Greetings. I had a question from a soon-to-be nursing student asking whether or not 12 months is enough time for a nursing degree. It’s a valid question, I’ve gotten some cross-eyed looks from people, especially in the medical field when telling them I am in a one-year nursing program. As I sit here closing in on graduation in a couple weeks, I’m convinced this program is more than adequate. We had to take a lot of pre-requisite classes before even applying to Regis. These pre-reqs, especially anatomy, physiology, and microbiology are the foundation of any healthcare career. The ball is already rolling months or even years before starting the 12-month countdown.
From the first day of class in Regis University’s accelerated BSN program I have lived and breathed nursing. The only classes in the program are ones directly applicable to molding us into great nurses. There’s no English, statistics, or racquetball classes in this short year. This has allowed us to focus 100% on nursing; no other topics are competing for our attention. I haven’t had a job for the last year. Regis discourages working during the program. I know, there’s that whole money issue, but having the responsibility of a job would have directly had a negative impact on my education. For one year I have dedicated 99% of my life to learning how to become the best nurse I can be. I think about disease processes, I see people in the grocery store and try to guess their diagnosis. This is the route my train of thought takes: I see a commercial on TV for an antihyperlipidemic medication… I think about it’s mechanism of action, it’s side effects. I then think about why the guy in the commercial is taking Lipitor. What are his HDL, LDL, and triglyceride levels? What are the normal values? What effects are increased values going to have on the body? Will the cardiovascular system be affected? Coronary Artery Disease will likely be part of this guy’s history. He’ll likely have decreased perfusion, causing many problems. What are the signs and symptoms of an MI? If someone has an MI in the hospital, they need MONA: Morphine, Oxygen, Nitro, Aspirin. If this guy on TV started having chest pain, shortness of breath, etc. what would I do? If he dropped to the ground and I found no pulse what would I do? Compressions. Then I think about the new rules of CPR… C-A-B, not A-B-C. Interesting. Next I go and look at the evidence and research and figure out why the regulations have been changed. Phew! This is how I learn. I don’t memorize, I associate, connect ideas and understand the ‘why’ behind the question or situation.
Whether a one-year nursing program or 4-year traditional style, a massive chunk of the learning curve will be attained on the job. I have been incredibly thankful for the education I’ve received at Regis, and will greatly miss the school environment after graduation.
Senior practicum has been such an awesome experience. It is a culmination of everything we have learned. I work with a preceptor, whatever her schedule is, that’s when I work. Everyday I gain more confidence in myself as a nurse. I have an entire team of nurses I can turn to with questions or when I need help. I love the team atmosphere. I’m on a med/surg floor at St. Joseph Hospital, a place I have come to love after spending 3 rotations there. I walk through the halls and see people I know, and people know me. I love the hospital environment. More confirmation of my career choice everyday!