Nursing school orientation is just one of the many things that is so different in 2020. At orientation, your professors will go over the dress code for skills lab and clinicals, the schedule that you could have for your clinical rotations, what skills lab will look like, the books and supplies you’ll need, and they’ll emphasize how much hard work you are going to need to put into nursing school.
What to Expect From Nursing School Orientation
Welcome back to Nursing School Week by Week. I’m Melanie. I’m so glad you could join me. Today we are gonna talk about what you can expect from your nursing school orientation. If you are starting nursing school soon, with Covid-19 affecting nearly every aspect of our lives, many things will be very different for you, than it was for students who started nursing school last year. Now we have to think about things like social distancing and wearing masks all the time, and how do you do that and still go to nursing school? How do you keep 6 feet away from your friends during skills lab? How do you practice taking vital signs? Remember, the only constant in nursing is change. There will always be changes, and as future nurses, we must learn to adapt to those changes and embrace new challenges.
Nursing school orientation is just one of the many things that is so different in 2020. There is a very good chance that some, if not all of your orientation will be held online. My orientation was a 2 hour zoom meeting, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed. I really wanted to be in the physical classroom with everyone else, building that sense of community. But, I understand the need to stay distanced whenever possible.
Alright, let’s get into the nitty gritty. At orientation, your professors will go over the dress code for skills lab and clinicals, the schedule that you could have for your clinical rotations, what skills lab will look like, the books and supplies you’ll need, and they’ll emphasize how much hard work you are going to need to put into nursing school.
Your dress code will most likely consist of at least 1 set of solid-colored scrubs and closed-toe shoes. The shoes in either white, black, brown, or blue. The shoes need to be made out of an easy to clean material, like leather. Something you can spray and wipe clean, cause who knows what’s gonna get splashed on those things! Your socks can’t be any crazy colors like hot pink, or have funky taco prints on them. Just socks in plain colors. You can usually wear a plain colored short-sleeve shirt underneath your scrub top. But you can only wear a long sleeve shirt if you’re covering up tattoos.
It’s up to you how many sets of scrubs you want to buy. Just know you could have back-to-back nursing shifts. For example, you could work a clinical shift on Friday night, and need to be back again for your second shift on Saturday morning. So, if you only had one set of scrubs, you would need to wash and dry and hang up a load of laundry at 11:00 at night when you get home. Probably not what you want to be doing. Just spend the extra money and get 2 sets of scrubs. It’ll be worth it.
As far as jewelry goes, you can wear some small stud earrings, and a wedding band, but it’s probably best to leave the wedding band at home cause it’s gonna get dirty, and just make it that much harder to effectively wash your hands.
Clinical sites do not allow nursing students to wear artificial nails because bacteria can get trapped in between the fake nail and your real nail. And for color, I know my school only allows clear nail polish. So, yeah, just forget about having the cutest nails in nursing school. Just embrace the natural look.
Your school may not want you to wear scrubs to skills lab just because with the coronavirus, they don’t want the nursing students who work with covid patients, maybe as a CNA, to wear those same scrubs to skills lab and then possibly infect other students.
During nursing school orientation, you will learn more of what to expect for clinicals. You’ll most likely have clinicals twice a week. My school does just 6 hour shifts, but some schools do 12 hour shifts. Most schools do NOT take special requests for clinical shifts. There are just too many students usually for them to accommodate everyone’s schedule. Your professor will just tell you when and where to be and you will have about a week to figure it all out. This is one reason why it’s best if you don’t have to work a full-time job, while you’re going to nursing school. It’s also why it’s so important to have a strong support system before you start. Don’t be surprised if your clinicals start after just one or two weeks of your nursing school start date. We learn best by doing, and your professors are going to want to get you working in the hospital quickly. That’s why your first 2 weeks of nursing school are so jam packed with information on vital signs and fundamental skills.
My professor warned us that if Covid gets too bad, our clinicals could change to just a virtual simulation, and I really hope that does not happen. I just get worried that with all these changes to our nursing education, with the Zoom lectures, and the limited time for skills lab practice, I just worry that we’re gonna be the least-prepared graduating class in the history of graduating classes, and I don’t want that to happen. But, hopefully it won’t. It’s just something I think about.
Ok, so, during nursing school orientation, you will get your book list of all the books you need for your first semester. Usually you can choose to buy an older edition of your books to save money, but you are expected to know the material from the edition on the book list. Also, the page numbers might be off for the assigned readings if you’re using an older edition.
It’s recommended that you buy most of your books that you’ll be using for your fundamentals course, as well as pharmacology, and med-surge. But for more specialized classes, like psychology and pediatrics, you can rent the books, since you won’t be referring back to those over and over. You will need to buy a 2-sided stethoscope. Littman is a good brand, but it doesn’t really matter what brand, as long as you can hear well with it. I’m not going to go too in depth with the supplies that you’ll need, since I’m gonna do a podcast on that next week!
One of the big things you can expect from your nursing school orientation is to come away from it feeling overwhelmed. Well, maybe equal parts overwhelmed and excited. Your professors are going to stress how much work you will have to do. They will tell you not to work at a job while in nursing school, because nursing school itself is more than a full-time job. They will tell you to stock your freezer now with meals, because you won’t have time to cook later. They’ll remind you that you have to make at least a 78 on your tests to even get a passing grade.
This can all be very overwhelming, for sure, but it’s nothing you can’t handle. You have made it this far, which is more than most. 80% of the people who apply to nursing school don’t get in. You are the cream of the crop. That top 20%. You can do this. Remember: Challenges are what make life interesting. Overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. You got this!
Alright, thank you so much for spending your precious time with me. I’m really having fun making this podcast for you. If you are enjoying it too, would you please leave a quick review on Apple Podcast? I would love to hear from you guys.
Join me again next week, when I’ll be taking you through my supplies haul! We’ll go through all the fun stuff you’ll need (or maybe just really want) for nursing school. So, I’ll see you back here next time, and have a great week.