i've posted this before but i believe is is applicable.
i would call myself a fairly organized person with some ocd tendencies. i think the organizational strategy to use depends on your classes.; however, there are some guidelines every person should use including:
- binders with some sort of divider (use colors if you like)... use the tab dividers to divide up the chapters/systems (i.e. sensory, neurological, cardiac, respiratory, or renal). this is particularly useful when using ppts (note that some ppts in some school have notes written on the bottom of the screen when you open powerpoint and they are usually pretty useful so just look into it!).
- post it notes are good for jotting down quick notes and ideas. i do this all the time for projects and when i have ideas for them and when a teacher asks something in class i did not understand or forgot to ask... i write it down and use for reference later.
- i use binder clips alot (those big black ones) to hold together my files as when i go to school i usually have my file folder, textbook, and maybe a small notebook for some notes (but i usually write directly on my ppts).
- ***one organizational method i found particularly useful is writing in different colors. whatever the teacher says in class i jot down in red pen... notes i write from my textbook and elsewhere is written in blue. sometimes i use green specifically for diagnostic information. you will find that each subject has some time of organization like my medical surgical book: pathophysiology, diagnostic values, treatments, and nursing collaborative care. all subjects will divided up somehow... use that to your advantage.
- highlighters are a given honestly... buy a couple but know that i usually only use yellow and pink for easy visibility while some other colors are a little difficult to see through.
- other than that the rest of your supplies should be textbooks and supplements.
- some people in my class have elected to tape record lectures (of course with teacher permission) and re-listen to them later.
- my clinicals i bought a clipboard for that can hold a couple papers inside (usually sbars, blank care plans, and evaluation drafts) and that is sufficient for my clinical site. some supplementary things to bring to clinical include the clinical companion books that often accompany many textbooks. some things like vital sign ranges, standard/air/droplet/contact precaution facts are useful. i also usually carry some supplies from the hospital itself to my patient's room such as alcohol wipes, gauzes, and my penlight.
that is all i can think of for now. i have more supplies for when i am archiving the class's notes when i finish with them such as including sheet protectors and such but that is for another post.
i've been in my program for a year now and i think that many schools need a little revision on how to prepare students for nursing school.
- you will probably not go out and it will be hard to work. end of story.
- know how to manage your time because there are seriously not enough hours in a day.
- find as many resources as you can for your nursing career (textbooks, online help, online resources, etc) because everything will be useful in one way or another. in this case, also use your teachers to your advantage and students ahead of you in the program (i'm a tutor at my school and we have a plethora of nursing resources that many people do not know even exist).
- know how to be organized in the sense that everything your teacher gives you whether they are ppts or worksheets... i would keep them and organize them in a binder or whatever organizational strategy you use.
- my favorite piece of advice is to try to make your world full of nursing. if i wanted to watch tv i would watch something like grey's anatomy (i would spend half the show looking up stuff and let me tell you it has become useful in class when combining watching with research) and adding nursing news to my reading everyday.
- another important piece of advice is to "choose your friends". even though i may sound a little unorthodox for saying that but you learn best when you're with people of your same level. i've learned this the hard way. it is very difficult to study in groups.
- paying particular attention to class lecture (more or less) is what can make or break your exam grades (since there is so much to cover the teachers tend to tell you what you should focus on).
- another piece of advice i learned the hard way: nursing exams are quintessentially different from any other exam you may have taken in any other college. the goal is application of information. don't just read... know how to apply to real life. remember, when you take the nclex board, you are essentially being tested on how you would act as a nurse in a given setting. the board would not want to pick someone who always chooses to "call the physician" as the answer choice.