Nursing school can seem like a daunting task, but there are ways that you can make sure that you are well prepared for entering nursing school. In this article, we’ll walk you through the essential information to know before you go into nursing school, as well as a little bit of what to expect in terms of the academic rigor of nursing school.
Nursing, as a profession, is a very exact profession and requires an immense amount of knowledge. Not only do you need to have a good understanding of the medical aspects of your job, but nurses are also expected to have great people skills since they work with others all day. This balance of academic rigor and intense people skills makes nursing a unique and challenging profession.
What to Do Before Starting Nursing School?
Starting nursing school is a big decision and one that will take up a vast majority of your time for the next few years, but it can also be super rewarding. Making sure that you are prepared to start nursing school can help make it seem a little less overwhelming.
Your pre-nursing school preparation should consist of making sure that you have met all the prerequisite requirements for your nursing school. Most nursing schools require a certain GPA from your high school as well as completion of a full year of biology and chemistry. Nursing schools also require that you take the TEAS or the Test of Essential Academic Skills, so make sure that you are prepared for that.
If you need help preparing for the TEAS or want advice on books to study for the TEAS before nursing school, check out our TEAS article.
You can also do before you start nursing school to make sure that you are mentally prepared for the academic load. Nursing school is a lot of reading and a lot of memorization of information, so making sure that you have enough study skills and resources to get through can make your time in nursing school seem slightly less overwhelming.
We have a variety of articles that can help you up your study game, so feel free to check those out for some helpful tips and tricks.
What to Review Before Starting Nursing School?
The biggest tip for nursing school success is to review subjects before you start nursing school. This can help make the first bit of nursing school seem a little less chaotic. Since most nursing schools have a set list of prerequisite courses that you must complete before entrance, that is a great place to start when trying to figure out what you need to review.
Make sure that you review biology and chemistry, not just for memorization of the material but also for comprehension. Remember that you will be drawing on and connecting things to the information you learned in these intro courses, so having a good understanding of the base material can be very helpful.
Most nursing schools have some math prerequisites, so reviewing those can be helpful, too. This doesn’t mean that you have to reteach yourself the whole course, but since the school has made a point to tell you that you will be expected to know this information, it is worthwhile to make sure that you really do know this information.
What Kind of Education do You Need for Nursing?
What kind of education you will need to go into nursing will ultimately depend on what type of nurse you want to be and what level of nursing program you can afford at the time. In general, you will need a high school diploma or GRE as well as a nursing school program.
There is no set education that you will need to have before you enter nursing school. Like you could go to a public high school and still go to nursing school. Don’t stress about specializing at all in high school. High school is the time for you to get a good, well-rounded educational background, so just focus on that.
How Do You Memorize Information in Nursing School?
Memorizing information can seem like a daunting task, but it can be very doable if you take it slow. The key to remembering information is studying the information a little bit every day. Your brain can’t process and store large amounts of information at one time, so breaking the information up into small chunks every day can really help your brain process it.
Flashcards can be a beneficial tool to use when trying to memorize lots of information. Especially with information like vocabulary, flashcards are a great option. Through both the acts of making flashcards and using flashcards, you will be creating pathways in your brain to help you retain the information. Make your own flashcards using Anki.
Another thing that you can do to help yourself memorize information is to understand its roots. Understanding the different origins of words used in medical jargon can help you derive the meaning from a word, even if you don’t fully know it. Most roots are Latin or Greek, so learning common Latin and Greek roots is a good starting point.
9 Things You Should Know Before Starting a Nursing School
This is by no means a comprehensive list of the information that you will be expected to know in nursing school but is meant to serve as a starting point for some information that can be nice to know when starting nursing school. Remember that each nursing school is different and has different expectations, so your nursing school might have a list of information specific to them that you should review.
This first list is sort of a study guide for nursing students to review before they enter nursing school:
1. Chemical equations
Remembering how to write and balance chemical equations is a great skill to review before you start nursing school. Understanding the basics of chemistry will be really helpful in a variety of ways throughout your nursing school tenure, so coming in with a solid background is always a good idea.
2. Essential body functions of the human body
Since you will be adding to your existing knowledge of the human body throughout nursing school, it can be really helpful to already have a good understanding of the primary functions. You should know the general location of organs and what each organ does, in a broad sense. This will help provide you with context as you start to learn more details about the human body.
3. Acids, bases, and the pH scale
Acids, bases, and the logarithmic pH scale will be used in so many ways throughout nursing school that it is important to come in with a good understanding of them. Every part of the human body has a different pH level, and drugs can change this pH level in different ways, so having a working knowledge of the scale is helpful.
4. Cardiovascular system
The cardiovascular system is one of the most significant systems in the body and is essential to life, meaning that it will be an essential piece of information for you to understand. Starting off nursing school with this background of information will allow you to build on this as you progress further through your education.
5. Respiratory system
Similar to the cardiovascular system, the respiratory system is essential to survival and will be something that you will be expected to become familiar with. Having a working understanding of the basics will make it much easier as you begin to study abnormalities and challenges with the respiratory system.
This second list is some skills that are essential to helping you through nursing school. Think of this list more as a set of skills that you should have to really make the most out of nursing school.
6. How to prioritize your time well?
One of the biggest tips that anyone can give you before starting nursing school is to know how to prioritize your time and assignments well. This will allow you to make sure you have adequate time to work on each project. The best way to do this is by making a study schedule and sticking to it.
If you need help creating a fantastic study schedule, we have an article that can help you.
7. How to make a study guide?
While there are nursing school study guides out there online, a study guide will only work well for you and actually be helpful if it is the right kind of study guide for you. This means that the best way to have good study guides is to get good at making them. Creating a good study guide is an art that you will have to work to get good at.
If you need help creating a study guide, we have a great article that will walk you through how to create a useful study guide for you.
8. How to study efficiently?
Understanding how to study efficiently and make the most of the time you have is a great skill that you can start developing throughout high school. This skill will be very helpful in nursing school since there isn’t really a lot of free time in nursing school, but there is a lot to get done. Knowing how you study best can be a handy skill to acquire before starting nursing school.
9. How to study on your own and with others?
Lastly, it is crucial to know how to study on your own, but it is also essential to be able to study well with others. Since nurses are expected to work with others, it is super important to work on their communication skills. Working with others doesn’t always come easy to everyone, so make sure that you are efficient on your own and with others really makes you a well-rounded nursing student.
Wrapping Things Up: What to Study Before Nursing School
There are tons of things that you could study before you go to nursing school, but we hope that this article has given you a good idea of what information you should think about prioritizing. Nursing school will cover a lot of information, so giving yourself a solid foundation of knowledge before you even start nursing school is the best way to make sure you are well-prepared to enter nursing school.
Check out our ultimate guide to becoming a nurse here.