Before I start I want to preface this post by saying what has worked for me might not work for you. But let’s be serious, nursing school is no walk in the park and we could all use a little help. In fact, some say if they died and went to hell, it would take them a week to figure out they weren’t in nursing school. Not only is there a lot of material to master but you have to learn how to answer a whole different style of test questions. These are the books I have used to help me not just survive nursing school but excel as well.
I call the Saunder’s Comprehensive Review the Nursing School Bible. It has a summary of pretty much everything you need to know with pictures and questions with answers that have the rationales (RATIONALES ARE YOUR FRIEND!). On top of that, it comes with a CD full of even more questions. Personally, I like to read the section that we are about to cover before class so that I have an idea of what’s going to go on. Then I’ll do questions before tests to try to figure out where I need to focus but also to figure out the why behind it (I’m a why girl. If I don’t know the why, I usually won’t be able to figure it out. Sure, I can memorize like a champ but in nursing school and in your nursing career you really need to be able to build upon what you learn, not just spit out some facts you memorized)
I have only used the Med-Surg Success and Pharmacology success books but let’s be serious, I wouldn’t have passed Med-Surg without these books. They are loaded with good questions that have answers with rationale. They also come with a CD to help you even further. They’re a really useful tool to help you focus on the nitty gritty of just one class rather than all of the nursing classes combines like in the Comprehensive Review book.
If you are struggling with Cardiac and ECGs, this book is your answer. It is extremely helpful and breaks things down in such easy to grasp ways, it is almost impossible to NOT understand something. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT. It also has critical tips on the sides of certain pages that are very important things to know which is very helpful since we all probably struggle with know what is actually important and what isn’t.
I use these notecards to stay on top of all the meds you will keep seeing, over and over again. They are such a great tool to use on the go and have cute cartoons on the back that help you memorize what they are. Perfect for those visual learners!
These are some awesome, awesome, awesome visual aids and mnemonics. They have a few volumes and you can usually find them used on Amazon (or new, whatever works for you). I will copy a page that is relevant to what I’m learning right now and then take notes on the back so that I have everything in one place. I am always coming up with memory tricks but it’s even better when I don’t have to waste any brain power that I need for school and can find a mnemonic or trick in these books instead. They even have a pharmacology addition!
Mosby’s review cards are a great way to keep building on what you know. I will carry these in my purse and when I have free time (like sitting in a waiting room), I will whip out these bad boys and start doing some reviews. It’s divided up into sections based on the material which makes it also a good review for particular classes and even has helped me prepare for those dreaded comprehensive/cumulative final exams.
If you are really struggling in a class, I suggest you get a book similar to the one above to help you focus on what’s important as well as to help you figure out where you are struggling and what subject needs the most the attention. I really struggled with my OB class. As in, I failed my first nursing test ever during this class. I went in and talked to my teacher and she recommended this book. I went from failing a test to making A’s on all the rest and pulling my grade back up to an B+.
I know I’ve listed a lot of books and I’m sure most of you are seeing dollar signs $$$ but I was able to find most of these for $20 or less. If you search the web on sites like Amazon, you can usually find these used. Check the condition first, if it’s good or better, it’s probably safe to buy.