i am not a nurse yet... but i did stay at a holiday inn express last night....just kidding, i am a second year nursing student and each semester we have a dosages and calculations test which we are required to obtain a certain score on. each semester the score requirement is higher. anyway... during the first year we were not allowed to use calculators at all. i think that this was beneficial to learn to calculate without one in the case of some massive disaster in which there is little or no electricity, etc. as far as being looked down upon for using a calculator--i can't see that being a problem. as jessicrn said it without calculator there is too much margin for error.
as far as study tips... it depends on what type of learning style you have. i have found that staying very organized helps me. always anticipate what is coming next. set aside a very specific amount of time to complete your assignments (careful not to cut yourself short). take frequent breaks during study time - gives you a chance to sort of digest what concepts you just read... and may clarify some things in your mind. if you find yourself spending too much time re-reading because you don't understand something. re-read it once then make yourself a note "look up so-and-so" then move on. it may become clearer further on in the text. for those things that you make notes on...try looking them up in a taber's medical dictionary. and if that doesn't work and you still don't understand --ask someone in your class to explain it to you -or- when you have all the little questions you are still not clear on-- take your list of questions and stop by to see your instructor, email the instructor, or call the instructor - whatever your schools particular policy is. it has been my experience that instructor are willing to help. and lastly... i just love webmd. the site is easy to use and easy reading.