If you learn by doing then you might shine in clinicals versus theory/fundamentals classes. If your school has a sim lab, see if there are open lab hours or if you can make an appointment to practice skills. Our school has this option. If you become a pro at doing procedures on mannequins, then performing that same skill on a live patient seems a little less daunting. It seems like everyone at my school passes clinical rotations, it is the theory and pharmacology classes that trip people up. You pretty much pass clinicals if you show up on time in a clean uniform
, ask questions, don't harm your patient, and complete your careplan. As far as fundamentals goes, maybe your study method just isn't working for you. It sounds like you are working awfully hard to get C's. I am a visual learner too. Instead of writing notes, I highlight directly in my books using different colors. When the instructors lecture, I follow along in the chapters and mark anything that they emphasize. When I study, I go back and look at what I highlighted/marked only. I like to spend time studying the charts and pictures in my books. Sometimes they make more sense to me than the text. I will make my own concept maps and drawings to try to relate the information. I try to come up with my own mnemonics and memory tricks. Simply reading the book over and over again and using flash cards does not help me. I have to actively engage my mind in order for the information to "stick". You might also try a small study group. Our group does what I call a "brain dump" session. We pick a chapter or concept, and the 5 of us take turns saying out loud everything we know/remember about the subject. It's a good way to jog your memory because someone else always remembers something that you forgot! We also have the option of reviewing our tests after we take them. We have to make an appointment with our instructor to do so, but it is a highly valuable study tool. If that is an option for you, then you can try to figure out if it is the material that you are struggling with or just the question format. Another thing that may help is explaining concepts to someone who is not in nursing school. That is good practice anyways because you need to be able to communicate to your patients what is going on without being too technical. If you are able to "teach" someone else about a concept in simple terminology and they understand, then you will cement your own understanding of the material. I think everyone struggles with studying at the beginning of nursing school. It is a completely new beast to conquer. Find your rhythm and if you truly want to be a nurse, you will make it happen. I wish you the best of luck!