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  1. Being and RN feels Great! A feeling hard to explain. It is out of this world especially when one sacrifices so much to reach the goal. These steps will help you get to that goal. It worked for me. They worked for the person who passed it on to me. And, they worked for countless of others. Now, it's your turn. Follow the exact steps. If you want to mix-n-match with other plans that is fine but DO NOT neglect the following steps. 1. Read NCLEX Test Plan (Detail)Do Not memorize it. Just read it frequently to understand how the NCLEX people want you to think as you approach the questions. I Read this daily for a few minutes just so I get a solid understanding of what the NCLEX writers expect of a safe nurse. Once you read and beginning to truly understand it will feel as if the NCLEX people helping you pass the NCLEX. It is a Great Help. Read to Understand and keep it in the back of your head as you do questions. NOTE FROM STAFF: Information found in these files may be outdated. But, it is worth reviewing. 2013_NCLEX_RN_Detailed_Test_Plan_Candidate (RN) (PDF Download) PN_Test_Plan_2014_Candidate (LPN) (PDF Download) Find it in Google if the link below does not work. 2. Davis Question Bank!HUGE! HUGE! Help which correlates with the NCLEX test plan. Once you open the Davis question and answers click on the "customize a quiz." The question bank as about 4,924 questions. Go to the "client need" area and compare the NCLEX test Plan sections. You will see that line by line the Davis Question Bank is a mirror to the NCLEX test plan. Do ONE CLIENT NEED at a TIME. You can go down the list from the NCLEX Test plan or in any order you desire but the key is to First Read the NCLEX test plan client of need (to keep in mind how they way you to think.) Then open the same exact area in the Davis Question Bank and do 20 or 10 questions at the time. The goal is to just apply the way the want you to think accordingly to the NCLEX test plan to each area in the Davis. ** Do NOT worry if you get a bad score. Just do your best each time you take a test and try to remember the concept behind from the rationales. Every time you learn the concept behind you are improving. Remember if you score low does not mean anything because you will never get the same questions in the NCLEX. I was scoring from 60- 70-80 to my last 2 tests 50. I just knew that if I knew the concept I would be able to figure out the correct answer in the actual test. The lady that told me about this passed the NCLEX with 76 question and was scoring 50's and barely made it to 60. Davis question can be harder and you will see once you do Davis and go back to Saunders and even Kaplan. I felt Davis were harder but it was worth my time because I felt they were very similar to the NCLEX. 3. Kaplan Videos On QuestionsThis should be your "Bible" as the lady that told me about this. There is a section in the Kaplan were the director of Kaplan goes over questions in details for each client area. She has 5 Lessons and each lesson has included all client need areas and are about 60 questions each. This is about 300 questions! That she goes over in GREAT DETAIL. Do not write anything just pause come up with the answer and play again and let her explain you. THIS WILL FOREVER CHANGE YOUR LIFE AS TO APPROACH THE NCLEX. She goes over the way Kaplan analyze questions and all the questions are at the LEVEL YOU WILL SEE IN THE NCLEX. It removes the fear of seeing a complex question and not knowing what to do. Do not do them at once. It will take a long time -- she goes in detail but if you do 5, 10, 20 or as many as you might need per night but the key is to do it at night and during the day apply what she says to the Davis questions. You can also do questions from Saunders and Kaplan Q Banks but the, key is to apply what she does. How To Pass the NCLEXRead the NCLEX plan- understand area per area of how the test makers what you thinkUse the Davis because is a mirror of the test plan for each area and apply how the NCLEX what you to think with real questions.Listen to the Kaplan questions video daily at nightAnd practice approaching the question the way she does to Davis and other questions you may want to use. The key is understanding the concept of what you learn. These are just personal thoughts I had in my mind daily which I posted in my computer as I did the questions and on the writing board they give you at the test.The answer is within the question. Once I had that in my mind, I knew that no matter how complex was the question, I could figure the correct answer. This an amazing input from Ms. Diana.I will always "COMPARE" between answer A and B. I would say which one is a better answer for my question. Then I would keep one and eliminate the other. I would continue to compare the one I liked the most and the next one until I arrived to the last 2 and when still in doubt I would use the strategy learned from the Kaplan question strategy videos. Another usually taken from granted strategy yet highly effective way to attack the NCLEX. This was also another great idea Ms. Diana stressed in her class.Before the test and when in doubt during the test I would cross my eyes and say "I am holding your hands and we are going to pass this test together." Each time I said that I felt some energy and questions would become clear because I knew I was not alone and Nothing or anyone could ever defeat the force I was holding the hand of. It is weird to say that but This is something I must say because I will never take full credit when I know I was working with a secret partner that is ready to help if we call for his help. The lady that gave me all the above advices told me about this and until I tried myself I realized what exactly she had experienced. I will not call him any name because we all have different religion and some have no religion so I am just giving facts of what I did. Feel free to try it and you will see for yourself.Let me know if you need anything. I will be here for you.
  2. It’s the time of year when eager students are venturing into their first semester of nursing school. Most likely, they have been bombarded with advice from other seasoned students. However, starting nursing school is like jumping into frigid water. You know I is going to be a shock to your system and yet, you can’t comprehend just how much of a shock until you jump in. Fortunately, there are effective study strategies that can help students to make a smooth transition. Effective Study Strategies STEP 1 You Must Study ... STUDY! Unless you have a photographic memory or some other learning super power, you will have to study. I was one of the many nursing students who cruised through prerequisite classes and rarely broke a sweat. I realized early in my first semester that what had worked for me in previous courses, was not going to be enough. Most students have to “step up” their study skills in nursing school to be successful. STEP 2 Lay a strong foundation There is a way you can spend less time studying and still be successful. The secret? Put a consistent effort into all of your coursework. For example: STEP 3 Attend class I often hear students say, “I don’t go to class because they just read off powerpoints”. Even if this is the case, instructors place emphasis on important and “need to know” information. Attending class gives students an opportunity to hear the information and ask questions. STEP 4 Listen in class Pay attention, take notes and review your notes for a few minutes after class. It also helps to compare your notes with another student’s and see what they thought was important. STEP 5 Rethink assignments Students often lament course assignments as “busy work” that distracts from study time. It helps to reimagine coursework as additional exposure to information and an opportunity to test knowledge. Schedule Yourself for Study Time management in nursing school is crucial to your success. Studying will compete with personal, academic and social responsibilities for a valuable chunk of your time. Therefore, go ahead and schedule your study time. Here are a few tips: STEP 1 Master the calendar Just thinking about your nursing program, personal and work schedule can quickly lead to feelings of chaos. It is important to see the “big picture” of your schedule instead of trying to keep up with all the separate moving parts. Develop a master calendar plotting out all your scheduled activities (class, work, clinicals, appointments, family responsibilities) and then schedule your study time. Be sure to include due dates for exams, assignments and other important deadlines. STEP 2 Be realistic Scheduling yourself only a few 20 minute study sessions a week will most likely result in very intense cramming sessions. Schedule adequate blocks of study time, but be sure to work in breaks. Studying without breaks leads to fatigue and poor retention of information. Take Good Notes After scoring low on exams, students would often show me pages and pages of detailed notes and ask with obvious frustration, “What am I doing wrong?”. When it comes to note taking, quantity is not always equal quality. Here are a few tips: STEP 1 Read before the lecture Having a general awareness of the material before you attend the lecture will put you a step ahead. This doesn’t mean reading in detail all 200+ pages to be covered, but it does help to have an idea of the topics that will be presented. STEP 2 Get organized There are many different note taking strategies and it is important to find the method that works for you. Remember, you may need to change what you have done in the past. A few methods for you to explore include: Outline Method Boxing Method Cornell Method Mapping Method Charting Method You can read descriptions, pros and cons of each method here. STEP 3 Handwritten vs electronic notes Research has shown handwritten notes have an edge over electronic notes when it comes to retaining information. However, there are pros and cons to both depending on student preferences and learning style. Here are just a few: Laptop Notes Pros: If you are a good typist, laptop notes are quicker and may allow you to take more detailed notes. You can easily search for additional information, examples and access helpful resources. Cons: Typing could translate to “mindless” note taking and not really thinking about what is being said by the lecturer. Easily distracted internet sites or social media. Handwritten Notes: Pros; Better engagement with the lecturer and presented material Research has found increased retention when compared to electronic note taking Cons: It is easier to miss or leave out important information Requires excellent organization skills for effective handwritten notes The bottom line- finding the notetaking method that is best for you. But first, you need a commitment to explore and put different strategies to test. Stay tuned for Part II for more studying tips to help you be successful. Do you have any tips or hacks you would like to share?
