Nursing school wasn’t easy…but you can make it so much easier in 5 steps…
1. GET ORGANIZED!
My first semester of nursing school I got a HUGE desk calendar, a planner and the app iStudiez Pro (loved it!) After I printed out all of the syllabi (all 87 pages– ok I made that up, but it was a lot of paper!) I went through each class and wrote down on the calendar when major assignments were due, when all of my tests/quizzes were and any simulation labs. I then wrote all this down into my paper planner and then into iStudiez Pro. Although it seems like a lot, you don’t have to use the app if you don’t want to (I found by the end of school I wasn’t using it as much), but this helps you to see the BIG picture, while also going day-by-day. You are going to feel overwhelmed, you’re going to feel like ripping your hair out, but once you get organized your stress level will decrease tremendously. Time management is one of the keys to a successful nursing school adventure.
2. READ THE TEXTBOOK!
Ok, so there’s always going to be that person in your class that doesn’t read, only studies off of the PowerPoint and get’s all A’s. Realize that everyone is different, everyone has their own learning style and what works for someone else may not work for you… get over it, don’t be jealous, go figure out how you learn best!
If you’re not the person that can gain nursing knowledge through osmosis, I’m telling you to READ. This doesn’t take as long as you think it will if you read SMARTLY. SKIM the chapters the night BEFORE class. You’ll be surprised how many “ah-ha!” moments you will have during class if you do this. MAKE notes either on your ppt slides or in the textbook of MAJOR topics that are being covered so you know what to focus on. After class, READ/SKIM the chapter AGAIN! Half of this stuff you’re already going to know since you read beforehand and went to class. Reading your notes/chapters as soon as possible after class will help you to retain all of the precious information. While you’re waiting for your lunch, take out those notes and read through them. Trust me, it helps. Instead of waiting the night before the test, by reading your notes/skimming the chapter daily, all of the information will be there. It’s pretty stupid to learn the information once, forget it because you don’t take a half hour out of your day to re-read, then spend countless hours cramming that information you should’ve known. Work smarter, not harder!
3. PROFESSOR WHO?
I can’t stress this enough… Don’t be that one student that sits in the class quietly, never participates, never goes to see the professor and expect to get a recommendation for a job/internship (I used to be that girl). Just because you’re so incredibly smart and don’t need any help, make up a question or just stop by to say hello and introduce yourself. It’s not just for people who are at risk for failing, it is a NETWORKING opportunity! Remember that your professors are nurses too, they’re actually nice people (well, most of them are anyways). And they have YEARS of nursing experience. They may have impossible exams, have boring lectures, but they want you to succeed and they hold the key to your success in their hands! When you’re ready for that job, you can feel confident that you have a professor that can actually speak to your abilities — inside the classroom and out. Don’t sell yourself short from what your professors can offer you. Your recommendations can make or break you…so stop being so shy and get to know them! Professors are your soon to be colleagues…remember that.
4. GET INVOLVED!
This one is very near and dear to my heart. As I mentioned before, I am quiet and shy and usually stay to myself. But I forced myself to get involved and I found skills/abilities I never thought I had! I got involved in the Student Nurses Association (SNA) as a representative. Two semesters later, I was the President, I sat on the Student Well Being Committee and I was the School of Nursing Senator — on top of all of that, I was working as a Student Nurse PCT. Woah there.
While I think I may have went a little overboard, I am entering into the field of nursing much more confident because of my past experiences as a leader. Students think that because they’ll never want to be a charge nurse, or nurse manager, getting involved isn’t really worth it, but it is, and here’s how.
-Networking is always useful. You have no idea how many people I’ve run into and through basic conversation have influenced my career some way or another. You make great friends, great study buddies through these organizations and you find out what other people are doing and how they’re succeeding.
-Your resume will be golden! Your GPA is only a portion of what potential jobs will be looking at. I’ll talk about jobs and all that fun stuff later or this post is going to go on forever. But anyways, there are benefits to getting involved.
Here’s what I got: As President, my school sent me to two NSANYS and NSNA conferences — for FREE. $FREE.99. Meals, airfare, conference fees all paid for! That meant weekend get aways to NYC and Kentucky and being able to meet nursing students, prominent nursing leaders, and tons of nursing representatives from schools and companies from across the nation. I was also invited to be a guest speaker a the ribbon cutting ceremony for our new nursing sim lab. I met the President of the college, the current NYS Senator and a ton of other important people. I even was invited to go out to dinner with my Professors and the Dean of the Nursing School! Who gets to do that? My point is, you don’t have to spend all of your free time in organizations, but it will change you for the better and make nursing school much more enjoyable.
Fast Forward a couple years: Because of the relationship I had with my professor, I received an awesome recommendation from her for CRNA school. It helps to get involved!
5. HAVE FUN!
I didn’t have much fun throughout nursing school. I worked, studied, and worked. I regret not making more friends and going to those ugly sweater parties. So I’m telling you to go out and make sure you have fun! Find a healthy way to relieve the stress of nursing school. You don’t have to party hard, or put your life in danger, but learn to manage your time effectively so that you don’t get burned out…I’m speaking literally people. You really don’t want to end up with a gastric ulcer because of all of your stress. Get a free massage from your school (some school’s have this), get a mani/pedi, go for a nice bike ride or run. Make sure you get away and when you get away you’re not talking about nursing school!
If you like this post, please share, like, comment, do something to let me know I’m not just talking to myself here!