NAC1, where to start? It's much harder than Basics. My first test was a 79 which was good compared to most people. I've managed to pull my grade up to an 88, but I've had to work for it.
As far as clinicals, my first clinical instructor was very intense, he made us go in from 6 am til 2 pm; gave us a complete careplan, a narrative, and a flowsheet each week. The paperwork alone took 6 to 8 hours. He also gave us 2 -3 patients from the start. I learned a lot, but I was miserable.Fortunately, my second clinical teacher was super easy and let us out early with minimal paperwork.
Here is what has helped me survive this class:
BE PREPARED FOR CLASS:
Step 1-Before class, print your notes (or outline) and supplement the material from your text. Just read the intro & the sections that correlate to the teachers notes. Skip the diseases that aren't covered. Also, pay attention to the Nursing Care plans and especially the nursing interventions.
Preparing before class in soooo helpful. Some of the teachers fly through the lectures so its easy to get lost if unprepared. If you don't have time to supplement with the text prior to class, then at least read the teachers notes first. Then sometime before the test, read the important section in the text and supplement your notes.
Step 2-Goto class & take notes; if you supplemented your outline, you will have most of the info already.
HOW TO STUDY:
Step 1: Go Home home & Review your notes (you should have any text book info added already). Then review the end of chapter questions in the text.
Step 2: If it's a section that is heavily weighted on the test or if you need extra review, watch the Tegrity lecture. The benefit of Tegrity is that the person on Tegrity will usually be highly experienced in that area so lecture may be better than the one you heard in class.
Step 3: Review with a study group if you have time. I didn't actually do this, but most students do.
Step 4 (EXTREMELY important)
- Do about 40 NCLEX questions for each section. Use any of the "comprehensive" NCLEX books and the Medical Surgical Success book. Another resource is "Medical-Surgical Reviews & Rationals". I don't have this, but many students swear by it.
Extra Tips: Prioritize your time based on the number of test questions. Like Basics, some sections have 4 questions and others may have 10. Some students retype their notes because the notes we get are in the Powerpoint outline format so every few lines have a heading and its totally annoying. I just white out all the repeticious stuff because typing takes too long. Also, learn the lab values that are relevant for that section. Over the holidays, review your pharm notes, physical assessment, body fluids, oxygenation, mobility, and skin integrity (the lecture with pressure ulcers). If you can get ahold of a "Fluid & Electrolytes made easy," then read the beginning sections on F & E and acid-base.
In a nutshell, NAC1 is a whole new world compared to Basics. Basics is easy compared to NAC1 because we had several "fluff" topics like "stress & anziety, sleep, pain, teaching and learning, etc". NAC1 is more about chronic diseases for each of the body systems so there aren't too many "fluff" sections. The first test was the worst for me. It covered IV"s, fluid & electrolites, acid-base, neurovascular, cardiac, and respiratory assessment, and ethics. We only had 2 weeks to prepare and the overall grades were bad. A lot of people got low C's or failed. The main issue was the volume of material and the fact that we only had 2 weeks to study.
Good Luck. I wish you the best.