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Experienced Student Nurses...advice?

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by cchesney cchesney (New) New

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lalopop86 has 2 years experience.

94 Posts; 5,834 Profile Views

Yeah I wouldn't do that. You definitely won't have this much free time once the program starts, I promise. I know that wasn't quite your question, but that's my advice :) Congratulations on your acceptance!!!!!!

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shay&lynn has 4 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in Nursing Assistant.

397 Posts; 6,076 Profile Views

If you really want to get a head start, I would start skimming the books for your first set of classes this fall...

Other than that, I can't agree more with those that state 'enjoy your summer!'...NS is rough, enjoy your free time while you have it.

No shame in wanting to get ahead though!

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grownuprosie has 1 years experience.

377 Posts; 8,898 Profile Views

firstly, i have to say enjoy yourself this summer! Secondly, if you are supporting yourself pick up as many hours as possible.

If you really want to do some A/P review, i would suggest doing it form a nursing text rather than a A/P study guide or text. If you use the LEWIS text book, each set of chapters has an anatomy/assessment chapter in the beginning. It goes over pertinent anatomy and how that physiology will present in a real person. Hold off on the disease chapters until school though. those will make your head spin. If you took and passed A/P you have all the basic knowledge that you need already about anatomy. you might as well start looking at what that information means to you rather than trying to memorize terms that no nurse will ever say.

Good luck!

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2,139 Posts; 16,669 Profile Views

Enjoy your summer. Nurse classes will come soon enough and last entirely too long. There really isn't a huge need for anatomy. I can't think of an instance where intricate knowledge of anatomy was required to either grasp something or pass something. The physiology that most kids seemed to have trouble with was fluid and electrolytes as well as acids and bases like Pneumo said. In pathophysiology, they seemed to have the most trouble with the renal system and the cardiovascular system.

Aside from that don't sweat. Nurse classes aren't as in depth as they're portrayed to be.

Other tips for success; take it all in stride, don't get worked up over it, get past the fact that someone in class will be the most annoying waste of space you've ever encountered, and someone will frequently cry over tension and/or bad grades. You'll pass and everything will be fine in the end. It's not that bad but merely time consuming and often cheesey. N

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JBMmom has 6 years experience as a MSN and specializes in Long term care; med-surg; critical care.

1 Follower; 854 Posts; 12,235 Profile Views

Two years ago I was doing the same thing you are, trying to get ahead for first semester. I concentrated on A&P and I was fortunate that our school posted a reading list in May because I did ALL the semester reading over the summer so it was more like review in the fall. In hindsight I can't say I regret doing it because it felt good to me to be proactive and I'm sure it didn't eurt. But did it help me much? I don't think so. And much of the nursing stuff really needed to be presented in the context of the course to make sense. I do think, though, that having a solid fluid and electrolytes understanding will go a long way during school.

I respectfully disagree with some of the comments here about never having a moment free when school starts. I worked full-time, I have three kids, and yes, I had to miss some soccer games and birthday parties, but my life wasn't completely consumed. Don't get sucked into all the misery hype- you'll be fine. Just be flexible and stay organized.

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282 Posts; 3,517 Profile Views

What would be good resources to study for fluid & electrolytes? Or should we just wait for nursing school to introduce the topic.

I really like the F&E book from the Pearson (formerly Prentice Hall) Reviews & Rationales series (by Mary Ann Hogan), but I've also heard that the one from the "Made Incredibly Easy" series is good too.

The R&R books have outlines for the main chapters (that I think are usually straight forward to understand) and have NCLEX style questions (20 text and 30 additional CD) along with explanations for why the right answer is the BEST of several answers that appear correct. I used the R&R book (along with the Saunders NCLEX review study guide) to start learning lab values for common tests. (Keep in mind that the values vary slightly from instructor to instructor, book to book, and lab to lab -- I chose values that were easier to remember, but always used the same source for related tests - such as RBC, Hct, Hgb,.)

There are some nice online reviews of acid/base balance too!

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RADIATION_RN has 15 years experience and specializes in Radiation Oncology.

401 Posts; 6,559 Profile Views

firstly, i have to say enjoy yourself this summer! Secondly, if you are supporting yourself pick up as many hours as possible.

If you really want to do some A/P review, i would suggest doing it form a nursing text rather than a A/P study guide or text. If you use the LEWIS text book, each set of chapters has an anatomy/assessment chapter in the beginning. It goes over pertinent anatomy and how that physiology will present in a real person. Hold off on the disease chapters until school though. those will make your head spin. If you took and passed A/P you have all the basic knowledge that you need already about anatomy. you might as well start looking at what that information means to you rather than trying to memorize terms that no nurse will ever say.

Good luck!

I'm entering my last semester this fall and I agree! Our program uses the Lewis text book and it provides a great anatomy/physiology summary at the beginning of each disease process. And even that was way more info than we needed. One of my professors last semester summed it up beautifully for us when she told us not to stress over the memorizing the ins and outs of the surgeries, the diseases, and medications because we are not in medical school or a pharmacist program, we are in a NURSING program. Know the basic patho of the disease process and why it does what it does and what you as the nurse will see. The manifestations, the abnormalities, and the nursing interventions.

