10 Tips on How to Prepare for Nursing School

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four nurses standing together smiling

Starting nursing school can be thrilling and nerve-wracking at the same time, but with the right preparation, you can begin your nursing school journey with ease.

If you’re changing careers or already have some college credits under your belt, consider leveraging your academic experience and earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in 16 months. Here at Utica University, our Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program offers multiple start dates each year as well as a blended curriculum, allowing our program to be completed in a short period of time. While you can finish your degree quickly, make no mistake. Nursing school will be a challenge. But with the right preparation you’ll be able to set yourself up for success. To help you while you embark on this journey, here are 10 tips on how to prepare for nursing school.

1. Organization is Everything

Nursing school is no easy feat, especially when you compress your nursing education into a 16-month time frame. Before enrolling in our accelerated B.S. in Nursing program, practice an organizational routine that works best for you. Once you start your first semester of nursing school, along with being organized, you will also need to have some downtime, so be sure to use your time wisely.

Begin by planning portions of time for studying, spending time with family, eating, exercising and finishing other tasks. Observe which times work best for you to study, and make time for breaks in between. Also, find a comfortable place to study where all your materials are at hand so you can truly focus.

Utica ABSN students studying together

In addition to organizing your time, you must keep all your assignments and exams straight. One of the most efficient ways you can do this is by looking at your syllabi before your classes even begin. You’ll be able to see all your assignment due dates and exam dates beforehand, so you can make note of them in a planner or calendar. Once you do this, you’ll only have to make minor adjustments as the semester progresses, but for the most part, you’ll have a clear picture of exactly what to expect.

2. Treat the ABSN Program Like a Full-Time Job

Because this program is rigorous and fast-paced, it’s best to view it as a full-time job. Our most successful ABSN students are dedicated, self-motivated and excited to learn. They understand the stressors that come with a busy schedule and can think critically on their feet, especially during their clinical rotations.

Another reason why you must treat the program like it’s your full-time job is because it’s going to occupy enough of your time to seem like a full-time job. You’ll dedicate most of your time toward schoolwork, so we advise that you don’t work while in the program. If you focus on your success while in the program, you’ll be able to enter the workforce as an RN sooner.

3. Refine Your Study Skills

Refining your study skills will be an essential component of your preparation for nursing school. Knowing how you learn best and implementing various study strategies will be incredibly helpful. Nursing school will not be the same as your previous educational experiences. Many students are often surprised at the level of rigor they experience in their classes during the program. This means you will not only have to refine your study skills, but also your study habits. Setting aside time to study daily will ensure that you don’t have to cram before exams, something any nursing student will tell you to avoid.

4. Get to Know Your Cohort

Orientation day will allow you to get to know the classmates in your cohort. These students will be by your side throughout your 16-month journey, and just like you, they share your nerves, fears and goals for nursing school success. Most importantly, they are the people you can lean on for support when the going gets tough, so make sure you communicate with them because they will likely become your close friends.

In addition to being great friends, the members of your cohort can make great resources and study buddies. Be sure to set up a study group with several of your peers early on so you can start forming those relationships.

Four Utica ABSN students

5. Lean on Your Support System

Having a strong support system throughout your nursing school journey plays a critical role in your ability to succeed. It’s important that your support system understands that you are committed to a full-time, 16-month nursing program.

Consider meeting with your family and friends to discuss your expectations for nursing school and inform them of your demanding schedule so they know when you can’t be disturbed. Delegate household duties to your spouse, roommate(s) or children based on your schedule, and contribute when you can.

6. Utilize the Resources Provided

Throughout your time spent in our ABSN program, you will experience a strong culture of support. You’ll also work with a success coach, who will be by your side to keep you going strong throughout your online nursing classes, hands-on skills labs and nursing clinicals.

Along with your success coach, you will have dedicated clinical instructors. If you’re having trouble understanding something, schedule one-on-one time with them, and ask questions right away so you don’t fall behind. Instructors appreciate the ABSN students who go above and beyond to understand a nursing topic.

7. Take Advantage of NCLEX Prep

Throughout our ABSN program, we incorporate NCLEX prep to help ensure our students are ready to take the exam upon graduation. Therefore, it’s important to take advantage of these opportunities while in the program. Not only will they help you in your classes and in your career as a nurse, but they can also save you time and money after you graduate, as NCLEX prep materials can be costly. Not to mention, the sooner you pass the exam, the sooner you can become an RN and start your dream career.

8. With Hard Work Comes Great Reward

If you are truly passionate about direct patient care, our accelerated B.S. in Nursing program will be a perfect fit for you.

Utica ABSN student, George

Once you embark on your nursing career, you will not be worrying about the tests you had to take to get there — your main focus will be on the patient in front of you. You’ll use the skills nursing school ingrained in you to help your patient in their most vulnerable state. Be sure to practice these skills during your clinical rotations. This will be your first chance to apply what you’ve been learning in the classroom to real-world scenarios.

9. Establish a Healthy Balance

While it is important for you to dedicate much of your time to your schoolwork, it’s also important to participate in activities outside of nursing school. Taking care of yourself mentally and physically, as well as taking time to take care of your relationships, is just as important as your success in nursing school. And doing these things is vital to your success in an ABSN program.

Getting into the habit of creating balance in your life will also serve you well in your career. Many nurses pour their hearts and souls into their work. However, maintaining a healthy work-life balance will help to stave off burnout. Not to mention, by taking the time to take care of your health, you’re setting a good example for your patients.

10. Stop Waiting

Making the decision to pursue nursing as a second career is a major decision. Now that you know how to prepare for nursing school, it’s time to put it into action and pursue your true passion for a nursing career. Stop putting off your dream, and start today! Contact an admissions representative to begin your nursing school journey.

The Ultimate Nursing School Admissions Checklist

Ready for nursing school but stressed about applying? We recommend downloading our free admissions checklist to learn the important ins and outs of applying to accelerated nursing school.

The ultimate nursing school admissions checklist