Time management, Confidence, etc. in the nursing program

  1. So I just got accepted into nursing school for the Spring of 2014. I am taking six classes. The classes are health assessment and lab, nursing concept and lab, prospective of nursing, and dosage calculation. I was wondering if anyone could help me by giving me ideas on how I can manage my study time for all six classes. I have do study a lot but I always seem to get distracted. If I'm studying, I just start to think about everything that doesn't have to do with what I'm doing. Sometimes I can force myself to focus, but it always happens no matter what. And also I'm excited about getting excepted into the program, but I'm also nervous about it as well. I've never really worked in a nursing environment. I've just had one mere experience where I went to the nursing home two days out the week in high school for a health class I was taking. We really didn't do any hands on work, we just saw how the CNAs cared for the residents in the nursing home, such as changed diapers, moved them every number of hours, and bathed them and we saw the duties of the LPN. The class was actually the reason I wanted to become a nurse. What I'm basically saying I'm alittle scared about going into the program because I'm worried about how to manage time; not only with classes but with family and friends as well, and I'm worried about whether I would make it as well because I'm not the most outgoing person. I believe I have the brains for it but being a nurse is beyond that.
  2. Visit jscott102259 profile page

    About jscott102259

    Joined: Nov '13; Posts: 5; Likes: 1


  3. by   Summer Days
    I cannot put it any better than this poster!

    Quote from gcat626_RN
    Hello everyone. I want to share with current or future nursing students my "guide " to surviving nursing school exams and coursework.

    Studying And Managing Coursework

    It's your first day of class. Your excited, scared, and eager. All the hard work in your pre-requisites has finally payed off, and you are officially a nursing student. Your professor walks in, greets the classroom, and dives right into the syllabus. One look at the syllabus, and the anxiety starts to kick in. It is several pages long. " Geez, this might be the biggest syllabus I've ever had!" You turn the page and there is the reading list--- you think to yourself, " you have got to be kidding me...there is just no way one person can study this much material! "

    Get used to this feeling. Not only will it start in your very first nursing fundamentals course, but it will continue all the way up until graduation. Nursing school is no joke -- it is very overwhelming. It may seem impossible, but with the right study habits and time management skills, you can and will succeed.

    The following are the most valuable pearls of wisdom I can give you in terms of studying and acheiving good grades in your courses.

    What to study: **Only study what is covered in class--this will cut down your workload significantly and make your time spent studying that much more meaningful.**

    You must be thinking to yourself " you mean I dont have to read all 1 million chapters assigned by the professor for week 1?! " THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I'M SAYING! Although you "should" read everything, it's just not feasible. There are not enough hours in the week to do all that reading and simultaneously prep for clinical, eat, sleep, and maintain your health and sanity. Take it from me. During my first fundamentals course, I read and studied every single page, box, etc assigned in the syllabus. I was too scared to skip anything. I was so anxious that I even started studying 3 weeks before the class actually started, which accumulated into over 5 weeks of studying by the time the first exam was even given. It took a serious toll on my heath, yet I continued to read and study every page, box etc for the remainder of the course. By the time the first semester ended, I was mentally and physically exhausted and I told myself I didn't want to do this anymore. I vented to a friend of mine who was a senior nursing student getting ready to graduate, and she told me to only study what was covered in class. I thought to myself, " there's no way ," but I had to try something or else I was going to end up withdrawing myself from the nursing program. So I took her advice with me into my next course. The assigned readings/ chapters list was comparable, if not larger, than the list for my funamentals course. Even though deep down I wanted to read all of it to be on the safe side, I only read what was covered in class. I got a 96 on the first exam. For example, lets say on the syllabus your teacher assigned chapter 21, " postpartum assessment and complications " to be read and studied. However, during class, he or she only teaches certain sections of chapter 21. ONLY STUDY THOSE SECTIONS! There is a reason for this-- the professor is covering what he or she deems the most important information, which translates into the information that will be covered on the test. I used this technique all the way until my very last exam in nursing school, and not only did it prove to be correct each time, but it was probably what saved me from burning out and subsequently withdrawing from school.

    How to study: ** Study what you need to know as a nurse. **

    What I mean is this: your professor won't care that you can describe why the pain felt during a heart attack is due to the buildup of lactic acid as a result of oxygen deprivation and every biological step involved in anaerobic metabolism ( and these processes are covered quite extensively in nursing textbooks). Sure, it's nice to know, but your not getting a degree in chemistry. Instead, they want to know what YOU would do if a patient presented to the ER with chest pain, important nursing actions to take during this situation, and why you take those actions. Study what you need to know as a nurse.

