Monday, June 16, 2008

Review and Study guide for the Philippine Nursing Board Exam

Time is very essential in reviewing topics for the board exam. The board of nursing never fails to surprise the takers with their never heard and never seen in textbooks questions. If you are equipped with broad knowledge of all the nursing topics, then most likely than not, you have a great change to pass the board exam. Like for the June 2008 board exam, there were 6 items related to Nursing Informatics, which I bet was never discussed in any college or university offering Nursing. This nursing informatics can be read at the first chapters of Fundamentals of Nursing by Kozier.

The reason why time is very important is because with enough time, you’ll surely be able to study all the nursing topics. What’s most important is that you have an idea to all topics from Fundamentals to Pyschiatric Nursing. The greatest advantage of learning and refreshing the nursing topics is that you will also be using this knowledge when you take the NCLEX or even when you apply for a nursing job after passing the board. Never think it’s a waste of time reading nursing topics. Later on, you’ll appreciate everything you have read.

Here is a brief summary or overview of what should be learned in the course of your study:

  1. Foundation of Nursing - The best source is no other than the Fundamentals of Nursing by Kozier et al. The board of nursing provides questions most commonly related to nursing skills which can be found in the book. Aside from it, you can also read the book Mastering Fundamentals of Nursing by Udan. The most valuable knowledge in this textbook is the historical background of nursing, because it includes a detailed explanation of the history of nursing in the Philippines, which obviously not discussed by Kozier.
  2. Professional Adjustment - The only textbook so far that contains a detailed explanation of the Professional Adjustment in the Philippines is the Professional Nursing in the Philippines by Lydia Venzon. But from the recent board exam (2008), questions are very hard and it almost took 50% of test 1 together with the leadership and management. It has been a spreading news that the BON is following the pattern of NCLEX questions, and from my own experience, some questions I’ve read from NCLEX reviewer software like Saunders do provide questions similar from what appeared in the board examination.
  3. Leadership and Management - Like professional adjustment, the only textbook that provides an explanation of leadership and mostly management, is from the textbook Nursing Management towards Quality Care by Lydia Venzon. Like what I’ve said previously from Prof Ad, questions are not directly found in the textbook, it’s a combination of critical thinking and proper selection of choices for you to be able to have a correct answer. Also, most of the questions are really patterned from the NCLEX reviewer software. From the 2008 questions, I roughly estimate that almost 45% of the entire tests contains questions related to leadership and management. Personally, I do not favor to this much questioning, because from what I know, Nursing Licensure Examination measures the competency level of the novice nurses (meaning fresh graduate). It’s quite irritating to know that the Board of Nursing provides questions that measure the competency level of Proficient and Expert level like Head nurses or Chief Nurses, as if students will be automatically promoted. But nevertheless, better be equipped with information.
  4. Nursing Research - The most reliable source of nursing research is the textbook or e-book Nursing Research, Principles and Methods by Polit and Beck. I will be providing you a link later on where to download this e-book. Although the book provides a detailed explanation of nursing research, what’s important is that you will read the summary of every chapter because they almost contain the keywords of Nursing research. One piece of advice is that you should study thoroughly the different types of research like (Qualitative and Quantitative) and what are it’s subtypes, also some of the major purposes of Review of Related Literature, or Theoretical Framework. Do not memorize the definition, rather understand how it is being used, and try to find as much as example (in the textbook I’ve mentioned, it contained specific examples of Nursing research topics) because it’s the most common questions being asked.
  5. Maternal and Child Nursing - As disappointing as it was, but from the 2008 board exam, MCN was like disregarded in the Test 2. Review centers and reviewers most often than not suggests memorizing the Developmental Milestone of Growth and Development, Pediatric Illnesses, Maternal Complications and the like. You’ll really never know what questions awaits you. The key to answering the questions is not by memorizing, but rather by understanding. Understanding in the sense that no matter how the words are used, no matter how jumbled or rambled the questions or topics are, you have a significant idea of it. We will never know if the next board exam will do the same or will have a great change. When studying MCHN think of it as a knowledge being planted for future harvest (like NCLEX or if you plan to work on OBMaternal and Child Health Nursing by Adelle Pilitteri Volume 1, and a little information from Volume 2, and from my surprise, the Lippincott review series of Pediatric Nursing provided me with enough information in pediatric nursing that I was able to answer the 5 to 6 questions in the board exam with confidence (because if my memory serves me right, there less than 10 questions in Pediatric Nursing, feel free to correct me) ward, Pediatric Ward, or PICU). I will still suggest reading and understanding the entire concepts of MCHN. The best sources would be
  6. Community Health Nursing - Personally, this subject is one of my hated subjects in nursing, (not because I do not like working in the community but because of the lack in sources) because from the previous board examination, I cannot remember any significant question related to CHN. There are two textbooks that can be used, the latest 10th edition of Public Health nursing and the 9th edition of Community Health Nursing in the Philippines, (which surprisingly, the latest edition doesn’t contain all the topics from the 9th edition). Like I’ve said, we will never know how the BON will provide questions, so therefore the best thing to do is to read. But here’s the best suggestion I can give, don’t waste your time memorizing the history of Public Health Nursing, or any history, also all of the Republic Acts and the like, because from three previous board examinations, these are not being asked anymore. Focus on the immunizations, communicable diseases, (don’t waste your time reading the non-communicable as well because you will definitely encounter these topics in the Medical Surgical Nursing)
  7. Medical Surgical Nursing - This time, contrary to what is told that the there are common diseases being asked in the board exam, actually, again it’s surprisingly not true because, based on my experience, the BON have changed their trend in making questions, Test 3 is the most disorganized, not well-thought, and insufficient questions I’ve ever encountered in my entire career of nursing. Then here comes Test 4 which provides a very different type of questions which are challenging but not covering somehow the broad spectrum of Medical Surgical Nursing. The most common questions were all related to Operating Room nurses and it is said that the questions are patterned from the Philippine General Hospital’s guidelines and policy because the some BON are products of PGH. Just a comment, questions related to OR are really old-fashioned as if the latest trends and technology in the Nursing field are disregarded. Question about what is the color of oxygen tank was again asked. Again the main point in studying Medical Surgical Nursing is to understand the concepts. It is very important to have a basic knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of every system in the body because it will serve as the basic tool in understanding the pathophysiology or disease process. The two best textbook resources are Brunner and Sudarth’s Textbook in Medical Surgical Nursing by Smeltzer and Bare and the Medical Surgical Nursing by Udan. Udan’s textbook will serve as a good summary when you review the topics discussed in the Brunner. If you have plenty of time to review, it is best to understand concepts chapter by chapter because this will prove helpful when you plan to take the NCLEX.
  8. Psychiatric Nursing - The best suggestion I can give is that you must have in psychiatric nursing is that you should understand very well the therapeutic communication especially in psych patients. Aside from the fact that you will be able to use this in test 5 but also it always appears from test 1 to test 4 of the nursing licensure examination. You don’t need to bother yourself by memorizing all the psychiatric drugs, you just have to know what the use of the drug and for disorders is, again, the key point is understanding the concept. So far, the only resources I’ve come to encounter is Psychiatric Nursing by Shiela Videbeck

Everyday I will try to update this blog so that I can cater the common topics and sample questions to nursing students. The best advice in studying the nursing topics is thorough reading. Do not memorize, understand. If it came to a point in which it becomes hard to understand the topics, pray and find a solution.

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