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Med-Surg: Survival Tips

Students   (823 Views 7 Comments)
by FutureNurseInfo FutureNurseInfo (Member)

FutureNurseInfo has 1 years experience .

2 Likes; 11,072 Visitors; 1,093 Posts

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Hello, everyone!

Here comes yet another thread on the struggles of a nursing student with med-surg. I did rather well in my funds, patho, pharm, psych, and now taking med-surg 1, research class and critical thinking class. Oh and I am in an accelerated program, 12 months. Also, I am taking med-surg for only 6 weeks as after that I will have 5 more weeks of peds. The two classes, research and critical thinking I am doing fine in, but med-surg...well, the semester just started but I feel like I am drowning. It is so overwhelming with the amount of information to know about procedures, interventions and such...I have been practicing questions but not been doing well...what I thought was obvious, was not at all. If anyone has any tips to survive this course, I'd really appreciate it!

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66 Likes; 1,606 Visitors; 360 Posts

Apply everything back to your fundamentals.  And every new thing you learn, it all starts relating to each other.  Don't treat it like you're learning something completely new.  Treat it like an extension of what you already know.

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magnoliablush has 1 years experience as a ASN, RN.

25 Likes; 487 Visitors; 40 Posts

Keep in mind you need to know your nursing interventions. You’ve done the A&P, now focus on what the nurse will do. I really recommend looking at how to answer questions. Like remembering the A, B, C’s,  Maslow, and such! Just knowing the information isn’t enough, try to apply the nursing intervention... if you can only do one thing to keep that patient alive or safe...which one is it? That will help. 😊med surg is hard, but not impossible. You can do it! 

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BookishBelle works as a Nursing student; piano teacher.

4 Likes; 4,705 Visitors; 133 Posts

Watch Cathy Parkes and registered rn on YouTube. They have both helped me so much!

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66 Likes; 1,606 Visitors; 360 Posts

And don't stress over interventions.  It's common sense thanks to how limited nursing is.  Your intervention is literally putting someone in bed and telling them that their broken foot won't hurt if they stop putting weight on it and let it heal.  Anything complex, assess and gather all the information you'll need, and tell their doctor or respiratory or PT.  You're literally looking at a symptom, habit, or risk and figuring out how to fix, prevent or relieve it.  Think of it like this: The doctor medicates and cures the disease, you make the lifestyle changes (including taking the medicine) to help them heal or prevent the disease.

It's really not hard, as long as you understand what you're dealing with.  If you understand the basics of a disease, you'll understand which intervention is the best one to use.  How many different bacterial infections does it take to figure out that if there's a fever, you address that pretty much the same way?  And how many bacterial infections does it take to know that you should be watching for a fever?  Where it gets hard, is each bacterial infection has something unique about its symptoms or treatment.  You need to address that within your scope.  If there's only one thing you remember, make it that characteristic.  All the rest, an infection is an infection.

Don't overcomplicate it.  It's hard, there's a ton to learn, but the more you learn the easier it gets, at least for me so far.

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2 Likes; 16 Visitors; 5 Posts

Six weeks really is not enough time. I am in an accelerated program as well. But at least we get about 8 weeks, roughly. I recommend breaking your learning into systems (i.e. Cardio, Resp., etc). Figure out the major diseases in those systems and watch youtube videos about the nursing interventions and answer practice questions. THEN do the assigned reading and fill in your gaps in knowledge. After awhile, things start to just click and you can think of a system, what is happening if something goes wrong, and what the patient needs. Good luck!

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dragon7869 works as a Paramedic and RN student.

1 Like; 509 Visitors; 2 Posts

Break each section down in an organized system hitting the main points : etiology, pathophysiology, medical interventions ,nursing interventions, patient teaching ,solid knowledge of medications and interventions with knowing the expected outcomes of treatments and adverse effects/complications associated with them. Patient teaching is key . Be able to explain everything to a patient. And do practice questions as much as you can. That's how I approached Med Surg,finished with an A and 100% on the final exam. You can do it. Just stay consistent and have a good study method. 

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