  3. We’re aware that there have been changes to the logistical components of the NCLEX® to ensure safety precautions, such as limited test dates or length of the exam. This may be causing you anxiety and leave you feeling unsure of how to prepare. Here at Picmonic, we want to help minimize the stress of this uncertain time and know that we are here to support in any way possible. We’ve collected some favorite tips from our scholar team on how to prepare for the NCLEX®, and we have included a “ 2-Week NCLEX® Essentials Guide” if you have to take it without as much notice as you had initially planned. 1. Back-to-Basics: Remember the Foundations While you’re studying, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the massive amount of content that you feel you have to review. Focusing on the foundations is extremely important for the NCLEX®; review the nursing process (ADPIE), review vitals, lab values, and assessment findings. This may seem like it’s simple information, but the NCLEX® will be presenting you with a lot of this information, so make sure you have it down. 2. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat Even though your NCLEX® plans may have changed and may be out of your control, you have to remember that prepping for the NCLEX® is like marathon training; the more repetition, the better. Sticking to a routine and practicing questions over and over is a necessary component. We recommend you do at least 50-75 practice questions from a quiz bank every day; do even more questions if you have less time. Get in the habit of having the NCLEX® question mentality so that you are familiar with it when the time comes. 3. Apply Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for Yourself! (Proper Nutrition, Sleep, Exercise) At the base of Maslow’s pyramid is taking care of physiological needs; apply this to yourself as well! Although this is an extremely stressful time for society, the importance of keeping a healthy routine is essential, especially when facing the big exam. Keep focused on constantly getting a proper amount of sleep (7-8 hours), eating a nutrient-dense diet full of fruits and vegetables, and getting at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. The night before, let yourself completely relax. Don’t try to cram last-minute information into your head. Give yourself time to calm down; go for a walk, eat a healthy dinner, reduce phone/computer screen time, and get to bed early. The morning of, make sure you eat a breakfast that will keep you satisfied for the exam without having a sugar crash. Also avoid having too much coffee in order to reduce the jitters that you may have already. These foundational elements are extremely vital to your success when approaching this exam, and will considerably reduce your stress levels as well. Below is a “2-week NCLEX® Essentials” guide with Picmonics we recommend you study prior to your exam. Review these Picmonics along with doing your spaced repetition quiz on the home screen. In addition, do 50-75 practice questions from your question bank of choice per day, and add in any supplemental resources that you see fit! WEEK 1 Monday Culture Communication Delegation +SPACED REPETITION QUIZ Tuesday Leadership Patient Safety Patient Positioning +SPACED REPETITION QUIZ Wednesday Lab Values +SPACED REPETITION QUIZ Thursday Infection Control Vital Signs Lung Sounds +SPACED REPETITION QUIZ Friday Medication Administration Needle Sizes and Uses +SPACED REPETITION QUIZ Saturday Immobility IV Fluids Wound Care + SPACED REPETITION QUIZ WEEK 2 Monday Oxygenation Chest Tube Management + SPACED REPETITION QUIZ Tuesday Blood Types Blood Transfusions Hypertension Medications + SPACED REPETITION QUIZ Wednesday Electrolyte Imbalances Acid-Base Imbalances + SPACED REPETITION QUIZ Thursday Burns Insulin Antibiotics + SPACED REPETITION QUIZ Friday Antidepressants Antipsychotics + SPACED REPETITION QUIZ Saturday Toxicities and Reversal Agents + SPACED REPETITION QUIZ
  4. Damion Jenkins

    NCLEX Tips: 5 Ways to Tame the Tension

    When test-takers are feeling the pressures of the high-stakes NCLEX, it can be overwhelming and cause a great deal of self-doubt. With self-doubt, candidates are more likely to change their answers, pick more difficult sounding answer choices because they think the correct answer choice was just too easy, or they may blank out completely and waste valuable testing time. To help you calm your anxieties so that they don’t determine the fate of your NCLEX attempt, here are five tips to help you perform at your best: Focus on test-taking strategies There are so many amazing tools, methods, and concepts that can really boost your ability to navigate complicated NCLEX test questions. When you start to feel yourself slipping into the rabbit hole of “what if” and “could be”, you should take a moment to remind yourself that there are strategies that you can depend on to help you arrive at the correct answer. When you focus on test-taking strategies and begin applying them to every test question, you will find that the little voices of self-doubt and anxious ponder fade away so you can focus on selecting the correct answer. A rested mind is a calm mind Getting enough rest and quality sleep is VITAL for your success. It is imperative that you find the will to refrain from staying up all night studying before a test. Even though it may have worked for you in nursing school to stay up all night cramming for exams, that will not help you pass the NCLEX. Questions on the NCLEX are complicated and require a great deal of focus and concentration. Being tired will only feed into your anxieties and will only inhibit your ability to make safe and sound decisions. Get at least 8 hours of sleep each day of the week leading up to your exam so you will be at your optimal ability. Limit caffeinated beverages Having one cup of coffee in the morning is generally okay, but overdoing it can make your central nervous system go into overdrive, which could make your test anxiety worse! Coffee isn’t the only thing that has caffeine in it. You also want to avoid too much chocolate, cola, iced tea, and energy drinks. It is also important to know that for every one caffeinated beverage you consume, you should follow with at least two glasses of water to help dilute the caffeine and rehydrate your body and mind. Take a deep breath and blow out the tension There may be several times when answering NCLEX questions where you feel that your nerves are starting to get the best of you. Instead of giving into them and becoming overwhelmed with anxiety, it is important to acknowledge the anxiety and regain control. The best way to do that is to close your eyes, and say the following phrase: “I acknowledge my anxiety. My anxiety is a part of who I am. My anxiety does not control me. My anxiety is not helping me at this moment in time. I ask that my anxiety leave and return when it will serve me well.” Then take a deep breath, and exhale slowly - letting all of that tension and anxiety flow out of you. Take a moment to be thankful for the ability to regain focus, and continue on your way towards NCLEX success. Embrace imperfection Oftentimes anxiety flares up when test-takers can’t seem to confidently arrive at the correct answer. Whether it is while practicing NCLEX questions, or during an actual exam, the desire to get answers correct becomes an obsession that feeds the anxiety and makes it worse. Dwelling on the fact that you do not know the answer, or that you got an answer incorrectly will cause you to lose focus and could send you down the wrong path. Sometimes it's best to humbly embrace the fact that we don’t know the answer. When this happens, do your best to pick an answer and move on. As you find yourself struggling with the anxieties, doubts, and tensions that come with studying for the NCLEX, just remember that you are never alone. There are many people - like myself - who are rooting for you. Be sure to take the time to master these tension taming tips, so that you may find peace on your journey towards NCLEX success! Best Wishes! For more information download the NCLEX Study Guide ebook... allnurses® Ebooks Library
  5. Hello Everyone, I was supposed to graduate in May, but due to the COVID pandemic, my clinical hours took a bit longer to complete. I ended up completing all the requirements for my program in mid-June. I received approval to test and scheduled my exam for about 1 month out. This allowed me to really take the time to focus and study. I studied most days 6-8 hours. I used Fitzgerald FNP Review, I also purchased Fitzgerald's practice questions book, Family Nurse Practitioner Certification Intensive Review by Maria T. Leik (came with an app too), the FNP mastery app, I also had the Kaplan FNP Prep Plus (I went way overboard on the study materials, but I am a very nervous test taker/studier 😂). You definitely do not need as many study materials as I had LOL Fitzgerald FNP Review Audio / Online Version I really liked Fitzgerald's FNP review. I felt she presented a lot of great information and real-life practice scenarios. I have read reviews where people say she goes really too deep into the material. For the boards, I somewhat agree with this statement, but I feel the material she presents you can use for the exam and take it into practice. It's not material you just study for the exam and forget. I had the audio version of the material. I did not do the in-person review. I liked having the capability of learning chunks at a time. I started her review while I was at the end of my program. So I completed the majority of the review prior to my 1-month serious start of studying. Fitzgerald Practice Question Book I purchased this book and at first hated it. It had the questions and then basically a chapter worth reading of the content. The rationales to the questions are not right there to help, you have to go digging. I had set this book aside after purchasing. However, in my last week of studying before taking my exam, I did come back to it and practiced questions from it and read some of the charts and graphs (some were helpful). The questions in the book are also waaaay harder than what was presented on the exam. I don't really recommend this book as a first choice to study with. There are better options. Family Nurse Practitioner Certification Intensive Review by Maria T. Leik Like most students, I really liked this book. I highly recommend it. I went through the entire book and really studied it. It gives an excellent break down of the material. There is also an app called FNP Q&A by Leik. I utilized this app a bunch and highly recommend it. You can do questions anywhere at the store, standing in a line, etc. The app has hundreds of questions (I think they might be the same questions in the back of her book. I saw some duplicate questions from the app to book). The app also has mnemonics and a quick break down of the diseases. So make sure you check those features out as well! FNP Mastery App This app is a subscription app. I purchased 1 month right before I took the exam. I believe it was like 19.99 month to month (don't quote me on that LOL). It was very easy to use, gave great rationales and information, and had a great breakdown of each section. I do recommend this app. I will say the