Second semester of your senior year of nursing school is definitely a whirlwind. Between three days of clinicals a week, and eight hours of class the other two days, you have very little time to accomplish much of anything outside of school. But we are 65 days away from graduation! And leaving for our intercultural trips very soon (some of us in the next 10 days!). Aside from all the busy-ness… That moment when you realize you’re done with Nursing School clinicals forever…. Well. They say a picture’s worth a thousand words!!


Finals and Travels… but not Final Travels

Thanksgiving Break has come and gone, and it’s almost time for Christmas Break. Which means finals are rapidly approaching. One of my favorite things to do is travel, and I’m always down for a road trip. A couple of months ago, I realized that I have been to 10 different countries/territories, and 18 different states, yet somehow I had never been to the state of Michigan. Considering all of the traveling I have done, and having lived in North Central Indiana my entire life, I found this to be a little pathetic. So, I remedied this problem by road tripping to Michigan over Thanksgiving Break. It was an excellent trip, and I was mostly excited for the abundance of Dunkin’ Donuts along the way. Dunkin’ Donuts is hands down my favorite coffee shop, and unfortunately they have been closing a lot of their central Indiana stores, which is pretty upsetting. So, I made sure to stop at every Dunkin’ Donuts shop I passed on my way to Michigan. By the end of the day, it’s possible I was suffering from a new onset of Diabetes. Photo Nov 26, 12 50 35 PM
I was also crazy enough to go to the beach in November, mostly because I really wanted to see Lake Erie. The view was magnificent, but didn’t hide the fact that it was only 20 degrees outside…Photo Nov 26, 1 42 02 PM
I also traveled to one of my favorite stores – Cabela’s. This is really neat because every store is arranged and decorated differently, and the store in Dundee, Michigan is hands-down the biggest Cabela’s I’ve ever visited. I cannot confirm or deny that I was possibly like a little kid at Disney World during this shopping trip. Another neat experience was that there’s a little shop outside of Cabela’s called “Dundee Jerky”, and I was able to try alligator, kangaroo, and elk jerky! Definitely not an experience I’ve ever had in Indiana.Photo Nov 26, 4 36 56 PM
One more experience that was pretty neat, especially for being in Indiana, was the opportunity to tour LifeLine’s Critical Care Transport base in downtown Indianapolis. Having always been interested in flight nursing, this was a pretty exciting experience. I was able to talk to several members of the crew, who do both ground and air transports. I also got to check out all of their ground transport ambulances, as well as their helicopters! Having done a ride along with Saint Vincent’s StatFlight over the summer, it was really neat to see the differences between the two companies. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages – something I may not have otherwise observed.
Photo Dec 03, 9 13 41 PM

I’m pretty excited for this semester to end. I am hoping that next semester breezes by, as I am greatly anticipating traveling to Uganda, and more importantly GRADUATING. Speaking of graduating – it’s only 150 days away!

Change in Plans

Senior year of nursing school is probably the biggest hodgepodge I have ever encountered. We have covered everything from Home Health Care and Hospice…. To Birthing Babies in OB. Doesn’t take a brain surgeon to realize these are total opposite ends of the spectrum. But, we’ve made it this far… So obviously we can encounter anything, right? …maybe.

I don’t like to say that I “can’t” do something. But this semester I’ve come close. I’m the person who holds a baby about three feet away, and pawns it off on the first person I find. Babies are NOT my strong point. Therefore, OB clinicals have probably been the biggest struggle of my nursing school career to date. But that’s okay. While I learned that I don’t like to work with babies, I also found that I really enjoyed Home Health Care clinicals (something I never thought I would say).

On top of a conglomeration of clinicals, and class lectures consisting of hematology, OB, and oncology content, the seniors are also preparing for our intercultural trips in the spring. There are trips going to India, Uganda, and Macon, Georgia. Previously I had been signed up to go to Georgia and spend time with the children who reside at the Hephzibah House in Macon, Georgia. However, things changed, and I realized that unfortunately working with children is not my specialty, or something that I enjoy. Conveniently, my brother just returned from mission work in Ghana, and had such an amazing experience that he kept going on and on about. Naturally, I was quite jealous, and in awe of the amazing pictures he had. After quite a bit of thinking and refocusing, things miraculously fell into place and I was able to switch to the Uganda trip. So, now that I’ve rewritten my entire 30page research proposal (another reason why this trip better be worth it!), I’m looking forward to heading to Africa in March! It’s going to be the experience of a lifetime, and I can’t wait.

