Nursing school can be a challenge, but there are ways to help you get through those challenging years of school. If you are wondering how to prepare yourself mentally, physically and emotionally for the chaos of nursing school, then you’ve come to the right place. This article will not only give you tips to get through the academic challenges of nursing school, but also give you some nursing school survival tips to help keep you in tip-top shape throughout your years in nursing school.
What is it Like to Be in a Nursing School?
Nursing school can be a challenge, but it can be easier to know what to expect when you go in. This can allow you to mentally prepare yourself for the amount of studying expected of you and what your days might look like. Like any other higher education, each nursing school will be slightly different, though, so make sure you read through your nursing school’s website for any information that they have.
In general, nursing school will be similar to a typical college experience, but with a few more requirements. You will likely spend the first semester or year just doing course work. This coursework will help you get adjusted, get your whole cohort up to the same spot, and help you prepare for your clinical rotations, which you will be expected to do later on.
Some nursing schools start the clinical rotations earlier, but some don’t begin clinical rotations until the second year. Make sure you know the general schedule of when significant things, like clinical rotations, happen at your particular nursing school.
Is Nursing School Hard to Pass?
Nursing school isn’t designed to be easy. It is designed to create knowledgeable and employable nurses to help treat people. This is a super important job, but it does come with a lot of stress and requires a lot of knowledge. This strenuous job means that the schooling needs to prepare you for that type of environment.
Nursing school doesn’t have to be hard to pass if you study well and pay close attention in class, but it can be tough to pass if you slack off. Your schedule will be busy, and you will be expected to complete all your work. Saying that you didn’t have time isn’t an acceptable answer unless there is some extenuating circumstance. Every student is busy, and every student is expected to find the time needed to complete their work.
The best tips for success in nursing school are all about keeping on top of your schoolwork and taking care of yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally. If you can manage these things, you are much more likely to pass nursing school, but it still won’t be a walk in the park. Make sure that you have developed good study habits in high school, so you are as prepared as possible to go into nursing school.
We have an article on preparing for nursing school, so if you are worried and want to make sure you are prepared, feel free to check that out.
How Many Hours a Day Does a Typical Nursing Student Study?
This is a hard question to answer because the answer depends on so many things. Overall, most nursing students are likely to spend a few hours a day either preparing for classes, working on assignments, or studying for quizzes, tests, or exams. The most truthful answer is that most nursing school students will study some every day, but the amount of time depends on how far they are through nursing school.
If someone is in their first semester of nursing school, the work they need to complete outside of the classroom may be pretty big, simply because most of their time is taken up by a more traditional course load. As they progress through nursing school, they are more likely to have longer lab sections and start having clinical trials. This means that the type of studying needed and the amount of time spent studying will change.
The best study tip for a nursing school student is to get into the practice of studying and reviewing material every day, even if it is just for a short amount of time. This will help you prepare for later in nursing school when you are more likely to have time conflicts in terms of what you need to complete in a given amount of time.
How to Study in Nursing School: 7 Best Tips
Every person studies differently, but there are some general tips to help you get through nursing school.
This might sound silly, but you won’t get better at studying if you don’t practice studying. Practicing studying is something that you can start in middle school and high school and continue throughout your higher education. Learning how to study can sometimes be as big of a challenge as learning the material you’re supposed to be studying.
We recommend making a schedule of your studying and sticking to it. This will help keep you more accountable and help you visualize what needs to be done and by what day. If you want some help creating a study schedule, or just want more information about why a study schedule can be so helpful, feel free to check out our article on the topic.
Take advantage of the resources your school provides
Most schools have various resources, from scheduled study groups to writing centers that will help you edit papers, so take advantage of those resources while they are at your disposal. Those resources are there to help you and professors notice when students put in the extra effort to seek out all the resources. Who knows, using the resources may make nursing school more manageable for you, but you’ll never know if you don’t try.
Check testing organizations for study materials
Most certifying tests, such as the TEAS, which you likely will have to or have taken to get into nursing school, are run by an overarching testing organization. Many of these testing organizations have great resources to help you study for their tests. Some have books that can be purchased, but many also have a variety of free nursing school study resources that you can use to help you get through challenging courses.
Find a good study group to help keep you motivated and accountable
A good study group can be super useful, but a lousy study group can be detrimental. Ensure that you find a study group that will keep you motivated to keep learning and hold you accountable for the information you should be learning. If you feel that your study group spends more time chatting than studying, maybe you should consider trying to find a new study group.
Study a little bit every day
We’ve said this before, and we’ll repeat it, study a little bit every day. Not only will this help prevent the dreaded all-nighter spent cramming before a test, but it will also help you process the material that you have learned in class. By going over the material again right after or shortly after class, you give your brain time to process the material and build connections between the new material and existing knowledge.
Review before class
Skim-reading your textbook before you go to class is a great way to start to familiarize yourself with the material. The more times you see information, the more likely it is going to stick in your brain for the long-run, which is what you want from nursing school, so adding in that extra review before class can really help.
Studying for hours on end with no breaks is not a good idea, so make sure you take short, frequent breaks. This will also allow your brain time to recover and finish processing information. Try studying for 45 minutes and then going on a 15-minute walk. This is a great way to increase your productivity and take care of yourself at the same time.
5 Nursing School Survival Tips
Even if you are the most fantastic scholar ever, there is more to a nursing school than just academic schooling. Nursing is a mentally, emotionally, and physically demanding profession, and nursing school is no different. This is our list of nursing school survival tips to help you get through the rough spots.
Take care of your body
Make sure that you are eating well and are drinking enough water. Minimize your alcohol consumption, excessive salt, and excessive sugar as all of these dehydrate your body. Taking good care of your body will also help your brain and thus help your grades and understanding of the material, so it really is to your advantage to take care of your body.
Build a good support system
Nursing school and nursing itself can both be pretty emotionally draining. Remember that you are training to help take care of those who are likely not at a great place in their lives, and dealing with trauma and injuries is never easy. It is important to have a good support system to help you take care of yourself emotionally throughout nursing school.
Learn how to say no
We know it’s hard, but you do have to say no to some things. There will be so many opportunities for you in nursing school, and you don’t have the time of day to do everything, so learning how to say no and prioritize what is most important to you is a super useful skill to start to develop. It can be hard, but sometimes you need to say no, so you leave yourself time to take care of yourself.
Be ok with asking for help
Many students struggle to admit that they need help, but understanding that your professors are there to help you learn is a great first step in getting more comfortable asking for help. If you feel like you’re overwhelmed at all, asking for help or support is never a bad idea. Sometimes students feel weak when they’re asking for help, but trust us when we say that it takes a lot of strength to ask for help and professors love to help out students.
Get good sleep and lots of it
Ensure that you are getting a good amount of sleep at night and that the sleep you’re getting is good quality sleep. Try to go to bed around a similar time and wake up around a similar time each day. This will get your body in a routine and help your body know when to expect sleep. Getting your body used to a routine can actually give you better sleep than if you just sleep randomly.
Wrapping Things Up: How to Succeed in Nursing School
From taking care of your body to practicing studying, there are so many little things you can do to help ensure that you thrive at nursing school. It can seem overwhelming, but with the nursing school study tools and tips that we have given you combined with the ones that your school likely has, we know that you’ll be all set for success at nursing school!