first semester...need advice

  1. Hello all. I am a 5 weeks into my first semester of nursing school. So far its been great. I scored an 82 on my first exam. Not bad, but I thought I did better. This past week has been a bit overwhelming. We just had our lecture on the nursing process...25 pages of powerpoint notes and last lecture 20 pages on teaching/counseling. Our next exam is in a week and a half. At the same time we are doing our skin and musculoskeletal assessments in lab and also starting clinicals next week.
    I was expecting a ton of information but was wondering who has any suggestions on best ways of retaining all this info?
    Someone suggested to me to buy the fundamentals success book which has many different nclex style questions and rationales. I ordered it but havent gotten it yet. Hope it helps.
    Any other ideas would be greatly appreciated.

    : )
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    About BSNRNBC, BSN, RN

    Joined: Sep '06; Posts: 67; Likes: 78

    7 Comments

  3. by   swanganz
    Hi,
    Congrats on embarking into the career of nursing. The information does come at you fast and it can seem overwhelming. I started nursing school 3 days after my 4th child was born so my advice to you is to really focus during the lectures and try to highlight the things that are stressed in class. I know that I didn't have time to review my notes too much so i had to try to get the info the first time around. Also they give you so much information at once that it is difficult to "re-read" everything. Try to read before the lectures so that it is easier to follow. If I can think of any books that would help, I will let you know. Try study groups. They didn't work for me but many of my friends had success with them. Good luck. I am sure that you will do great. The first year in my opinion was the toughest, just trying to adjust and all.
  4. by   locolorenzo22
    as a fellow newb, also 5 weeks in, let me give you my best advice I've picked up so far.

    1. Read lecture content for class BEFORE the class. It really helps when you can go "Oh, I remember reading that, and she's covering it in class, it must be IMPORTANT."

    2. Sign up for what demos you can when you can. Times are valuable and few and far between.

    3. For tests, always read the ENTIRE question. Then look at EVERY answer. I missed 5 on our last one because I didn't...

    4. Take a breath/break when you can. I'll be spending most of the weekend covering my physical assessment demo sections, but I plan on sitting down and reading one book of poems, writing one, and maybe a movie Sunday afternoon to reward myself. Self time is VERY important.

    5. Don't let ANYONE tell you you can't hack it. Just do what you can, the way you learned and no one can argue with it.

    6. Now, breathe, close eyes, and sleep many many hours.
  5. by   BeccaznRN
    The best way to retain information in nursing is to get involved in your learning....by this I mean take advantage of every opportunity to learn. I have always done this throughout school, and it helps a lot. Subscribe to nrusing magazines, talk to other nurses or classmates, and take all the information you're receiving in lecture and lab and really understand what it means. It seems overwhelming at first, but it does get easier to understand as each day passes. I promise!
  6. by   michar
    Sleep is very important.

    That is when things we have learned through the day are committed to memory. I've done better since I stopped studying before I'd have liked to and just gone to bed.

    If you happen to know sign language, signing things puts them to 'muscle memory' and I've signed my way through many tests.
  7. by   jov
    I think most of us would have been happy to get an 82 on our first exam in nursing school. I think I got a 78. However-- what you need to know is testing system in nursing school is unlike anything you have ever experienced before. You may know the material perfectly and in a standardized testing situation, you probably would have pulled a 95. However, in nursing school, you also learn how to pass the nursing test (i.e. NCLEX) and so it's like you are learning a new language while you are learning the material. Doing critical thinking and answering application questions were new concepts to me. May I encourage you, though, that it will come. I'm in third semester now and have pulled all A's and 1 B. You'll get it and then your grades will come back up.
  8. by   Daytonite
    hi, malenurse2b!

    i've got some good links for you to check out. more reading--of course! however, it helps cement in what you are learning when you read what others are saying about the same things in a little bit of a different way. the first three links are about the nursing process. if you have a care plan book, or know of someone who has one that you could borrow for an hour or two, the nursing process is often discussed in the very first chapter(s) of these books, since care plans are the written expressions of the nursing process, something which you will be learning to do very soon. i am also giving you some very good links to medical school sites with physical examination help. three have videos you can view. the other two have pictures along with explanations at the site. i suggest you bookmark these links for future reference. you may find them a valuable resource as you work your way through the assessment of the various body systems. you should also check out this thread on the nursing student assistance forum https://allnurses.com/forums/f205/he...ms-145091.html as it has other links to sites to help you with physical assessment as well as the ones i've given you below. i also included a link to a new site i found recently that has some good pointers on studying and being a nursing student that was written by nursing students as well as a site that advises nursing students how to study for nursing tests and how to answer those application type questions on them. good luck with your next exam!

    welcome to allnurses!

    http://home.cogeco.ca/~nursingprocess/process.htm - nursing process & critical thinking. a site for nurses from our canadian friends. you will find links on the left side of the home page to information on taking histories and assessments (all part of the nursing process). bookmark this site!

    http://www.mac.edu/faculty/nursingde...ng_process.htm - the nursing process from the nursing school at macmurray college in jacksonville, illinois. a presentation on how this particular nursing school presents the nursing process to it's nursing students with case study examples.

    http://www.dmr.state.ct.us/publicati...hcs_ns96-1.htm - this is a connecticut state department of mental retardation nursing standard that puts in writing what the nursing process is. just included it, because it is so precisely written.

    http://www.meddean.luc.edu/lumen/med...d/contents.htm - the physical exam - this site is set up for medical students, but nursing students can learn from it as well. this link takes you to a page of links to the various parts of the body to be examined. when you link into a body part you will find an explanation of the method to examine that site and what is normal, a button at the bottom labeled "abnormal" will bring up information about abnormal findings during examination of that site. there are also some photographs with some of the pages. the "knowledge" button gives you a little outline breakdown of the pathophysiology going on. a fourth button, "self eval" is a list of test questions--remember these are designed for medical students, so don't feel badly if you miss a few. this is from loyola university medical school.

    http://medicine.ucsd.edu/clinicalmed/introduction.htm - a very nice site to help with doing physical assessments of patients from the university of california, san diego. explains how to examine the various parts of the body and has lots of photographs showing abnormal conditions and how to assess for them. there are two examples of how to write up your h&p findings on the site as well.

    http://omeweb2.ucdavis.edu/doctoring/doctoring/ - these are videos of physical examination procedures from ucla

    http://medinfo.ufl.edu/other/opeta/ - videos of physical examination procedures from the university of florida

    http://www.med-ed.virginia.edu/cours...deos/index.cfm - videos of physical examination procedures from the university of virginia

    http://www.efn.org/~nurses/ - this is a website maintained by the nursing students at lane community college in eugene, oregon. for study and learning tips specific to nursing students click on "tips for learning" at the left side of this home page.

    http://go.dbcc.edu/hhps/nursing/study_skills.html - study skills for the nursing student from daytona beach community college nursing department with some good advice.
    http://go.dbcc.edu/hhps/nursing/test_taking_skills.html - test taking skills also from daytona beach community college nursing department. a couple of sample questions and how to chose the correct answer for these application type questions.
    Last edit by Daytonite on Sep 23, '06
  9. by   BSNRNBC
    Thanks to all of you for your excellent advice. It really helps alot. I feel a little more comfortable now and realized I just can't stress myself out.

    Daytonite.....thanks for the awesome websites.

    :wink2:

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