Have you ever wondered if you have what it takes to make it through nursing school? Some nurses will tell you that coursework and clinicals are difficult, which can be discouraging for many potential students. Just like any career, becoming a nurse takes a lot of hard work. Here are a few suggestions to help you rise to the challenge and make the most out of nursing school.
Go to class. This sounds easy enough, right? Some students think it’s acceptable to skip class from time to time, but nursing classes move very quickly and your instructor will cover a lot of important information in each session. If you miss a class, you will quickly fall behind in your studies and you might not be prepared for your exams or clinicals. Plan your vacations and extra-curricular commitments around your course schedule and make sure to prioritize your schoolwork outside the classroom.
Be on time. Each state requires that nursing students complete a certain amount of clinical hours. Sometimes, you might have to commute to your clinical site, which can be a hassle in bad weather or on days when you’re running late. But, if you miss a clinical session, you will have to make up those hours at the end of the semester. Trying to make up several clinical hours at the end of the term can be stressful and overwhelming, especially when you also have to study for final exams. It’s important that you complete all your hours on time and make an effort to attend every session. You can carpool with other students to hold yourself more accountable and cut down on transportation costs.
- Form study groups with your classmates. Studying in a group makes it easier to set aside time specifically for academics, even when you don’t have a particular exam coming up. Reviewing your notes regularly will make it easier to retain important information so that you can apply that knowledge to your work outside of the classroom. Your classmates will always be available to help you, and they might even become your friends and support system throughout your college career.
- Seek help from your instructors. Sometimes, you may need a refresher on the material before a big test. You should always talk to your instructors if you’re confused or struggling with course material. Your instructors are an invaluable resource—they had to survive nursing school, just like you. Above all, they want you to succeed and graduate, so don’t hesitate to ask them for help!
- Seek help from a tutor. All college students are expected to master basic math and writing skills, and these skills are especially important for nursing students. (For example, you have to know algebra in order to administer accurate doses of medication). Your college papers will likely require you to write in APA format. Even if you are confident in your writing, you should still ask that a peer or a tutor proofread your paper and double-check your formatting. Every student can benefit from a proofreader for papers—no one is a perfect writer! Plus, your tutor may be able to give you valuable feedback that will help you improve your writing in the future.
Of course, the best advice is to enjoy nursing school. Your years in school will go by fast, and you will learn a lot about yourself. Every student will have a different experience in school, but following these tips will help you make your experience as positive — and rewarding — as possible!
Interested in a nursing degree? Learn more here. Take our nursing personality quiz to discover the best degree options for you!
Michelle D. Metzger is a Registered Nurse who earned her Master of Science in Nursing Administration (MSN) and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in 2013. She has more than 20 years’ experience in healthcare starting as a Certified Nurses’ Assistant. Michelle is currently the Department Chair of Nursing at the Herzing University Kenosha Campus. Also, she is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Nursing Practice in Education Leadership.
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2021. 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.