This is one of those study challenges in Nursing school. Nursing is a career based off a paramilitary background that requires you to learn time management. Learning to manage your time well while going through Nursing school by being on a schedule will help you better organize all parts of your life which also includes how you study.

Study in smaller chucks such as every 30-50 minutes with a 10 minute break allows your brain time to absorb the information and enhances your recall as well for short term memory. It’s called linkage learning. Every time you learn new material, break it up into smaller parts. Cover section by section with small breaks in between and not forgetting to review the previous sections you just covered before going onto the next. I guarantee you put this study method into effect and your test performance as well as grades will go up.

Cramming in the last 30 minutes before the test will not get you very far in Nursing school like it did in traditional college classes. Always think the long term outcomes of your career as a Nurse. You are a health advocate, educator, and doing a job that often has people’s lives are hanging on the line. One of my best clinical instructors taught me recently “To be a good nurse is to know your skills. To know your skills is to understand how and why you are performing those skills to your particular patient cases. To be knowledgable of your skills is to have complete POWER!”

Something to take into consideration before you decide to cram for your next nursing test.

Your first care plan will take forever. Create a doc for meds & one for labs. Add to it as you go, cut & paste.

The key to care plans: a nursing diagnosis book and 1-2 good care plan books. They’re worth the money.

Always be willing to offer your assistance to not just the nurses but the aides too. Nothing is beneath you.

Bring quick snacks and drinks to clinical. Take whatever opportunities you can get to hydrate and eat.

You will cry. You will have breakdowns. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep pushing forward.

Don’t just study to pass your exams, study so when you get to the real world, you’ll know what you’re doing

Nursing school is not a competition. Focus on your skills and abilities so YOU can be the best nurse possible.

Get along w your classmates no matter how much they annoy you. The nursing world’s small. Don’t burn bridges

Get a study group and agree to share resources because let’s be serious, you can never have too many.

Remember to treat the patient, not the machine. Always assess the patient first.

Your patients are a person, not just an diagnosis. Remember this when giving care.

If you fail something, don’t give up. Part of being a great nurse is being able to bounce back. You got this

DO NOT be late to clinical. Leave early, set a lot of alarms, learn how to change a tire, no excuse is valid

Nursing school is stressful for a reason. It’s meant to prepare you for a very challenging but rewarding career

The night before clinical or a test, get everything ready that you think you’ll need. Save yourself the anxiety

Never say I’ve never done this before in front of a patient. Fake it til you make it.

In nursing school, the strength of the effort isn’t always the measure of the result.

Use what you know. You don’t need to know every symptom of every disorder or drug. Trust your instincts.

Stay in charge. Don’t let the test own you. If you don’t know an answer, skip it and come back to it.

Remember if the answer is an option, you can assume you have an order on it. Don’t over think it.

The nursing process doesn’t go away after fundamentals. Remember ADPIE or APPIE.

Use maslow’s hierarchy to answer questions. It’s always physiological then safety, etc, etc. Prioritize.

Look for the answers that are the most complete. Read each answer before deciding. Don’t rush.

When it comes to Select All That Applies, look at each answer as a true/false in relation to the question.

Pay attention to key words. Underline/circle what is most important.

Watch out for answers that are similar to each other with different wording. It’s probably not 1 of these

If the answer has all, always, never, etc. it’s probably incorrect. There can always be that one anomaly.

Pay attention to what the question is actually asking you, not just what it tells you.

If a patient is on a med and starts having a serious adverse effect, always stop med 1st before treating.

Try to answer the question BEFORE reading the answers. It’ll help at least eliminate a few.

Read each question twice and all the answers twice then make a decision.

Learn the concepts, don’t just memorize. You have to be able to apply them

Download and review the NCLEX test plan.

Avoid burn out. Make time to do something you enjoy or all that studying won’t make a difference.

Best free nursing school apps: Lippincott’s q&a apps, Medscape, Skyscape, Micromedex. Epocrates, iTriage

Form a study group that is at your level or better so you won’t be held back from meeting your full potential.