Just because I’m super excited about my upcoming trip, I’m ending with a picture of my brother Adam from his trip to Ghana. His primary goal of the trip was to build the first building of a self-sustaining mission, but he also spent quite a bit of time focusing on a children’s ministry (…this further supports my cause that he’s adopted). He’s pictured here with some of the kids that he ministered to!


Coming Soon to a Nursing Department Near You!

If you’ve ever watched the hit, TV show “Scrubs”, you’re probably more than familiar with the idea of “Grand Rounds”. This was where the medical interns would gather at the bedside of their patients, alongside of their resident doctor, give a brief H&P of the patients, and are then quizzed by their resident about the potential causes, diagnoses, etc of the patient.(And then they would daydream before returning to reality).  But what does this have to do with nursing?

Starting in the Fall of 2014, AUSON is bringing the concept of “Grand Rounds” to our very own school of nursing – just without the belittlement of Dr. Bob Kelso, or Dr. Cox.  Ideally, seniors will be the presenting nurses, giving all of the information about the “patient”, and Juniors would act as the interns by taking notes and Q&A with the Seniors . Ideally, this would take place in the SimLab, and be live-streamed to a larger classroom, such as Hartung 274/275.  Sophomores, you are invited to watch and learn as well!

Professor Osborn has been working very hard to implement this concept in such a manner that all nursing students – regardless of year in school- can benefit from a collaborative effort requiring students to think outside of the box and apply all of the knowledge they have learned thus far in the program. In a statement by Professor Osborn, he states: “This project is an effort to integrate technology and simulation into the curriculum by providing opportunity for senior level students to practice and apply previously learned skills in instruction of Junior and Sophomore level nursing students. Groups of 3-5 senior students will research a topic of interest… and then present a short scenario using SimMan, discussing the pathophysiology and treatment of his diagnosis, as well as hold a question and answer session.  I have seen the Seniors in action and they are tremendously creative!  I am sure they can do some great things with SimMan and make this a really fun time.”

So, the biggest question would be “Why would I want to be a part of this?”

There are so many answers to this question.


  1. Solidify your skills, prove you are a rock star!!
  2. You get to kill SimMan if you want.
  3. Might get an independent study credit (TBA)
  4. Make your mark in the history books.  (this kind of thing has not been done before!)
  5. Be involved in a proven educational platform that will increase your knowledge for the NCLEX


  1. This is a great tutorial or information for your next test!
  2. Get to see Senior Nursing in action.
  3. Eat lunch and learn (BYOF)
  4. Play “Stump the Senior” with your questions. Every time you win seniors will pay you a dollar (…these claims have not been approved by any living Senior)


  1.  Solidify your knowledge,
  2. Learning for the future! You will be doing this next year.
  3. Hang out and be cool


Technology is always changing and this is one way that AUSON can evolve our education, as well as implement a new, and “Up and Coming” way of learning. But we cannot implement this without your input. Please follow the link below and take the brief survey, telling us about your personal experience at AU, and what technology you would like to see implemented here in the future!

Missed Homecoming? No Problem!

The Senior members of Sigma Theta Tau would like to thank everyone who came to the Street Fair on Saturday, and stopped by our booth! Despite the frigid weather, we had a great turnout, and sold several cups of coffee, donuts, and shirts! We also received several monetary donations to send directly to Haiti. This was a great boost in our goal for Haiti, and we could not have done it without you. So, from all of us, THANK YOU!


But if you couldn’t make it to the booth, and still want a shirt – have no fear! We still have plenty. Starting November 1st, for current students, order forms will be passed out during regular nursing classes. Order forms and money (exact cash, or checks payable to “Sigma Theta Tau” only, please!) will be due by Wednesday, November 6th, and collected in class. Orders will be filled, and delivered as a group to Nursing classes, hopefully no later than Wednesday, November 13th.

For any alumni who are reading this and are interested in purchasing a shirt, feel free to contact me at – we will try to make arrangements, because I understand how important representing your alma mater is 😉 !

Any and all questions regarding the sale, should also be directed to my email.

