Struggling with Fundamentals

  1. Hi, the title says it all, I'm struggling with fundamental lecture material. Lab/clinical is easy and enjoyable, but lecture is dry and the exams are all critical thinking type questions. Since I'm in a RN diploma program, my Fundamentals course is set up a little different than what I've heard from friends at cc. The emphasis at my school is on assessment skills, care plans, and critical thinking, not bed baths, and hospital corners. Right now it's 5 weeks into the semester and I currently have a 77% in the class (anything below a 76% is failing at my school). So, while I'm happy to be passing, I'm scared that I won't make it because I'm so close to the edge. I got a 73% on my first exam, studied, read like crazy for the next one, and got a 77% (I did feel like I had a better grasp of the material, though). We have exams every other week I did well on the first quiz (10/10) and hopefully will do well on tonight's quiz. Next week's exam is on cardiac, blood, leg assessments, PVD, etc. They've warned us it'll be the hardest exam of the semester.

    I clinical, I'm doing well, getting good marks on care plans, assessment forms, and skills, but those don't count toward points for passing the class. Only quiz/exam scores count toward passing.

    I'm also taking pharm, which I have an A in currently. But between clinical care plans/assesment paperwork, studying for exams, reading, and doing pharm homework, I feel like I'm never going to get caught up!

    Any advice?
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    About ChristineN

    Joined: Sep '05; Posts: 3,573; Likes: 3,209
    RN; from US
    Specialty: Pediatric/Adolescent, Med-Surg, NP to be


  3. by   Daytonite
    your instructors are doing well by you all by focusing on assessment skills, care plans, and critical thinking. those are the things you need to help answer those critical thinking type questions on exams. understanding the nursing process and prioritizing is what helps you to ferret out the right answers from the nursing facts and interventions. so, in addition to learning fundamentals, also take time to re-read and review the nursing process and how these elements fit together:
    • assessment
    • nursing diagnosis
    • planning
    • implementation
    • evaluation
    they will serve you well. in answering a question on a test, you need to kind of do a mini-care plan and figure out, where in the care planning process the question would fit so that your best answer is going to be found. - study skills for the nursing student from daytona beach community college nursing department with some good advice. - test taking skills also from daytona beach community college nursing department. a couple of sample questions and how to choose the correct answer for these application type questions. - this is a website maintained by the nursing students at lane community college in eugene, oregon. for study and learning tips specific to nursing students click on "tips for learning" at the left side of this home page.

    i also recommend that you get yourself a good nclex review book such as saunders comprehensive review for the nclex-rn examination, 3rd edition, by linda anne silvestri. beside having nclex style questions in it (it also comes with a cd that has over 4,000 nclex syle questions on it), it lists out the major concepts behind major subjects in nursing. for diseases it lists signs and symptoms, assessment information you should be looking for and specific nursing interventions pertaining to that condition. many students use the information in this book to study for their tests. it helps to streamline the important points you need to know about the subject areas you are going to be tested over.