questions were harder than the board questions but it helps with really developing your knowledge and critical thinking skills. Family Nurse Practitioner Certification Prep Plus As an undergraduate nursing student, I utilized Kaplan to help me pass NCLEX boards. I really liked it. So I thought I would give the FNP book a chance. I purchased the book because I liked how easily they had the material broken down, but quickly put it aside to focus on the above materials because I thought it was way too simplified (compared to the other materials). I picked it back up about a week before I took boards; after taking the APEA predictor exam and the PSI predictor exam. After taking these predictor exams, I realized Kaplan actually had it right. The simplified version and the layout really helps you picture the case scenarios the board questions present to you. With that being said if I had to pick two books to really study from I would pick the purple Leik book and the Kaplan book. Leik gives you lots of good snippets of material. Kaplan will give you the entire case scenarios broken down into risk factors, symptoms, differentials, diagnostic tests, and patient education. APEA Predictor Test I purchased 1 APEA predictor test and it came with 50 extra bonus questions. I took the exams a few days before I took boards. I scored 73% on the 150 questions (National average around 68%). I scored 72% on the 50 bonus questions (National average around 68%). If you are super nervous (like I was) I encourage you to take a predictor exam (whether it be from APEA or PSI) to get a feel for the questions. It's definitely not a make or break you if you don't take one, but it does give you an excellent idea of what the questions will look like on the exam. (APEA was a bit harder than the PSI Practice Exam). PSI Predictor Exam These practice exams are $50 each and 75 questions. If you do want to take only one, make sure you select the 2020 exam (It felt it was harder, than the older version). I paid for 2 exams. The first one I took was the FNP-1 version and I scored 90%. The second one I took was the 2020 version and I scored 80%. After taking these practice exam I felt a lot more confident in my in-depth studies. I was shocked to discover the questions I had been doing were way more focused and specific than the predictor exams. The biggest thing is you really need to have a good understanding of the material. I now understand why the study materials say practice questions aren't enough. You have to know really know how the patient presents, risk factors, diagnostic tests, and patient education, etc. The questions could be related to any of those, but they don't tell you what the disease the patient presents with. Make sure you look at ways to break down the questions from your study materials. This will help you to correctly answer what they are asking. Sorry for the super long post, but I hope it helps! I know reading people's posts on their success and the materials used really helped me. Good luck to everyone! Put the time in to really learn the material, don't just wing it, and you will totally rock the test. Best wishes, Emily
  6. Break up big tasks into smaller ones. There is A LOT of reading to do in nursing school, and it is always in your best interests to keep on top of them. This is on top of projects and studying for tests and exams. Since all of these activities involve reading, I break up my readings into smaller readings and write this in my calendar. For example, you have a psychology reading to do for your class next Friday. The chapter is over 30 pages. Every day I set little goals for myself to get that reading done: "Monday: pgs. 1-4, Tuesday: pgs. 5-8, etc.". It's a lot easier than reading all 30 pages at once, and will make the task seem less daunting. School comes before work. I was able to make it this far working about 8-12 hours a week, sometimes less. As much as I need the money, I am paying to be at school. It's more expensive if you fail a course and have to repeat it anyway. Be honest with your employers about school, they are usually pretty understanding. Be honest with yourself about how much time you need to study and complete assignments. Factor in travel time. SLEEP is SO important. As I mentioned above, I would advise NEVER to pull all-nighters unless you absolutely have to. Sleep loss can make you depressed, slow, sick and unproductive - trust me. I treat sleep like a job or a class, something that must be done. Clinical placements require your full attention, so get as much of it as you can. Learn to say No. It seems like less-busy friends need you most when you're busiest. In this program, you can't be available all the time. I try my best to push all my social commitments to Friday nights and some Saturday nights. Be honest with yourself and gauge how much work you have that week. Don't take shortcuts. This is especially important when learning clinical skills. Our faculty advisor would give us comprehension questions about clinical skills, such as IV and medication safety. Since we were so tired and starved for time, we would copy each other's answers without taking time to really learn. This would come back to bite me when she would ask me a question related to those topics. It took me twice as long to learn those topics. Not to mention, we are dealing with people's lives. Give yourself time to learn. Don't let everything you need to do in terms of assignments overwhelm you. Prioritize, and focus on what is due first, then move on to the next "you can only eat an elephant one bite at a time." Start your exam review the first week of school. I know it sounds crazy but by making study notes from lectures and seminars will give you more time to study in the end! Making exam notes before exams gives you less time to study and you're cramming for your exams, which can lead to a lot of stress! Pace yourself and it will allow you to obtain and remember the material easier if you start early and review it during your reading break. Start off at the beginning with good study habit- Make sure keep you up with the readings and that you don't fall behind in class! Your professor won't constantly be there to remind you to study. There will be consequences if you aren't kept up, for example, trying to cram 100+pgs in 2 days before the exam (that was the biggest mistake I made in 1st year, first semester). Also, make friends in your class, because they can be helpful when you want to form a study group or even ask questions! Who knows, they might even be your best friend! Listen in class and take notes! If you walk into your class thinking "meh, I'll spend 50 minutes on facebook and will read the textbook later", you will end up doing that. Go to your class with a positive learning attitude. You made it to class so you might as well pay attention carefully. Fully engage your attention to your professor as they might emphasize on any important information! Normally, I would bring 2 color pens, my lecture note, and a clipboard to limit distractions (like my computer). If there is a class that requires intensive note taking and you'd need to bring your laptop, I have avoided distraction by downloading a program called: Self control (I also use it when I study too!) which blocks websites (facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.), for however long you set it. Make sure you have free time to do other stuff If you think about it, you have 168 hours a week, you spend approximately 56 hours sleeping, 18-24 hours going to class, maybe 30 hours studying, meaning this leaves you up to almost 60 hours of stress-free time. School can be stressful, so make sure you spend your free time hanging out with your new friends, going to the gym (super important!), taking fitness classes like yoga, or being involved with extra curricular. Make sure you keep your life well balanced! STEP 1 Go to class! It is so important to be visible and to pay attention- often times professors will give hints on exam questions and will definitely point you in the right direction for your studying as to which topics to focus on. STEP 2 Be on time, especially for your clinical placements- first impressions and the little things do matter and can go a long way for relationship building and marks STEP 3 Clinical is not as scary as you think. If you show up on time and listen to what your clinical instructor tells you half the battle is won. STEP 4 Friends are an invaluable resource for support and a helping hand- but don't always believe everything you hear- if you want correct information head straight to the source, either your professors or your year coordinator. STEP 5 Choose your friends for your group projects carefully, fellow students who are like-minded in terms of goals and grades for the assignment are your best choice. Everyone being on the same page in expectations and desired result will save you a lot of headaches, potential conflicts and time. STEP 6 As a nurse, you are a piece of the larger context of the health care delivery system. In any clinical placement you will be working with people from other disciplines who may not share similar ideas with you- you must get used to working in groups and collaborating ideas with others. STEP 7 It is almost impossible to study every detail for every test for every subject. Try focusing on the most important concepts first- the ones that will get you the most marks on a test- then move on to the details. STEP 8 As soon as you sense that you are falling behind in the course or will be needing help- ask for it! Your professors are there to help you, and can often provide tips, perspective and what topics to focus your studying on. Finances ✔️ Don't spend more than you have. Tuition comes first over clothes and alcohol. ✔️ Live at home if you can. This saved me a ton of money on rent, food, laundry and other expenses. ✔️ Sell books you will not need at the end of the semester. Some books will invaluable throughout your career as a nurse: your anatomy book, your med-surg book, your drug guide, your lab guide, and your assessment book. These books are definitely worth keeping. There are other books that are probably okay to part with. Every year, I sell my textbooks back to Amazon.ca or I advertise them on Craigslist or Kijiji and end up making some money back. ✔️ Keep school-related receipts and payments and put them together in one place. This includes receipts for books, supplies and metro passes/transit. You can claim them around tax time and get money back!! If you have a job during the school year, realize when your must education takes priority. There is little use of having a part time job, if it means doing poorly in your classes and having to repeat the course. So yes, a job is nice but not if it jeopardizes your grades. Homemade food - Try packing your lunch, snacks, and drinks. I have found this to be very effective and can significantly reduce spending. Think about each time you line up to buy food you're spending between $5-10, multiply that by five days and that equals $25-50 per week. But don't forget to add in that extra morning coffee and muffin to get you through the day. And by the end of your day you're too tired to cook dinner, so you pick up something on the way home... Eventually everything adds up. By preparing