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What to Know Before Nursing School?

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by rileowski rileowski (Member)

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I just finished my first year of prereqs and I have a year left.

I'm studying hard and trying to learn as much as possible, especially in A&P.

But what are the main things you should know before you start nursing school? It's gonna be difficult as it is, so I want to make sure I spend all of my time learning new material in nursing school instead of going back to my old notes and trying to re-learn things.

Thanks !

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Noctor_Durse has 1 years experience as a ADN, RN, EMT-B.

6,144 Visitors; 263 Posts

Hello! here is my list of things to acquaint yourself with before 1st semester if you want to be a rock star!:

1. Normal Lab values; example- CBC w/diff, CMP, LFT, Lyte's, Coag's, ABG's, hemodynamics such as CO, SVV, SVR, SCVO2, PCWP, SJO2, PBTO2, CVP, MAP

2. Vitals Normal llimits

3. What is a nursing diagnosis and how to you write one?

4. What is an nursing intervention in relation to your NANDA?

5. Get familiar with your Rx! just focus on class, suffix, indications and parameters or labs needed before administration

6. All the Rights to medication administration- Right patient, right drug, right dose, right time, right route, right response, right documentation, right to refuse, Right to education....there might be a few more

7. Go on YOUTUBE and search nursing head to toe assessment and watch some nurses do that, you will be doing that....

8. Search youtube for nursing lecture in regards to Prioritization and clinical reasoning. This will get you WAYYY ahead because you will start to think like a nurse before you get in the program.

9. Look up how to take a manual BP and assess lung sounds/ bowl sounds with a steth

10. Know your patho, This means: how does the body respond to different disease processes. For instance why are monocytes elevated in pt with ESRD or DM2? and why is that important?

11. You can get familiar with all of the different gadgets on youtube, there are videos on how to properly operate salem sump NGT, GT, Foleys, CBI, ET tubes, atria chest tubes, central lines, PIV, PICC, all the different ostomys, infustion pumps,

12. how to administer meds via GT is something you will learn

That's whats coming off the top of my head at the moment ill post more if I think of anything.

Let me know if you have any questions.

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1,412 Visitors; 53 Posts

Thanks! This was VERY helpful and I'll definitely become familar with all this before first semester. What about the material I'm learning now in prereqs? What are the most important and vital parts of A&P and Chemistry and Micro that I'll need for nursing?

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Noctor_Durse has 1 years experience as a ADN, RN, EMT-B.

6,144 Visitors; 263 Posts

A&P is used as a communication tool. Being able to speak to different processes in the body such as a Pt. with thrombocytopenia for example and know what that is. Or being able to document that a Pt. has a laceration 7 cm long on the anterior left arm proximal to the antecubital space. Knowing your A&P will help when reading H&P's and being able to anticipate how a Pt. will present before you see them.

Chemistry is important when understanding ABG's, renal failure compensation, RTA's, Metabolic and respiratory acidosis and Cardiac conduction/ action potentiation of nerve and myocardiocytes. This leads right into EKG's and Cardiac meds and how the electrical activity is effected when meds interact with CA++, NA+, K+in the heart or nerves.

Oh also...I forgot to mention with A&P know your ANS like the back of your hand and know the Blood flow pathway through the hear the like back of your hand, it will help.

With the ANS we have TONS of meds look up parasympathomimetic and parasymatholystic same for sympathetic versions of those meds. Understand how the body reacts when these pathways are triggered in each part of the body. This will allow you to anticipate side effects of the medications.

For Micro stuff just understanding how the inflammatory process works, adaptive and innate immunity and in a CBC what will show abnormal depending on the type of infection such as elevated lymphocytes vs. elevated Bands and every other in between. Also understanding how broad spectrum ABX work and what effect ABX have on the body.

That's just some more stuff off the top of my head, there is a LOT more haha. let me know if you have any more questions!

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1,412 Visitors; 53 Posts

VERY helpful once again! Still got a little over a year until I start nursing school (if I get in lol, getting a 4.0 in all my prereqs so far) but I'm going to start preparing now and make sure I'm as ready as can be. There's still so much to learn but I love learning (:

But just one more question and then I'll stop bugging you. Any tips for studying in nursing school? I've got my studying down now but nursing school is going to be so much more challenging and different than prereqs.

Thanks for the help !

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Noctor_Durse has 1 years experience as a ADN, RN, EMT-B.

