A Week in the Life of a First Year Nursing Student
I am currently in my second semester of the Camosun/UVic BSN program, where the workload has gotten crazier and the content is more exciting.
A typical week includes lots of studying and going to placement experiences, so I’m going to take you on a journey through what my week looks like as a first year.
Starting off strong, I only have one class on Mondays and it’s in the afternoon. This class is called Nursing 133, which covers health across the lifespan.
We start learning about pregnancy all the way up to old age and death. It’s very interesting to be able to learn about all of the changes and developments we go through in life and how nurses are involved in caring for each stage of life.
Total school time: 3 hours
First thing in the morning on Tuesday is my anatomy and physiology (A&P) for nursing lab. Here, we get to do a lot of hands-on learning in relation to the human body.
In one of my recent labs, we got to prick our fingers in order to collect blood specimens and we measured our own levels of hemoglobin (carries oxygen throughout the bloodstream) and iron levels.
We get a little break for lunch after the lab and then head to our A&P lecture. Right now, we’re covering the cardiovascular system which is quite complex and difficult to learn, but it’s also super fascinating.
Total school time: 4.5 hours
It’s the middle of the week, and this is when we have our clinical placements. This semester, we started by doing health promotion by teaching the SipSmart program for grade 5 students.
Our upcoming experience this week will be public health in the child health clinics, where we’ll measure and weigh babies before their vaccination appointments.
For the rest of the semester, we’ll be going to long-term care every week where we’ll be able to practice our skills on real people.
It’s a very important experience for us because we start getting used to building relationships with our patients and providing care. Long-term care is usually centered around caring for older adults with complex needs such as dementia and chronic illnesses. We have to be at the facility and on the unit by 6:45am each week.
Total school time: 6 hours
Early in the morning, we start the day with a 4-hour skills lab. For this class, we’re practicing skills such as medication administration and head-to-toe assessments.
Having an opportunity to understand how to implement interventions allows us to build critical thinking skills and be able to observe and catch on to presenting problems and how to help our patients.
After lunch, we go to our next lecture which is Nursing 111, the discipline of nursing. Not only is nursing a profession in that we have a specific set of skills and knowledge, but it is a scholarly discipline that is informed by its own specific theories and research methods.
Mainly in this class, we are learning how to be scholarly nurses and conduct research critiques and understand how nurses are involved in the evolution of the practice.
Total school time: 7.5 hours
To end off the week, we only have one lecture for A&P, to go over the remaining information of the week and consolidate our understanding of the topics we’ve covered so far.
After Friday is over and the weekend starts, it’s time to get into reset mode and do everything over again the next week.
Total school time: 1.5 hours