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How to Use the Nursing Process to ACE Nursing School Exams

Becoming a nurse is likely one of the most difficult, yet rewarding, goals you will ever achieve. Knowledgeable and compassionate nurses are widely respected in the medical field and beyond. Although you have made the life-changing decision to become a nurse, there may be times when actually completing nursing school seems impossible. One of the best ways to ensure that you earn your nursing degree is to make use of the nursing process to ace the nursing school exams.

The Elements of the Nursing Process

The nursing process is comprised of five elements. Not only are they vital to being a successful nurse, these skills are also helpful in making a high score on the NCLEX. The five phases of the nursing process include:

  • Assessing: This is where you collect data about the patient. The information includes psychological and physiological data, as well as sociological and spiritual information. You gather this information via a patient interview and a physical examination of the patient. The interview covers the patient’s personal and family medical history. This interaction also gives you a chance to observe the patient.
  • Diagnosing: During this phase, you make an educated judgment about the patient’s condition. Multiple diagnoses are often necessary, and you must describe the ailment and ascertain whether the patient is at risk of developing further problems. This phase is critical because it determines the necessary treatment necessary.
  • Planning: Once you and the patient discuss the diagnosis, it is time to plan a course of action. When multiple diagnoses exist, often the head nurse looks over the assessment and prioritizes the treatment. This administrator helps you identify severe problems and high-risk situations.
  • Implementing: This follow-through phase is often the most time-consuming for you as a nurse because it can take place over hours, days, weeks or even months. The care and education of the patient, careful monitoring of changes and improvement, and patient follow-up care all fall into this phase.
  • Evaluating: This final stage is where you ascertain if the health goals have been met. Typically, the determining factor is improvement: if the condition has stabilized, if the patient’s health has deteriorated, if the individual has been discharged, or if the patient died. If the patient hasn’t improved, you must start the nursing process over at phase one.

Applying Your Knowledge to the Nursing Process

Whether you are attending a brick-and-mortar school, taking nursing courses through online learning or tackling the NCLEX practice questions, it is imperative that you learn the five phases of the nursing process well. You will use these steps daily as a nurse, whether you work in a physician’s office, hospital or another type of nursing facility. Practicing until these phases are second nature will help you succeed and provide your patients with optimal care. It isn’t enough to ace the examinations; even small errors can be costly. People who are interested in nursing careers are often the most compassionate and caring in any occupation. Misdiagnosing a patient, making a medication error or avoiding a malpractice suit damages your confidence, and your self-esteem suffers right along with the patient. Another detriment is the possible loss of your job after you’ve spent years studying for your license.

Utilizing the Steps in the Nursing Process on Nursing School Tests

When the time comes to take your nursing school tests, knowing how to utilize the phases of assessing, diagnosing, planning, implementing and evaluating well will help you avoid anxiety during the examinations. If you remember the phases and what it takes to successfully complete each one, you won’t have to worry about these important factors when trying to cram for the tests. You can devote this time to studying areas where you have trouble, such as pharmacology, infection control or other topics.

While taking the nursing school tests, remember to collect the data, make an educated decision based on the information and then follow the best course of action. After those steps are complete, show how you would continue to care for and monitor the patient and evaluate the final outcome.

Remember that your education has prepared you well for these tests. The examination is simply a device to measure your knowledge and skills. Rest well the night before the test so that you are at your best and can comprehend the questions on the exam with clarity. Think about each query and then rely on your knowledge to determine the best action to resolve the issue. Using these tips helps ensure that you can obtain the highest score possible.

Why the Nursing Process Matters in Real-Life Nursing

When you are dealing with a real, live patient, you will be grateful that you excelled academically while in nursing school. Unlike the patient cases in your textbooks, there isn’t room for error when you are dealing with someone’s mother, father, sibling, child or other loved one. The nursing process has been developed through years of measuring quality outcomes and the health and well-being of real patients, just like the ones you are striving to help via your career choice. Nursing is a noble, rewarding profession and a well-paying occupation. Some people only dream of changing the lives of others for the better; nurses can actually make it happen.

Heirarchy of O2 Delivery MethodsDo You Know the Right O2 Delivery Device Order?
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Date Published - Apr 18, 2017
Date Modified - Apr 18, 2017

Jon Haws RN

Written by Jon Haws RN

Jon Haws RN began his nursing career at a Level I Trauma ICU in DFW working as a code team nurse, charge nurse, and preceptor. Frustrated with the nursing education process, Jon started NRSNG in 2014 with a desire to provide tools and confidence to nursing students around the globe. When he's not busting out content for NRSNG, Jon enjoys spending time with his two kids and wife.

One Comment

  1. Kaci Mulligan

    Hi Jon! I’ve been checking out your blogs and really love what you have to say. Thank you for providing such useful information- you are inspirational. I am a 25 yr old single mom in nursing school at an RN diploma program. My favorite blog you wrote was about how you made 70k your first year as a nurse. I am constantly doing the same thing you mentioned (googling how to make the most money). I am passionate about the work, but really want to make the most money I can to provide my son with a really good life that he deserves. I keep looking into paths for after graduation but can’t figure out what is best. There are RN-BSN programs, RN-MSN programs, or BSN followed by programs to become a CRNA, NP, etc the list goes on and on. Then there’s per diem and travel nursing. Any input on this? Is there an educational path you think would be most lucrative or do you think the best path is “using the system” as you put it to work the higher paying shifts? I would appreciate any advice.

    Keep up the good work- you’re awesome!!

    Reply