One of the essential responsibilities of the nursing education system is to prepare competent nurses that can provide patients with safe and high-quality care. To ensure nursing students are well-prepared for these roles, educational strategies that promote student engagement and knowledge retention should be applied (Ghasemi et al., 2020). While teachers strive to use effective teaching strategies, the student must also incorporate learning strategies that can lead to desirable academic performance and success. One of the strategies that I have successfully used to improve my learning experiences academically is summarization. Summarization has helped me to improve my studying skills throughout my nursing education including the aspect of memory retention.
Nursing students often have to learn large amounts of information which requires them to identify what is important from the general ideas. Sometimes this information can be overwhelming given the short time available to study and engage in other extracurricular activities. One of the popular techniques that are critical in improving learning and achieving goals is writing summaries (Özdemir, 2018). This strategy teaches students how to discern the most important ideas in a text, how to ignore irrelevant information, and how to integrate central ideas in meaningful ways. Depending on the type of text, summaries can consist of single words, sentences, or paragraphs. Overall, summaries are important during studying as they improve the ability to capture ideas and retention of content.
Summarization can be thought of as a complex learning strategy that is dependent on the student’s abilities, but its benefits are outstanding. For the strategy to be effective, the student must be able to process the ideas and consider their relationship with the main topic (Özdemir, 2018). During my studies, summarization has helped me to separate main ideas from other information, especially in classroom learning. I found this technique useful in preventing engagement in verbatim copying that is used by many students. Secondly, this strategy is advantageous because it can be used before reading, during reading, and after reading. I remember during my research, summarization greatly helped me to save time because large volumes of text were available to review. I was able to identify the main ideas related to my research topic and use my summaries to refine the research.
Undoubtedly, active learning is one of the key strategies used to enhance students’ engagement in the nursing educational programs (Ghasemi et al., 2020). During classroom learning, summarization is among the strategies that can be used to engage students and avoid boredom. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic when online learning was the most frequently used teaching method, I found summarization of the teacher’s main points more important than depending on notes. I could write down summaries and use the library materials to supplement my small notes. I realized that this strategy improved my memory retention and I was active in answering complex questions during my clinical rotations. Studies have also demonstrated that students who use summarization as a cognitive strategy perform better than their peers due to increased memory retention (Özdemir, 2018). This strategy improves memory in terms of free recall and answering questions.
I believe I can apply the summarization strategy to improve learning during my PhD program. This program can be challenging because of the large amount of theory and research that must be covered. I plan to incorporate this skill in establishing the foundations of my research, especially surveying the literature, and refining research questions and relevant methodologies. During my research, I plan to deepen my understanding of the topic using summarization and identification of the main ideas. This strategy will also help in the reflection and evaluation of my progress throughout my dissertation. To effectively complete my PhD program, I need to have a good mastery of content and memory retention which can be achieved through using strategies like summarization. Additionally, this strategy can be important in managing time during my studies given the balance required between work, studying, and family.
A researcher’s productivity within the academic environment is usually measured by deliverables produced within a time limit. One of the problems that I have found challenging is managing time and balancing between my studies and work. Prioritization is a strategy that I would like to try in the future to ensure that I effectively manage time and balance between other activities (Rimmer, 2019). This strategy involves things like acknowledging the primacy of work, arranging objectives, writing down priorities, and learning how to say “no” to unnecessary tasks. I need to learn to accept that not everything can be done on the to-do list each day. Moving forward, I would like to try things like preparing a weekly schedule and evaluating the completion of tasks each day. I will ensure to schedule blocks of writing time and schedule far in advance deadlines for my assignments to improve on-time management (Rimmer, 2019). The plan and prioritize strategy can help to address challenges like the last-minute rush that makes completion of tasks difficult.
Ghasemi, M. R., Moonaghi, H. K., & Heydari, A. (2020). Strategies for sustaining and enhancing nursing students’ engagement in academic and clinical settings: A narrative review. Korean Journal of Medical Education, 32(2), 103–117. https://doi.org/10.3946/kjme.2020.159
Özdemir, S. (2018). The effect of summarization strategies teaching on strategy usage and narrative text summarization success. Universal Journal of Educational Research, 6(10), 2199-2209. http://dx.doi.org/10.13189/ujer.2018.061018
Rimmer, A. (2019). How do I improve my time management skills?. BMJ Open, 366: l5322. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l5322
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