This post is part of a series to help prepare the nursing student for specific areas of study. You can find how to prepare for nursing school Pediatric version (here) and Maternal Newborn (here). Nursing school will provide you with the basic knowledge you need to pursue a career in Medical Surgical. This post is here to provide you with some basic information to start creating that foundation or even refresh your memory. This post is meant to be helpful but information will vary school by school. Medical Surgical is extensive and filled with knowledge. This post will only cover information that I have currently covered while in school. So I am sure some information will be lacking.
Since every college is different so will this information. My particular school starts out with uncomplicated patients and moves onto patients with complications. In addition to your colleges textbooks I have listed below some books I found helpful. You can click on the names to find out how much they cost on Amazon.
- Lippincott Q&A Review for NCLEX-RN
- Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN Examination
- Med-Surg Success: A Q&A Review Applying Critical Thinking to Test Taking
- Medical Surgical Nursing Concepts Made Insanely Easy
Now onto the information. Again, please remember that your college will teach different topics and/or in a different order. These are general topics you should familiarize yourself with.
Acid Base Imbalances
This topic can be confusing at first so I highly recommend staring (here). An acid base imbalance is an abnormality of the human body’s normal balance of acid and bases that causes the plasma pH to fall out of the normal range.
This is when a person experiences chest pain or chest discomfort because the hearts muscle is not receiving enough oxygen rich blood. Angina is a symptom of an underlying heart problem. As a student nurse you should know the different types and what makes them different from one another.
- Stable Angina / Angina Pectoris
- Unstable Angina
- Variant (Prinzmetal) Angina
- Microvascular Angina
As a nursing student you are going to have to know what constitutes a normal ECG pattern and how to interpret the ECG. Again, this is a good amount of information and could be covered in multiple blog posts. I am including a informative link (here). You will be required to understand what each segment means, these include: P wave, PR interval, QRS interval, QT interval, ST segment, T wave. Along with that information you will have to know the intervals, which means how long each segment should last.
A group of diseases that result in too much sugar in the blood is the definition of diabetes mellitus. You will need to be able to differentiate between Type I and Type II, pharmacology, clinical manifestations and patient education geared toward nutrition and exercise. A large part of diabetes is knowing the different forms of insulin and their onset, peaks and duration.
High blood pressure increases risk of a person having either a heart attack or stroke and can cause organ disease. A big part of hypertension is lifestyle changes and as a nurse you will be responsible for teaching patients about those changes. You will also need to know the different types of medications used for treating hypertension. These medications will include: Diuretics (Potassium sparing, LOOP diuretics, Thiazide diuretics), Angiotension converting enzyme inhibitors, Angiotension II receptor inhibitors, Calcium channel blockers, Beta blockers and Aldosterone receptor antagonists.
I only discussed a few of the topics I listed and I only skimmed the surface. I created this post to get you a head start on Medical Surgical nursing and some of the topics you will encounter as a student. I believe as long as your familiarize yourself with the disease and get a general understanding of what the disease is then you will have a head start. Best of luck on your journey to becoming a registered nurse.