If you are preparing for nursing school, you’ll probably have heard about how challenging their coursework and exams typically are. Successfully walking through it would require extra work on your part. There’ll always be enough critical information to analyze and new materials to study. For most people, the first semester in nursing school is usually the toughest since you’ll still be struggling to adapt to the new study environment. However, with the tips we’ve provided in this article, you’ll be able to walk through nursing school unscathed. Read on to learn more about things to study before nursing school.
What to Expect in Nursing School?
After working so hard to make it to nursing school, many people become nervous about their first few nursing school days. You’ll probably begin to ask questions like, “what exactly have I gotten myself into?” Thankfully, you are not the first person ever admitted into nursing school, so you can always run to someone that has been there to get ideas on what it’ll be like. We understand how confusing the period can be. Therefore, we’ve gathered advice from nurses to give you an idea of what your first semester in nursing school would look like. This section highlights such information under different headings, including:
What Happens During Your First Semester in Nursing School?
As expected, you’ll pick certain useful habits and drop some that will not be valuable to you in school. One vital habit you’ll change is your study habit. You’ll need to study several materials. Hence, the need to become more aware of your study habits. You’ll typically learn to adapt to studying more to maximize your information intake. Of course, it’ll come with many challenges in the beginning, but as you continue, you’ll become used to the change.
Nursing school study routine typically forces students to seek information beyond textbooks. Of course, your textbook will play a crucial role in your study, but you’ll also need to go beyond textbooks to seek information from other useful materials. Experts often advise that you read the textbooks, watch online videos, and apply for volunteer works to gain more experience.
What are Nursing School Exams Like?
Nursing school students often get challenged with exams that are structured quite differently from science exams. The complicated structure of nursing school exams can make it challenging for anybody. To succeed, you’ll need to learn how to read, interpret, and understand questions before attempting to answer them. Contrary to what many students think, nursing school exams are not set to make you fail intentionally. Instead, they are meant to help you think in a certain way that will help your practice.
What’s the Class Structure Like?
It’s only natural for you to get curious about how the classes are structured before going. Nursing schools typically operate on their curriculums, but your first semester usually consists of three to four days of lecture and between one to two days of simulation lab. As a fresher, you should expect to be on campus a lot in regular clothes and in scrubs.
Students would usually take between three to four major courses in their first year of nursing school. These courses include:
- Health Assessment
- Nursing Fundamentals
While most of these courses are theoretical, you’ll also need to be in the skills lab for some hours per week.
How Do You Prepare for Nursing School?
Are you planning to apply for nursing school or already admitted and getting ready to resume? You’ll want tips that will help you prepare better for nursing school. You’ve probably seen snippets of what to do and what not to do along the way, but a whole picture of the things you need to have will do you a lot of good as you prepare.
Like many other things, getting all the pieces together can often seem difficult without the right advice. You’ll need to hear from professional nurses that have had nursing school experience to get a clear hint of how to prepare for nursing school. This section dives into explaining some of the things you’ll need to do to be better prepared for nursing school adventure.
While preparing for nursing school, you’ll come across a long list of the things you should have and do. Perhaps you’ve been up and down trying to ensure that you have everything you need available beforehand. However, if you are not sure enough, take a look at the list below to ensure that you do not leave anything unchecked on your to-do list.
- Complete all the Prerequisites
Experts often advise that you ensure that you’re meeting all requirements long before going to nursing school. Bear in mind that requirements may differ based on the program. Therefore, it’ll be unhealthy to rely on someone’s list in this case.
If you want to get it right, you’ll need to check with an admission counselor or program advisor to ensure that you have all the requirements beforehand. You should also note that your first steps will have a long-term effect on your grades. Therefore, it’ll pay you to start on the right foot and work hard towards excellent performances.
- Take the TEAS test
The TEAS test is a test administered by the ATI Nursing Education board to assess a student’s skills in math, reading, use of English, and science. Earning a good grade on this test is one of the criteria that will guarantee you pass into nursing school. Hence, the need to prepare yourself well before sitting for the exams.
- Update your immunizations
There’s usually so much to do in your first few months in nursing school that you might forget to keep yourself safe from the onslaught of germs coming your way. Therefore, you’ll need to do what’s right to keep yourself safe beforehand. You’ll usually find the list of immunizations required for your program in the office of your admission counselor. The list might sometimes seem very long, but it pays to be safe and healthy enough for your program.
Having known the things you need to have before nursing school, you could be wondering if that’s all. Definitely not! There are a whole lot of other things you’ll also need to excel in nursing school. Although these are not necessarily compulsory, you’ll still need them to add value to yourself throughout school—checkout our list of nice-to-haves for a better nursing school experience.
- Proper Network
You don’t have to wait until you graduate from nursing school to begin to search for a clinic to work in. Every serious student would set their sights on a good clinic they want to work in and start to work towards getting the right network for it. After all, your network can give you a competitive edge in landing your dream job. You should also find and network with people in your future nursing school. This way, you’ll learn more about your program and how to succeed in it from them.
Part of the requirements for some nursing programs is becoming a certified nursing assistant. However, even if it’s not a requirement for you, it will still be a beneficial step for you since it helps you gain the necessary experience in a healthcare setting. In addition to this, working as a nursing assistant would also help people find an RN job quicker.
