What (if anything) did YOU do...


...BEFORE you started your nursing program? Anything you were glad you did or wished you hadn't?

I just bought a set of flash cards (Medical Terminology) today at Barnes and Noble.

Part of me is patting myself on the back for my initiative, :D the other half is saying "Boy, what a waste of forty bucks!" :trout:


1,237 Posts

Specializes in acute care.

starting BSN program in july, this is what I'm doing:

In my favorites tabs, I have two folders: "Pre-nursing" and "nursing" ....I go through the nursing and pre-nursing student forums and any helpful website that is mentioned gets put into one of these folders...for example, any anatomy sites goes into my pre-nursing folder...any site that have sample careplans, etc would go into my nursing folder....plus I write down any books that an NS or GN mentions so I can check it out when the time comes..thats my plan to pass nursing school

Soup Turtle

411 Posts

I actually read about half of my first semester book and did the nclex questions for those chapters. I really think it helped me in the class.

Believe it or not, I even think visiting this forum helped me.;)

Daytonite, BSN, RN

4 Articles; 14,603 Posts

Specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt. Has 40 years experience.

hi, mike!

i've seen a number of your posts on the forums in the past few days. i had forgotten that i actually completed a medical terminology class prior to my adn nursing classes (i thought i dropped had the class) until i happened to look at my transcripts not too long ago (hey! this was 34 years ago! i'm approaching old baghood!) if the tuition that you would shell out for a medical terminology class is more expensive than the flashcards you just purchased, then you made a good investment. the curriculum of all the medical terminology classes and the content of all the medical terminology textbooks i've seen are very basic, as i imagine is the terminology included in a commercial set of flashcards. i taught a medical terminology class at a vocational school several years ago and i took every word root, suffix and prefix from the textbook we had to use and put them into a computer file and came up with something like 500 line items. that would make up 500 flash cards with the word roots, suffixes or prefixes on one side and their meanings on the reverse side.

what i can tell you is that these words are a basic foundation and you do need to learn them. i wouldn't lay out hundreds of dollars in tuition to do it, however, unless it was a required class. i suggested that my students make flashcards to learn all the words. the ones who did got better grades. $40 isn't a bad investment, but in addition i can direct you to several medical terminology websites that you can bookmark and refer to as well. when you get to nursing classes you will still need a good medical dictionary by your side because your nursing textbooks will have lots of medical terms in them that a basic medical terminology class didn't expose you to. so, the money that you save on the tuition toward a medical terminology class should go toward a good medical dictionary--not a cheap pocketbook jobber.

http://www.dmu.edu/medterms/welcome.htm - this is a free online medical terminology course

http://www.training.seer.cancer.gov/module_cancer_terminology/unit01_sec01.html - a basic medical terminology course. click on the arrows on the top menu bar to move through the program. this is the home page of the course. http://www.training.seer.cancer.gov/module_cancer_terminology/00_cancer_terminology_home.html "cancer and medical terminology"

http://www.lcsc.edu/healthocc/enable02/medterm.htm - medical terminology in a nutshell with several short quizzes - organized into sections on word roots, suffixes, prefixes, how to read a medical term, and abbreviations

http://wps.prenhall.com/chet_rice_terminolog_2/0,4681,198650-,00.html - this is the companion website self study resource for terminology of health and medicine by jane rice. there is a dropdown box just under the top banner that will give you access to the various chapters of the course. clicking on the individual chapters takes you to a page of objectives. however, on the left side of each page are links to multiple choice, t/f, labeling, fill in the blank and essay questions for that chapter along with a link to a glossary of medical terms. the labeling includes basic anatomy structures to be labeled.


or http://www.free-ed.net/free-ed/healthcare/medterm-v02.asp - this is a free on line medical terminology course.

http://mywebpages.comcast.net/wnor/terminologyanatplanes.htm - the anatomical planes of the body, defines terms of relation or position, defines terms of movement, and has a listing of frequently used medical terms in anatomy with their definitions.

when i was in my adn program, my mother. who was an lvn here in california, gave me a 10-year old nursing textbook that was given to her to pass on to me by one of the icu nurses she worked with. i used it as a supplemental book. you see, my nursing program was kind of different. we had no formal lectures. we were given objectives and basically told to go find the material that would answer the objectives. that's the simple definition. in reality, we were given a great deal of support and access to resources and references to help us out and we could always go to an instructor for guidance. however, we were never just given a direct answer to a question, but a clue where to look for the answer. believe me, we knew how to use references and think critically when we were finished with our nursing program. it was the best college education i ever had and it prepared me well for my university level bsn classes later. so, my advice for you is to pick up any used, slightly dog-eared, but not too old nursing textbooks to use as supplemental references. they're cheaper. subjects that seem to give students difficulty (and you can confirm this by going back through older posts on this and the general nursing student discussion forum) are fluid and electrolytes (respiratory and metabolic acidosis and alkalosis), ob, pediatrics, and intensive care nursing which includes the wonderful subjects of shock, sepsis, hemodynamics, basic ekg interpretation and artificial ventilation and abgs. supplemental references in any of these subjects will be helpful for you.

