Natalie Bradley, MS, Cht
Coordinator/Counselor, WorkAbility III
Welcome! I am the Coordinator/ Counselor for WorkAbility III, and an Instructor for Napa Valley College.
My office hours are Monday-Thursday 9-10AM. I am located in room 1769, 2nd floor of the Libarary, Learnng and Resource Center.
I can best be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I provide the following services to WorkAbility III students:
-Specialized educational planning that focuses on student strengths and abilities to achieve vocational and educational goals. Liaison for students between NVC and Department of Rehabilitation.
-Rehabilitation counseling services including vocational testing and guidance to identify vocational areas of interest and abilities, assistive technology and ergonomic assessments to incorporate hardware and software devices that will maximize independence, and individualized job placement services such as video based resumes.
-College success skills instruction in time management, study skills, test taking strategies and test anxiety.
I believe the following tools will help any student that may be in need of assistance in these areas. Please feel free to scroll down to the "Overview of Student Success Strategies" for more detailed information on these areas.
(Click here for more information on NVC's Student Services)
Overview of Student Success Strategies
Student success strategies are all located on this page, and you may simply scroll down to the areas that interest you such as:
Time Management/ Study Schedule
Study Skills Powerpoint Presentation
Test Taking Strategies
Test Taking Errors Checklist
Test Anxiety and the Power of Positive Psychology
Mathematics and Drug Calculations
Time Management/ Study Skills
If you are working or have other obligations that limit your time to study OR if you have plenty of time but lack the structure needed for a solid study plan, then developing a study schedule will most likely benefit you.
Feel free to print the sample study schedule as well as the blank study schedule. Developing a study schedule is fairly straightforward when following these steps:
Sample Study Schedule
Blank Study Schedule
1. Block off regularly scheduled activities that occur at the same time throughout your week (lecture, clinical, work, etc.). Each block represents 30 minutes.
2. Identify time blocks that are available for study. Prioritize times that have at least 2 hours available, times that are during the day time, and times that are open right after lecture.
3. Block off times for study. Ideally, you need at least 2 hours for every 1 hour spent in lecture. Many nursing students aim for 20-30 hours per week of study time.
4. Be sure to allow for meals and breaks, especially after extended periods of time such as lectures.
5. Do not plan your study hours late in the evening. Studies show that this is not the optimum time for most people to learn and remember complex information.
6. Post the study schedule on your refrigerator if you have family members that need to be aware of your study times. Get buy-in from family members to honor your study time as quiet and uninterrupted time.
7. Follow your study schedule as if it were any other class, being at your desk at certain times throughout the week. Allow for flexibility when necessary (doctor’s appointments, etc) but then try to make up for any study times missed.
8. If you find that you cannot identify enough study time, then you may need to consider reducing work hours or getting help for other responsibilities if possible.
Please be sure to see Natalie Bradley for further assistance in developing a study schedule.
The following powerpoint presentation was developed taking into account some of the latest in brain research on how we learn. “Brain based learning” is a strategy that optimizes your brain’s strengths in learning. I especially would like to thank Pat Wolfe, EdD for much of the content of this presentation, including some slides. This powerpoint is narrated, so I hope you enjoy. Please be sure to see Natalie Bradley for additional help with study skills, or attend a workshop.
Study Skills Powerpoint with Narration
Test Taking Strategies
If you feel that you are spending enough time studying, and feel that you are prepared with an adequate understanding of the information prior to a test, yet your performance on a test is less than what you expected, chances are that you will benefit from instruction in test taking strategies. This workshop was developed to provide students with a simple and effective 4 step strategy for the multiple choice test, and is designed with specific examples for nursing students. While it is ideal to attend a workshop, where you can process this new strategy with other students, the next best thing is to work with Natalie individually OR watch the video! The following video (Test Taking Strategies Part 1) is mainly an introduction to the test taking strategies workshop and starts off with the very basics. It is not the complete workshop but it provides you with information on critical thinking, common test taking errors, and the four step strategy that has been designed to help you avoid making these errors in the future. Check back for additional videos at a later time.
Test Taking Errors Checklist
It is often very helpful to analyze your test taking errors. Please view the “Test Taking Errors” checklist. This form lists the common reasons for choosing incorrect answers. It is helpful if you can review your test with Natalie Bradley to analyze and identify reasons for each answer that was wrong. You will often notice patterns such as reading into the question on five different occasions. Once you’ve identified your particular habits, you are well on your way towards changing them. Quite often, students will show a marked improvement on tests, after this analysis, combined with instruction in test taking strategies. If you are unable to view your test, you can still utilize this form with sample questions from a test bank of NCLEX style questions. A source of these questions can be found in books such as Mosby’s “Comprehensive Review of Nursing for the NCLEX-RN Examination” or similar editions produced by Saunders or Davis. Choose about 30 questions from the area to be covered on your next test such as “Respiratory.” Upon completion of your questions, analyze the reasons for questions that you missed, and notice of there on any patterns. Consciously work on changing these patterns and re-try 30 more questions for evidence of improvement.
