An example of how to study in nursing school (Sinusitis!)(Episode 48-Navigating Nursing School Podcast)

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Hello, all you wonderful nursing students and pre nursing students. This is Nicole Whitworth with Your Nursing Tutor. I wanted to get on today to share with you something that is going on in my life right now. And it is the common cold. 

It’s not COVID I got tested, I’m fine. Okay, it’s just a real legitimate cold, those do still happen. So I didn’t write out notes for this, because it was just something I kind of spontaneously was thinking about. But I wanted to show you how even something like the common cold can help you study for nursing school. 

And it’s also a perfect example of why the way that you study for nursing school is SO important to making nursing school easier, and for making sure that things like how you do on tests, and how easy or hard tests are, makes a difference.


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Links from Episode 48:

VIP Tutoring Membership (www.YourNursingTutor.com/vip): Get the affordable tutoring support you need to finally transform all your hard work into grades that you can be proud of.

Tutor On-Call Program (www.YourNursingTutor.com/tutor-on-call): All the benefits of the VIP Tutoring Membership, PLUS 24/7 access to ask a Professional Nursing Tutor all your questions via voice/text messaging. Limited Spots available, but you can join the waitlist to be notified as soon as there are openings.

Free Facebook Group: Nursing Students in Nursing School, (Free Help and Support)


Transcript for Episode 48

Hello, all you wonderful nursing students and pre nursing students. This is Nicole Whitworth with Your Nursing Tutor. I wanted to get on today to share with you something that is going on in my life right now. And it is the common cold. 

It’s not COVID I got tested, I’m fine. Okay, it’s just a real legitimate cold, those do still happen. So I didn’t write out notes for this, because it was just something I kind of spontaneously was thinking about. But I wanted to show you how even something like the common cold can help you study for nursing school. 

And it’s also a perfect example of why the way that you study for nursing school is SO important to making nursing school easier, and for making sure that things like how you do on tests, and how easy or hard tests are, makes a difference.

Okay. So I have a cold. I was not the first one in my family to get a cold. I have six kids in my family, me and my husband. And so one of my kids, I don’t even remember which kid got a cold first, and I knew it was coming for me. 

After a few days, sure enough, I started feeling the scratchy throat, the dripping in the back of my throat. By the end of the day, my husband was also feeling it and we both got a good night’s sleep. 

My husband woke up, and he was feeling much better by the end of that second day. However, I’m still pretty congested, not feeling the greatest, I went to bed early again. By the time I got up the next morning, oh my goodness! My head hurt so bad. I had pressure especially on the right side, my right eye hurt. If you palpated my lymph nodes under my neck, my right one in particular was very swollen. And my molars, my molars hurt when I bit down. And it was not a dental problem, it was pressure. 

If you’re not thinking this yet, I’m going to help you out. I’m thinking sinus infection, at the very least sinus pressure, even if it’s not to the point of infection, but like Sinusitis, right? “-Itis” means inflammation. So sinus-itis would be inflammation of the sinuses, and I had all the signs and symptoms of it. 

So this is what I wanted to tell you today: when you are studying your different disorders for nursing school, it’s not a good idea to try to compartmentalize everything. When you try to do that, you’re going to struggle on your tests and exams, and you’re not going to get good grades. Your grades are not going to be a reflection of how much hard work and effort you’ve actually put into it and how much you really know. 

Because when you think about the common cold and sinusitis, they’re very much related. You don’t have to study them as if they’re separate things. They’re both caused by the same virus. What happens is it comes into your body, it activates your immune system, you need to know the A&P of your immune system in order to know what’s going on and what it’s doing. And that’s related to inflammation. 

Inflammation is part of your immune system. If you didn’t know that, you need to review your A&P. It’s not always a bad thing, it’s just when inflammation gets out of control, then it can be a bad thing. 

Now, the other part of that is the mucus production, which is also part of your immune system response. And so when we have this virus, and you know all these things, because you know all the symptoms of a cold, right? You’ve had, who knows how many colds in your life. But when you take those cold symptoms, and you transfer it now to sinusitis, so what happened? The same exact virus that was causing my common cold symptoms just happened to get a foothold in my sinuses. And so because of this, it caused inflammation and caused an immune response in my sinus area, right? 

So that means there’s going to be more mucus, it means there’s going to be inflammation. Now, if that inflammation happens in the parts of the sinus that are usually able to drain, then we’re gonna have the problems that I had, right? So, again, another piece of A&P that’s good to know is your bone anatomy and physiology because you need to understand the sinuses, and what role they play, and where they’re at in your head and things like that. 

So when the sinuses become full of the mucus, which is part of your immune response, because my virus has now taken hold in that part of my head, then it’s fine. It’s not that big a deal if the mucus can drain out. 

However, when you also get the inflammation, then it kind of creates this bottleneck. And so then the mucus either gets produced at a higher rate than it can exit, OR it gets blocked all together. And in those cases, that’s when you start to feel the pressure. And when the pressure gets too much, you feel the pain. 

