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  • Writer's pictureRnMindset

How To Study Medical Surgical Nursing

Updated: Nov 19, 2018

Studying for medical-surgical nursing is a lengthy process. We need to simplify the process to basics that will help you succeed in this course. If you are in nursing school, this class is going to be one of, if not the hardest class you have. Studying for this class can be done in similar ways as your other classes, but here are three tips on how you can study medical surgical nursing in a much simpler way.

#1. Use ATI or HESI books.

Whether you love or hate your ATI or HESI books, they do one great thing, they simplify your study. Before you grab your huge med surge book, read the material in your other books first. If your school doesn't use ATI or HESI, either one can be found on What is great about these books is they take out all the "fluff" in the topics.

One of the biggest problems nursing students face is the lack of time. Between clinical hours, juggling several different courses, lab pass offs, nursing students do not have all day and night to study. You need to focus your study time, and every hour you have available, you need to study the things that are going to help you score high on your exams. After you have gone over and reviewed the basics that are available in your ATI book, move on to your med surge book, and get even more involved in the subject.

#2. Review your anatomy and physiology.

When you are going over a system, it is a good idea to have your AnP book with you to review before you go into taking care of the body. The questions that you will have on your med surg tests will be focused more on how you are taking care of the body. It would make sense that you would only want to focus on this issue when studying. The problem is that when you only study how to take care of the body, vs knowing what is going wrong with the body, you might miss the "most important" questions.

Many of your questions on a med surge exam will have questions that will test your comprehension of a topic, not just the spitting out facts of a subject. In order to understand and "comprehend" a subject you really need to know what you are dealing with. If you are studying a section on pulmonary fibrosis, you might have questions based on the assessment of the lungs. Your assessment will include your knowledge from many different sources, not just the one chapter in your med surge book. Reviewing the pulmonary system in your anatomy and physiology book will help you comprehend what the questions are really asking to help boost your grade on the exam.

#3. Put in the work.

Med surg is challenging, but it is not an impossible class to ace. This class can be fun if you really get to know the subjects you are learning about. There will be lots of questions that are on your exams that will require you to pull information from all of your classes. You need to put in the hard work when it comes to med surg. If you find yourself "chit chatting" with your classmates and wasting time that could be spent studying, find an excuse to leave, and go to the library and study. If you are on youtube watching fail videos instead of prepping for your next med surg exam, stop and get back to studying. It is true that you need breaks, but plan the break, and make the break a reward.

If you aren't happy with your previous success in med surg, you need to one, reevaluate if there is anything more you could have done, then two, find more time to study. Focus in on every subject, make a plan and execute every single second that you have to study and go to the testing center ready to score %100. Don't plan on passing, or hoping that the teacher will throw out a question, make your own success. Put in the work, work as hard as you possibly can, and shoot for %100 on every single test. It is not impossible to get %100 on a med surg test. People have done it before, and you can too. Don't let the negativity of other people stop you from doing your best in this class. Put in the hard work, and become a great nurse!


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