Published Sep 4, 2013
I'm just starting nursing school this semester and it already seems like there's a ton of work to be done. Any suggestions on how to stay up to date with reading notes/books and best studying techniques you have found that work. Clearly I'm a rookie on all this new stuff but any advice, tips or tricks on how to make it will certainly go a long way. Thanks!
I am also new to the medical field. I am in my second semester of RN school. You are going to have to find what works best for you but here is my take. We are given PowerPoint to follow in class. I write down addition key points given in lecture not on the slides. After lecture I rewrite all of my note (slides and class notes) in a spiral notebook. Anything that I do not fully understand, I research. It is impossible to remember everything. The most important thing is understanding and applying. During clinical, I look at everything I can possibly look at. Understand why meds are given. If you understand how the body works, you should be ok. Stay dedicated but don't overdue it. Sometimes I gotta take a break And work out or cut my grass or something and than come back to my studies. Listen to the nurses, especially the ones that have been a nurse for some time. They have a lot of good knowledge and sometimes explain things better than teachers. Don't let people talk down to you but respect them. Basically, I don't like to look stupid so I put the effort in, however, when someone is talking to you or teaching you listen and ask questions. I hope it helps, like I said only in second semester and I am good with the exams but I had my first rapid response today and I quickly realized there is a lot that I don't know. Good luck.
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There will be a lot more stuff due than you have ever had. Get a calendar, sit down with all the syllabuses and put all assignment due dates on it. Other than that, if you got through the pre reqs you know how to study and what works for you.
I agree with the previous posters, nursing school is going to be tough, but manageable. I'm in 4th semester of nursing school, and this semester by far seems like the busiest, between clinicals, externship, and work, I feel like my brain is ready to explode at times. The most important advice I could give you is to be organized. I never used a planner before nursing school, but it definitely helps keep track of what's due, things going on, and days till the end of the semester! As far as study habits, as stated earlier, you know what works for you. Obviously you've done your share of studying during pre-reqs to get where you are, so keep at it. You'll need to do more than you're used to, but keep things in perspective.
Also I can't stress enough the need spend some time doing something you enjoy. people get so caught up in the stress of nursing school, especially in the beginning, they get burnt out easily. when you have time, go out, do something you enjoy, and de-stress. good luck!
barcode120x, RN, NP
Two things, time management and de-stressors! I was always an average B student and not the best reader or test taker, but if in nursing school you will learn to manage your time so you do get through the reading, ALL the reading. It's pretty much study up on your lecture notes, powerpoints, and read read read! Aside from that, de-stress even if you aren't stressed out! When I have time, I usually take a nap, play some video games, or hit the gym.
Everyone's study habits are different.
We had our recorded lectures online and I skipped every class since my first semester(I am on my last semester now).
My hardest was 3rd and it was driving me nuts... BTW that stupid flow chart of a disease helped me alot. Understanding the full patho of the disease you are studying can go a long way and rather just memorizing instructions for a certain disease, you can explain the rationale of why you did it.
Whenever you do any practice questions always look at the rationale to explain to you what you did wrong. Honestly, there are some BS questions and answers... such as calling the doctor before raising the head of the bed....
2 seconds to raise the head of the bed while you pull your phone out of your pocket to call the doctor would be the most realistic thing to do, but they arent looking for that.
But if there is a mentor program with higher semesters up, take it. Talk to them, every school is different. Every teacher has their "signature" thing they focus on. Listen for key works.
Big meds to know are digoxin, lasix, beta blockers, know lab values.
Hg, WBC, sodium, potassium, platlet are the biggest ones to know IMO.
I am a new student nurse one of 5... We are in our 5th week of classes...I am still having trouble managing my time but I'm sure I just need to focus on it
Besides what everyone else said, try to have fun because the material really isn't that hard. Get pocket references for clinicals or some apps to help your practical knowledge.
Make friends with some of the girls, lots of guys wold kill to be in your position. Granted most of the girls are Type-A, have had a BF since HS, engaged, married or have kids (it's an odd trend I only saw in the nursing program) but still there are a few out there!
