Advice from all of our PROS on preparing for nursing school...

Students Pre-Nursing


I am starting my ADN program this fall, and since I found out I was accepted my head has been swimming with thoughts of all I have to do to prepare.

For those of you already well into your programs, grads, or experienced nurses: What advice can you give any of us just starting out? Anything you could share would be helpful: recommendations for supplies you wouldn't want to be without for the first semester, study guides you found helpful, what I should be reading this summer to get prepared, etc.

I know every student is different, but I really want to find the best way to do things, and I'm guessing trial and error probably won't work!

I've seen a lot of us here who will be starting this fall, and I'm sure most of us would be grateful for your expertise.



NeoNurseTX, RN

1,803 Posts

Specializes in NICU Level III.

I didn't study ahead of time and that didn't hurt me.

Anyway - stuff you might want - a clipboard that opens up so you can put papers in it and that has a calculator. I just keep all of my current notes in my clipboard so I can have them w/ me at all times. Also, lots of binders to store your past notes in, since you will never want to throw them away. Never sell most of your books back either. You'll probably want some kind of recording device, too.

Other than that:

A body that doesn't require sleep

A mind that can retain more information than you can imagine

Feet that can be stood on for hours on end

A stomach that is strong

Hands that are steady

Stuff you will probably need to get rid of:

Your social life

Long fingernails

Your sanity

Thanks. That's exactly the kind of advice I'm looking for!


This may seem a "little thing" but a calendar of some sort. Whether it be one of the small ones for your purse, or a planner (you can get one for about $6 or $8 at Wal Mart). They have some right now out with "Academic Year 2005" on them.

You can place all of your assignments on it, clinicals, not to mention kids activities on it and have it all in one place. If you get a thin inexpensive one, it will fit in your clipboard. Just make sure that you write your school assignments in pencil, that way if they change for one reason or the other you can easily remove it.


3 Articles; 10,428 Posts

Well, I'm halfway through, so I guess I have some ideas.

Have a lined, spiralbound notebook that fits in your uniform pocket (we have these boxy sleeveless vests that we wear over a polo shirt and uniform pants for clinicals). You'll need to take notes on every patient you are taking care of, plus lab values, etc from the chart for paperwork later, and you don't want to be trying to fold/unfold a couple of torn out looseleaf pages all day. Notebook is neat and you don't lose info. I'd suggest getting the largest one that will fit in your largest pocket, preferably with a little pocket on the inside of the cover to hold an index card or two of reference info you want to keep handy. Can you tell this was a big thing for me? :) Once i had the "right" notebook, daily nurse's notes and other clinical charting went much more smoothly.

Speaking of notes, I made a point of re-writing ALL my notes after every lecture (or before the next one....sometimes got a couple of lectures behind in re-writes, but you get the idea). Anyway, re-writing the notes forced me to notice inconsistencies ("WHAT was I saying here??") as well as helped me to better organize it for review. I could add stuff from the text, or delete stuff I realized I'd written twice (and didn't need to, could just 'asterisk').

Studying from those redone notes was WAY easier than sifting through the original mess that you write when the instructor is going 80 miles an hour through interventions and best practices for diabetes!

Last word on notes: The original notes are in a spiral bound notebook so I don't lose anything, but I re-write them onto loose-leaf paper that's in a 3 ring binder (large). Throw out the scratch notes, focus on the neat ones. And after every module/course, stick in a divider page and go on to the next course WITH the past course content in that same notebook. You'll need to reference it, and if it's in the same book, well, it's a piece of cake. I don't mean to keep unrelated coursework together, of course, I mean to keep the nursing coursework that flows from one semester to the next together.

Am I making any sense here? :rolleyes:

Hope this helps some :)

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