2021 Alumni Q&A's
Updated: Apr 13, 2021
Graduated: Spring 2020
Employer: Orange Coast Memorial ER
Q: Did you encounter anything unexpected or challenging when transitioning from SAC to a new grad RN?
A: When I transitioned from SAC to a new grad RN, we were right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many hospitals had unexpectedly placed their new grad programs on hiring freezes making it difficult to apply to RN positions that were relevant to my experience. I started as a Patient Care Assistant, which helped me to gain experience during the COVID pandemic.
Q: What was the hardest semester for you? Do you have any advice for current students? A: The most challenging semester for me was the first semester. I had a tough time transitioning to such a busy schedule and working on my time management between lecture, skills lab, clinical, and assignments. The best advice that helped me was to use a calendar and write down all due dates and places! I loved using Google Calendar because I could also set up notifications to alert me. Q: How long did you study for the NCLEX? What guides did you use? A: From the time I graduated to the time I received my NCLEX date was two months because of the current pandemic. I mostly utilized UWorld questions throughout this time, but the two weeks before my NCLEX date, I buckled down and focused on taking notes on the UWorld rationales. Q: How long did you have to wait to be hired after passing the NCLEX? A: I had to wait about six weeks to be hired after passing the NCLEX. I was already working at a hospital as a PCA which helped the RN transition to be a faster one. Q: Do you have recommendations or tips for working while in school? A: I was able to leave work for my first semester of nursing school, which helped tremendously, giving me the time I needed to acclimate. And at the start of the second semester, I started babysitting during the week. Working while attending nursing school was manageable as long as I stayed organized, but it could be stressful. Q: Do you have studying or organization tips for current students? A: I always tried to record the lectures as long as the instructor permitted them. Going back and listening to something I didn't understand or may have missed was a lifesaver. Also, the repetition helped me to retain more information. I like to type my notes during class, and if time allowed for it, handwrite them when I was studying for the exam- another form of repetition that helped me retain the info.
Q: What were the most helpful learning experiences you gained from SAC? A: The most helpful learning experiences for me were during clinical. I am a hands-on learner and loved the experience of being in the hospital whenever I could. The different clinical rotations helped me to utilize what I learned in the lecture. Q: What do you wish you knew during nursing school? A: During nursing school, I wish I knew how important it was to enjoy my free time more. I spent a lot of time studying, and when I did have time off, I was tired, but I wish that I had spent more time outdoors or doing activities I enjoyed as a way to take care of myself. Q: How has it been working as an ER nurse? What separates your unit from the rest A: I absolutely love it! I really enjoy the fast-paced environment and getting to see new things every day. I think the fact that the ER gets to see all types of cases before they are admitted to the hospital sets them apart from other units.