SPECIAL SECTION: LBSU’s nursing program experience: An inside look
Three students provide first-hand accounts of their experience in the program.
Students hoping to be accepted into Long Beach State’s nursing program must complete a minimum of 56 units in the major, have a minimum 3.0 GPA, pass the Test of Essential Academic Skills and complete a series of prerequisite courses. Yet getting past the application process is half the battle.
Beyond attending class, some requirements include working long shifts at a hospital and filling out care packets, which determine the care which patients will receive and can be as long as 80 pages and must be completed in one day.
The Daily 49er spoke to a few aspiring nurses about their experiences at LBSU.
Dadacay admits that during his first year at LBSU, he didn’t take his education very seriously. He graduated from the nursing program in May 2018 after completing the program’s five required semesters. Once Dadacay decided to try harder in school and apply for the nursing program, he realized he didn’t meet the requirements for admission.
Dadacay had lower than the 3.0 GPA requirement for the program and ended up going on academic leave. He spent time off studying for the TEAS test, another criteria for being accepted. Dadacay studied hard, refusing to be deterred even after failing the test multiple times. He eventually passed the test, but getting into the program was hard enough. Once in, Dadacay struggled to stay in.
“If we were lucky, we maybe had a day to rest, but usually that day to rest was us catching up on sleep and then studying again because we had class and then we had another clinical the next day after that,” Dadacay said.
His academic struggle caused him to be held back for a few semesters.
It took Dadacay seven years to complete his nursing degree, but he is now officially a licensed nurse. Dadacay hopes to work for Torrance Memorial Hospital in the burn intensive care unit.
According to Smith, the second and third semesters are typically the hardest for nursing students because of an immense workload. Smith is currently in her fourth semester of the nursing program and is now at a point where she can breathe a little easier because her workload has calmed down a bit. Though Smith was accepted into the program with straight A’s, she hasn’t been able to maintain those grades. Spending long amounts of time at school or with patients leaves her with little time to study.
“With nursing tests, it’s a running joke in the nursing community that ‘all of the answers in front of you are correct but which one is the most correct?’” Smith said.
Smith’s favorite memory so far is the first time she helped deliver a baby. When she delivered a healthy baby, the mother’s family was extremely grateful and asked Smith if they could take pictures with her to commemorate the delivery.
“You’re with them the whole process from when they arrive and they’re pushing and finally when they’re done, you just feel like you’re part of such an amazing experience,” Smith said. Smith said working in the delivery room makes her feel accomplished every day. Her goal is to work at St. Joseph of Orange in the delivery room.
Llanes said she doesn’t have any free time for herself, unless she counts the time she spends with the California Nursing Students’ Association as her “me time.”
According to Llanes, class lectures require a lot of memorization, the human anatomy being one system among many students must know by memory. In the beginning, Llanes felt like she was just regurgitating information, but now that Llanes is in her fourth semester, she knows how to apply her knowledge from the classroom to real life.
This past summer semester, Llanes had to work 12 hour shifts at the hospital every week.
“I would wake up at midnight, get to the hospital on a Thursday, care-plan and write 80 pages of [a care packet],” Llanes said.
After her shift, Llanes would have to do homework, prepare her next day’s meals, then go to sleep at 10 p.m. to be well rested for another shift the next day.
Llanes said that it’s important to realize that you’re not alone. Other nursing students are running on little to no sleep and are doing the same assignments as everyone else.
Llanes wants to work in critical care for adults so that she can sharpen her skills and gain experience working with rapidly changing conditions. She also wants to receive her doctorate from UC Davis.
The competition for nursing positions doesn’t end when nursing students graduate. After graduation, they will need to complete a training program at a hospital. Completing this program doesn’t guarantee a nursing position there. Aspiring nurses will have to try and stand out from their peers if they hope to be offered a job at the hospital they did their training at.