What should I know before Nursing School?

Posted

Hi everyone! I wanted to ask you all what you should know before going into Nursing School? For instance, is there anything in particular you wish you had been more familiar with before hand? I would like to refresh my memory while I have down time. Thank you! 

For me, the biggest differences I found between my nursing classes and my prereqs/non-nursing classes was how I needed to study and how the exams were written. First of all, rote memorization will get you nowhere. The questions typically found on exams (or at the very least, the NCLEX) require application and critical thinking. You have to understand the concept and apply them to the presented scenarios, rather than be able to simply regurgitate facts. Also, definitely brush up on your A&P. A solid understanding of A&P will make understanding the patho the various disorders so. Much. Easier. And it's also really important to understand how you best learn and then formulate a study system that serves you best. The amount of material covered in school is astronomical, and there's no way you can actually read all the material assigned while also maintaining work and relationships. Find a small (4 people, max) group of students to study with. If you're able to teach the other group members a concept, then you understand it--having others to explain challenging concepts, and/or to explain concepts to, was a total game changer. And last of all, you'll have to be flexible and make plenty of sacrifices. Schools don't care about your personal life or responsibilities; they expect you to take every schedule and curriculum change in stride, despite whatever else is going on in your life. It'll be tough on your personal relationships, and it'll be even tougher to find time for self-care, but thankfully, it's just temporary. It stinks while you're in the trenches, but really does go by fast. Good luck!

Edited by YouCanCallMeFrank

NotMyProblem MSN, ASN, BSN, MSN, LPN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, LTACH, LTC, Home Health. Has 35 years experience.

Nothing here. I learn as I go and if I forget something, I review as the need arises. There is too much to know and it is constantly evolving. So don’t let it consume you. Otherwise, this profession will chew you up and spit you out. Work, school, and life should have dedicated time slots...no overlapping. That’s what worked for me. Good luck!

JuJuBeBe

Specializes in New RN grad.

Go to a nursing school near where you want to work. Oftentimes one of your clinicals will lead to familiarity with a unit/hospital and their staff. It's harder to sell yourself to a hospital to which you are a stranger. Even better, get a part-time job as a patient tech while you are doing the pre-reqs. Lots of my fellow students segued into full-time jobs where they were patient techs/CNAs.

Tegridy

Specializes in Former NP now Internal medicine PGY-2.

Would be helpful to review effective learning and retention techniques, amazon sells quite a few of these and pretty much any well rated ones are worth the read.

NurseKat, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case Management/Utilization Management. Has 8 years experience.

Let your friends and family know that you are going to have a rough couple of years, and you need their understanding and acceptance. You will not be able to attend every holiday, celebration, or get together. Only others who have been through nursing school understand this, so it may be difficult for them to understand, but maybe assertively let them know from the get go. I lost friends during nursing school and even a family member because they did not understand the pressure I was under and the time that was required to dedicate to clinicals, studying, a part time job, and a healthy body and mind. 

OUxPhys, BSN, RN

Specializes in Cardiology. Has 6 years experience.

What they teach you in school and what actually happens in a hospital are two completely different things. 

On 10/21/2021 at 7:07 PM, YouCanCallMeFrank said:

For me, the biggest differences I found between my nursing classes and my prereqs/non-nursing classes was how I needed to study and how the exams were written. First of all, rote memorization will get you nowhere. The questions typically found on exams (or at the very least, the NCLEX) require application and critical thinking. You have to understand the concept and apply them to the presented scenarios, rather than be able to simply regurgitate facts. Also, definitely brush up on your A&P. A solid understanding of A&P will make understanding the patho the various disorders so. Much. Easier. And it's also really important to understand how you best learn and then formulate a study system that serves you best. The amount of material covered in school is astronomical, and there's no way you can actually read all the material assigned while also maintaining work and relationships. Find a small (4 people, max) group of students to study with. If you're able to teach the other group members a concept, then you understand it--having others to explain challenging concepts, and/or to explain concepts to, was a total game changer. And last of all, you'll have to be flexible and make plenty of sacrifices. Schools don't care about your personal life or responsibilities; they expect you to take every schedule and curriculum change in stride, despite whatever else is going on in your life. It'll be tough on your personal relationships, and it'll be even tougher to find time for self-care, but thankfully, it's just temporary. It stinks while you're in the trenches, but really does go by fast. Good luck!

thanks for this post! really needed to hear this

Tegridy

Specializes in Former NP now Internal medicine PGY-2.

On 10/21/2021 at 10:07 PM, YouCanCallMeFrank said:

For me, the biggest differences I found between my nursing classes and my prereqs/non-nursing classes was how I needed to study and how the exams were written. First of all, rote memorization will get you nowhere. The questions typically found on exams (or at the very least, the NCLEX) require application and critical thinking. You have to understand the concept and apply them to the presented scenarios, rather than be able to simply regurgitate facts. Also, definitely brush up on your A&P. A solid understanding of A&P will make understanding the patho the various disorders so. Much. Easier. And it's also really important to understand how you best learn and then formulate a study system that serves you best. The amount of material covered in school is astronomical, and there's no way you can actually read all the material assigned while also maintaining work and relationships. Find a small (4 people, max) group of students to study with. If you're able to teach the other group members a concept, then you understand it--having others to explain challenging concepts, and/or to explain concepts to, was a total game changer. And last of all, you'll have to be flexible and make plenty of sacrifices. Schools don't care about your personal life or responsibilities; they expect you to take every schedule and curriculum change in stride, despite whatever else is going on in your life. It'll be tough on your personal relationships, and it'll be even tougher to find time for self-care, but thankfully, it's just temporary. It stinks while you're in the trenches, but really does go by fast. Good luck!

This is a good post, I am assuming this poster isn't saying that memorizing is completely pointless, as one would not be able to draw conclusions from questions without an adequate knowledge base. One cannot appropriately approach scenarios without having internalized factoids in the first place.

Tegridy

Specializes in Former NP now Internal medicine PGY-2.

I would get a question book or question bank early also. It's never too early to start with questions, even if you have no grasp on the material, practicing with questions is never a waste of time as long as you go through them slowly and use the as a learning experience instead of a way to gauge competency early on. I believe back in nursing and medical school the more successful people started with questions earlier, since to get good at test questions the best thing to do is.... test questions.

lilRN16, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psych/Med Surg/Ortho/Tele/Peds. Has 5 years experience.

Your cohort are not your friends. Get in/get out and take your NCLEX...