This Sweet Acronym Will Help You Make it Through Nursing School

Did someone say apple pie?

By Justine Fischer, Nursing Student and ThriveAP Contributor

The first six weeks of nursing school have been stressful, amazing, and extremely educational all at the same time. I just started an accelerated BSN program and assumed I was fully prepared but I have since retracted that statement and replaced it with the question, “Is anyone ever ready for an accelerated nursing program?”.

When reflecting on the past six weeks my mind often stumbles upon a second question, “Did someone say apple pie?” The answer is no, actually no one has said apple pie to me once in the past six weeks, but I can’t help but think of my grandmother’s delicious homemade dessert every time I hear the abbreviation ADPIE. ADPIE stands for Assessment, Diagnosis, Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation AKA the words to live by if you’re a nurse.

Here is how ADPIE has helped me survive the first few weeks of nursing school (think sugar rushes and lots of cinnamon).

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A – Assess your priorities

What values do you hold close to your heart?

What theory of nursing resonates with you?

Answering these questions not only helped me to formalize my thoughts on my future career but it also allowed me to decipher what is important in my own life and what I need to prioritize. All nurses incorporate their personality and values differently into their practice so identifying your beliefs early in nursing school is beneficial to your studies and to your future patients. Personally, I loved learning about Joanne Duffy’s Quality-Caring Model, which focuses on interpersonal relationships, specifically the patient-nurse relationship, to foster a holistic approach and to ensure that the patient feels cared for.

D – Diagnose your weaknesses

What do you waste time doing?

What is something you wish you could improve upon for next week?

It could be procrastination on assignments, zoning out mentally during lectures, eating unhealthily or not getting enough sleep. At the end of each week I try to evaluate my weaknesses and improve upon them for the following week. Typical weaknesses of mine include (but are not limited to): eating too many desserts, not studying enough, not working out, and not sleeping enough…also known as being a typical young woman in college. Who can resist cupcakes though?

P – Plan your week

What are your goals for the week?

What are you going to eat for dinner on Wednesday evening?

The first step in improvement is learning from your mistakes. If you were to walk into my room you would see a large whiteboard hanging on the wall with a word of the day, a quote of the day, wishful vacation destinations and goals. Personally, I’ve found that this simple daily exercise sets a productive and energizing tone for myself in the mornings and helps to remind me of things I need to do as well as my goals! Another way I plan my week (besides using a planner for assignments obviously) is by meal prepping. Meal prep. Meal prep. Meal prep. I can’t stress this enough, it saves me hours during the week and ensures I get more schoolwork done instead of staying in the kitchen! It also helps me to eat healthy (minus the desserts…A+ for effort though?).

I – Implement self-care

What did you do for yourself this week?

What’s a little thing you could do every day to improve your mental status?

The burnout rate for nurses is extremely high due to the demanding nature of the job both physically and mentally. Taking care of your self first will not only help your career in the future, but it will also help you while you are in school. Personally, I need to exercise and indulge in Netflix and desserts periodically throughout the week but some people may need naps, to go shopping or to have lunch with a friend. Regardless of the activity it is vital to take care of yourself so you can help to take care of others. Think: “please put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others”.

E – Evaluate your effectiveness

What area of your life needs improvement?

How could you study better?        

Practice makes perfect. Some exams will not go your way, and that is an amazing thing to understand! Too many people mistake failure as a negative event that should be avoided and they neglect to realize the importance of failure in the process of success. As cliché as it sounds: learn from your mistakes. I just received a bad grade on one of my exams (& don’t get me wrong I was upset), but the beauty is that it allowed me to evaluate my lack of effectiveness. My studying was ineffective so I learned to change it and adapt to a better style that worked for me.

Try to use ADPIE throughout nursing school, even though it may not be as sweet and delicious as apple pie, you will still feel satisfied!


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