very soon. YAY!

I have purchased new tennis shoes and inspirational shoe tags, because that's how I roll! Excitement!

and here's a little bit the TEAS

Nursing entrance exams...

They strike fear in the heart of even the most confident student. 

At our school, they require the TEAS for admission, and in order to be competitive, your score must be higher than the National Average.

This year's National Average was a 64. My score was an 85. I was nervous that it wouldn't be high enough. AND, my school only takes your first I had to make it count.

So you have to take the TEAS? Are you scared? Well, you should be healthily nervous. This test is no joke!

The TEAS is a four hour, computerized test with four sections that include Reading, Math, Science, and English/Grammar. Please do not take this test for granted! You will need to study for it. 

I purchased the ATI study manual, which was extremely helpful, but pricey at $80. It broke down each area with explanations and practice questions, and it included two full practice tests. I spent about 2 weeks, a few hours a day studying for this and broke it down into one section per day. It might help to take one of the practice tests first, to determine where you need to focus the majority of your time. For me, it was math. Once I got to the actual test, I was very prepared and only missed 2 questions out of about 50 or 60 questions. 

I would highly suggest checking out Khan Academy for their videos breaking down fractions, percentages, conversions, algebraic equations, and such. They also have a lot of information on science related questions. 

Reading consisted of passages to read and then questions on comprehension and inferences. 

Math consisted of all of the above: fractions, percentages, conversions, algebra, and basic arithmetic.

Science consisted of a little bit of everything. You need to know earth and physical science, chemistry, biology, anatomy and physiology, and microbiology. This was a struggle for me and if I had it to do over again, I would have focused more time on the sciences. 

English/Grammar consisted of spelling, capitalization, syntax, parts of speech, and so on. Don't take this section for granted. It is more difficult than you think.

We were given scratch paper, a calculator, and a pencil, and were told get to work. It took me a little over three hours to complete the TEAS and our scores were posted about 2 hours after the test through the ATI website. 

This test is a predictor of how well admissions think you will do in nursing school so it is important to get a good grade. What is considered a "good" grade is up to the school to decide. Look for it on their website or talk to someone in admissions so you will have an idea of what to shoot for. Spend time studying, practicing, and timing yourself. You won't regret it!

Step 2: apply to Nursing school

My college has a lengthy application process that is only one cycle per year. Students have a application window from mid January to mid April for Fall admission only! 

Prior to acceptance, the applicant must:

  • have completed all prep-reqs
  • have three professional recommendations
  • taken the TEAS test and scored above the National Average
  • have a current CPR card
  • be current in all immunizations
  • write a Plan of Success
For me, I didn't have an immunization record since A&M had long since destroyed all those from back in the day. So I had to go get blood work to determine immunity, and then had to go get 6 more shots that didn't show up on the blood work. Be aware, this might happen to you!

I took my TEAS and scored an 85. This will be discussed in another post as I know it is a tedious test that many people have tons of questions about. 

I retook CPR since my certification expired in 2010. 

My Plan of Success was a page long and addressed all the concerns the school posted: budget, transportation, child care, family obligations, study time, illnesses, etc. 

All of it was packaged in a single manila envelope with my name on the outside and was delivered, in person, to the school on February 5th. 

And then I waited....March, April, May....and May 12th, I received my answer!

Step 1: get your pre-reqs done!

Hello all! My name is Amber and I started this blog to chronicle my journey through everything leading up to, during, and after nursing school. 

Quick bio on me...

I am 34 years old (don't ever think you are too old to try something new)

I am married with two boys and two poodles.

I graduated in 2001 from Texas A&M (WHOOP) with a Bachelor of Science in Health Education. I spent my 20's working as a Developmental Specialist with Brazoria County Association for Citizens with Handicaps. My early 30's have been spent at home with my children and as the Vice President and later President of their school's PTO. 

In 2012, we decided, as a family, that it was the right time to go back to school. Nursing was always a profession that interested me, but A&M didn't have a program back then and I was anxious to graduate and get on with my life. My husband was really supportive of my return to school as he has been our sole financial support for 5 years. With the kids' future (braces, cars, car insurance, band, tennis, extra-curriculars, college...) to look forward to, I am thinking he is ecstatic that I can help out. 

Which brings me to Step #1: Get your Pre-reqs done. 

I had taken all of the required courses for nursing school entry at A&M...however, they were too old. Our college has a 5 year time limit on upper level sciences. So over the course of four semesters, I signed up for 4 classes: 

Medical Terminology: Fall 2012 online. It was straight-forward and easy. A

Anatomy and Physiology 1: Spring 2013. I had to work for this A but fortunately it was in this class that I met some study buddies and the first of three professors that would write a recommendation for nursing school

Anatomy and Physiology 2: Summer 2013, session 2. This was a 5 week course with a 3 hour lab and 2 hour lecture every day. Lab quiz every day, and lecture exam every Friday. It was fast paced, crazy, but totally worth it. My third A and my second professor to write a recommendation.

Microbiology: Fall 2013. Boy did I ever have to change how I did everything for this class! This class rocked my world, changed my study habits, and made me grow as a student and a person. My fourth and final A and third professor to write me a recommendation. 

So if you are anything like me, and decide to go back to school a bit later in life, or if you already took these classes and need to take them again to get a better grade, don't complain. Don't procrastinate! Give your all to these pre-reqs. Not only are you going to learn and retain more, but you have a better chance of actually getting into nursing school. 

It's painful and worth it!