Conquering nursing school is no easy task. With classes to attend, tests to take, clinical rotations to complete, and countless other responsibilities, staying on top of everything can seem downright impossible at times. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication, and making it to graduation day is a huge accomplishment.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to make your educational experience a bit easier. You will still need to put a lot of effort into earning your degree and license, but knowing the right tips and tricks can minimize stress, streamline the process and help you get through nursing school successfully.
Earning the right to wear medical scrubs and work as a nurse doesn’t have the be a far-off dream. Your success ultimately depends on the amount of effort you put in, but there are several things you can do to make the most of your nursing school experience. Becoming a nurse will never be easy, but keep reading to discover a few tips to make nursing school easier.
1. Set a Schedule (and Stick to It!)
Knowing how to manage your time is crucial when you are juggling lectures, labs, clinicals, a job, and other responsibilities. Falling behind is easy if you aren’t careful, but getting caught back up is a much more arduous task. Avoid this all-too-common problem by setting a schedule — and sticking to it. There are many methods for creating schedules, and what works best for one person might not be the most effective technique for another. Some folks rely on their smartphone’s calendar to stay on top of tasks. Others use paper or digital planners. Some keep track of important dates on the wall or desk calendars. There is no right or wrong way to schedule your days. Experiment with different methods to find the one that works best for you.
2. Get Organized
Your time isn’t the only thing you need to keep neatly organized as a nursing student. You also need to keep track of class handouts, notes, supplies, etc. If you don’t, you run the risk of losing important materials, and you’ll most definitely end up wasting time trying to find things you need. Maintaining neatly organized notes and handouts is especially important as you will need to reference these materials time and time again as you study for tests, take subsequent courses and prepare for the NCLEX exam. Carefully organized binders are must-haves for nursing students. Consider using color coding and other strategies to categorize information and make it easy to find specific information.
Create an organized study area too. Ideally, you should have a distraction-free room dedicated solely to studying. When that isn’t possible, though, a designated area of a room works. Keep the area free of clutter, as excess clutter can overwhelm the brain and make it harder to process and retain information. Consider investing in some good noise-canceling headphones to block out distractions if you’ll be studying around kids, pets or noisy roommates.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
If you find asking questions uncomfortable, you’re not alone. You will need to work through your discomfort, though, if you want to be successful in nursing school. Never be afraid to ask for help or additional clarification if you have difficulty understanding a concept. Asking for help from your classmates is a great idea too.
Getting comfortable with asking questions as a student will help you in your career, as well. When you start working as a nurse, you’ll likely need to ask lots of questions as you learn the ropes. You’ll also need to ask the patients in your care questions. Asking questions will always be a significant part of your day. You might as well get comfortable with it early!
4. Make Studying a Daily Habit
Cramming the night before tests will not get you through nursing school. Sure, you might be able to ace a few exams that way, but this strategy will catch up with you quickly and get in the way of your dream of becoming a nurse.
Studying daily is crucial if you want to achieve success in nursing school. Everything you learn from lectures, reading assignments, online coursework, labs, etc., could pop up on a quiz or test. With the amount of information presented to you as a nursing student, there’s just no way to cram it all in during a single study session. Instead, you need to review notes and materials daily, ideally on a set schedule.
In addition to making time to study by yourself, consider joining a study group or meeting up with a friend to go over materials. Studying together is an excellent way to broaden your knowledge and gain clarity on things you might be struggling with. Group study also exposes you to other perspectives and presents unique learning opportunities.
Read More: Pursuing a Second Career as A Nurse
5. Practice Self-Care
With so much that needs to be done and so few hours in the day, you may be tempted to put your personal needs aside to devote more time to your studies. Unfortunately, going down that path only leads to burnout. Learning to practice self-care as a student will make nursing school easier and help you avoid burnout later in your career.
Make sure you are getting enough sleep and exercising regularly. Also, maintain a healthy diet complete with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. A bit of coffee to start your day is fine, but don’t lean on it too much. Avoid excessive caffeine, sugar, and alcohol consumption.
Recognize when you need to take a break and clear your mind. Taking a break refreshes your mind and can improve the overall quality of your study season. Practice stress-management techniques too. Yoga and meditation are great options.
Becoming a nurse requires hard work and dedication. But with the tips above, you can make getting your education a bit easier. Before you know it, you’ll be shopping for new jogger scrubs for women for your first job as a nurse!