Jesus meets Martial Arts meets Nursing School

So sore from 1st night back at Dojo

I went back to class on Wednesday (today is Friday) and I am SO SORE now! It wasn’t too grueling of a workout, but I haven’t used a lot of those muscles for close to 5 months and I really felt it! I showed up to help the kids classes and that was a lot of fun! Then the adult class began! We started with Sensei Cunningham leading light warm-ups aside from the major ab workout and the 60 pushups. Then He, Duke, and I went to the back to work on Chatan Yara Sai, and Tuifa… and Duke and I finished up with All 3 bo kata. While we worked the first two weapons, the rest of the class was led by the brown belts (Keith, Alice, and Daniel) and the 9 kicks were led by the only purple belt (Rebecca). Then Duke and I worked the bo forms while the rest of the class split up into groups to work kata and basics.

It was a great turn-out according to Duke as there was he, I, Keith, Alice, Daniel, Rebecca, Gerald, Molly, Hannah, Ms. Riggs, and a couple other white belts. I think all had a good time! If only the mudansha (below black belt holders) would come early and help out with the kids classes!

I’ve been taking advil to help with the muscle soreness. Have to go to work tonight and my back is still aching. I will make do though. God’s got me and will never let me go. Hopefully working out next week (and each week after) the soreness will decrease each time. I’m SO happy to be back at the dojo. It’s where my heart has been all the while I’ve been out! It was great to spend time with Sensei. He continues to be my inspiration regarding so many things! Also, Duke had a lot of good help on me cleaning up my Shi Shi No Kun no Dai… which I left out a chunk of. He also helped me get up to date on some other things as well.


Advice from a Student Nurse

Here is some advice to help you be successful in nursing school. It came from the AllNurses Forum. (Thank you Joe N635DC)

1. Never forget why you are doing this. (There will be times you will ask yourself, “What the heck was I thinking?”)

2. Focus each day on what is most important and find balance between nursing school and personal time.

3. Effective studying is paramount! (Set up an area where you can focus free of distractions.)

4. Actually study! (Don’t sit there goofing off and then say you did. It will bite you in the butt when it comes time for tests and clinical performance/evaluations. Also, these are people’s lives at stake.)

5. Don’t take shortcuts. (Like mentioned above… you’re actions can very well mean life or death to a patient!)

6.Prioritize your life. (Be prepared to say no to friends and stand your ground if you have things that really need to be done.)

7.Pace yourself. (You are learning about a fantastically complex device call the human body. It is not nearly possible to try and learn what you need to know the night before the test. Plan ahead, study and keep up with the content and you will be in a much better position to do well.)

8.  Reading ahead a little. (It will help with comprehension and give you a head start in case an emergency comes up.)

9. Set aside ample time for care plans ( Care plans always take at least twice as long as you think they should. Avoid staying up until 2 am because you think it will only take a certain amount of time.)

10. Study in small blocks of time(a few hours) and remember that your brain needs time to process all you just learned. Breaks between study blocks (of time) are absolutely essential (30 minutes to several hours). Find what works for you and stick to that.

11. Flash cards are great! (And I’m talking about the ones you MAKE not the ones you buy! When you write things down it helps commit that knowledge to memory! And it’s a lot cheaper to make your own as well!)

12. Group studying helps. (Bouncing ideas and questions off of each other is a great way to hammer away at learning new content. When it comes to pneumonics and other memory devices, the creativity of a group is much greater than as a single individual.)

13. Don’t give up on yourself. (It’s not over till its over. If you are having a rough semester, stop, evaluate and take action EARLY. Why withdrawl from a semester when you can finish it proper?  The key is to recognize that you have a problem early on and do some damage control to bring it back while you still can. When things start to go bad, knuckle up and finish strong!)

14. Don’t be a problem child. (When making it through nursing school it is best to try and fly under the radar, just blend in. You definitely do not want to be the one student that every professor knows about. News flash, they have faculty meetings and share the progress of the students with the other professors. If you really tick one of them off, pretty soon they are all going to know about it. If you let this become you then every action you take (or fail to take) will be scrutinized (probably overly so) and it may eventually end up in your failing a course.)

