How to Read "Fundamentals of Nursing" Before Nursing School


Patricia Potter and Anne Griffin Perry's seminal textbook "Fundamentals of Nursing" is a must-read for any nursing student. You are more likely to encounter an edition of this book after you begin nursing school, but the ambitious nursing student should consider getting a head start by creating a study plan to familiarize herself with the subject material before beginning classes.

Things You'll Need

  • "Fundamentals of Nursing," by Patricia Potter and Anne Griffin Perry
  • Notebook
  • Pens and highlighters

Create a Study Plan

  • Devise a study plan to meet your goal of reading "Fundamentals of Nursing" before your classes are in session. Reading a textbook is not like reading a novel. To make the most of the information in the textbook, you need to have a quiet, comfortable space to read and take notes, as well as a way to track your progress. Ideally, you will have enough time to get through a chapter each week, two if you are ambitious.

  • Find an appropriate space to study. This can change from week to week if you find that a change of scenery makes you more productive. A quiet neighborhood coffee shop is usually a good choice, or a reading room in a library. Choose a space that has a desk or work surface with enough space for you to spread out your reading and note-taking materials.

  • Take careful notes as you read each chapter. Outline each chapter in a way that makes sense to you. After you finish each chapter, immediately synthesize in your own words the information you have read, then go back and review the chapter to make sure you haven't missed any important points. Write down key terms and their definitions. Write down any questions you have. Use highlighters or sticky flags to mark your book so that you can easily flip back to sections you need to review again.

Tips & Warnings

  • You should be able to purchase a used copy of "Fundamentals of Nursing" at a much smaller cost than a new edition. Check major websites like Amazon to see if they have "buy it used" options.
  • Studying "Fundamentals of Nursing" is different from reading other types of textbooks because the course is designed to give the reader specialized knowledge in a specific field. It will add to your success at nursing school if you can coordinate your course of study of "Fundamentals of Nursing" with a part-time job or volunteer position at a health clinic or hospital. Combining your book knowledge with real-life skills that you can use in nursing school will give you an edge once your official classes begin. Embarking on a self-study course in advance of nursing school will also especially help you if you are entering an accelerated nursing course, where you have less time to learn just as much information as full-time nursing students who study at the customary pace.

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