Please any tips/encouragement for a Second Yr Student who is Freaking ?

  1. Hello All

    I started my second year of nursing school today and I'm freaking out. We have 17 students that have joined our class because they failed out of this semester in their year. I keep hearing how the 3rd semester is the "weeding out" semester and I'm so nervous about it that it is consuming my thoughts, as failing/repeating is NOT an option for me.

    One of my major weaknesses from the 1st year was the tests and being able to apply critical thinking to the questions. I have a Saunders NCLEX book and cds with practice NCLEX questions but I didn't feel that it helped me that much with taking my test last year. How do you become a "good critical thinker" ? Are there tricks to figuring this out ?

    I'm 35 years old and I have been in the medical field all of my life ( well since 16 yo ) and this experience is in NO WAY helping me with the skills needed to be successful on these tests. My instructor said today that the test are completely different than first year in that they move from being knowledge based to what's the best answer out of 4 or 5 correct answers. God Help Me ! !!

    We had questions like that the first year too but now I have no idea what to expect, what to really focus on or how to study. Should I still focus on trying to grasp the critical thinking mystery or do I need to move on to something different in order to pass second year tests.

    Please if there are any RN graduates out there that can help me ? If you have any advice or encouraging words that you could pass on, I would be extremely grateful for anything that you could offer

    Thank you so very much for your time :heartbeat

    ~ Jenn
    Last edit by Congababe13 on Aug 23, '12 : Reason: Messed up when posting
  2. Visit Congababe13 profile page

    About Congababe13

    Joined: Feb '12; Posts: 18; Likes: 22
    Registered Nurse; from US
    Specialty: 20 year(s) of experience in Loving everyone


  3. by   KrysyRN
    I'd recommend recording your classes, and in the evening listen to the recording and document word-for-word what the instructor said during the class, or update lecture notes you took during class. Match up the notes with the section in the textbook that the topic covers and read and reread until you understand the section of subject matter at a time. If the instructor provides extra study questions or hand-outs, match up that material with your lecture notes. If the textbook has case studies or end-of-chapter questions, match those up with what was covered in class, and try to answer the questions without the help of the book. It's time consuming, but doing this helped me immensely.

    I bought huge, blank pieces of white paper from an art store and would draw diagrams or make flow charts to help understand and memorize info. I remember doing this when trying to understand acid-base-pH and also when studying info about the nervous system, esp the spinal cord.

    I'd also recommend total seclusion with no distractions while studying, if you're able to do this. I used to go to the empty study rooms in our school and focus only on studying. Cell phone was off. Laptop was off. Lots of coffee.
  4. by   Katie71275
    I apply Maslow's Hierarchy of needs to most of the questions and that helps...Also I think ABC's when looking at the question(but you also have to have knowledge b/c your answer may include airway but the procedure/med may have no affect on it kwim?)
  5. by   NurseKT19
    First, Breathe. You are going to make it through this. Of course it's tough. It has to be, because one day you will be interpreting your assessments to determine if what you see is relevant to the patient's outcome. Your medical field experience will help you in time. Whether it is by time management, speaking with your colleagues, or judgement calls.

    Keep in mind that you are in a different place than your fellow classmates. You study differently and your decision to get this degree was probably more thought out than several of those that need to repeat.

    Critical thinking takes practice, and that is why the questions are worded the way they are. Don't think of it as a way to point out your shortcomings. Instead try to see how the questions help to mold how you think. Be sure to review your exams, and you will slap your forehead because you TOTALLY knew that answer, but read it wrong!

    My advice to you is to read. Read until you have got it! If you are tired, take a break or sleep, and then pick up where you got lost. I would even review the relevant chapters in Saunders after reading. It will help to guide you in what they want you to see.

    Good luck and hang in there! Don't let the chatter of how horrible it will be distract you. Your experience will be your own, and will not be the same as others.
  6. by   Congababe13
    Thanks for taking the time to reply you guys . . . I have been online taking test to see what kind of learner I am and reading the tips for studying. I actually did record the lecture today and it does help to have that while studying. I can go back and listen to exactly what was said and make comparisons. Apparently I'm not an auditory learner, my scores were 50% Visual - 50% Tactile.

    I learn well by writing and writing and writing . . . but this is so time consuming that it's not very practical with such a large amount of info. I need to find a way that I can write things down but not be as in depth. I guess I will have to play with some different things and see if I can find something else besides writing that may work for me. I like the idea of making pictures,graphs, etc but I'm not exactly sure how to go about doing that with some of this information.

    Thank you both for the suggestions :heartbeat
    I'm going to try several different things over the next 2 weeks before things get to crazy. I really hope that I can find something that will work for me. I just want the information to really click so that I'm a competent nurse when I graduate in 8 months and not that nurse thats still trying to figure it all out.

    ~ Jenn
  7. by   Congababe13
    Thank you so much NurseKT19 :redpinkhe

    You just made me smile and cry at the same time. I have been so stressed this week, it was really nice to read your kind and encouraging words. I will try every one of your suggestions and I will post back after my first test, which just happens to be on PEDS

    Thank you also for the reminder to breathe because I do have quite the problem with that . . .

    Really thanks ! ! !