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How to Study in Nursing School: 8 Tips from an Expert Nurse Educator

Blog shared from Nurse Jannah’s Osmosis webinar on successful study habits every nursing student should adopt. 

As you’re about to enter into an awesome and powerful field, you’re probably wondering about how to study in nursing school so you won’t get overwhelmed. Adopting smart study habits early on in your education will set you up to be a successful learner, test-taker, and practicing RN. Why not get them right from an expert nurse educator?

Why getting into nursing is a big deal

Did you know that, according to AACN Fact Sheets, nursing is the largest healthcare profession in the United States, with 3x as many RNs as physicians? This really speaks volumes about the big role nurses play in healthcare, but also about the challenging road to becoming one.

Nurses work in so many different settings and are in charge of a lot of things. They collaborate as a team, but they operate independently of medicine or other fields.

No wonder there’s tons of information to master in nursing school!

All of this can be overwhelming and confusing to any student: maybe it’s too much to learn in a short time, or maybe you’re not sure where to start. Maybe you feel like things aren’t sticking to your memory, or you don’t know what to use to learn, with so many resources available.

As our expert nurse educator shares in our Osmosis webinar: “This happens to a lot of us”. Here are 8 key tips that Nurse Jannah recommends on how to best study for nursing school.  

1. Get a head start on your course material

Try to stay ahead of the game before you even have a lecture. Read the chapters or watch videos and get familiar with the content—whatever the preparation looks like, it’s important to do it ahead of time.

The reason is that it’s really hard to catch up with the study in nursing school, as there’s a lot of ground to cover, and it goes by fast.

Some of the material you’ll learn is easier to understand than others, and that’s OK. Putting in the work ahead of a lecture is the most important part, as you teach your brain to set the right foundation for gaining knowledge. And even if you don’t understand everything, you build on that and let the lecture or next piece of learning help fill in the gaps.

Osmosis illustration of a nursing student working to understand the material.

2. Try making concept maps

Instead of going with the classic way of taking notes—highlighting text and rewriting pages of notes—concept maps are one fun and easy way to study for nursing school.

A concept map is a visual representation of knowledge on a subject that helps you to organize your thoughts on it. Besides being much easier, it’s also an efficient way to understand the information (rather than memorizing it).

Start with the topic you want to learn about and, first, build on it with what you learned. After that, use your notes, videos or other resources to fill in the map and get the whole picture of that topic.

Osmosis illustration of a basic concept map.

3. Meet your learning objectives

This is something that probably many often ignored as students, which you definitely shouldn’t. When you stumble upon your learning objectives (LOs), paying attention to them is one smart way to study in nursing school.

Although it seems just like a list, LOs act much like your guide to studying, because they outline exactly what you should be able to do or competently discuss after successfully learning about them. This is a really good guide to follow especially when you have a lot of content and don’t know what you’re supposed to focus on.

You can find more practical and visual examples of these tips in our webinar.

4. Make a schedule (and stick to it)

Another tip Nurse Jannah has for you is making a schedule that really sets you up for success. This means one that is realistic and adjusted to your life, your time, your responsibilities.

There’s no standard timeframe for the best learning, so the key here is to focus on quality rather than quantity. If your daily schedule allows you to study for nursing school two hours in the morning or three hours in the evening, both are fine as long as it’s according to your real attention span.

Another important thing here is to make sure you can stay committed to your schedule for studying just as you commit to other obligations in life, in a practical way. This will keep you accountable as well.

5. Teamwork makes the dream work

Speaking of accountability, another tip on how to study for nursing school the better way is finding a study partner: a friend, a tutor, or joining a study group to keep you connected.

The best thing about study groups is that you can listen to different perspectives while discussing a topic. Actively listening to how other people think and apply knowledge helps you hone your critical thinking skills. This is one important skill to have in nursing school, as you’re taking different tests and answering different types of questions.

Osmosis illustration of students studying together.

6. Find your learning style

Everybody learns differently: some students are visual learners—and Osmosis makes that easy with 1800+ animated videos for you!—while others learn better by listening to lectures or doing hands-on activities.

