3 things every pre-nursing student should do before starting core nursing classes (Episode 75-Navigating Nursing School Podcast)

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There are 3 things I recommend that EVERY student should do before starting your core nursing classes. Are you a pre-nursing student who is starting this summer or fall? Then you still have time to do these things! Are you a current nursing student wondering if you checked these important topics off your “to do” list? It’s not too late to find out in today’s podcast episode!

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Transcript for Episode 75

A quick message from Nurse Nicole. Before we jump into the episode today, I wanted to give you a heads up that for the summer, we’re going to be cutting back on our podcast episodes. Instead of publishing a weekly episode, we’re going to move to once a month, still going to be putting out the content to help you get through nursing school and still thrive while doing it. But we just needed to take a little bit of a break over the summer to enjoy time with our family and our six kids and do some traveling. And also we’re preparing some new surprises for this for the fall with our VIP tutoring membership and we want to make sure that we’re able to serve all of the wonderful members in our membership, which we would love to have you join if you would like to this summer and be able to roll out some amazing new things this fall as well. So just wanted to give you a heads up if you don’t see us every week like you’re used to do not worry. We will still be there monthly and hoping to pick up a weekly schedule later on again this year. 

It’s May and this is the time of year where we’re kind of in that weird overlap space in nursing school, especially for me as a professional nursing tutor. Because there are a lot of students who have just graduated and now they are looking to face NCLEX in the next weeks or months. And I want to share real quick, I wasn’t planning on saying this. So here you go, surprise announcement, I’m actually negotiating, I’m like working with a nursing instructor who is an absolute expert at helping students who have failed NCLEX. To pass. And so we’re working together to come up with something. So if you’re in a situation where you have failed NCLEX in the past, even if it’s been a long time, okay, even if you graduated years and years ago, and have never been able to pass NCLEX. That’s what she specializes in. So even if it’s just been once that you failed NCLEX and it’s only a week ago, you know, she can help you too. If you’re interested in that, make sure you get on my email list at your nursing tutor.com, you can go to the show notes page for this episode 75. Because that’s where I will be announcing it as soon as we have the final details plan. So I wasn’t, I wasn’t intending to say that today on the podcast. So you guys just got a little sneak peek. But anyway, that’s one of the things is people preparing for NCLEX. And then we have people who are students who are in the middle of their nursing school journey where they are on break for the summer. And so sometimes you just want to kick back and not think about nursing school, and try to avoid the anxiety of thinking about forgetting any of that information. And then there’s other people who are maybe in an accelerated program, or maybe you’re just starting nursing school this summer. And so you’re still right in the thick of things, you know, summer, who writes. And then finally, we’ve got our pre nursing students who are, again, either starting this summer, or starting this fall in August or September. And I think those pre nursing students are really whoever heart for the most right now this time of year because you’ve gotten accepted, and you really are just raring to go. But you don’t know what to do. And it’s kind of makes you nervous, because you want to be better prepared, you hear so many scary stories about nursing school. And really, you just want to do the best you can. Especially I find that a lot of like, returning students will come find me and I don’t know if it’s because returning students are just quicker to ask for help, or what it is, but I love working with you guys. So today, I thought I would share the three things that every pre nursing student needs to do before you start your nursing classes. I’ve been a professional nursing tutor for a long time. These are the three things that I feel like if you can do these three things, you will be setting yourself in good and a good place for maximizing your chances of success in nursing school without going crazy. Because if you spend any time around me, you are going to know that I believe in balance, like you shouldn’t have to completely put your life on hold simply because you’re going to nursing school, okay, we want to be able to do nursing school and still spend time with our family and still have a life outside of nursing school. Now you will hear all kinds of advice for the things you should do and put in place before nursing school. But I like to keep it simple. And I’d like to focus on skills, content you’ve been getting in your prerequisite classes, you’re gonna get plenty more of it in nursing school content is usually not the problem in nursing school. Yeah, I mean, if you want to, if you want to memorize more root words, hopefully you got some of those like in your anatomy and physiology class and things like that. If you want to memorize lab values, it’s not gonna hurt anything, but those are pretty simple. Like if you’re gonna memorize that’s just straight memorization, right? You can put some flashcards and review them throughout the summer. But the core things that will really help you set up for success. Those three things are what I’m going to share with you today. So the first one, the first thing that I think every pre nursing student should work on or have a plan for before starting nursing classes is testing anxiety. And when I say test anxiety, this wraps up a lot of things. It’s not only test anxiety, it’s also those back to school jitters, especially if you’re one of those