Fourth level focuses on Mental Health, Nursing Research, and Critical Care. I could care less about the first two, but I've been waiting all of college to get to the CC class. It's what I'm interested in and what I care about, so I'm enthusiastic about the semester.
General impressions after the first week:
Nursing research has the potential to be very interesting or very tedious. We basically have to do a big group project the whole semester. I'm trying to think up topics. In the past people have done stuff like studying and working and develop better practices of TB screenings on prison inmates (a population with relatively high TB). I have though of some interesting ideas, but I honestly don't see how they could be studied. Things like "If a student is employed as a Nurse Tech program while in school, does this affect their pass rates on the NCLEX in a positive way?" or even "How does the layout/structure of the nurses' station affect the quality of patient care?" (Is it better open or closed?)
Those kinds of questions can't have a proper control group on this small scale, so I can't compare anything. I'm looking around at work to see what other ideas jump out at me... but otherwise it's been slow going.
I can already see that the total freedom to chose, research, and pace my own study is going to be the most difficult part of the project. Managing time. I'm going to talk my group into meeting 3 hours a week rain or shine.
Orientation for Critical Care was great. I walked into the room only to be immediately handed a stack of ECG strips and taught how to analyze dysrhythmias. We just jumped right in on the first day. And much to my delight, this one class was taught by Instructor Fantastic! She won't be the usual instructor, but I always enjoy listening to her teach. She's smart and funny and loud enough to make things stick in my brain.
Mental Health was... um... interesting.
It's obvious that Instructor Psych knows a lot about taking care of mental health patients. And her anecdotal advice was very good; she'd illustrate principles of communication with really hilarious stories. But she also has some eccentricities that made me laugh. Right off the bat she told us there were definitely ghosts in the local psychiatric hospital. Also, she told us that she swears because we're going to hear it a lot on the mental health floors anyway. "And the first time I say 'fuck', I always get reported upstairs to the Dean!", she laughed. Oh my gosh! All my past instructors have had their eccentricities, but I can tell these lectures are going to be... colorful.
I did get my first level clinical instructor again as my Psych clinical instructor. She's sweet, so I'm glad.
I'll tell you how it goes. If I can find the time to post.