How to study for Med-Surg

October 10, 2016

Apart from pharmacology, medical-surgical nursing will be your most dense nursing class. Med-Surg is where you will learn a multitude of disease processes.

A lot of students get into the mindset of just staying up late and cramming information for a test. With med-surg, it is easy to do just that. There is such a large volume of information you need to know that you will feel like there is not enough minutes, or seconds, in the day to study everything. However, I can not urge you enough to never cram for med-surg let alone any nursing class! This is because all nursing courses are intertwined in one way or the other. Medical-Surgical nursing is the basis for everything. Think of it as the bottom layer of a pyramid. 

Medical-Surgical nursing covers the pathophysiology, signs/symptoms, diagnosis steps, treatment options, and management care. It is very overwhelming. 

You should not spend too much time learning the pathophysiology of the disease process. Many schools require you to take Anatomy and Physiology prior to nursing courses for this exact reason.

Instead, you should be focusing on the question "What does the nurse need to do?". This is key.

It is very easy to become overwhelmed with all the information presented to you. Understand where the disease affects. For example is it only the small intestine, or is it the stomach as well. Know the most common symptoms. For example, with TB a key indicator is night sweats. Understand how to manage the patient. For example, are antibiotics needed or aggressive fluid resuscitation? And lastly, what will you educate your patient on.

When I was in nursing school, I used the Medical-Surgical book my Lewis. It was a heavy hardcover book! It also had way too much information inside of it that it automatically gave me a headache. I found it easier to learn based off of my ATI companion books or my Saunders Comprehensive Review book for the NCLEX. I would only truly open my book for practice questions and to help fill in any gaps. 

I hope this helps guide your learning. Please do not forget to practice what you know with as much NCLEX style questions as possible.

1 comment

  1. Hi, I came across your page on instagram and thought it was really helpful. I'm currently in grade 12 and applying for Nursing School very soon ^-^. I'm super excited and nervous as well to go into the program. I was wondering how you knew which types of books to purchase and where to purchase them for your courses? Also, did you live in Res. for your first year? If not, would you recommend it? What are the pros? And lastly, how did you decide on which department to go and apply into, post grad? And how do the assignments work and lengh of lectures? Also, for clinical placements, do you get placed in different departments after a while or just one of your choice? What are the best ways to prepare for the NCLEX exam? And how do you go on to apply for jobs post-grad after getting your license? One thing I'm also really curious about is what type of labs you do and what they consist of. Did you also pursue a Master's degree or did you just stick with your B.Sc.N degree and went on your job search? Thank you for taking the time to review all these questions!

    Kind regards,



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