What Can I Do To Prepare

Question: I am very excited to be starting the accelerated program and I was wondering if there is anything I can do ahead of time to prepare myself?

Answer: Yes! Here is the Top Ten list of things you can do to help prepare yourself for the accelerated program!

10. Work on a healthly lifestyle.
Begin or continue a healthy lifestyle. Start an exercise program. You need to be a great role model for your patients and you need an inexpensive stress reducer. If you smoke, you need to stop; participating in a program to help smokers quit will increase your chance of success. You will also save a lot of money. (See # 8). Nurses who smoke are not very credible.

9. Get some experience.
Work experience (or volunteer experience if work is not feasible) in a hospital or long-term care facility would be excellent preparation. Even though you would not have the responsibilities of a nurse, working or volunteering would get you into the clinical area. Be sure you look for a job or volunteer position with direct patient care contact. For example, assisting the nurses in the ICU would be a better learning experience than working in the gift shop.

8. Save.
Save as much money as you can because you will not be able to work while in the program. In addition to tuition, uniforms, stethoscope, books, and fees, you will also have to pay for your license application and to take the NCLEX-RN (licensing exam). The application fee for a Kentucky license is $120; other states impose similar fees. The fee for the NCLEX-RN is $200; that is the same fee for all applicants in all states. This money ($320) will be due to the Kentucky Board of Nursing and to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing in the spring semester.

7. Make an appointment.
Take care of as many routine health care needs as possible ahead of time, for example, major dental work, new glasses, etc. Also get your immunizations or titers (blood tests that indicate you are immune to certain diseases). You will also need a physical exam before beginning classes in May; it may take two months to get an appointment for a physical so you should plan ahead to meet the deadline. You may contact Mrs. Nettie Wilson, nwilson@bellarmine.edu and she will send you the health forms you need. You do not need to get a PPD (Tuberculosis test) ahead of time because we will do those the first week of classes in class. If you have had a positive PPD in the past, you will need to follow instructions on the Health Form. You will also need to provide a criminal background check from all states you have lived in over the last five years; we are revising our procedure for criminal checks and you will receive information about this closer to your start date.

6. Get CPR certified.
You are required to have CPR for healthcare providers (infant, child, adult) provided by the American Heart Association. DO NOT get the Red Cross certification, it is only good for one year and CPR may NOT expire while you are in the program. You need CPR that will not expire until at least June 1 of the year you will graduate. After you graduate you will re-certify CPR with your employer. Many community agencies teach CPR but if you live in Louisville you a can contact:

  • Louisville Fire and Rescue - 502.574.4277, on Fridays, located at 11th and Jefferson. Cost is $40.
  • Alice Kimble RN, Campus Nurse, Office in SuRF Center - 502.272.8493. Cost: $45 new, $15 recertify. Needs 4 to make a class.
  • EduStat - 502.491.5565, 2302 Hurstbourne Village Drive, Suite # 300. Cost: $50. Requires a deposit to receive book, returned if book is returned.

5. Explore.
Explore some clinical sites. If you are in Louisville you can buy a city map and see where some facilities are located (you could go and get a cup of coffee in the cafeteria) or explore their websites for a virtual tour.

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4. Go shopping.
You will need a good planner, calendar, and city map. Think about inexpensive healthy food you can prepare in bulk for the week. Start hoarding chocolate. Recent research indicates it may increase brain power. You will also need retractable black ballpoint pens, a stapler, maybe a three-hole punch, a backpack or tote bag, a thermos, insulated lunch bag, folders, binders, and notebooks.

3. Get your ducks in a row.
Have everything completed before classes start. We hear many students say they did not realize how busy they were going to be; if you leave things unfinished before starting classes you will be miserable. Finish all prerequisites before classes start. People who are finishing pre-reqs the first week of class deeply regret their procrastination. Send transcripts in when courses are complete. We do check and people who have to track down missing paperwork after classes start waste a lot of time.

2. Read.
Read some great books and learn something of nursing accomplishments. Start with We band of angels: The untold story of American nurses trapped on Bataan by the Japanese and continue with Cooked: An inner city nursing memoir and The path we tread: Blacks in nursing 1854-1994. Then go to The advances of American nursing or As we see ourselves: Jewish women in nursing. Next go to the American Association for the History of Nursing (AAHN) website and click on the Nursing History bar at the top and open the gravesites page, training circa 1899, and collectables for a fascinating history tour!

And the number one thing you should do is . . .

1. Study.
Begin reading and working on medical abbreviations using the required text Exploring medical language: A student-directed approach by Brooks and published by Mosby, ISBN # 0-323-02805-5, 6th edition. You should also begin working in Calculate with Confidence by Morris, D. G. (2006) 4th ed. Mosby. ISBN# 0-323-02928-0; this is also a required text. An optional book is Nursing pharmacology made incredibly easy and published by Springhouse. This book provides a basic introduction to the challenging subject of nursing pharmacology; it is not a required text. These books are available from the Bellarmine bookstore and from internet bookstores. If time is limited your priority should be working on Math for meds. Material is presented in a colorful and interesting self-study format. Just start at the beginning and work your way through the book. If you don’t already know how to use MS Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook (email) proficiently you will need to learn before you start school. You also need to know how to print off PP notes in outline view and how to attach documents.Nursing at Bellarmine University can provide you with a wonderful career and we look forward to hearing from you!
-Joan Masters, June 2006