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Ep272: Three Study Hacks to Master Anything in Nursing School

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Speaker 1: Welcome to the NRSNG podcast, providing those who care for the world with the tools and confidence they need and here’s your host, Jon Haws.

Jon Haws: What’s up guys? Welcome to the NRSNG podcast. I’m Jon Haws, RN.

Nicole Weaver: I’m Nicole Weaver, MSN RN.

Jon Haws: We are here to talk to you about some study tips. I know it’s just getting ready for fall semester to start, but we wanted to give you guys some study hacks, some study tips. Whether you’re a nursing student, getting ready for nursing school, taking pre reqs for nursing school, or a new grad, maybe studying to be better in your specialty. I think these tips are really going to help. This is stuff that we use even now.

Nicole Weaver: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jon Haws: With our work and with our teaching for you guys and how we learn stuff kind of at a deeper level. If you’re driving, make note of these three steps. If you’re home, take out a piece of paper, write these three tips down because I think they’re going to make a huge difference in how quickly you learn and how much you retain the information.

Nicole Weaver: Yeah, for sure.

Jon Haws: The first tip we have is something called the Pomodoro Technique or 20/10 is another way that people talk about it, but with the Pomodoro Tecnique, the way it really works is that you set aside blocks of study time interrupted with blocks of breaks. Rather than trying to study straight for four hours, what you do is you do 20 minutes on, 10 minutes on, 20 minutes on, 10 minutes off, and that allows you to get into something that’s called …

Nicole Weaver: Deep work.

Jon Haws: Yeah, deep work, and there’s a really good book about that by Kyle Newport.

Nicole Weaver: So good.

Jon Haws: If you have a minute, read that book. But what you do for these 20 minutes is you put your phone away, you turn off all your notifications, everything goes off. Completely off. For 20 minutes, you’re super focused on one chapter, one heading, five questions, whatever it is, and then during those next 10 minutes, you go crazy on social media, you eat a bunch of junk food, you do whatever you need to do, watch a TV show, turn your brain off from thinking mode.

Nicole Weaver: Yeah, for sure. You know, sometimes you find yourself staring and like reading the same sentences four times in a row. At that point, you’re not learning anymore. You can … Fortunately, we don’t learn by osmosis, so it does benefit you to be hyper focused and then take a break, turn your brain off, think about something that has nothing to do with school, and then come back and focus for 20 minutes.

The beauty of this is you could actually do this for maybe two hours and get more done than you would if you studies distracted for four hours. Your study time is going to become much, much more efficient.

Jon Haws: Our brain is the largest consumer of energy in the body.

Nicole Weaver: Yes.

Jon Haws: It needs live energy to function and so if you’re burning all your available energy, you’re going to see that after even if you don’t do that 20/10, after 20, 30, 40 minutes, the rest of your study time becomes ineffective, I think.

Nicole Weaver: Exactly. Also, if you are doing something for five minutes and then you get a notification on your phone, you stop and you do something else for two minutes, and then you come back for another five, you almost have to go backwards to figure out what you were looking at, what were you studying, where were you in your process, and you’re going to lose a lot of time. It’s really ineffective and you probably are going to have trouble retaining what it was that you looked at. If you give yourself a little bit more time but a hyper focused, zero distractions time, you can really solidify that stuff and then you almost never have to come back to it because you’ve already nailed it in there.

Jon Haws: Like I said, we use that now with work as professionals and as educators trying to teach you guys. We employ this style because it’s just the best way to get things done. The number two tip is learning style.

Nicole Weaver: Yeah, so there’s lots and lots of different learning styles. Some people say three, some people say four, I’ve actually found seven different learning styles because it also includes things like do you learn better in a group or better by yourself. Do you learn better by hearing someone else talk or you talk? It’s really important. Go find a learning style quiz online, they’re free. You can find a billion of them and take it, and most of those will then give you some tips on what kinds of study habits will work for you based on that learning style, but it’s just really important that you know what your strength is.