your meals at home and in advance, you get to choose whatever you like - not to mention eat healthier and prevent the dreaded 'freshman fifteen'. Saving money and eating healthy?? Count me in!! Career Development Network! Go to job fairs even when you are not in your fourth year. Meet recruiters and talk to them. Any volunteer health/people related events and organizations in your community try to get involved. It's a great resume builder but it also gets your name out there. You would be surprised how small of a world it is out there when you get involved. Get to know your professors well Many professors are actively involved in the research field and can provide a great opportunity for nursing students to become involved as research assistants. Not only will your professors know your name and face, but this may prove to be an excellent reference in the future as well. Volunteer in the hospital Volunteering provides a chance for you to become familiar with the hospital setting, and encourages professional and personal development. As a volunteer in the Hospital Elder Life Program I was able to further my communication skills which assisted me in providing client centered care in my nursing career. Essay/Paper Writing Feeling overwhelmed, with a blank screen and impending deadline? Take a break from your laptop. Grab a sheet of paper and a pen (yea I know, eh?). Next, take the rubric or instructions for the essay. Write down the main questions/requirements for the essay of the left side of the sheet of paper. On the right side, write down how you plan on addressing these questions in point form and with quotes from your peer-reviewed sources (keep the name(s) of the author(s) and the year next to the quote so you remember the source when you are writing in APA format). Once you've filled out the right side, number your points in the sequence that makes the most sense. Then type up the points in paragraph form, complete with your APA referencing. Add a grabbing intro, a clean conclusion, reference list, et viola! ✔️ Set aside a time after your paper is written to edit JUST APA, it may take you an hour the first time, but it will seriously help your grades and with time you will become faster at it ✔️ Probably the most important part of writing an essay is following the rubric (down to the letter!) it will save you a lot of time and form the structure of your essay ✔️ If English is your second language or you just have trouble with essays in general most universities have Writing Centres where a graduate student usually helps undergraduate students. They won't write your essay for you but they can definitely help point out where your weaknesses are and usually have tips to help. Take advantage of feedback - Not many, but some professors may allow students to submit a draft for feedback prior to the final essay submissions. This is your chance to score that 'PLUS' on your grade. By obtaining feedback you know what your professor is looking for and you can improve on those areas of weakness. If your professor does not accept drafts for review, then still keep in mind the comments from final submissions for future essays; this can strengthen your essay writing skills. TIP: If you are struggling to meet the minimum page requirement for essays or research papers, you probably need to do more research. There are tons of nursing journals and resources waiting to be read. Knowing how to use library databases and resources is key, and if you are unsure of how to do so, ask a librarian. How To Cope with Unexpected Challenges Challenging issues that can occur throughout your four years in Nursing School are: personal health issues - such as recent diagnosis of an illness or a chronic health issue, financial issues, emotional issues - such as depression, anxiety, or bereavement (loss of a loved one), etc. Unforeseen challenges can occur at any point in life however when they occur during Nursing School you can feel even more overwhelmed. This is due to the already tight schedule and then you add the shock of an emotional or financial crisis and you can hit your maximum threshold for stress. STEP 1 First and foremost - ASK FOR HELP! If something comes up unexpectedly that will cause you to not meet a deadline or miss school ensure let your respective professor or clinical instructor know about your situation. If you can only email your professor and not see them in person due to geographical constraints then just email them as much as you can tell them about your situation via email. If you are in the hospital because you are ill be sure to ask a family member or friend for help in communicating with someone at school. I find it extremely helpful to save all my faculty contacts in my Blackberry. If you have a Smartphone it is wise to save any contacts you ever need for school in this device, as it generally is the most accessible device you will have when a challenge occurs. STEP 2 Be HONEST I totally understand and respect confidentiality about one's health and personal situation but when I say be honest I mean be honest to yourself. Be honest about the challenge you are faced with and be honest about what you are going to be able to handle as you go through your challenges. Balance your schedule so you can make medical appointments or work (if the issue is financial) and make sure that you do not cause yourself to burnout. This is already a huge issue in nursing so you do not need to cause yourself anymore risk of burnout especially in your education. Faculty can help adjust your schedule or your assignments so you can have a fighting chance at succeeding just like your fellow classmates. STEP 3 Accommodations If you have a medical issue or a learning disability or you feel you need testing/ academic accommodations due to another reason it is always wise to book an appointment with your Accommodation Service at your school. Even if you feel one semester your health/ situation should be okay its better to have the paperwork prepared and submitted so that your professors can be aware of your situation before its too late. "It's better to be safe than sorry." STEP 4 Embrace your emotions ...and by this I mean FEEL your emotions, cry when you need to, be angry when you need to, be alone when you need to, be around others when you need to, but productively deal with your emotions. If you feel angry, sad, depressed, happy or maybe even ecstatic show these emotions in a positive way. If you are going through a new challenge or a continuing challenge or you just need someone trusting and honest to talk to, all schools have some form of a Counseling service. This service is FREE, confidential and does not affect you academically but it helps you learn productive and effective ways of coping. STEP 5 HAVE FUN! Even when the going gets tough, you can still find ways to enjoy yourself. After the crisis point of your challenge has passed find a way back to some form of fun and enjoyment for yourself. Sometimes you may need to change temporarily how you have fun due to your circumstances but there are a lot of ways to find enjoyment in life that don't cost too much and that are not too physically demanding if you cannot be very physically active. I really hope that you find this informative, helpful and encouraging. I wish you all the best in your studies in Nursing School and I hope your journey to become a RN is one you will never forget!
  7. Julie Reyes

    Critical Thinking

    I wish someone would have explained exactly what it meant to "think critically" when I first started nursing school - it sure would have saved me a lot of time trying to figure out how to answer my assignment questions and create better care plans! My hope is this article will help you delve deeper into your patient care by looking holistically at your patient - from the cause of injury/illness to the pathophysiology to the interventions and WHY you are using the interventions you chose. Let's start with you as a student nurse tech in an emergency room. Level 1 You are a new student nurse and you have just learned how to take a blood pressure. Your job is to take vitals on patients who come into the Emergency Room and record them. This is the first level of the pyramid. Level 2 You understand the numbers - diastolic and systolic - and what a normal range is. Level 3 You understand that you need to report the "abnormal" range numbers to someone because something is not right with the patient. Level 4 You are now a nurse working in the Emergency Room. You understand your patient, who just came in the ER because of an auto accident and has no external bleeding, has a lower than normal BP that could be due to some sort of internal bleeding that you cannot see. You call for help (Rapid Response/Code, depending on the situation) because this patient may turn into a code. You draw labs and a type & cross for blood matching, radiology in to do x-rays, and respiratory in for oxygen support. Level 5 You understand that your patient (in the ER) needs you to provide fluids through an IV so that he/she will not "bottom out" and die. You remember your ER has a protocol for this situation and you begin to follow that protocol: You take steps to help the patient, including starting an IV, elevating the feet, keeping the head flat. You set the monitor to record BP every 5 minutes (or 2, depending on your situation). You understand you will need to monitor the urine output for this patient so a foley is needed. Level 6 You begin to classify your patient's hemorrhage level from a class I - class IV Level 7 You understand that a low BP due to hypovolemia (low fluids in the body) can cause the heart rate and respiration rate to increase and perfusion failure/tissue hypoxia. You know you need to begin to administer IV fluids - but you know that you cannot use ISOTONIC fluids, instead, you will need a crystalloid. You anticipate the need for blood and (you can then discern if your patient needs whole blood versus packed red blood cells). You also know the amount of fluids you can give in a certain time frame so that you don't turn the patient's remaining blood into "kool-aid" with a fluid overload and thinning it out too much. Level 8 You understand if your patient continues down the present road, the next step will be organ dysfunction and possibly multi-system organ failure and death, so you need to perfuse those organs and prevent shock. Level 9 You understand your patient needs to go to the operating room to find the source of bleeding. You prepare to administer medications to prevent shock - specifically inotropes like dopamine - because you know it has a positive chronotropic and inotropic effect and if a higher dose is used will have a vasoconstrictive effect that can help your patient's perfusion, can help with cardiac output, and can help your patient live! As your knowledge base increases, you will be able to anticipate what is needed for your patient and why. You will be able to intervene before the next problem arises and help fight off the Grim Reaper in some cases. Critical thinking is thinking deeper than the surface level - it means understanding what is happening and why, what will happen to the patient if interventions are not done, and what is needed to make the issue normal - or as normal as possible - again.
