Do not underestimate the difficulty level of nursing school... - page 5

by tenjuna 48,142 Views | 77 Comments

As I am almost done with my first year of my ADN nursing program, I decided to write this article with some thoughts about where I was a year ago. I know I am being overly dramatic here, but hey what the hell may as well put... Read More


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    Quote from LadyFree28
    ^Critical Thinking and Clinical Judgement...Best Book Ever. Search for it on Google or Amazon. One of my nursing professors gave it to me to assist in my test anxiety many moons ago...made me a better nurse!


    Speaking from a failed nursing school once perspective, "critical thinking" IS a huge part of nursing...bringing those classes from the beginning to the nursing theory; your sciences, English, arts, even philosophy puts its all together...and once you enter the field, there's STILL more learning, even after 2, 5, 10 years and beyond. People who choose to enter this profession must be prepared to continue to learn, and practice as such...nurses who have been in the field will tell you "When you THINK you've seen it all, then you get the pt that will make you think otherwise."

    I suggest for those who are struggling to get those recommended books...pay full price for those, and rent, buy used, or utilize the library-that's what I did when I went back to get my BSN. Those recommended books helped me MORE to bridge the textbook and the lecture.

    As for when I got my Critical thinking book? When I failed ADN school, I went back to a PN program (after I finished my prereq's...took a while lol). That program helped A TON of us with test anxiety. They were focused one king sure we had the "critical thinking" as a base. It helped me succeed when I returned to school to go to the next level.

    See you out there...
    THANK YOU! buying it NOW!
  2. 3
    Thank you, this is awesome!

    I'm now in my final semester of an ADN program, and like OP, I'm one of those good students who underestimated just how challenging nursing school would truly be.

    My first go 'round I tried working full time nights along with school and had to leave the program after the first semester because I started sleeping through work and tests. I had to get myself into a spot in life where I could do school and not have to work before I went back. Many of my classmates work, some even full time. Many have children. I admire them and wonder when they sleep. It can obviously be done, and each of us has our own limits. Just try to get yourself into a position that if you find you can't keep up, you can drop down to working part time/quitting, and have family or friends watch the kids a couple days of the week. You will be stressed, you will get burnt out, but with good social support from family, friends, classmates, you'll get through it. Also, especially if you're one who does have a lot of other commitments, utilize your breaks for actually taking a break. Nursing school is a marathon, not a sprint, you have to pace yourself.

    At the beginning of our program one of our instructors said something very enlightening to me. Our classes each semester are only 9 credit hours, but that's really just because they couldn't include more hours and still have it be an associate's degree. They also held a family night at the beginning of the program so we could have family come in and hear straight from our instructors that they'd "give us back" in two years.

    Believe your instructors when they tell you you cannot memorize everything. You can't, but even if you could, it wouldn't help because you need to be able to generalize the information they give you and apply it to different scenarios. If you can get into a productive study group, do it. They exist, and it's very helpful to go over things with a different perspective. My best study buddy was actually a student who was weak on theory and she was great at asking me questions about basics that I had just taken for granted that forced me to really look at the why behind them.

    Also thank you for the book recommendation! Just ordered it I may almost be through, but I'll still take all the help I can get.
    chwcbesteph, tenjuna, and Abby4031 like this.
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    Great post!! Thank you for sharing.

    The tests for me were a total shock to the system as well. The whole "Every answer is right, but which one is the best?" Drove me insane for my first few terms. I would come out of so many exams feeling great thinking I aced, just to get the test back with a C because I got all of the SELECT ALL THAT APPLY questions wrong.

    Also to note when studying diseases, don't just study the basics for the disease, study the patient interventions!! I remember thinking the questions would be "What is Parkinson's disease?" lol they are not at all, you gotta know the meds (side effects, black box, interventions, dosing), symptoms, complications, and how you will deal with that patient on the day to day.

    Then I go to clinical and my nurse tells me, "beware... nursing school is NOT nursing..." say what?!?! lol anyway thanks for the post!!!
    lorirn2b and tenjuna like this.
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    Quote from AnneF
    Great post!! Thank you for sharing.

