I'm finishing the first third of an accelerated program tomorrow
So far these things have worked well for me:
1) Know HOW to take the NCLEX-style questions... Applying different strategies to different questions is critical.
- Know normal lab value ranges
- Know electrolytes
- Know how to prioritize (i.e., Maslow & ABC's)
- Know that pain is psychosocial.
2) Accept the fact that in an accelerated program there isn't enough time to both have a life (i.e., be a good spouse, mother, friend, etc) AND get good grades.
2) Spend the money for a PDA (personally I prefer the iPod touch). It makes your backpack less heavy and you always have the info at your fingertips.
- Load on a medical dictionary (I recently bit the bullet and bought the Taber's version)
- Load on a drug guide (epocraties offers a good free version)
3) The key that I've found to succeeding in med surg is understanding that the textbook is basically divided into three sections: anatomy, nursing responsibilities, and drugs. Focus more on the nursing responsibilities, interventions and evaluations than (re)memorizing anatomy.
4) Use the instructors office hours... They make the exams and can point you in the right direction.
5) Lastly, take care of yourself... Schedule a monthly spa treatment or block off some personal time for relaxation.