How to not fail nursing school - page 2

Everyone talks about how many nursing students failed out of the program. How do you avoid these mistakes these people made. How do you stay focused and do well in nursing school? Especially with... Read More

  1. by   hikernurse
    You've gotten great tips for school. I'd like to add a bit about your home life. What made the difference for me was always having something to study from--no matter where I was. Five minutes here and there, in line at the grocery store, waiting for carpool, at a really long red light (sort of kidding)--it adds up pretty quickly.

    If you've got kids, you don't have to kiss them good-bye for a couple of years; otherwise, nursing school wouldn't be worth it. I made it to almost all of my kids things (and I've got a bunch of kids from toddler to college) and when I couldn't, Dad was always there. I also worked 25-28 hours a week during school.

    What I did was let go of my idea that the house needed to always be clean and meals needed to be homemade. I found the children were just as happy eating take out pizza on paper plates . . . as long as Mom was present. Kids are resiliant; they just need to know that they are your first priority.

    I bought lots of underpants, blue jeans and socks--the basics; that way if the laundry wasn't done as quickly as it used to be, there were still clean clothes to wear. And you better believe that most of my kids learned pretty quickly how to wash their own clothes--and to check the pockets first, LOL.

    I kept the living room clean for company and figured if anybody came over who was critical of the somewhat casual way we lived then they were free to jump in and vacuum .

    Just set priorities--family first and school second. I tried to get my assignments done as early as I could . . . although never as early as I would have liked, LOL. And the earlier poster was right--do a bang-up job on them because they're about all you can control in nursing school.

    Study smart, not hard. Try to learn it the first time so that your reviews are truly that--just a review.

    Find good friends at school; they are invaluable as only your fellow students know what you're going through. Most of us had families and understood each other.

    Don't sweat it--just do your best and you'll get there. I just graduated a couple of days ago, got the job I really wanted and believe me, it was worth all the trouble.

    PS, all but a couple of my grades were A's, so if I can do it, I know you can!
  2. by   colerie
    I am scared as well. In fact, my pre reqs gave ten tons of xtra credit and now I do not even know what my real potential is. I have problems in comprehension so I have always taken notes from the text while reading. It is so time consuming to do that, I often get so stressed. Last semester I got two B's in AP lecture and lab. Those were my only B's in all eight classes, the others were A's. I worked so hard to get them and like I said before had lots of extra credit. Even though you may work for your extra credit it is often given on an unrelated topic aside from the text. It has not helped me learn the fundamentals and has only set me further behind. :spin:
  3. by   psalm
    Don't get behind in any of your reading assignments or projects! It is the kiss of death.
  4. by   kukukajoo
    Great tips!!

    Develop good study and orgizational habits as you will need both. If your school offers a free study habits, time management session or anything like it- GO!

    Utilize Allnurses.com there are great people on here!!

    Read the material before class lecture and try to follow along in the book. You will catch nuances and be able to clairify which the instructor wants you to know. It will help reinforce the learning.

    Pay attention in class- sitting in the front row is a good way for sure. Also ask questions and be active in the dscussions. Never be afraid of questions! Tape the lectures if you can.

    TAKE NOTES!

    Buy the study guides that go with the books and also use the extra resources- the CD's, the publishers websites, etc. They usually have some great content as well as questions.

    Find a really good NCLEX study guide that also gives rationales as to why each answer is what it is. This will help you develop the critical thinking skills you need as well as teach you test taking techniques. Use it as an addition to your textbooks as they are broken into sections that should coincide with your learning.

    Don't wait to make your drug cards and try to look at them every day if you can. Break them down into classes so you know basic info about each drug this way as it makes it easier to learn them all.

    Try to form a study group early if you can.

    Come prepared- to both class and clinical. Get reference books or bring data you may need to clinical as well as the tools of your trade.

    Remember that you can learn from the floor nurses and professional development and ability to develop work relationships is a must for this career.

    Create a great support network in your life- you will need it. Sometimes nursng school tends to isolate you inadvertently from friends and family and just let them know that you are always there even if not in touch like before. It helps to have someone to whine to, someone just to stop by and definately to know someone cares as it gets lonely out there!! Some friends will not understand the demands and that you will have to accept- may not make them bad friends but you will need those that will be supportive.

