I co-teach a Nursing Success Strategies class with a nurse and a
math/'science tutor.

The major pieces for nurses are:

1. Cornell notetaking - with test questions (not just topic headings) in the
left hand recall column.  Students soon learn that the nursing tests ALL come
from the learning objective. If there is not an objective, then they don't
test on it. What soon appears in the left hand column of their notes IS the
questions for the learning objectives. Once they make this connection, then
studying is much more focused.

For those of you who have not experience the learning objectives in the
nursing program,  well - let's just say that our syllabus is 3 inches thick
and costs $12!

2. How to read technical material - the Med Surg book is 5 inches thick and
very dense reading. They need to know when to scan for the whole picture and
when to slow down for dense material. The most important thing for them to do
 is to figure out how much time it takes from them to read in this text. I
usually have them do 15 minutes of reading and count the pages. Then they
have to extrapolate how many pages are assigned and how many hours they will
have to set aside each week for reading ONLY. Along about 7 week of term, the
times are running 48 hours of reading!!!

3. Test Analysis. We use the Loma Linda School of Nursing Analysis matrix.
80% of the testing problems are testing skills, anxiety, etc. Only 20% are
content specific. I have the student who study together review the test with
me. They can't argue the answers. I'm not the nurse!  However, I can
frequently tell the category of difficulty. Primarily, it is critical
reading.  Students who study together should have the same answers. But they
don't! So if one student gets it wrong, I have the student who got it right
explain it to her!!! The goal is that during the term they should be helping
each to get the right answers.

If it is a content question, then they take this back to their clinical

Another area of difficulty is the application questions. Typically first term
is primarily knowledge and comprehension questions. Whereas the beginning of
second term, they get all application questions. Mr. IM Dead had this pulse
rate and the IV was this and the drug on hand was this, but the doctor
ordered... what is the correct dosage ...

Students need to know HOW to study for application questions. They need to be
making up little scenarios about the material that they are studying AHEAD of

As student frequently said, "But I didn't study Mr. IM DEAD. What page was he

Lucy MacDonald
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