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I have a hard time "thinking like a nurse"


Hello everyone...

I got into a second entry program last September and I'm half way through and set to graduate in April 2021.

I'm doing well in my classes (nothing below 85) But this is hugely due to the fact that my program places large emphasis on group work and personal essay/reflections etc.

I come from a "hard science" background and I'm finding that I am doing relatively poor in my nursing specific courses compared to my peers. For example, in pharm or patho I can easily study and ace exams. In my nursing courses I barely get an 80 while the class avarage is well over 85. I had a prof pull me aside and advise that I see her during office hours regarding my 82 on a midterm because the class avarage was significantly higher.

I know how this sounds... Ofcourse I'm still doing very well and this is not a brag about marks. I Am Genuinely Concerned because I tend to do bad on NCLEX type questions (specifically those pertaining to things like, "what should the nurse do first in this situation"

I am finding that in nursing there are many right answers BUT only one real answer and I don't know how to change my thinking process.

I do well in labs ( starting clinical this Summer) but that's because I work well with patients and it's a controlled environment where I can walk myself through steps.

I am worried that I won't pass the NCLEX when the time comes.

How do I start to think more like a nurse????

ABCs, Maslow’s Hierarchy, Nursing process

Its hard to get into the process of thinking but always look at their airway, breathing, and circulation first if none of those apply then move on the maslow’s, then use the nursing process to always assess first!


Specializes in Former NP now Internal medicine PGY-1.

Eh thinking like a nurse isn’t a thing. It’s just thinking and reasoning just as everything else requires. Priorities.

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development. Has 10 years experience.

It sounds like you are very good at memorization skills, but that your critical thinking skills are an area to work on. Good for you to recognize this! It IS something you can change and develop. You will find that for most people it doesn't really take off until about a year actually working as a nurse.

There are tons of critical thinking books, exercises, puzzles and apps out there. Start using some of them in your downtime. Work on looking at the patient's whole picture and how each pathology impacts the others. A patient is like a lava lamp. As soon as you bring something down, something else usually goes up and vice versa. It sounds like you are doing well. Keep with it!

maggie0, ADN, RN

Specializes in Psychiatric nursing.

Do a zillion NCLEX questions.