Test Taking Errors Checkllist
Although criticial thinking is of course a part of test taking strategy, it is also a factor present throughout your training. I've created a concept map to illustrate critical thinking as it relates to diagnosing your student success skills.
I've also created a document entitled "From Apples to Onions" which is a short essay on the subject of critical thinking and how it relates to the multiple choice question.
"From Apples to Onions"
Video Links of Students
General Success Skills
It is helpful to hear from the point of view of actual students that have completed the nursing program.
This first videos, Episodes 1 and 2 ( also includes students from Psych Tech and Respiratory Care) contains interviews with students on the subject of study, test anxiety and the power of positive thinking. Episode Two has special emphasis on the power of positive thinking.
Spotlight on students with families and children:
Laura Ceja, RN, is a graduate of NVC’s ADN program and is successfully employed in Maternal Care.
She was particularly interested in reaching out to students with families and children as these students often face a particular set of challenges. Laura and her husband developed strategies that enabled her to succeed in the program while still raising four beautiful children. The role of support from other nursing students is quite evident in this video as well.
Test anxiety and the power of positive psychology
If you have studied and you know your information, and you have good test taking strategies, and you are still not performing well on exams, chances are you may be suffering from test anxiety. However, please note that one best ways to reduce test anxiety is to over-study and be very prepared for the exam! Some us, however, still experience test anxiety and there are many things that can be done to reduce test anxiety. In addressing test anxiety, I take a holistic approach, addressing thinking, emotions and actions. Since test anxiety issues are often highly individualized, I find that a one-on-one appointment is most beneficial to assess and address. However, I will offer some information here.
A relaxation CD entitled “Smooth Sailing” was developed especially for students taking multiple choice exams. This CD has proven to be helpful to many students and is available in the Napa Valley College bookstore. If you are unable to locate, please contact Natalie Bradley at email@example.com.
Albert Ellis, a humanistic psychologist, developed a form of therapy called Rational Emotive Therapy or RET. The premise of this theory is the idea that our emotions are the result of the thoughts that we think first, and if we replace irrational thinking with more rational thoughts, then our emotional state will be positively affected. Many students have test anxiety due to bad experiences in the past, severe and critical self judgment, or an elevated sense of doom in the future. And during the actual taking of a test, anxiety is often triggered by worries concerning time, student’s leaving the room early or other distractions. The anxiety can then cause one’s “mind to go blank” or obsessive worry regarding answer choices and chronic second-guessing. When one reaches a certain level of fear, our brains and bodies move into a “fight or flight” mode in which we are just generally concerned for our physical survival. Needless to say, this state of mind is not very pleasant and is certainly not conducive to critical thinking and analysis of complex questions. It is extremely helpful to identify the thoughts that we have about our past test experiences as well as the worries we have about the future and during the test. Once again, it is better to replace these thoughts with more encouraging perspectives, confidence and belief in one’s self in order to create a more relaxed state of mind in which to think clearly and rationally. In the CD “Smooth Sailing” common worries and concerns are replaced by positive and effective suggestions that lead to relaxation and clarity.
It is noted that while most students seem to benefit from an individual appointment with Natalie Bradley, or use of the “Smooth Sailing” CD or both, a few students have an actual anxiety disorder which is sometimes treated by medication. In these cases, students are referred to the Health Services Center to be evaluated by a therapist and referred, if necessary for further treatment.
Check out a sample of positive affirmations available for you to print and place in various places as positive reinforcement:
Mathematics and Drug Calculations for Nursing Students
It is my understanding that one of the best ways to ensure your drug calculations skills are adequate, is to complete the workbook, called “Calculation of Drug Dosages” by Sheila Ogden. This workbook starts out with very basic math problems and helps build your skills to the point that you are completing complex drug dosage calculations in Chapters 15, 16 and 17.
Many students have math anxiety due to a long history of either poor performance in math, a strong dislike of math or perhaps other reasons. This is a good time to be begin letting those old beliefs go, and begin to believe that you can calculate math equations with ease and precision.
Know your formulas and be sure to include the right unit of measurement in your answer. Check your work to see if the answer really makes sense. Also, clarify with your instructor prior to the test, as to what he or she prefers regarding rounding up or rounding down. If your answer is a whole number, then leave it, do not place a decimal and zero after it. However, if your answer is .5 be sure to put a zero in front of it, such as 0.5
If you are challenged in math, or unsuccessful with math problems (as evidenced by poor scores), it is recommended that you be tested to rule out the possibility of a learning disability in math. Other recommendations include seeing a tutor, establish a new method of analysis, study and practice.
I recommend viewing information regarding math available on RN Instructor Sandra Buckley’s website.