When we asked our Facebook community about how to take notes in nursing school, we heard about how lectures often align with tests – and how you can pick up on those important cues from your instructor. If your professor tells you something is important, take note. “Write down everything that was mentioned more than once by the instructor,” said Krisinda F. “It will be on the exam.”
Color coding can help students organize their nursing school notes. Some students will use different colors for medications, side effects, complications and so on. “I always suggest nursing school notes in colors,” said Kathryn Murto, MSN, RN, CMSRN, the CAS manager on Chamberlain’s Troy campus. “It breaks up the sections and it is easier to read. If something is going to be on the test, I put it in red.” "Simplified my acid/ base lecture into notes that are easy to follow and fun to study."
How to be organized in nursing school? Record the lectures, if possible. If allowed by your professor, you may want to record lectures so you can focus and absorb the lesson. You then have the option to listen back to the most current lecture – in the car, while you work out or even in the shower. “I record lectures and during the class I will just jot down a few main points about whatever the professor is teaching,” said Roshani, an Addison campus student. “Then I go over the PowerPoint and take more detailed notes after class, as well as listen to the recording. So when you’re in class, you don’t have to worry about rushing to take every single word down and then you can take your time in taking your actual notes.”
Nursing school can be overwhelming, but remember you’re not doing it alone. So who can you ask for help in nursing school? You have a lot of options—faculty, staff and fellow students are all in your corner when it comes to academic help. Keuntjes says she knows it can be intimidating to ask for help, but encourages students to set aside any concerns they have about asking. Reaching out for help means you’re taking control of your learning and putting yourself in the driver’s seat. “We’re all here to help because we want you to succeed,” Keuntjes says. You can also reach out to your peers. Try making connections and finding a group designated for quizzing one another and talking through tough concepts. You can even study virtually with group chats or other social media-powered tools.
Nurses come from a variety of different backgrounds with a wide range of amazing personalities. Rasmussen University nursing students know how to use these traits to their advantage. Schulenburg considers herself a tactile learner. She likes to move and stay active while she studies. Sometimes she uses sticky-notes to create a matching game—pairing definitions and terms. Or, to understand how a drug works in the body, she’ll draw a stick person and point out the body systems the drug affects. Labudde, on the other hand, knows she doesn’t necessarily benefit from using visuals when studying, preferring to handwrite her notes to memorize information. Hummel also uses words to solidify concepts—before he moves on to a new topic, he makes sure that he understands the material so well that he could teach it to someone else in his own words, which comes in handy when tutoring. Harhay uses every study method she can to get the information to stick—reading, writing, listening, practicing and quizzing. Sometimes, she’ll talk out loud to herself as she takes notes or blast music to drown out any distractions. Your own unique character traits can also help you study in nursing school. Schulenburg loves to stay active and believes firmly that “an object in motion, stays in motion.” She uses her “achiever” personality to stay moving and motivated. Dann stays positive by viewing new material as a challenge. “It’s important to stay positive about your ability to learn, and remember that your effort will make you a better nurse in the future.” Take the time to figure out what’s motivating you and use it to your advantage—having a “why” can take you far.