  8. Hi everybody, I am struggling in my advanced med-surge clnical rotation. Although I am a really compassionate and meticulous person, I don't do well under pressure and with lots of things to balance at once on my plate. Under those circumstances, I freeze under pressure and become clueless. It's absolutely embarrassing to have my classmates see me be so clueless! At clinical, I have learned to manage to workload of one, maybe two patients, and the required tasks within the shift, such as taking vitals, doing an assessment, giving meds, and performing treatments. However, I do struggle a lot with being able to do this in a timely manner. I have to REALLY try to not hyperfocus, and I have to REALLY try to get things done in a timely fashion-and even when I am successful, I embarrassingly still take much longer than my classmates to do the bare minimum, while they've done that and more. Now if unexpected tasks or events occur, then I really run around like a headless chicken, jumping from one patient to the other, one task to the other, jumping all over the place. I really struggle with organizing things in my mind. And working harder does not work. It's all a complete mess. I'm a complete mess. I don't know if I am just really not good in this setting, if my ADD really has the better of me, or if I am just really not set for nursing because I'm incompetent. What do you think? Does anyone share a similar problem? What have you done about it? Does anyone have any advice that could help me? I've only got 6 more weeks of this semester to pick up my act or else I'll fail and be kicked out of nursing school for good. Somebody, halp!
  9. How to Study for Success in Nursing School- Part I provided tips on how to lay a strong foundation for effective study. From attending class, rethinking assignments to scheduling your study, it is important to “see the big picture” of how good study habits can help you succeed in nursing school. Let’s start Part II by reviewing popular study strategies that may not be as effective as we believe. Three Highly Used Study Strategies That May Not WorkIn 2013, Kent State researchers reviewed scientific evidence for common learning techniques used by students. The findings were published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest and the usefulness of three techniques popular techniques were debunked. RereadingA survey conducted at an elite university found 84% of students studied by rereading their textbooks or notes. While rereading can be beneficial when needing to recall information by memory, the strategy does not necessarily help students understand the content. HighlightingIt is not uncommon for nursing students to have scads of highlighters, in varying colors, to use when reading material. However, research has shown highlighting as you read does not help with understanding and may lead to lower test scores. If you like highlighting as you read, be sure to restudy the material using a more effective strategy. SummarizingResearch found that summarizing the most important content in a text could be helpful, but there is a catch. To summarize effectively, studies have shown extensive training to build summarization skills is necessary. Therefore, depending on summarizing as a primary study strategy may not yield the desired results. The Most Effective StrategiesKent researchers identified practice testing and distributed practice as having the highest overall utility rating. Put it to the TestPractice testing provides you with the opportunity to apply what you learn. Multiple-choice practice tests may be the most effective format, promoting stronger retention of information. A simple internet search for practice questions on the topic you are studying will provide you with enough questions for a quality practice test. Distributed PracticeLast minute cramming before an exam does not often lead to comprehension and retention. Research shows distributing, or spreading out, study is a highly effective learning strategy. This also speaks to the importance of scheduling out your study sessions. Intensity is GoodThere is a way studying can take less time but still be effective. It is all about intensity. Shorter, focused and intense studying allows you to learn more effectively without hours upon hours of studying. Without distractions, sessions can be beneficial and last just 30 or 45 minutes. Make the Most of “Easy Weeks”Having a light week in your work, personal or school life can be a rare occurrence. My first response to a “down week” was usually to kick up my feet and take a much-needed break from anything related to nursing school. However, downtime can be used to your advantage by offering the opportunity to get ahead on assignments, projects or studying. Don’t Wait for InspirationDo you ever find yourself waiting on some outside strike of inspiration to provide the motivation needed to tackle assignments and prep for exams? Waiting to be motivated is most likely just cleverly packaged procrastination. Think of studying like exercising. It is not something we always want to do, but the reward is worth it. When morale is low and you’re questioning “Can I really do this?”, remind yourself you did not make it this far in your academics by accident. Be willing to adjust and try new study approaches to meet the challenges of nursing school. What study advice do you have for a new or struggling nursing student?
  10. Students accepted into nursing programs are successful learners and meet impressive admission criteria. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to discover what has worked in other learning college courses seem ineffective in the strange new world of nursing school. Students start second guessing the learning and study strategies that brought them to this point. If this is your story, there is good news! Understanding your preferred learning style may ease your anxiety and pave the way for new study strategies. It is highly unlikely that faculty can teach to every student's preferred learning style. It is important that you, as the learner, adapt to your instructor's method of teaching. Being aware of your own learning style will ease the frustration of nursing school. Let's take a look at each learning type and strategies for success. Important note: Most students do not fit into just one category. Think outside of the box and discover a variety of strategies....it is all about what works for you. The Visual Learner Visual learners need to "see it first" in order to grasp new concepts. Students often want to see a new skill performed before they move forward. Other helpful tools may include graphs, charts, handouts, videos, written directions and step-by-step instructions. In Class Strategies Pay attention to nonverbal cues that signify important information during class (I.e. instructor body language, gestures, changes in voice volume). It is easier to pick up on your instructor's non-verbal cues if you sit in the front of class. Watch closely for information that is starred or unlined in the instructor's powerpoints, handouts and other teaching tools. Take detailed notes and make lists, charts or sketch images to use when studying. Use colorful highlighters to notate important information. Request in-class demonstration when appropriate. Participate in lab and take advantage of practicing skills during lab "down-time". Study Strategies Rewrite your notes and try using symbols or sketches to highlight important information Create your own visual study aids. Try using Prezi (Prezi.com) or powerpoint to present your notes. Be sure to use images, pictures and other visual aids. Use flashcards made with brief bits of important information for review. Create your own practice exam with potential question from the module materials. Schedule time outside of class to use checklists to practice skills in the lab. The Auditory Learner Auditory learners prefer to learn through listening and often use phrases such as, "tell me how", "talk me through it". Information is best retained when they can hear it first. They also benefit from videos, audiobooks and recordings. When reading, auditory learners can often be heard reading aloud to themselves. In Class Strategies Don't be afraid to ask questions in class. Ask your instructor if you can tape lectures for later review. Participate in class or lab discussion. Sit in the front of the room to hear lecture clearly. Study Strategies Find a place you can read text, read assignment instructions and study out loud. Rephrase your notes and information in your own words. Join a study group and discuss or talk through concepts out loud. Find a buddy to reteach concepts to each other. The Tactile or Kinesthetic Learner Tactile learners use touch (hands on) experiences to learn. These will be the students who enjoy learning in the lab and nursing clinicals. The hands on activity helps tactile learners to concentrate and retain information. These learners like to "jump right into" a learning activity without waiting for instructions and often volunteer to demonstrate or perform a new skill. In Class Strategies Take notes, but don't resist the urge to draw or doodle. Doodle activity actually improves concentration and memory in the tactile learner. When the class is asked, volunteer to demonstrate a skill or role play. Pay attention to nonverbal cues that signify important information during class (I.e. instructor body language, gestures, changes in voice volume). Study Strategies When studying, use your hands to gesture and emphasize key information Rewrite or type class notes in your own words Move around when studying and take frequent breaks. Participate in lab and take advantage of practicing skills during lab "down-time". Make flashcards and use them to play a game with a study buddy. The Mixed Learner Mixed learners are flexible and can benefit from strategies associated with other types. However, the mixed learner usually has a dominant learning style. When learning difficult concepts, mixed learners should use study strategies specific to their dominate type. Nursing school is tough and it is easy to become overwhelmed. Knowing and understanding your learning style will assist you in using the most effective class and study strategies. You can reduce your frustration by focusing on the behaviors and activities that will help you most. For more information download the NCLEX Study Guide ebook... allnurses® Ebooks Library Resources: Learning Styles: Columbia College Quick learning style questionnaire: VARK | a guide to learning preferences Florida State University Learning Style Tips
  11. I don't care about just passing my exams to get through nursing school nor just memorizing everything . I want to be able to understand the information and critically utilize it in clinical setting . I want to be a good nurse and give the best holistically care I can. I want to hear everyone preference and opinions on how they studied . What good habits should I work on now before starting the program in the fall? How should I approach the the textbook and questions?
