10 Tips on How to Succeed in Nursing School

Utica ABSN student using computer at desk

While nursing school is notoriously tough, it’s not impossible. It’s important that you enter nursing school, and especially accelerated nursing programs like the one at Utica University, knowing that you’re going to work hard. Taking the proper steps will help you to overcome challenges and remain stress-free. Learning these skills will not only help you get through nursing school but will also prepare you to be a great nurse. If you are wondering how to succeed in nursing school, look no further. We’ve put together a guide with ten nursing school tips for success.

1. Plan Ahead

Use a planner, whether it’s pen and paper, an app on your phone or a website. Planning ahead is essential in staying on top of your workload. Look at your schedule a few weeks in advance to map out the assignments you will need to complete and exams you will need to prepare for. Keeping track of everything you have coming up will prevent any deadlines or exams from sneaking up on you. If you feel nervous about your ability to keep all of the program’s information in hand, our supportive instructors will be ready to help. Fellow cohort members may also be willing to work together to take and organize notes.

Aside from helping you keep up with schoolwork, being a proactive planner will help you to make time for other things that are important to you. Mark down family functions and time with friends in your planner as well in addition to time alone while not studying into the mix too.

2. Get into a Routine

In addition to planning the specifics, staying on track during nursing school is much easier when you follow a daily routine. For example, scheduling daily study time around your classes and other responsibilities can help you stay on track even when life gets busy. Plus, knowing exactly what you should be accomplishing throughout your day can help you to hold yourself accountable. Effective time management will also ensure you have time to relax and take care of other obligations outside of school.

3. Connect with Your Cohort

Making connections and forming friendships with fellow members of your cohort is beneficial for many reasons. Your classmates can relate to you during this challenging and intensive process, and they often have a clearer understanding of what you’re facing than other people in your life. Talking to others who know what you’re going through can be a great stress reliever when you’ve hit hard times.

Four Utica ABSN students

Additionally, getting to know your cohort will allow you to form study groups. While you should not underestimate the need for individual study, group study sessions allow you to work through problem topics and ask questions that others may be able to answer. And getting perspectives on issues from others with diverse backgrounds can help to make you a more well-rounded individual and future nurse.

Knowing your cohort well also gives you a professional network for when you graduate. You’ll want to stay connected with fellow nurses as you move throughout your career, as they can help get you in contact with others who may be looking to hire additional nursing staff. Plus, it’s always good to have a support system both in nursing school and beyond.

4. Start with Broad Concepts

Before you start studying, you need to know what you’re going to be tested on. The best way to do this is to go through your notes and make a list of the broad topics you will be expected to know. This will provide you with a rough outline, and then you can begin filling in the details. It’s always best to get organized before you delve into the course material. Your brain will be able to better store the information you’re studying when it’s organized. Not to mention, following this strategy will help you be more efficient in the time you spend studying. Remember to take studying one step at a time. Concepts will click if you read and study in an intentional and consistent manner. Put in the time and the rest will take care of itself.

5. Think of Nursing School as Your Job

Attending an accelerated nursing program is no small feat. It will take a lot of time and attention in order for you to succeed in nursing school. Because of this, we do not recommend that you work during your time in the program and instead think of nursing school as your full-time job. Accelerated nursing programs go through content at a fast pace, however because you will get through your schooling sooner, you can begin your career as a nurse sooner.

Utica ABSN student examining simulation manikin

6. Be Curious and Ask Questions

Nursing school curriculum covers some tough topics, and you will come across some subjects that will likely be unclear at first. When this happens, it is vital that you ask questions to get clarity. Especially because accelerated programs move through course material quickly, making sure you have a firm foundation of the concepts you’re learning about will help you as you progress in your education.

Asking questions can be intimidating at first, but it’s important to remember that you probably aren’t the only person in the class needing clarification on the same thing. Not to mention that your professors want to see you succeed. They will be happy to answer your questions in class and will gladly spend time working with you one-on-one to ensure you are getting the best education possible.

7. Avoid Cramming

While you may have been able to squeak by on cramming in your past educational experiences, any nursing student will tell you that simply won’t work in nursing school. Especially in an accelerated setting, you will have a lot of material to go over in an already short span of time. Spending a little time each day studying will ensure that you are ready when exam day comes. Additionally, brushing up on your material on a regular basis will keep it fresh in your mind for when you take the NCLEX after you graduate.

Utica ABSN student studying

8. Put your Health First

Though you’re going to be busy while in nursing school, you must prioritize your health. In order to do your best, you must feel your best. Getting the appropriate amount of sleep each night, eating healthy meals and exercising regularly are a few ways in which you can remain focused on your health. Additionally, you must take care of your mental health too. This means taking breaks and reaching out if you need help. Making a daily habit of journaling, meditating, or something of the like can help you take care of your mental health.

Getting in the habit of taking care of yourself now will prove useful once you begin your career as a nurse, as it will be more important than ever that you remain healthy so that you can take care of your patients. After all, your profession will be looking after others’ well-being. Why not start with your own?

9. Find Balance

While it is, of course, important for you to remain focused on your schoolwork, in order for you to actually do that you have to take care of yourself. Finding a healthy balance between schoolwork and the other important things in your life can help prevent burnout. Plus, practicing this will set you up for success in staving off burnout in your future career.

Finding balance can mean different things for everyone. Whether it means taking time for yourself to relax or scheduling time to hang out with family and friends, doing activities unrelated to nursing school will give you a much-needed break so that, when you do come back to do your schoolwork, you come back refreshed and ready to learn.

10. Stay Focused on the End Goal

It’s easier said than done, but don’t get discouraged. When you feel overwhelmed with how many things you are trying to balance, take a step back to remember why you decided to pursue nursing. Once you regain focus, you’ll be able to complete your tasks one by one with a clear mind. Looking towards the end goal is important so you don’t get caught up in the little challenges you’ll face.

It might be a good idea to pin a picture of your inspiration for nursing in your study space or inside a notebook you use. Or you can write a journal entry explaining why becoming a nurse is so important to you. That way you can come back and reread it when the going gets tough. Keeping your eye on why you started in the first place helps to put things in perspective.

Utica ABSN student in New York

Ready to Put These Nursing School Tips for Success to the Test?

Utica’s accelerated nursing program will allow you to reach your dreams of becoming a nurse in just 16 months. If you’re ready to take the next step in your career, Utica University is here to help! Fill out this form to request a consultation.

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