The Dog Ate My Care Plan…

Just a mom/wife/nursing student extraordinaire trying to make it in the big bad city…

Archive for March, 2011

Test Tactics

Posted by isntshelovlei on March 31, 2011

So I think I offended some with my tweet about people who study up until the second the scantron hits their desks.

My bad.

It’s just part of my own personal test-taking philosophy I’ve acquired over the years. It consists of three things:

1) I don’t overstudy. I read what I’m supposed to read; I listen to my recorded lectures; and I review my powerpoints and notes. But I gave up some of my more neurotic studying habits. I no longer strategically position my notes on the steering wheel on the way to class so that I can take a glimpse or two at every red light or stop sign. And though I do review the morning/afternoon of the exam I don’t try to cram in the last few minutes while the scantrons are going out. What for? Whatever I don’t know at that point I’m not going to learn in the five minutes before the exam starts. At that point I’ve turned on my “it is what it is” switch. Woo-sah. And to be honest my grades have been better since I stopped driving myself into the ground. I’m more relaxed and I no longer stress-eat on test days. When you overstudy, if you don’t go in there and suffer a total brain fart (which sucks after all that extra effort), you’re overthinking the questions and second guessing yourself—all because you psyched yourself out. And so I don’t (anymore). There’s a lot of information to learn in nursing school and you do need to study. But you don’t need to overdo it.

2) I don’t sit and stare at test questions if I don’t know the answer. What for? The answer is not going to jump off the page waving its arms at you. Pick one and keep it moving. Narrow them down (with multiple choice there’s usually two you can toss out right off the top anyway) and eeny, meeny, miny, moe the rest if you have to. Though on a rare occasion if I’m really torn between two answers I will skip a question and come back to it—you just have to be very careful that you also skip it on the scantron sheet or that can lead to a whole other mess…

3) I never erase. Go with your gut. Usually when you change an answer, you had it right the first time.

I guess it also helps that I happen to be a good test taker. The Kaplan review course for instance that many people like to take before they take their boards (it’s actually required for my program) is actually less about content review and more about how to be a better test taker. It’s all about strategies for breaking down the questions and recognizing traps. I’ve already got that down. To be perfectly honest, I don’t even read the whole question most of the time (which is why it only takes me about 30 seconds per question when we’re allotted a minute and a half for each). Usually, half of the question is superfluous information you don’t need and was thrown in there to confuse you. I choose not be be distracted by the distractors. This is not to say I’m just guessing answers and getting lucky. You do need to have a solid knowledge base to be able to recognize trigger words/phrases and weed out the riff-raff. But hey, this is just what works for me. Different strokes for different folks…

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Are You Ready to Save a Life?

Posted by isntshelovlei on March 15, 2011

As health care professionals and students we have all taken a CPR certification course. Every one to two years we have to take a renewal course.

But is it just something you do because you have to—to meet a job or maybe your clinical requirements? When and if the time came, would you be willing (and able) to use what you’ve learned?

Personally, I keep my pocket mask and even my course book in the glove compartment of my car—do you know where yours are? You never know when you might need them and my mind often flickers to the fact that they are there when I pass accident scenes during my comings and goings. Thankfully, I have never had to use that mask though I do remember once having to perform the Heimlich Maneuver on my own infant because some brilliant fool decided to give her a piece of hard candy. I don’t know if it was the years of CPR training or my mother’s instinct, but I acted automatically. Her color changed and she couldn’t get any air in, and couldn’t cough. I flipped her around almost reflexively on my forearm, head down over my thigh, gave her four blows to the back and out came that offending piece of confection. I then proceeded to annihilate the brilliant fool…

I am glad that has been the extent of my calls to duty and that I have not had to perform actual CPR. But have you ever really thought about what you’d do? When people ask on television shows “Is there a doctor in the house?” I always think that there are more than just those that raise their hand. These days people seem to not want to get involved for various reasons—like getting sued or even not being confident in their own skills…

Will you help that person choking while you’re out at a romantic dinner with your partner? What about your neighbor that collapses from cardiac arrest while shoveling snow? What if you found your own child face down in the swimming pool? Anyone can carry a card in their wallet, but when it really matters will you make it count?

I hope that I never have to use what I learn in those CPR courses, but I know that if need be, I’m ready and I will. But the fact of the matter is someone in the United States suffers from a cardiac arrest every two minutes, so you really never know when YOU may be the one called into action. Are you ready to save a life?

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