Again, thank you all for your support!


Homecoming Happenings

Homecoming at Anderson University always makes for an exciting weekend – but this year, I think it will be a little more exciting! For the very first time Sigma Theta Tau, an International Nursing Honor Society represented by ten members of the AUSON senior nursing class, will have a booth at Saturday’s Homecoming Fair!

As part of our service project, we are raising money to send to Haiti. Haiti is in great need of nurses, and they are trying to start a school of nursing to train natives, to help decrease the shortage in the country. Our booth on Saturday will provide information on our project, as well as be collecting monetary donations to send to this great cause. But that’s not all!

Aside from collecting donations, we will be selling Deluxe Donuts and coffee, with the proceeds going towards our collection for Haiti. However, my personal favorite part is that we will be selling School of Nursing shirts! There has been a great demand in the past for AUSON shirts, and now everyone – students, staff, alumni, and everyone else who wishes to support the cause- can buy these shirts at our Homecoming Booth!

The shirts are black, long-sleeved, 100% pre-shrunk cotton, and feature designs (As pictured below) on the front AND back. They are designed by current senior nursing students and members of Sigma Theta Tau. The shirts are ONLY $15, and the best part is that proceeds from the shirts will also be going towards our project for Haiti.So buyers not only get an awesome shirt to proudly represent AUSON, but they will also be helping out others in need!

Photo Oct 23, 12 19 26 PM

So in summary, come out to Anderson University’s Homecoming Fair on Saturday, October 26th from 10am-1pm, and look for the AUSON/Sigma Theta Tau booth. Come enjoy fresh coffee and Deluxe Donuts, and purchase one of these awesome t-shirt, and help support our fellow aspiring nurses in Haiti! Hope to see you all there!

The Sim With 2 Genders

Sydney Photo

“Page the Doctor and call the Rapid Response Team right away, our patient is crashing.” As juniors we get to experience a little more of life-like scenarios in lab to prepare us for clinical days and the situations we might come across. Meet Arthur.


Arthur is a patient on the med surge floor that the four of us lovely ladies had the pleasure to take care of. Arthur has Type II Diabetes and an open wound on his Sacrum with complaints of pain. But let us not focus too much on Arthur at the moment and more on the real reason I am writing.

Chaos filled the room that day as we entered and prepared to take care of our patient. Not knowing what to expect we all entered bright eyed and bushy tailed awaiting our real life scenario, but little did we know how gruelling it would actually be. In our defence, Fierce Pierce was behind the scenes controlling all of the many problems that Arthur could and would have, and we all know how dramatic he makes the Sims. We are students, we are supposed to be tested, and frustrated, angry and scared because that is the main reason we will learn. Nobody ever wants to call Rapid Response or the Doctor due to their lack of care, but doing so will make us aware of what to do right the next time around. I am not saying that it is okay to play trial and error on your patients but that is the whole reason we have a sim person, because you know what, if he dies we can turn him right back on.

From bed baths and vitals to IVs and Procedures we are starting to smell the fresh air. In less than two years we will be RNs. The thought of roaming the halls of a hospital on my own still makes me a little nervous and for that reason I am glad that I go to a small University with driven Professors and resources such as the Sim to train me. Every day I go to class and I learn book knowledge but when I enter lab or clinical I learn life knowledge. In a stressful and scary situation I will remember what Pierce told me in class but I will also remember the skills I learned in lab.

For those of you that are freshman and sophomores, I want to stress to you that lab is one of the most valuable times that you will have as a nursing student. It is the place to ask questions, to make a mistake without consequences(unless you leave a needle lying around and pierce sticks himself), it is a place to learn and grow, and a place to lean not on your own understanding but of your fellow classmates. Nursing school is hard and at times doubting can be an emotion that overwhelms but the knowledge you walk away with makes the crazy ride all worth it. I know class and lab sometimes can make for an early rise and a long day but enjoy it for all that it has to offer you. Just remember that it is a time to become a better student and a vulnerable nurse. Also you don’t have to pick out an outfit the night before. SCRUB DAY.

So this goes out to Arthur and Margaret the same sim with two genders. I appreciate the experience you give me and I value all of your many health issues because without you, I would be hesitant to help out a real human. I cannot wait to take care of you again and hopefully you will not die on me for the third time. It has been real and it has been fun but it has not been real fun.

