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How To Study For Nursing Fundamentals In Nursing School
The nursing fundamentals class is one of the first classes you will take as a nursing student. Also known as "nursing foundations", it includes lectures and practical elements, allowing nursing students to learn the basics before putting them into practice.
Passing nursing fundamentals isn't just a case of reading a few books, watching some lectures, and memorizing everything you're taught. You'll need to truly understand the course material and learn how to think critically.
How Do You Succeed in Nursing Fundamentals?
In the following sections, we'll give you some tips to help you pass fundamentals and take a big step forward in your nursing education.
Understand Your Learning Style
What type of learner are you?
Do you work best when you have your head buried in books or do you find that you only retain information if you write it down? Are you a visual, practical, or auditory learner?
If you learn according to your preferred learning style, you'll retain information much faster and should pass nursing fundamentals with flying colors.
On the flip side, if you force yourself to learn with a style that doesn't suit you, that information won't stick and you'll get frustrated.
Learn How to Answer NCLEX-Style Questions
Nursing foundations uses critical thinking style questions. It's multiple-choice, but not as you know it.
Sometimes, there is more than one answer and you must find the best answer for that specific case. The best method is to study each possible option and remove the incorrect ones. The answer that remains will be the right one.
For more information, check out this video from RegisteredNurseRN. It is a complete guide to answering NCLEX-style questions and will tell you all you need to know in just 15 minutes.
Create a Study Schedule
Plan your studies carefully and don't fall behind. Find time for work, study, family time, and everything else, and don't leave it to chance.
Learn Medical Terminology
Medical terminology can seem like a different language (in many ways, it is!) and if it's not one that you fully understand, most lectures will go over your head.
To fully grasp the fundamentals of nursing, learn what those terms mean.
Learning medical terminology doesn't require any critical thinking and there are simple memory strategies to help you, including:
- Learn Greek and Latin roots, as most medical terms come from these two ancient languages.
- Learn prefixes and suffixes.
- Visualize difficult words, turning them into an action.
- Use flash cards to make those terms stick.
If you have any experience learning another language, you'll be better equipped to learn these terms. If those languages are Greek and/or Latin, even better!
Record the Lectures
Take your phone to the lecture and make an audio recording. There might be something that you missed. Maybe you were too busy taking notes. Maybe there was something you just didn't understand at the time or you were too tired and busy to pay attention.
In any case, recording those lectures will be a great help when it's time to study.
Pick Up a Study Guide
To help you study for those tough critical thinking questions, purchase a study guide.
Some of the best options include Fundamentals of Nursing Made Incredibly Easy (buy here), Pearson Reviews and Rationales: Nursing Fundamentals (buy here), and Fundamentals Success: NCLEX-Style Q&A (buy here).
Join a Study Group
Immerse yourself in the fundamentals by conversing and studying with other students. If there is something you don't understand, ask them, and talk it through.
Study groups will help you to grasp concepts you might not understand on your own.
Talking about recent learnings with other nursing students will also help that information to stick. You're engaging more of your brain. You're talking, listening, imagining, and so you'll be more likely to remember than if you were just reading a book or listening to a lecture.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
Periodically review your notes, listen to audio recordings, read your study guide, and prepare!
The fundamentals of nursing class is not something that you can breeze through following some half-assed study. Take your time, review regularly, test yourself, and get help from other students. Eventually, you'll be ready for those tricky test questions!
How Much Should You Study a Day in Nursing School?
Studying is basically a part-time job for nursing students and you should devote around 4 hours a day to your studies.
Study hard, work hard, pay attention in nursing classes, and you'll be a fully qualified registered nurse in no time.
In addition to the tips outlined above, here are some general study tips to help you through nursing school:
- Set Academic Goals: Where do you want to be, what do you want to achieve, are you doing everything you can to move toward those goals?
- Take Breaks : Don't overdo it and don't try to "cram". If you're staying awake all night staring at textbooks, you might not be absorbing as much information as you think. It's much better to study when you're awake and alert.
- Plan Your Time: Make time for family, friends, hobbies, and work. A structured schedule will ensure you study sufficiently without letting your studies take over your life.
- Know Your Professors: Chat with your professors and learn everything you can from them.
- Practice Self Care: More than half of all nurses experience burnout, and you don't want to join that statistic before you even finish nursing school. Practice self-care by focusing on your physical and emotional health and making time for friends and family.
- Ask for Help: If you don't know something or you're struggling with an area of study, ask for help. There's no shame in not knowing, and you can get assistance from professors and fellow students.
Is Nursing Fundamentals Class Hard?
Fundamentals of nursing class is tough, as it covers many aspects of nursing and requires a variety of skills, including decision making and critical thinking. It's tough, but it's important, and the information you learn when you study for nursing fundamentals will prepare you for this challenging and rewarding career.
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