    Plan on taking time out for yourself. You can't let yourself get burned out and there will be many days that you will feel your brain is about to explode or you can't take it anymore! Sometimes just a bubblebath will snap you out of it, sometimes it will take a few shots of tequila but remember stress wears you down and you have to take care of yourself.

    How do I say this- adjust your standards on grades, but do not compromise your integrity or study habits, etc. You may have been a 4.0 before school and suddenly feel like a failure with a C grade even though you have worked your butt off and studied until your brain turns to liquid. It HAPPENS to ALL OF US and you can't beat yourself up over it. As long as you have worked your hardest, accept it, try to review the materials and see what went wrong and move on. Don't let it get to you. Do not think that you have somehow become a dunce, because the fact you made it into nursing school proves otherwise.

    Try to develop communication skills including listening skills which will be paramount- don't be afraid to repeat back to a person to make certain you heard correctly.

    Learn to deal with many different personality types and not take their own communication styles (or lack of!!) to heart. Some people just don't know any better.

    Don't get involved in the catty garbage some students play. Remember you are there to learn and that is what matters. Gossip can hurt people and may end up hurting the perpetrator of untruths more than anything. Remember that these peers are people you may one day be working with so it is best to stay neutral and professional.

    Help your classmates- in school and on clinical. This goes for the floor nurses at the hospital as well. If you have time, don't hesitate to offer an extra hand or pass out the lunch trays, etc.

    Also, don't ever make your classmates feel like they are less than you or not as smart as you. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and learn in different ways. Helping is one thing, but doing it in a way that makes the other person feel like an ant is not really helping.

    I know there is more but I can't think of them at the moment. I hope this helps some people.
  5. by   decartes
    I have a wife and kid and finished an accelerated BSN program magna cum laude. My advice to you is to enjoy the things you are doing.
  6. by   Cherish
    Quote from kukukajoo
    Great tips!!

    Develop good study and orgizational habits as you will need both. If your school offers a free study habits, time management session or anything like it- GO!

    Utilize Allnurses.com there are great people on here!!

    Read the material before class lecture and try to follow along in the book. You will catch nuances and be able to clairify which the instructor wants you to know. It will help reinforce the learning.

    Pay attention in class- sitting in the front row is a good way for sure. Also ask questions and be active in the dscussions. Never be afraid of questions! Tape the lectures if you can.

    TAKE NOTES!

    Buy the study guides that go with the books and also use the extra resources- the CD's, the publishers websites, etc. They usually have some great content as well as questions.

    Find a really good NCLEX study guide that also gives rationales as to why each answer is what it is. This will help you develop the critical thinking skills you need as well as teach you test taking techniques. Use it as an addition to your textbooks as they are broken into sections that should coincide with your learning.

    Don't wait to make your drug cards and try to look at them every day if you can. Break them down into classes so you know basic info about each drug this way as it makes it easier to learn them all.

    Try to form a study group early if you can.

    Come prepared- to both class and clinical. Get reference books or bring data you may need to clinical as well as the tools of your trade.

    Remember that you can learn from the floor nurses and professional development and ability to develop work relationships is a must for this career.

    Create a great support network in your life- you will need it. Sometimes nursng school tends to isolate you inadvertently from friends and family and just let them know that you are always there even if not in touch like before. It helps to have someone to whine to, someone just to stop by and definately to know someone cares as it gets lonely out there!! Some friends will not understand the demands and that you will have to accept- may not make them bad friends but you will need those that will be supportive.

    Plan on taking time out for yourself. You can't let yourself get burned out and there will be many days that you will feel your brain is about to explode or you can't take it anymore! Sometimes just a bubblebath will snap you out of it, sometimes it will take a few shots of tequila but remember stress wears you down and you have to take care of yourself.

    How do I say this- adjust your standards on grades, but do not compromise your integrity or study habits, etc. You may have been a 4.0 before school and suddenly feel like a failure with a C grade even though you have worked your butt off and studied until your brain turns to liquid. It HAPPENS to ALL OF US and you can't beat yourself up over it. As long as you have worked your hardest, accept it, try to review the materials and see what went wrong and move on. Don't let it get to you. Do not think that you have somehow become a dunce, because the fact you made it into nursing school proves otherwise.

    Try to develop communication skills including listening skills which will be paramount- don't be afraid to repeat back to a person to make certain you heard correctly.

    Learn to deal with many different personality types and not take their own communication styles (or lack of!!) to heart. Some people just don't know any better.

