how to think like a nurse in nursing school

how to think like a nurse in nursing school

Learn the process, don’t memorize the facts

You need to understand the process. One of my favorite questions to ask nursing students is, “Why do you want to be a nurse?” The #1 answer is almost always some version of “Because I like helping people.” In order to help people, it helps to have a good understanding of the basics: how the body works when it is healthy and what goes wrong during illness and disease.

In nursing school, you will learn about all kinds of diseases and disorders. You will learn about signs, symptoms, treatments. You will learn which tests are ordered for which conditions and why those tests are ordered. But what you may not realize until later in your career that knowing each individual fact isn’t nearly as valuable as understanding the process behind them.

You don’t need to memorize every drug or lab test associated with diabetes or asthma or other common diagnoses but you do need to know the basic pathophysiology behind these conditions (What happens in a patient’s body that causes these symptoms?) You then can apply that knowledge as new drugs come out or new tests become available by thinking through how they might help treat your patient’s condition based on your understanding of pathophysiology

Find common threads

So, how do you find common threads?

Take a look at your study materials.

Make a list of the most important ideas hidden in them.

Extract these concepts and group them into clusters of commonalities.

Your goal is to create themes that help you make sense of all the information that’s being thrown at you. Suddenly, subjects that once seemed unrelated fall under the umbrella of a central topic. These themes become your guiding light—a way to connect seemingly conflicting ideas, so you can make sense of what is being taught. They provide structure for thinking about complex subjects when memorizing facts simply isn’t enough.Once you have your clusters, put them to work for you. Don’t just blindly memorize facts about topics; instead ask yourself, “What does this mean? How does it relate to other content? What are its implications for practice? How might I be tested on this material?”

Focus on synthesis

The nursing profession is based on a systematic approach to care. Nursing is founded on the philosophy that all people are born with the desire and ability to maintain optimal health.

While you’re in school, you may feel like you’re only memorizing facts, but your instructors are teaching you how to think like a nurse in everything they do. This process is called critical thinking.

Don’t compromise your creativity

Don’t compromise your creativity.

You want to be a nurse because it involves caring for people and using your mind in interesting ways. It’s not a desk job, and that’s what makes it exciting.

That being said, the creative mindset is one of the most valuable assets you can take into the field of nursing. If you have this ability, then you have a clear advantage over other students who just get by with doing only what they are told while they are in school.

During your coursework and clinical experiences, try to think creatively at every opportunity: When there are problems, look for solutions that don’t involve just following procedure or doing what everyone else is doing. Keep an eye out for new information about things like medications or treatments and share them with your instructors or preceptors if appropriate. Be willing to ask questions about why things are done a certain way–and be prepared to offer alternatives if you think you know better (but don’t be arrogant). The more experience you get thinking on your feet and coming up with actions instead of simply reacting to events, the faster you will build up this important skill.

Notice patterns in yourself and your patients.

The nursing process is a problem solving framework used to look at problems and intervene. It is meant to keep you safe and the patient safe. The steps are Assessment, Diagnosis, Outcome Identification, Planning, Implementation and Evaluation. Nurses use this system to help them think through a problem from beginning to end so that no steps are missed. This process helps you think critically about how your decisions impact the patient’s care and safety as well as what evidence you used to make those decisions.

Pay attention to what you need to change.

Think about what you did well. What could be better? We all have areas we can improve upon in everything we do, and nursing is no different. Even if you feel like you rocked an exam or did a great job at clinicals that day, there’s always something to work on. Sometimes it’s obvious what needs improvement. Other times, you may need a friend to point it out for you.

Ask for help! Don’t be afraid of asking your friends, classmates (good ones anyway), teachers, preceptors and others for feedback and advice about how to get better next time. Ask for pointers on how to study more effectively or how to approach the instructor with questions before the next test or assignment without sounding stupid. Picking up new habits early on can make a huge impact down the road when things get tough and studying gets harder!

Be open-minded! You don’t have to do things exactly like everyone else does them. Don’t be afraid of trying out new approaches and ideas – just because someone else doesn’t use flashcards doesn’t mean they can’t work well for you – because sometimes being different pays off in unexpected ways!

Don’t put yourself down just because nursing is hard or seems impossible right now.

Nursing school is difficult and it will take a lot of work from you, but as long as you push yourself to continue learning and don’t give up on yourself, you’ll be able to achieve your goal of becoming a nurse. You may make mistakes along the way, but they will only improve your knowledge and skills in the long run. Remember that what makes a great nurse is not just the ability to complete nursing tasks correctly or remember lots of information, but being able to care for patients effectively and confidently.

It can be hard not to put yourself down when nursing feels impossible right now (and it will). In those moments when you feel like giving up – whether that’s after receiving an exam result lower than expected or making a mistake while practicing on your assigned patient – remind yourself that this is all part of becoming a good nurse. The experience will make you better at time management, more confident in clinical settings and better at caring for patients properly.

You may feel like there are times when it seems like no one else understands exactly how much work goes into nursing school, but as I have said before, everyone you know went through something similar in their student lives whether they were aiming for an academic career or applying for an apprenticeship because everyone struggles sometimes – even nurses! But if there ever comes a time where it does seem too much to handle on your own then don’t forget about those around who want nothing more than too help out; friends and family members might be further away physically but they can still offer support over the phone which goes without saying how much easier coping would become if someone was there close by who understood everything that was going through our mind during these difficult times.

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