LPN Med-Surge

  1. I am starting my med surge semester this morning, we have to shove 16 weeks into a 10 week course. Our instructors are stressing that this is the semester that will "make or break you" people are saying that Med Surge is the worst and hardly no one makes it out of it. In the program last year they lost 12 people because of Med Surge. Is it really that bad and anyone got any good tips and advice?
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    About Leopardspots85

    Joined: May '06; Posts: 22


  3. by   lilypad2424
    Yes, it is very hard. Just keep in mind that people all over are doing it, and so can you. My suggestion is that you keep up w/the reading. It sounds really simple, and it is. There is an immense amount of information to learn in this course, so try to learn your instructor's "hints" in class. You should be able to pick up on what she/he thinks is important......what will be on the test. Furthermore, if you truly understand the processes, you will be able to figure out the right answer on the test. Good luck! You can do it.
  4. by   Daytonite
    plan out what needs to be learned and do it by a schedule that you follow and don't get behind. you can't afford to take long blocks of time away from regular study to study for exams. your regular study should include focusing on exams as well. you need to be ready to sit down and take an exam over the material at any time. look at the course objectives carefully to give you guidance on what the most important subject areas are. these guidelines were developed to show that their students are being taught the content that is required by the state board of nursing. still, pay attention to specific subjects instructors tend to focus on.

    in clinicals on medical units listen the shift reports carefully to get an idea of the kinds of patients that are generally being seen. you will begin to see certain types of admitting problems that are more prevalent, i.e. pneumonia and respiratory problems, strokes, heart failure, liver/pancreas problems (often alcohol related) and with good old diabetes, dehydration and urinary tract infections complicating everything. i never really thought much about all this until i started learning to be a medical coder and learning about billing and medicare payments. everything i've just mentioned are the top reasons people are admitted and there are statistics to prove this. therefore, most treatment is focused on these things, so it stands to reason that you need to know about them and how they are treated and to know them well because they are the bread and butter of the medical units.

    for surgery you need to know, and know well, the basic care for a patient that undergoes general anesthesia, pre-op, peri-op, and post-op as well as the potential complications. most care plan books do a good job of including a generic surgical care plan in them. after that, each specific surgery determines the more specific care that needs to be done and complications that could occur.

    these areas are also where a basic knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology are going to be of great help in understanding and helping you to distinguish between all the various diseases you will hear about in lectures. when you understand how the disease develops in a patient to begin with, then you have a better understanding of why certain medications and treatments are ordered for them. that helps your learning and remembering of all the information a bit easier. knowing those relationships and how they are linked is a big help on tests where one stepping stone of information leads you to another and pretty soon you've been lead right to the answer. (open the file for the critical thinking flow sheet for nursing students below to see how this relationship works)
  5. by   dolphn545
    What has helped me was to rewrite my notes. It may sound tedious, but our instructors give us everything on power points, so for me to rewrite them helps me retain the info.

    Good Luck! Before you know it, you will see light at the end of the tunnel!! I will be graduating in 2 weeks, and I felt overwhelmed with med surg.
  6. by   linzz
    If your clinical site has a dialysis unit, it is likely you will see many renal patients. Either way, it is a good idea to know this area well.
  7. by   sddlnscp
    We had a compact med/surg course as well and yes, it is hard, but you can do it, I did very well in that class. My biggest suggestion is to not let people freak you out about it. Go in with a positive attitude that you can do this and you will do it. I have heard in every class that I've started the whole, "This is the class where everybody fails," speech. The first few really scared me, but after that, I figured, in the end, some people have to graduate, so I'm just plain 'ol gonna be one of those people. Everyone said the same thing about our med/surg class, but you know what, when we got past it, then they all said the same thing about peds/ob, which is the class I am in now. I think they just like to psyche us out.

    Enjoy it and learn as much as you can. Study every chance you get, don't get behind. Take good notes. If you don't understand something, break it down and really work with it until it makes sense to you, don't just skip over it because you will be doing yourself a disservice. Take every clinical opportunity and learn from it.

    I really loved med/surg, it was very hard, but very rewarding. Keep your chin up and your nose to the grind and you will survive.

    Best of luck! Let us know how it goes.
  8. by   Leopardspots85
    Our teacher does everything by powerpoints too! i have my first test tomorrow and have been studying like crazy! It makes no sense because the teacher is fresh out of RN school and really doesn't know how to relate the material.