As far as undergraduate degrees are concerned, nursing school, in particular, has a reputation for being more than a little bit challenging. Anyone who has ever undertaken the task of attending nursing school to become a fully qualified practising nurse will be able to tell you that nursing school comes with its fair share of stressful moments.
Even though nursing school can be incredibly stressful, that is no reason to feel intimidated about starting your own journey to become a nurse. Such a career is one that is filled with fulfilling experiences and in which you can make a big difference in the lives of people suffering from various injuries and illnesses.
If you have decided that you’re calling in life is to become a nurse, your first step on the road to achieving this goal is to enrol in and complete nursing school. While there is no way of completely eliminating all stress from the process of earning your nursing degree, there are actually many ways in which you can make the process just a bit easier on yourself.
One of the most important things that you will want to do is take the time to prepare yourself mentally for the experience of going to nursing school. Gaining as much information about what you can expect from your degree program will help you feel more confident and comfortable with the task you are about to undertake.
Aside from that, though, here are several simple hacks to nursing school that can help to make your experience of earning your nursing degree a bit less stressful and easier in the grand scheme of things.
Choose the right school
Every year, a not-insignificant number of nursing students decide to abandon their degrees and pursue a different calling. While there are many different reasons for this fact, one that is becoming more and more evident, as nursing schools look to get to the bottom of why students drop out, is the fact that not every nursing school is going to be a perfect fit for every nursing student.
The fact of the matter is that not all nursing schools are created equal. While the general knowledge and practical skills that you can expect from your nursing school experience will be more or less the same no matter where you attend school, each school will have its unique program to offer.
To give yourself the best chance of finding success in nursing school, take the time to find the right school that is the best fit for you. Look into things like the quality of instructors, the amount of time that it takes to complete the degree program, and the format in which the program is offered.
You might very well find that instead of thriving in a more traditional four-year university setting, your learning style is more conducive to an accelerated online program like the one offered at Marymount University in the US or a suitable online nursing degree within your own country. There are many top-up nursing qualifications you can complete online, as well as full degrees alongside your practical experience. Do some soul-searching early on in the process so that you can find the right nursing degree program for you.
Communicate with your professors
When you actually get started in your degree, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and a bit unsettled at everything that you are going to be expected to accomplish in a relatively short amount of time. In addition, it can feel as though your instructors and professors are expecting too much of you at such a moment.
Instead of allowing yourself to wallow in these thoughts and continue to feel overwhelmed, make a point out of communicating with your professors. Your nursing school instructors are there to help you and guide you to become the best nurse you can be. Having a simple conversation at the start of each course with your professor will help you find your feet faster with each class you take.
This same concept applies to even those professors who are considered to be the “tough” ones. Don’t allow yourself to miss out on an opportunity to connect with your professor in a productive way just because the general opinion of them is rather negative. Let them know that you are there to work and to succeed, and they will be able to help you along the way.
You should also consider having these conversations with your professors face-to-face instead of sending them an email. Emails can be subject to the interpretation of the reader, and you never want to put yourself in a situation where you might come off as disrespectful. In addition, speaking face to face is a much better way for you to make a good impression on your professors.
Make your own study materials
One thing about being in a nursing school that tends to overwhelm many students is the fact that there is an incredibly large amount of reading that you will need to complete in order to earn your degree. Each new course will come with a seemingly endless list of reading materials that you will have to find the time to go through and absorb.
The first thing to remember about the amount of reading that has to be done when you are in nursing school is that it is possible to get through it all. However, if you are not feeling so confident about your ability to retain enough information from all of the things you have to read, there are several helpful approaches that you can take.
Many nursing students find it most helpful to make their own study materials based on their reading. While this process won’t necessarily save you time, in the long run, it will help improve your ability to retain the information you read, which is the most important point after all.
Even if your professor or instructor has provided you with study materials for your course, make the extra effort to write your own questions based on your reading. This will help you identify those areas where you specifically need to pay extra attention to your reading material. You can then use your original study materials to quiz yourself and make sure that you have retained everything you need to succeed in your course.
Writing things down, making articles of the facts, creating revision flashcards and typing out what you have learned, can all play a part in helping the information to stick.
As you earn your nursing degree, you will find that it often feels as though the program itself was designed to keep you going non-stop for the duration of the program. Unfortunately, you aren’t alone in feeling this way, and you aren’t too far off the mark with such an assumption.
Nursing school is meant to prepare you for a successful career as a nurse. The job of a nurse is one that is generally spent in a hectic, non-stop sort of environment. You will be expected to spend entire shifts working on your feet as you treat your patients and deal with stressful scenarios. The nursing school wouldn’t serve as adequate preparation for such a career unless it too was stressful and hectic.
However, it is important for you to avoid putting yourself in a situation where you crack under the pressure. The best way to truly manage the stress of nursing school is to practice good self-care.
Self-care might look different for you than it does for others, so don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to your fellow students. Everyone has a different capacity for stress and unique ways of dealing with it. You need to find the self-care methods that work best for you so that you can avoid burnout and find success throughout nursing school.
This might mean taking more breaks than you think you have time for, to step away and recharge. However, bear in mind that even though breaks might seem to eat into your study schedule, giving yourself that time to recharge will help you to be more productive when you get back to the books.
Another reason you should be practising good self-care throughout nursing school goes back to your preparation for a career as a nurse. You will need to practice self-care as a working professional to be able to serve your patients and do your job well. So, start the habit of practising self-care in nursing school so that you can keep your mental health going strong for years to come.
Connect with your fellow students
Lastly, it is good to remember that you are going to be muddling through nursing school with many other students who also feel the pressure. Connecting with them and working together to accomplish everything that you need to in nursing school can have multiple benefits for everyone involved.
For starters, having a study group of your fellow students can be a valuable thing when it comes to your academic development. You can learn from each other, see things from a different and unique perspective, help each other revise, as well as encourage one another to succeed.
Furthermore, learning how to work as part of a team whilst in nursing school will help you to be in the habit of doing so when you start your career as a nurse and are working as part of a healthcare team every day.