If you are looking to get into nursing school, you already know your course requirements. You need to complete and get good grades in general biology, anatomy and physiology, nutrition, psychology, English composition, and statistics, among others that may be required for your particular program.
But do you know what you need to learn in those courses that will help you get into nursing school?
Successful nursing students master the facts in their coursework during their first two years of college, but they also develop thinking skills that are important to nursing school admission. This article will cover what you need to learn in your lower-level coursework and the specific abilities your nursing school will confirm before offering you a place in a class.
Another look at nursing school prerequisites
Consider one of the universal prerequisites for admission to nursing school, general biology. You won’t have a lot of difficulty mastering the facts your professor expects you to know to pass a test. What makes a difference in nursing school, however, is your ability to use those facts to search for more as you constantly learn on the job.
What does this mean in terms of getting the most from your biology coursework?
Don’t blow off the lab.
Spend extra time preparing for lab. Ideally, the laboratory work in your college biology course will be more than just demonstrations. You will need to form a hypothesis, understand how your experiment tests that hypothesis, and then evaluate whether you confirmed or disconfirmed your assumptions.
As a nurse, you will always assist physicians in this process. Understanding how doctors formulate and test their hypotheses within the standards of care is essential for every nurse.
You also need to pay close attention in these prerequisite classes:
In anatomy and physiology class, you must be very familiar with the terminology.
Learn the Greek and Latin roots of key vocabulary so you can readily recognize related terms. When your professor gives you a mnemonic, learn it!
Learn these subjects in “chunks,” starting with the vocabulary, then going to the basic science associated with each term, and then learning how the topic relates to nursing practice.
In psychology classes, learn how processes in the brain affect behavior and cognition. This will help you understand what is “normal” for your patients and how procedures, medications, and disruption of routine are affecting them.
Statistics is a challenging course for many students, not just nursing students. That’s because statistics is a reading comprehension, math, memorization, and critical thinking class all in one.
The critical thinking skills you learn in statistics class can help you stand out from other applicants when you apply for nursing school. Since you will be putting in extra time on this class, shop around for a great professor!
English composition is essential for practicing nursing in the United States. Other language proficiencies are valuable, too, but you must be able to create compelling, comprehensible, and actionable notes for every patient every day.
The sooner you learn the tools for creating EHRs (electronic health records), the better. Pay attention to the nuances of the language you need to stay on the right side of important regulations like HIPAA.
How do you pass a critical thinking exam?
Nursing schools will ensure you get the course credits you need with acceptable grades, but they won’t stop there. They will also assess your critical thinking skills.
There isn’t a generally accepted standardized test of critical thinking skills (yet). Still, there is a general outline of the process of critical thinking that nursing schools can use to evaluate how well you can be expected to do on the job.
Once the goals for patient care have been established, your job will be to:
Ask pertinent questions. This involves taking a patient history, but it also involves reviewing medical records.
Gather relevant information. To do this, you will also review labs, imaging reports, and doctor’s notes.
You will develop a nursing plan for your patient.
Giving due consideration to alternative approaches to reaching treatment goals.
Then, you will communicate your plan to your patient and document it in their medical records.
You need to be able to explain your plan of action to your supervisor, physicians, and others involved in patient care.
5 Tips for Showing Your Critical Thinking Skills
How can you show your critical thinking skills?
Develop a habit of asking questions. You will get better at this with practice.
Develop a mindset of looking for the reason why. Understand the etiology of the disease to inform the prognosis of the patient.
Think in terms of cases. Think in terms of “I had a patient who…” and how the current patient is similar or different
Realize that sometimes it is all about you. Be aware of your responsibilities, limitations, and skills at every moment. Cultivate a healthy self-awareness.
Develop a process for evaluating each patient that you can articulate to your instructors.
And the One Thing to Remember When You Don’t Have the Answer to an Interview Question
Be honest. Nobody has all the answers.
Do your best, but be patient when you are asked a question you aren’t ready for.
Or, better yet, be ready with everything the nursing school you want to get into wants from you by studying with Adkins.
At the Adkins Academy, we aren’t aiming for barely passing.
We are here to help you make the highest scores possible on your nursing exams to get the best possible placement in nursing school and your future profession.
Talk with Dr. Adkins
The Adkins Academy is ready to help you strengthen your application for nursing school whenever you are ready.
Call us at (301) 960-4950 or request more information online.
Dr. Adkins will be happy to speak with you directly about The Adkins Academy Online TEAS VI Test Review Course, HESI A2 Review Course, or the NCLEX Review Course.