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Maria,

Although I haven't designed study skills workshops specifically for
nursing students, I have worked extensively on an individual basis
with students in our nursing program. What's helped me most in
giving study skills advice has been reviewing tests with students to
identify the sources of their errors. Based on those interactions,
here are a few topics you should emphasize:

1. Time management is a HUGE issue for our nursing students,
many of whom are parents (often single parents) holding down jobs
with odd hours (they're likely to be CNAs).

2. Study groups are an absolute necessity in this program.
Students need to be rehearsing the material actively, honing their
teamwork skills, and combining a little social life with their
academics.

3. The standard suggestions for taking multiple choice tests (e.g.
watch out for absolutes) don't go very far. Students need to be
made aware of the importance of applying concepts to particular
cases, not just memorizing definitions.

4. As they study their texts, they should be particularly alert for
cause-effect and comparison-contrast patterns. What symptoms
are normal for the fourth month of pregnancy and what symptoms
require further testing? What characteristics distinguish a
melanoma from a squamous cell carcinoma? They should also be
thinking about their roles as nurses as related to the roles of other
professionals. These students tend to be warm-hearted,
sympathetic people who easily slip into a counseling role when
their job is supposed to be eliciting or providing factual information
about a patient's condition.

5.  After reviewing their tests with me, most students realize that
they need to study more, study differently, and/or read the test
questions more analytically in order to succeed. Still, stress
management and test anxiety are important concerns to address.

Hope this helps.

Sue Wickham
Des Moines Area Community College