6,144 Visitors; 263 Posts

VERY helpful once again! Still got a little over a year until I start nursing school (if I get in lol, getting a 4.0 in all my prereqs so far) but I'm going to start preparing now and make sure I'm as ready as can be. There's still so much to learn but I love learning (:

But just one more question and then I'll stop bugging you. Any tips for studying in nursing school? I've got my studying down now but nursing school is going to be so much more challenging and different than prereqs.

Thanks for the help !

No worries, your not bugging me at all him happy to talk about all this stuff it helps me refresh on all the info. A few weeks ago I wrote a post to someone who was looking for study tips so ill copy paste the post here for you. I can put a link to the post as well for you.

Here it is: Hello there! I have a different opinion. I don't normally divulge my methods but i'm in the mood so here we go.

Background: Currently I am in the 99 percentile nationwide in ATI standardized testing. I have the highest grade in my nursing cohort and I did not once study for, or open up the book for a single test including my finals. I never lost a wink of sleep before a test and I never took notes in lecture. This was the case for ALL of my prerequisite classes and for all of my nursing classes. How is this possible you ask? I prep EXTREMELY well! With that being said I would highly suggest you study before hand if you want an A, but there is a very specific way you must do so to be successful. Here are a few of my tips for studying in a way that allows you to adequately prepare for a difficult science class.

1. Start studying at least 2 month in advance- This allows you to study in a stress free environment with no string attached. When you study with out obligation you retain information because you are learning purely for the enjoyment of learning. Things stick in the mind when they are welcomed in and not forced in.

2. Go to youtube and look at multiple professors playlists in the subject you are studying for example A&P go on youtube and TYPE: nursing anatomy and phys lectures. You will get like 10 different play lists with hundreds of hours of content in each one and they will all go over the same content in a different way. One thing you will come to find as you listen to each of them is that they all have the same INFO!!!! For example every Nursing anatomy class will have the following in regard to the kidney: Cortex, medulla, hillus, cortical nephrons, juxdamedular nephrons, glamarlulous, juxtamedular apparatus, PCT, acending loop, Decending loop, macula densa, DCT, collecting duct, aquaporins.... There is a lot more i'm just naming stuff off the top of my head that you will need to know and what you will find in all of these lectures.

If you go and check out Professor Fink (BTW hes the best out there) on youtube and then listen to 2 other professors on the same subject you will find that they go over the same exact stuff!

3. The BRN accredits nursing programs and every nursing program and prerequisite needs to meet specific SLO's or "student learning outcomes" to be considered qualified. This means they HAVE to cover the same stuff! This is why you can transfer credits from one college to another and if there is a discrepancy you can show proof with a syllabus from the class because it has the SLO's attachted. So what does this mean when it comes to studying before a class? It means if you are listening to the right professors on youtube the content will transfer to your class quite well.

4. When you study to prep for a class do not attempt to memorize or take note on anything. Simply listen to at least one different lecture everyday with full attention and enthusiasm. The goal is to just be familiar with each subject you will encounter i.e. body system structure and function.

The main take away is that when you get to class nothing you hear in lecture will be the first time your hearing it. You just want to scratch the surface and be familiar before you really dig in. That's what a prep is.

5. If you are able to go through the entire playlist of Dr. Fink's A&P my hats off to you. You are definitely dedicated and you will be totally prepped for your class. I would also stress to you that if you are listening to these lectures that you don't stress about memorizing ANYTHING simply listen with an eager excitement to learn. That is all you need to retain information. Why do people get so good at video games or sports? because they LOVE it. Learn to LOVE learning and it will not feel like work it will be very enjoyable and fruitful because you will be so flippin smart ans very solid on the subject matter!

Now in all honesty to become proficient in a subject you should probably study it at least ten times over and over and over again. This is how you familiarize yourself with concepts and vocab to make them second nature. I am pretty eccentric and really like to study so it comes very easy to me and I have gone over this stuff so many times that I am able to recall it like the back of my hand. This is how I am blowing nursing school out of the water in my sleep while working full time and having a wife and baby at home to provide for.

Let me know if you have any questions or would like more pointers I have tons of them.

Best of luck to you!

Heres the link to the thread

https://allnurses.com/general-nursing-student/should-i-study-1103224.html

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424 Visitors; 7 Posts

Hi rileowski!

Love all the advice of the other person who commented! However, I do like taking notes. It helps me remember content. I think it depends on your learning style.