    In addition, applying what you study is most important and this is where the bulk of where your testing will come from. From day one your teachers will speak of critical thinking and the nursing process, and your licensing exam will focus heavily on these concepts. These principles are exactly what makes nursing so difficult and also why so many people will not make it through nursing school. At this point your probably asking yourself, " Well how do I know if I can critically think and apply what I have learned? " Practice applying what you know with NCLEX style questions. One of the best pieces of advice I can give you is to purchase an NCLEX practice question book early on in your academic career. Purchase a book that divides the questions up by sections, ie cardiac, oncology, etc. so that you can use them to study when you are covering different topics in school.

    Time management is also essential to success in nursing school yet very difficult to get a grasp of early on. To effectively manage your time, there are several steps to take. First off, get a calendar. On the very first day of class, mark each and every quizz and exam on the calendar. Next, and probably most important, study every day. By no means do I mean 4-5 hours a day. Not only is that foolish but you will burn out fast. Study 2 hours a day, and as far in advance as you can. Not only will you be adequately prepared, but the information will stay in your long term memory-- theres no such thing as cramming in nursing school the night before, you've gotta know this stuff forever.For example, lets say your test is in two weeks. Start studying the very first day the teacher presents the information. Take notes in class, and clarify any missing portions with your textbook. Learn this information, then start practicing the information with corresponding nclex questions. At first, you will probably get a decent amount of the questions wrong. BUT THATS OK! This is how you learn, and when you go back to do more questions you will start to notice that there is only so many ways they can ask you about a given topic or scenario. Also, do every question you can get your hands on. I used to go to barnes and noble, pay for a coffee , and take all of the nclex books out of their nursing section and do them until I got sick of them. If you practice questions and study your notes like I said for 2 hours a day up until the exam, you will be an expert by the time you have to test and I guarentee you will pass, probably with flying colors.

    " What do I do when i'm crunched for time and can't take notes from my textbook? " Purchase Med/surg nursing reviews and rationales by mary ann hogan. Essentially this book is a cliff notes version of your bulky med/surg textbook. It has notes on the most important diseases, procedures, surgeries etc divided by body system and is worth its weight in gold. There were several times where I replaced my med/surg text with this book and used it along with nclex questions for practice to learn the info. For example, lets say you are covering cardiac tamponade in class, but dont have time to take notes on it from your med/surg text. Open up reviews and rationales by mary ann hogan, turn to the cardiac section, and you will find an excellent breakdown of the disease in bullet-point format which includes a defintion, signs and symptoms, and associated nursing interventions. Study this breakdown, and then practice nclex questions on it. Repeat this process over and over for all disorders/diseases/procedures you are learning about it and you will shine when it comes to testing time.

    Well that about covers it. I really hope this will help nursing students to excell in the classroom and do well on exams. If you're wondering how I did, I graduated with a 3.9 cumulative GPA and passed the nclex in 75 questions. Best of luck everyone.
  4. by   PurpleLover
    I am sitting here shocked that you have six classes, that right there has me literally

    I have Nur-160, Nur 163, Nur 170. I have started googling around to see how different people cope. I am new to this journey as well, so I cannot give you any advice. Plus, the other poster pretty much seems to have nailed it!
  5. by   Kittythestudentnurse
    Congrats! I was really scared and excited going into the program, not knowing what to expect. I'm at the end of semester 2 right now. I agree with the previous poster who had all the awesome info. in addition, make sure you take care of you! Get lots of sleep, especially the night before a test...don't stay up all night "cramming"...you won't retain the info and will probably get sick...and eat breakfast - these two tips have helped me recall so much more information then when I don't take care of myself. Best of luck
  6. by   Fearless_leader
    I read that same post weeks ago, & I agree with it. I start Nursing Program in Jan. 2014 & I was researching how to study & I think this way of studying sounds the best. I must admit I do feel like I don't want miss anything either. If you form a study group maybe you guys can break the chapter up among you all & do an outline make copies. Remember the core of what your professor has taught and focus on that; in addition to reviewing the extrasstuff. That's my take on it.
  7. by   chasingyouolds
    I'm halfway thru my nursing program, and the information on that poster was wonderful! Very helpful and handy! We are getting ready to hit clinicals hot and heavy with what we have learned so far, and I KNOW I didn't study enough! So, I'm going to be going back thru here and taking notes on how to take notes. :P
  8. by   Naeema_rnhopeful
    First of all congrats everyone, we made it this far and we will make it through. I have share some of the same feelings of fear and excitement. That first post was very helpful, i am taking it all in.
  9. by   jscott102259
    Quote from Nursing Student 2015
    I cannot put it any better than this poster!
    Thank you so much for sharing this post and I would like to thank the author of these study tips and everyone who gave me tips as well. I've been so busy with finals ( mainly pathophisiology) that I didn't have time to respond. I plan on using these tips and printing it out sort of making it my nursing commandments . Thanks again!!