  12. Today I passed my AANP FNP exam, two days after graduation. I used this website constantly to read tips and stories about people that both failed and passed, and can't be more thankful a forum like this exists. This is going to be long, but I would like to contribute my 2 cents for others like me that can't get enough info. I loved reading peoples in depth study tips. Here are some useful bits of info I think are important to success: Attend a live review in person or online a month or 2 before you plan to test, or at the very least, buy CD's I don't think the company matters much. I went to a Fitzgerald live review at the beginning of November, and thought it was great for condensing and focusing all the information I learned over the last few years. Although I didn't care much for Fitzgerald herself (thought she was dry and arrogant), the content was great. I also went dutch with a classmate and bought Barkley CD's, which I LOVED. Whenever I heard his voice on the CD's I imagined Mr. Garrison from South Park and thought he was hilarious. Several classmates went to Hollier and Barkley live reviews and also found them to be completely worth it. The point is, they all advertise over 99% pass rates, so they're all good. If you want to eliminate any doubt, do it. Get the APEA Q bank a month or 2 before you plan to test You get over 1000 questions available to you and the rationales are the most in depth of any practice question resource available. I found them to be much more difficult than the actual exam, and I thought there were several similar questions on the exam, although not nearly as complex. These questions help you retain why something is relevant or why it isn't. It also is very light on the non-clinical stuff, which the AANP has none of. Don't be discouraged when you start doing these questions in 10-20 question quizzes and absolutely bomb them. They're hard, and you'll get better. Leik Fast Facts Some of her Mnemonics (like for heart murmurs), saved me on the exam. I mostly just read the Fast Facts and Exam Tips in each chapter, and didn't focus much on the content since I already had the Fitzgerald and Barkley review manuals. Barkley tells you straight up that his review manual is all you need to study for the exam in terms of content, and he's right. The Fitzgerald manual is great, but has way more than you need and lots of sections that send you online to review additional content. ExamEdge Practice tests for AANP Reviews on this site are mixed for them, but I found them to be pretty useful even if they're not perfect. Take the tests on explanation mode to get rationales. This also helps you just bypass the theory and medicare/caid questions that trickle into the practice tests, and are not on the AANP. When I first started doing these exams I was scoring in the low 60's, and by the end was getting low 70's to low 80's. They are the most affordable practice exams for the money, and are a great way to track your progress over time despite some dumb questions that aren't on the AANP (like rarely asking you drug dosages, insurance, billing, and theory). I bought a couple practice exams from APEA and Barkley, but don't really think they were worth it for the money. Take the AANP Practice Exam I know it's expensive at $50, but the questions on this are similar wording and structure to the real thing, and I had at least 4 questions from it that were word for word identical on the real thing. I actually took it twice, once at the beginning, and once at the end of my studies. I first scored a 64 back in August at the start of my last semester, and last week got an 87. Stay positive When you read this website and see lots of people saying they failed, it can freak you out, which can be a good thing if it motivates you to study, but too much stress is a bad thing. They are also a small minority of test takers. Remember, in 2013, 88% of people passed the AANP exam (some years over 90% pass). This isn't an exam that's out to screw with you. It's an honest exam. Yes there are questions that you will not know and be pretty clueless, but that's normal. As I went through the exam I marked on my scratch paper questions I was sure I got right, questions I had at least 50/50 chance, and questions I had no clue. When I submitted, I had a little over 100 questions I thought I knew, 35 questions I thought were 50/50, and about 15 I was clueless. You only need about 87 questions right to pass. When you are able to think of an answer before you have finished reading the question on a lot of the content, you're ready. Good luck to everyone that will be taking the test soon. If you have any questions about study materials or want more tips, please don't hesitate to ask here, or just PM. I am absolutely happy to answer and give back.
  13. As a nursing student, you're probably wondering how you can be more efficient? Do you really have everything you need? What kind of scrubs should you buy? Should you get the yellow or blue stethoscope? Here's one item that is a MUST BUY... LOL. Share your list of MUST HAVE items below... Want more nursing cartoons? Nursing Toons/Memes
  14. Hello everyone! First off, I know that this isn't the happiest of topics to stumble upon, and this post is by no means written to scare future nursing students. This is just for insight and to share my experience with you all as many of you have been generous to do in the past for me. Let me begin with the moment I was accepted into my program: I was thrilled. I was a bit in awe, but who isn't when they finally reach the weed picking moments when you are among the chosen few. Am I right? I didn't want to waste any time. It was straight to the instructors' offices to ask them what they think I could do to maximize my understanding before being overwhelmed with material that was unlike anything else I had ever done. So, you would think that I would have been advised to read ahead what I could during some of my spare time, right? Wrong. "Nope, we don't want you using the time you could be spending with your families studying or reading ahead, because once school starts, there will be no time for family." Okay, so let me start off by saying that this was some of the worst advice any instructor could have given. I appreciate the intentions, but let's face it, we hate stress and struggling to make it after working this hard. Not to mention that this same instructor said we would be "fine" once school began. Right? Wrong, again. We waited until school began, and guess how many chapters they expected us to read within a weeks time? 21. Yep, and let me tell you something, we are already spending 24 hours a week in the classroom lectures and labs, so we only had the time after we got out of class to read. Not so easy for people with families, jobs, and other responsibilities. My advice to anyone in this situation where they told these same things; go with your gut instincts and read ahead. Ask students in the upper levels of your program if you can get a copy of their reading calendars so you know the pace they expect you to do everything. Spending an hour or so before school starts on reading the materials will lighten your stress, your load of learning, and give you more time with your families even during classes. Who doesn't want that? Now, for ALL students facing the possible "W" word....Withrawing: I go to a school that looks at what is called a didactic score, also known as your test average for the course. Each course has it's own didactic score and our school considers a failing grade a didactic average below a 75. This is probably familiar to those already in nursing school, but this was all new information and pressures added that I wasn't aware of before starting class. This might be something that you all can find out before hand. I did really well in the beginning, even though it was the most demanding with our reading amount. I passed my first fundamentals exam with an 87, and my first pharm test with a 90. I thought I was going to do very well, and boy did it take a turn soon thereafter. I was so scared about failing our first lab check-offs. I had heard about how strict some instructors had been by others sharing their experiences online. So I figured that I could focus more on getting past my first check-off, which was an immense amount of steps and knowledge, and then turn right back to pharm and study for the next exam. I was soooo wrong in doing this and didn't realize it until I got my first failing grade since high school. My pharm tests are comprehensive so from that point on I struggled moving forward and barely passed my subsequent tests for pharm. I was constantly stressed out about pharm that it began to make me push fundamentals to the side to focus more in my other class. Make a mistake once, okay, make the same mistake twice....shame on me. So it came to be that I was skipping several chapters in fundamentals to try making sense of my comprehensive pharm exam materials. I was lucky I managed to still make in the 80's in fundamentals. I started to become very disappointed in myself that I let my grades fall and got so behind I couldn't maximize my learning, and in fact I was looking at failing the class. The deadline for withrawal was coming up, and I had a choice to make. There are only 3 possible scenarios: Try to make it through with a minimum of a 75 in pharmacology and fundamentals and succeed. However, it will mean that I will struggle to learn in the later courses and will also lower my GPA, A LOT. This is especially bad for people who are considering to get higher degree levels later on. Try to make it but fail, which would mean that I could never come back to my same school and reapply, my GPA will be tarnished, greatly lowering my chances at getting in anywhere else, and it was all a waste of time and money Withdraw before the deadline, come back in 9 months having already read and knowing what is expected along with all those months to spend time with family while I learn the material before classes start again.....hmmmm So as you can see, it took me quite a bit of deep thinking about the pros and cons to make my decision to drop my classes and to come back next fall new and refreshed....and AHEAD. I hope this gives some insight to you guys out there. Read ahead, find out when to read first so you will have a good rhythm down when classes start. Don't worry about lab skills so much as the theory, because that is the reason most students struggle and/or don't succeed. Use the 'Learning Objectives', study guides and try to use supplements made for your required texts, because the answers will be the same. If not the same texts, at least use supplements made by the same publishers because their information will be more "on the same page", if you will. I am actually very happy I made this choice, and I can't wait to really maximize my learning in these next 9 months. Best of luck to all of you! NURSE ON! NNM
  15. Tips for Making the Most of Your Clinical Rotation Ask questions - lots of questions! You may feel a bit unsure or out of your element in the clinical setting. No question is a bad question. There are so many aspects of the clinical environment that you cannot learn in a book. So, don't restrict your questions to just your clinical instructor. If staff are not busy, ask them as well. Think of your clinical rotation as a job interview I always remind my students that the facility they work at can be their future employer. This helps remind students to continue to conduct themselves in a professional manner, even when I am not right beside them. You would be surprised how quickly other nurses pick up on work ethic and eagerness to learn. They can easily see students who are willing to jump in and help at anytime versus those that are counting down the minutes until they are done. Clinical is not just about getting your skills in. It is about making connections I am forever surprised when students feel they did not "do" much in clinical during the day. I spend a lot of time helping students draw connections between pre-existing conditions, medications, and a patient's current hospitalization. That is much of what nurses do every day. Yes, getting experience with skills is important. However, with new stipulations that hospitals are under, you may not have as many opportunities to do those skills in the clinical setting. Just remember, making those connections with real patients and seeing those disease processes first hand is what clinical is all about. Don't forget to practice your most important skill: Assessment One skill you can never get enough practice on is assessment. Unfortunately, I find it is often the skill least frequently performed by my students. Also, ask your fellow students. Maybe they have a patient with different lung sounds or a murmur. Many times patients are willing to let students perform assessments. Sometimes just asking, "Would you mind if I listened to your lung sounds?" Is all it takes. The more experience you can gain working with patients, the better. Remember to eat breakfast It sounds like a silly tip but it is surprising how many students I have had faint during a clinical experience due to low blood sugar. One of the most important parts of succeeding in clinical is what you do before you get there - your prep work, get a good nights sleep and eat breakfast before you arrive. I try and make time for lunch for my students but many times things get busy during clinical and making time for food is just not a priority. Bringing a small snack bar is also a good idea. Breathe! Take a deep breath and put one foot in front of the other. Your hard work has prepared you for this moment. So, don't be too nervous. If you have worked on a clinical floor before and are more comfortable, be willing to take your fellow classmates under your wing. The age where nurses eat their young and we watch others drown in uncertainty has long been over. Mentoring one another will earn you points with your clinical instructor as well. Clinical is a wonderful opportunity for nursing students to see and experience what nursing is actually like. Remembering these tips will help you do well in the clinical setting and make the most out of every opportunity. Working with staff and your fellow students cooperatively and being open for learning experiences is a great way to start. If you can walk away having learned at least one thing each day, your clinical experience has been well worth it.
