An enormous amount of reading is assigned over the course of a nursing student’s education, and it can be difficult to sort through the information that one is required to learn. Luckily, with a few strategies, one can skim the chapters and pick out the pages worth studying in-depth. Here are some tips on how to read nursing textbooks and get the vital information.

Reading Nursing Textbooks: NCLEX Review

Depending on your textbooks, the publishers may include a few sample questions at the back of each chapter that mimic questions asked on the NCLEX exam. These are helpful to review throughout your career as a nursing student in order to get you into the mindset necessary to be able to tackle these types of scenarios. Even if you are only in your first semester of nursing school, you need all the practice you can get for the licensing examination.

Reading Nursing Textbooks: Stats and Vitals

Tables and figures from textbooks that provide important statistics or normal ranges of certain nursing diagnostics are useful to memorize for later reference in clinical practice. Not everything need be committed to memory (for example, nurses usually reference drug manuals for information related to medications). However, things such as normal blood pressure ranges, vital signs, and blood oxygenation levels are worth remembering.

Reading Nursing Textbooks: Companion Website

If your textbooks have a supplementary website that offers further tools for learning, definitely take advantage of it. Textbooks can tend to be dry and difficult to get through, and websites usually use interactive learning modules, games, and other visual multimedia for people who learn through different modalities. The textbook may even come with a CD, DVD, or online access code to link the reader to notes, glossaries, and podcasts of lectures.

Reading Nursing Textbooks: Summary Tables

In the back of each chapter, most textbooks offer a summary of the main points and facts presented in each selection of reading. Though this is undoubtedly and important reference tool, do not be tempted to review these tables in lieu of actually reading the chapters. Oftentimes, textbooks only present the core, key points that require elaboration from the actual text. Nursing is detail oriented, and there is not easy way around sitting down and hashing through the readings.

Reading Nursing Textbooks: Conclusion

Though copious amounts of reading is inevitable, these tips, tactics, and strategies will allow you to study smarter and do very well in nursing school.

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