Med/Surg I

These notes cover the first Med/Surg course in nursing school. Not every topic  covered is here, but it’s a good start! Enjoy 🙂

Before you dive into these….check out our PREMIUM notes…which covers topics not represented here including Respiratory and GI!

nursing school study guide


Cardiovascular: CV CV 2
IV Therapy
Neuro: Neurology  Neuro Assessment
Renal and IV therapy
Stress & Fatigue

For GI, Respiratory and Diabetes, click here!

For each of our exams, we had case studies to evaluate. I eventually came up with a snazzy way to methodically think through each one, inspired by my caffeine addiction. I used the acronym “LATTE” to guide my thinking. L = what does the patient LOOK like (what is their presentation?); A = What ASSESSMENTS will you make?; T = What TESTS will be ordered?; T = What TREATMENTS will be provided?; E = How will you EDUCATE the patient? Basically, by using “LATTE” you cover what you need to know for any particular condition. Here’s an example of this method in action: LATTE Case Studies

15 thoughts on “Med/Surg I

  1. IrK

    Hi Nurse Mo!

    So nursing school has begun… Wow, pretty overwhelming. But fun and interesting. We started Patho. Our instructor recommended that we study it by disease process. I started making notes on each disease but came across a challenge of discerning etiology and pathophysiology. They seem to overlap a lot. Are there any tips on how to differentiate these two?
    Many thanks,

    1. Nurse Mo Post author

      Oh yes…I remember this conundrum well! And you are right to say they overlap…they are very similar! Etiology (by definition) refers to the cause/origin of the disease or condition. While pathology (or pathophysiology) refers to the behavior of the disease…what it does in the body to disturb homeostasis. Let’s use an example since that makes it easier for me 🙂

      For example, let’s talk about influenza (Happy Flu Season, everyone!). When thinking about the etiology of the flu think: pathogens, risk factors, genetic predisposition, gender, lifestyle…things that lead to the cause of the disease. In this example the etiology includes time of year, age of the individual, smoking history, genetic predisposition for weak lungs (maybe a premie?), immunocompromised status, the virus itself and how it spreads (mechanism of infection), etc…

      Pathology has to do with what the disease does to the body. For example, influenza causes cellular dysfunction and degeneration once it is within its host cells. This leads to the release of inflammatory mediators and all the havoc that creates (respiratory symptoms, fever, aches, etc…)

      In the most simple terms…etiology more or less refers to what CAUSES the disease, and patho refers to what the disease DOES to the individual.

      I hope that helps!

  2. IrK

    WoW! You DID make it easier for me! Thank you!

    One more question about Patho. We use Porth textbook which is not easy to digest and it focuses on too many details that are good to know/read when you have tons of time. It takes tremendous effort from me to see the bigger/overall picture right away. Do you have any book in mind that summarizes the concepts (apart from Incredibly Easy series) and could be used to supplement the course textbook?


    1. Harlee Spencer

      Hi! I use the NCLEX review book to help break down chapters from my patho book. You can look up “Bronchitis” and its right there in more simple terms. Also, Kahn Academy online is so great! they have videos that go over just about everything and practice questions. Hope this helps!

  3. Adriana

    Nurse Mo,

    First off all, a million and a half thank yous for these fabulously constructed overviews you’ve provided. I am currently studying for my second med surg exam and an extremely nervous because I failed the first one. Before finding your site, I made a write up for myself with questions about clinical manifestations, meds, therapies, diagnostic procedures etc. but the common issues I’ve had with test taking are questions like “what is the nurses priority intervention?”, “what should the nurse do first?”…and even with making a write up I’m not sure as to how to practice for questions like that…any advice?

    Again, thank you so much. These notes are EXTREMELY helpful and straight to the point (I have issues seeding out “fluffy” facts). Hope to hear back from you!


    1. Nurse Mo Post author

      Hi Adriana,
      My book has a whole section on test-taking strategies…and check out my post here about NCLEX style questions (just use the search function that’s in the right sidebar. Hope that helps! You got this!!!

  4. lasherie Townsend

    Im a readmit nursing student .. trying to go harder this time.. that was the problem i thought i was going out all the way , studying, reading .. still failed .. my problem is fluids n to simplify this .. and any study methods ? ..i literally read word for word, idk how to make my life easier .. help plz

  5. Jess

    If you purchase the study guides from here do you have unlimited access to them or can you only view them a certain amount of times like the free study guides?

    1. Nurse Mo Post author

      Hi Jess,
      Once you purchase them you are able to download them immediately to use however you like:-) Note that your download link is only active for three days and three total downloads…but once you download, they’re yours!


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