01.05 Study Tips for Success

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Hey guys!  I’m excited today to talk to you about a study tips that are for sure going to make you a successful nursing student and nurse!

So in this lesson I want to talk to you about where to start in regards to studying, a few of the do’s and don’ts of studying and different types of techniques or aids that may help you!

Ok guys so I just wanted to start off by saying our founder Jon Haws has an awesome blog entry called “How to slay nursing school: Forget study tips go for strategy” if you haven’t already read you definitely need to!  He gives fantastic tips for any nursing student when it comes to studying and that link has actually been attached to this lesson so check it out!  So actually here in this slide I have added a few of Jons tips to start us out!  Jon says and it makes perfect sense….have a battle plan meaning nursing school is very much like a battle and it’s not meant to be easy….if it was everyone would do it!  So right off the bat figure out how you are going to attack it by adopting study habits and a routine that will make you successful which we are going to talk about.  Another thing Jon says is “cut the clutter” meaning not every single thing you learn in nursing school is extremely important or it doesn’t really apply to real life nursing.  Jon suggests using the SSIP mnemonic for this - “Scan and sift”  meaning find the most important new information and throw out the redudant material.  “Import in intervals” meaning take your studying in small portions rather than huge chunks at a time which will help with retaining and comprehending.  After you continue to scan, sift, and import in intervals you  will  “pin it” or retain it and it will stay with you.  And remember whatever you are learning or studying we want to apply it to nursing because that in fact is your end goal.  Not only will it help you during your studies but also will help you pass your boards and most importantly to be a great nurse! 

Ok guys I want to give you a few study tips that you most definitely should do!  First, study a little every day!  Trust me from experience this makes the entire process so much easier.  Personally if there is too much information I feel overwhelmed and if I feel overwhelmed I have a heck of a time retaining information.  So even if it means 20 minutes a day this will benefit you.  I suggest after your class whatever you reviewed that day make sure you review it again.  Smaller increments like Jon said “Import in intervals” is much more manageable.  I definitely think its super important to understand how you best learn.  So for instance if you are an auditory learner you may want to record your professors lectures to listen later where as a visual learner may want to re-visit powerpoint lectures to better understand the information.  Either way assess yourself because no one can tell you how you learn best but you!  Me personally, I am a tactile learner meaning I learn best by writing things down.  If I am required to listen to a lecture I definitely have to listen to it multiple times to understand and retain the information because that is definitely not my chosen learning style.  Now if there is a powerpoint or a diagram to go a long with the spoken lecture that I am able to take notes on that definitely helps my learning.  To be honest I didn’t know my learning style or even that learning styles were a thing when I first started college.  So be sure to take a look at the links for more information and also an online quiz about your learning style to help out with this.  Another super important tip is be sure you take breaks! Trust me I know you are probably thinking “what do you mean take breaks I have no time!”  I get it but taking breaks helps you to not get overwhelmed, lose interest, or burn out and it actually does help you retain information.  And guys this should go without saying but make sure you get good sleep!  No one is capable of learning, comprehending, retaining, and understanding if you are exhausted! 

What about things you shouldn’t do?  So this is a big one!  And I know Jon agrees with this because he speaks about this in his blog.  Do not memorize!  Comprehension is key.  Guys if you understand the information there is no reason at all to memorize.  So basically if you are asking “why” to something you have learned you need to dig deeper for the why and everything will make more sense!  For example, we are saying “you need sleep” the why is so your brain rests and files away information.  Without good sleep your brain cannot function properly and retain information…..so make sure you are getting the “why.”  And most of the time memorization comes along with this next don’t….procrastination!  If you study a little each day, stay on top of it, and figure out the why…. you will not need to memorize a thing.  Most of the time the procrastinators end up cramming because they are panicked and their only option is to memorize.   Believe me you will not retain an ounce of that information and where does that leave you…..not as a critically-thinking nurse I can tell you that!  You owe it to yourself and your future patients to live up to your potential of being an awesome healthcare provider….so be sure nursing school is a priority… trust me you can do it!  Here’s another tip when you do sit down to study don’t be distracted.  You will not give yourself the best chance of learning if the tv is on, your family is running around in the background, or your friends keep texting you!  When I was in nursing school I found this little nook of a lounge in one of the older buildings on campus that basically had a few tables and walls, seriously it was like no one knew about it.  After class I would head over to this room and let me tell you I had some of the best, most productive study sessions ever here!  Even now as a post-masters student I still make sure my study environment has absolutely no noise or distractions.

Ok so before I end the lesson I want to talk about a few study aids that you may want to try.  So probably one of the most common is the notecard technique.  Most of my classmates used this technique.  They would write for instance a drug on one side of the notecard with the pharmacologic action on the other side.  So I personally do not use the notecard technique but something similar.  I like to write myself a question in relation to the material on a piece of paper and then on another piece of paper write the corresponding answer or explanation.  Remember I mentioned earlier I am a tactile learner so it’s important for me to write things out to be sure I comprehend and can even explain the process.  I have been using this technique through nursing school, my masters degree, and now my post-masters degree and for me it really works!  Another aid that I personally do not like but really works for some people is to form study groups.  Beware guys that these don’t become chat sessions as I have definitely seen that happen but for some people they are really effective….especially for the auditory learners.  I also want to mention incorporating NCLEX style practice questions into your studying because these questions will definitely make sure you understand the nursing process and will prepare you for your boards along the way.  The reason why these questions are so useful is because of the rationales and understanding those rationales that go along with the questions for not only the correct answer but also understanding why an answer is wrong.  One NCLEX question will actually turn into information for four.  Don’t be afraid to use outside resources.  So if I am having a difficult time understanding a concept from my professor or the text book I find a video or article that explains the concept in a different way.  I actually do this all the time as a supplement and it really helps me out.  Finally guys sometimes pictures, tables, or diagrams can really help you to better understand a concept so don’t forget about those too.   

Ok guys lets review!  Make sure you have a battle plan in place before starting nursing school, cut out all that extra clutter using the Jon’s SSIP method, and always apply what you are learning to nursing.  Make sure you study a little every day, know your specific learning style, take breaks to not get overwhelmed or burnt out, and always get good sleep.  Please do not procrastinate or get behind, memorize, or study in a distracted environment.  Notecards, NCLEX style questions, study groups, outside sources, and diagrams may be helpful for studying.

Ok guys I really hope you enjoyed this lesson.  Remember we have a bunch of resources and links attached to this lesson so be sure to check those out!  We love you guys! Go out and be your best self today! And as always, Happy Nursing!


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