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Professional degrees are preparing students to be able to perform a job with specific requirements and be equipped with specific skills. Nursing is a professional degree as at the end of the three years the students will be expected to have gained skills and competences in order to access a career pathway in the field of nursing. As a nurse you are expected to provide up-to-date and evidence-based information to your patients, in a nutshell to be a lifelong learner.
Time management is one of the most complex study skills therefore planning and finding what works best for each individual is known to be the key of succes. For student nurses, this key skill in not important just for the time spend in university it also prepare them for practice. Managing the work load in a safety and timely manner is crucial for the patients. Another core academic skill is note-taking. To meet a purpose, they have to be done strategically using the best technic that works for you. Taking notes could be a challenge for some students and using a method like SQ3R could improve the learning process. The SQ3R for the simple reason because skimming through the text first will save time in deciding if the source is going to be helpful.
Free access to information allows people to keep informed and up-to-date at all time. All this freedom has is consequences and students should have the ability to question every information they came across. Evidence based practice is an academic skill that should be used to question the resources and methods used in practice, some of them could be out of date. For student nurses this skill is paramount, and it must be incorporated into all educational programmes. The best care for patients has to be achieved therefor the use of the best available evidence should be used as it leads to clinical effectiveness. The Institute of Medicine aims that by 2020, clinical decisions should be made based on, in proportion of 90%, up-to-date information in order to achieve the best patient care.
Another important academic skill that students are struggling to understand is referencing. It is important to share with our community and to facilitate development and knowledge transmission. Giving credit to the one that put a lot of effort in writing evidence-based materials is a courtesy and also gives the others the opportunity to go and read further based on our references. Referencing is seen like a communication process and making sure they are referenced correctly in very importan. For nursing career, it is important to be able to support the argument that we make and give the appropriate evidences because it is an element that indicates your professional education. Referencing will also diminish the changes of being accused of plagiarism.
In conclusion, for a lifelong learner and not only, is very important to promote good academic skills that could be transferable in other contexts. This will also increase confidence, competence and self-esteem in students. Academic requirement can be challenging and overwhelming and a good time management is crucial.
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