Are you taking pathophysiology and need some tips on how to succeed in this class? If so, this article will help you! In this article, I share some tips I used to pass pathophysiology.
Most nursing school programs require students to take patho. Pathophysiology can be an intense class because of all the information you have to learn in such a short time frame. However, I would say that pathophysiology is one of the most important classes you will take in nursing school because it helps you understand why a patient is presenting with certain signs and symptoms and why you are performing those certain nursing interventions.
What is Pathophysiology? It is where you will be studying what is happening in the body when diseases or injuries cause the body to react in an ABNORMAL way.
Video on How to Succeed in Pathophysiology
Some reasons why Patho can be a difficult class?
- Heavy in content for each exam (may cover up to 5-9 chapters per exam on detailed content)
- Most of your grade is based on how well you perform on exams
- Not a class you can just “wing it”! You must develop a study plan and stick to it.
- Requires you study for it weekly! It isn’t one of those classes where you study the night before the exam.
- You have to remember the basics about Anatomy & Physiology! So, don’t forget what you have learned in A & P!
Tips on How to Succeed in Pathophysiology in Nursing School
Know your Anatomy & Physiology! You don’t have to be a genius in A & P but know the basics. If you are covering the respiratory system this week, prior to going to class brush up on lung anatomy and physiology and how everything works NORMALLY. So, when you go to lecture and your professor is talking about pneumonia, you will understand how the alveoli start to become inflamed and why gas exchange is impaired (and why the patient will have respiratory acidosis etc.).
Know your professor! Every professor is different in their teaching style. Some give you a study guide prior to the exam, are great at presenting lectures and cover everything you need to know for the exam. While others make it a “scavenger hunt” and require that YOU find the important information in your textbook or through research. If you have the “scavenger hunt” professor, ask previous students who took the professor to get an idea about how to study for the exams. Also, know you are going to have to study a lot on your own and research concepts to understand the material.
Learn what type of learner you are! I’m a little bit of everything. As an auditory learner, I learn best by listening over and over to lectures (I recorded my patho lectures and found I learned something new every time I went back and listened). In addition, if I didn’t fully understand the material presented in lecture I went back and read it in the textbook and my notes. In addition, I re-wrote my notes and explained the material to myself and taught others. Pick what works for you and do it! No one is the same in how they learn!
Don’t memorize the content but UNDERSTAND IT! Every chapter builds up itself and the final exam will probably be comprehensive, so REALLY understand the material. Plus, you need to know the patho as a nurse.
Make this class your number one priority over your other classes! If you can, try to take easier classes while taking this class, so you have time to study for this class. Every week you need to review material covered in class and study (prior to class and right after class). Don’t just attend class and then a week before the exam start reviewing because you will feel very overwhelmed and won’t give yourself enough time to learn the material.
Create mnemonics for similar content! Mnemonics are great memory aids and make learning less mundane. In patho, you will be covering diseases that are very similar, so use mnemonics to help you keep them separate. My YouTube videos and review notes have many mnemonics to help you learn.
Get a study guide to help breakdown the IMPORTANT material! *Pearson Reviews & Rationales: Pathophysiology is a great study guide I recommend. It helps break down the material in an easy way and focuses on what you need to know for exams. You should use this as a supplement to your class notes and textbook.
*Disclaimer: The book I recommend is based on my opinion and personal experience. If you click the link to the book that I recommend it will take you to Amazon.com, and if you choose to purchase this book through Amazon.com using the link, we receive a commission which goes to fund this FREE resource for nursing students.
You may be interested in “Pharmacology Study Tips“.