Nursing school sets students up for a highly rewarding career if their interests involve helping people. However, getting your qualifications and learning what you need to know isn’t a walk in the park, and it’s essential to commit to your studies. Fortunately, with the right preparation, approach and attitude, you can sail through and thrive in the setting, and we’ve compiled these 10 tips to make that happen.
1. Stay on Top of Classes and Lectures
When you qualify as a nurse, you’ll face situations that can potentially be life or death, so it’s essential to pick up everything you need to learn in short order. Unlike more theoretical subjects, this is a subject where missing a single class can leave a more significant gap in your knowledge than you might suspect, so it’s essential to arrive on time and prepared for each scheduled class. Only in the most extreme circumstances should you miss a class, and you should go out of your way to check what you missed and fill in any gaps as a result.
2. Put the Time into Class Prep
As with all studies, only part of what you need to achieve takes place in a classroom or lecture hall. Much of what you can expect to do takes place on your own time, and it’s crucial to use some of that time to get ready for each class as it comes up. In the majority of cases, you’ll already have an idea of what’s covered in each class, and which parts of reference materials and resources you’ll use in each session. Take the time to preview these materials, so you have an idea of what to expect, can look into further information and have questions prepared on anything you find unclear.
3. Never be Afraid to Ask Questions
You’re at nursing school to learn, and this, by definition, means gaining the knowledge you didn’t have before. With proper preparation, you should be able to apply context to everything taught in each class and have an idea of how to put it into practice. However, there will be times when something doesn’t click in your head or make sense in general, and it’s important to seek clarification when this happens. Don’t worry about stupid questions – you’re there for a reason, and it’s essential to get as much value as you can, even if something is clear to everyone else.
4. Learn to Focus Inside and Outside Class
As you’ll undoubtedly cover in nursing school, if you haven’t already, the brain functions better with learning and memory when it’s afforded the opportunity to focus on one thing at a time. This means that when you’ve dedicated time to education, such as during class or your own personal studies, it makes sense to cut distractions. Silence your phone, don’t browse the internet for anything unrelated to the current topic and maintain good discipline to get the most from the time you spend.
5. Join a Study Group
Assuming your classes involve a decent number of people, there’s every chance that a study group exists where various individuals get together outside of class time to work on areas in which they require assistance. If there isn’t, there’s every chance that you’ll find like-minded individuals to start one with. Learning in groups can lead to significant benefits for everyone involved, so if you’re the social type, it can pay dividends to get involved.
6. Schedule Dedicated Study Time
The last thing you want to do while enrolled in nursing school, or any other form of education, is to become someone that decides they’ll do the out of class work when they have spare time. Sometimes, those extra minutes never seem to appear, and your education can fall to the wayside. It’s essential to take the time to set a schedule, and even more important to stick to it. You have the freedom to work around your life, so there’s no reason not to slot in everything you need to do without missing out on social and leisure time.
7. Treat Your Education Like a Job
You may not want to hear this if you haven’t started your course yet, but between guided and individual study, nursing school is among the most intensive education you can undertake. Usually. You can expect around 15 hours of guided study, and most successful graduates recommend more than 40 hours of personal study. As you can tell, that adds up to more than a full-time job, so it makes sense to treat it as such if you genuinely wish to thrive.
8. Set Up a System for Your Learning Resources
You’ll come across vast amounts of information as you learn, and it will come from textbooks, sheets provided by your tutors, online resources and numerous other places. While some of what you need will be duplicated in additional resources, you need to ensure you can get your hands on what you need quickly and easily. This might mean setting up a filing system, keeping notes or even photographing or screenshotting anything important and compiling your own unique textbook.
9. Find What You Enjoy
If you’re in nursing school, the goal is to cover all the basics of the profession and gain a rounded knowledge of what to expect in a work environment. However, nurses can specialise just like anyone else, and if there’s an area of study you particularly enjoy, make the time to explore further and see what opportunities are out there for you.
10. Practice what you Preach
The health and wellbeing of other people are often at the forefront of your mind as a nurse, but it’s crucial not to overlook your own needs. You learn and perform better when you’re fit, hydrated and well-fed, so don’t forget to make what you’d tell patients to do part of your own routine. That will ensure you take information on board and keep it stored, with great concentration skills and a keen focus on the topic at hand.