I would add to try getting some experience while you are taking your pre requisites. You can start volunteering at a hospital or even work as a personal care provider. That way you will get to know the medical equipment, the different lines and get used to interacting with patients.

I worked as a personal care provider through my pre reqs (2x 4 hours shifts a week). Through nursing school I was a student nurse extern at a hospital and volunteered at a free clinic. Getting that extra experience really helped me learn, because you get to see the situation/device you are learning about in class. It also looks great on your resume once you are ready to apply for a job (the market is competitive for new grads here in California).

Best of luck to you :)

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I love Professor Fink! I just finished his first lecture on intro to physiology and loved it.

He's so engaging and I learned-- and understand--a lot of concepts better than I previously did, just in that one video alone. I'm definitely going to watch all 79 of his videos on physiology before A&P II starts in the fall; I'll be way ahead of the game. I did take a couple notes on his lectures already though lol, I couldn't help myself. But only on the important stuff I know will be relevant like normal pH and blood sugar level.

I think I'll only watch certain lectures of his on anatomy, since anatomy isn't as important as physiology when it comes to nursing, right? Though I say that now, but I'll probably end up watching all of those lectures too haha.

And I'll start watching his pharmacology playlist probably next May or June, right before nursing school. I found PicmonicVideo and Nurse Bass on youtube as well and they have some great content too.

You don't know how excited I am to watch all of professor Fink's lectures haha they're amazing and I'm always willing to hear more pointers and tips and stuff to get acquainted with since you seem to have a lot of this stuff down!

But thanks again for helping me out, once again

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1,412 Visitors; 53 Posts

Thanks for the advice! I just had surgery on my wrist (mid carpal instability) so I won't be able to use my left arm at least until the end of July:( But I'm using this time to learn as much as I can. I'll definitely be doing a lot of shadowing/volunteering during the fall and especially the spring, since I'm only taking two classes in the spring.

The more experience the better!

I agree that note-taking helps, particullarly when it comes to important terms and numbers to memorize. When it comes to physiology listening to lectures and videos and reading and re-reading the material in a book seems to do a better job (at least for me anyways).

Cheers!

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Noctor_Durse has 1 years experience as a ADN, RN, EMT-B.

6,144 Visitors; 263 Posts

I love Professor Fink! I just finished his first lecture on intro to physiology and loved it.

He's so engaging and I learned-- and understand--a lot of concepts better than I previously did, just in that one video alone. I'm definitely going to watch all 79 of his videos on physiology before A&P II starts in the fall; I'll be way ahead of the game. I did take a couple notes on his lectures already though lol, I couldn't help myself. But only on the important stuff I know will be relevant like normal pH and blood sugar level.

I think I'll only watch certain lectures of his on anatomy, since anatomy isn't as important as physiology when it comes to nursing, right? Though I say that now, but I'll probably end up watching all of those lectures too haha.

And I'll start watching his pharmacology playlist probably next May or June, right before nursing school. I found PicmonicVideo and Nurse Bass on youtube as well and they have some great content too.

You don't know how excited I am to watch all of professor Fink's lectures haha they're amazing and I'm always willing to hear more pointers and tips and stuff to get acquainted with since you seem to have a lot of this stuff down!

But thanks again for helping me out, once again

WOW! that's awesome! I'm so glad your enjoying the lectures. You are gonna do Great! There are definitely no hard and fast rules to prepping effectively. Do what ever you feel excited to do, if you enjoy taking notes do it, if you want to draw on a white board that's great too. Just remember to have fun and enjoy the learning. The second you start to lose attention or focus just stop, take a break, and go do something different for a while. It is counter productive to try and force yourself to learn when your brain is not in learning mode. One thing to be aware of is that our brains and bodies go through phases and cycles, when we are in a learning mode we can only be in that state for a certain period of time, everyone has a different threshold for how much info they can absorb and retain at a time. The more you do this the more you will learn how much you can handle. Generally people can go between 15 and 30 minutes of intense focus at a time but I have gone hours doing that and been fine. I have also not been able to go more then 15 minutes keeping focus. It all depends on your physical state, mental state and the environment your in. The goal is not to burn yourself out early, so don't over do it haha. What your doing is call self didactic learning, its very useful in nursing school because no body is gonna spoon feed you info for the most part.

Best of luck to you! Feel free to ask if you have other questions.