I'm in my 4th semester of my 2 year RN program. Yes it seems like a lot when you are starting out. Honestly, at least at my school, it pretty much stays that way every semester.
My biggest piece of advise in not getting overwhelmed is to try not to look at EVERYTHING that you will be doing over the course of the semester. Stay organized, stay on top of your reading. Pay attention to due dates on assignments and checkoffs. If you have spare time to get items done early then do so. If you aren't racing against the clock to get things done it relieves a lot of stress.
Just wanted to say thanks to everyone who has commented on this thread. I'm about to start a two year RN program this spring and I'm plenty nervous about it. Hearing the ideas to stay on top of things and maintain your sanity is helping me to believe that this is something I can get thru. I'm an older student and I've come to realize my age has made me a much better student. I understand that wasting time like I did in my youth is not an option. I'm all about business now and reaching my goals. My advice to younger students is to learn from the mistakes of others. Don't waste years and years of your life never accomplishing the challenges you have dreamed about for yourself. Do the work, make the sacrifices and the time will pass quickly. Before you know it you will have reached and accomplished your goals. I tell you, the time is going to pass one way or the other, you might as well be where you want to be.
akulahawkRN, ADN, RN, EMT-P
Time management is a key thing to learn and do while in Nursing school. You'll have to keep track of everything you do. Unlike many of my classmates, I have a fairly decent knowledge base already so I don't have to necessarily get into the reading as much as they do. What I will say is that you should do the reading early. All the reading, at least to start. One thing I do to prime my brain for learning the material is to read the objectives that the instructors want us to go over, then I'll just simply read the questions at the end of each chapter. I don't attempt to answer them. Not yet. Then I'll read the chapter keeping that stuff in mind and I'll have the objectives sheet handy so that I can refer to it as I read. For any lectures that have material you can save to computer, I save that stuff, print it out, and use it, write on it during lecture to emphasize or add some additional point that's not already in the material. If it's a powerpoint presentation, I'll usually print out the slides as notes - 3 or 4 to a page. That gives me enough room to write or draw on the paper still. Then when I'm done, I file that stuff in a binder. That way it's easy to refer back to the material. Before an exam, what I do is re-read the lecture material, skim the objectives, re-read the chapter questions, and re-read the chapter at a faster pace, looking for whatever's important and relevant. This way by exam time, I've seen the material at least 3 times.
Oh, and definitely be in class. You really can't make up the time you lose by not being there. I can't stress that enough. Keep your eyes open in clinicals because you might just see something relevant to what you're learning in class and the material might then make sense.
Some people record lectures and play them back, some people do flash cards, some people write stuff over and over again. Hopefully by now you've learned how you learn best. Use that to your fullest advantage. There's a lot of material to go over, but most of it will be reasonably basic stuff. The challenge often is simply keeping up with the volume. Being a student is a job. Treat it like one. Never be late. Ever. You'll thank yourself later for that one. And that goes double for exams... It would suck massively to have studied the material, know it, and have to take a 0 because you were late and couldn't be let in... That's one massive hole in your grade that you might not be able to recover from. Failing an exam still gets you points... and 50% is a whole lot better than a 0.
Besides what everyone else said, try to have fun because the material really isn't that hard. Get pocket references for clinicals or some apps to help your practical knowledge.Make friends with some of the girls, lots of guys wold kill to be in your position. Granted most of the girls are Type-A, have had a BF since HS, engaged, married or have kids (it's an odd trend I only saw in the nursing program) but still there are a few out there!
become friends with girls so they can help you meet their single friends =D(If you are their friend then they will give a good word).
If you date someone in the program you better make sure its worth it. You want to avoid drama and dont try to sleep with anyone for the sake of satisfying your man parts. It will cause alot of problems.
Get used to girls talking about periods, weddings, breast implants, or clothes.
School is a pain in the rear , not gonna lie. But... I love it, wouldnt trade it for anything else.
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