NYU Accelerated Nursing Program FAQ’s Part II

I recently received an email from a prospective nursing student and thought that it was worth posting my answers.

Hi Jessica,
I came across to your blog while searching for NYU’s accelerated nursing program.  Reading your blog has been very helpful. Congrats on becoming a nurse. Currently I have my undergrad in a business discipline and I am really considering a nursing career instead. I just have some questions regarding nursing, it would be great to get your feedback. Thanks so much if you have the time to answer any of these questions!

1.       Does it matter whether you take your pre-reqs at a community college or 4-yr college when applying to NYU? Do pre-req grades matter? Will there be a higher chance if acceptance if pre-reqs are taken in NYU?

You can take your pre-reqs at a community college or a 4 year college. Pre-req grades matter a lot. Definitely do well on these. I don’t believe there’s a higher chance of acceptance of the pre-reqs are taken at NYU. Majority of students take pre-reqs at a community college or a 4 year college.


2.        What were your credentials when you applied to NYU (eg. GPA, experience)? And did you find NYU to be worth it after working in the field? Is there any other nursing programs you would recommend in NY?

My GPA was 3.84. As for experience, I volunteered at a hospital when I was applying. It’s important to highlight your feelings towards nursing especially after speaking to them and seeing what they do.
NYU is a great school and I’m glad I attended the school. The professors are top-notch and the students are helpful. There’s an interdisciplinary program so med students and nursing students learn about working together and each other’s roles. It is one of the top research institutions as well especially in elder care (NICHE Program http://www.nicheprogram.org). However, it is a really expensive program so I don’t recommend it to everyone.
The other nursing schools in New York / Long Island that I hear good things from include Hunter, Columbia, Stony Brook, Adelphi, Molloy and Pace.

3.       Difficulty finding a job? Did you work part-time while studying in the program?

After I passed the NCLEX, it took about 6 months to find a nursing position. A couple of problems I ran into included not knowing how to interview (because this is a skill you need to practice). I didn’t start my search until after I passed. Some students connected with nurse managers during clinical and were able to secure a position shortly after graduation.

I did work once a week as a swim instructor during school to help supplement the costs. Some students didn’t work at all while others worked 36 hours a week (a full-time job!!). The first and second semester are the toughest so give more time devoted to school before deciding to work.

4.       Do grades matter a lot to employers? Do I need to get straight A’s or can I afford to have a few B’s or even a C?

Some employers require a minimum GPA (3.4, 3.5) before they even look at your application. Some don’t. It’s how you present yourself and your mannerism that matter and whether you retained information from school and can apply it.


5.       What is the starting salary like and is it worth being a nurse practitioner? What kind of nurse do you think is best to become/specialize in if any?

Starting salary differs from location to location, ranging from $40-80k. In NYC, it starts around $70-80k if you’re working at a private hospital.

Becoming a NP is dependent on the person. While I’ve heard that becoming an NP is the greatest thing in the world (I hear a lot of positive feedback), there are still a few who are discontent with the position, as there is more responsibility that comes with the position. Some people don’t want to deal with the higher stress and responsibility but wanted to go back to school and ended up hating being an NP. This requires a lot of self-reflection. What do you think would suit you and are you ready for it?
Personally, I’ve explored many advanced nursing professions. Not only should you look at your duties but also the lifestyle. Where would you want to work, what would you do, when would you want to work, what income would you make, what mobility is there? The best advanced nursing profession depends on the individual and what they want out of life. I picked Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. I like the one-on-one direct patient care aspect requiring a high level of critical thinking and autonomy and teamwork.

6.       What’s life as a nurse? What are the difficulties and good parts of being a nurse? Expectations in the work force?

Life as a nurse differs between the environment that you work in. I work at the hospital where there’s 12 hour shifts (7-7:30am and pm), 3 days a week (for full time) and you can choose your schedule (with some limitations such as having to choose at least 3 weekend days, 2 Fridays, etc). Some people choose to do 3 in a row each week and have 4 days off. Other hospitals have it so you work 3 12-hour shifts plus 1 additional day every 4 weeks. Some units, especially in CTICU, PACU and ER, have other shifts from 11am to 11pm or 2pm to 2am.