Try to practice a bit of self-reflection to discover your learning style and find resources that represent it, as primary learning tools. The earlier you discover how you learn best, the easier it becomes to study and not waste your time the wrong way.

7 Practice, practice, practice

Of course, it is also about practicing NCLEX®-style questions during nursing school. Not only it challenges you to apply all the knowledge you gain, but also your ability to think at a high level and analyze data in different ways.

NCLEX®-style questions are unlike any other type of questions you’re used to seeing, which is why practicing them helps to reinforce your understanding of a concept and prepares you for the final exam: the licensure examination.

Osmosis illustration of a nursing student studying contentedly.

8. Don’t forget the basics

Understanding the basics is the biggest starting point in your studying. You need to have a solid understanding of foundational sciences first, such as anatomy and physiology, because all the knowledge you learn in nursing school is based on these and it’s also what makes learning more complex concepts along the way much easier.

And finally… you got this!

And don’t forget to watch the full webinar here: Study for Success: Habits Every Nursing Student Should Adopt.

Osmosis illustration of Nurse Jannah offering nurses encouragement on their nursing journey.
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Content shared from Osmosis

Public Health Nursing 101

In an era of increasing challenges for public health, nurses have the potential to make a dramatic difference. The American Public Health Association defines public health nursing as, “the practice of promoting and protecting the health of populations using knowledge from nursing, social, and public health sciences”.1

 

As individuals, nurses directly influence the health and wellbeing of patients every day. Through frequent contact, nurses are best placed to encourage lifestyle changes in communities and offer education on healthy living – particularly to the most vulnerable in society.

Uniting to improve public health

By working together, nurses can make a great impact on public health as a whole. The American Nurses Association (ANA) builds on individual nurse contributions to public health, by supporting policy, advocacy, and education at the highest levels. These areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

Preparing nurses for public health crises

Nurses must be prepared to respond directly to public health crises; from outbreaks of disease to natural disasters. ANA keeps nurses up-to-date on emerging public health issues, to help nurses to make the most informed treatment decisions.

ANA has supported nurses’ work with resources on:

Public health nursing’s scope and standards of practice

ANA empowers nurses to perform to the full extent of their expertise, for the benefit of public health. By facilitating the review and revision of public health nursing’s scope and standards of practice, ANA ensures that nursing responsibilities evolve at the same pace as the demands of public health.

The Council of Public Health Nursing Organizations

ANA supports the work of the Council of Public Health Nursing Organizations (CPHNO), which strives to improve the health of communities through excellence in nursing education, practice, leadership, and research.2 Its membership has changed since it was established in the early 1980s, and now includes:

The goals of the CPHNO are to create innovative models for public health nursing practice; identify and support the emerging roles of public health nurses; and to develop leadership skills for public health nurses at all levels.

Recent ANA actions for public health

Take more action

Want to know more about public health nursing?  Contact any of the above Quad Council associations. If you’re interested in obtaining the Advanced Public Health Nursing-Board Certified (APHN-BC) credential, visit the ANCC Certification section to learn about the assessment method for ANCC board certification.

References

1American Public Health Association, Public Health Nursing Section. (2013). The definition and practice of public health nursing: a statement of the public health nursing section. Washington, DC: American Public Health Association.

2 Quad Council of Public Health Nursing Organizations. (2011). Quad Council competencies for public health nurses. Retrieved 3/24/16 at www.achne.org/files/quad%20council/quadcouncilcompetenciesforpublichealthnurses.pdf

Article shared from the American Nurses Association

 

Types of Nursing

21st Century nursing is the glue that holds a patient’s health care journey together. Across the entire patient experience, and wherever there is someone in need of care, nurses work tirelessly to identify and protect the needs of the individual.

Beyond the time-honored reputation for compassion and dedication lies a highly specialized profession, which is constantly evolving to address the needs of society. From ensuring the most accurate diagnoses to the ongoing education of the public about critical health issues; nurses are indispensable in safeguarding public health.

Nursing can be described as both an art and a science; a heart and a mind. At its heart, lies a fundamental respect for human dignity and an intuition for a patient’s needs. This is supported by the mind, in the form of rigorous core learning. Due to the vast range of specialisms and complex skills in the nursing profession, each nurse will have specific strengths, passions, and expertise.

