It seems startling how quickly this term came and went!
It seems that I wrote about the start of it only weeks ago, and already, we’ve whisked through three classes and their respective midterms, term projects, presentations, and final exams. Now, all that’s left is the two biggest written final exams, and our final case studies lab exam.
We’ve left the focus of last term’s gerontology behind in order to shift into the topics of mental health, maternity and postpartum/newborn care.
These subjects are brand new to us and it has been exciting yet scary delving into this unknown area of nursing, many of us nervous about the challenging and overwhelmingly broad subjects, while others were obviously excited about learning more about these specific areas of nursing.
The thing that is on everyone’s mind is case studies. Case studies testings always closes out the term. It is similar to the catheter testings that I wrote about last post, except it is much more nerve-racking and requires a lot more preparation! Basically, at the start of each term, we are given four scenarios. We are to research and write papers on each scenario. Most of us usually start researching our four scenarios and writing papers at the beginning of the term to get a head start on practice. However, I must admit, the fact that this term is so short and so jam-packed made it slightly difficult to finish writing my papers and prepare ahead of time!
On the day of case study testing, our tester tells us which scenario we have and we have to forget everything else about the other three! We are given five minutes to prepare by reviewing our case study scenario and paper.
When we walk into the lab, tension, stress, and adrenaline is running high. For the first 15 minutes, we are given a series of questions from our tester that we need to answer using the knowledge from our research, homework, and classes.
This oral testing part requires us to do a lot of critical thinking – especially in this current term where it is a huge focus. For the rest of the testing time (45 minutes) we go to the “hard skills” portion of the exam where we have to actually perform the skills for our tester. This means that we should be practicing the skills outlined in each paper and scenario that we learnt in our lab classes. We should be practicing on our own at home, and with classmates in open lab. Practicing is integral to our success. This way, we can challenge each other to think outside the box, ask each other questions we wouldn’t normally think about, and get comfortable with procedures.
The end of the term is a stressful time and it’s always a challenge to have confidence that you will pass the weekly (and sometimes twice-weekly) exams that close off each term. Although we have lost some of our classmates along the way to these exams, our cohort is pretty good at supporting and encouraging each other.
There is always that anxious feeling in the back of my mind that I may not pass through to next term with the rest of the cohort, but I try to remember that I’ve gotten this far by working hard, and that helps to instill some confidence in me. It also feels amazing to step out of the lab after the final exam during case studies day! I usually feel so satisfied with all my hard work, extremely relieved for passing, and very grateful for a few days off!