7 Ways to be a Success in Nursing School

I could advise you to study until you fall asleep on your books, and then wake up go to class, and repeat. However, you already know you are going to have to study. Soooo, my advice is:

1. Be on Time  (be early. You often get to see a “softer” side to your instructor each day as they are preparing for class, and it puts a good foot forward for when you start clinicals and they are on your case about everything. It’s pretty easy to be on time (ie 10 minutes early) and let’s face it — you can’t be late…they lock the door.)

2. Stay organized (Get a planner and plan when and where you are going to study. I plan to study in the school library because home last go around was too chaotic especially with house work needing to get done interrupting one’s thinking while studying and different things involving my ADHD kept me from getting the material covered.)

3.Schedule time to sleep! (If you don’t put it on a schedule and stick to it, you’ll never get any. Also at some point, you’ll retain more from sleeping than you’ll learn if you try to study past that point. You’ll figure out that point after a couple weeks into the program.)

4. Get a routine. (Try to create a schedule where you are at your optimal best. Once you get to your first exam results, adjust accordingly. If you give 100% for that first test, you’ll know about how many hours you’ll need to study to succeed/get the grade you want. If that first test grade is lower than the cut off (cut-off is usually around 77%, start praying!)

5. Schedule time for you! (This keeps you sane! I schedule 30 minutes to transition from the happenings of the day to STUDY MINDSET! I also set aside 30 minutes a day for just me , usually my favorite tv show. And finally I factor out 10 minute breaks every hour when studying (and its study an hour, then break for 10… not study for 50 minutes and break) During those 10 minute breaks you can get something to hydrate you, go to the bathroom, reply to text messages, blare your favorite music and party (great stress reliever)!, etc.) <<Sidenote: I say get something to drink during the break b/c if you’re drinking anything other than water, you’ll quickly pack on the lbs. by sipping throughout study time. But sometimes, you just gotta have your coffee!>>

6. Exercise (Get in the habit! It’s great for stress relief, your figure, and your mental health. It releases a natural high that makes you feel good!)

7. Lean on others! (You almost have to do this to stay afloat somtimes. Share notes, study together, compare clinical stories and light-bulb moments. The bond you will create will help carry you through the days when you begin to rethink if its worth all the schooling to be a nurse.)

Things You Need For Nursing School

For those of you reading that are eager to begin shopping for the things you are going to need in nursing school, I’ve compiled a list of those very things that I created based on a very lengthy topic thread on the website . I tried to include in parentheses the reasoning behind several things on the list so you can decide if you think you’ll need that particular item. I hope it helps ~Lib

Office  Supplies
    3 Ring Binder (I recommend you get 2 of them, 4 or 5″ – one for current material and one for old test materials (think finals))
    Loose leaf notebook paper
    3 hole punch (for all the   papers you’ll get that aren’t already punched)
    3 folders for clinical (some   sware by an accordian folder that has multiple slots)
    Black Pens (you have to   document in Black at clinicals. Also taking lecture notes, you need a lot of   these.
     index cards (if you sware by   making note cards. You’ll need big ones (5×7) for making drug cards
     No. 2 Pencils (need these for   tests)
    Backpack (it needs to be very   roomy – many sware by one with wheels!)
    stapler, small
    Highlighters (these will help   bold important stuff when taking notes in lecture
    calculator (for doing drug   calculations)
     Clipboard (for clinical – get   one that you can store stuff inside. They usually have a calculator on the clip  part…)
    Little Memo Pad (for your   pocket to write down vitals and such at clinicals)
    Post Its
    Post It Flags (to mark assigned readings among other things in large books so these will really help with studying)
    Page protectors (for your   syllabus and important papers)
    Thumb Drive to carry files   back and forth
Study Stuff
    Medical Dictionary (usually   comes with the books you buy)
    NCLEX Review Guide (~$40 from   Amazon… Saunders is the best. Get one with a CD included)
    Drug Book (usually comes with   the books you buy – Davis’ Guide is best)
    Nursing Care Plan Book (won’t   need until 2nd semester I think – I’m asking for one for Xmas)
Nursing Stuff
    White Shoes (comfy! I have   shape ups… you’ll be on your feet 6-8 hr/day with clinicals!)
    Blood Pressure Cuff
    Pen Light
    Medical Scissors (you don’t   have to have these, but people were all the time needing the pair I got)
Home Supplies
    Coffee Maker
    Desk Lamp
    Printer Ink and Paper (you’ll   be printing a LOT of lecture powerpoints!)
    LOUD alarm clock!
     Travel sized items you may   need at clinical in a pinch
             EX: tylenol, tums, midol, chapstick,   etc.
    Baby bottle of hand   lotion
    Tote Bag (to carry stuff in to   clinicals)
Mindset Stuff
    Sense of Humor
    Being Surrounded by Supportive   People
    Healthy Diet
    Quiet plact to study
    a brain
    a spine