It’s great having 4 days off because you definitely need it to recuperate and you’ll have time to do something else if you’d like.
Some places have day (7a -3p), evening (3p-11p), and night shift (11p-7a), especially in rehab and nursing homes, and require you work 5 days a week.
At work, you often need to have handoff communication about the patients. Then you assess the patient and pass out medications. You make nursing diagnoses about each patient and use critical thinking. You think to yourself: What’s the goal for the patient today? And then make it happen. You’ll speak to various disciplines to coordinate the care.
There’s a couple of tough parts about being a nurse.
1) Families – Some follow the unit policies and others do whatever they want. Communication is sometimes hard but trying to understand where they are coming from helps.
2) Physicians, MLP – your input is often crucial to the patient’s outcome but sometimes the provider will disagree with you.
3) Patients – some are nice and others are crazy, confused and not so nice.
4) Self- being able to let go everyday of the outcome is tough. At the end of the time, you have to set 1 small goal for the patient and as long as they meet that, you have to be satisfied with the care you provided. Nurses tend to be overachievers and want to always give more but with the number of things that must be done, it’s impossible to do everything you had in mind. You have to remember that nursing is a 24/7 job.
The good parts about being a nurse is knowing that you’ve made a difference is someone’s life. You get to think about an active problem and you get to take yourself and solve that problem. You get to hold someone’s hand and reassure them. It’s an amazing privilege to have to save a life, to have a better life, or to let someone die with dignity.
As for expectations in the workforce, there are several different angles you can discuss but I’ll discuss about your own expectations. There’s a nursing theorist named Patricia Benner who stated that the nursing career is based on the nursing model-
You really do start not knowing a lot, just the basics. You focus a lot on technical skills because it’s something you have to work on. Then as you progress, you build more confidence. Soon you’ll start to see areas in nursing where care can be streamlined or have protocols to standardize care. You’ll be in charge, take on harder assignments, be a preceptor, etc.

7.       Any general suggestions on what I should focus on or do to become a nurse/get into NYU program?

Do well on your pre-reqs, volunteer or work in healthcare, and get to know a few professors who will write a letter of recommendation for you. And write a killer personal statement answering every question asked.

I hoped that helped! Read my first post for more information on NYU’s Accelerated Nursing Program, find out if NYU Nursing is worth it, how to pick a good nursing school, and find out if you can afford an accelerated program. Or if you have any further questions, email me.

Jessica

How to Study in Nursing School

How to Study in Nursing School

A couple of people have contacted me to ask how I studied during nursing school. These individuals have completed a bachelor’s already (either recently or it had been awhile since they’ve been back in school), but felt that nursing school was different and wanted some advice.

Of course, this is just the way I studied. It is not the only way or even the best way. Just my way.

On the first day of school, you will receive a syllabus for each class. Right away, write down (or enter in) all of the exam dates and due dates for assignments. Personally, I put them into Google Calendar and have it synced to my phone. That way I have that information all the time.

There are 3 major steps:

  1. Prep
    • Minimum: Print out the powerpoint slides and read through it. This way, you’re familiar with the material and can follow along in class.
    • Maximum: If you have extra time, the syllabus will have readings that you’re supposed to do. Read the headings.
  2. Lecture and Take Notes
    • Go to lecture and take notes on the powerpoint slide. If the professor repeats it twice, then it’s super important!
    • Since you’re more familiar with the material from the prep work, you can ask questions on anything that doesn’t make sense to you.
  3. Review
    • Review all of the powerpoint slides and your notes as soon as you can after class (preferably within 24 hours). These slides are your keys to success.
    • If you still don’t get the material, read the text.
    • Once you feel comfortable with the material, do a group study. If you can teach it and talk about it, you got it.
    • Memorizing the material is helpful. Utilizing it will help you remember it forever.
    • Chances are, the textbook has NCLEX style questions at the end of the chapter or even online on the textbook website. Do them!
      • By the way, NYU has nearly all of the textbooks on reserve at the Bobst library. That means you can borrow it for 2 hours at a time. If no one else has requested that some book, you can re-borrow it over and over again.
      • Some students used additional NCLEX books. The one I liked the most was Prioritization, Delegation, and Assignment by Linda LaCharity.
    • If that doesn’t help, make an appointment with the professor for office time.

Nursing school is really about gathering a working knowledge base. It is not about memorizing something, cramming everything in, and then forgetting everything you learned. Even if you spend 30 minutes everyday reviewing the slides, it will help you retain the information.

Review everyday or at minimum every other day. I did shorter study sessions and even studied on the go when I was busy. I tried to get in 1-2 hours daily. That doesn’t mean it has to be all at the same time. It was just 1-2 hours over the course of the day. Remember, quality over quantity!!