    The tests for me were a total shock to the system as well. The whole "Every answer is right, but which one is the best?" Drove me insane for my first few terms. I would come out of so many exams feeling great thinking I aced, just to get the test back with a C because I got all of the SELECT ALL THAT APPLY questions wrong.

    Also to note when studying diseases, don't just study the basics for the disease, study the patient interventions!! I remember thinking the questions would be "What is Parkinson's disease?" lol they are not at all, you gotta know the meds (side effects, black box, interventions, dosing), symptoms, complications, and how you will deal with that patient on the day to day.

    Then I go to clinical and my nurse tells me, "beware... nursing school is NOT nursing..." say what?!?! lol anyway thanks for the post!!!
    This is also good to know! I have some background on diseases from A&P but does anyone have any recommendations as to books/study guides on the topics.
  5. 1
    Quote from ebinbrooklyn
    This is also good to know! I have some background on diseases from A&P but does anyone have any recommendations as to books/study guides on the topics.
    I actually like my nursing texts (thought I know many do not) what I found was it's all about where you look. Most of the time in the text it will give a lengthy explanation on the pathophys of the disease, and then afterward it will go into what the patient will actually experience, and what as a nurse you have to look out for (at risk and actual nursing dx etc...). I just realized I was spending too much time on the patho (which is still important) but not enough on the nursing aspect, which is the majority of the test.
    ebinbrooklyn likes this.
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    Some of us worked full time because we HAD to. I was always so jealous of the people who didn't have to work.
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    THANK YOU!!!

    I am in the SAME POSITION!! I entered nursing school with a 3.5 GPA and am struggling so bad! I'm already in my first semester and am already going downhill. I have gotten only 60's and 70's on all my tests (thankfully I'm still passing due to backup assignments I am doing very well in ). As for those who work, there is a woman in my class who works full time and is still managing with mostly A's in my program. She's very smart, but how she manages, only god knows. And it's funny cuz my program is accelerated..only 16 months long before we become nurses. I do join study groups, read the material, but I think test taking is also part of it as well which I'm weak in. But these tips are helpful..I hope to pass by this semester and hopefully next semester I'll whiz through these tests.

    But def taking all these tips!!
    tenjuna likes this.
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    No, nursing (school) is not for the faint of heart. I scanned your post and some of the responses. Without my study group, which often amounted to myself and one other student, I would not have made it through nursing school.

    Sadly, nursing school doesn't have to be as challenging as it often is. I earned a nursing diploma, a bachelor of science degree, and a master of science degree and I found that nursing instructors (both clinical and didactic) are some of the most insensitive people I have ever met. Instead of approaching a student after s/he has done poorly on an exam and helping them determine why they did poorly (and develop a strategy to improve their performance), they often, well, did not care. I find that pretty ironic considering we are in a caring profession. Of course, the grading scale (i.e. earning less than 76% means "failure") does not help. I recognize that it benefits no one to "push" someone through a program. However, an educator's role is to assist a student in discovering what makes them "tick."

    So, I encourage each of you to persevere and realize that no one can ever take away your education AND that there are as many different types of nursing as there are types of students and learning styles.
    lorirn2b, chwcbesteph, and tenjuna like this.
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    THANKS!!!!!
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    Great article. I agree with most of it. However, I was in a great study group. We did most things well, and were pretty focused. There were times when we had fun, but fun is NEEDED too. If things got too dysfunctional, we could almost always split off with people whose needs tended more to study than gossip or jokes. We always came back together as a group and functioned anew.

    For me, my study group was crucial. These friendships grew to be a second family. They congratulated me when I succeeded, supported and offered encouragement and suggestions when I didn't. They taught me how to do the same for them, unselfishly whether I had the time to or not. Most of all, there were people there who had different perspectives on what we were learning, who could enhance what I was learning, and help to explain what I did not at first fully understand.

    So hang on to your study group if you have it and it works for you. Now, several years after nursing school, mine studies the bottom of beer glasses and empty BBQ plates.
    Last edit by bookworm78910 on Apr 5, '13 : Reason: Misspelling
    lorirn2b and tenjuna like this.


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