returning students. But even if you’re not, you know, even students who have gone are going to nursing school straight through from high school are going to be nervous, because you guys hear all the stories, unfortunately, that go around about how hard and how terrible nursing school can be. I don’t think it has to be that way. So I’m just gonna tell you that right here, you’re not going to get those kind of messaging messages for me, I’m going to be encouraging you and showing you the hope and just giving you a plan and a way forward, always, that is what I am here for. So it’s useful when you have these strategies for test anxiety, it’s useful for more than test anxiety, it can be for those back to school jitters, it can be for clinicals, because clinicals are gonna give you butterflies in your stomach. I remember how nervous I was the first time I went on the floor for clinicals. In nursing school, I had never had healthcare experience before that. So that was really my first time and I was I was nervous. I have a test anxiety technique that I teach in my VIP tutoring membership. And it really only takes you about an hour to learn it. It’s something that I developed based on my previous experience in clinical psychology. So I used to be, I used to think that I was going to be a clinical psychologist, I was in graduate school for clinical psychology for my PhD. And I ended up finishing my master’s, and then quit the program because my husband was military and his orders required him to move long distance out of the area. And I wanted to move with him. And I couldn’t, it was a research based program. So there was really no way for me to be able to continue my PhD program from a distance. But I never regretted it, because that’s what led me to nursing and I love, love, love what I do now. But when I was in nursing or not nurses, but when I was in clinical psychology studying that I learned about cognitive behavioral therapy, which is a very strong research backed form of therapy that can really be helpful for anxiety. And so I used what I learned about cognitive behavioral therapy just to to develop this simple technique that can be adapted for nursing students. It really but because it’s based on cognitive behavioral therapy, it can be used for anybody that’s not in nursing school to just FYI. Now, while I always say this is good for you know, your typical test anxiety that you get to kind of keep it under control so that it doesn’t go out of control. Because I always say to when you’re testing, anxiety turns on your brain turns off. So when we have this typical test anxiety, we can get it under control with this technique. But if you feel like you have something that’s beyond your just run of the mill, typical nerves, butterflies test anxiety, I really do encourage you to get more help get professional help see a therapist, talk to your doctor, if you need medication for it, don’t be afraid to do that. And please, if it’s interfering with your academics, get testing accommodations, if you qualify. For them, there is absolutely nothing wrong with getting testing accommodations. The most common one that I hear students getting is extended time for tests and taking your test in a different location that’s quieter and more private. This is a great thing. It doesn’t matter though, you got to remember too, that these tests are not an accurate reflection of what you’re going to be doing as a nurse. So you can’t say Oh, well, if I can’t handle the pressure of taking the test in class, how am I going to handle the pressure of being a nurse? It’s apples and oranges, folks, it’s not the same thing at all. So if you qualify for testing accommodations, take them if they’ll help you don’t worry about it. Now, the second thing that I recommend every pre nursing students should do before starting nursing classes is master dosage calculations. And you have to do this, even if you feel like you’re bad at math. Even if you’re scared of math, even if you have nothing xiety which the test anxiety technique I talked about can also help with just for your information. This is why almost every school has a dosage calculation requirements. And what it usually looks like is that at least once during your nursing school classes, you have a required dosage calculation exam where you have to get between a 90 or 100% Yes, I said some schools require 100%. Okay, so that’s it’s no joke. Sometimes it feels like a high stakes high pressure test a lot of times, especially if the math tends to make you nervous. Now, sometimes these tests are required every semester. And sometimes you might not have any but if you don’t have any there you’re gonna see these questions on exams. Some schools will require there to be at least Two or three dosage calculations on every single Nursing exam you take. So however, your school does, it doesn’t really matter. Because the point is, you’re gonna need to know how to do dosage calculations in order to be successful in nursing school. And this is why I believe I have the strong belief that dosage calculations should be free points on all exams. And I don’t mean, they should just give you extra credit. I mean, they should be such second nature to you that when you when you get to that question, when you get to a dosage calculation on exam, you should breathe a sigh of relief, because you know that you’re going to get this one, right. You might not feel that way about every NCLEX style question on your exams. But when you see the dosage calculations, exams, you’re going to be like, Yes, I got this one. Now, if you’re shaking your head be like, yeah, that’d be nice, Nicole, I’ll make it into that. I’ve got you covered, I’ve got you covered. Listen to this. Practice is required for dosage calculations, there is no magic YouTube video, or tutor or book or anything that you can just look at once, and you’re going to suddenly be really great at dosage calculations. But the practice is worth it. And I don’t mean just like cramming it all into one day either. Because if you only study the day before the test, yeah, that’s not going to work. But once you master the skill of dosage