The way we were taught to approach med/surg was to take each disease, review the anatomy and physiology of it first and make sure we understand it. By understanding what in the anatomy of physiology can go wrong and how those errors manifest themselves in the disease process helps make more sense of the disease as you move along to the discussion of medical treatments for the different problems. We were to list out the usual medical treatments and drugs, including normal dosages, that would be prescribed and why. The nursing care and patient teaching kind of fall in line from these things. We were told that this was the logical progression for learning this stuff. The other main component that was drummed into our heads was to continually answer the question, why. Why is the patient getting these symptoms? Why is the doctor treating them with this therapy? Why is this drug being given? Why do you want to do this particular nursing care thing for this patient? Why does the patient need to be taught this? Asking and answering the "why" questions will help immensely in tying all the information together. If you look at nursing journal articles that address a particular disease you will see this type of sequencing being used frequently. The article will review the A&P, what the pathology is, the normal medical treatment and go into the nursing responsibility in carrying out the medical treatment as well as the independent nursing actions that can be taken.
While the one poster states she relies pretty much solely on her lecture notes, you will notice that she reviews them a number of times--repetition and reinforcement of the information is what she is doing. Most of us learn by repetition and the use of visual aids. For this reason it is good to have several nursing books at your fingertips to refer to. Look up journal articles on med/surg conditions you are studying and read them over. Flood your brain by reading as many different sources of information about particular conditions. Each time you expose your brain to a different writing on a same subject you are reinforcing the basic things about the subject that you need to know as writers tend to focus on the most important points. Quick searches on the Internet can help with this reinforcement of what you are supposed to be learning as well. In particular, search for information on drugs as many drug companies have set up web pages very specifically for patients looking for information which break it down to the very basics written in nice, easy to read language. Sites like Walgreens or CVS pharmacy have these patient templates on many common drugs. If you are studying cancer, check out the American Cancer Society web site for specific information on a particular type of cancer. They have many pamphlets for patients that are on line. Ditto for the American Heart Association, the American Kidney Foundation, and the American Diabetes Association as well as the Juvenile Diabetes Association. By giving your gray cells an enriching amount of reading from all these different sources, the information will sink in. Of course, actually having a patient with one of these diseases helps as well because you can look for specific symptoms in a patient and observe how they have affected them. If a patient tells you that since they got their specific disease they have had nothing but certain types of physical problems and they sound different from what you learned, hit your textbooks and see if you can reason out why the patient might be having those symptoms.
This is how you learn nursing. You will be doing this all through your career as there is always something to look up that you either don't remember, or may be new since you were in school. The learning never stops.