How I Did It

Am I qualified to write this? I mean, I did go. And pass. And graduate. So sure, what the heck. My top 10 tips to tackle the beast that is nursing school.

  1. Have nursing friends. See Nurse Friends Hanging Out for full reasoning behind this. But it is fairly self explanatory.
  2. Have non-nursing friends. This is as beneficial if not more so than having nurse friends. Non-nursing friends keep you sane, get you out of your own head, and are awesome cheerleaders. They acknowledge the difficulty of the major and the whole other world that is healthcare. My best friends in college were either music education majors or on the pre-seminary track. It was alwyas a refreshing break from medical jargon to talk to them about literally anything else.
  3. Eat. Sleep. Exercise. Dance. Sing. Breathe. Don’t burn yourself out! Still let yourself have a college experience. It goes by faster than you could imagine.
  4. Know the syllabus backwards and forwards. I was the kind of student that LIVED by their planner. I didn’t write it down, it didn’t get done or I didn’t go. I also found a large desk-size calendar to be my friend. Enough room for all classes, clinicals, and important due dates in one place. But find what works for you!
  5. Regular self check-ins. Whether its every other week, once a month or twice a semester, check in on yourself. Grades, dining dollars, average hours of sleep. Are you still enjoying classes? Do you find worth in your work? Is this still the direction you want to be going?
  6. Have a mentor/advisor. I lucked out at my college and one was assigned to me once I was accepted into the program, but if you don’t have that, I highly recommend finding a faculty member or upperclassman early on. They are an excellent resource as they can speak from experience and they can be a key player in the world of networking. Even after graduating I went back to my advisor during my job transition and it made the application process that much smoother.
  7. Have an open mind. If you’re like most of my classmates, you came in knowing exactly what kind of nurse you wanted to be. And if you’re like me, you had NO idea. What I found most helpful was to go into each clinical experience with an open mind and at the end of the rotation determine if it was a good fit for me. Rotations that I saw potential in: psychiatric, cardiac, respiratory, and nursing education. Rotations that I did not see myself pursuing: pediatrics, labor & delivery, ER, OR, and radiology.
  8. Colored pens. Sticky notes. Printer. Hole punch. Stapler. Staying organized leaves you one less thing to be worried about throughout the year. If my work space was cluttered, my mind felt cluttered.
  9. Find what works for you! I joke that it took me four years to find the library on campus, but in reality I didn’t need it early on. I always did homework in my room, which worked out because most of my roommates did their work elsewhere. Then when senior paper rolled around and my work became more research/paper based, I needed a bigger, more structured space. I also learned throughout the years that if I still wasn’t understanding a topic, there were YouTube videos that could present the material to me in a way that my professor didn’t. My favorite videos came from Khan Academy.
  10. Be PROUD of yourself. If I’ve said it once I’ve said it dozens of times: Nursing school is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And sometimes I forget that. It’s easy to just go day to day, completing tasks, checking boxes. But it is not easy work. It is not an easy major or profession. OWN THAT!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s