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Memory Mastery: Pause and Recall, Concept Maps, Chunking (Nursing)

by Rhonda Lawes

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    00:00 Okay, now, I want to give you one strategy that you can use while you're studying.

    00:05 In fact, I recommend that you do it every time you study to help you with the mastery.

    00:09 It's called pause and recall.

    00:11 I want you to read and expose yourself to a concept and then literally look away.

    00:16 Look away from your notes and try and recall key points about that concept.

    00:20 See, when you start looking in other ways, you're kind of engaging other parts of your brain.

    00:25 You're stopping and trying to remember what you're talking about.

    00:28 I always recommend that students ask two questions.

    00:31 One, why would a nurse need to know this? And two, how would it help keep a patient safe? So when I read something about, let's say, CHF, I know that CHF causes fluid volume overload, right? Why I would need to know that is because I want to keep my patients safe.

    00:50 I want to prevent them from getting into so much overload, they have pulmonary edema.

    00:55 So, as I'm reading about CHF or symptoms of any disease, I want to be thinking, “Why does a nurse need to know this?” Ah, so I know what the worst thing is that could happen to a patient.

    01:05 I'll recognize the symptoms and say, "My patient is starting to get into trouble, and I know what to do.” So stop, pause, and recall. You need to look away from your notes.

    01:15 If you're spending all your time studying, just reading of your notes, reading of your notes, reading of your notes, you're not making it your own.

    01:22 We want to get that to a point where it goes into your brain in a way that you can recall it.

    01:26 Now, some of you have asked me questions about concept maps.

    01:29 I don't think concept maps are the best at the earliest stages of learning, or if you're using them, make them very simple because sometimes you guys make those concept maps very complicated.

    01:41 Now, I want to tell you, I am a fan of concept maps.

    01:45 But sometimes I've seen them use that were so tedious, they overwhelmed me.

    01:49 In fact, I had a student walk into my office and he unrolled a concept map all the way across my desk.

    01:55 It filled my whole desk. It was their care plan as a concept map.

    02:00 I looked at it and they got a really good grade.

    02:02 But it stressed me out so much, my armpit started to sweat, and my heart started to race.

    02:07 I looked at the student and I said, “I can't tell what's wrong with your patient here.

    02:12 Can you tell me what's wrong with your patient? What were their main problems?" You know what the student said? Her eyes filled up with tears and she said, “Prof Lawes, I don't know. Can you help me?” I was like, “Whoa!” We are doing concept maps wrong when they can be as big as my desk with a thousand different relationships but it doesn't do anything to simplify the concept.

    02:35 So when you're using concept maps, I want you to think it needs to simplify the concept and you need to have clear direction on what the relationships are.

    02:45 But don't overwhelm yourself to the point of tears. That's not helpful.

    02:50 So concept maps might be helpful after you've done some significant amount of chunking.

    02:53 I'll tell you what that word means in just a little bit.

    02:56 Now some of you hang out with videos and I love videos obviously, particularly Lecturio videos.

    03:02 So make sure you check those out to help you with your learning.

    03:05 Now, we're going to show you some examples of things that students have used that they found helpful.

    03:10 Now, there's all different kinds of varieties.

    03:12 The only reason we're talking about these different things is because I want to show you that concept maps that work for your brain are the ones that you should use.

    03:21 Don't look at other people's concept maps and just try to copy them.

    03:24 The magic of concept maps is the mental gymnastics that your brain does to create the concept maps.

    03:32 That's the beauty of it, not looking at someone else's, not copying something else's.

    03:37 But the work that your brain does to identify the relationships between things, that's where you start making that information really your own.

    03:47 Now, when you look up on the screen, you're going to see tons of side effects of corticosteroids, right? You got a full screenful. I look at that and my eyes just glaze over.

    03:57 I just think, “I don't want to do this. This is horrible.

    04:00 This is this miserable.” Whoa! Stop and catch what that is.

    04:04 I can do this. I can handle it. I can push through.

    04:08 But I am memorizing this whole list, what can I do? Well, let's talk about your memory.

    04:15 You have short-term memory, working memory, and long memory.

    04:20 Now, when I see a list like those corticosteroids, I have to do something else to kind of group information together, to chunk things together.

    04:29 I use a really consistent framework in my world, right? I use head to toe.

    04:34 So when I looked at these side effects of corticosteroids, I've made some hand motions with it.

    04:39 Now, you may not like doing stuff like that.

    04:42 But when you group like things together, it can help you remember.

    04:45 So I do some things when I teach students where I go moon face, facial hair, mood swings, buffalo hump, right? So I start grouping the side effects.

    04:55 I have a whole little dance that goes with it.

    04:57 Now, you may hate that stuff and you may find it silly.

    05:00 But when I had to learn to teach it to students, I needed to do something so I could do that without reading a PowerPoint slide to them.

    05:08 I found out that it stuck in students’ brains too.

