How to Study for Med Surg: Textbook & Tips

Completing your medical-surgical nursing course can feel like trying to climb Mount Everest without any support. As a student, you may feel overwhelmed by the scariest classes of all: med-surg. It’s no secret that this is one of the most challenging courses in nursing school and requires immense dedication and effort from students who want to nail it and successfully move to the next step in their careers.

But don’t worry! We’ve been there ourselves and have excellent resources you can use to make passing med-surg as easy as possible. In this blog post, we’ll provide helpful tips for understanding key concepts, strategies to best prepare for exams, explain why self-care is essential during the course, and more valuable info – everything needed to ace your Med-Surg class confidently.

What is Medical-Surgical Nursing?

Medical-surgical nursing is a vital aspect of healthcare, providing primary care for patients across the lifespan. It is a specialty branch of nursing focused on providing care for patients dealing with various acute and chronic medical conditions.

Medical-surgical nursing requires a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), and a solid foundation in anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and pathophysiology. Nurses must also master technical skills, including medication administration, IV therapy, wound care, and pain management. With these skills, medical-surgical nurses help to manage patients’ chronic health conditions and postoperative recovery, providing much-needed support for patients and their families.

Ultimately, medical-surgical nursing is a challenging and fulfilling career that requires dedication, technical skill, and compassion.

During an average shift, med-surg nurses should be prepared to perform any of the subsequent tasks:

  • Assessment and monitoring of vital signs; 
  • Providing support for patients and their families
  • Injury care and changing dressings
  • Update records
  • Equipment operation (such as IVs, feeding tubes, catheters, and oxygen tanks)
  • Running blood tests on patients
  • Administering medications/treatments; 
  • Educating patients and family members about treatments, 
  • Medications
  • Nutrition

What is Med Surg class?

Med Surg class is a challenging and essential part of nursing school. It covers all the basics of medical-surgical nursing, including:

  • Assessment
  • Diagnosis
  • Treatment planning
  • Implementation of interventions
  • Patient Education

In this course, you will be expected to understand how to care for patients with various conditions and learn about common medical treatments and medications.

It’s important to note that to pass med-surg, you not only must understand the material but also be able to apply it effectively. This requires developing critical thinking skills and a strong understanding of pathophysiology and patient education strategies. Additionally,

How to Study for Med Surg? 15 Study Tips & Guide

As a medical-surgical course student, understanding the material’s complexities and nuances can be daunting. While there is no single “right” way to study for med surg, following some tips can help you better prepare and master the subject. Here are 15 tips that will help you ace your med-surg studies:


When studying for nursing courses, choosing the right textbook is imperative. It’s essential to ask your teacher and former successful students for recommendations and conduct your research on Google. However, just picking a book is not enough.

To truly succeed in your studies, you must take the time to read the textbook thoroughly, genuinely understand the meanings and definitions of terms and concepts, and learn to apply them in different scenarios.

For instance, if you’re unsure about the BSN meaning, which stands for Bachelor of Science in Nursing, you should note it in your readings and grasp its importance in the field. Remember: reading your book is the foundation for achieving academic excellence.

Find a study partner or form a study group:

Studying with a friend or in a group is one of the best ways to ace your med-surg class. Not only will you benefit from the mutual support, but it also allows you to ask each other questions and bounce ideas off one another.

Moreover, having someone accountable for studying can be very useful when managing your time and staying motivated. You can even break down the topics into smaller pieces and assign each person specific parts of responsibility, such as taking practice tests or studying together for a certain amount of hours per week.

Evolve website case studies and practice questions:

Evolve is one of the most popular platforms for medical-surgical nursing resources. It consists of case studies, practice questions, and quizzes to help you understand key concepts more in-depth. This platform also allows you to track your progress and review topics you are struggling with, providing a great way to test yourself and increase your knowledge.


Set realistic goals

Setting realistic goals is an essential part of success in any academic endeavor. Before you start studying, plan for when you will complete each assignment and set deadlines to keep on track. This will help you pace yourself and ensure that all assignments are completed on time, and you are prepared for quizzes.

Manage your time wisely

Managing your time is critical when it comes to studying for med-surg. Set aside a few hours daily dedicated solely to studying, ensuring that these hours are chosen following the rest of your schedule. This way, you can ensure that your studying remains consistent and doesn’t interfere with the rest of your life.

It’s also important to plan breaks in between studying sessions. Breaks will help you stay focused and motivated during long study hours. Use this time to get some fresh air, stretch, meditate, or relax for a few minutes.

Think of what kinds of questions you’d be asked on a test

As you’re going through the material for your Med-Surg class, always remember what questions might be asked during exams. This will help you better understand the concepts and better prepare for tests. It’s also important to remember that it’s not just about memorizing terms and definitions but being able to apply them in different scenarios.

Review Pathophysiology Class

Understanding pathophysiology is essential for medical-surgical nursing students. Review all of your notes from your Patho class, as this knowledge will be beneficial during your Med-Surg course.