It’s been a long while Since I posted on this blog. Here is the short version of what has happened since I last wrote.


December 2011 – Missed the minimum grade I had to have by 2 questions on the final exam so I was “kicking out” of nursing school.

January 2011 – Retook the CNA state certification test (the skills part) and passed!

January 2011 – Started a CNA 2 course at NCC.

April 2011 – Completed CNA 2 course and am now registered with the NC BON as a CNA 2! WOO HOO!

April 2011 – Received my acceptance letter to both Nash and Edgecombe for LPN and RN programs, chose ECC!


And those are all the major happenings. I hope to be more consistent with my posts from here forward, trying for one post per week – though I may post extra before nursing school starts to get the jitters out for what is about to take place as I begin my 2nd effort at getting my RN




Clinical Orientation

Wednesday of this week we wore professional clothes with our lab coats and name tags and met with our clinical instructors at our clinical site to go on a tour and hear some lecturing from our individual clinical instructors about requirements, paperwork, and details on dress code.

The place has four halls with a central nursing station. My Clinical Instructor is Ms. Lewis. There are 10 of us students that work under her, and the first week we are going to be paired up! YES!

The biggest leg up I have is having already done CNA clinicals… aside from physical assessment much is still the same. AM CARE, showers, bed baths, hair care, mouth care, denture care, toileting, etc. That kind of thing.

Most rooms at the facility are private, and we will start out with only one patient (per pair). By week two who knows if we will be alone. Ms. Lewis said she would add additional patients on as our confidence increases.

Hope this gets you as excited as it does me!


Off to study,


A week of tests

Welcome to nursing!

I feel like that should be said every week because nothing seems routine yet. We are still juggling teachers, seeing at least one a week for the first time – there are 3 teachers left we haven’t had yet.

Anyways, two weeks ago I had a lot of exams and here are the results to them. While I was not happy with any of them really, I plan to do better by the next exam date.

1. CNA boards – Passed written, Failed skills (forgot to do ROM on foot)

2. Exam 2 – I made a 72 and haven’t finished the assigned remediation work, which is due by Oct 20th I think it is.

3. ATI Test on Critical Thinking – made a 78%

4. Assessment check offs – PASSED! 😀

5. Drug Calculations math test – made 85, needed a 90 so the second chance (of 3) is Friday, Sept. 30th at 10 am (after lecture)

Like em or love em, there they are.



Back to oiling and sharpening the sword

My dad brought up a great example of what I’m doing today. While I hadn’t personally seen this particular connection, I thought it warranted its own post!

I took my exam (went to battle) and passed (survived with minor wounds). Now I am back home (home) and am reorganizing my note book (removing and cleaning my armor) for the next section/exam (battle). I am reviewing what I missed (bandaging my wounds) and celebrating (drinking sake’)

Okay, so he didn’t say the sake’ part, but I just couldn’t resist the reality of what battle was. Much like today’s soldiers, when they come home they celebrate the living of life usually with alcohol and family gatherings. I won’t be partaking of any, but I reminisce over visual images like that in the movie, the Last Samurai.

Anyhoo, food for that!




Test 1 – 84… so far

In martial arts you spend years progressing in the ranks of black belt. (Lower belts are like primary school, and the black belt ranks like going to college) Considering I’m in college at nursing school, I saw this exam very much like a yudansha (black belt holder) exam. They both required lots of study time, great internal motivation, and the determination to see it through and stay focused.

So, needless to say, Test 1 came and went this morning. The application style was just as hard as I expected, so at least I wasn’t blind-sided by that. Here is how I found out where I stacked up against the class!

