Category Archives: Holistic Health Assessment

“Reviews & Rationales”

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These supplemental reads were recommended by a nurse graduate YouTuber. She expressed how beneficial these books where in reviewing & emphasizing the material of the corresponding topics. They come in a variety of topics that cover from Pre-Nursing to Senior II. According to reviews on, many buyers recommend these reads as it has helped them during their courses.

I just ordered the Medical-Surgical & Mental Health R&R books to try them out. It couldn’t hurt to consider them if you’d want to spend a little extra. I personally have found them to be great as additional abbreviated material alongside the textbook material from the theory class. Below are the estimated, minimum, used prices.

Prentice Hall Nursing Reviews & Rationales: Anatomy & Physiology: Amazon ($14)
Prentice Hall Nursing Reviews & Rationales: Pharmacology: Amazon ($20)
Prentice Hall Nursing Reviews & Rationales: Pathophysiology: Amazon ($20)

Junior I:
Prentice Hall Nursing Reviews & Rationales: Nursing Fundamentals: Amazon ($15)
Prentice Hall Nursing Reviews & Rationales: Health Assessment: Amazon ($20)
Prentice Hall Nursing Reviews & Rationales: Fluid, Electrolyte, Acid-Base Balance: Amazon ($20)

Junior II:
Prentice Hall Nursing Reviews & Rationales: Medical-Surgical Nursing: Amazon ($20)
Prentice Hall Nursing Reviews & Rationales: Mental Health Nursing: Amazon ($18)

Senior I:
Prentice Hall Nursing Reviews & Rationales: Child Health Nursing: Amazon ($17)
Prentice Hall Nursing Reviews & Rationales: Maternal-Newborn Nursing: Amazon ($20)

Senior II:
Prentice Hall Nursing Reviews & Rationales: Nursing Leadership & Management: Amazon ($12)

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Useful Apps. Should I spend $200?


You may have heard word about the $200 smartphone app that was considered a requirement for the nursing program. It’s called Skyscape. I have that app & I actually do like it, using it for care plans & during clinicals to look up medications & interventions. It comes with several categories: IV medications, Med-Surg Nursing, Mosby’s Dx & Lab Test Reference, Mosby’s Nursing Drug Reference, Mosby’s Pocket Dictionary, MosbyLab, Nursing Dx Handbook, Outlines in Clinical Medicine & RxDrugs. However, there are other apps that were recommended to me that I found to be pretty helpful.

I. Medscape – Medscape offers a variety of functions including: drug referencing, drug interaction checker, diseases & conditions, procedures reference, tables/protocols, daily medical news, hospital directories & continuing medical education activites. This is my favorite of the free apps. It’s very comprehensive & I would say it is almost just as good as the Skyscape app. You are required to make an account to sign into the app.

II. WebMD – This goes along with the same network as Medscape. It provides tools such as Symptom Checker, Drugs, First Aid Essentials & Local Health Listings.

III. NCLEX – This is a great NCLEX-RN quiz card game to use during your free time. It comes with rationales & covers a variety of nursing topics from Basic Care to Management. This app is designed to help you pass the NCLEX. I would suggest getting this as a review once your first semester is over.

IV. VitalSource Bookshelf – This app is simply for storing your nursing textbook & read them on the go.

V. Micromedex Drug Information – I haven’t used this one much, I just downloaded it for the fun of it. It’s simply another drug reference. It covers generic vs trade names, dosages throughout the lifespan, contra/indications, ADEs, pregnancy categories, pharmacokinetics, etc.

VI. 3M Littmann SoundBuilder – This is a very fun, interactive app. I find it very useful for Assessment. It’s designed to help you refine your auscultation skills for key heart sounds. It covers normal vs abnormal heart sounds & goes into detail under each type of heart sounds.

VII. iPharmacy – This is another drug reference, but it includes actual pictures of the pills & packages of about 12,000 drugs. This is helpful for the visual type of person.

The best part about these? They’re free! Consider playing around with these before buying the Skycape app. I personally like it & have found it very useful, but for those trying to save on money, I feel these will be just as sufficient.

FYI: If you do buy the skyscape app, there will be some text/books from the package in there already: Mosby’s Dictionary, Nursing Diagnosis Handbook, 2011 Drug Reference & (later on) Lab & Dx Test Reference for J1/S1. So I would advise if you consider buying the app, do some research to purchase the other textbooks at lower costs (you’ll still need to buy the Evolve codes & Assessment lab manual). If you choose to buy the package, then forget the app & download the above free ones.

Health Assessment: The Basic Study Skills

Assessment is one of those universal, important skills that every nurse needs to be able to do. This course is very interactive to cover the variety of skills performed in a head-toe-assessment. In studying for this course:

  • link the signs & symptoms of certain disease processes with the overall diagnosis of a patient,
  • differentiate between NORMAL & ABNORMAL
  • know how certain S&S manifest throughout the lifespan, more specifically infancy-childhood, adolescence, pregnancy & aging adult
  • familiarize yourself with the different tests used during an assessment
  • successfully perform an Objective Subjective Clinical Evaluation (OSCE)

Effective studying for this class entails reading the chapter(s) before class and adding any additional information to the notes provided for you. Making your own blueprints (assuming they are not provided for you) are fantastic in setting up an organized set of notes, focusing what you need to know for the exams. However, studying them alone may not be sufficient enough for you to make a high grade on the exam. You need to follow along with the textbook & write down any additional notes (like abnormals, values, etc) that can classify as potential test material. Here’s an example of a section of an exam blueprint covering a list of abnormals:


Simply knowing that these conditions are abnormal is not enough. You need to know the signs & symptoms associated with these conditions, the definitions of these conditions, how/why is it abnormal, treatment & any other defining characteristics. Here’s an example of the same section, but now with additional thorough notes:


Exam questions are typically not cut-and-dry, neither is real life nursing. They are probably not going to be: “I am a condition with small period-sized bleeding under the skin. I start with a P & rhyme with crème brûlée. What am I?” Instead they could be worded as:

“A patient presents to the clinic with tiny, pinpoint, non-blanching hemorrhages measuring around 2mm around her oral mucosa. Based on the following signs & symptoms, a nurse can conclude that this condition is known as __________ and is often caused by _________.”
A.) Purpura, scurvy
B.) Petechiae, septicemias
C.) Strawberry Mark, blood disorder
D.) Port Wine Stain, congenital condition

B is the answer. See how a bit more in detail the question is? Information regarding the definition & cause of these skin conditions (assuming you did not know what petechiae was) may have helped lead you to correct answer.

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