Monday, August 13, 2012

Fall Semester Prep

So summer session is officially over and I have a glorious 2 week break until the Fall semester begins. Over the summer I took Nutrition and Intro to Psych. Nutrition was my first online course and I highly recommend taking these easy classes online, but save the more difficult courses for real in-person classes. You really have to have a good amount of self discipline and the ability to teach yourself in order to succeed in online courses, so think twice before enrolling in just any online course. Especially if you have a doctorate in procrastination like myself.

My original plan was to knock out A&P 2 this Fall since I took A&P 1 last Spring, but the financial aid office decided that I didn't need my financial aid award until 3 weeks before the start of the semester... Thanks guys. So I was left to choose from all of the classes that nobody else wanted, aka History. Most people loathe math or science, but my idea of hell on earth is History class. Don't get me wrong, there are some majorly cool events that happened in the past, but somehow, every single History class I have taken has the ability to make these events into the absolute most boring thing EVER... Plus, History is all about dates. If it weren't for Facebook notifications, I would forget my own birthday. Dates are not my forte. So in true masochistic style, I enrolled to take all 4 required History classes in one semester. Tell me again why a nurse needs to know Texas History, US History, Texas Government, and US Government? Insanity. And just to keep my brain alive, I threw in a Medical Terminology online course. I am seeing a lot of reading in my future.

In the meantime, I'm spending these two weeks of freedom trying to compile a list of every single thing that I need to accomplish before applying to nursing school. One of my professors suggested building a binder to store everything nursing school related. So I've been working on that while also scouring the internet for helpful prep info. Here's a list of everything that I've come up with. Hopefully this will help you guys as much as it's helped me.

General Nursing Info:

AllNurses.com - This is an online community of nurses and nursing students built to share information and experiences. This is by far the most helpful site I have found so far.
Texas Board of Nursing - You can find a list of certified nursing programs in your area and also view pass rates for each of these programs.
Nurse Zone - A great source for anything nursing student related.

University of Texas Health Science Center - Houston Info:

UTHSC Prereqs (pdf) - A nice spreadsheet listing required prerequisites offered by many local schools.
Checklist (pdf) - Applicant checklist listing all requirements for enrollment.
Deadlines - Current admissions deadlines for all nursing programs at UTHSC. (Same for TWU)
Immunizations (pdf) - Listing of all required immunizations. **TIP** If you're like me and have no clue where your immunization records are located or what exactly you have been immunized for, you can request a TITER test at your doctor and they will draw blood to analyze the antibodies you have, therefore they will be able to list your current immunizations.
Physical Exam (pdf) - Form for physical exam requirements.
Tuition & Fees - Estimated breakdown of all tuition and fees related to the program.

Texas Women's University - Houston Info:

TWU Prereqs (pdf) - Spreadsheet listing required prerequisites. (I prefer UT's spreadsheet over TWU's)
Checklist (pdf) - Applicant checklist listing all requirements for enrollment.
Tuition & Fees - Estimated cost of attendance at TWU. (UT's list breaks it down better)

Both programs say that there is a required background check and drug test (at the student's expense), but the info for these requirements is not provided until the student has been accepted into the program. And of course, there are entry exams required to be taken prior to acceptance into either of the schools. UT requires the HESI A2 exam ($90) and TWU requires the more difficult TEAS V exam ($110). I will go into more detail on these exams in another posting. Please share any useful info or tips that you have come across in the comments. I'm always on the lookout for anything to make this whole process as smooth as possible. Until then, I hope that everyone is enjoying what is left of the summer break and here's to all A's in the Fall!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

This is harder than it looks...

So welcome to my first blog... EVER. I've been throwing around the idea of making a nursing student blog almost all summer. At first, I laughed at myself for even thinking that I would have any sort of time to maintain a blog. But after a couple of weeks, I started to realize that it wouldn't be a bad thing for me to have some place to vent and unload (besides my poor husband) and the blog may be a source of motivation to myself and hopefully others.

Let's start with some introductions (fair warning: I'm a wordy girl). My name is Felicia and I'm 27 years old. I'm married with 2 dogs, no kids, and we recently moved to Houston. I haven't actually started nursing school yet, but I'm almost halfway through with my prerequisites at a local community college. If you're wondering what a 27 year old is still doing in college, let me give you a brief overview of my history. I actually enrolled in college as a pre-nursing major right after high school and started working at a national hardware store part-time. I was young and crazy and still enjoying my new adult freedoms. I joined a sorority, took on more hours at work, partied like it was '99 and then found myself in academic probation. All of my life, I've been the "smart one" in the family and always had straight A's. I was in the National Honor Society and salutatorian of my class. So this news came as a complete earth shattering shock to me. I freaked and instead of being motivated to change things, I ran. I dropped out of school and decided to promote within my company. Work was booming at the time and I was a promising girl with drive and a hard work ethic. Fast forward 7 years later, I had worked my way up into senior management with the company, but always secretly felt ashamed that I was working in retail. Cue the Great Recession and the housing market collapse and my company was really hurting. There were tons of changes, layoffs and restructuring. Benefits started disappearing and the once laid back atmosphere became one of worry, vicious rumors, and overall discontent. On top of all of this, we relocated to Houston and I was really struggling with the new city and the difficult store that I had transferred to. I finally decided that I was done with retail management and I was going to fulfill my dream of becoming a nurse. I stepped down at work to a part time position and transferred to a new store.

So here we are... I'm about to begin the Fall semester and hope to start applying to nursing schools at the end of Spring 2013. I'm pursuing my BSN degree and will be applying to the University of Texas Health Science Center (1st choice) and Texas Women's University Houston. I'll be using this blog to share my experiences, advice, and hopefully some awesome stories. Thanks for reading!