If you’ve just started nursing school, congratulations on taking the first step to a rewarding career! It's an exciting time in your life, but some find the challenges intimidating – especially since many don’t know what to expect. A recent study found that almost 35% of college freshmen feel overwhelmed and stressed by schoolwork. That number is likely higher for nursing students since their programs are more demanding. Here are some tips to help you thrive in your first year in nursing school.
- Don’t Stress Over Grades. Many students find that they can’t get the same scores they did in high school or elsewhere. It is far more important to focus on comprehension and developing critical thinking skills.
- Exams Are Different. Nursing multiple-choice exams are different from most – every answer is correct. There are many ways to take care of a patient, and nursing school exams are designed to make you think critically to choose the best method. One way to prepare is to get an NCLEX strategy guide to help you learn the type of questions asked in school.
- Find a Study Group. Study groups can be a life-saver. They help you retain information better, motivate you to study, and provide a sounding board for any issues and questions you might have. Collaboration can help you get different ideas and perspectives, and can help you learn better.
- Have a Study Schedule. Make sure you keep up with assignments and reading – or better yet, stay ahead. It’s far easier and less stressful to do a little every day instead of letting it pile up. If you don’t have time to read everything, be sure to study what was covered in class. Don’t procrastinate. Study after study shows that cramming just doesn’t work.
- Ask for Help. You need to make sure you are learning and retaining the material. Don’t be afraid to ask your professors questions, either in class or during their office hours. Ask your fellow students for help with filling in missing information when you don’t understand something.
- Take Care of Yourself. You are going to school to learn how to take care of others, but it is difficult to do that if you don’t take care of yourself. You will find that eating smart, getting plenty of rest, and exercising will keep you fresh and reduce stress.
- Take Time for Yourself. Part of taking care of yourself is taking time away from nursing school. It is difficult to balance home, family, friends, and school, but it is not productive to spend all your time stressing about school work.
- Stay Positive. Nursing school is rigorous, but don’t let the fact that it is hard stop you. You were admitted to nursing school, which proves you belong. When it gets too tough, lean on your support group – you are all in this together.
Download our Free Guide: How to Pay for Your RN or BSN, for information on some of the methods available to finance your bridge program.