Foundations of Nursing Practice

Themes, concepts and frameworks, fourth edition

by Richard Hogston and Barbara Marjoram

Advice for Students

Here you’ll find excellent tips and advice on successful study from our trusted authors and editors. Check out the following tips from co-editor, Barbara Marjoram:

“Essential study skills tips” from Barbara Marjoram

Studying is part of being a student and it is a skill that you will need to develop in order to make best possible use of the knowledge you want to/need to acquire. To help you with this skill, there follows some advice:

  • Buy a diary – then plan your study, leaving time, for example, for relaxation.
  • Assume that attending lectures or clinical practice will give you all the information/knowledge you require.
  • Identify your learning style – we each have our own style, analyse how you do things, be willing to try new ideas and recognise what best suits you.
  • Assume learning is passive – it requires active responses from you, see do section.
  • Identify why you are reading a text and keep that purpose in mind.
  • Assume you will learn in the same way as your friends/peers.
  • Identify how best to take notes, for example spider graphs, notations, prompt words, etc.
  • Study for hours without regular breaks – it is recognised that the brain needs alternative rewards, for example every half hour take a five minute break – make a cup of coffee, go for a walk etc.
  • Read through the text first to get a sense of meaning and then thoroughly re-read the text taking notes or, if it is your own book, article etc., add comments in the margin or highlight particular sections of interest.
  • Assume that reading one book, article etc. will be enough to answer the query or help you write an assignment, you must explore other related texts, for example use the activities within this book that refer you to other texts or practice experiences.
  • Set yourself time each day/week when you will be undisturbed to allow you time to read and assimilate what you are studying.
  • Find a conducive place to study – that best suits you and your learning style, for example library, your room, local park etc.
  • Use the reference lists of the book, article to further explore the topic under study and keep a note of references that maybe useful in further reading, including in future assignments.
  • Use reflection to help you learn – see Chapter 4 of this book.
  • Be an active learner –
    • Make notes from lectures and clinical practice – identify what you need to further explore in your studies.
    • Look at the title of future lectures and areas of practice experiences, read around the topics to enhance your learning.
    • Ask questions of yourself - what, why, how, and where – as you read. For example what happens, why does it happen - physiologically or within society, how does this affect the physiological response of the body or social, psychological, economic aspects within society, where does this happen.
Further reading
Cottrell, S., 2008, The Study Skills Handbook, 3rd Edn., Palgrave, Basingstoke

Cowen, M., Maier, P. And Price, G., 2009, Study Skills for Nursing and Healthcare Students, Pearson Longman, Harlow