Always seek out new experiences and practice as much as you can. Come out the best nurse you can possibly be.

Take the time to reorganize your notes and planner. 10 minutes a day is all you need to stay on top of things

Saunder’s Comprehensive Review and The Davis Success series are THE nursing school survival tools.

Record all your lectures. Go back and add the important stuff to your notes in a different color.

We have all failed at least one test or quiz. Don’t give up. You CAN do this. Use it as motivation.

In nursing school, there is no such thing as too many notecards, highlighters or black pens.

Get involved (like SNA, a club or go Greek). It’s ok to have a little bit of a social life in nursing school.

Be nice to all of your classmates and professors. They could be your coworkers or worse, your boss someday.

Drug dose calculations aren’t going away. Master them now or pay later.

Every answer on tests are correct, but only one is most correct. It’s up to you to figure out which one that is

If you feel the urge to cry at clinical, find a private place to do so and remember we’ve all been there.

Always eat breakfast before clinical. You don’t want to be that person who passes out their first day

Remember you have to take care of yourself so you can properly take care of others.

You will get hit on by creepy old men and/or women. Brace yourself and try to laugh it off.

Know when to work harder and when to ask for help. Don’t wait until it is too late to go see your professors.

Pay attention to Fundamentals. If you don’t know the basics, you won’t get the harder stuff

Reread your notes every day. Don’t cram. It all builds on each other.

Remember what works for one person with studying might not work for you. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Your non-nursing friends won’t get your nursing humor or your complete lack of social life. They’ll get over it

The longer you wait to ask for help the farther you’ll fall behind. The minute you begin to struggle, seek help

Always take notes in class, or at least look like it. Your teachers will appreciate it/respect you more.

Review your notes right after class and right before. It’ll help cement it into your memory.


3 years ago this summer I read a book…“1001 Things Every College Student Should Know”.

These are tips that I hope will be just as invaluable for Nursing school.

All credit goes to

Best Nursing Apps and Websites

Lippincott’s q&a apps






Lab values (just search them, there are tons available and they are super helpful for looking up info at clinical or while doing those care maps/plans)

Nursing Essentials

Fast facts for critical care


Nursing central

Littmann’s sound builder

ATI RN Mentor NCLEXX exam prep app ($20 but worth it!) 

Best Nursing School Tools!

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. 

anonymous asked:

How do you determine how to highlight? Do you have a method. I'm not a baby nursing student but I'm horrible because I always want I highlight the entire page.

I used to be highlighter happy too! But with some restraint, I learned to highlight so that you’re only summarizing what is being said/only what is important.  I’ll read a whole paragraph, take a moment to think of what was important and then go back and highlight so that there’s a summary or only keywords. I also like to use two different highlighters, usually a yellow and a pink. Yellow is the general information and pink is the important, need to know info. I also keep a pen or pencil handy to star or underline things I don’t understand and that I need to look into in more detail. 

So I really do have to blog about this because it’s apart of my nursing journey. I just failed my first nursing course Med Surg 2 in my second semester in the program. It really was a close call. My final percentage in the end of the rotation was a 74.3%. I was not passing the course for a good 1/3 & raised it to a passing 75% before entering the final. I ended up not having enough points on the final to pass the class. Now that I failed it, I took a leave of absence for the rest of the semester to come back in the spring and retake the course. I had a choice to continue to mental health for the remaining 8 weeks of the semester but really felt I needed to regroup myself since I also had a family member pass away.

I could tell you though. I feel a little bit defeated and that much pressured now to step up my nursing game. They say it takes many failure to finally achieve success. When it comes to the nursing game though, it’s like entering that final level of Mario brothers with only one spare life. If you use up that life, you have better learned from your mistakes well thus far.

I’m doing what I can now to remediate over the course I failed by auditing the class without having to take to get an actual grade for it until Spring. Has anyone been in this position? What was your outcome? Did you finish the rest of your nursing program strong? how did you motivate yourself to do better?