It’s no surprise anatomy is one of the most overwhelming classes taken in the first year of nursing school. You have one year, two semesters, to learn every piece of every bone in the body, every muscle (including action and origin/ insertion points), every major nerve, the major blood vessels, the enzymes of digestion and where in the digestive tract different compounds are broken down, and more. It’s a lot to take in and there is no way to get around that fact. Here are some tips I lived by to get through these classes last year (in addition to the tips featured in my previous post Simple Success Guide)…
- Use what you’re momma gave ya. Hey, guess what. The very thing you’re studying, you have. Use yourself. When reviewing bones, feel for them on your body; when reviewing muscles, flex/adduct/circumduct/etc them. Pictured on the right is how I nailed the bones of the body: use an expo marker to label them on your body ~ it washes right off with just water and doesn’t excessively smear. Another helpful way to use yourself (/someone else) is to get a pack of the smallest size post-its and write the name of a muscle on the front side, and below the sticky part on the back, write the function and origin/insertion of that muscle; use a friend willing to let you stick them on them and as you place the post-its, repeat back the info on the back without looking. This will enable you to truly connect with your studies and will help with memorization and application of studies.
- Picture this. Use pictures from your text, notes, online, wherever! I will never forget the picture in my notes of a patient with an extreme case of gout and when I think of that picture, I am also able to recall information about the disease. Also, when studying anatomy, it is extremely helpful to find blank photos of the various body systems and use it to test how well you can label the various things you are studying.
- Simulations galore. One great thing about online ebooks is that most come with a ton of additional resources. Be sure to make use of what you are given! Mine came with physioex, which is a simulation system allowing you to learn first hand normal anatomy and physiology. There were even sections in the ebook resources which used real cadavers as images which you could turn around 360 degrees to see how it all comes together; this is especially helpful when your practical exam utilizes cadavers.
- I die for diagrams. Diagrams are great for getting down systems and processes in the body. For example, you could make a diagram depicting the cardiovascular system, tracing blood as it goes through the heart to the lungs, etc. You could also use it to identify all the veins/arteries in the cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system throughout the body, the nervous system throughout the body, etc.