What should I already know going into the Nursing Program?


Hi all. I am a Southern California resident and am currently waiting to begin a nursing program. I want to get a head start on the basics before starting in the fall. I have lots of down time at my job and want to prepare for the nursing program. What should I know? I have 6 months and counting... And suggestions would be most helpful and appreciated.

Specializes in Emergency, Trauma, Critical Care. Has 14 years experience.

I would definitely review anatomy and physiology,...and then start learning pharmacology. There are a lot of drugs out there! Much of your time will be spend learning diseases, pathophysiology and pharmacology to treat those disease as well as bedside care. : )

Good luck


357 Posts

Please be aware that nursing jobs are 'cyclical'. Currently, it is very difficult to find a job as a new grad. Make plans that are realistic for post-graduation. Likely that should include moving out of California to find a job.

While the whole of the economy is way down, it is unrealistic to expect nursing to be an exception. It is very sad to see all the postings from new grads who simply can not find work. It is time the nursing programs prepare students for the new reality's of the job market for new grads- nursing jobs for new grads are few and far between.


12 Posts

Thank You for your comments. It's funny you mention Pharmcology, for the last 3 years I have been working at a mail order pharmacy so I am learning new drugs and therapies everyday. I was working as a tech but switch to the administrative side. I think my biggest hurdle will be all the unit conversions and terminology.

I am coming into nursing realisticly. They say nursing is in demand right now but I know that jobs are hard to come by, especially for new grads with no experieince. I am thinking of relocating and working as a traveling nurse. But who knows where this career can take me. I will definetely start preparing myself for what ever comes...

Specializes in NICU. Has 14 years experience.

Expecting to relocate is a point in your favor, since it'll give you a leg up if you can go where the jobs are; in the major metro areas, it's currently pretty tough to find a job as a new grad, just because there are so many people competing.

Relocating, though, is different from being a travelling nurse - generally, you need at least a year's experience before any agency will hire you on. It's for your sake as well as the agency's: you have to spend at least a year learning the basic skills, in an environment that is constant (travelling assignments can be as short as three months), before you can take them on the road and be a safe practitioner.


215 Posts

idk but i have three friends whom just graduated two from CSUSB and one from valley college and they are already working.... im in the 909 Inland Empire.... one of them is working in Arrowhead and the other at LLH


25 Posts

I would study physiology and understand it inside and out. The theory content of nursing school will make so much more sense, as well as the ways in which the classifications of medication work in the body. I know that finding a job is difficult at this time, as it is for most of the United States. I would consider working as a student nurse, tech or cna at the hospital I was interested in during vacations. You know their system, they know you, theoretically you'll be cheaper to train. I got hired this way in July of 2008 for a new grad program starting in Feb 2009. Good luck!!!

jjjoy, LPN

2,801 Posts

I also suggest any kind of first-hand experience... volunteering, taking a CNA class, part-time work in a hospital. For myself, getting more real world experience to relate what I was learning in school was more useful than extra content review. But I was coming from a strong biology background and a weak experiential background. It sounds, though, like you're looking for things you can review while at work.

Perhaps you could find a basic nursing review book and flip through it, looking up new vocabulary and starting to get familiar with common disease processes (such as CHF, COPD, diabetes, etc). Nursing school textbooks tend to be horribly bulky and expensive, so perhaps a CEU workbook on nursing basics could work. Maybe you can find something on-line. Maybe you could start getting familiar with the nursing school testing style by spending some time with an NCLEX review book. Just don't let it scare you away!

Mostly, enjoy your free time before school starts! Get organized, see your friends, work on your hobbies, etc. Once school starts, you may not have the time do much extra.


33 Posts

Has 3 years experience.

Hi, there are so many good suggestions here. Adding my $.02, I would say that as you are progressing through your nursing classes, utilize the NCLEX review books to test yourself on the concepts you are learning. It's a good 'kill two birds with one stone' approach because not only are you testing yourself for those exams in your nursing class but it gives you a head-start on prepping for the NCLEX. I wish you the best! Again, lots of good advice given by previous posters--heed them all!

Specializes in Family medicine, Cardiology, Spinal Cord Injury. Has 14 years experience.

For my nursing program, the problem everyone had the first month of school was understanding the nursing model our school was using. Our school centers its assessment around the Roy Adaptation Model. All our nursing process records and assessments had to be done according to Roy.

Find out which model/theorist your school uses and start reading up. Also, check out some Nursing Care Plan books. It'll give you an understanding of nursing diagnosis, assessments, interventions with rationale. I use "Nursing Care Plan Nursing Diagnosis and Intervention 6th edition" by Gulanick/Myers. It really helped in writing my nursing process records and will definitely help me in the work place once I can land a job.

A good pathophys book that the instructors really liked at my school was Diseases and Disorders by Sommers. easy to read.


79 Posts

Take pathophysiology if you can. Let's see, what else? There's a great NCLEX review that is quite expensive but I have a friend who took it right before starting the program and found it extremely helpful. The one I'm thinking of allows you to take the class as many times as you need to in order to pass the NCLEX. So, you pay once and can take it between semester as you please. Aside from that, brush up on your math if it's not a strong point and try to hook up with someone from the semester ahead of you. My school offers a mentoring program. Having connections makes a world of difference!

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