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Gary Rhinehart

3 Things Nursing Students Can Do to Build Confidence

Here are three principles that I’ve used to help maintain my confidence and lift others up whenever I’ve struggled in nursing school.

Compare your confidence level now to what it was when you first started in your nursing program. Ask yourself, “Am I still as confident as I was on day one?” The answer I often hear from my classmates is “No.”

Nursing school can be daunting, and it’s easy to lose that confidence and drive that you started with on your first day. We’ve all been in situations where our confidence takes a blow. For example, maybe you’re terrified to talk in front of groups and now you have to teach your class a chapter from the textbook. If you’re like me, maybe you’ve never addressed a group before and the only thing you ever taught anyone is that time you taught your dog to sit.

As nursing students, we all have to perform tasks we are not comfortable with or have never done before. When you’re learning something new, it doesn’t always go as planned. During these times, you might start to doubt yourself and question your abilities as a future nurse.

Unfortunately, it happens to the best of us. Here are three principles that I’ve used to help maintain my confidence and lift others up whenever I’ve struggled in nursing school.

Surround yourself with positivity

Try to add positive people and eliminate the negative people from your life. I know it’s easier said than done, especially since some of those Negative Nancys are your relatives or significant others. You might have to have tough conversations with those people who you can’t just kick to the curb. You can limit the negativity in your life, but it’s up to you to start setting limits on those Debbie Downers. Surrounding yourself with positive people who lift you up instead of putting you down will inadvertently increase your confidence.

Compliment others

You’ll benefit from complimenting others and staying positive. I know you’re thinking, “How does this help me with confidence?” It feels great getting compliments, right? It can feel great to give them, too. Personally, I believe positivity is contagious and people pay it forward. By being positive and praising others, you’re creating a warm and inviting environment where others will gravitate to you. This will boost your confidence as well as that of the people around you.

Work on your weaknesses

The most important way you improve your confidence is to get better at the things that you struggle with most. Do whatever you’re not good at one hundred times. If you continually practice the skill that makes you feel the least confident, I guarantee you’ll slowly get better at it. Think about it like this: repetition is the stone that sharpens the skill. In this scenario, repetition is the stone and the skill is the knife. The more you rub the knife over the stone, the sharper the knife becomes. By practicing and honing your skills, you will gradually build confidence in yourself and your abilities.

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* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics 2023 / Occupational Outlook Handbook 2022. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.

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