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2020 Alumni Q&A's

Updated: Apr 13, 2021

Juan Sanchez

SAC RN c/o: Dec 2018

Took NCLEX: March 2019

Working as an RN: 14 months

Unit: Telemetry

Q: Did you encounter anything unexpected or challenging when transitioning from SAC to a new grad RN?

A: I believe that it is normal and expected to experience challenges when transitioning from a student to a new grad role. I feel that Santa Ana College prepared me well to face the challenges by educating me on how to be resourceful, how to implement the core principles of nursing, and reinforcing usage of the nursing process.

Q: What was the hardest semester for you? Do you have any advice for current students?

A: The hardest semester for me was second because of OB. I had little to none experience with the female birthing process. My advice for students facing the same challenges is to go to tutoring, use your resources, and do peer support by participating in group studying.

Q: How long did you study for the NCLEX? What guides did you use?

A: I used the study guide that the school provided us with which was Kaplan. My favorite study resource was UWorld because of their rationales and the different levels of difficulty available for the questions. I studied for approximately a month and a half. I tried to answer roughly 80% of the question banks. I recommend studying for about two months to feel prepared.

Q: How long did you have to wait to be hired after passing the NCLEX?

A: For me, it took about three months. In my case, it had nothing to do with my ability or not having a BSN. I waited to apply for nursing jobs because I was hesitant to transition into the RN role and I wanted to take a break between studying for the NCLEX and applying for jobs.

Q: Do you have recommendations or tips for working while in school?

A: I would say to try to get your foot in the door especially if you want to work at a magnet hospital. It is much easier to acquire a nursing job at a magnet hospital if you work a support role beforehand. I worked as a Patient Care Assistant (PCA) at Hoag before becoming a registered nurse. Working as a PCA also made the transition much easier and helped me gain real-life experience outside of clinical to make the concepts more understandable.

Q: Do you have studying or organization tips for current students?

A: Exploring different studying techniques to find what works best for you is key. The technique that worked for me was printing out powerpoints so I could take notes on the side. Also, reading the textbook really helps. Many people avoid reading the textbook but doing so really helps solidify the knowledge.

Q: What were the most helpful learning experiences you gained from SAC?

A: All of my helpful learning experiences took place in clinical. The situations where a patient’s status changed (changes from baseline, neuro changes, etc.) and interventions were necessary taught me a great deal on how to adapt and respond. The most memorable learning experiences are the ones that made me critically think at the bedside and work through adversities.

Q: What do you wish you knew during nursing school?

A: I wish I knew not to underestimate any clinical experiences or simulations because they help you understand how to go through the nursing process.

Q: How has it been working as a telemetry nurse? What separates your unit from the rest?

A: Working as a telemetry nurse has been challenging because you come across the whole spectrum of arrhythmias. A lot of the arrhythmias you do not encounter in clinical or delve into during nursing school so learning about the interventions related to each arrhythmia was difficult in the beginning. I can say that my experience on the telemetry unit has helped me grow into a well-rounded nurse.

What separates my unit from the rest is the acuity. We take a lot of the post-op heart patients around day two or day three. Not every unit has cardiac nurses who can take care of these patients. On our floor, we also take Sub-ICU patients. Lastly, all of the nurses on our unit are very aware of the ACLS protocol because of the high acuity.

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