1 week before an exam, I would increase my study hours to around 3-6 hours per day, or even more (yes, I have woken up at 7:30am, got the library by 8am and studied past midnight… only to repeat it again the next day. It didn’t happen too often though… just for Adult and Elder 2 or Med/Surg 2.).

 

Studying on the Go

Traveling on the train is common in NYC. Instead of taking out all of my paper slides on the train, I whip out my iPhone to review the slides. The program I used is GoodReader. I downloaded the PDF version of the powerpoint slides onto GoodReader. You can do this through wifi, signing into the nyu.edu website and downloading it directly, Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive, Google Doc, etc. You can also highlight and write on the document  and create folders using GoodReader.

Anyway, good luck! Let me know what has worked for you.

Why We Should Care About A Smooth Transition From Nursing Student to Professional

Due to the projected shortage of nurses, nursing schools are working to get more and more nurses out. There are several schools, including NYU Nursing, that depend on more clinical experience in simulation labs and less time in the hospitals.

While I support technology in all of its glory, nothing replaces human contact and connection. In our process of trying to be more efficient with our time, or in the hospital’s cases, more efficient with hiring, having people submit online application just removes us from feeling personally engaged with an individual. In my humble opinion, technology should enhance relationships, not separate people.

This explains why Columbia students have an advantage over NYU students. During the last two months of their nursing school, they are working with a nurse in the hospital for 40 hours (give or take), working day shifts and night shifts. They are given this time to really hone their skills and to get to know the nurses on a particular unit. This provides both the students and the hospitals great benefits.

1) The hospitals do not pay the students. While hospitals must pay for the nurses to precept the students, they do not have to pay the students to gain this experience.

2) The students are gaining one-on-one attention with the nurses and are honing their skills. They are gaining experience and appreciating everything that they learn.

3) The nurse managers and nurses feel much more comfortable about hiring a particular student because she has been on the unit and they see how she would fit into the unit.

I feel that this work immersion approach, especially for second-degree accelerated students who do not have the summer off for nurse externships, is appropriate for all parties.

Consider the current alternative.Continue reading

How to Get a New Grad Nursing Job in NYC

Updated 11/21/12: I wrote a short piece on how current new graduate searching for a job can find one. Scroll down.

Updated 9/15/14: Courtney, RN from www.fromnewtoicu.com volunteered first before she got her first paying job. Learn more by reading her guest post and checking out her website.

I am writing this for current NYU Nursing Students because I wished I had an adviser who told me what I should have done to start my career right away. In hindsight, I see that if you really want a job in a NYC/Long Island/Westchester hospital right after nursing school (and not 6-8 months after graduation), it starts DURING NURSING SCHOOL. Now that I am learning from my mistake, I hope that you won’t make the same mistake. Here are some tips.

1. During your clinical rotation, meet the nurse manager. Get her business card. E-mail her and let her know your interest. Once you graduate, e-mail her and let her know that. Once you pass your NCLEX, let her know that you have your license. Keep in touch. This is how you keep a relationship alive — through frequent contact!

2. Volunteer where you are interested in working. Yes, you are volunteering to help people, but you are also volunteering to meet the nurses on the unit to show them that you are awesome and you work well with them. Keep talking. Here is your timeline:

1st and 2nd semester: Study hard and do well in school!

3rd semester: Apply for a volunteer position. It typically takes 1 month to 2 months to be proceed, go to orientation, and begin volunteering.

4th semester: Keep volunteering and definitely let the nurse manager know that you are a nursing student. Tell them about your career goals or what you hope you can learn and do. Some of my classmates volunteered 4-8 hours on their days off and it paid off!

3. If you’re interested in working at New York Presbyterian, I recommend that you become a nurse companion (~$9/hour). Majority of my classmates who worked there as a nurse companion either have a job or in the process of getting a job. Here is the timeline:

~1st semester: Study hard and do well!

~2nd semester: Study hard and do well! After you take your last final of 2nd semester, apply for the nurse companion. Check on their website at nyp.org and click on careers. Type in nurse companion. If you don’t see it, then just check everyday.

~3rd semester: Chances are, you will wait 3 months before you’re called.

~4th semester: You’ll get a call for a phone interview. You may wait another week or two before you’re called again to go in for an interview. Once you’re in, you will choose one or two days to do 4 or 8 hour shifts. From what I’ve heard, you will be on one-on-one duty. That means you stay next to the patient’s side to talk to him and help him in any way possible.

4. Get to know your professors and ask them for help. There is a large group of NYU Nursing students (~300) so it is not the easy for each person to get to know the professors. It makes sense, right? The more people, the less personal each class becomes. However, if you can, your professor should be a good resource.

