Need Patho Tips!

  1. 0
    Hello, I was just curious as to if anyone can give me some study tips for pathophysiology? I don't start into my program until the fall (awaiting my acceptance letter), and decided to read some patho to get a head start on it. I am interested in hearing how you guys studied, and if you can give me any tips or techniques on how to study. So far, I find reading the book extremely fun...I guess I'm a nerd? Oh well!

    Thank you!

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  2. 8 Comments...

  3. 0
    I studied with flash cards that I made myself for that class. It's a little harder because you have to know the processes of all the diseases but the cards really helped. I got a B+ and was happy with that
  4. 0
    I had to take Pathophysiology my first semester of nursing school and it was extremely difficult. There was so much material in that class that you basically had to teach yourself because it was impossible to go over everything in class. My advice for you is to figure out your learning style because understanding Pathophysiology is more than just memorization, you will have to retain and apply the information for the rest of your academic and professional career. For Patho I took notes as I read the chapters and to review I would meet in study groups and discuss the disease processes aloud as if I was teaching someone else. I thinking having a solid foundation of Patho will help you understand material in your other classes much easier.
  5. 0
    Good for you for being so excited about Patho! Definitely make sure you understand what is "normal" first (A&P), that makes it a lot easier to understand what is abnormal. I'm a visual person so I needed to make concept maps and drawings.
    Last edit by CC Wisconsin on Feb 11, '13 : Reason: typo
  6. 0
    To really learn pathophysiology, you have to have a solid grasp of normal physiology. This is where most students have a hard time, because they don't, really. My best advice to students is to get the Physiology Coloring Book, available online from your favorite bookseller, free 2-day shipping from Amazon for students. This is not a joke and not a comic book, but a real, good resource that my students said saved their behinds in this class.

    Get the hard copy, not the online download or the iPad version, because part of the reason it's so good is because it engages different parts of your brain when you use your colored pencils to help you retain the material.


    There are no shortcuts for A&P because they're a big part of being a nurse. This is definitely NOT a course you will pass and put out of your head, because after you take it and get into the nursing coursework it will be an integral part of the critical thinking process; your faculty will expect that you remember it. These books will be excellent reference for you when you start seeing real patients. This is unlike any other education you have ever had, trust me. Get the books.


    The Physiology Coloring Book (2nd Edition) by Wynn Kapit, Robert I. Macey and Esmail Meisami(Oct 3, 1999)

    (also)


    The Anatomy Coloring Book by Wynn Kapit and Lawrence M. Elson (Jul 5, 2001)
  7. 0
    Quote from GrnTea
    To really learn pathophysiology, you have to have a solid grasp of normal physiology. This is where most students have a hard time, because they don't, really. My best advice to students is to get the Physiology Coloring Book, available online from your favorite bookseller, free 2-day shipping from Amazon for students. This is not a joke and not a comic book, but a real, good resource that my students said saved their behinds in this class.

    Get the hard copy, not the online download or the iPad version, because part of the reason it's so good is because it engages different parts of your brain when you use your colored pencils to help you retain the material.


    There are no shortcuts for A&P because they're a big part of being a nurse. This is definitely NOT a course you will pass and put out of your head, because after you take it and get into the nursing coursework it will be an integral part of the critical thinking process; your faculty will expect that you remember it. These books will be excellent reference for you when you start seeing real patients. This is unlike any other education you have ever had, trust me. Get the books.

    The Physiology Coloring Book (2nd Edition) by Wynn Kapit, Robert I. Macey and Esmail Meisami(Oct 3, 1999)

    (also)

    The Anatomy Coloring Book by Wynn Kapit and Lawrence M. Elson (Jul 5, 2001)
    Thank you for your response! It was very helpful and more than likely will buy that book. I feel very confident in my physiology knowledge but brushing up and reviewing can never hurt! Thank you once again excellent response.
  8. 2
    Patho is difficult. With anatomy, it's all memorization, but with patho, you have to understand the process and why it happens. It's a totally different ball game. My advice is:

    -Study every single day as much as you can.

    -Once you have a section down, go to the next one, then go back. If I went back to a previous section and didn't understand it, I knew I still had work to do. It was constant repetition, over and over. Then, when I thought I knew the section, I would go about my day and try to recall it. I would be standing in line at the grocery store and try to recall all the normal ranges of electrolytes or all the steps of nerve conduction. If I couldn't recall a couple steps, I would go back and restudy the section.

    -Always review your notes right after class, even if it's for 30 minutes. If you are taught something and then review it that day, you will retain more information b/c it's still fresh. That will go into your long-term memory. If you cram right before a test, you have to relearn it as if it's the first time. That will go into your short-term memory and there's a chance you won't be able to recall it as well as you think.

    -(you might laugh at this) but when I had to review something that had multiple processes, I would draw it out and talk out loud to myself and pretend I was teaching someone sitting next to me. If I couldn't explain the pathway of blood through the heart, then I wouldn't be able to do it on an exam. If you can teach it, then you understand it.

    - Learn the latin terminology (base) of the each word, not just the whole word itself. Most people basically know what meningitis is. Maybe a brain infection? Well, -itis means inflammation and mening- refers to the meninges of the central nervous system. So, meningitis is inflammation of the meninges....which is caused by an infection that can not only affect the brain, but the spinal cord as well. Encephalitis - enceph(al) means brain...encephalitis is brain inflammation, not necessarily infection. Thorax means chest, lung and pneumo means air, gas...pneumothorax means air in the thorax aka collapsed lung. Based on this, I bet you can guess what pneumocephalus is. So, if you try to learn that hydrocephalus (which is an over collection of fluid in the brain b/c hydro means water,fluid), it will be impossible to just memorize it (b/c there are hundreds of other terms you have to also learn. It becomes confusing). But if you know hydro.....and cephalus...then you can piece the two together and get the question right. If you see a new word, look at it in parts and then piece it together. Never try to just memorize it. For example, esophagogastroduodenoscopy is a word. Break it into 4 words and it makes sense.

