Recommended books to get a head start before nursing school?

  1. 1
    Hi everyone! I am about to start my first semester of nursing school this fall and I am wondering what advice you would give to get a head start during the summer. What books do you recommend a new nursing student get before starting in a nursing program? I happen to have a weakness in math and I am worried for the calculations I will have to know for the program. Are there any great "math for nurses" books you can recommend? Is there anything else I should be prepared for BEFORE I start nursing school/any other things that will make the transition to nursing school easier? Any advice helps! Thanks in advance
    Allimama1 likes this.
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  4. 2
    My school suggests that we buy "calculate with confidence" for practice over the summer.... I start in the fall as well and we have to pass @ 100% a calculation test in the first week of class. I found one online for like $5 and it comes with a CD
  5. 0
    The math isn't really bad at all, and I despise math with a passion. Very basic algebra. I wouldn't worry too much about it ahead of time. I'm Canadian, so the metric system is second nature for me, but you might want to learn conversions because I assume that you do some measurements in units like grams and milligrams - maybe an American student here can verify that?
  6. 3
    Just make sure you really, really know your Anatomy & Physiology. I kept all my study materials from that course including the text book, lab manual, and my notes. My A&P professor stressed that we would have to continue studying A&P.

    I took her advice and spent at least an hour a day studying A&P when I was finishing my prereqs and applying to nursing school. Boy am I glad I did!

    When you get to PathoPhysiology it saves a lot of time if you are familiar with anatomy. When the professor discusses cardiac failure and arrhythmia, she isn't going to go over the anatomy of the heart, or how the blood flows. She assumes you know it.

    Even a few minutes a day brushing up on A&P is worthwhile. When I'm drifting off to sleep I review A&P in my head. I trace the blood flow through the heart, naming the valves etc.

    By the way, congrats on your acceptance. You'll love nursing school. It's an adventure.
  7. 23
    Honestly, save your money. Get your life in order instead. Clean your house/apartment/room from top to bottom and purge purge purge. Clean your car thoroughly and get it in perfect running condition. Get into a regular exercise routine, one that you can sustain throughout school. Get a hold of your finances, create a budget, and stick with it. Cook some meals and freeze them for suppers after clinicals when you have no time to cook, and learn to make meals with simple, healthy ingredients, for quick breakfasts, snacks, and wholesome sack lunches. Organize, organize, organize.

    You will be so much happier and healthier throughout nursing school if you have all your ducks in a row. You'll be able to concentrate on all your subjects without the distractions of a messy life. Plus, if you study something (such as math) and then get to school and find that they have great math help, or that you have to take a basic math class as part of your nursing curriculum, you would have wasted your time. Rather, concentrate now on activities that you know will make your life easier during school.
    oomjeoo, ambitiousBSN, hlj123, and 20 others like this.
  8. 1
    You could look at vital signs (normal ranges) and how / where to take them. Memorize where the pulse sites are so that all ya have to do is practice finding them. Ditto for injection sites. Respiratory rates, BP, pulses, ect -- all of that is nurse-aide level and you might be able to find online teacher's notes in PDF. Potter & Perry Fundamentals of Nursing is used at many schools.

    Our school had us buy a Moseby's medical dictionary, and a set of Moseby's DVD's of nursing fundamentals like bed baths, injections, taking vital signs, etc.

    Nursing Diagnoses might be another to consider, or perhaps not. It's a thing that might be going by the wayside b/c it adds a layer to the care-providing and is very time-consuming (as in writing care plans.)

    I second the A&P review, too.
    FutureBSNurse likes this.
  9. 4
    There is no sense in trying to get a "head start", as soon as you read something, your instructors will tell you something different... then you'll just be confused and frustrated.

    Listen to BluegrassRN, get your life in order! You won't have time for any of that after school starts.

    The math is so easy it's ridiculous. If you can do one dosage calc you can do them all.

    Waste a lot of time, read a lot of books that are non-nursing, and rest up.

    We're in the final two weeks of our semester right now and I'm so tired I'm pretty sure I'm a walking zombie. I can't wait for summer break so I can sleep for three months straight.

    Good luck, and please, heed our advice and don't try to get a "head start", your burn out will be 10 X worse!

    Get prepared for a crazyyyy ride!!
    gatormommy, Ayala, wldcard, and 1 other like this.
  10. 1
    Great advice Bluegrass RN. I will have to keep that in mind.
    ashlilo likes this.
  11. 0
    I agree with learning all the normal ranges for vital signs, also if your super eager learn all your lab values for CBC and Chem panels, know your electrolyte imbalances..learn the signs and symptoms for hyper/hyponatriemia..potassium, calcium etc.

    I may be overstretching but these are things that you will need throughout your carreer as a nurse and as a soon to be 4th semester nursing student sometimes I still find myself struggling retaining this information..especially the electrolytes.

    Dont study your brains out just yet though, put all this info on some index cards and keep them in your purse pull them out while your waiting for appointments and such. Dont start you crazy study sessions too soon, trust me you'll get your money's worth once school actually starts.

    It's also important to spend quality time with family, friends, significant other as your time will be pretty much devoted to nursing and sometimes peoples feelings will get hurt.
  12. 3
    Quote from BluegrassRN
    Honestly, save your money. Get your life in order instead. Clean your house/apartment/room from top to bottom and purge purge purge. Clean your car thoroughly and get it in perfect running condition. Get into a regular exercise routine, one that you can sustain throughout school. Get a hold of your finances, create a budget, and stick with it. Cook some meals and freeze them for suppers after clinicals when you have no time to cook, and learn to make meals with simple, healthy ingredients, for quick breakfasts, snacks, and wholesome sack lunches. Organize, organize, organize.

    You will be so much happier and healthier throughout nursing school if you have all your ducks in a row. You'll be able to concentrate on all your subjects without the distractions of a messy life. Plus, if you study something (such as math) and then get to school and find that they have great math help, or that you have to take a basic math class as part of your nursing curriculum, you would have wasted your time. Rather, concentrate now on activities that you know will make your life easier during school.
    Following this advice will be much higher yield than pre-studying nursing before nursing school.
    gmarks, SweetPEI, and gatormommy like this.


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