Help! I just started first semester. My head is spinning!

  1. Of course, like I expected, we went head first into nursing! Our first test is this week and we only started less than a week ago. So far we have covered communication, collaboration, medical/surgical asepsis, basic infection control, among some other things. I am so lost on how to study all of this. Before coming in I had no medical background. I have tried to understand lingo/jargon but I feel completely discouraged. I need help on the best way I can study. Anything to help get me through these next two years!! (I also have three YOUNG children and a supportive husband). (((:
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    About EHGWR

    Joined: Feb '13; Posts: 13; Likes: 7


  3. by   schnookimz
    Step 1: don't sweat the small stuff. These are the basics and in my experience, these answers will be common sense.
  4. by   sjalv
    I just started my first semester too, and let me tell you, you are not alone. While what schnookimz said is partially true about most of it being common sense, there are some things you need to remember, like what % of alcohol is used in antiseptic handwashes for surgical asepsis, how long to wash your hands, the cycle and components of an infection (port of entry, reservoir, host, etc), how to apply sterile gloving, in what order to don PPE (e.g. gown before cap), etc.

    What I would do is read the assigned chapters page by page, highlighting information that you think is particularly important. If your syllabus designates objectives per lecture, live by them. Find content in the text that is relevant to the objectives and ingrain it in your memory. If it is allowed, record lectures and rewrite them in your own words.

    I have my first real test next Thursday, so I guess I (we) will find out how well these methods work then.

    Oh also, if you come across a word that you don't know the meaning of, LOOK IT UP! There's no point in reading the text if you don't udnerstand it.
  5. by   ArrowRN
    First semester can really hit you hard if you are unprepared...and I dare ask who really is? noone of us were. I'm now in semester 3. Just take it step by step. I'll refer you to a couple of my topic article that I discussed after completing first semester and also on finding your niche to study. I posted my own tips and got some great advice from others as well. You will not understand the "lingo" right away. There's many things I still don't understand but you will learn to look things up. Using a good resource like a medical dictionary or a reputable website. Just remember that while we can give you advice on how to study, you have to find out what works for you. I also have welcome to nursing school and read the links below FYI my gpa went from 3.0 all B's in 1st semester to getting 3 A's and just 1 B 2nd semester.
    Last edit by ArrowRN on Aug 26, '13
  6. by   akulahawkRN
    I would have to agree with most of the above. Since you're building a new base of knowledge, I suggest that you read the course/unit/chapter outline that you have been given for this first exam. Read that outline, read the chapter summaries as they'll tell you where in the content the material will be, and then read the material with an eye toward what was asked for in your outline. If your instructor says something along the lines of "pay attention to this" or repeats something a few times or otherwise indicates something said in lecture was more important than the rest, take note of that because it's likely to be on the exam a few times.

    The other good news about 1st Semester exams is that they don't normally make you jump right into application-type questions. It's still mostly memorization and "if this, then do that" type of questions. Don't worry... you'll eventually get to that kind of NCLEX-style questions soon enough. You have to crawl before you run.

    The stuff you're learning is foundational, and the better you do know this stuff, the better you'll do later on because you won't have to worry about this stuff. You're also going to be getting a crash course in how you study best. Each Semester will be a bit different, so you'll have to adjust your studying accordingly. Whatever you do, don't just think you can cram at the last minute. There's too much info.

    Read ahead, stay ahead. Be in class because the info comes fast & furiously, and it's hard enough to stay with the class, catching up is almost impossible if you get left behind.
  7. by   ArrowRN
    Agree, when the instructor is doing their power-point slides, you will notice they may not talk about everything, but stuff they repeat or pick out on the slide is a cue that its important and you most likely will be tested on it. Watch their body language and how sometimes they emphasize certain topics. And if they flat out say "write this down" you know its coming on the test.
  8. by   Summer Days
    In addition to what has been said above, get you a good fundamentals review nursing book and a comprehensive nclex nursing review book for the rest of your program (examples: pearson reviews and rationales; saunders; david's nclex). I find that doing the reviews before and after a class lecture then doing the nclex-style questions helps.
  9. by   EHGWR
    Thank y'all SO much!! I can do this, I can do this!!
  10. by   elprup
    Be sure to read syllabus and be able to answer what is outlined on it.
    Flashcards that I carried everywhere with me, and tables I made were what got me through. Oh and taping lectures and listening to them everywhere.
    Best wishes.