Getting Organized... Suggestions?

  1. hello everyone,

    i just started nursing i in an adn program this past wednesday. :d the first day went great. made lots of friends and already have a study group formed. everyone is excited and enthusiastic but we all agree that none of us can seem to figure out how to organize our studies. we have a "course pack" which is really a detailed outline of the semester for lab, lecture, clinicals, ect. it helps with the reading and all that. so, that helps. but, we just can't figure out how to get organized or how to characterize things. there is so much to the nursing program, as you all well know, and we just can't figure out how to sort it all out. does that make sense? anyways, i was looking for suggestions on how some of you might have gotten "organized" when you were at the beginning. i'm sure it will come to us in time, but any suggestions will definitely help and certainly won't hurt! thanks in advance!

    janet
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  2. 5 Comments

  3. by   sandys
    I completed my first term this summer. This is the first term our program is being offered mostly online. We go to class one full day for lecture, one full day for lab, and have most of the material presented online and lots of self-study. Overall I think this works well for me because I have children and a job and the fewer hours I have to actually be sitting in a classroom the better. BUT..... it was difficult at first for us to figure out where our classes were posted online, where our assignments for each class were posted online, what was due for whom and when.

    What ended up working for me, since most of our written information was posted online was to print out EVERYTHING. I then organized by class in a binder with sticky tab notes for all of that information. I organized it by week, by subject, by study guide etc. That way if I needed to know what was due for a particular class I could look at the tabs for that class and see "assignment #1, pharmacology, due 07/21/2006", etc. and then flip to that section and get everything I needed to know. I guess just breaking it down into as little chunks as I could and making it impossible to miss, was what I did.

    I also lived by a planner, which I have never done before. I always like the idea of having one, but lack the diligence to actually write everything in there. But I found it helpful to have one place to look for final deadlines for papers, projects, exams, etc. That way, I could look at a week and know if I had any big deadlines looming, and then could go the binder for everything I needed to know about it.

    I dont' think any of these things is terribly innovative, it's just a matter of breaking down the big chunk of information into smaller chunks that you can manage over a specific period of time. Sometimes I found I could do that by weeks, but toward the end I found I needed to do it day by day depending on how much I had going on.

    For studying, note cards works well and we also had a lot of online quizzes and such available.

    In the end I got 3 A's and a B, so whatever I did must have worked! I think that's the key though, it's looking at what is in front of you and figuring out, for yourself, how you are best going to be able to manage it.

    I'm rambling now, but I also did not stress out about doing all of the reading. There was SO much. There is no conceivable way I could have read word for word everything that was assigned. I learned to skim, take in what I didn't know, and from the assignments go back and read again the sections that seemed to be emphasized. Do not panic if you hear that someone else in the class does ALL of the reading! Maybe they need to, maybe you need to, but if you don't really need to, don't panic because someone else is doing it!

    I toyed with the idea of not even attending lecture because it was SO boring! But, I made myself go. I wanted into nursing school so bad, how could I not go to class?! Honestly though, the way they are teaching our program, I could do it on my own (lab excluded). The lectures consist of our professors mostly reading to us the notes we have in front of us, and let's face it, I can read on my own.

    Anyway, I don't know if this helps. It feels more of a reflection of my personal experience this summer, which apparently I needed to get out!

    Good luck to you, I'm sure you'll figure out what works.
  4. by   EMTandNurse2B
    I am in semester 4 of 5 semesters in an ADN program. Here are the things I use to keep myself organized among the chaos!

    1. A planner. I write EVERYTHING down in this. Detailed schedule, what chapters are going to be covered in lecture, what is due that day, who I have to meet for lunch, when I have to tutor, my to do list, etc. I call this my "brain" because if it isn't written down in here, it doesn't get done!

    2. I use three-ring binders to put all my papers in. I divide them up in sections, and punch and place every scrap of paper that pertains to that class. I have one for each class, and label them all. First thing I do after getting home from class each day is to punch and sort the papers I have brought home.

    3. Clinicals: I use a three-ring binder here as well. I keep all my papers that are due, reference materials, extra forms, drug cards, etc in this one binder. This way I have one place to look for all that information.

    That is the basics of my organization. I try to stay organized and on top of things or else I quickly get buried and lose things. I hope this helps!
  5. by   Ohmygosh
    I too am a 4th semester student and I agree with both of the other posters. Breaking down the huge chunks of info into smaller chunks is a definite necessity.

    Another thing that I did was to use color coding. In my 1st semester we had 3 classes - so I chose a color to represent each class and would print my materials in the appropriate colors. I tried to match the binder- paper and textbook colors. I know this sounds anal - but when you are trying to keep everything in its appropriate spot and not confuse several subjects - it worked well for me.

    Another tip I have is for clinicals --keep a separated bag always packed and ready to go -- just in case you have something come up - keep a clinical binder with all materials already printed (extra copies -etc). I also keep a small change purse in my bag with a few dollars, some change and maybe a debit/credit card. On the morning/evening of my clinical - I just put in my drivers license - that way I am ready to travel and don't need to bring my purse and worry about it being safe in my car in the parking lot or if there will be room to keep it somewhere on the floor.

    Another little tip - if you have to wear "whites" is to keep a Tide stain stick or Clorox stain stick in a small pencil pouch and drop that into your clinical bag - just in case you have a french fry with ketchup commit harry-carry during your meal break.

    At my school we have to write drug sheets for all administered drugs - I have a separated notebook with copies of all the drug sheets that I have turned in. I bought A to Z tabs to separate the sheets and in front of the notebook - I have a listing (1 by trade name and then another by generic name) of all the drug sheets that I have on hand. This way- when I come back from clinical - I can quickly assess if I already have the drug sheet on the given med or if I need to write a new sheet to add to my list.

    Good Luck!
  6. by   todell80
    You might check this thread out too:

    http://allnurses.com/forums/f50/gett...light=organize

    It has a lot of really good ideas in it!
    ~t
  7. by   Rosa2Little
    I love my Palm! I enter my schedule, all my tasks/assignments and required reading. When I'm feeling overwhelmed, I can look at a daily format and see at a glance where I need to be, and what I need to do that day. Really helps with taking it one-day-at-a-time. Also, having the Davis Drug Guide, and other assorted nursing software at your finger-tips is a real time-saver!

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