My recollection of our med/surg semester which was some 30 years ago (and I don't think has changed all that much since) is that we started getting patients on the medical and surgical units of the hospital during our clinical time. We focused on major medical conditions like diabetes, ulcers (which people are not commonly admitted for today), other GI problems, dehydration, stroke, peripheral vascular diseases, and a lot of pneumonia and people with various stages of COPD. Because 30 years ago people were admitted the night before surgery, prepped in the hospital and stayed a couple of days after surgery, we often had a chance to be a part of the entire experience. Today, however, you may spend time in an outpatient surgery are since many surgeries are now done on an outpatient basis. Although you will probably get patients in clinical who have had surgery that requires some hospital stay.
You will need to be learning about diabetes, fluids/electrolytes, basic lab results, and probably ABGs. These subjects tend to come up time and again with all patients so they are introduced to everyone early in their training. Other than that, you will need to learn about the various diseases as your instructors have you encounter them in your lectures. Just remember that you are now going to need to start putting together the information from all those pre-requisite courses that you had to take. So, pull out your old anatomy/physiology book as well as a book on disease process or pathophysiology, if you have one of those. I just posted to a thread on the Nursing Student Assistance Forum for someone who wanted some ideas on where to go with a care plan for a patient having an appendectomy. Since this is a basic surgical patient, I posted a very basic outline of what needs to be considered in the care of a post-op patient. You might want to take a look at what I put there as these concepts will be a help for you when you get to the study of the surgical patient. Here is a link to that post:
Don't panic and try not to be too affected by what other students have to say. Remember that everyone's experience is different. You may find that you will not have much trouble understanding some of these new concepts you will be learning at all. Try not to burden yourself down with too many pre-conceived notions of how difficult it might be. You can spend some hours during your holiday vacation from school doing a little bit of studying. There are some very nice sites on the web for learning about diabetes. It's relatively painless to go to and read the sites that are set up for consumers since they are easier to read and written for the lay public. They make a nice, easy introduction to many of the topics you will be learning. If you want a list of some of these web sites, let me know. :1luvu: