My 2 Favorite Tips for Studying and Taking Nursing Exams (RN)

by Elizabeth Russ, FNP

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    00:01 Friends. Have you met Prof.

    00:03 Lawes? This is Prof.

    00:05 Lawes. She is the most wonderful human behind a lot of the nursing content here at Lecturio. And she explains nursing, honestly, in ways that are so clear and simple to understand that it actually sticks in your brain.

    00:17 It's like magic.

    00:18 She has a whole beautiful course on Lecturio covering how to study, how to learn and how to approach things like exam questions.

    00:26 And I could never explain it as well as her.

    00:28 She has her doctorate in how to do these things, so I'm going to give you my two favorite tips from her course in this entire section, and then you can head over to her full playlist for the rest.

    00:38 It's wonderful. She's the best.

    00:41 Go head over there now or after this.

    00:43 Whatever you want. Let's start studying with my two favorite tips.

    00:47 When you are studying, every time you learn something, I want you to think in terms of safety. Let's say you learn about a new blood pressure medicine.

    00:55 Take a moment and write down what safety implications can apply to the blood pressure med you just learned about, and go find the information if you don't know it.

    01:04 Does the BP med lower blood pressure? Okay, great. So, what would the patient look like if they experienced side effects of this medication? How would you spot that? What happens if someone's blood pressure drops too much after they take the medicine? Should we be educating the patient that they need to sit at the side of the bed for a few minutes before standing because the blood is not going to, you know, we're forcing the blood pressure down, so it's not going to compensate and they might get too dizzy and they would fall.

    01:30 What is a normal blood pressure for this patient? And how would I know if I should hold the med? Because there, something else is going on, and I probably shouldn't give this.

    01:38 Go find that information.

    01:40 Start trying to take every fun fact you learn and search for the safety fun facts associated with them.

    01:47 It's going to seem really tedious at first, but this is how nursing school exams work. They don't ask you, "Hey, what does this blood pressure medicine do?" They ask, "Hey, would you worry if your patient had these vitals and you were supposed to give this med? How would you proceed?" Nursing school's goal, Just like the NCLEX's goal, is to make sure that you are a safe nurse.

    02:08 So, instead of showing up on test day with a giant list of random facts in your mind and struggling to connect those random facts to safety facts, make connections early and easily while studying in your pajamas in the comfort of your own home, where your brain doesn't feel like it's fighting a hangry bear and you can actually use the logic part of your brain.

    02:28 Remember when we talked about that? So learn a fact, turn it into a safety fun fact, and move on.

    02:35 The more you do this, the more your brain will naturally make those connections for you because that path is already forged and linking safety implications and facts will become faster, more natural, and something that your brain kind of starts to do automatically when facing the nursing school bear.

    02:50 And if we can decrease stress when facing the nursing school bear, our brains are happier. We are happier.

    02:56 Now, for my favorite test tip that I have stolen from Prof.

    03:01 Lawes, we're going to talk about how to approach our favorite exam questions: Choose all that apply.

    03:07 Do some of you feel that you are facing the nursing school bear stress, just looking at those words? Because it's been a long time since I've seen one of those questions in real life, and I feel the panic.

    03:17 I graduated over a decade ago.

    03:19 So when you're tackling these questions, you want to find a unified approach that you can use every single time so that a pattern and a routine is developed.

    03:27 Because, remember, patterns are going to be the key to success in the long term.

    03:31 Start by identifying the setting of the question.

    03:34 What's happening here? Who is the question about? What is the medical situation in question? What is the diagnosis or the safety concern being presented? And do note here: you haven't looked at the answers yet, or even the question as a whole yet. We are literally just reading the situation.

    03:51 Now I want you to channel your inner dark cloud.

    03:54 What is the worst case scenario we could pick for this particular patient in this particular setting, with this particular diagnosis? Write those down.

    04:04 Patient with type one diabetes in the E.R., coming in with a blood pressure of 23.

    04:08 Worst case scenario.

    04:10 Oh, just coma and death.

    04:11 Not good. How are we going to prevent that? Now, what can we possibly fix to make this person better? To avoid that outcome? This is where our safety fun facts come in.

    04:20 Apply the setting, the resources that are going to be at hand in that setting and get started. We need to increase the blood sugar while also providing insulin to the body so that it can use the blood sugar.

    04:29 Since people with type one diabetes don't make insulin.

    04:31 We should also monitor for seizures since those can happen too.

    04:34 So go grab some seizure pads, assess mental status, protect the airway maybe, and set up suction. All of these are safety things.

    04:41 All of these are safety fun facts that immediately come to your mind because you've already formed those pathways while you're studying.

    04:48 And now that we know where we're going to go, where we don't want to go, and what safety procedures we should be considering during all of this, we can actually read the questions.

    04:57 And we can kind of read them almost as true and false questions.

    05:00 Read A. A says to give glucagon alone.

    05:03 But we know that they, because they have type one diabetes, they don't produce insulin. So we also need to give that.

    05:08 So A is wrong, because, cross it off.

    05:11 Now let's move on to B.

    05:12 We don't have to revisit A ever again.

    05:13 This is going to help decrease the stress of moving backwards and go through each and every question like it's a true and false.

    05:20 Going back to is this true for this patient in this setting to keep them from the worst case scenario? What is the safest? This will help it be less overwhelming and will reduce the feeling of like, "Oh my gosh, I don't know what I should go back and do.

    05:32 Like maybe it's A and B and C, but I might go back and change my answer." And this is really the worst because you crossed it off.

    05:37 You already know conclusively, I don't need to go back.

    05:41 And that is all I have for you in terms of my Prof.

    05:44 Lawes' teachings. Honestly, she is a magician.

    05:46 I have learned, like, the most cool stuff from watching her lectures, and I cannot encourage you enough to go back and watch her series teaching your brain how to learn to save yourself so much time and energy in the long run, so you're working with it and not against it. So, go check that out.

    06:01 And then when you're done, head back here for our next topic: How to stay focused, which might be the most ironic one that I've ever presented yet.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture My 2 Favorite Tips for Studying and Taking Nursing Exams (RN) by Elizabeth Russ, FNP is from the course Didactic Classes Tips (RN).

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Turn facts into safety facts.
    2. Treat every question as a true and false question.
    3. Memorize every fact.
    4. Don't dissect facts or questions.
    5. Identify the setting of the question when taking exams.

    Author of lecture My 2 Favorite Tips for Studying and Taking Nursing Exams (RN)

     Elizabeth Russ, FNP

    Elizabeth Russ, FNP

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