calculations, you’re never going to forget it. And this is why I like this, as one of the three things I recommend to pre nursing students is because once you master it, once you master it for good, it’s one stressor that’s going to be off your shoulders forever. I mean it forever. It’s like driving a car. If you know how to drive a car, and you didn’t drive a car for an entire year? Well, if you got back in a car a year later, you’d still know how to drive a car, wouldn’t you? This analogy works with everybody except my New York City students, because none of them drive cars. Yeah, I was saying that to one of my VIP tutoring members the other day, and she’s like, Yeah, I have never driven in over 20 years. And I’m like, okay, that. But for most of us, we know how to drive. And we drive a car regularly. And we’re never going to forget it. And so that’s what, that’s what I help you do with dosage calculations. And you can be surprised with the practice, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can get there. You know, it doesn’t take that long if you’re doing if you have been have learned a method that makes sense to your brain. And if you are practicing in a way that is signaling to your brain that this is important and helping you to really practice the skill in the right kind of way. Now, if you need help with that, of course, obviously I help with that and my VIP tutoring membership. But I also do a live dosage calculations bootcamp, I have one coming up soon. And if you happen to miss that one, you can also just check the website anyway, check the show notes page, because it’ll have a link to the bootcamp page. And I do these, I try to do them at least once a month, sometimes I do them more often, depending on the time of the year. You can sign up, you know, I keep them affordable. And it’s I guarantee that when you leave this zoom bootcamp, you are going to feel more confident about your ability to master dosage calculations, you’re going to know that a reliable technique that will work on literally any dosage calculation. So no more memorizing multiple formulas or even doing multiple steps. You’re going to know what you need to memorize, like what conversions and how to use them without getting confused, you’re going to know how to pick out the information you need from the dosage calculations, while ignoring the fluff and not getting tricked by it. And you’re going to know exactly how to practice so that when you leave bootcamp, it’s not just like, oh, Nicole really knows how to do this and calculations. It’s gonna be, oh, I know how to practice now. So that I can be as good as Nicole is it dosage calculations. So yeah, so check that out of the show notes page, and you can sign up for the bootcamp. Now, the third and final thing that I recommend every pre nursing student do before starting nursing classes is my silver bullet study system. And you have probably heard me talk about this before, if you’ve listened to the podcast for any amount of time. But here’s why. It’s because when you’re in nursing school, you’re gonna be tested differently than you’ve ever been tested before. In previous classes, you’ve been told what to study and then you’ve been tested on what to study. And so it’s been pretty straightforward. And if you’ve been a good student in the past, then you’re good to go, right. However, in nursing school, they really turn things around. And they don’t really tell you that they’re doing it. It’s kind of a surprise on for a bad surprise. But they still focus a lot on what you are what they They say what you’re supposed to know and what you’re supposed to learn. But then they turn around and they don’t test you on that they test you instead on how to think about what you’re learning. And that is a significant difference. And this is the whole reason why so many students come to me saying, I, my teacher doesn’t understand what’s wrong with me, and what my problem is. Because, you know, I know all the content, but I just can’t apply it to the tests, I need help understanding what the questions are asking. And I have to explain to them, it’s not that you are having a problem understanding what the questions are asking, it’s that you still haven’t practiced thinking about the information. Because once you have practiced thinking about the information, that’s what we really mean, when we say think like a nurse, then it’s obvious what the questions are asking, and you can go through. So just to tie it, try to tell you what the questions are asking, it’s like skipping a step in translation, you know, you can’t do that. So that’s why you need to learn a new study method. And that’s why I teach the silver bullet study system, because it’s a four step method that walks you through both phases of studying. And by both I’m talking about the what to study and the how to think about what you’re studying. Because obviously, you do need to know new content in nursing school, you can’t just sit there and think about everything, like you have to learn new stuff to think about, you have to have things to think about. So the first two steps of the silver bullet study system, they guide you through what you need to know. And it’s a lot less than you think it is, it’s a lot less than a lot of nursing students think it is, which is a relief, to be honest with you. You don’t have to study as much as you think you do, you just have to study in a different way. And once you have the steps one and two contents, kind of filled in. Also another thing, sorry, I almost forgot is that in the first step, we’re really building the foundation of the information. And this is something that most nursing programs skip, because I don’t know, I have some theories as to why they do this. One theory is that they just assume you know it already from prereqs, prerequisites and such. And I think there’s part that’s partly true. But I think a bigger reason, honestly, is that most nursing instructors forget that they know this, you know, it’s it’s like going to go back to the car analogy that I use with dosage calculations. If you were teaching somebody to drive, and you got in the car