The road to becoming a nurse is not an easy one. But for those who make it through the struggles, the rewards are plentiful. Depending on which qualification you are working toward, your nursing school journey could last as little as one year or as many as eight. In any case, though, being a nursing student is not for the faint of heart, and there will likely be days when you will wonder how you’ll make it through. But there is good news. Here are 4 tips to survive and thrive in nursing school.
Despite the challenges, there are strategies for not just surviving nursing school but thriving as a student. While they won’t eliminate the late-night study sessions or the lost time with friends and family, the tips in this article will help you as you work toward earning your nursing certification. Whether you recently enrolled or are nearing the finish line and struggling to stay on track, keep reading to discover some ways to survive and thrive in nursing school, and, before you know it, you’ll be shopping for stylish scrub jackets for your first day of work.
Strong organizational skills are vital for nurses. And developing those skills while you are in nursing school prepares you for your future career while easing the challenges of earning your certification. Nursing students often have more responsibilities to balance than other students, so they need to learn how to manage their time wisely.
Make study time a priority by carving time out to hit the books every day. Set clear goals for every session, and mark tasks off as they are completed. In addition to keeping you focused and on track, this creates a sense of accomplishment that can help you power through difficult days.
Keep your notes and supplies neatly organized, too. Developing these skills will help you at exam prep time now, and they will serve you well once you start working in the field.
2. Plan Ahead for Clinicals
Clinicals are a huge — and challenging — part of nursing school. During clinical rotations, you will spend time working in real-world settings under the direct supervision of healthcare workers. You will get to experience what you learned in the classroom in real life and get to put your knowledge and skills to the test.
Planning ahead is the best way to get the most out of your clinical experiences. Once you know where you will be placed, take the time to learn a bit about the organization. Find out what area of healthcare you will be working in, and talk to fellow students who have completed clinicals at the same location. While every experience is different, it never hurts to ask for some ideas of what to expect.
Make sure you have plans in place for the logistical and practical aspects of attending your clinical experience, too. Figure out how you will get there, what you will need to wear, and anything else you need to bring. If you need to purchase your own medical scrubs or scrub jackets, find out what color they need to be. The more information you can obtain in advance, the more prepared you’ll be when the big day arrives. And when you are prepared for your first clinical experiences, you will be better able to focus on the task at hand.
3. Ask Questions
Becoming a nurse requires a lot of knowledge. Whether you are in school for one year or several, filling your brain with all that information is no easy task. No one understands everything the first time new information is presented to them, and there is no need to feel embarrassed if you need some extra help. Every nurse has to start somewhere, and even the most experienced healthcare professionals were once students just like you.
As a nursing student, you should never be afraid to ask questions. Doing so is a huge part of learning, and it is often the only way to get clarification when you are struggling with a concept. You are in nursing school to learn, and asking questions is one of the best ways to do that. Even when you start working, you’ll be expected to ask questions. If this is something that you struggle with, it is best to practice and get used to it while you are a student.
4. Take Care of Yourself
It can be easy to stay buried in classes, clinicals, studying, and research. Earning a nursing degree requires a great deal of commitment and a lot of hard work, but that does not mean you should sacrifice your health and wellbeing to get there. Trying to function on just a few hours of sleep dulls your performance and makes you much more likely to suffer from burnout. And skipping meals and living on caffeine isn’t healthy, either.
No matter how much you are busy with schoolwork, make time to take care of yourself. Eat healthy meals and consider working a daily jog or some time at the gym into your schedule. Get outside and enjoy the fresh air as much as possible. Spend time with friends and family.
Keeping up with self-care is hard when you have a jam-packed schedule, but it’s crucial. Taking care of yourself allows you to thrive as a student and perform at your best. Even simple things like drinking plenty of water and getting enough sleep can have a huge impact on your overall well being.
Nursing school is hard. The intensive studying, the financial impact, and the countless hours of hard work can take a serious toll on anyone. But, in the end, it’s all worth it. When you feel like you can’t make it through another day, picture yourself walking across the stage at graduation. Imagine the impact you will have on your patients. It’s hard, but with perseverance you can get through the difficult days and achieve your dream of becoming a nurse.