New Nursing Student Questions

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I am starting a BSN nursing program in the Spring semester and have questions. I'm very serious about learning the nursing practice as I want to give the love to others.

1) How do I approach clinicals seriously? What my biggest fear in clinicals and the nursing program are asking questions. I have heard a lot of stories of nurses that “snitch” on others at times. I want to learn the best way to work with those nurses and learn from them.

2) I need to exercise, eat and sleep in my life. I heard in the nursing program there is very little of that. I do not want to go crazy LOL. 

3) Other groups and flash cards any other tips on study habits to learn the material? 

I've been a CNA for six years and worked at a hospital for all of those years and love it. 

Any helpful advice would be great please. 

Tegridy

Specializes in Former NP now Internal medicine PGY-2. 357 Posts

1- you’ll probably meet and experience people that are less than pleasant in school and at clinical. Just try to gravitate toward the ones that are decent. If you like your job as and aid your probably navigating the waters well and/or work at a decent hospital with decent staff. There really shouldn’t be any dumb questions (should be okay to ask most things) but some professors may get off on feeling superior to students, and those ones can be hard to deal with. If you dot your Is and cross your Ts you should be okay. Just keep personal life out of everything if possible.

2. If you have effective study habits you should be okay, just decrease the amount of time spent on social media (including this place), and make time to take care of yourself. Nothing is more important than a full nights sleep and fun, healthy activities. I think the nursing school being all consuming is 1. not true, 2. perpetuated by people who lack the ability to manage time well, 3. want to make nursing school sound as if it is Phd level calculus.

3. Try to read up on effective study habits, any of the top books on amazon do this well and mostly echo similar thoughts. Make sure to actually use the techniques, they work for everyone.

Good luck!

Clarinet

15 Posts

I forgot to say that it’s an accelerated BSN program. 2.5 years

Edited by Clarinet

Tegridy

Specializes in Former NP now Internal medicine PGY-2. 357 Posts

It should be doable, there are a few 18 month ABSN programs out there. also depends if you plan to work during.

JKL33

6,080 Posts

Avoid drama at all costs. Try to separate your emotions from whatever is going on and avoid negative reactions to the various forms of drama coming from instructors, fellow students, nurses, patients.

Nursing school is not significantly rigorous. Rather, it is a lot of hoop jumping--and the more you react to it the worse it is. Just get through it. Keep your goal in mind at all times. From the sounds of it, it might be wise to strictly avoid the nursing school social media cliques. Rather than all that malarkey: STUDY.

3 hours ago, Tegridy said:

I think the nursing school being all consuming is 1. not true, 2. perpetuated by people who lack the ability to manage time well, 3. want to make nursing school sound as if it is Phd level calculus.

Agree.

Good luck OP!

Music in My Heart

Specializes in being a Credible Source. Has 12 years experience. 2 Articles; 4,080 Posts

On 11/16/2021 at 1:07 PM, Clarinet said:

I am starting a BSN nursing program in the Spring semester and have questions. I'm very serious about learning the nursing practice as I want to give the love to others.

1) How do I approach clinicals seriously? What my biggest fear in clinicals and the nursing program are asking questions. I have heard a lot of stories of nurses that “snitch” on others at times. I want to learn the best way to work with those nurses and learn from them.

Pick your moments... sometimes students ask questions as they pop into their heads... and sometimes it's an inopportune time.

Before you ask questions, make sure that you're not being lazy... what I mean by this is that sometimes the answer is readily found in a book or a policy or online...

That said, from my personal experience and my observation over 12 years of nursing, those folks are in the small minority. If someone snaps at you, don't take it personally and just move on.

2) I need to exercise, eat and sleep in my life. I heard in the nursing program there is very little of that. I do not want to go crazy LOL. 

Nursing school just wasn't that hard... nothing like the myth that seems to prevail. Sure, there were times when I had to compromise on my time but for the most part, the idea that nursing school is all-consuming seems to be more myth than reality... and I say this as someone who works with lots of nursing students from several different programs.

3) Other groups and flash cards any other tips on study habits to learn the material? 

Figure out how you learn and then do that... Personally, I'd get a jump on the fundamentals of pharmacology and start memorizing as soon as possible. I think "Lippincott's Illustrated Review: Pharmacology" is an AMAZING text... and check out my Pharm Flash Cards on this site... but do realize that part of the benefit of flash cards is the making of them.

I've been a CNA for six years and worked at a hospital for all of those years and love it. 

Any helpful advice would be great please. 

 

On 11/24/2021 at 10:06 PM, Music in My Heart said:

Nursing school just wasn't that hard... nothing like the myth that seems to prevail. Sure, there were times when I had to compromise on my time but for the most part, the idea that nursing school is all-consuming seems to be more myth than reality... and I say this as someone who works with lots of nursing students from several different programs.

So the countless stories of students who struggle with nursing school are just lies?  I have a bachelors degree with honors and have been in healthcare for 20+ years.  I know how to do college coursework, yet I am working my *** off to stay on pace and I find nursing school difficult.  I am not a liar, I am not embellishing.  I find your comment condescending, egocentric, and frankly - untrue.

There are absolutely some students in my program who breeze through with little effort, but they are the exception.