with them, and you just tossed them the keys, and you said, Okay, start the car. And let’s assume even if it is a push button car, there’s still so many other things you have to do, you have to adjust the seat and the mirrors, that gets your seatbelt on. And, you know, even the radio, make sure everything’s on annoying. There’s so many things you need to do before you can actually drive that for a brand new beginner driver, it’s not as easy as just saying, okay, drive, because there’s a lot of these tiny micro steps in between in between that makeup, just drive. But your instructor is an expert. And so to them it is. And once you become an expert driver, it’s just okay, just get in and drive. And the silver bullet study system helps you to break down those little micro steps that your instructor forgets to tell you about because it’s just obvious to them, it’s just too obvious to them that they can’t break it down really. But you need to you need to in order to understand the more advanced concepts. So that is why step one and two are structured they the way they are in the silver bullet study system. And then you move on to step three, and four. And step three, and four is where you really make the shift to learning or practicing, I should say how to think about that information, and how you can use it to draw conclusions and analyze it. And this is where you get your critical thinking skills. Because I’ll tell you this, if you haven’t heard it before, you already have all the critical thinking skills you need, you do not need to increase or improve your critical thinking skills. You just need to transfer the critical thinking skills you currently have to nursing content. And that’s what you have to practice. That’s what you have to practice. And that’s what the silver bullet study system helps you with the silver bullet study system, it’s easy to follow because it’s four steps. So it’s structured, but I bet it’s also has a lot of flexibility built into it because everybody’s brain thinks a little bit differently. And that’s okay, everybody’s got a different learning style. So it adapts to your learning style, but it mimics the way experienced nurses think so it’s guiding your brain to think that way too. And that’s how you’re going to be tested. If you’ve ever been frustrated by having somebody tell you you have to think like a nurse but then they don’t tell you how this is your answer. And it’s also going to empower you to become an independent learner so that you are not dependent on your instructor. So it does not matter. or what instructor you get in nursing school, you’re still going to be able to teach yourself and find success in nursing school. Like I said, you can get a free overview, I have a 20 minute workshop on the silver bullet study system that you can find on my website. If you go to the show notes page, www dot nursing sedar.com, forward slash, Episode 75, you’ll find it there. If you’re still pre nursing, it’s not too early to join the VIP tutoring program because not only can I help you with the test anxiety with the dosage calculations, and with the silver bullet study system, the three things that I recommended today that you learn, but you can also start networking with other nursing students. So I guess that’s kind of a bonus tip that you can have today. Because it’s not too early for you to start attending the live group tutoring sessions. Even if you’re like, What am I going to ask? I don’t have any questions, it doesn’t matter, because I just told you that learning the content is really the least important part of studying for nursing school. The more important part is learning how to think about the content. And you can start learning that before you even have the content. How much more confident are you going to feel starting nursing school when you already have a little bit of that experience under your belt by attending these library tutoring sessions. So I always tell my students to come even if you don’t have any questions, or if you don’t want to come live, that’s fine too. I have the recordings available for my members. And you can also get a private podcast feed. So if you’re listening to this, you’re obviously a podcast fan. And we take all of our live group tutoring sessions and we put them in a private podcast that only our members can access. So you can listen to those over and over on the go to. I always loved listening to audiobooks back when I was in school podcasts weren’t as big a thing back then. But if they had been I know I would have binge watched a binge listened to a lot of podcasts because I listened to a lot of audiobooks back then. In any case, it’s not too early to start attending live group tutoring sessions. And I also wanted to point out that we have a lot of members who are returning students like I mentioned earlier, so if that’s your situation, too, this is going to give you have already made community of other students who are juggling the same responsibilities that you are before you ever start your first day of core nursing classes. So if that’s something that is important to you, if that’s something that would just help give you some more support, then take advantage of it. 

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  • EPISODE OUTRO

Remember, you can get more information about the VIP Tutoring Membership, OR access any other resource we discussed on today’s episode, by going to the show notes page at www.YourNursingTutor.com/episode75

Now before we finish, would you mind doing me a 30-second favor? Would you go to Apple Podcasts and write a 2-sentence Review for Navigating Nursing School with Your Nursing Tutor? Simply tell me where you’re at on your nursing journey, and why you like listening to this podcast. It’s one small way that you can support the mission of Your Nursing Tutor by helping other nursing students discover that it IS possible for “normal people”, just like you, to get through nursing school without completely sacrificing your family, your job, or even your sanity. 

Until next episode, good luck on your nursing journey!

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