How to Survive Nursing School—10 Helpful Tips for Nursing Majors

Many students today decide to pursue a career in nursing simply because they have a passion for helping others and a go-getter mentality. However, what is oftentimes not typically thought about is the amount of time and effort that it takes to obtain their degree before kickstarting their careers. It’s no secret that nursing school can be extremely stressful, especially when it comes to the medical terminology, strenuous exams, skill and simulation labs, and everything else in between.

There’s a certain pressure that many nursing students feel to get the best grades possible and to pass their licensure exams. Although there is a lot of stress and pressure that rides on nursing students today, there are some helpful tips and tricks that can be followed to help you to survive your time in nursing school! Outlined below are 10 helpful tips to help nursing students not only survive but thrive throughout their time in school.

1. Plan ahead

Planning ahead and time management are crucial, and they are not only skills you will need to learn throughout your time in college but also skills that will be extremely useful in your future profession. Taking the time to plan ahead will help you to better lay out your daily and weekly schedules. Nursing school is chaotic, so you need to find time to balance not only your classes and studying but also your work life, family, and personal obligations. This is why it’s so critical to plan ahead and ensure you are managing your time to the best of your ability. Time is nothing but fast, and if you don’t properly plan ahead, you may find yourself scrounging for the time that you can’t get back.

2. Stay organized

Organization is key when it comes to surviving nursing school. This involves not only proper planning and time management, as discussed previously, but also staying organized with your coursework and course material. This means keeping all your notes, handouts, and worksheets in one place. According to The Nerdy Nurse, many nursing students today find that a binder is the easiest and most sufficient way to stay organized.

3. Focus

It’s no surprise that many nursing students find themselves juggling several tasks and oftentimes multi-tasking. Because of this, it’s easy to get distracted and off task. Although many of us feel that we are perfectly capable of multi-tasking, there’s a harsh truth: no one is really good at it. This is why it’s so important to try to stay focused on the task at hand, not only throughout your time in nursing school but also throughout your future careers. Staying focused involves eliminating distractions, setting aside downtime from your phone, and studying without background noises such as the television or music. Overall, eliminating distractions will help you to learn the content at hand much quicker and easier.

4. Learn your professor’s teaching style

Each professor has a different teaching style. Many prefer a lecture-based course, while others prefer to teach with PowerPoints and handouts. Because of this, it’s important to learn your professor’s teaching style early on so that you can better prepare yourself to obtain the information at hand. For instance, if a professor primarily teaches in a lecture-based format, you may find it easiest to record each lecture or take notes. However, if a professor teaches with handouts and PowerPoints, you may prepare best by printing off the PowerPoint slides ahead of time and taking subtle notes for each slide discussed.

5. Learn your learning style

Not only do you need to learn your professor’s teaching style, but you need to learn your preferred learning style. Are you more of a visual or audible learner? If you’re more visual, you may prefer to have printouts or color coordinate your notes. However, if you’re more of an audible learner, you may prefer to just simply sit and listen to the professor as they speak, or even record their lectures to listen to later. Everybody learns differently, so it’s important to recognize your learning style early on.

6. Read your resources

If a professor provides you with a textbook or a reading source, it likely contains information critical to the course. It’s important to take the time to appropriately read the resources that are provided to you, as they wouldn’t be provided or assigned if they weren’t going to be helpful to you and your education!

7. Take time for self-care

Self-care is the single most important and oftentimes forgot about aspect of your education. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day stresses of not only your education but your other responsibilities as well. Therefore, it’s so important to properly weigh your options when choosing a college or university. A place that offers their students helpful ways to relax and unwind is worth considering. For instance, Berry College provides its nursing majors with the world’s largest campus at approximately 27,000 acres, and their campus offers students several different recreational activities to partake in such as camping, biking, hiking, and kayaking. How you choose to practice self-care is up to you, but one thing is for sure: it’s vital to your overall success during school!

8. Prepare for your classes and clinicals

Preparation is vital, not only for your courses but for your clinicals. Ensure you are properly prepared for each day by being proactive and staying on top of your coursework and assignments. The last thing you want to do throughout your education is fall behind.

9. Ask questions

If you don’t understand something, speak up! It’s important to ask questions, as this is the only way to ensure you’re fully understanding the topic at hand. Most of the information in school is foundational, meaning various types of content build off of one another. If you don’t understand something, ask before the instructor moves on. It’s likely that if you don’t understand something, other students don’t either.

10. Take effective notes

Last, but certainly not least, it’s important to take effective notes. Note-taking is critical for nursing students, as it’s the best way to learn and retain information. It also provides a solid foundation for students and nurses to refer to throughout their future careers.

It’s important to create and follow good habits throughout your education. Not only will these habits help you to be more successful throughout your schooling, but as they become instilled in you, they will become extremely beneficial throughout your time as a working professional, as well!

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