Starting your nursing program? Dive into the fundamentals of nursing with this brief overview.

How to Study for and Pass Nursing Fundamentals 

Congratulations! You’ve enrolled in nursing school and should be proud of yourself for embarking on this journey. As you follow the path to become a nurse and join the world of healthcare, it may feel surreal, challenging, and rewarding all at once, but don’t worry, you’ve got this. Learn how to study nursing fundamentals and how to pass with all the information below.

What are the Fundamentals of Nursing?

Fundamentals of Nursing

You’ll take a nursing fundamentals course at the beginning of nursing school.
This comprehensive class will help you build a foundation of skills you’ll need for the rest of your nursing career.

Usually, this course has a lecture, lab, and clinical site portion so you can apply your new knowledge and skills to real-world situations.

The Importance of Mastering the Nursing Fundamentals

Learning nursing fundamentals will help you interact with future patients properly and effectively, minimizing the chances of medical negligence. The fundamentals consist of the primary day-to-day duties you’ll perform as a nurse and the basics to diagnose, assess, and treat your patients.

The skills you’re required to learn are medication administration, caring for patients, positioning patients, charting, nursing legalities such as HIPPA laws, charting, and the nursing process.

The Five Stages of the Nursing Process


The nursing process is one of the most important things you’ll need to remember. It will be on the NCLEX, and you’ll need to use it on every patient throughout your nursing career.

The nursing process is at the core of nursing and consists of five steps to properly care for every patient. An easy way to remember the steps is an acronym, ADPIE.

Use the following steps in order:

  • Assessment: Observe and gather information
  • Diagnosis: Using your gathered information, make a diagnosis
  • Planning: Make a plan of action to treat the patient
  • Implementation: Go ahead and implement your treatment plan
  • Evaluation: Evaluate the outcome

Dive even deeper into ADPIE with this blog about the nursing process, giving memorable visual and written examples of the process. 

How to Study for and Pass Your Nursing Fundamentals Course 

key facts

We’re glad you want to be prepared to pass nursing fundamentals! This set of foundational skills can be tricky to pick up at first but don’t stress right off the bat. Every nurse must learn these skills, and if many before you have succeeded, so can you! Implement the tips we’ve listed below for smooth sailing in your nursing fundamentals class.

1. Create Your Study-Haven

Make your study space your own. If you enjoy studying at the coffee shop, library, outdoors, or at home, then make sure your space has everything you need. From post-its to highlights, you want to be comfortable and have everything you need at your disposal. You want to feel comfortable enough to study but not too comfortable enough to drift off to do something else!

2. Raise Your Hand

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes you need to double-check you have the right procedure down, so reach out to your teachers or fellow nursing students!

You can even post on nursing forums, read online resources, or ask your favorite search engine. There’s no shame in needing a helping hand. Read these students’ tips to learn more about succeeding in school. 

3. Stay hydrated and fueled

Grab your favorite liquid and your favorite snack. If that’s coffee, energy drink, tea, or water, then so be it. Make sure you have a snack handy too. If you’re on the go, a granola bar can be a nice treat before you study! Just make sure you’re hydrated and fueled enough to concentrate. When you’re too hungry, you may have trouble studying, but when you’re too full, you’ll feel tired.

4. Comprehend the material

While you may feel drawn to rote memorization with flashcards, it’s not necessarily the best way to study. Some circumstances may permit a rush study session, and repetition is good for a knowledge refresher, but it won’t help you learn and recall knowledge long-term. To comprehend the material, you need to spend time with it and revisit it in a timely fashion. 

For example, Picmonic’s daily spaced repetition quiz helps maximize retention and improve learning drastically. It uses increasing intervals of time between previously learned material to maximize recall. In short, it helps move information from short-term memory to long-term, so you’ll remember the nursing information beyond your nursing fundamentals class.

5. Learn to manage your stress

Nursing fundamentals can be a tad overwhelming, so you have to manage your stress. Within the first year of nursing school, you may still be figuring out a school-life balance. We recommend taking some time for yourself to do something that makes you happy. This can be a hobby, going to the park, getting some extra sleep, spending time with friends, or whatever you want it to be. It’s important to give yourself a break and don’t compare yourself to others. You’re doing the best you can, after all.

6. Practice NCLEX-style exam questions

Practicing NCLEX-style exam questions will be extremely helpful when studying nursing fundamentals. NCLEX questions cover essential skills, knowledge, and procedures covered in your course. You can use NCLEX-style questions to test your fundamentals of nursing knowledge and get familiar with the exam format. Overall, it will help you start honing clinical judgment skills and internalizing integral nursing concepts, helping you pass your class!

7. Utilize study guides

If you don’t know where to start, use a study guide. Try Picmonic’s Nursing Fundamentals Study Guide first. This study guide covers the basics of the fundamentals of nursing and recommends books to study alongside your picture mnemonics and other important information.

8. Master the material with mnemonics 

Memory aids often appeal to the brain using visuals, audio, rhymes, repetition, or even linking concepts. Mnemonics are designed to enhance memory retention, and you may already be familiar with some nursing acronyms like ADPIE. The strongest mnemonics, however, use multiple aids. For example, Picmonic’s short videos with memorable characters (picture mnemonics) paired with nursing facts and concepts help improve learning recall and retention.

Additional study resources to use for your Nursing Fundamentals class 

With all the right tips and tricks, you can use the following resources to study and keep your plan to pass nursing fundamentals on track.

1. NCSBN resources

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) has tons of useful videos, webinars, nursing term definitions, and important NCLEX resources for student nurses. Their information regarding NCLEX-style questions will be a great go-to when studying nursing fundamentals.

2. RegisteredNurseRN

Nurse Sarah’s videos on Youtube are great to reference when you’re studying or having a hard time understanding a nursing concept. View her Nursing Fundamentals playlist to learn how to study for nursing fundamentals.

3. Simple Nursing

Another great Youtube resource is Nurse Mike. He even has short videos on TikTok covering nursing topics. The Simple Nursing videos are helpful to reference throughout your time at nursing school too.

4. Fundamentals Success: A Q&A Review Applying Critical Thinking to Test Taking (Davis’s Q&A Success), 3 Ed., Nugent & Vitale

Fundamentals success book

This nursing fundamentals book tests your critical thinking and test-taking skills. It offers over 1,200 NCLEX-style questions to test from and provides strategies on how to improve your critical thinking skills.

5. Fundamentals of Nursing, 11 Ed., Potter, Perry, Stockert & Hall

fundamentals of nursing book

This edition is up-to-date to help you develop and refine your clinical judgment skills. It has illustrated, step-by-step guidelines to learn important procedures and offers a clear, coordinated framework for care plans. The best part? This book has 300+ Picmonics you can utilize to study, review, and quiz yourself on!

6. Picmonic

picmonic logo

Last, but certainly not least, is Picmonic. Picmonic uses picture mnemonic study aids, unlimited quizzes, spaced-repetition quizzing, and more features to help nursing students, like yourself, ace their courses, remember nursing information long-term, and pass the NCLEX.

Explore Picmonic to learn how you can use this tool to pass nursing fundamentals and throughout nursing school.


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