Friday, February 24, 2006

Top Tips for New Students

I have updated my web page again with tips I hope will help out the newbie students. If you ahve any tips to share please leave as a comment and I will add them to my web site.

1. Do your readings - Make sure you read through your lecture notes and do the required readings before going to the lectures, tutorials or labs. I can almost hear the lecturers cheering this one! Believe me you will be able to keep up much better with the content covered and you will have more time to listen and add to your notes.

2. Groups - Form study groups with people with similar interests to you. Try to make sure that the people in the group have similar expectations and commitment levels. When you are working on assignments split up the task load and share your resources. When you are being assessed as groups try to pick groups where you can trust that each member will contribute.

3. Research - Remember that just because something is written in a book or a journal doesn't make it right! When you are gathering information don't automatically assume that it is fact just because it has been published. Make sure that the source is reputable and current, also compare and contrast the information to other reputable sources before deciding if it is right to use.

4. Attend - There is nothing like being there! Go to as many lecturers, tutes and labs as you possibly can. The notes provided over the web will not be enough if you want to do well. It has been my experience that the lecturers provide hints to the exams all the way through the course, not to mention the content is often delivered by way of stories and experiences which make it much easier to remember later on.

5. Exam Preparation - Start early!!! I use a small exercise book and start a "glossary" from the very beginning of the course. To this glossary I add definitions and content covered in lectures that strikes me as important. When you are starting out it is often difficult to know what is important, so while you will have to decide this for yourself try adding things that are mentioned a few times in lecture notes. Some lecturers will cover important topics in the next lecture as "revision" this may be a hint that the topic is important and should be studied. Some lecturers will also give away subtle or obvious hints in their lectures that you can add to your glossary. Then when it comes to studying for your exam you should have a good place to start.

6. Notebooks for prac - If you are dreading trying to remember all the important stuff when you go out on prac try putting together a notebook to carry in your pocket. The sort of information you might find useful in these is common abbreviations, reference ranges for vital signs and common drug information. If you use an alphabetised book finding your information quickly will be easy.

7. Prac - If you are dreading prac in general try to relax and enjoy the experience. Easier said than done! I still have anxiety about prac but that usually subsides by the time I actually finish my first shift. Prac is an essential component of learning and provides invaluable experience. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself and seek guidance from your experienced RN's or your facilitator when you need it. Don't forget that you can always contact the Uni if you have problems when on prac. Try not to wish away your prac experience ("I wish it was over!!!"), enjoy the learning experience because it won't be long till you enter the workforce as an RN and will need all the experience you can get for the transition.

8. Lecturers - Ask questions if you don't understand and seek assistance early if you have problems. Asking for help the day before the assignment is due in is not going to work.

9. Get involved in the University Community - Get involved in what's going on around the University. Start building your personal resume early by being active and involved.

10. Enjoy the experience! It might just change your life


Jo said...

Great Tips!

Catepillar RN said...

Good list :) Showing up, practice and preparation are crucial. Also, crucial are taking things one day at a time and learning how to organize yourself. Organization not only applies to the bookwork but will touch all aspects of your nursing practice! Last but not least, know how you learn best and exploit that! I HATED "flash cards" so I made "study sheets" and I was able to retain the information much better in that format. Sounds odd but I am a visual learner so it worked well for me. Whatever it is, find out and build upon it!