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A&P II, Interrupted

We still don't have a permanent professor. It's been 3 class sessions with either no teacher or a sub, and 3 class sessions with no lecture to speak of; maybe I'd call it 4 since one of the subs was a little lost. This is pretty tough for me, feeling a little rudderless in a difficult class, but for people who were just trying not to fail it's somewhat devastating.

Full disclosure: I got an 88 on the lecture exam (I got the exact set of questions wrong which I had marked on the side of my scantron sheet that I would get wrong - there's a lesson in that somewhere.) and an 81 on the lab practical. Most of my class feels this is stellar and grew up in a world of curves or wonders why that is disappointing when they all got something in the 40-60 range. I, on the other hand, find this totally unacceptable, particularly after studying my butt off. So I'd like to talk to my professor about what I can do better next time. Only I don't have one.

I'm not that worried about it apart from the fact that since vacation it's been hard to rein in my attention span and focus on the textbook. But my problems aren't quite as rough as those of my favorite study buddy (not the aryan study group leader I've told some of you about - she dropped the class) who is coping with other stuff outside of class and is playing catch-up on any and all math skills. I really want to help her succeed. Which is where you guys come in.

I'm trying to sort out some ways to help with her test anxiety. I sure have some test anxiety of my own, but I think my friend's may go beyond and are limiting her ability to get things she knows translated out onto the test. I've studied with her; I've quizzed her and asked her questions and made her explain stuff back to me. I know she does know or has the ability to know. But her test grades are not reflecting that. And from what she's been saying, it's because she gets into the test and freaks out and decides she doesn't know anything. I told her about my experiences with automatic thoughts and we tried to tease out the direction her mind goes when she gets into the test situation, but I'm by no means a professional.

So does anyone out there have experience with test anxiety and some ways to overcome it? Maybe I could set up some real test taking situations and she and I could self-test together and grade each other or something. I really want to help but I'm not sure how.

So that's current school. I've also been thinking a great deal about future school, and trying not to limit myself. I am still following my original plan with a target entry to HCCC for the abbreviated Associate's in 2010. But in the meantime I am looking around at other programs all over the country to see what the course offerings are and who offers what kind of RN to BSN or RN to MSN, what kind of specialties, etc. In my groping and stumbling (there are so many ways your nursing career and education can go. it's kind of ridiculous.) I discovered a bunch of pages about forensic nursing. And I got really excited. There seem to be two schools of thought:

1. "Don't get excited, Forensic Nursing isn't all about CSI and cool dead bodies."
2. "People think Forensic Nursing is boring, but just think! You could help solve crimes!"

I intend to look into this more thoroughly because apart from my desire to someday specialize in psych nursing this kind of piqued my interest. In the meantime I've been adding every nurse blog I can find to google reader (which I just started using - and almost demands a whole other post!) in the hopes of getting as diverse a set of public internet opinions on the field as I can.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 29th, 2008 12:31 am (UTC)
When I took A&P II my professor got really really ill. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died at the end of the semester. He was gone a bit, but he really tried to stick through it for the students. He was amazing!

A&P is hard, though. Why don't you have a professor? Has the school said anything about when you will have a consistent class? Don't they owe it to the students to provide a steady professor? :/
Oct. 29th, 2008 12:41 am (UTC)
Our professor either was fired or quit; at the last class he gave (at which I was not present, so this was hearsay) he said that there had been complaints about his teaching so he was asked to leave. The school said they didn't know he was leaving and then said that he had a family emergency. Since then we have had one missed class and two different substitutes who both said they cannot take on the class for the remaining 6 weeks. It's a pickle! Supposedly we will get a professor tomorrow, fingers crossed.

What a sad story about your professor. But kudos to him for teaching you all through that!
Oct. 29th, 2008 01:09 am (UTC)
Re: test anxiety-- I taught SAT classes for awhile, and test anxiety is a big piece of many kids' difficulties with the test. The only thing that ever worked for them was 1. learning as many memory tricks and strategies as possible 2. taking the test over and over until it was completely demystified.

I have no idea how that advice might be relevant, but there it is :).
Oct. 29th, 2008 01:11 pm (UTC)
We've been working on memory tricks, not that I know all that many explicitly, but I do think we should do some practice tests! Thanks!
Oct. 29th, 2008 11:46 am (UTC)
Isn't forensic nursing also about examining living rape victims and stuff?
Oct. 29th, 2008 01:11 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it is big on the sex crime handling business as well.
Oct. 29th, 2008 01:12 pm (UTC)
You might consider checking if the school (is it PG Community College?) has any sort of center or department that specifically deals with learning disabled students - usually test anxiety counts as a learning disability. Most schools these days have such a place where there are counselors to help diagnose such issues and, more importantly, to accommodate students with disabilities. I had at least a couple students every semester that would go to the UMD center and take their tests there in either a private space, or with extra time, or whatever their disability required. Usually the counselors will also help them overcome their disability if that is possible.

It sounds like your friend is currently undiagnosed. I've noticed that students with anxiety typically respond well to verbal questions in smaller groups, but have problems with written questions in larger group settings. I'm no expert, but it sounds similar to your friend's pattern. You should definitely find out if the school has any sort of program that can help.
Oct. 29th, 2008 02:24 pm (UTC)
You make an excellent point. I will point that out to her. She is not the type who would be offended by me mentioning the words learning disability, I think.
Oct. 29th, 2008 03:41 pm (UTC)
Ug. I'm so bored today. And none of the books I requested from the library are in yet! A quick search of PGCC website came up with this:


It sounds like there are people your friend can talk to if she wants to pursue professional help.
Oct. 29th, 2008 02:26 pm (UTC)
So, how long can this bit of absurdity go on before PGCC really steps up and does something for the class? If you do not have a qualified professor for much longer, they ought to nullify the class and apply your fees towards a complete class taught another semester, or something. Not that anyone wants to start over, but A&P is a really important class and it will benefit no one to have it half-assed like that!

I'm not sure what to say about your friend and test anxiety. paleotheist makes a very good point, I did have a friend in college who had an anxiety disorder and she got to take class tests in the student learning center in private, without a time-limit, I think.

Oh, I almost forgot. I think forensic nursing sounds awesome!

Edited at 2008-10-29 02:27 pm (UTC)
Oct. 29th, 2008 02:50 pm (UTC)
The thing is, I really cannot take this class another time. I have this schedule that gets my pre-reqs done so I can apply to a program at a certain time and if I miss this semester it throws that all off! So the last thing I want is for them to refund my money, although in theory, you are correct, we are getting a bum deal on the actual learning and teaching portion of the program.

Which is why next semester, I'm taking Micro at HCC.
Oct. 29th, 2008 10:39 pm (UTC)
Wow. The lack of a prof. really sucks.

As for the testing, I'm guessing she knows the usual tricks like go with your gut, pick your first choice and don't second guess yourself. If that doesn't work well for her, there is the opposite theory where you go through the test (assuming it's multiple choice), don't fill out any answers the first time, just cross out the ones you know are wrong, then go through it again when you're feeling more confident that you know what's on the test and what's coming at you.
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 30th, 2008 05:25 pm (UTC)
Do your students mouth off and tell you your tests are too hard? We have a mouthy bunch in my class.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )


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