Orientation

Orientation for the DEMN* program was Tuesday. Can you say overwhelming? Actually it’s not that the information was overwhelming in and of itself, rather that the prospect of dumping the career I’ve had for six and a half years and returning to life as a full-time student in an area I know practically diddly-squat about is overwhelming. As the current student they had speak stated, “When I was in your shoes a couple years ago I was scared shitless!” Well, yeah, that’s one way to put it!

That speaker was probably the one thing I would change about the orientation actually. When he started his section of the program I was expecting some sort of “rah rah” pep talk. Which I think he did try to approximate, however it came out more as a condescending doom-and-gloom report. I guess he was going for the realistic approach. This sort of talk doesn’t bother me from a practical standpoint, as I DO think it’s important for people to realize what they’re getting into and to know that no matter what obstacles you face you can, and probably will, make it through just fine. My main issue is that this sort of talk is essentially useless. He can tell us how cold the water is while we’re standing on the edge of the dock, but it’s not going to mean much until we each jump in. And even then each of us will experience it slightly differently. Some will scream “ooh, it’s cold, it’s cold!” others will say, “eh, it’s not that bad,” others will probably swim around happily not noticing the cold. I appreciated his willingness to talk to our class, but I spent most of the time he was talking mentally editing his speech.

Other than that, it was a useful — if not warm and fuzzy — session. We FINALLY found out the new curriculum for our class. For the first three classes they basically renumbered all of the undergrad nursing courses as grad courses and crammed them into one year. In order to do so the courses were all on an 8-week schedule. I believe the first year consisted of 64 credits. While it was noble to try to replicate the BSN courseload, it also created a fair number of redundancies when combined with the CNL (clinical nurse leader) courses. Plus, even though students were eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN after the first year and start working, there weren’t many new grad jobs available at that time of the year (since every other school in the area graduates students in May) and students had a hard time balancing the orientation requirements of their new employer with a full-time class schedule. For our class the curriculum has been streamlined, we’ll have to complete fewer credits (73 instead of 92), we won’t be eligible to sit for the NCLEX until after May of 2008, however, the whole shebang will be completed in two years as opposed to two and a half for the current class(es). It looks a lot better to me!

* You’d think they could have come up with a better acronym, one that doesn’t so closely resemble “damn” or that doesn’t inspire the nursing department to “affectionately” refer to us as “demons.”

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