With all of the other things nursing students have going on (e.g., kids, significant others, work, volunteering, cooking, cleaning, shopping, appointments…I think you get the picture), we do not have a lot of time to deal with a mess of handouts and notes.
Before I started my first semester of nursing school, I found Maryam Moradi on YouTube, and she totally revamped my study zone. There was one video in particular that was helpful regarding binder organization. I added my own mind-blowing touches to her technique that will amaze you. Prepare yourself!
First of all, I purchased two separate binders (with sleeves) for lecture and lab each semester. I quickly discovered that 1 1/2″ binders would simply not cover the pile of notes I would accumulate during the semester, so I recommend getting the 2 or 2 1/2″ binders right from the start (eek, I know).
At the beginning of the semester, you will receive a course calendar outlining all of the juicy details that will be your life for the next four months. Keep this. If possible, ask for a digital version so that you can edit it if needed. Last semester I took the regular theory class along with pathophysiology and pharmacology, so I combined the schedules into one document. Just rotate the pages as the semester progresses, and you’ll be on top of it all!
Each day outlines where I need to be, what I am there for, and what topic I need to study beforehand. I suggest highlighting exams and due dates so you can see them coming and there are no surprises!
The back sleeve of my binder is where I place my monthly calendars. The only information I include on these calendars is exam dates and times, due dates for projects and papers, and simulation days. This allows me to see the crucial stuff at a glance and further in advance than the more detailed schedule at the front of my binder.
I separate the content with 16 tabs, one for each week of the semester. You could divide it by exam content, but I find it easier to locate each lecture’s content if it is separated by the week.
In my program, we receive a lecture outline that includes the assigned readings, learning objectives, and any online content to view prior to the lecture. I put this sheet in my binder before the PowerPoint printout.
Our instructors post all of the PowerPoints or lecture outlines online for us to download. I print them out (duplex style) with two slides per page (see picture below). I do this because I like being able to actually read the words (it’s kind of difficult when you print 4 slides/page!), and I also like to take A LOT of notes! Setting your printer to print two slides per page can be a little tricky the first time, so I wrote instructions for you! Props go out to my classmate, Gina, for enlightening me on this process!
Select “Print” > Select “Properties” > Select the drop down box next to “Multiple Page” or “Pages per Sheet” (depending on your printer program) > Select “2 in 1” or “2” (depending on your printer program) > Select “Duplex” > Select “Ok” > Select “Ok” again to print.
If I receive any additional content from my instructors such as articles, tables, or study guides, I place them behind the PowerPoint printout.
If there is content on the class’s website that I cannot print, I will put a sticky note on the front of the divider to remind myself to view the online content.
Well that is it, peeps! I hope this helps. Share your tips in the comment area!