@Clarinet

1.  I've found the best way to approach clinical is to be always available to help and never, ever decline to help a nurse, even if they ask for help with menial tasks.  Check on your patients constantly, answer their call lights, take their empty food tray out of the room, refill their water.  Not only does this engage you with the human side of nursing and connecting to your patient, but it is definitely noticed by the floor staff, who can make your clinical experience good by seeking you out to teach or do skills, or they can ignore you and make clinical bad.  When you do get report from your nurse, make sure to be engaged and take that interaction seriously, for the same reasons..

As for asking questions, my biggest advice is to not ask questions just for the sake of asking questions.  You will have those people in your clinical group and they will absolutely annoy the crap out of you (and your instructor).  Ask relevant questions if you actually have some.

Lastly, I enjoy digging into my patient's chart.  I read the provider notes, the MAR, the orders, the medical history.  When there are things I don't understand, I look them up on the spot and read about that topic until I understand it thoroughly (and I personally do that before asking for clarification from my instructor).

2.  Yes, nursing school for many of us requires a good deal of dedication and studying.  You can absolutely cook/eat well and exercise, but you will need to learn good time management.  My advice on this front - don't ever get behind, and don't spend too much time trying to work ahead.  If you attend a good program, each week's objectives are more than enough to fill the week and each week builds off the previous.  

Each time you sit down to study, set goals for this study session and stop once you reach those goals.

3.  I have never found flashcards to be helpful, but that's me.  My learning style is to read the chapter, then listen to the recorded lecture while taking notes (I am a blended student).  Something else I found late that I actually enjoy is the Saunders NCLEX review book.  Pretty cheap, highly rated, and is currently serving as a third set of notes for each unit.  It is broken down well and easy to follow and each section has relevant NCLEX style review questions, and you need to get used to how nursing questions are written ASAP.

My last tip is this - take your homework assignments seriously.  Again if you go to a good program, the homework assignments are designed to make you think and will help prepare you for the exams.  IMHO - The more you blow off homework assignments, the less you will retain.. 

Edited by FiremedicMike

JKL33

6,080 Posts

19 minutes ago, FiremedicMike said:

So the countless stories of students who struggle with nursing school are just lies?  I have a bachelors degree with honors and have been in healthcare for 20+ years.  I know how to do college coursework, yet I am working my *** off to stay on pace and I find nursing school difficult.  I am not a liar, I am not embellishing.  I find your comment condescending, egocentric, and frankly - untrue.

I think both perspectives are true.

You clearly are taking things seriously and putting significant effort into learning the material. If that is one's goal, then yes it is somewhat challenging. You have high standards for yourself.

There does seem to be some embellishment from other quarters--the type which also believe that they have to know everything doctors know and have the pressure of the world on their shoulders...the type that equates nurse-provider education with medical school, etc. Those things are just not true on their very face, and that is often the spirit that some of us are reacting to when this general topic rolls around.

For me personally, it was definitely extraneous elements that made nursing school a pain. The wonky instructors, the assignments with 15 different poorly-worded and sometimes contradictory instructions (#15 being, "everything must be in APA format, no matter what the assignment was 😂), the test-question style which is less about assessing knowledge than it is about someone's wise idea of how to make something seem difficult (but don't think too hard or you'll choose the wrong answer), the group projects that are a lot of busywork and, since the instructor doesn't want to really grade anything, you need to hope and pray and cajole your group members into getting the thing done on time or doing it yourself and after all your hard work everyone gives each other an 'A' --- those are the kind of things that make nursing school more difficult than what the material is at baseline.

Anyway, you are working hard and you are learning. So the outlook is all good for you, no matter if others report that it wasn't particularly intellectually rigorous for them. 🙂

And you gave excellent advice to the student who posted.

👍🏽

10 minutes ago, JKL33 said:

I think both perspectives are true.

You clearly are taking things seriously and putting significant effort into learning the material. If that is one's goal, then yes it is somewhat challenging. You have high standards for yourself.

There does seem to be some embellishment from other quarters--the type which also believe that they have to know everything doctors know and have the pressure of the world on their shoulders...the type that equates nurse-provider education with medical school, etc. Those things are just not true on their very face, and that is often the spirit that some of us are reacting to when this general topic rolls around.

I "breezed" through med-surg (didn't have to take fundamentals) by picking answers that seemed logical but only because I came with extensive prior healthcare knowledge.

Once I hit the specialty courses, I thought my study methods would continue to carry me through and I was sorely mistaken.  I actually failed my first specialty course (peds) which was a huge wake-up call. 

That, combined with the fact that our nursing school uses exams that are a mix of somewhat obscure factoids which might as well be "what's the third sentence in paragraph 4 on page 1324" and questions that are heavily integrated between multiple sections.

For me and in our program, I really can't skip anything, and we need to have a fundamental understanding of pretty much everything they throw at us (and some stuff they don't throw at us).

Interesting thing is.  I always get 100% (or close to it) on homework, I receive high marks in clinical and skills days, I absolutely crush HESI exams (last night was our peds one, I got a 54/55 with a score of 1071), yet on our course exams, I am nearly always between 76-83% (a C in my program with 76 being the cutoff).  The course I failed, I got a 54% on the first exam...

Since that moment, I've committed myself to working hard.  I talk to my cohort and friends who are nurses regularly and they seem to be working (or worked) just as hard as me..