    Don't get involved in the catty garbage some students play. Remember you are there to learn and that is what matters. Gossip can hurt people and may end up hurting the perpetrator of untruths more than anything. Remember that these peers are people you may one day be working with so it is best to stay neutral and professional.

    Help your classmates- in school and on clinical. This goes for the floor nurses at the hospital as well. If you have time, don't hesitate to offer an extra hand or pass out the lunch trays, etc.

    Also, don't ever make your classmates feel like they are less than you or not as smart as you. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and learn in different ways. Helping is one thing, but doing it in a way that makes the other person feel like an ant is not really helping.

    I know there is more but I can't think of them at the moment. I hope this helps some people.
    Great tips Kukajoo!
  7. by   PurpleFlower
    my best advice is to not put more on your plate then you can handle! It may seem like you are doing a lot less class (like our program) but really if you add that extra class you could end up failing the sem/class!
  8. by   nj1grlcrus
    Excellent advice so far. Try and make friends fast, study groups can be a big help, and if the school offers tutoring, go for it...our nursing tutor has great advice, she gave great test taking advice, and is awesome with care plans. I finished Level I with two B+ and one A. My clinical advisor told me to see the tutor the FIRST week next semester. A good additude in clinicals goes a long way. The times I helped other students with stupid little things(I'm no expert, but small things like how to find out which aide is assigned to your pt, where supplies are located, etc) was noted by the instructor, and team nursing was big with her. Last, and best piece of advice is, find a way to relax before an exam, if I am nervous, I can't remember a thing. Deep breaths, moving on to a different section of the exam, made a big difference in my test scores, GOOD LUCK, Donna
  9. by   Esther2007
    Ways I have been successful:
    Read the book along with the powerpoint, record the lectures, sit in front of the class, ask questions, try to understand the materials by asking WHY WHY, and look for answers.
    Bottom line..................you have to discipline yourself, read the book to understand rather than strickly memorization, go to class on time, stay focus, set time aside to read and to study, Do not wait last minute to study, read a little at a time and take breaks.........Eat well, exercise and sleep at least 7 hours a night.
  10. by   CraigP
    Find out for each class what ways there are to fail - In most of mine your can fail by-

    Low attendance (miss 4 lecture days or 2 clinical days and you are out)
    Not getting xx% on the examinations
    Messing up on the clinicals enough that your clinical instructor gives your a failing grade and...
    Not getting a passing score on clinical paperwork

    Thus there are four independent ways to fail. At times I have backed off on studying for a test in order to get critical clinical paperwork in on time. I can make the trade off because I know my test grades are good.

    One over all comment- it is never the student next to you that kicks you out of the program. Don't compete or backbite because the real competition is with the instructor.

    Best of luck-
    -Craig
  11. by   barbnyc
    Good suggestions.

    I would recommend taking all the prerequisites before the nursing courses if you can.

    Use the CD's that come with the textbooks. Buy the textbooks as soon as you can. Talk to seniors in the nursing program for suggestions.

    I tried study groups and it didn't work for me -- some of the members were too high strung and it added to my anxiety. Start studying a few days before a test.

    Surround yourself with hard-working students.

    I also had to learn test-taking strategies, which made a big difference on test scores.

    Good luck!
  12. by   Asklepios
    A lot of good advice here. I have been taking pre-reqs over the last year - Chemistry in Fall and AP I in Spring. I haven't really tried very hard but got an A in Chem and have a solid B in AP I. I know that NS is going to be much more difficult and that I will have to apply myself much more, but I'm fortunate that i don't have as many distractions as some people. I don't have kids or a wife.
  13. by   Kim O'Therapy
    Quote from blessed061987
    Wow Dixie, great post! So true on your tips. The biggest thing that I have seen (and I haven't even started NS yet!!) is that people come into class totally unprepared, not to mention late, and by the time they get their things organized enough to start listening, the class is half over and they have missed out on very important information. All along causing those of us that were there on time to be distracted by all the noise and movement from the back of the class where these type of people tend to sit. I have had people call me teacher's pet because I try to sit in the front, but it is not because I want to become anyone's pet, it is because I want to learn and not miss a thing. I do get easily distracted by noise from others who come in late, chatter in the back and disrupt the class, and it isn't fair to us who are trying to learn. The main thing is to get to class early, get your things ready and be ready to learn when the instructor is ready to teach. Same thing applies to clinicals.
    Great post. I also get distracted when people talk or come in late, even though I sit up front.

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