  16. To help prevent distraction from the many urban legends and individual horror stories that are only adding to increased test-anxiety, I have created a list of the 3 things everyone should know about the NCLEX. #1 - The NCLEX is all about challenging CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS The NCLEX is designed to challenge one's ability to critically think through information provided to make safe and sound judgments about patient care. If you are a student that focuses primarily on memorizing every drug, every nursing intervention, and every disease process, then you may miss the mark. However, if you are a student that can identify potential and actual risks for patient harm, can analyze trends in lab values and vital signs, and can plan to intervene when you recognize something as abnormal, then you are likely to pass on the first attempt. Utilizing a systematic approach to reading the question, analyzing the answer choices, and eliminating incorrect answers requires advanced critical thinking skills. The NCLEX does not care what your GPA in nursing school was, nor does it discriminate against those who cannot remember everything there is to know about pharmacokinetics. The NCLEX only cares about one's ability to carefully decipher what the questions are asking, so that the correct answer choice can be selected. Since the exam is written at the application and analysis level, it challenges test-takers to master the level of critical thinking which is necessary for delivering safe and effective patient care. #2 - The questions within the NCLEX are leveled and will continue to get harder as you answer them correctly The NCLEX is a computerized adaptive test (CAT), which means that the computer chooses the difficulty level of each question based on your previous answer choices. You must remain above the passing threshold in order to successfully pass the NCLEX. Therefore if you feel that the questions in the exam are getting easier as you are going along, you should STOP, take a deep breath and focus because you are probably not doing well. The exam questions should feel challenging from beginning to end. The first question of the exam is leveled right at the passing line, and if you answer it correctly, then the next question will be more challenging. You should also pay attention to the types of questions you are getting in a row. For example, if you get four or five priority questions in a row, you should slow down and consider your answer choices more carefully. The CAT exam offers multiple chances to improve your score before it decides whether you have or have not met the passing threshold. Remember that the harder the questions get, the better you are doing - so be sure to take your time and apply learned NCLEX test-taking strategy for every single question. #3 - You do not have to remember everything from nursing school in order to pass the NCLEX If I told you that I remembered every medication, every disease process, and every nursing diagnosis when I sat for my NCLEX-RN licensure exam, I would be telling a very big lie. The beautiful truth is that you do not need to solely rely on memorization and recall to correctly answer NCLEX questions. However, you must be comfortable in your knowledge of the basic components of nursing, especially when it's concerning the focus areas of: prioritization, delegation, therapeutic communication, medication administration, nursing scope of practice, safety, and the nursing process. By fully understanding these complex nursing roles and responsibilities, you will find that answering the NCLEX questions becomes a bit easier. Be sure to explore these nursing-centric roles, as the licensure exam tests heavily in these areas of knowledge. Remember that the NCLEX is only concerned with what YOU the NURSE will do. They do not care about doctors, respiratory therapy, or the pharmacist - They want to know that YOU THE NURSE are able to act and respond in a safe and therapeutic manner. I hope that you find these three things about the NCLEX helpful and reassuring so that YOU can master test-taking strategies for NCLEX SUCCESS! *If you want to share advice about mastering strategies for NCLEX SUCCESS, please contribute to this discussion by leaving your thoughts in the comments section below! LEARN how to pass the NCLEX... Download NCLEX Study Guide!
  17. There are many of us here who love helping you. We ask that you show us your work. Show us that you have your critical thinking caps on and are trying to grasp this new way of thinking. Tell us what you think and we will go out of our way to help you. Saying that we will not do your homework is not being mean. Our job is to help you become the best nurse that you can be. We want you to have the AhHa moment where it suddenly clicks and makes sense. Care plans really aren't that hard with the right resources and assessment about what your patient needs. Many nursing students over this this process and become over whelmed. Think about your care plan as a recipe card for how to care for the patient step by step. So, when you ask about a care plan...tell us about your patient. What did you see? What did they say? What does your brain tell you that they need. Let the patient/patient assessment drive your diagnosis. Do not try to fit the patient to the diagnosis you found first. You need to Know the pathophysiology of your disease process Assess your patient Collect data Find a diagnosis Let the patient data drive that diagnosis So......back to square one.....What is your assessment? What are the vital signs? What is your patient saying? Is the the patient having pain? Are they having difficulty with ADLS? What teaching do they need? What does the patient need? What is the most important to them now? What is important for them to know in the future. TELL ME ABOUT YOUR PATIENT...:) The medical diagnosis is the disease itself. It is what the patient has not necessarily what the patient needs. the nursing diagnosis is what are you going to do about it, what are you going to look for, and what do you need to do/look for first. From what you posted I do not have the information necessary to make a nursing diagnosis. Care plans when you are in school are teaching you what you need to do to actually look for, what you need to do to intervene and improve for the patient to be well and return to their previous level of life or to make them the best you you can be. It is trying to teach you how to think like a nurse. Think of the care plan as a recipe to caring for your patient. your plan of how you are going to care for them. how you are going to care for them. what you want to happen as a result of your caring for them. What would you like to see for them in the future, even if that goal is that you don't want them to become worse, maintain the same, or even to have a peaceful pain free death. Every single nursing diagnosis has its own set of symptoms, or defining characteristics. they are listed in the NANDA taxonomy and in many of the current nursing care plan books that are currently on the market that include nursing diagnosis information. You need to have access to these books when you are working on care plans. You need to use the nursing diagnoses that NANDA has defined and given related factors and defining characteristics for. These books have what you need to get this information to help you in writing care plans so you diagnose your patients correctly. Don't focus your efforts on the nursing diagnoses when you should be focusing on the assessment and the patients abnormal data that you collected. These will become their symptoms, or what NANDA calls defining characteristics. From a very wise AN contributor Daytonite.......make sure you follow these steps first and in order and let the patient drive your diagnosis not try to fit the patient to the diagnosis you found first. Here are the steps of the nursing process and what you should be doing in each step when you are doing a written care plan: ADPIE Care plan reality The foundation of any care plan is the signs, symptoms or responses that patient is having to what is happening to them. What is happening to them could be the medical disease, a physical condition, a failure to perform ADLS (activities of daily living), or a failure to be able to interact appropriately or successfully within their environment. Therefore, one of your primary goals as a problem solver is to collect as much data as you can get your hands on. The more the better. You have to be the detective and always be on the alert and lookout for clues, at all times, and that is Step #1 of the nursing process. Assessment is an important skill. It will take you a long time to become proficient in assessing patients. Assessment not only includes doing the traditional head-to-toe exam, but also listening to what patients have to say and questioning them. History can reveal import clues. It takes time and experience to know what questions to ask to elicit good answers (interview skills). Part of this assessment process is knowing the pathophysiology of the medical disease or condition that the patient has. But, there will be times that this won't be known. Just keep in mind that you have to be like a nurse detective always snooping around and looking for those clues. A nursing diagnosis standing by itself means nothing The meat of this care plan of yours will lie in the abnormal data (symptoms) that you collected during your assessment of this patient......in order for you to pick any nursing diagnoses for a patient you need to know what the patient's symptoms are. Although your patient isn't real you do have information available. What I would suggest you do is to work the nursing process from step #1. Take a look at the information you collected on the patient during your physical assessment and review of their medical record. Start making a list of abnormal data which will now become a list of their symptoms. Don't forget to include an assessment of their ability to perform ADLS (because that's what we nurses shine at). The ADLS are bathing, dressing, transferring from bed or chair, walking, eating, toilet use, and grooming. and, one more thing you should do is to look up information about symptoms that stand out to you. What is the physiology and what are the signs and symptoms (manifestations) you are likely to see in the patient. did you miss any of the signs and symptoms in the patient? if so, now is the time to add them to your list. This is all part of preparing to move onto step #2 of the process which is determining your patient's problem and choosing nursing diagnoses. but, you have to have those signs, symptoms and patient responses to back it all up. Care plan reality What you are calling a nursing diagnosis is actually a shorthand label for the patient problem.. The patient problem is more accurately described in the definition of the nursing diagnosis. Give us a little and we will give you whatever you need.
