End of 1st semester thoughts about what makes nursing school so hard

  1. There is a problem that I have had in nursing school over and over again that really frustrates the he*#! outta me. It keeps bringing me back to this site for help - and I'm glad that a site like this exists, don't get me wrong - but the problem is, basically, this:

    What I find hard about nursing school is not necessarily the difficulty of the material, in and of itself. Nor is it the volume of the material.

    What makes it hard, for me, is the fact that so many terms and values seem to have different - sometimes drastically different - definitions and ranges, depending on which source you happen to be looking at. In other words, it often seems that, say, an instructor's outline will give you a particular definition for a particular concept. Another instructor will later mention a slight variation on that, and tell you that his/her definition is the "right" one. Then, you can usually go to the textbook and find a third variation on that definition. Then, you can go to the Medical Dictionary and find - you guessed it - a fourth, distinctly different, definition. And I'm not just talking about the obvious things like lab values, but also assessment methods, proper way to take vitals, proper drug calculations, definitions of terms, etc.

    Does anyone else ever notice this, or is it just me? I just feel like I've had to spent probably a good 50% of my studying time just trying to clarify loose ends of this nature, and it really seems like a huge waste of precious time.
    Last edit by Jedi of Zen on Dec 10, '07
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   Achoo!
    Yes it does vary according to which source you use. I always go by what the instructor says for exams. Usually on the tests it is within the range of all the textbooks though.
  4. by   JaxiaKiley
    This is really frustrating when a test question has a value JUST OUTSIDE of one source's definition of a normal range. Do you go by the lecture notes, the lecture book, the medical dictionary ... ? PITA for sure!
  5. by   bekindtokittens
    i hate this too! i prefer things to be black and white, and i quickly learned that in nursing fundamentals class, nothing is black and white! sometimes i think i should have majored in mathematics or something...

    i would even ask my instructor..."now, when we see this on the exam, should we go with the answer you give us in lecture, the one in our book, or the one on the video?" she would usually clarify, but sometimes she would want me to "critically think" about it.
  6. by   Daytonite
    i notice from many of your posts that you do have a lot of aggravation with that and i have a hard time trying to help you with it. many times i just don't know how to answer your questions although i understand what you are asking. when it comes to tests you go with what the particular instructor is telling you. with so much variation, believe me, nclex is not going to have specific questions on it because of the variations. the nclex test writers sit around and specifically toss questions out because of these variations in the terms and values of things in order to keep the test fair for everyone taking it. your instructors, however, aren't the nclex people and are another issue that you are stuck with. as i said, go with what a particular instructor is telling you when it comes to their test. ask questions in their class to clarify that this is the information that they want you to know and spit out back at them on their tests. but it doesn't hurt to be aware of the different variations that are out there. really, how many of these issues are actually showing up on your tests? any of them? try not to have a heart attack over all this. when there is that much chaos over something it won't be questioned on the nclex. promise. and, that is where it will really count.
  7. by   giftedRN
    You are correct, I do my classes on line and when I am stressed about a specific definition it usually not in the exam. I just love online classes.
  8. by   MB37
    Since lab values are an obvious example of this, I just keep learning different values for them. I use whatever our instructor tells us for his/her particular exam, and I just memorize exactly what he/she says the ranges are. We have a Fundamentals HESI tomorrow, so I'm learning the lab values out of the back of the HESI stusy gude right now. Of course, several are different than what we learned in class, but I just need to go over them a few times. They'll be a little different again in my first job, and that's OK too. Also, by now I do already know the general range, i.e. Hct is about 36-51%. I know that women are on the lower end and men are on the higher, so I'll probably do OK on an actual NCLEX question. When it comes to each exam, I learn what they want us to know for the exact range based on gender, age, etc.

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