For example, understanding the causes and symptoms of different diseases and conditions can help you provide better patient care. Additionally, having a fundamental understanding of the relationship between anatomy and physiology will be necessary for Med-Surg tests and assignments.

Look for additional resources:

As you study, look for additional resources online, such as videos or blogs related to your study topics. This can help you better understand concepts and provide insight into real-life situations.

Also, Podcast is an excellent resource for nursing students. It’s an online podcast platform created by nursing professionals with the sole purpose of helping and inspiring nurses everywhere.

Make Flashcards

Flashcards can be one of the most helpful tools for studying for med-surg. Not only are they easy to carry around, but they can also help you memorize complex concepts quickly. Try making flashcards for terms, definitions, medications, treatments, and other topics you struggle with. This way, you’ll be able to revise them during breaks or in between lectures.

Take practice tests

Practicing tests is one of the best ways to prepare for your med-surg exams. Look online or ask your professor what types of questions they usually ask in tests so that you can better prepare yourself. Additionally, Evolve is a great platform that provides practice tests and quizzes related to medical-surgical nursing concepts.

Don’t forget to use your test-taking strategies

Test-taking can be overwhelming, especially for a course as tricky as med surg. Read all instructions carefully, budget your time, and answer questions one at a time. It’s also important to remember to go back and review your answers after you’re done – this will help ensure that you didn’t miss any important details or facts.

Spread out your studying over a few days

Cramming for tests rarely works, especially when it comes to med-surg. It’s essential to spread out your studying over a few days to understand and retain all concepts correctly. This will ensure that you can answer questions confidently during the exam.

Take practice tests

Practice tests are a great way to prepare for the exam and help ease pre-test jitters. It’s best to take practice tests that cover all of the material you’ve studied and focus on accuracy rather than speed when taking them. This will help you get accustomed to the format of the test and help you become more comfortable with the material.

Make Acronyms For Diereses, Treatments, and Drugs Use

Acronyms are a great way to recall important information quickly. Create acronyms for the various diseases, treatments, drugs, and their uses. This will help you retain vast amounts of information in a short amount of time.

For ExampleCOPD:

  • Chronic
  • Obstructive
  • Pulmonary
  • Disease

For Example – BRONCH::

  • Bronchodilators,
  • Oxygen,
  • Nebulizer,
  • Corticosteroids,
  • Humidification

Review and practice NCLEX-style questions:

NCLEX-style questions are a great way to prepare for the exam, as they are written in the same format and cover similar concepts. Try to review and practice as many of these types of questions as possible – this will help you become more familiar with

Take Notes During Lectures & Records or Review it Later:

While studying for med-surg, taking notes during lectures and reviewing them later can be helpful. This will help you retain important information and refresh your memory when studying for exams.

Additionally, recording lectures or taking video notes can also be beneficial – this way, if you miss something during the lecture or need to review a concept again later, you can quickly go back and watch the lecture.

Be aware of your stress levels and self-care

  • Seek help if needed: If you’re feeling overwhelmed or having difficulty understanding a concept, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Talk to your professor, seek out tutoring services, or reach out to other students in the class who may be able to help.
  • Set aside a few hours to relax: Studying for med-surg is intense and draining. It’s essential to make sure you’re taking time for yourself – even if it’s just an hour or two per day – to relax and unwind. This will help keep you motivated and focused during long study sessions and ensure you can perform your best on the exam.
  • Getting enough sleep may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s essential for med-surg success. Get plenty of rest to stay focused and alert during class. Not only will your memory be sharper, but you’ll also be in a better frame of mind to take on the material.

Most Popular Medical Surgical Nursing Textbook

Medical-Surgical Nursing (10th Edition) Textbook: Brunner and Suddarth’s Textbook of Medical-Surgical Nursing, 10th Edition – Hardcover

Synopsis: This textbook is one of the most comprehensive resources for medical-surgical nursing. It covers all topics related to medical-surgical care, including assessment, diagnosis, treatment planning, implementation of interventions, and patient education.

Medical-Surgical Nursing (2nd Edition) Textbook: Medical-Surgical Nursing (2nd Edition) 2nd Edition by Kathleen S. Osborn (Author), Cheryl E. Wraa (Author), Annita S. Watson (Author), Renee S. Holleran (Author)

Synopsis: This textbook is the perfect resource for nursing students to further their understanding of medical-surgical care. It covers all topics related to medical-surgical nursing, from assessment and diagnosis to treatment planning and patient education. Additionally, it includes helpful case studies and practice questions that can help reinforce key concepts.

Final Words

Medical-surgical nursing is an essential part of healthcare that requires dedicated students willing to try to learn the material. This blog post provided several tips and strategies for mastering the course and acing the exams. From finding a study partner to taking practice tests, you can do plenty of things to make your Med-Surg class as easy as possible.

Passing med-surg requires dedication and hard work, but you can surely ace the course with the right resources and strategies.

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