- Round up the essentials
Yes, we’ve talked about requirements in the need-to-have section, but there’s a need to still scratch it. After all, proper preparation helps to avoid burning out when it gets tough. Experts often recommend buying a few comfortable pairs of shoes since you’ll be doing a lot of standing and walking. You can also get some healthy snacks for moments when your schedule will force you to miss meals. It’ll also help if you can identify some exercises to do anywhere.
What is the Hardest Part of Nursing School?
One of the common questions we often hear from students is, “what is the hardest part of nursing school?” Here’s a sum-up of the most difficult aspects of nursing school.
Nonstop Assignment and Continuous Study
Most students find the constant workload that nursing school presents them to be challenging. The excessive workload can sometimes feel suffocating, making you feel like you can never get ahead.
From preparations for weekly tests to constant assignments and projects. There’s also the stress you’ll pass through preparing to pass the TEAS, HESI, NCLEX, and a host of other exams. It often feels like you’re overwhelmed with work, but you can get it over the line with proper planning and good work.
Additionally, the material can sometimes feel overwhelming, considering that it covers several courses. While some classes may be easy, others can be extremely tough. You’ll need to cram so many concepts, which can get exhausting for people who do not fancy cramming.
How Do You Survive Nursing School?
Knowing what to expect before going into nursing school is often half the battle. The tips below would help you stay in shape physically, mentally, and emotionally throughout your nursing school stay.
Always get good sleep
The workload that comes with nursing school can sometimes get so overwhelming that you’ll forget the things that are essential to life. Studying hard can sometimes feel like a hard mountain to climb. But sacrificing sleep to read can make it harder to retain information. Therefore, it’ll pay you more to sleep well if you want to get your head ready for the next day.
Join study groups
Studying alone can sometimes make the process too complicated and overwhelming. Joining study groups with other serious students can help motivate you to take your studies more seriously. You can also turn to your study group for further explanation of concepts that might seem too difficult for you.
Nourish your body and brain
Of course, you’ll need to eat healthy throughout your stay in school. Apart from eating healthy, you’ll also need to engage in other healthy habits to get your body and brain ready for the stress. Consider taking a walk once in a while or doing fun things with friends.
Is Nursing School Hard to Pass?
People often ask if nursing school is hard. This question’s answer is greatly dependent on your reading structure, comprehension ability, and retention capacity. Generally, you must be willing to sacrifice several leisure activities during school time. It takes a lot of discipline and hard work to get through nursing school successfully. You must also be able to communicate with people and keep a neat appearance. Above all, you need to be very compassionate with a strong tendency to nurture. People who are only concerned about going to nursing school because they want a steady job would find it very difficult.
Once in nursing school, you’ll be forced to abandon most of your social life. If you are used to going for picnics with friends on weekends, you can start getting ready to also cancel that. Most tests fall on Mondays, so you’ll need to dedicate most of your weekends to intense study. The lack of social activities can sometimes get lonely and depressing, but you can pull through it. If you are married or in a relationship, make sure that your partner understands that your study may take most of your time.
5 Tips for Nursing Students
There’s no questioning the fact that nursing school can often get so challenging. And it becomes even more challenging when you try to combine school activities with home or work responsibilities. As explained earlier, the amount of studying you’ll need to do can be overwhelming. The first step is to take a deep breath and tell yourself that you can do it. All it takes is proper planning, time management, and a few study tips to succeed. Below are some tips that will help to make your study better.
1. Follow the nursing exam study guides
Jumping into your studies without properly planning what and when to study can be counterproductive, especially when preparing for a test. One of the best ways to efficiently learn is to review your exam study guides. Reviewing these study guides would not only reveal which areas your nursing exams will focus on, but it’ll also help you know how the questions are presented in each test.
2. Make a habit out of daily studies
One major mistake that many students make is to try to cram a week’s worth of study until a few hours when preparing for tests. That method doesn’t work well for students. Instead, commit to depending some minutes or hours on daily studies. This way, you’ll feel less overwhelmed and be able to retain more information.
3. Join study groups
We can’t overemphasize this point. Every student needs the company of other serious students to excel. So as a nursing student, it would help if you were on the lookout for intellectual study groups that you can join. If you can’t find any, you can create one with like-minded people. Groups like this help give you the push to keep reading even when your motivation begins to die.
4. Give extra time to studying material covered in class
Your instructors will assign you different chapters of your textbook to read each week, plus outside resources to review. You don’t need to outline every single word when studying. Instead, take a cue from your time in school. Focus more on the topics that the instructor spends more time reviewing?
5. Embrace online learning
An essential aspect of your study is research. The internet is an important place to research facts. It’s a student’s best friend. Therefore, aside from your study materials, you should also research online to broaden your understanding scope.
Wrapping Things Up: What is Nursing School Like?
There you have it, a detailed look into what to expect in nursing school. There’s no doubt about it: nursing school is tough, but with these nursing school tips for success, you’ll have a great shot at succeeding in nursing school. Throughout this article, we’ve rounded up words of advice for nursing students to follow towards success.
You don’t have to be worried about the possibility of success. Once you do the right things and prepare well, you’ll be able to handle whatever challenge you’ll face. Bear in mind that your network matters. So, you’ll want to network with people that will help make you better.
Check out our ultimate guide to becoming a nurse here.