    -If you think you know a process, try and do it backwards or know the opposite of it. You may be able to follow a drop of blood through the heart from the vena cava to the aorta, but can you trace it from the aorta backwards to the vena cava? See if you can trace the formation of a scab back through to the laceration. If you know it backwards, then you know it forwards. The side effects of hypokalemia are usually opposite hyperkalemia (with exception to toxic states). If something stimulates a process, learn what blocks it.

    -Study the pictures in the book. Reading the notes and power points may not turn on the light until you see a picture with with all the dissections, arrows, and labels. It's a difference between someone asking you to remember name vs. seeing a name with a face. Find out what is listed on one side of the table vs the other.

    -Know the "why," the "how," and the "when;" not just "what."

    -On top of normal studying, dedicate every Sunday to studying your notes (for the week) as if you are taking an exam on monday. Even though my next exam was 4 weeks away, I would have a mock cram section for the week. So, when I had to take the real exam, I had already engrained it in my head weeks ago. Then, I would constantly go back and review the same thing over and over until it was redundant. By the time the exam came around, there was nothing to really study and there was nothing to relearn. It was just quick reviewing.

    Good Luck!
    Lolita34 and GrnTea like this.
  9. 1
    Quote from hodgieRN
    Patho is difficult. With anatomy, it's all memorization, but with patho, you have to understand the process and why it happens. It's a totally different ball game. My advice is:

    -Study every single day as much as you can.

    -Once you have a section down, go to the next one, then go back. If I went back to a previous section and didn't understand it, I knew I still had work to do. It was constant repetition, over and over. Then, when I thought I knew the section, I would go about my day and try to recall it. I would be standing in line at the grocery store and try to recall all the normal ranges of electrolytes or all the steps of nerve conduction. If I couldn't recall a couple steps, I would go back and restudy the section.

    -Always review your notes right after class, even if it's for 30 minutes. If you are taught something and then review it that day, you will retain more information b/c it's still fresh. That will go into your long-term memory. If you cram right before a test, you have to relearn it as if it's the first time. That will go into your short-term memory and there's a chance you won't be able to recall it as well as you think.

    -(you might laugh at this) but when I had to review something that had multiple processes, I would draw it out and talk out loud to myself and pretend I was teaching someone sitting next to me. If I couldn't explain the pathway of blood through the heart, then I wouldn't be able to do it on an exam. If you can teach it, then you understand it.

    - Learn the latin terminology (base) of the each word, not just the whole word itself. Most people basically know what meningitis is. Maybe a brain infection? Well, -itis means inflammation and mening- refers to the meninges of the central nervous system. So, meningitis is inflammation of the meninges....which is caused by an infection that can not only affect the brain, but the spinal cord as well. Encephalitis - enceph(al) means brain...encephalitis is brain inflammation, not necessarily infection. Thorax means chest, lung and pneumo means air, gas...pneumothorax means air in the thorax aka collapsed lung. Based on this, I bet you can guess what pneumocephalus is. So, if you try to learn that hydrocephalus (which is an over collection of fluid in the brain b/c hydro means water,fluid), it will be impossible to just memorize it (b/c there are hundreds of other terms you have to also learn. It becomes confusing). But if you know hydro.....and cephalus...then you can piece the two together and get the question right. If you see a new word, look at it in parts and then piece it together. Never try to just memorize it. For example, esophagogastroduodenoscopy is a word. Break it into 4 words and it makes sense.

    -If you think you know a process, try and do it backwards or know the opposite of it. You may be able to follow a drop of blood through the heart from the vena cava to the aorta, but can you trace it from the aorta backwards to the vena cava? See if you can trace the formation of a scab back through to the laceration. If you know it backwards, then you know it forwards. The side effects of hypokalemia are usually opposite hyperkalemia (with exception to toxic states). If something stimulates a process, learn what blocks it.

    -Study the pictures in the book. Reading the notes and power points may not turn on the light until you see a picture with with all the dissections, arrows, and labels. It's a difference between someone asking you to remember name vs. seeing a name with a face. Find out what is listed on one side of the table vs the other.

    -Know the "why," the "how," and the "when;" not just "what."

    -On top of normal studying, dedicate every Sunday to studying your notes (for the week) as if you are taking an exam on monday. Even though my next exam was 4 weeks away, I would have a mock cram section for the week. So, when I had to take the real exam, I had already engrained it in my head weeks ago. Then, I would constantly go back and review the same thing over and over until it was redundant. By the time the exam came around, there was nothing to really study and there was nothing to relearn. It was just quick reviewing.

    Good Luck!
    Grey tips! Loved it! And I do pretty much the same things as you do, while I am at work I usually try to rehearse in my head and see what I know... And stuff that stumbles me I go joke right after work and review it. And I have taken medical terminology a few semesters ago and I'm SO thankful I did! What I also like to do is read my chapters slowly and carefully one time through l, highlighting important points and like the day before my test I usually just look over the main points I highlighted, which makes things go a lot easier and faster. I keep hearing horror stories about patho, and by no means do I think it will be a breeze, I know I will study my butt off but the thing is I can't wait to learn about that stuff and I will dedicate as much time as it needs to know what I'm talking about! Thank you again for your great tip
    GrnTea likes this.
  10. 0
    Happy to help


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