The big picture vs. the details

  1. I'm going to vent a little here and I hope that there are others who share my frustration!

    Does anyone feel that in their science courses there is too much of an emphasis on minor details rather than the overall picture? I have to memorize such small details, like names of proteins that are involved in a particular biochemical pathway (along with all the variations thereof). I do manage to retain the information long enough to take the test, but afterwards my brain seems to go on dump mode and I forget huge chunks, so that I can barely recall even the simplest basics. (Or maybe I'm just clearing out my brain so I can tackle the next set of chapters.)

    I don't leave all my studying for the last minute; I read the chapters, take notes and review, review, review. The problem (actually I don't think i'ts a problem, it's usually a plus) is that my brain is designed to see the big picture and not the details. When I'm forced to pay too much attention to the details I miss the big picture and I forget everything. I feel that I learned a lot more when I wasn't in school and was just reading textbooks on my own to pick up whatever information I could. That stuff stayed with me, while the stuff I learn for class seems to leak out as soon as I finish taking the test.
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   augigi
    I think anyone who has ever attended school or university has felt the exact same way! Then again, it's the weirdest things I learned which I sometimes DO end up using.
  4. by   UM Review RN
    There are some detailed things that you'll need to remember for nursing because the patho involved can help you sort out why you're giving a medication or what's really happening with a patient.

    Especially if they're teaching cellular level information.

    Many such conditions come to mind--burns, third-spacing, CHF, cardiac arrhythmias, anticoagulation. This is when it's actually good to bog yourself down in details, boring and difficult to learn as it might seem now.

    You'll remember more than you think. Once you develop this base, a little refresher will be all you need while the others struggle.

    Best wishes.
    Last edit by UM Review RN on Nov 29, '06
  5. by   stpauligirl
    Quote from Angie O'Plasty, RN
    There are some detailed things that you'll need to remember for nursing because the patho involved can help you sort out why you're giving a medication or what's really happening with a patient.

    Especially if they're teaching cellular level information.

    Many such conditions come to mind--burns, third-spacing, CHF, cardiac arrhythmias, anticoagulation. This is when it's actually good to bog yourself down in details, boring and difficult to learn as it might seem now.

    You'll remember more than you think. Once you develop this base, a little refresher will be all you need while the others struggle.

    Best wishes.
    I am in A&P2 and our teacher tells us the exact same thing....we will need the information in nursing school in Pathophysiology......I am glad that he is concientious and concerned to teach us this stuff to the level that we are able to be successful in nursing shcool and beyond. Of course it is a pain at times to memeorize so much, it makes my head spin :spin:
  6. by   marilynmom
    Your going to NEED to know the small details once you get into nursing school. The overall picture doesn't cut it actually--you need to be detail oriented. You'll remember more than you think!
  7. by   WDWpixieRN
    I wish I could remember more about the BIG picture and the details...I'm not suffering a lot, but it's amazing all the little things they bring up in NS that I think back and realize, "Hmmmm, I've heard the terminology, now if only my brain would cooperate!!" I'm also a "dump-er"....and I'm managing okay....
    Good luck!!
  8. by   JeanettePNP
    Well I'm on top of the class so I"m not too worried, and I do remember a lot more than I thought I would. It's just a lot more than I ever thought I'd want to know :spin: Up to a certain point everything is, wow, way cool. Then you get to a point where it's just
  9. by   RN BSN 2009
    Stupid question - What is CHF?
  10. by   Irene joy
    I felt the same way about A&p. So many detailes to remember, I think part of the problem was I did'nt have a firm foundation of knowledge about the organs and what they do specifically. In bio100 you learn about cell structure and ATP production, but not really about the systems. Now that I passed with an A in a&p, I'm taking a while to re-learn it without all the pressure of a grade and I find I'm remembering it a lot better, not as much brain dump to make room for upcoming test info!
  11. by   Irene joy
    Chronic heart failure
  12. by   UM Review RN
    Quote from iceyspots
    Stupid question - What is CHF?
    There are no stupid questions. Here's an overview for patients. A nurse needs to know more. (Bookmark this site; they have some valuable info and teaching for nurses! )

    Learning About Heart Failure

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