Congratulations! You have completed all of your ABSN prerequisites and have just been accepted into nursing school. Step one of becoming a nurse is complete. Now you are bright eyed and ready to take on the world of nursing! But before you do so, you still have to get through nursing school. Use these 10 tips for surviving nursing school to help you thrive in your studious endeavors.
1. Go to Class
Just because your classes are online doesn’t mean you can avoid participating. In fact, you are more than likely going to be graded on your contributions to discussions. This is not in order to make you do extra work, but because discussion is a vital part of your success as a nursing student. The interaction will help you retain information better and make you feel more confident in your studies. You will also have due dates for assignments, so don’t think you can just do all of your work in the last couple of weeks of class. Your tests, readings, and various other assignments will all have due dates outlined on a class syllabus. The better you are about staying organized and on top of your schoolwork, the less frazzled and stressed you will be.
2. Take Legible Notes
Researchers have found that if important information was contained in notes, it had a 34 percent chance of being remembered. Be proactive during lessons and while reading and jot down main points, as well as anything you may need clarified, for future reference. Be sure to write clearly- notes are pointless if you don’t understand what they say. Look over your notes regularly, and compare them to a classmate’s to help organize your ideas. This will help you retain any information that you may have missed.
3. Take Full Advantage of Your Professor’s Office Hours
Get to know your professor (and earn brownie points) by asking questions, attending office hours, and showing that you care. Your instructors have been in your shoes at one point, and understand the complex learning struggle you are going through. Many of your professors are current nurses themselves. They want to help you, so take advantage of the time they are available. Building a strong relationship with your professor could one day help you while applying for jobs in the future.
4. Join a Study Group
Stepping outside of your comfort zone is crucial in nursing school. Let your personality shine while introducing yourself to fellow classmates. The online learning platform you will be using to complete online courses is perfect for chatting virtually with your classmates and setting up a study session prior to exams. You can use the chat features to:
- Exchange each other’s contact information
- Plan group sessions
- Implement diverse study routines
- Provide support for each other – being surrounded by positive individuals will help you along the way
You will find yourself at ease knowing that you may not be the only one who doesn’t understand a topic. Teaming up with other students will allow you to enhance your learning skills, generate solid questions, and point out your flaws, as well as build a great professional network while still in school.
5. Practice, Practice, Practice!
Practice makes perfect, right? It is never too early to start utilizing your resources at hand, in both the classroom and labs. Before being quizzed on specific procedures, practice the routine beforehand on your classmates, closest friends, and family (so long as it isn’t an invasive procedure!). Have fun with it- after all, they want to see you succeed!
6. Download the NCLEX App
Apple products offer an application called NCLEX-RN* Mastery. This app has a five star rating, with content consisting of:
- Test-taking Strategies
- Fundamentals of Nursing Care
- Maternal Nursing and Women’s Health
- Pediatric Nursing
- Medical Surgical Nursing
- Psychiatric Nursing
Each section is guided by audio, or you can simply read the material on your IPhone or IPad. Study sections are followed by large samples of test questions, each of which will provide feedback on why an answer you chose may have been incorrect. The app even tracks how long you spend on each question so you can get a sense of whether you are spending too little or too much time on each.
7. Stay Organized
You can never be too organized. Develop a comprehensive organizational regimen that works with your schedule.
- Create a place for everything – With multiple classes, your schedule starts to build. Keeping track of paperwork, supplies, notes, etc. in a formulated manner catered to your understanding will make life much easier.
- Don’t procrastinate – Make each day count! Having a daily agenda is always a good place to start. This will help you manage your time more efficiently.
8. Know Your Learning Style, and Work With It
We all retain information differently. Use what you are most comfortable with and go with it. Since you can revisit all of the learning material whenever you need, you can adapt your learning style to each section. For example, visual learners- make color-coded flashcards with drawings, if necessary. If you are an auditory learner, be sure to listen to past lectures while studying. Reading out loud is also very beneficial to auditory learners. Lastly, if you are a kinesthetic learner, take multiple study breaks, and try to meet with classmates to practice as often as possible.
9. Get Into a Healthy Regimen
You are striving to become a healthcare professional. With that being said, healthy body leads to a healthy brain. Make sure that you are getting enough sleep, eating right (don’t forget to eat your veggies!), and getting proper exercise. Taking a time-out from nursing school is vital to your wellbeing.
10. When in Doubt, Always Refer to Your Syllabus
Your syllabus is your bible, and it is your responsibility to have a good understanding of it. While reviewing, plan accordingly to keep dates straight (highlight, pencil, underline, and star). Don’t let things creep up on you, and prepare yourself so you don’t have to cram last minute. The more coordinated you are with upcoming exams, clinicals, and lectures, the more fortunate you will be in the long run.
It’s also important to have a great support system in place. Nursing school isn’t easy, so having a reliable friend or family member around will help.
Using these practices during your first semester of nursing school will set you up for success in the following years to come. During difficult lessons, remember why you chose to be a nurse in the first place. Believe in yourself and don’t give up! This will give you the strength to keep moving forward.
Learn more about Utica College’s Accelerated BSN program today. Take a look at these five things you didn’t know about Utica College.