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Currently I am in the 99 percentile nationwide in ATI standardized testing. I have the highest grade in my nursing cohort and I did not once study for, or open up the book for a single test including my finals. I never lost a wink of sleep before a test and I never took notes in lecture. This was the case for ALL of my prerequisite classes and for all of my nursing classes.

Let me know if you have any questions or would like more pointers I have tons of them.

Hi there,

I'm having trouble understanding the way you study/prep for your nursing courses. You said you don't read a single page from the textbook, you don't take any notes in class, you don't study lecture material outside of class at all, you work full-time while going to nursing school, you watch a lot of Youtube videos on nursing SLO's, I'm assuming you don't do practice NCLEX questions on your own, and you have a baby at home. All of these variables are in play, and you are in the top 1% of nursing students nationwide. Forgive me, but red alarms are going off left and right in my head because it just doesn't add up for me.

You also mentioned, "You just want to scratch the surface and be familiar before you really dig in." But since you also say you never take notes, study class material, and never read the textbook, I'm curious when/where the 'digging in' takes place? I believe you are telling the truth, but I'm just trying to comprehend how this could all work for others/myself or if you are simply the exception rather than the norm for utilizing such a method. I understand the value of studying ahead of time (2 months like you mentioned), and being eager to learn when you review material, but for some reason I just feel like something is missing from this equation. Is there any chance you could clarify some of this for me? Thanks!

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Noctor_Durse has 1 years experience as a ADN, RN, EMT-B.

6,144 Visitors; 263 Posts

Hi there,

I'm having trouble understanding the way you study/prep for your nursing courses. You said you don't read a single page from the textbook, you don't take any notes in class, you don't study lecture material outside of class at all, you work full-time while going to nursing school, you watch a lot of Youtube videos on nursing SLO's, I'm assuming you don't do practice NCLEX questions on your own, and you have a baby at home. All of these variables are in play, and you are in the top 1% of nursing students nationwide. Forgive me, but red alarms are going off left and right in my head because it just doesn't add up for me.

You also mentioned, "You just want to scratch the surface and be familiar before you really dig in." But since you also say you never take notes, study class material, and never read the textbook, I'm curious when/where the 'digging in' takes place? I believe you are telling the truth, but I'm just trying to comprehend how this could all work for others/myself or if you are simply the exception rather than the norm for utilizing such a method. I understand the value of studying ahead of time (2 months like you mentioned), and being eager to learn when you review material, but for some reason I just feel like something is missing from this equation. Is there any chance you could clarify some of this for me? Thanks!

Hi there, thank you for your questions. Ill do my best to respond as thoroughly as possible. Through out my prerequisite classes I have been studying nursing content in tandem with A&P, micro, and gen ed classes in the way I have described above on my own time. I have been doing this day in and day out for the past 2 years prepping for this program. This has allowed me to "scratch and re-scratch the surface" of nursing content over and over. What ends up happening when you go over material over and over from different methods of review, it starts to stick really well. Every single on of those topics I mentioned above is directly correlated to nursing school and much rolls over into nursing practice.

Often times when you hear something for the first time it may feel foreign and uncomfortable. As you familiarize yourself with complex concepts such as systemic vascular variability or Minnesota tubes or Transducing ICP through EVD or how BNP reacts to increase SVR in cardiomyopathy. all of these things may feel unconformable the first time. When you see it a second time it becomes a little more familiar and so on. I have gone over this stuff so much that it has become second nature...to an extent. I am not saying I have learned everything, far from it. What I am saying is that I am constantly seeking out to ad to my current knowledge.

After years of doing this I have a very broad base of familiar knowledge that I can access at my will to problem solve through NCLEX questions. This makes it look like i'm a genius in class because ill just know everything and nobody really knows why exactly. I keep to myself and don't study with anyone so its not out there for everyone to see. The only thing that comes out of my mouth is the byproduct of years of reviewing this stuff.

I also did over 2000 NCLEX medsurg/fundies questions to prepare for ATI and nursing test. I started this 6 months before the program started.

The practice questions are invaluable and understanding blooms taxonomy is what allowed me to excel in the testing. I highly suggest listening to a blooms lecture on youtube, I also highly suggest listening to clinical reasoning and critical thinking lectures on youtube.

My PCT position also gives me access to many amazing nurses that have taken me under their wings and helped teach me to think like a nurse. All of this combined for my insatiable desire to learn and grow has led to an easy breezy beautiful nursing program. It is still challenging but it is a fun kind of challenging.

Please feel free to ask if you need anything clarified.

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