Hello, dear readers! I sincerely hope that all of you are coping well with the current conditions due to the pandemic and that all of you are safe and healthy–and that if you or someone you know has contracted SARS-CoV-2, that you recover quickly and fully. As of now, we are all still learning to adapt to this major shift in not only our lives in general but also specifically with our college experience–online testing, lectures, and labs (including the clinicals for current nursing and medical students). All of the stressors of this time can accumulate and feel overwhelming, especially if you are readying yourself for nursing school. But hopefully, this post can allay some of your fears, for I have some tips from some of CSU’s School of Nursing’s students as well as one that I have learned in my own preparation for nursing school. Without further ado…
One major piece of advice that I can give already is to reach out to students who are already in nursing school for not only insider information and new friendships but also to gain some nursing school supplies for a lower price. Most students are willing to sell you their textbooks, uniforms, lab coats, and study materials for a substantially lower price than their original sellers. Unfortunately, at this time, it is difficult–and advised against–to meet up with anyone for these materials, but once the lockdown has passed, you may find it useful to stock up on supplies for a fraction of their value, with social distancing still in mind of course.
In order to provide you all with some credible advice for nursing school since I am not yet in it, I decided to email all of the current juniors and some of the seniors in CSU’s nursing school. So far, there have only been five responses, but for the sake of distributing this information in advance, I will include the responses I have received so far and may continue releasing additional posts with advice. Enjoy!
Dejori Griggs, first year:
First and foremost, STUDY, STUDY, STUDY. Nursing school courses are not like your typical pre-requisite classes. Second, figure out a study plan. You and your other classmates may not study the same way, and that is okay; as long as it works for you, then go for it. Lastly, you will be faced with challenges and temptation of giving up. Don’t! You can do it. You have to remain focused and determined to finish it through. There have been countless times I have burst into tears because I was overwhelmed, but it is nothing that a pep talk to myself could not fix. Your degree will be well worth it in the end. Good luck to the pre-nursing students and the upcoming juniors.
The best advice I can give you or anyone is to unapologetically be yourself! Create your own space that you love (themed with your favorite colors, items, music, plants, etc.) and don’t be embarrassed by it! No two people are the same, and that is AWESOME! In doing this and fully becoming who you are, the confidence you gain will spill over into the rest of your life, your relationships, your studies–everything!
As far as any tips for school and studying go, I advise you and anyone else to remind yourself that you are ALL in the same place; no one has more or better knowledge then you do (unless professors and RNs of course). I am a visual person, so my notes look a bit like I threw up color and shapes all over a page. There’s squares, circles, squiggly lines, and doodles everywhere. But when I think back to studying that page, I can picture it in my mind and remember it better. Also, if you have a friend or family member that is willing to listen (or even a pet), explain what you just learned to them! If you can explain it to them without notes or your book, you’ve got it! It also helps a huge deal to talk through things out loud that you are confused about!
Make it your own journey and have fun! If this is truly your path, you will be eager to learn. 🙂
Megan Lozier, first year:
I have had the privilege of working at a Discovery Day for CSU and meeting some of the students who are interested in pursuing a career in nursing. One of the biggest pieces of advice I gave them was to look into becoming a certified nursing assistant (CNA). Starting out small in the medical field comes with big rewards later on down the road. I began my journey as a CNA, and I have worked in home health and currently in a hospital setting. Working as a CNA in a hospital prior to and during nursing school gives you an upper hand in knowledge. For example, the basics you will learn in Professional Clinical Nursing during the first semester are already going to be second nature to you due to your experience. I’m not saying that it will make nursing school a breeze, but just having that extra experience makes all the difference.
First, accept the fact that you will not have a social life. [The] majority of your time will be spent either studying, doing school work, or working in clinical sites.You need to mentally prepare yourself for the discipline that nursing school will require.
Time management is key. Nursing school requires a minimum of studying [four] hours per day, so be intentional in planning your studying by dividing [it] into increments throughout the day and throughout the week. For example, I tend to study in [two-]hour increments over whatever time I need to study with 5-30 [minutes per] break. And each day of the week leading up to the exam, I plan what material I will study and/or review and what days I [will] review questions.
Make a type outline/study guide of all the material you will go over in nursing. It is critical you do this in preparation, for the final exam is cumulative and it will consist of about 20 chapters worth of material. With that being stated, try to keep the outline short and to the point as much as possible. Plus, these notes can help you study for the NCLEX.
Do practice questions. Nursing test questions are challenging because they are priority-based, meaning there may be two or more answer choices that could be right, [but] there is only one BEST answer. Doing practice questions will help test your readiness for the upcoming exam.
Find time to de-stress and treat yourself. Nursing school can be overwhelming, so find time for yourself. For instance, after a day of studying, treat yourself with watching your favorite [TV show] or movie ([but] be careful not to fall into the [binge] watching). Find time to work out, which is a very effective method to relieve stress. Meditate, pray, etc. Do what you [have] got to do to keep your sanity.
Evan Hinson, first year:
I’m sure, like most of you all, I went into nursing school not knowing much about what it entailed. I [had] heard rumors about the amount of studying, including late nights and early mornings, but there were still so many unknowns. My biggest pieces of advice [are] to
DON’T WORRY about all of that. Don’t try to figure everything else [out] at once. You will have teachers and us seniors to help you literally every step of the way.
FIGURE OUT WHY YOU WANT TO BE A NURSE. For example, I had a cardiac arrest a little over [two] years [ago]. The nurses that took care of me and brought comfort and support to my family were amazing! They are the reason I discovered I wanted to be in healthcare. I have an opportunity to impact a life every single time I work. I can be a light in the midst of a dark time for a patient. Nothing beats that feeling. WHY DO YOU WANT TO BE A NURSE? Figure that out and let that be your motivator.
I wish all of the current and rising nursing students the best in their studies and personal journeys down this road. Stay safe and motivated, and
Nursing students unite!