You don’t want to try to nursing school, I always say, with your non dominant hand, with non dominant strengths. You want to be using the things that you’re really good at, using the things that are really effective for you. Find a learning style quiz, figure out what your learning style is, and I always say, if you need help with that, e-mail us at [email protected], and they’ll get it to me. I love helping people figure out their learning style, so we’ll try to help you figure that out. Maybe you take a quiz and you’re like that makes no sense.

Jon Haws: Right.

Nicole Weaver: Let us know.

Jon Haws: The one I recommend to people is Vark. It’s free, it’s out there, and again, the biggest thing with that is that you identify how you like to consume information. One thing we’ve really done with the academy is we try to employ as many learning styles as we can. Nursing students and people are not one size fits all.

Nicole Weaver: Right.

Jon Haws: You’re going to like to consume information in a different way than your buddy in nursing school, and so it’s important that you both have the ability to consume that information the way that helps you understand it the best, I think. Inside the academy we have stuff for kinesthetic learners where they can write in notes on our video guides. We have stuff for visual learners, stuff for auditory, stuff for reading/writing. We have stuff in there to help you master, as the word we like to use, master information very quickly.

Nicole Weaver: Yep, exactly. Even things like case studies that help you picture an actual patient sometimes really helped to solidify that information, so it’s really good. Now the last study tip that we have for you guys is to get a study group. Now I don’t want you to find your best friends in nursing school and the people that you socialize with all the time so that you’re going to chit chat the whole time. Find people who are also really intent on studying and study together.

Again, you’re all going to have different learning styles, but one of the best ways to learn and solidify information, or at least know what you know and what you don’t, is to teach it to people. If you get together in a group and you kind of go around explaining one topic at a time, then as you try to explain it you’ll realize what do you know and what do you still have to read, and that’ll kind of help you figure out where to focus.

Jon Haws: Right. There’s this saying, “See one, do one, teach one.” SODOTO, and I really, really firmly believe in that and I employed it a lot in nursing school. [inaudible 00:06:14] too that I’m a slow learner, like I have to consume information in a lot of ways to actually make it stick, and that was always frustrating to me in nursing school because my best study buddy was … He was reading only. He could read the chapter and it was just permanently burned into his brain, and I wasn’t the same way.

I had to read it, do some highlights, go to the white board, draw it up there, and then I had to teach it back to him, but by the time I’d done that, it took me three or four times as long to get it. But being there with him and being able to teach it to him really helped. Then we’d bring other people into our study groups too and we would … One of the things we did is I started this little group called Rapid Response Team. I started this Rapid Response Team in nursing school and what it was is we would all read the same chapter, show up, and then one person was on like the hot seat, and we would drill them about a specific section.

Nicole Weaver: Nice.

Jon Haws: And then they’d respond as quickly as they could trying to teach that stuff. It wasn’t like a if you didn’t know it you were dumb, it was like a how quick can you recall this information and teach it back. Start a group like that. It doesn’t have to be your best friends, it maybe shouldn’t be, but it needs to be people that maybe have different learning styles and can teach you in a different way than the way you learned it.

Nicole Weaver: Yeah, and even getting things in your brain from multiple angles and having it taught to you in different manners actually helps with retention, even things like I teach people when you make a flashcard to make flashcards from both angles. Not only what are the symptoms of this, but also these symptoms are of what disease, so coming from both angles and getting it in multiple places in your brain really helps to solidify that information.

Jon Haws: The three tips we have, and whether you’re out running or whatever, just pull out your phone real quick if you’re running and write these tips down, if you’re driving, save it for later, but write these things down. The first one is 20/10 or Pomodoro Technique. The second one is learning style. Figure out how you like to consume information and try to maximize that. The third one is groups. Find groups that you can teach information back to. I really believe with those you’re going to see … I know we haven’t told you like how to master nursing stuff. This stuff is going to help you learn anything a lot faster.

Nicole Weaver: And make your study time a lot more efficient so you’re not up for eight hours at night trying to study.

Jon Haws: Exactly. Alright guys, so with that, go out and be your best selves today, and as always, happy nursing.

Nicole Weaver: [crosstalk 00:08:30] happy nursing.

Date Published - Jul 23, 2018
Date Modified - Apr 16, 2019