Most nurses can recall the trials and tribulations of nursing school. The first day they attempt to weed out the weak ones by simply reviewing the syllabus. You are told to quit your job, forget any social life until you graduate, and prepare to study every waking moment of your life. They give every scenario that is a possible ground for expulsion from the program. You may go home feeling like a failure before even starting. Don’t!! Go home, cry if you need to, sleep it off, and wake up to the fact that you can do this. You will do this! How? Here are just a few tips.
Your first days may seem too overwhelming to continue. You may just want to give up. Take a deep breath. Take a few deep breaths. If this is what you really want, you will get through the challenging moments.
Make the commitment from the first day that you will do the very best you can. Do not take your role as a nursing student lightly, but remember that you are a student. You are not expected to have all the answers. Commit to absorbing every bit of information thrown your way. It is here you are building the foundation for the kind of nurse you want to be. Take your time when learning the essential skills that you will use your entire career.
This is a given, but you have to study. A nursing student is tasked with mastering anatomy, physiology, microbiology, pharmacology, psychology, and nutrition. Each subject is equally important. Study to comprehend rather than just memorize. Ask why when you don’t know. Don’t study just to get through the exam.
Ignore the know-it-alls, the naysayers, the difficult personalities. This is preparation for the reality of the work environment. Put up your blinders and focus on your goal. Do not allow another’s behavior to deter you in your journey.
Find a friend or group of friends within your program that you connect with. They understand exactly what you are going through. They understand the fear, the exhaustion, and the doubt. Share with each other the fear, the exhaustion, and the doubt. Start a weekly study group that ends with dinner. Get involved early in your career. Join your student nursing union.
Create Healthy Habits
Allow nursing school to be a lesson in stress management. Find ways to destress from the pressure of your studies. Exercise regularly, eat healthy, and practice mindfulness. Focus only on the present, consciously let go of any negative thinking patterns, and take even more deep breaths. Again, you are creating a blueprint for your career.
Reward yourself for your milestones. Go out to dinner and/or movie after that big exam. Get a massage, manicure, or pedicure for each major exam with high points.
Plan a mini trip at the end of each semester with your group of nursing friends.
The thing is, nursing school is not meant to be easy because being a nurse is not always easy. School only prepares us for the challenge that is juggling several patients at a time, navigating the doctor/nurse relationship, and the huge responsibility of interpreting a patient’s changing symptoms. Study well, be confident, and let go of the fear, doubt, and stress. Best of luck to you!
Lori is a travel nurse that has made her way to Sweden. She is also a Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga Teacher. Follow her adventures working and traveling through Europe in her blog, Neonurse, or on Instagram.