How to Ace Your Med-Surg Nursing Subject!

Sometimes, you never notice how time flies, and blah! You’re in your 3rd year in nursing school– tagged as “the most challenging, tiring, but definitely the most fun” year in college because you’ll be face to face with one of the terror subjects in your entire college life. And by terror I mean, this takes the bulk of your subjects because it involves the application of all you’ve learned from your 1st year.

Medical-Surgical Nursing, commonly referred to by students as “MedSurg” and “MS” breaks down the body into systems (Cardiovascular, Respiratory, Gastrointestinal, Urinary etc.), and studies it thoroughly–disease processes and health conditions applicable to each system, (understanding the pathophysiology, from its onset to recovery–the diagnostic exams, treatments as well as medical and nursing intervention).

Just thinking about it makes you doubt that you’ll ever finish learning all of them but don’t worry! There may be no shortcut in studying, but definitely, you can think of ways to make your study easier–and more fun! 🙂

  • Know what kind of learner you are and when are you most comfortable to study.-  If your’re a visual learner, you can use diagrams, presentations, flashcards and such to guide you. Or if you’re an audio learner, you can use audio reviewers and lessons. And if you’re both, that’s great. Also, know when you are most comfortable studying. Are you a morning or a night person? You can utilize any time of the day for studying, but knowing this helps you to learn more and enjoy in what you are studying. Just be sure to take short breaks in between studying!
  • The key is not to memorize everything that you read but rather, understand what you are reading! – Read a little but bit at a time, but review more frequently is the trick. You should know that Med-Surg (and all your subjects) isn’t about reading and memorizing everything but rather, it’s about reading and understanding what you have read. Yes, you can use memorization technique, but not all the time, because you have to use your critical thinking skills to put old and new pieces together–what you learned from your 1st/ 2nd year will now be applied to your Med-Surg lessons.
  • The best way to succeed in your Med-Surg subject is to master your Anatomy and Physiology. – AnaPhy lets you know the basics, how the body works and the normal mechanisms that happen inside our body. If you know the basics, you wouldn’t have problems understanding what happens when the body suffers from illness. Remember that practical exam when you go around the room (which had been divided into different stations) and you had to name bones/muscles laid out in front of you in less than a minute? Or the time when you had your dissecting experiment in the lab for you to have a picture as to what is inside a body? Or those numerous film showings of medical programs/series you had to make you imagine what it’d be like when you enter the hospital? You might not want to remember those experiences but I tell you, every single discussion and lesson you had in your Anatomy and Physiology class provided you a stepping stone for your Med-Surg Nursing. You may not realize it yet when you’re in your 1st year, but please, you have to take your AnaPhy subject (and every subject you have) seriously. Consider every subject that you take as a prerequisite to understand the next subject better. If you were able to understand (if not master) most of what you studied in your AnaPhy class, then I’m sure you wouldn’t have much difficulty for you MS.
  • Time-management is the key.- If you’d like, you can make an outline of what you’re going to study for a said amount of time. It’s that you’re being OC or anything, but doing this actually motivates you to stay on schedule and up-to-date with your studying. For example, after you’ve divided your schedule for the different systems in the body, you can use these strategies as a guide (or you can make your own of course): you can further divide it to diseases related to each of the organs found in that particular system; you can use the strategy “One Disease per Day”–read a disease of your choice during your free time everyday (if you go with this for 1 month, then you’ll have at least 30 diseases that you’ll learn by the end of the month!) Not too bad right?
  • Practice your Critical-Thinking Skills.- As you go through your notes and while your studying, let yourself imagine you are face to face with the scenario of what you are studying. Anticipate questions which you think might be asked for your examinations. And during examinations, when faced with multiple-choice questions, use your test-taking strategies (ABCs first, then the Hierarchy of Needs/ Maslow’s and of course, the Nursing Process!)
  • Read, read, read!- Even if you’re not a fan of reading, please exert an effort when it comes to your studies. Don’t ever let a day pass without you reading even just a paragraph in your Med-Surg notes. Or if you’re so busy, even a new medical terminology term for that day would do.
  • Put it into practice. Not that you can actually apply everyday everything that you’re going to learn. At least, you can answer practical questions in your reviewers and review books. It’s not enough that you get the answers right, but you have to know the rationale behind every answer.

No matter what you do to ace and succeed your Med-Surg nursing subject, you just have to stay focused on what you’re doing—but never forget to have fun once in a while. When you feel like you can’t take it anymore, stop, take a breather and find ways to motivate yourself. 🙂

I hope these tips can help you in any way. Everyone has his/her own ways of studying and how he/she regains what they’ve learned.

What’s yours? 🙂

© 2013, Filipino Nurses. All rights reserved. DISCLAIMER: The accuracy of all articles contained in this website are the responsibility of their respective authors. All articles are for informational purposes only and are NOT intended to replace the advice of a doctor. The owner of this site disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on these information. If you have any health-related questions, please consult your physician. If you feel ill, please seek medical attention immediately.

Other posts you may be interested in: