These are some good tips to be successful in nursing school. I think my favorite tips of the ones listed is having the right pair of shoes. Mine are Danskos! They take a little time to get broken in, but after that they are good to go!
10 Ways to Achieve Success in Nursing School
Beth Anderson | RN, BSN
1. Be Prepared
In your first semester of nursing school, the only way to be successful is to hit the ground running. The only way to hit the ground running is to be prepared. Make sure you’ve bought all the required books ahead of time. Make sure you have a plans in place to manage your time. Have kids? You better have a baby sitter you can count on. Have a spouse? Forewarn him or her that nursing school is a very time consuming process and you might not be as available to them as you were previously.
Make sure you have the school supplies that you need – A good backpack or suitcase (yes, I said a suitcase – those books can be heavy!) will be necessary. Load up on pens, highlighters, notepads. A good computer at home is also a necessity. You will also need a good calendar or date book to stay on track, which leads to number 2…
2. Stay Organized
Familiarize yourself with your course schedule and make plans for how you will fit time in for studying. Always maintain a “To do” list so you can keep your tasks prioritized. It’s good to find a place in your home where you will keep all of your nursing related gear, so you are less likely to lose or forget anything.
Stay organized in other parts of your life as well. When you go food shopping, make sure you buy foods that you can use to pack a lunch. Cluster your household chores like laundry and cleaning so they don’t distract you from your studying.
3. Start or Join a Study Group
One of the best parts of nursing school is bonding with other nursing students. No one, except for other nursing students, knows quite what you are going through. A great way to connect with others is to start a study group. There is power in numbers. Study groups force you to be disciplined, as everyone should be keeping one another in check. It’s also great when there are concepts that you are not quite getting. Your fellow students can help spell them out for you.
Study groups are also a great venue for brainstorming and creating mnemonics (a mnemonic is a device such as a pattern of letters, ideas, or associations that assist you in remembering something). You will spend lots of time memorizing things so the more help you have with that, the better.
4. Keep Things in Perspective
Nursing School is nerve-wracking, there is no question about that. But it really helps to keep things in perspective. You are working your butt off but there is only so much you can do. Have you gotten a grade you are not happy with? Vow to to better and move on instead of dwelling on it. Not getting along with your clinical instructor? This clinical will be over before you know it and you will be ready to start the next one. Do you feel overwhelmed? Remember, each and every nurse out there has gone through what you are going through now. Even the best nurses on the planet had to learn how to start IVs at some point in their careers.
5. Stay Connected to the Outside World
When I was in nursing school, many of us used to wish we could just sit down and read a book or a magazine that had absolutely nothing to do with nursing. In retrospect, I wish I had actually taken the time to do this because it probably would have helped me to maintain my perspective.
6. Take Care of Yourself
Yes, you will be pulling some all-nighters to get that term paper done. Yes, you will find yourself toiling away in the library and will have no choice but to hit the vending machine. These things are inevitable aspects of nursing school. The key to staying in shape is making sure you counteract that with some healthy habits. Take a long walk on your lunch break. Take some deep breaths. Eat some healthy food. Spend the weekend catching up on the sleep you lost the night before a big exam. You will be glad you did.
7. Invest in Comfortable Shoes
8. Use the Internet to Connect With Other Nurses
Perhaps you’ve heard the expression, “Nurses eat their young.” Perhaps you’ve even experienced that phenomenon in your clinicals. Believe me, this is the exception rather than the norm. For the most part, nurses love to share their knowledge and experience with others, and connecting with other nurses on the Internet is a great way to take advantage of this.
So where should you begin? Right here on NursingLink. The best way to connect with others is to start a thread in our discussions. Not sure if you want to specialize in pediatrics? Start a thread in Pediatric Nursing.Are you wondering if working as a CNA while you are in school is a good idea? Take a look at the Career Strategies thread.
You can also submit news articles and start a conversation about them. You can submit educational materials. Have you written a paper that you really like? Submit it here. Posting your work on NursingLink is a great way to get feedback from other nurses.
9. Keep a Journal
It’s inevitable. Things are going to happen that will overwhelm you, piss you off, make you cry, leave you feeling bewildered. How will you process it all? A great way of doing this is by keeping a journal. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. It could be as simple as a notebook that you write a few paragraphs in when you need to get some things off your chest. Or you could get a little more elaborate and start a blog. A blog is kind of like an online diary that you share with others. Some student nurses maintain blogs where they post stories and thoughts about what it’s like to be in nursing school.
10. Remember Why You Chose Nursing in the First Place
Are you still paying attention? Good, because this is the most important step. At the end of the day all the classes, books, labs, clinicals, care plans, study groups and term papers don’t add up to anything if you lose site of why you are doing all of this in the first place. Ask yourself why you chose nursing and write it down on a piece of paper. Keep it handy so that when you feel you are approaching a critical point of stress and frustration, you will remember that there is a reason for all of it.
And believe me, it’s worth it. The day I received my RN license in the mail was one of the best days of my life; and even on the toughest days at work, I still go home knowing that what I do makes a difference in people’s lives.