How to Study with Nursing Flashcards

by Cathy Parkes September 12, 2019 Updated: December 29, 2021 4 min read 3 Comments

Get the most out of your flashcards

Watch the video to learn how flashcards were Cathy's "secret weapon" for NCLEX preparation. She provides practical suggestions like:

  • Take them everywhere!
  • Step-by-step demo of how to use them
  • How to identify the KEY information.
  • How they're made for taking your own notes
  • And more!

Full Transcript

Hi. I'm Cathy. And in this video, I'm going to share some of my tips and techniques for how to use our flashcards effectively. If you are already versed in how to use flashcards and you've got your own way of doing it, then this video is probably not for you. But if using flashcards is kind of new to you, then you may find benefit in some of the advice I'm going to share.

So my first tip for how to use flashcards is to grab a stack of them, a small stack, and take them with you wherever you go. So put them in your purse, your bag, your pocket, and pull them out whenever you have 5 or 10 minutes to study. They're very portable, and they're great that way, right? A lot of your nursing texts are like 1,500 pages. Not very portable. But these are easy to pull out whenever you have a few minutes to study. One thing that I really like to do is take about 10 to 20 cards on a walk, and I will walk for about three miles and study those cards. And I'm always blown away by how much better I retain the information when I exercise and study at the same time. So I would definitely recommend that.

And in terms of my process-- so, like I said, I just take 10 or 20. So for this video, I took out my respiratory medication cards from my Pharmacology Edition 2.0 deck, and there are 10 of them. So I would go through the cards one by one. I would read the front -- so on card one, it has beta-2 adrenergic agonist -- and then I would flip it over. And when you flip it over, you would, at least for the Pharmacology cards, look at the top to see what medications fall within that class. You can also see that there's a Cool Chicken hint at the top of the card, which should be helpful in helping you remember some of the information on this card. And then at the bottom, you can see there's a key point icon. So you're definitely going to want to read that as well.

So I'm looking at this. I'm reading my Cool Chicken hint, which helps me to remember the difference between salmeterol and albuterol, which are the two medications that are beta-2 adrenergic agonist. I'm looking at the indications, which are asthma and COPD. The mode of action is that it binds to beta-2 receptors in the airway. So that makes sense, right? Because it's a beta-2 adrenergic agonist. And then I'm looking at the side effects, which are chest pain, palpitations, tremors. And then I'm looking, like I said, at that key point icon, that if I'm using this with an inhaled glucocorticoid, I want to use the bronchodilator first, wait five minutes, and then use the glucocorticoid. B before G. So bronchodilator before glucocorticoid.

Okay. So then what I do is I turn it back over. I turn it back over to the front and I think about all the different things I can recall from what I just read. So I definitely remember albuterol and salmeterol. I actually remember it all, but I'm going to pretend like this is the first time I've seen this card. So let's see. Okay. I can remember albuterol and salmeterol. Albuterol is for acute attacks. Salmeterol is long-acting. I know that it works on the lungs, beta-2 receptors in the lungs. I remember the B before G. So bronchodilator before glucocorticoid. And I don't remember the side effects, let's say. Okay. Let me turn it back over. Oh, that's right. Chest pain, palpitations, tremors. Okay. So I kind of look at everything, see what I missed, what I wasn't able to recall, and then I move on to my next card. Okay?

So card number two, I do the same thing. I look at the front. I turn it over, and I look at the back. I pay close attention to the bolded red items, the key point icons, and, definitely, the hints are always helpful. So I read all of that. I turn it back over to the front and see how much I can recall of what I just read. Okay? And then I turn it back over again to the back and see what I missed and then move on to the next card. And then something I like to do, after I get three, four, five cards into my small stack, I will start over again and make sure that I have that information down before moving on to the next set of cards. So that's how I would-- that's how I use flashcards and my recommendation for you. If you have suggestions or other ways that you like to use the flashcards, definitely share it with the rest of the Level Up RN community. I'm a firm believer that we should all help each other, lift each other up, so that we can all be successful. So hope you love the flashcards. Hope this video helped. Take care and good luck with studying!

3 Responses

Haby. K
Haby. K

January 04, 2021

These flash cards are the best so far. Thank you Cathy


October 26, 2020

Your flashcards helped me to pass pharm Ati thank you!!

Sherene clarke
Sherene clarke

August 31, 2020

I’m a new student to LPNs school I just started a pre class in pharmacology trying to get the full understanding of this class so when I get there I can be successful.

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