This helped tremendously in level 2 when we did fluids and electrolytes. I used the made incredibly easy book more than the text on this subject. It seems overwhelming when reviewing all the different electrolytes but once again I focused on what sets the abnormal values apart from the others. For example, I know any fluctuation in potassium can quickly be fatal due to the effect it has on the heart. And for low calcium you'll learn the signs of tetany like Trousseau's sign when you squeeze a blood pressure cuff and leave it inflated and after a few minutes the hand and wrist will contract. Or Chvostek's sign where tapping on the cheek just in front of the ear will produce facial spasms.

We would have questions like "You are a nurse reviewing the lab results of your patient and you see that their potassium level is 5.8, what is your FIRST intervention". Knowing that abnormal potassium levels affect the heart the priority would either be getting an EKG or monitoring the patient for signs of cardiac problems. Something to that effect.

The one thing you WILL need to memorize are the lab values. Once you commit to memory the electrolyte norms then you have a heads up! Come up with silly ways to remember them, like in our program we are told the normal values for calcium are 9-11. So in my crazy nursing student mind I associated calcium with strong teeth and bones and therefore strength and in relation to the values of 9/11, I think of survivors of 9/11 as strong. I know that sounds super goofy but it helped me tremendously and I ended up with an A on the fluid and electrolyte test.

I remember potassium's effect on the heart because it is one of the things given in excess to prisoners in lethal injections. (That's morbid sorry!) NEVER EVER in a million billion years give potassium IV push or without a pump!!!

ABG's can be tricky if you don't memorize the values on those too. Our exams are always on computer so we are given a pencil and scratch paper on the desks. What I found helpful was reviewing right before the exam and once they let us in the testing room and we locked our belongings away I would sit down and immediately write out a chart including all my electrolyte norms and ABG values. That way if I got nervous during the test I could refer to that chart.

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Darre specializes in ICU/ER.

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At my school (and most others) the focus is to prepare you for the NCLEX. That means not just regurgitating info, but critical thinking. So try not to focus on information like; "this bones connected to that bone" but rather understand, as others have pointed out, what could happen to a person on dialysis, who has kidney failure and what electrolytes might be effected and what you would do as a nurse.. This is the sort of question that A&P doesn't ask, but nursing school(NS) will. I guess I'm saying like many others, relax, study some electrolytes if you want, but in the end the test will be on what your teacher wants you to know, so listen, take notes and study what they tell you to and you will be fine. NS is tough, but really, if you work hard you will do just fine. I know it's cliche' but that's often how life works and NS is no exception. Good luck! P.S. (I'm going into my last semester)

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BacktotheBeach has 4 years experience.

497 Posts; 10,103 Profile Views

Maybe you could find out what your school will be using? If not, there are several good ones. Calculate with confidence is good, and so is one by Pickar called Dosage Calculations. I would buy used, even several years old is OK. You can get them for a couple bucks on half.com or Amazon used.

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282 Posts; 3,517 Profile Views

Maybe you could find out what your school will be using? If not, there are several good ones. Calculate with confidence is good, and so is one by Pickar called Dosage Calculations. I would buy used, even several years old is OK. You can get them for a couple bucks on half.com or Amazon used.

Agree completely with superV! Call or e-mail the nursing department to find out which book they use (if they use one). My school required Pickar's and it's pretty decent (in fact, I like it quite a lot but I'm a natural with math, so I like that doesn't have "too much" detail in the explanations for me - I find the explanations "just right" but I think if someone is particularly nervous or weak at math, they might like other books better). I really like the number of practice question sets and chapter review questions that Pickar offers. However, I've seen on other AllNurses threads specific to choosing the best drug calculations book that there are others that give more explanations (and I think I've even seen people who were assigned Pickar who picked up one of those other books as a supplement).

SuperV is also right about getting older editions for this particular content. For example, Pickar's 9th edition just came out in January and runs $60+ for a used copy. The 8th edition can be had for as little as $5 for an "acceptable" used edition and only a couple bucks more for "very good" condition. The 7th edition is under a dollar and the math part of this won't have changed much at all. (My school even still has the 8th edition on the syllabus as they haven't updated from last year yet :o) Some of the non-math content may not be 100% accurate -- for example, my 8th edition talks about Lente and Ultralente insulins that have been or are being discontinued (not entirely sure which it is) or if you go for the even older 7th edition, there might be an updated list of error-prone abbreviations or there might be new syringe or tubing technologies that can help decrease errors / needle sticks, however, I know that I will learn all these things when school starts. I'm just using the older edition to make sure I can do the math part. The usefulness of older editions should be true no matter which title you choose.

EDIT: I just realized that it looks like Pickar has two drug calculation titles. The one that my school requires (and that I was discussing above) is "Dosage Calculations" without the subtitle "A Ratio-Propotion Approach." The one without the subtitle is in its 8th/9th edition while the one with the subtitle appears to be in its 3rd/4th edition, so I guess they really are different titles :o)

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