Bridging the gap…

Ok, so I am guilty of being a terrible blogger!

I had very good intentions to blog at least once a week however this first semester has taken a bit to adapt to.
So I’ve had very limited time to do anything much besides what has been necessary.

Rather than trying to cover everything that has happened in 14 weeks of uni, to bridge the gap I’ve focused on some of the things I’ve learned instead. These are a little further down – and it does mean that this particular post is quite long, so feel free to read the bits you want as you like 🙂 I will make future posts shorter and sweeter!

But I just want to say, I am loving doing a nursing course and I really feel as though this is the career path I should be taking. It just feels right!

As you go along with your studies I think it’s a good idea to reflect on what you’re learning and to see where you can improve. There is always room for improvement.
With that in mind, some things that I have realised during my first semester of nursing are:
(most of these things are general and not specific to nursing)

  • Pay attention to detail – this may seem obvious, but you don’t often think about all the details, especially in assessments, that do need special attention.
  • Read questions carefully – whether these are exam questions, essay questions or even just questions as part of your weekly class work. I can’t stress this enough because it is often only the way a question is worded and our tendency to read over things too quickly that means we misread and misinterpret questions, especially when it matters (like in an exam).
  • When referencing, check and check again that you’ve followed the rules of the referencing style your school uses – we use the APA style, and although I do know the basics for this, and have a guide from our uni, I made a lot of stupid little mistakes with my referencing. Mostly because I didn’t pay attention to detail, I didn’t check and double-check the formatting of my reference lists, and in general I rushed my assessments this semester, so did not pay as much attention to detail as I should have.
  • Plan ahead, be organised and do not procrastinate – I love to be organised and I love organising, so you would think that the semester would be easier for someone like me? Wrong! When you throw procrastination into the mix it doesn’t matter how much you’ve planned or organised, it stuffs everything up! You will pay for procrastination later when you actually get around to doing the work you’re procrastinating on now – so just suck it up and do it now!
  • Start working on assessments from day one – I don’t mean for you to go and write every assessment in the first week when you haven’t even learnt the content needed to write them! Start by planning how much time each assessment will take to complete, and then schedule this into your weekly study timetable so that you can work on the assessment in smaller, more manageable parts. Include time for researching, writing drafts, editing and working with others (if this is required). And whatever you do, don’t leave starting assessment until the last day or two before it is due. So much unnecessary stress is involved and you also won’t give yourself the best chance to get the fantastic marks you could have been capable of with adequate time and commitment given to the task.
  • Be open to different ways of learning – I’ve had to try different ways of studying and learning throughout the semester to see what works for my situation and me. Everyone has different study habits and different home-life situations, so no two people will find the same method or timing of study suitable. Find the time of day you are most productive with your study and plan your study sessions around those times. Get rid of unnecessary distractions and if possible turn off social media etc while you’re doing your study sessions. This may only be for a couple of hours at a time and I’m sure those status updates can wait 🙂
  • Try to do a little bit each day – I have found that the weeks when I did a little bit of work each day, even if this was just doing some of my readings, or working on an assessment, I was able to stay on task and felt I was understanding the content more. It also meant that I didn’t fall behind with my work and then be stressed out about having to catch up, especially when it came to studying for exams.
  • Write comprehensive yet concise notes – when you’re taking your reading notes, or taking notes during lectures, make sure they’re concise and to the point but comprehensive enough that they cover all the content you need to be learning. Especially for those subjects that have exams at the end of the semester. It makes it so much easier to go back and study when your notes are complete to start with because you don’t have to go back and re-do the work to study for your exam.
  • Read ALL of the information given to you and don’t over-analyse things – I saw so many people this semester over-analyse assessment tasks, or the information given to them, or even just some of the content being taught. This got them stressed out and panicked about their assessments. It got to the point where some people were so worried they weren’t doing the right thing for their assessments that way too much of our class time was spent with the tutors explaining the assessments and answering heaps of questions and then for the rest of us who actually read the information we were given we missed out on valuable learning time.

This last one really was just a chance for me to vent. At uni one of the things I find most annoying is people who don’t bother to read the learning guides, unit outlines or communication put up on our e-learning site. The unit coordinators and the tutors don’t give us this communication for fun, it is there to guide us and uni is all about self-directed learning.
So, by people being lazy and expecting to be spoon-fed every piece of information I think it has the potential to reduce their learning capacity throughout the course. They aren’t stretching themselves, they aren’t striving to achieve anything further than what they absolutely have to and they aren’t setting the bar higher than they have before.
I love learning and taking as many opportunities that are afforded to me, so making sure I get every bit of information possible is important to me. I suppose that’s why I find it so annoying when other people just can’t be bothered.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kevin
    Jun 17, 2013 @ 12:17:53

    Good advice, Lisa!

    When I started nursing school, I was very unprepared. I was definitely one of those people who didn’t take it seriously enough. Nursing school is not like most University or college majors. You need to really pay attention to detail, not miss anything, and develop self-discipline.

    I felt like it was like a nursing “hump.” Those who developed good habits like the ones you listed succeed. Those who don’t are too disorganized, make mistakes, miss out on vital happenings, and end up being frazzled and making a bad impression. And, unfortunately, the instructor’s impression of you is sometimes what keeps you hanging in the balance.

    I needed to retry a semester. With my new attitude, I was able to succeed. Good job on developing good habits early on, so you didn’t have to go the long way! Other students; heed this advice. I am sure it will help you.


  2. michelle
    Sep 19, 2013 @ 08:48:05

    Just wanted to let you know how useful i find your blog to be. I am just about to start my nursing degree, so as you can imagine i am scared!
    I’ve wanted to start uni for 2 years but due to ill-health and family issues, i have had to delay it. I’m looking forward to starting my course although i am slighty anxious about everything. Any tips you can provide will be a great help.


    PS: i am writing this message on my phone so i have no idea how it will turn out. Hopefully you will be able to understand it!

    anxious about everything.


    • Lisa
      Sep 19, 2013 @ 09:13:35

      Your comment came through perfectly 🙂
      I’m even replying on my phone!
      Thank you for your lovely comments. Uni is scary at first, but it’s also exciting, challenging and worth every minute (well I think so anyway haha).
      Best wishes for your studies and I hope to hear how you’re going!
      Lisa 🙂


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