Need help with pathopphysiology NOW!!!

  1. Does anyone have any study tips for pathophysiology? I struggled with the 1st semester and now I am REALLY struggling with the 2nd semester.Please Help! Thanks.
  2. Visit dcgrigsby profile page

    About dcgrigsby

    Joined: Nov '12; Posts: 7; Likes: 7
    RN; from US
    Specialty: 15 year(s) of experience


  3. by   FatKittyHenry
    For med surg I make charts...


    clinical manifestation


    for patho I recommend making patho maps or Google image search patho maps.

    Usually one thing leads to two things and each of those two things can lead to one thing. ect.

    All being affected by the interventions.

    is this a prereq?
  4. by   nurseprnRN
    THE best resource for you is the Physiology Coloring Book, a real resource and not a joke, available for free two-day shopping from Amazon. Note it doesn't say "the PATHOphysiology Coloring Book," so why is it my first, best, and always recommendation?
    Most people don't think about (or remember) what normal physiology is...and if you don't have that down absolutely solid, derangements in physiology (that's what pathophysiology is) won't make sense to you either. Get the book and stop trying to short-cut. This is work, and you'll need to know it all the rest of your working life. The book will be ready to hand on your desk for the rest of your working life.
  5. by   bluedove1
    Physiology and anatomy coloring books are treasures....brought my books 2 years ago when I had to take those classes got an "a" in both classes....the books break it down like a fraction.....still use them til this day!
  6. by   hodgieRN
    Patho is difficult. With anatomy, it's all memorization, but with patho, you have to understand the process and why it happens. It's a totally different ball game. My advice is:

    -Study every single day as much as you can.

    -Once you have a section down, go to the next one, then go back. If I went back to a previous section and didn't understand it, I knew I still had work to do. It was constant repetition, over and over. Then, when I thought I knew the section, I would go about my day and try to recall it. I would be standing in line at the grocery store and try to recall all the normal ranges of electrolytes or all the steps of nerve conduction. If I couldn't recall a couple steps, I would go back and restudy the section.

    -Always review your notes right after class, even if it's for 30 minutes. If you are taught something and then review it that day, you will retain more information b/c it's still fresh. That will go into your long-term memory. If you cram right before a test, you have to relearn it as if it's the first time. That will go into your short-term memory and there's a chance you won't be able to recall it as well as you think.

    -(you might laugh at this) but when I had to review something that had multiple processes, I would draw it out and talk out loud to myself and pretend I was teaching someone sitting next to me. If I couldn't explain the pathway of blood through the heart, then I wouldn't be able to do it on an exam. If you can teach it, then you understand it.

    - Learn the latin terminology (base) of the each word, not just the whole word itself. Most people basically know what meningitis is. Maybe a brain infection? Well, -itis means inflammation and mening- refers to the meninges of the central nervous system. So, meningitis is inflammation of the meninges....which is caused by an infection that can not only affect the brain, but the spinal cord as well. Encephalitis - enceph(al) means brain...encephalitis is brain inflammation, not necessarily infection. Thorax means chest, lung and pneumo means air, gas...pneumothorax means air in the thorax aka collapsed lung. Based on this, I bet you can guess what pneumocephalus is. So, if you try to learn that hydrocephalus (which is an over collection of fluid in the brain b/c hydro means water,fluid), it will be impossible to just memorize it (b/c there are hundreds of other terms you have to also learn. It becomes confusing). But if you know hydro.....and cephalus...then you can piece the two together and get the question right. If you see a new word, look at it in parts and then piece it together. Never try to just memorize it. For example, esophagogastroduodenoscopy is a word. Break it into 4 words and it makes sense.

    -If you think you know a process, try and do it backwards or know the opposite of it. You may be able to follow a drop of blood through the heart from the vena cava to the aorta, but can you trace it from the aorta backwards to the vena cava? See if you can trace the formation of a scab back through to the laceration. If you know it backwards, then you know it forwards. The side effects of hypokalemia are usually opposite hyperkalemia (with exception to toxic states). If something stimulates a process, learn what blocks it.

    -Study the pictures in the book. Reading the notes and power points may not turn on the light until you see a picture with with all the dissections, arrows, and labels. It's a difference between someone asking you to remember name vs. seeing a name with a face. Find out what is listed on one side of the table vs the other.

    -Know the "why," the "how," and the "when;" not just "what."

    -On top of normal studying, dedicate every Sunday to studying your notes (for the week) as if you are taking an exam on monday. Even though my next exam was 4 weeks away, I would have a mock cram session for the week. So, when I had to take the real exam, I had already engrained it in my head weeks ago. Then, I would constantly go back and review the same thing over and over until it was redundant. By the time the exam came around, there was nothing to really study and there was nothing to relearn. It was just quick reviewing.

    Good Luck!
  7. by   PalmHarborMom
    When I took Patho, I reviewed the A&P for each system that we were going over beforehand. Patho is much easier if you have a firm grasp on how everything is supposed to work before you start learning what goes wrong with it. I also suggest getting a medical Terminology book. Most of the time the name gives it away. For example, we had a question on an exam about where the infection was in Pyelonephritis. Pyelo= Renal Pelvis Nephr/o= kidney and -itis= inflammation. Now, I look up any prefixes or suffixes that I haven't seen before. It sounds silly but it really helps. Another tip, type up notes in the form of a study guide after each lecture and by the time the test comes around... you have study material already to go.

    I was fortunate to have an AWESOME A&P professor that totally prepared us for Patho. The biggest hurdle that many of my fellow students had was having to learn re-learn A&P and the new material. The class is definitely challenging but it will prepare you for Med-Surg. It seems that all of the nursing classes that I have had so far build upon each other. So making sure that you learn the material well will only help you in future classes.
  8. by   dcgrigsby
    Thanks for the study tip. To answer your question, I am a 3rd semester ADN student who is taking pathophysiology along with my other 3rd semester courses. It is a coreq. I am not the only student who is having problems. There is alot of materal being thrown at us. I know most of us would do better if we did not have to take patho along with OB/Peds and Med/Surg. Again thanks.
  9. by   dcgrigsby
    Thanks for the study tips. I will try.
  10. by   dcgrigsby
    Thanks for the Great advice. I will give it a try. I believe this will help with my other nursing classes as well. Thanks again
  11. by   hodgieRN
    No problem! Best of luck!
  12. by   gracie7773
    This is a great thread - thanks! I finished A & P about 18 months ago and will be starting my program this summer, so I've been wondering what the best way to go about preparing is. I think I'll get a coloring book and start there.
  13. by   ixchel
    I'm intrigued by the structure of your program. Would your pathophysiology classes be equivalent to other programs' adult med/surg classes? I think I would cry if I had 2 semesters of pathophysiology only, but we have adult med/surg for 2 semesters where we apply our pre-req pathophysiology information to the nursing process that would be involved with each condition. We do get more in depth in each topic (in my opinion-- I did take it online, and by in depth, I mean in how it relates to nursing) than we did in pathophysiology, but its building off the information we got in the pre-req patho, if that makes sense.
  14. by   Tait
    Patho clicked for me when I was in clinicals. Seeing the physical manifestations of CHF coupled with what I knew from class drove it home. However that can be difficult if you aren't in clinicals yet :/