I wish I had studied this before Nursing 101.......

  1. I will be starting school in the fall & want to plan ahead, so what do you wish you had studied a little more before you started Nursing 101? I am an older student, out of school for a while & have not taken any math courses since 1992. I am brushing up on some simple algebra & math calculations, fractions & such. I have heard from some nursing students in my pre-req classes that the math was killing them, there were some recent high school grads in the mix, so I am a little nervous.
    Can you list here some things you wish you had known before taking your first nursing courses?
    Thanks in advance!
  2. 61 Comments

  3. by   mochabean
    I'm not in nursing school yet, but the nursing students I've talked to advised me to get a book on dosage calculations and work through it during the summer. I'm interested in more responses from the nursing students here.
  4. by   GeneralJinjur
    Math is important. The continuation of someone's life will depend on your math skills.

    I'd also brush up on hormones and their effects, especially the ones that link together, like renin-angiotensin-aldosterone. Any concept that gave you trouble in patho, micro or A&P needs to be reviewed, because you apply it all in nursing.

    Finally, I'd get involved with a healthy stress reliever like yoga so that you're sleeping well before you start. Unless you know that you lose weight when stressed, I'd buy your scrubs a little loose. Everyone in my class has been complaining about their now-tight scrub pants. I started out going to the gym every afternoon, but that fell by the wayside as my kids got sick and I fell behind in the reading. I couldn't face the prospect of failing the class because I'd taken the time to care for my body, so I didn't. I didn't fail and my body has the summer to get cared for.
  5. by   krltdy
    I'm not in school yet, but I've seen a lot of posts on here to study medical terminology before entering NS. I've also seen posts suggesting to pick up a book called "Fundamentals of Nursing Made Easy". HTH. Good luck!
  6. by   Violet08
    Does your program have a med-calc book required? Maybe you could get that early and practice. I really did not find the math portion of nursing school difficult but many students did. We lost quite a few due to the dosage calculations exam. Is math usually difficult for you?

    A&P is good to review, especially the systems you will cover each semester.

    The one thing I wished I did earlier in school is get an NCLEX review book. For me, the tests were difficult and a different style than I was used to. Get an NCLEX book first semester and use the questions from each section as you do that section in school. (I like Saunders Comprehensive Review NCLEX-RN because it breaks it into sections based on system or topic which makes it good to use as a student before you cover all the material).
  7. by   aerorunner80
    If I'm reading your post right you still have to take pre-req's right?

    If that's the case then look at what your required classes are and concentrate on the ones that you think you may have trouble with.

    I know it's not much help but pre-req's are the classes in which you will learn almost everything that you will need to know to get through nursing school.
  8. by   cursedandblessed
    Test taking success for beginning nursing students. It was good for getting used to the style of questions and some basic information without the info being too in depth. Once you start you'd want to go to the next book Nursing Fundamentals Test Success. Culturally competent care is an interesting topic to read about, we haven't spent a lot of time on it but it's nice to read about other cultures and their receiving care in the US. Nursing made incredibly easy magazine is a fun and interesting read.
  9. by   shann106
    Dosage calculation and normal lab values. Also, be familiar with the most common drugs. Microbiology is also very helpful in understanding meds

    If you are not great at math really focus on that because that is what knocked a lot of students out of my program. Most programs make you pass a dosage calculation test with a 90% within the first week of classes. How devestating would it be to get accepted to the program only to get kicked out in the first week because of the math test? I really think a big part of that test is simply to psych people out and put them under crazy stress to see who they can weed out.

    Also I would suggest getting an NCLEX book, you can usually find one cheaper on Half.com. I suggest this just so you can look at the way they quesitons are asked. Your nursing tests will most likely be formulated like the NCLEX, and it takes quite a while to get used to that way of thinking
    Last edit by shann106 on Apr 15, '09
  10. by   butterfly135
    does anyone have any suggestions for a medical math book? thought i would work through it over the summer.thanks
  11. by   CrunchyMama
    Now I'm freaked out! I start nursing this fall and I'm NOT good at math! I absolutely hate it! I know that math is a part of nursing...but OMG I don't want to get kicked out because I'm not good with it! What do I do? What sort of math book should I buy in advance that will help? Help please!
  12. by   MsLoriRN
    Hi, and an early "welcome to nursing!" to you!

    I LOVE IT that you asked this question about math and nursing!I've had several high-school students who love math tell me that they were surprised at how much math there is involved in the profession, and just recently, too, so your post wasn't surprising to me at all.

    "Nurses do a lot of math on the job. Your basic math skills--addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division--will be used multiple times each day. If you tend to make lots of "little mistakes" in math, you know, like absent- mindedly saying that 8X7=54 instead of 56...that's NOT acceptable in a nurse. So if you tend to be haphazard with your math, you'll need to change that trait! Medication dosing errors kill people. There's no room for error here.

    In addition to basic math skills, you'll also need to be proficient in basic algebra. Many medication dosages are written as "give this-many-milligrams per kilogram of body weight." This means that you have to weigh the patient, then plug that amount into the equation to figure out how much to give.

    Let's say the dose is written as 10 mg. per kg. body weight. You weigh the patient and find that he weighs 60 kg. So the dose is 10mg/kg X 60kg=600mg. Simple, basic algebraic equation.

    Things can get more complicated from there, as more variables get added. Perhaps the medication order is written for a particular concentration of medicine (obviously liquid formulations), and the pharmacy sends a different concentration. You will need to calculate the dose based on the patient's weight, then re-calculate it for the changed concentration.

    We can complicate this even further--let's make this a drug that needs to be "titrated" (change the amount) to achieve a particular blood pressure, urine output, laboratory value, etc. Math, math, math!

    If you don't love math, that doesn't mean you shouldn't go into nursing. It's not the core of what nursing is all about. But it is important that what math you are required to perform, you are good at and accurate."

    I hope this has been somewhat helpful...most of all, I'd stress to all of you that while, YES, you DO need to focus A LOT on academics during your student years, keep in mind that a huge part of being a nurse will come from your hearts. Anyone can learn math (well, okay, ALMOST anyone!)...I'm not downplaying its importance, obviously. But not everyone can be a nurse...even if they're a math genius. You have to want it, or it can eat you alive. This is a profession that'll grip your heart. If you are right for it, you are qualified for it, AND you really want it, you'll be able to make it happen. Is it easy? No. Is it worth it? Again, if you really want it, YOU BET!!! Go for it, give it all you've got...it's way worth it! Best of luck to you!
    Last edit by XB9S on Apr 16, '09 : Reason: self promotion
  13. by   GeneralJinjur
    Now I'm freaked out! I start nursing this fall and I'm NOT good at math!
    No freaking out allowed, LOL. It's not hard math, it just requires you to be methodical. I'm not good at math, either, but the majority of clinical calculation is stuff you learned in the 4th grade. If you're a high school graduate, you can totally handle it!
  14. by   deleern
    Analyze your Study style and research that... it is half the battle