Advice For Nursing Students

  1. hey people. i was just wondering if any of the new nursing students are having the same problem as me. does any else just not grasping the concept of critical thinking?? before i got into the nursing program, reading would get you a good grade. that's why i received an A for A&P one and two, got a b+ for chemistry(which by the way is a big accomplishment for me since i loath chemistry). apparently in nursing, reading is not enough. I'm struggling in school and i'm only in the fundamentals. i asked people for advice and they said it's because i'm not interested in nursing. could that be a possibility? i kno i want to work in the medical field. so wat is the problem?!?:angryfire
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   sirI
    Quote from inspiringNURSE
    hey people. i was just wondering if any of the new nursing students are having the same problem as me. does any else just not grasping the concept of critical thinking?? before i got into the nursing program, reading would get you a good grade. that's why i received an A for A&P one and two, got a b+ for chemistry(which by the way is a big accomplishment for me since i loath chemistry). apparently in nursing, reading is not enough. I'm struggling in school and i'm only in the fundamentals. i asked people for advice and they said it's because i'm not interested in nursing. could that be a possibility? i kno i want to work in the medical field. so wat is the problem?!?:angryfire
    Moving thread to the General Nursing Student form.
  4. by   MIA-RN1
    Critical thinking is a skill like any other that you will learn in school and it doesn't always come easy. I struggled with it first semester as well.
    The thing about these nursing classes is that they are not all fact-based like the sciences. THe right and wrong answers take not only facts, but also nursing judgements. So you have to know the facts from the reading, but then you have to use the nursing process to use the facts. When I first started, I didn't understand the concept of critical thinking at all but I started to see how it works when I realized that a patient is a whole, multidimensional being and the facts and figures are just part of it.
    I would suggest taking some NCLEX practice questions, even if you don't know the answers for all of the topics, just to get a feel for what the questions are like and how to reason out the answers. Most of the time, its a matter of discarding two wrong answers and choosing between two answers that seem right, except one is more right than the other! Not easy!
    You will find with time and practice, you will be able to start making the nursing judgements with more ease.
    And having trouble with critical thinking does NOT mean that you don't want to be a nurse. In fact, working extra hard to figure it out demonstrates your committment to nursing.
  5. by   BonnieSc
    I think most of my class has this problem, so I hope that makes you feel better. As you say, most of the prereqs don't require the same skills, so people who have done very well in those are startled to find that nursing courses require a different skill set.

    Critical thinking comes easier for me than studying and remembering facts. Especially in physiology, it took me a long time to figure out what the professor was looking for (oh, I really have to KNOW all that stuff? Okay...) The best advice I can give is to try to picture the patient in the question. Put yourself in the picture. What would you do first? What is still important, but not a priority? If you don't feel like you know enough to make those decisions yet, put your instructor in the picture. What would she/he do?

    Good luck, and don't give up. It's definitely not a sign that you're not interested in nursing, and your good study skills and memory are still going to serve you well.
  6. by   liljsmom02
    i had a problem with this last year (my freshman year). it was so bad that i spoke to my clinical instructor about it. what she told me is that smart people (book smart that is) have no common sense and thta streetwise/common sense people are not usually booksmart. the difference being is that book smart people can learn to adapt. she also told me that C's get degrees and as long as i could let go of having to get A's that i would be able to relax and adapt. i am now a senior, the work is harder and my grades are better. i owe it to working all summer as an LPN. this has taught me to worry more about my patients and less about my grades.
    as for anyone saying that you just don't really want to be a nurse. don't let that get you down. nursing is like nothing else you will ever do in your life. it is one of the few jobs where you don't always know the answers and its ok.
    good luck and keep your chin up.








  7. by   Imafloat
    Quote from liljsmom02
    had a problem with this last year (my freshman year). it was so bad that i spoke to my clinical instructor about it. what she told me is that smart people (book smart that is) have no common sense and thta streetwise/common sense people are not usually booksmart. the difference being is that book smart people can learn to adapt.
    I know that you didn't say this, but your professor should refrain from making such broad generalizations. That is sterotyping and something that nurses aren't supposed to do. I am book smart and I have common sense. I think there are 11 different intelligences, book smarts and common sense being just two of them. We are all unique and have strengths and weaknesses in different combinations. Such a broad generalization only divides people.
  8. by   cindyRN 2006
    Simply put critical thinking is thinking out of the box. Weather you are book smart or common sense smart or whatever.It is a learned skill. You don't come into nursing knowing the critical thinking skills you need , they are tought to you. I thoutht I would never get it but I have. Like the previos poster suggested get a NCLEX book and practice a few questions a few times aday. Read the test taking strategies in the book and eventually it will all start coming together.
  9. by   Jake_weird03
    Quote from MyBSNin06
    I know that you didn't say this, but your professor should refrain from making such broad generalizations. That is sterotyping and something that nurses aren't supposed to do. I am book smart and I have common sense. I think there are 11 different intelligences, book smarts and common sense being just two of them. We are all unique and have strengths and weaknesses in different combinations. Such a broad generalization only divides people.
    hi,

    i agree, even though there are people who are very intelligent in books but when it comes to something that are not in the book well...but i really agree that every human being is unique...for me critical thinking is when you make decisions based in what you have learned from the books...
  10. by   Race Mom
    OK, here's my take on Critical Thinking. When I was in NS in 2002 i HATED that word!!! I couldn't grasp the concept either and would shiver everytime I heard it!
    Few years away from NS and now "badda-bing" I get it. Crazy huh?

    Here's my example of how I can critically think...
    I can spot a liar in a few sentences. I listen to what they say, then ask myself if that is even possible, or could it have happened that way. They will usually say something that lets me know their story is just that. Most people around, hearing the story, would just wonder if it were true. I pick apart the pieces and uncover the untruth. Then others can see it when I tell them the inconsistancies I spotted. They were not critically thinking, but I was. They didn't look outside the "box".

    I know this has nothing to do with Nurse's using critical thinking, but it is an example of how it can be done in other situations.

    I just took a huge Microbiology test, so if I sounded insane with my answer, it is because...I am!

    Sorry if this did nothing for you.

    Woogy



    Last edit by Race Mom on Dec 14, '05
  11. by   ImaERtraumaRN
    OK, I do not think that critical thinking has anything to do with book smarts or street smarts - it is a combination of the two.

    You use your book smarts combined with your "street smarts" to assess a pt who may be going bad and decide what to do first. Without the book knowledge you wouldn't have a clue what is happening to your pt and without the "street smarts" (a better word might be "clinical experience") you wouldn't know what actions to take first based on the multiple conditions the pt may have.

    Maybe you have TWO pts going bad - what do you do then? Your book probably won't tell you the answer to that in black and white, but you use your critical thinking, combined with book knowledge to decide what to do and in what order.

    This is stressed so much throughout school because in real life patients do not have just one isolated issue that is treated. There is a whole array of factors that must be considered - past medical history, comorbid conditions, age of the pt, family and social issues, medications, etc. Many times they have two or three conditions that are being treated simultaneously. This requires critical thinking to prioritize and ensure that the pt. is receiving individualized care. Critical thinking = what is the BEST answer based on THIS scenario
  12. by   Race Mom
    Oh my goodness, you've done it! You've cracked the code!

    Excellent teaching! Thank you!

    Woogy
    Last edit by Race Mom on Dec 14, '05

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