Chem for the nursing professions is often considered one of the hardest nursing classes you will take (second to pharm, of course).  It combines general chemistry, organic chemistry, and biochemistry into one hell-hole of a course.  It may seem irrelevant to you, but if you make the right connections, you will see it plays an important role in the underlying study and practice of nursing.  I personally loved the course; after taking it, I was convinced to pursue a chemistry minor and am currently serving as an undergraduate teaching assistant for the course this year.  Here are a few tips to help you thrive:

  1. Don’t let yourself get behind.  This may sound obvious but you would be surprised how many people I saw come close to failing the course because of this.  The year starts out very simple, with dimensional analysis and naming ionic compounds, but as you move on, things will quickly start to pick up and they won’t let up until the course is over.  Additionally, many professors stress the general chemistry because it is the foundation for reactions and molecular interaction.  This means they spend more time on this, leaving less time to teach the organic chemistry and biochemistry which are the parts which really get tricky.
  2. Draw it out.  Chemistry is highly physical.  You will understand everything so much more clearly if you are able to draw out what you are learning.  Seeing the structure of a molecule will help you better understand its existence in nature and the interactions which it makes.
  3. See it all around you.  Before a big test, I always studied my little heart out.  I learn and memorize by writing and particularly in chemistry by drawing and understanding.  The process of thinking it through and teaching it was also really helpful.  So, I used expo markers and drew all over my mirrors and I made posters and hung them up.  With the mirrors, I would talk out loud as if I were teaching the material and it would help me to also better understand.  The posters I left hung all around my room starting a few days before the exam and I would look at them and review; then, at times, I would cover parts up with sticky notes and quiz myself.

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