Foundations covers the basic knowledge and skills required to be a competent nurse. You have one semester to cover a variety of topics ranging from therapeutic communication and documentation to medication administration and end-of-life care. It may be overwhelming considering the amount of reading involved. My goal here is to show a more abbreviated way of studying while trying to get as much information possible out of the content, which is then applied in both exam questions and real life. It is all dependent on the student & his/her way of studying.
It is important to try to get a general grasp of this course because it is basically the “foundation” of nursing practice. A lot of the material here concerns nursing care and interventions, which is revisited throughout the upcoming semesters. Here’s some tips to get you up & running:
I. Pay attention to the objectives. They are a general overview of what you should learn after studying that particular chapter. Try to answer them as you go through the chapter.
II. Don’t skip the information boxes. You’ll come across boxes with headlines such as “Focus on Older Adults”, “Concept Map”, Tables, Figures, “Cultural Aspects of Care”, “Client Teaching”, “Procedural Guidelines”, etc. They contain valuable information that is fair game for test questions. Review the “Nursing Care Plan” that comes with each chapter. They are great for putting all the information together in one coherent format as you would apply in real life.
III. Do your EVOLVE modules early! You’ll find out how tedious doing these modules can be, but they are very helpful in supplementing the textbook material. They come with a variety of activities, diagrams, quizzes & photos as resource material.
IV. Do the Critical Thinking Exercises & NCLEX question at the end of the chapters. These help to reinforce the information you just learned & identifies any material that may need review.
V. Utilize the resources provided for you to help you succeed in nursing school. The Learning Resource Center (LRC) has a software called NCLEX 4000. NCLEX 4000 breaks down question into certain topics (for this semester, concentrate on Nursing Fundamentals) & randomizes them to cover a variety of topics covered in your theory classes. You set up your own personalized exam to automatically give you rationales after answering a question. Another resource is the Student Success Center where you talk with instructors for any concerns you may have concerning your courses. There are also many supplemental books that are beneficial for use alongside your textbook. Examples include Reviews and Rationales, Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX and the Illustrated Guide to the NCLEX. The more you expose yourself to the material, the more it may become familiar to you. Evolve has multiple choice questions for each chapter. Although they are not completely reflective of an actual exam question, they are for knowledge-based practice.
VI. Attend the brown-bag sessions during the early part of the semester. They will be covering Test-taking Skills & Math for calculating medications. Being competent in math is one of the more important skills you’ll need this semester, not only because you’ll be required to take an exam in which you have to score 90%+ or else you’ll fail, but also you will be dealing with medications.
VII. Stay organized. As I mentioned earlier, you will be turning in many assignments throughout the course of the semester. Keeping them all in one place, like a binder, & make sure to turn them in one time. You’ll find that some assignments are only worth 1%-3% of you grade. Do not brush them off as unimportant. 1% could mean the difference between a letter grade. You’re a nursing student now, take your academics seriously.