Until next time, this is Sydney signing out.

FINALLY junior year!

CasieI can’t believe it’s already October! The start of junior year has flown by with a lot of excitement and tons of learning of course. Thankfully the endocrine test is over with and behind us because I must admit, it is no fun. On the other hand, clinical is great. Thus far we have had two clinical experiences, which have gone really well.


Actually being able act like a nurse is really exciting and I have got to see some pretty cool stuff. My trip down to the cath lab was awesome, seeing two stents placed in the heart was amazing, and I had no idea that they only used conscious sedation for a procedure like that. I also got to start an IV, which is always fun, and see a chest tube pulled, which sounds a lot cooler than it actually was. Lately we have been busting through the diabetic content, and needless to say my brain is in overdrive. Thankfully we have the guidance of the seniors to calm our nerves and help us study. Our first real SIM was today and I absolutely loved it. My group and I were so nervous but we did a fantastic job taking care of SIM man and I am excited to work with them again!

SIM group

p.s. If you see a junior, wish them luck for the diabetes test on Monday!

NCLEX…so you think you’re ready?

Four years of stress, caffeine overload, hours of notes, lectures, exams, and sleepless nights have prepared you for the one exam you’re dreading….the NCLEX.

Anderson University School of Nursing offers you ATI products and a mandatory Kaplan course to prepare you for this one moment. The whole summer, I sat down every day and took practice exam after exam between wedding planning and work. I answered every single question that Kaplan offered in their Qbank and worked with my ATI tutor. This is the best way to learn how to answer NCLEX questions. The more questions you do, the better prepared you are when you go into the testing center.

When I scheduled my NCLEX, I made sure that I took it when I knew I would be awake and ready. Each testing center offers a variety of times to choose from for your exam time. Pick YOUR time and make it YOUR experience. Don’t worry about when your friends are taking the test. Not everyone will finish at the same time.

The day of my NCLEX. I had answered THOUSANDS of questions to prepare me for this day. I knew that if I could potentially be in the testing center for 6 hours I was not going to walk in there dressed up super cute. I wore what I would wear to any other test I took in school (sweats and a t-shirt). Like I said, make it your experience. I signed some papers, heard a few rules, and then was taken back to the testing area.

Some girl was already in there taking her exam. I sat down, said a prayer, took a deep breath, and began. Honestly, I can’t remember much of what was on the exam. I just remember that I have never felt so stupid. Sometimes I would look at a question and think, WHAT THE HECK IS THAT?! It is in that moment where you break down the question and think, what it is really asking? Can I rationalize any of the answers within reason? Most questions would be extremely similar to what I answered throughout Kaplan and ATI. You HAVE TO STUDY for this test. You cannot just walk into it.

On the 75th question my heart started pounding. I thought to myself, “I either failed this so terribly that the exam will shut off right now or I will get another question and have a chance to redeem myself.” I KNEW the answer to the 75th question because it was on Kaplan and I missed it 500 times before (please note the exaggeration), and I still thought I was going to fail. I clicked next, and the test shut off. I pretty devastated and scared out of my mind. The girl that had been in the testing center before me, was still testing and I was done. In my mind, that meant I failed.

Of course, I took my test prior to a holiday weekend which meant I would have to wait like 5 days before I knew any results. I personally paid to see if I passed because my wedding was coming up and I didn’t want to be an emotional disaster as I set up for it. I PASSED!

It is okay to feel stupid when you walk out. Don’t let that upset you. You have worked hard for 4 years or more to get through nursing school. You’ve been taking NCLEX style questions the whole time! You can do it! AUSON does a great job of making their exams close to NCLEX style questions, but you still have to do your own work. They can’t cover everything, but you’re in good hands.

A few words of wisdom:

1. Do not try to restudy all of your notes before the test. Hit areas you are weak in as you take the practice tests.

2. No one has the same NCLEX experience. You might get a lot of select all that apply and you might not. You can’t judge the test as you go. Just answers the questions as you go.

3. As you get worked up throughout the test, stop, take a breath, maybe say a prayer, and refocus. You have time.

4. Believe in yourself. You graduated from nursing school. You can pass one more test.

5. PRACTICE! PRACTICE! PRACTICE! You have to practice taking NCLEX style questions.