Back to School

Today was the first day of Spring term 2005 at Linfield School of Nursing. My Mondays are truly Mondays this term — solid classes from 10am to 6pm, except for a 1-hour break at noon. And it turns out I’m already behind, argh!

Last term in chemistry the Monday lab didn’t start until the second week of school. This term in organic chem I ended up in the Monday lab. So I, being the wise and experienced returning student that I am, went happily off to school without my lab manual and notebook. Because every wise and experienced second-term freshman knows that only silly first-term freshmen take every single book to class on the first day. (As a matter of fact, that would have been physically impossible for me, considering that the total weight of all of the books for the classes I had today probably isn’t that far from my own body weight!)

Well, wouldn’t you know it, we had lab today. I managed to muddle through, thanks to my generous friends Judy and Joyce who let me read over their shoulders. But now I have a pre-lab AND lab report to write for Wednesday, along with a generous portion of homework problems to get things off to a running start.

Then I showed up in my nursing 106 class only to discover that A) buried deep in the innards of some obscure part of the school website that I couldn’t find was a syllabus that contained the reading we were supposed to have done before today’s class, and B) there was a quiz. Honest, I looked for a syllabus, I did! Not because I actually thought there would be a quiz the first day of school (isn’t there a law against that, somewhere???) but because if the instructor posts one I like having it printed out and in my notebook already so I feel like I have some idea of where I’m going. Obviously I didn’t look in the right place! But neither did a lot of other people, and some of them are actually sophomores, so I only felt a little bit stupid. (It helped that when I ran upstairs to check my docket, I found a letter informing me that I made the dean’s list last term!)

College has changed a bit since the first time I went. My learning adventures this time around are enhanced by technology that didn’t exist back in my engineering student days at Texas A&M twenty-something years ago. Textbooks all come with CD-ROMs now, for instance. One of my nursing texts came with a whole set of them. According to the back of the package, they are engaging, innovative, and action-packed. That line caught my eye, so I read further to see what amazingly entertaining CD adventures await me as the semester goes on. Here are some highlights:

  • Normal Elimination
  • Preventing and Treating Pressure Ulcers
  • Managing IV Therapy
  • Ostomy Care
  • Specimen Collection
  • Urinary Catheter Management
  • Vascular Access

Having worked for a while now as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) I have at least a marginal acquaintance with several of the items in this list, and I must confess that I am completely at a loss as to how some (if not any) of these things could possibly qualify as “action-packed.” At least not in any sense of the term that I normally associate with the other descriptors accompanying it.

Granted, Mrs. T. who used to fiddle with her colostomy bag until she managed to make it burst and spew its contents all over herself, her bed, and pretty much everything else in her room, did manage to “pack” some “action” into my day from time to time. But I certainly never thought to classify that as “innovative,” nor did I find anything the least bit “engaging” in the entire situation! The other night when we watched Full Metal Jacket, there was quite a bit of “vascular access” occurring, and it could probably qualify as “action-packed,” but I really don’t think any of those techniques will be covered in this particular series.

I’m a bit dubious about these claims, but then again, what do I, a mere second-term freshman, know about such things anyway? I’ve already been wrong several times today, so obviously I have a lot yet to learn. I guess I’ll have to wait and see.

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