    05:11 So I'm not saying that you have to do hand motions when you're trying to look at information from all different angles.

    05:16 But movement is sometimes really good for all of you.

    05:19 So if you're a kinesthetic learner, a moving learner if you like that, if you like those types of learning styles, you may try listening to things while you're running or walking on the treadmill or doing any other kind of activity.

    05:30 But the point I want to take away from here is we're not teaching about corticosteroids.

    05:34 We're saying when you're staring at a list that seems impossible, you have to look for ways to group like items together, that's what chunking is, so that you can remember them more clearly.

    05:45 So I do a whole head to toe thing. I'll spare you from that now.

    05:49 But that really works with things like big, long lists.

    05:52 Short-term memory has a really short lifespan, like less than a minute, maybe 20-30 seconds.

    05:58 So like if you gave me a word to remember, I can remember it for a short period of time.

    06:03 But if I don't do anything with it, I'm going to lose it in like less than a minute because anything in my short-term memory needs manipulation in the working memory to encode it and save it.

    06:14 So if you gave me a word, if you just said a word and I was like okay and I didn't think about it again, you asked me what the word was and be like, “Ah, I'm sorry. I don't remember.” But if you give me a word and I repeat it to myself, or for me if I squeeze my toe in my shoe, that's attaching something else to it, then I'm using that in my working memory.

    06:34 So we used to think that you could remember like seven big pieces of information.

    06:38 Now, we found out four.

    06:40 Yes, we can juggle four chunks of information at a time.

    06:44 So that's why chunking like groups of information can be really helpful but you need rehearsal.

    06:50 So you tell me something once. I chunk things together.

    06:54 Then I have to rehearse it. I need to do something with it.

    06:57 I need to read it to myself, say it in my head, look at it from a different angle.

    07:00 That's what rehearsal is.

    07:01 It needs active maintenance of these memories so I don't forget them.

    07:05 You know if you gave me a phone number, I automatically know about the area code and the numbers.

    07:09 I look for relationships amongst them.

    07:11 I rehearse the number, rehearse the number, rehearse the number because it's like a personal whiteboard.

    07:16 Short-term memory, I got to do something or it disappears in less than a minute.

    07:20 Working memory is like a personal whiteboard.

    07:22 I have a shorter period of time than long-term memory or it's going to be erased just like that whiteboard.

    07:29 So when you're studying, cramming something, or looking at key points is not going to last for you.

    07:35 You've got to look at that key information, then you've got to do something with it.

    07:39 Rewrite it in your own handwriting.

    07:41 You know, I see students in class like this, they're just typing.

    07:45 Hey, that really doesn't help you as much as stopping and thinking, “Why am I writing what I'm writing? Why is it important?” Not just trying to be like a transcriptionist in a courtroom.

    07:57 So we've talked about short-term memory, working memory.

    08:00 Now let's talk about long-term memory.

    08:02 Aha! Look at this - capacity unlimited.

    08:07 Now, we have different types of memory, declarative, which are facts, knowledge, or experience.

    08:12 We've got procedural stuff like it's how to do something.

    08:15 But these could be stored forever once we successfully get them into our long-term memory.

    08:20 Our hippocampus is the catalyst. That's a cool part of your brain.

    08:23 But we have storage in various places of your cortex.

    08:26 There's even an MIT study that found out very specific neurons remember specific memories.

    08:32 Okay, so you have an amazing resource.

    08:35 Every one of you watching this video has the ability to do this but it takes effort.

    08:41 You can't just try and cram things (short term memory), or maybe study a little more than that (working memory).

    08:46 You've got to do the things that keeps the information practiced and rehearsed in your brain, so you have long-term memory.

    08:53 That way when you're studying, you'll be able to recall the previous information that you've studied that when you're taking a test or what I care about taking care of a patient, you'll remember what's the appropriate thing to do to keep them safe.

    09:07 So when you're chunking, remember, this is how to get the most out of your short-term memory.

    09:11 Group information, break up long and complicated strings of information.

    09:16 It will be much easier to commit to long-term memory than this just big, old, long list that won't stay with you for very long.

    09:22 So chunking is a critically important skill.

    09:26 We've talked about pause and recall.

    09:28 And chunking is another important studying type skill.

    09:31 Make sure you're focused and you limit distractions when you're chunking and you understand the basic idea, how these pieces fit together because you need the context of the ideas that you're studying.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Memory Mastery: Pause and Recall, Concept Maps, Chunking (Nursing) by Rhonda Lawes is from the course Jumpstart Your Study Skills (Nursing). It contains the following chapters:

    • Pause and Recall
    • Concept Maps
    • Memory
    • Short-term Memory
    • Working Memory
    • Long-term Memory
    • Chunking

    Author of lecture Memory Mastery: Pause and Recall, Concept Maps, Chunking (Nursing)

     Rhonda Lawes

    Rhonda Lawes


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