now, it's been 20 years since the last time i was in nursing school. that's when i graduated from my bsn program, although i have been an rn for 32 years. in today's world, a supplemental reference can also be a good website on the internet. you can find plenty of them here on allnurses and specifically on the "sticky" threads of the various nursing student forums. so, before you start your nursing program, and while you have some free time on your hands i would explore the individual posts on these "sticky's", check out and bookmark some of the web links that are listed in them. i don't propose that i have all the links bookmarked, but i have pretty extensive files of a lot of popularly asked for links. so, if there is something that is burning a particular question in your mind, post a thread or pm me. i check questions on this and the nursing student discussion forum nearly every day.

i'm patting you on the back for your initiative as well. kudos for the smart use of your 40 bucks. barnes and nobel is my favorite internet shopping place. my house runneth over with books in the worst way. it's a miracle i can even find my keyboard and computer screen amidst the pile of nursing books on my desk alone. i wish you the best as you begin your journey through nursing school.


492 Posts


Wow! I don't know what to say...thank you seems so inadequate.

But THANK YOU! All those websites and "web courses" are greatly appreciated and will most definitely be accessed of the next few months.

Having mentors like you and others here on AllNurses.com is SUCH a benefit to those of us starting out. I can't tell you how much it means to be able to fire up my laptop and have instant access to 200,000 nurses! It's a heady feeling.

P.S. I returned that rather expensive set of flashcards to BN for a cheaper, less "flashy" set that gets the job done, nonetheless. $21 beats $40 in my book anyday!

Daytonite, BSN, RN

4 Articles; 14,603 Posts

Specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt. Has 40 years experience.

oooo! i wish i'd known you were going to return them. here are the instructions on how i make my own flashcards using a word program using table commands. i make up potential test questions and put them on flashcards. it's been a while since i reviewed these two documents i attached to my allnurses files. if you don't understand the instructions, pm me and i'll help you through it. i am aware that i have a tendency to be really wordy.

  • [attach]4887[/attach] a sample of what the printed cards look like before they are folded, glued and cut out
  • [attach]4888[/attach] the instructions on how to do the flashcards and work with them on the computer
  • if you've centered the table and commanded the table to distribute the two columns equally before printing and saving then the cards should come out fine. to make hard copies of these flashcards, print each page. fold each page in the middle using the center line as your guideline as to where to fold them so the printed side is facing outside. glue them together inside the fold. i use rubber cement. when dry, cut them apart using the lines as cutting lines to guide you. lately, i've made the lines of the table for my flashcards a medium shade of gray rather than the default black font size 1. it saves on ink. kindergarten skills still come in handy!

you can also make these flashcards and save them in word files and use the ability to change the color of the text to white which makes one side "invisible" so you can quiz yourself and save a few trees. those instructions are in the attachment above.

http://www.wadeb.com/cuecard/ - on line flash card maker and quizzer

i believe that there is another website out there and may be posted on allnurses somewhere but i can't find it at the moment. i've searched my files using "flash" and "flashcard" and this was the only website i've got filed. i'm having problems maintaining my internet connection so i can't verify that this website is still active or valid.


492 Posts

Thanks, Daytonite!

I put these with the small "arsenal" I am building. And NOT all is lost!

I can STILL use your flash card program for OTHER classes!


62 Posts

I am starting this fall too and want to prepare ( I am scared to death, but exited!)

A friend who just started PA school was told to learn an entire medical terminology book before starting the program and was going to be tested on it in first week, so I bought the same book they told her to learn cover to cover!! It is about 25 dollars at Barnes & Noble and comes with a CD. It is more like a work book than a textbook. Looking at the cover it would probably not have been the book I would have picked on my own ( don't know why...) but the info is presented very clearly which is the only thing that matters. Check it out: " Medical Terminology-A short Course, 4th Edition" by Davi-Ellen Chabner.


2,327 Posts

...BEFORE you started your nursing program? Anything you were glad you did or wished you hadn't?

I just bought a set of flash cards (Medical Terminology) today at Barnes and Noble.

Part of me is patting myself on the back for my initiative, :D the other half is saying "Boy, what a waste of forty bucks!" :trout:

I am starting an ADN program in August and signed up for crash courses in Spanish for Healthcare Professionals and Pharmacology. These courses are strongly recommended to take prior to our nursing program. I had the option of also taking Medical Terminology but I already have a Medical Sectretary certificate under my belt. Check with your school through Continuing Education if they have similar classes available to you.

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