  18. My first year in nursing school began with high hopes. I'm passionate about helping those in need. My motto is "we are all here to serve each other." I thought that I should become a nurse because so many nurses that I've met in hospitals are generally caring people who give all of their attention to me and the people I accompany to the hospital. Discouraged By The Wall Imagine my surprise when the first course in nursing school (after the 18 months of pre-requisites like Philosophy, Writing, Math, A and P, Biology and the HESI entrance test were behind me) was to hear, "I am the CEO of this classroom!" Professor Christine (I'll withhold her last name) has been teaching for 11 years. She was teaching my first course, Fundamentals of Nursing (introduction to nursing), for only the second year. Most of her teaching career had been in higher level courses. So when she was assigned the entry-level students, she treated us like higher-level students. "I'm here to facilitate you. Not teach you. You need to read and figure things out for yourself. That's called critical thinking." She assumed that giving a lecture about how to build a "Plan of Care" was enough. "When I don't finish a chapter, because I run out of time, I expect you to cover the rest of the chapter by reading. Then you will be ready for the exam." Instead of giving us practice questions to assist in preparing for the exam, she highlights the parts of each chapter (the "learning objectives") and then created detailed questions "click on all that apply" ... and if we get 3 out of 4 correct, the entire question is marked incorrect. It's like she has built a tall wall and she's waiting on the other side of the wall to see who gets over. When one of my classmates wondered aloud, "I wonder what sign of the zodiac she is...", another classmate muttered, "The dragon." Readers, this is when it's a good idea to take a deep breath and look at the options. There is little use in asking to switch to a different professor... Professor Christine is the only professor for the entry level course. (2) There is little choice but to drop the class and try again next semester... (3) transfer. Yes, there is power in strategic quitting. The entry level course is typically paired with another course and it's OKAY to focus on one course, rather than struggling to keep up with both courses. This is what it takes to survive a course with a dragon. Oh, There Are Some Questions That Are Stupid We often hear that "there is no such thing as a stupid question." Well, Professor Christine hasn't heard that aphorism. "Billy, you are not doing me a favor by showing up today. I don't need any of your questions." Can you imagine what the mood in the class was while she berated Billy? I decided to take an F for the course and re-take the course later. I kept attending to learn the head to toe assessment. Professor Christine was my evaluator and said, "Oh, since this is not going to count for points, you don't have to do this assessment." ... that distracted me so much, I missed several items that I knew by heart. In short, she is a person who delights in cutting down students. "I like playing with you all. You know that it makes you stronger." ugh. Expect More I'm writing this article for the audience of first-year students. Please don't assume, as I did, that all nursing programs are alike. "We just have to accept what they are doing to us." Don't accept a dragon professor. Go to the program director and share your experience. If you don't get relief, find another school. Some schools tolerate such professors and that is just the system. These are not bad people. W. Edwards Deming, the quality control expert, once said that 94 percent of errors made by a company are caused by procedures and rules. Only 6 percent comes from bad actors. Most mistakes are caused by the expectations of the organization. I'm shifting to the Chamberlain program in September 2018 in Miramar, Florida. I'm hoping to connect with current Chamberlain allnurses.com readers. Please leave me your comments. a) do all nursing programs have a dragon professor? (I hope not). b) at Chamberlain, is it possible to retake a course if things get tough and I need a re-do? c) If I'm taking a course as an audit (not for credit, just for practice), would any professor say what Professor Christine did? "Oh, since this is not going to count for points, you don't have to do this assessment." REFERENCES Appreciation for a System - The W. Edwards Deming Institute Blog
  19. It's that time again, the prerequisite and nursing school boards will be filling with new fall students. The most common questions I see are usually people feeling worried about some of the "harder" classes associated with the prerequisite and nursing curriculums. I find that it was never a subject that had me stumped, but more so, how I approached a subject. I went years trying to figure out what worked for me. I found some things worked in certain courses and failed miserably in other. (I.e. What do you mean I can't use flashcards for everything?!) Reading other peoples study tips have always helped me figure out my own study flow, so I want to give you my tried and true take on how to do well in anything. Of course, your attitude is important, I've wrote about this before. So make sure you're positive, regardless of your studying approach. Okay, okay, on to the good stuff. STEP 1 Evaluate your study needs for the upcoming semester. Evaluate how you've done in similar courses in previous years. List your classes from most challenging to easiest based on how you've done in those subjects in the past. For me math is always at the top of that list. I know I need to dedicate more time to working math problems that I do writing a paper. STEP 2 The syllabus, it's a blueprint for success! When you get your syllabus make note of what is graded and the weight. Is attendance and participation 50% of your grade? Or is your grade made of tests only? You'll want to focus your attention to the highest weight, I.e. always speak up in class or study and ace the tests. Always know if supplemental instruction is offered for each course, what your instructors office hours are and where that office is. Office hours are there for a reason use them often. Even if it's to ask something you could find out from a class mate. Ask the instructor, besides, remember letters of recommendation are easier from professors to write if they know who you are! STEP 3 Have you been putting in the time? Evaluate how many hours a week you've studied in the past, did you ever get to a exam and groan that you should've studied more? Write down how much you studied and honestly evaluate if it was enough. A good rule of thumb for pre-reqs in 2 hours study time to 1 hour class time. 3 hours worth of lecture, study for 6 hours throughout the week. "Whoa, that's too much" read on, I've got tricks up my sleeve. STEP 4 Time suckers. Figure out your "Time Suckers", do you find yourself on facebook for hours or reading articles on Quora, measure this as if it were a study time so you can limit it in a later part STEP 5 Make a schedule based on your academic and personal needs. This is how I do it.. Take a schedule ( a sheet with 7 columns of days of the week and rows for every hour that your typically awake say 9am to 10pm) first write your classes and lab times down, these are #1. If you work record your schedule, if you commute record your travel time, record meal times if you have regular ones. Record any regularly scheduled personal commitments, dinner with mom on Sunday, date nights, taking the kids places. Lastly, add in your time suckers. If you know you'll get sucked into a 4 hour Netflix session on a Saturday... write it down. We will leave NOTHING unaccounted for friends! Record any special things you want to do throughout the week, even if it's just coffee with a pal. Look over your schedule sheet, this is the time you now have available to study and take care of class assignments. On this handy little schedule you've just made yourself you've got paper gold. A schedule of your life, now to add in the studying. Preview Before each class schedule a preview of 5-30 minutes. (If you have 3 classes in a row (class a, class b, class c) study In order c,b,a) During the preview your goal is to check the syllabus to see what's going on in that class, review notes and textbook in accordance from the last class, and review your written assignments and problems. Make sure to proofread any assignments your turning in too as a last accuracy check (I can't tell you how many last minute mistakes I find in stuff!) Lecture Having done your "preview" you're now ready for your lecture. Listen, make notes, ask questions, recite and discuss. Always get involved in your lecture if you can. Even if no one else is talking. The biggest growth I've had as a student is not caring what other people thought of me. I don't care if I'm the "obnoxious girl that asks all the questions". Fact is, at the end of a lecture I'm walking away with the pieces of the puzzle that I was missing. The other great thing about the preview is if there is an impromptu quiz, you'll be ready. Review I know, I know, reviewing too? But I just previewed! But this is a "sneaking in study" trick. After every class I review what I went over in lecture. It may seem silly to review the same day, but but going over the material again, despite how well you THINK you know it, I promise you more things will stick into your long term memory. I'm a visual learner so I summarize/ make a story out of the notes I just took in class. If you're auditory, I'd suggest listening to your lecture via a recorder, or going to a lab if you're tactile. Study Lastly, study! I study the night before each class. So if I have 2 lectures on a Monday I study for about an hour and a half just those two subjects. I use a study-reading method technique called SQ3R (SQ3R Reading Method) that is awesome for reading through textbooks. I write down questions and personal reactions to the text for discussion in the next lecture. The neat thing about doing it this way is, say you have a bio lecture 3x a week and a bio lab. By previewing, reviewing and studying you're learning biology 16 times a week (4 previews, 4 lectures, 4 reviews, 4 study times) Instead of the traditional 8 times (4 lectures, 4 study periods). Cramming before a major test is replaced by quick previews and reviews. I also like to add in a weekly review of everything I learned the previous week on Friday nights, school is my job and I am taking it seriously enough to miss out on Friday happy hour with the buddies. Extra Credit: Persist in managing your study time! If you add/drop a class, change work hours, or develop a new hobby revise your schedule. Don't get discouraged if you don't make every preview/review, it's inevitable that other commitments may get in the way, but monitor if they're always getting In the way, they may be one of those time suckers I talked about. Whenever your grades go down, or you fall behind in your class assignments also re evaluate what you're spending your time on. I hope you all have an incredibly successful semester and continue to give your all to this crazy path we're taking together!