Adventures of A Nursing School Student

I had the recent opportunity to sit down with Rayni Elliott who is almost complete with her Nursing Assistant training here at Valley Vocational Academy and discuss what her experience has been being a Nursing School Student applicant in today’s environment.

“So tell us a little bit about yourself Rayni, your passions, your interests”

“I absolutely adore kids, and so ultimately I am trying to become a pediatric Registered Nurse. I’m 21, I think I am a normal college student trying to start their career.

“trying to get through, right”


“So tell us your current career goals. You had mentioned pediatric nurse. How much time do you think that is going to take for you?”

“I want to say at least another three years, minimum.”

“Tell us a little bit about your experience so far in trying to become an RN. Applying to nursing school and getting the prerequisites out of the way.”

“The ‘prereqs’ were a struggle just because I was told if I had any grades below a [B] I was absolutely not getting in. It really is more like if you get a [B] you are not getting in, so the struggle to get A’s in all of your classes is ridiculous whereas other majors you really do not need all A’s to get into your program. It is more like ‘Oh cool, you passed!’ and you are in. Then there is passing the HESI with at least an 85, and even then if you get an 85 they look at it as you didn’t do very well.”

“ Do you feel like a lot of the information you learned in High School has fallen out of your head over time and now that you have taken the HESI you feel like it was a challenge?”

“I feel like the HESI doesn’t have anything to do with what we have learned. It’s a lot of English, some math, but the math wasn’t a huge struggle. There is so much pressure to do well in chemistry because it is going to be on the HESI, but there wasn’t any chemistry on my HESI. There were so many things I was told were going to be on the HESI, but they weren’t, so I was studying the wrong things.”

“Very interesting.”

“I feel like if I had taken the HESI right out of High School I would have done better on it. Because High School was so based around English and math and those were the two main topics on my HESI.”
“So how many years lapsed between you graduating from High School and when you took the HESI?”

“I was 18, so 2 ½ years.”

“ So if there was another student coming behind you, graduating from High School would your recommendation be that they take the HESI as soon as possible?”

“ Yes, the only issue is that it is only good for two years before you apply for your program and if you haven’t been accepted into that program you have to retake it. You have to tell yourself ‘I’m going to get all of my courses done within this time and then apply for my classes.”

“Where have you been taking your prerequisites?”

“ I have been at Chandler-Gilbert Community College the whole time”

“So you have been at a Community College environment, do you feel that maybe you know someone at a University and you feel like taking your prereqs at a community college is more beneficial sometimes.”

“I feel like it is so much more worth it because I have friends at U of A, friends at ASU, I’ve had friends at NAU and each of them are in these huge lecture halls and they don’t get their questions answered in the lecture because they are not in that close setting. Community college classes you might end up in a lecture class, but the teacher is always willing to answer any of your questions just because, yeah, it’s a lecture class, but it is 60 students verses 120. Teachers at Universities don’t have time to answer questions from 120 students so the student ends up going to the teacher’s office during their office hours. Their office hours might not be compatible with your schedule so I feel that I have done better in classes at Chandler- Gilbert verses my friends who have gone to University and paid way more than me to not have their questions answered.

“ You’re here in Nursing Assistant classes at Valley Vocational Academy, how do you feel that the information, the knowledge about skills, the clinical experience, how do think that is going to help you apply to nursing school?”

“Just having the contact with residents or patients prior to actually going into nursing school will give me a step up above the other students because I will know first hand what, for instance, a patient with a fractured needs, how are they supposed to lay in the bed, and how they need to have care given to them. There are students who will go into nursing school and not understand how to work with the patients they are assigned to. I feel that doing CNA first will give me that little boost, but also it will give me time to be in the medical field.”

“ This was going to be a brief interview. We wanted to share a young student’s journey into becoming a nurse. We are anticipating that there is going to be a very large nursing shortage coming up and it is imperative that we help students along the journey and identify some secrets that other people may not know about. Thank you Rayni for your time and good luck to you in your studies.”

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