Because the sinuses are supposed to be full of air, right? But it’s just like anything. If you try to overfill a balloon, it’s going to get more and more tense until it finally pops. 

Now, hopefully your sinuses won’t pop. Hopefully mine won’t pop. But that’s what’s happening on a physiological level. That’s like the pathophysiology. So you have to know the normal, so that you can understand what’s going on that’s abnormal, and where things are breaking. 

So in this case, my body’s doing exactly what it’s supposed to be doing. But because of WHERE it’s happening, and the RATE at which it’s happening, it’s causing some pathophysiology. It’s causing sinusitis, and these symptoms that I’m experiencing. 

So what did I do about it? Okay, now, here’s where, again, nursing students often go wrong with their studying. They just look at sinusitis, and they say, Okay, well, I’ve memorized what Sinusitis is. I’ve memorized what the symptoms are. 

But notice, I didn’t even memorize what we’ve been talking about. I was just drawing it out based on what we knew about normal anatomy and physiology. So I just understand it, I’m never gonna forget that. Somebody could come and tell me they have sinusitis, and I could just rattle off what they need to do about it, because I’m understanding the foundational baselines. 

But when we get to this point, what are we gonna do about it? Now, we got to say, instead of trying to memorize it, we can still understand it. Since we understand how it’s supposed to normally work, and we understand the root cause of what’s REALLY going on with sinusitis, then I knew, what I should probably do is go ahead and take some ibuprofen. 

And why ibuprofen? Here’s some pharmacology for you, because it’s an anti-inflammatory. So if my symptoms are being caused by the inflammation that’s blocking the drainage, then if I took an anti inflammatory, it’s going to make it easier for my sinuses to drain, which is going to relieve the pressure in my sinuses, which is going to help my immune system to clear out the infection faster, number one. And then also to relieve the pain and the other symptoms that I’m having. It’s also a pain reliever. So you know, it’ll help with the pain that way too. But I definitely wanted it for its anti-inflammatory process.

And then, of course, your basic things like rest. I did some essential oils, too, that helped open up the airway. And some other just homecare measures. I took a steamy bath, because the warm steam can help open up the airways and the nasal passages. It can also help to liquefy the mucus a little bit and get it moving because of osmosis. So it’s easier for me to blow out my nose, and get it out of my body that way too. Because the mucus is a waste product from your immune system. So you DO want to get it out. 

So it’s important when you’re studying that you always think about it as a story. Think about how the steps connect to one another. That’s how you remember it. That’s how it stays with you. I hear a lot of students say how do I memorize? 

Well, you memorize the basic stuff, you understand the rest. This is what I mean. This is why I teach students to use the Silver Bullet Study System in my VIP Tutoring Membership. Because this is how you can retain it and understand it in an easy method. 

So my Silver Bullet Study System has four steps. And I actually just walked you through all four steps for sinusitis. And you know what, this is not only going to help you to understand colds and sinusitis. Because guess what else a cold can cause or lead to? It can lead to bronchitis, and it can lead to pneumonia. Right? Those are just two examples of things that can happen. Now are bronchitis and pneumonia two entirely separate things that you have to study completely independently? No! They are a natural progression of a cold, just like Sinusitis is. 

Then Pneumonia is literally inflammation of the lungs. We were just talking about inflammation. Inflammation is a normal part of our immune response. So a lot of the things that we just talked about with sinusitis, you can apply to pneumonia as well. 

Bronchitis. Do you hear “-itis” at the end of bronchitis? Yeah, you should, because that’s also the root word ending that indicates inflammation. We’re talking about inflammation, again, with bronchitis. And what can that do in the airway? 

Now the different symptoms are based on where in your body this inflammation is happening for these particular examples that I’m sharing with you. And so that’s why they might seem like they have slightly different symptoms. But if you understand the root causes, the symptoms just make sense, right? Because it just depends on where the inflammation happens, but the real root cause, or the real symptom, I should say, is the inflammation. And then just depending on where the inflammation is, is the symptom that we would observe in the patient on the outside. And then from there, we would want to choose nursing care that would address the root cause or relieve some of the discomfort. 

If you would love to learn more about the Silver Bullet Study System and how to break things down like this for yourself to make it easier to study and save you time, and to really learn to think like a nurse quicker, and easier and faster while you’re still in nursing school, so that you can get better grades, make better clinical decisions, and just overall feel a lot more confident as a nursing student before you ever even start your first nursing job. 

You can come find me at www.yournursingtutor.com I have a lot of free resources. I have a blog. You might be listening to this on the podcast, obviously I have a podcast. And there’s lots of freebies. I help students with dosage calculations, I help them learn how to study. I provide live tutoring sessions. 

But I just want you to learn how to think like a nurse, because you don’t need more gimmicky test strategies to help you do better on your tests. You just need to learn how to think about the information in a way that the right answers will start jumping out at you on tests, and I promise you that can happen. 

So anyway, that’s my story for today.

Connect with me there, and I also have a free Facebook group that’s called “Nursing Students in Nursing School (Free Help and Support)” that I’d love for you to join me in. 

And until next time, good luck on your nursing journey!

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