How to Take Notes in Nursing School


I would like to mention that my daughter started her first semester in Nursing School this past week, to say I’m proud would be an understatement. When she received her first assignments before you started she asked me did I have any hints about nursing school. Today I’ll be posting one of the hints I told her about, taking notes.

  1. Read the chapter – I know you don’t want to, I also know that the text can sometimes be boring, but read it. You’ll want to make sure you have three or four highlighters and pick one to use when you’re reading the text for the first time. You don’t have to get bogged down this first time you read it, just make sure you have a general idea of the content you’ll be covering. As you read the content, if there is something that really stumps you, make a note of it on a post it and stick it on that page in the book.
  2. In class – You will develop your own system for taking notes. As a nurse, you’ll be using quite a few abbreviations – learn them and begin to use them. As you listen to the lecture, have your book open and your note book open. Find what the lecture is covering in the book and go to that page. As you write notes, use a different color highlighter to highlight what your instructor thinks is important. Each instructor has different signals for what they think is important and that will usually be covered on the test.

    Here are some additional links for note taking –

When you come to the post it note(s) for content you had questions about, if you’re still unsure about it, ask the question.

  1. After class – review your notes, add anything you might have missed.

If your instructor goes too fast, you may want to record the lecture, you might also want to do this if you commute or drive a lot. When I was getting my bachelor’s degree I drove about 3 hours each week to my classes, when I drove I listened to the lectures.

  1. After your test make sure you review the notes and highlight (with a different color highlighter) what was covered on the actual test. Do this in both the book and your notes. This will help you for the next test you have. After a few tests you should be able to tell what type of content will be covered on your next exam.

Some additional hints –

Read your text book – just a reminder. If a topic isn’t explained well then read something else that covers the subject. You have a ton of resources available to you, use them.

Have any hints you would like to share, tell us in the comments.

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