Sometimes students ask me why I put such a big emphasis on using my study guides. These students occasionally complain that it would just be easier if I explained everything to them. But the truth is that it wouldn’t be easier! It only seems like it would be easier in the short term. In the long run, though, if I just give you the information then you won’t have an in-depth knowledge of it. The dangerous part is that you will feel like you do, though, because you remember understanding the information when you heard it explained.
Let me show you what I mean. Let’s pretend that you signed up for a very difficult mountain climbing competition. It’s not a race. In fact, everyone who gets to the top of the mountain gets a prize! You’ve never been mountain climbing before, but the prize is something that you’ve always wanted, and so you decide to give it a shot. How would you prepare?
One way to prepare is to talk to someone who’s climbed that mountain before. Listen to their advice on how to climb up the mountain, get a list of equipment you’ll need, Maybe you’d even read a book about mountain climbing! Or you could take a helicopter ride up to the top of the mountain so you can get a good view of where you’ll be going. So you do all these things, but you never try to climb the mountain yourself.
Then competition day comes. Do you feel prepared? Of course not! When the officials tell you to start climbing the mountain, you’re not even sure if you have your equipment on correctly. That thought makes you a little nervous, but you did get some great advice from an expert, so you push it out of your mind and figure you will manage. You start up the mountain. Within minutes, you’re out of breath, your hands are scraped and sore, and now you’re sure that you must have put your equipment on wrong somehow. Do you think you’re going to be able to make it up the mountain?
Compare that to one of your competitors. You can see her way ahead of you, and she makes it look easy as she climbs successfully to the top. She read the same books as you, and even talked to the same mountain-climbing expert. But she took it a little further. She built up her endurance and toughened up her hands. She also asked the expert to go with her to the mountain and actually climb the mountain with her. The mountain-climbing expert showed her how to put the equipment on, how to use it, and how to climb the mountain, hand-hold by hand-hold. After your competitor climbed the mountain a few times with the expert, she decided to try it on her own. It was pretty tough and scary, but since she had done it before with someone who knew what they were doing, she knew what to expect and how to do it. In fact, she made sure to climb the mountain several times by herself before the day of the competition. Which mountain-climber would you rather be?
It sounds pretty ridiculous to be unprepared for a mountain-climbing competition. And yet, that’s what nursing students do every day in nursing school. They read the book, they listen to their lectures, but they never do the knowledge for themselves. Which is not surprising, actually, especially if nobody ever taught you HOW to do that, or even told you that you SHOULD be doing it.
So that brings me back to my study guides. I specially design my study guides to teach you how to do nursing information. Not just read it, or listen to it, but do it, and gain mastery of it. Each question builds on the question before it, allowing you to build a strong foundation of nursing knowledge that will still be there on test day. By using my study guides, over time you will learn how to identify the most important nursing information in a chapter, how to integrate it with information you already know, and how to apply it to NCLEX-style questions.
This doesn’t happen overnight. Just like in mountain-climbing, it takes practice, discipline, and practice. Yes, I said practice twice. That’s why it is SO important not to read the answer key until at least the 3rd time you go through my study guides. Because if you go straight to the answer key, rather than trying to discover the information for yourself (see this post for instructions on how you should be using my study guides), then it is like taking the helicopter up the mountain. Sure, you get to see the top of the mountain today, but on test day the helicopter won’t be there. And you will have no idea how you’re going to get from the base of the mountain to the top because you’ve never done it before.
So do yourself a favor, and prepare well for climbing the mountain of nursing school. I’m here to help you however I can, but I can only be your guide. Ultimately, you need to train to be able to succeed for yourself and achieve your goal of becoming a nurse. Good luck, and I’ll see you at the top!