We had tests (w/ the questions typed out) and scantrons (where you bubble the answers so they can be graded electronically). When the test was finished, you just sat there with your exam face down until the grueling hour was complete! (I went SLOW and reread questions several times, taking my time… and STILL managed to have 25 minutes left over to go crazy with my Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) self! )

Anyways, we took a break after the hour was complete and put the scantrons in a stack on the front desk. I glimpsed at the pattern of a classmates and saw that about half were similar, miniscule relief that was.

When we got back from break, we went over the exam and had Remediation Worksheets that we would write the question number we got wrong followed by why we got it wrong. Example: “#1    I narrowed down to two answer choices and picked the wrong one”. There were 25 slots on the paper, so I assume they think we’ll get at least half of them right! (LOL) So I wrote down 8 items missed for my worksheet though I honestly couldn’t remember what I picked as an answer for one of those, so I may have only missed 7.

The reason I write “for now” in the subject line is that the exam is up for review until the end of the week. Every professor in the department has to read it and compare their thoughts with the results from our class (ie. how many missed each question) to see if any questions will be thrown out. If they are thrown out, you hope it’s one that you got wrong, because the number of questions subsequently drops making the value of points per question greater. So if you did miss one they throw out, your score goes up; conversely, if you didn’t miss the one they threw out, your score drops b/c the point value for the ones you DID get wrong increased. (I know that’s sticky math, but hopefully you get the gist of what I’m trying to say.)

I shared my grade with one other person in the class, who asked me point blank how I did, and she threw her arm around my shoulder and said, “Great job!” That made me smile, and still does. My parents all (3) thought I did well, but I was really hoping for a 90%. I will try again for the 90% on the next test, but for now it will have to do. Hey… as long as my average is above a 77%, then I’m passing! WOO HOO!

Take care and celebrate with me. Do a little dance, make a little — wait, nevermind. That’s gross! But take a moment to smile at life and appreciate the little successes you have had today/recently!


Dad taught us archery when we were little. This pictured reminded me of those good days and also shows the arrow at about where I scored on the test. Not an A, but I can taste the bullseye!

Hurricane Irene kills electricity – Allows for extra day of studying

Hurrican Irene took down trees and also power lines. Our power was off 10 hours on Saturday, and then about 20 minutes on Sunday. My college cancelled all classes for today (Monday) and therefore our test was postponed until tomorrow!

I looked at the schedule for the next couple of weeks and I’m up the creek without a paddle for this week because we lost four hours of lecture that are now going to be crammed into the remaining hours of lecture this week. (Entire week is on one topic) We had scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday of this week to be clinical check offs. That is when you go into the lab (on college campus) and do hands on nursing skills while an instructor grades you as a pass/fail for that skill. You have 3 chances (not the same day) to get a grade of “Pass” or you are kicked out of the program. That has me really nervous! Anyways, there are about 15 skills we have to know for the upcoming check-off. While most of them I learned in CNA classes, some include differences from what I learned, and a few of the skills are entirely new (med administration for one).

We find out tomorrow how the material and class time is affected. We cover caring interventions and medication administration (including dosage calculations) all this week, and then we have a break. Monday of next week we are off for Labor Day. Tuesday and Wednesday we have lecture (I think) – or possibly check-offs for assessment and vital signs. Thursday will be an open lab time for us to practice on the mannequins in order to hone our skills. and Friday we will start Unit 10 (the second half – already did first half) on Sleep and Rest for an exam on the following monday.

Exams every two weeks makes for a fast-paced study regimen. Every night I am putting in 4-6 hours reading material for lecture, printing out and looking over lecture powerpoints, and reading over my class notes. Occasionally I’m making flash cards, but they take up a lot of time to make and little time is left after all of the above to reap the benefits of them.

I’ll leave you with two drugs that I’m having trouble remembering: 1) propoxyphene (Darvon… with tylenol it’s darvocet) which was taken off the market because of the adverse effects to the heart electrical conduction. 2) merperidene (Demoral) which is an opioid narcotic. Hopefully I’ll have them memorized before 8 am tomorrow!

Take care and thanks for reading!



me flying thru the hurricane, but hanging onto my study skills (the sign)

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