However, nursing has a unifying ethos:  In assessing a patient, nurses do not just consider test results. Through the critical thinking exemplified in the nursing process (see below), nurses use their judgment to integrate objective data with subjective experience of a patient’s biological, physical and behavioral needs. This ensures that every patient, from city hospital to community health center; state prison to summer camp, receives the best possible care regardless of who they are, or where they may be.

What exactly do nurses do?

In a field as varied as nursing, there is no typical answer. Responsibilities can range from making acute treatment decisions to providing inoculations in schools. The key unifying characteristic in every role is the skill and drive that it takes to be a nurse. Through long-term monitoring of patients’ behavior and knowledge-based expertise, nurses are best placed to take an all-encompassing view of a patient’s wellbeing.

What types of nurses are there?

All nurses complete a rigorous program of extensive education and study, and work directly with patients, families, and communities using the core values of the nursing process. In the United States today, nursing roles can be divided into three categories by the specific responsibilities they undertake.

Registered Nurses

Registered nurses (RN) form the backbone of health care provision in the United States. RNs provide critical health care to the public wherever it is needed.

Key Responsibilities

  • Perform physical exams and health histories before making critical decisions
  • Provide health promotion, counseling and education
  • Administer medications and other personalized interventions
  • Coordinate care, in collaboration with a wide array of health care professionals

Advanced Practice Registered Nurses

Advance Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) hold at least a Master’s degree, in addition to the initial nursing education and licensing required for all RNs. The responsibilities of an APRN include, but are not limited to, providing invaluable primary and preventative health care to the public. APRNs treat and diagnose illnesses, advise the public on health issues, manage chronic disease and engage in continuous education to remain at the very forefront of any technological, methodological, or other developments in the field.

APRNs Practice Specialist Roles

  • Nurse Practitioners prescribe medication, diagnose and treat minor illnesses and injuries
  • Certified Nurse-Midwives provide gynecological and low-risk obstetrical care
  • Clinical Nurse Specialists handle a wide range of physical and mental health problems
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists administer more than 65 percent of all anesthetics

Licensed Practical Nurses

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN), also known as Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs), support the core health care team and work under the supervision of an RN, APRN or MD. By providing basic and routine care, they ensure the wellbeing of patients throughout the whole of the health care journey

Key Responsibilities

  • Check vital signs and look for signs that health is deteriorating or improving
  • Perform basic nursing functions such as changing bandages and wound dressings
  • Ensure patients are comfortable, well-fed and hydrated
  • May administer medications in some settings

What is the nursing process?

No matter what their field or specialty, all nurses utilize the same nursing process; a scientific method designed to deliver the very best in patient care, through five simple steps.

  • Assessment – Nurses assess patients on an in-depth physiological, economic, social and lifestyle basis.
  • Diagnosis – Through careful consideration of both physical symptoms and patient behavior, the nurse forms a diagnosis.
  • Outcomes / Planning – The nurse uses their expertise to set realistic goals for the patient’s recovery. These objectives are then closely monitored.
  • Implementation – By accurately implementing the care plan, nurses guarantee consistency of care for the patient whilst meticulously documenting their progress.
  • Evaluation – By closely analyzing the effectiveness of the care plan and studying patient response, the nurse hones the plan to achieve the very best patient outcomes.

Nurses are Key to the Health of the Nation

  • There are over 4 million registered nurses in the United States today.
  • That means that one in every 100 people is a registered nurse.
  • Nurses are in every community – large and small – providing expert care from birth to the end of life.
  • According to the January 2012 “United States Registered Nurse Workforce Report Card and Shortage Forecast” in the American Journal of Medical Quality, a shortage of registered nurses is projected to spread across the country between 2009 and 2030. In this state-by-state analysis, the authors forecast the RN shortage to be most intense in the South and the West
  • Nurses’ roles range from direct patient care and case management to establishing nursing practice standards, developing quality assurance procedures, and directing complex nursing care systems.

ANA has been helping American nurses improve our nation’s health since 1896.

Article shared from ANA – Learn More 

 

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