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Remember, the whole purpose of nursing school is to:

  • Graduate
  • Pass the NCLEX to get your RN
  • Begin to work

At least in the beginning, that is your goal.

Yes, during nursing school, you will learn a lot about research and evidence-based practice, NP, DNP, PhD, and everything about how to elevate the profession of nursing. And yes, these are all topics that I personally enjoy (which explains why I interned at the NYU CSAAH B Free CEED: New York University Medical School – Center for the Study of Asian American Health – National Center of Excellence in the Elimination of Hepatitis B Disparities — it’s all about implementing research and public health). However, in the end, the biggest hurdle is school, NCLEX, and the first job.

For now, my focus is on obtaining my first job.

Please feel free to comment below to let me know if this was helpful. Thanks for reading!
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Updated on Wednesday, November 21, 2012 — after securing my first job offer
Perhaps right now, NYC is not in a nursing shortage. So hospitals more than ever are dragging their feet when it comes to hiring new graduates. Some say that it is because the hospitals are out of money. Others say that the training for current nurses on the new computer system is more important than hiring new nurses. Whatever the reason, new grad nurses may not be high demand in hospitals but there are ways to get hired as a new graduate.

In hindsight, I say that it’s better to go out and visit the places where you’d like to work instead of spending majority of your job searching time online. Even though some people will say, “it’s all online now– just apply online,” others will be gracious and accept your resume and give you more appropriate directions on what to do next. Even if the website says that there aren’t any positions available, it is still worth a try by going there. You are a new graduate — someone fresh from school with the latest knowledge base and someone who can be molded. And someone who is excited to be a nurse!

Face to face contact is still the best way to make a connection with someone, especially one with hiring power. They can see that you are eager and read your body language. And if you were in their shoes and you met someone who told you that she was a new graduate looking for a job, wouldn’t you want to try to help her? In general, nurses are nice people, otherwise they wouldn’t be in the profession.

So what do you have to lose? If nothing happens, then you’re still back to square 1 – a new grad without a job. If a person likes you there, then you have a lead and something to go on!

Here is a step-by-step process on how to visit places.

1. Make a list of the places you want to visit (it is possible to visit all of floors of a hospital… The staff there probably won’t talk about you to each other. Or you can visit private offices. Or nursing homes.). Do this the night before you head out.
2. Dress business casual.
3. Make copies of your resume (I usually ask the Staples guy for resume paper and I make my own copies. With tax, it comes out to 11 cents a page. That’s still less than buying your own resume paper, which comes out to 13-17 cents a page depending on the number of resume paper you buy. Plus, that way you only buy when you need! If you have them do it for you exclusively though, it’ll come out to 22 cents a page. So if it’s your first time, just ask for help. Remember how they did it and you’ll be an independent copy machine person from then on!).
4. Hit the pavement! Try going there between 10-11am and after lunch 1:45-4pm. This is usually when they are least busy and have some time to talk to you.

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Each organization is different, but I found a couple of similarities in ways to get hired:

1) You must know the nurse manager and appeal to her. If she is happy with you (determined through an interview that you got through persistent calls and emails to her), then she will tell the nurse recruitment your name for them to pull your online application that you put together after you’ve already spoken with the nurse manager. Nurse recruitment will then interview you to mostly make sure that you are a good person.

The best way to know that this is how a particular hospital does this is by the online application process. If you are a new grad and you have to apply to several different positions (and not one position that is actually specifically for new grads), then chances are, your application will sit in the company’s computer. It will likely never be seen if you do apply online.

Let’s say that you applied online. Then my best advice to you is not to see nurse recruitment or Human Resources. It is to see the nurse manager on that unit. Find out where she might be and go say hi!

2) You email your information to the nurse recruitment and the staff there actively look through the resumes and cover letters to place you in a unit. If you are called up, then you will interview with the nurse manager. If she’s happy with you, then several follow up interviews will follow with the head nurse and possibly Human Resources.

Good luck! Stay positive. Find out your old hobbies or discover new ones. I did that to stay sane during my search from July to November. You can do it! 🙂

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Updated 9/15/2014

After virtually meeting Courtney online, I learned that she volunteered as a nurse for 5 months before she got her first paying job. Learn more by reading her guest post.

What Should We Call Nursing School

What Should We Call Nursing School

My classmate created the tumblr that slightly explains what it feels like to go through nursing school through gif pictures. Go check it out!

In case you are interested in NYU Nursing, here is a FAQ and tips on getting a nursing job during school.