Ah, good old nursing school. I remember those days….and am very grateful to be done with them hehe 🙂 I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while per your request and just because I’ve personally wanted to write it. And well last night one of you guys sent me a DM asking if I could cover this topic and it reminded me that I needed to. So, here we are!
If you’re in nursing school you know that it sucks, and if you’re going to be in nursing school in the future, well just be prepared 😉
Okay so there are worse things than nursing school but we all know (or have heard) that the coursework is incredibly difficult and time consuming. As a result, it can definitely be stressful! Especially in the beginning when you’re first trying to figure out “nursing style test questions” (ugh), navigating through your clinicals, studying for exams, etc. Not only are you trying to survive nursing school itself, but you’re also trying to balance your personal life.
So how do you balance it all? Well, it’s not the easiest thing but I will say that after a semester or two into nursing school I found that a few things really helped me feel less stressed and more like a normal person 😉
-Plan head (especially with meals and snacks). One of the biggest things I hear from you guys is how you can eat healthy and stick to your normal eating routine during long hours at school and clinical. Just plan ahead! Whenever I had a long day ahead of me, I made sure to pack lots of healthy snacks in addition to my lunch. When you have healthy alternatives and/or foods that hit your macros available you won’t be as tempted to get off track. You’re also making sure that you’re fueling your body during those long days.
-Make time for your workouts. I know, I know. Nursing school hours are long and tiring. But I promise you will feel better if you make time each day (or the majority of the days) to get your workout in. Each day before class I would go to my school gym to get my workout in. I usually had class at 8am so I would get to the gym around 6:30am, workout for 45 minutes, shower and then get ready for class. I would pack an easy and convenient breakfast like overnight oats to have right before class or during. Starting my day off with a workout made me more energized for class and I would start my day off feeling accomplished! On days that I had clinical at the hospital, I would usually use this as my rest day. Or, if I had an exam the next day then I might use the day prior as my rest day. Overall though, sticking to my normal workout routine put me in an overall better mindset through nursing school.
-Set aside a specific amount of time to study. I feel like with nursing school it’s very easy to feel like you’ve never studied enough. But I found that a lot of times with nursing exams, it wasn’t so much about how much you studied that dictated whether you did well or not, but it was understanding how to answer nursing style questions. My point is, you could always be studying more, but it gets to a point where you’re not being productive. Once you take your first few exams you’ll have a better understanding of how much you actually need to study. Again, a lot of nursing school is learning how to approach test questions.
-Remember that the goal is to graduate, not make perfect grades. To get into nursing school you basically have to have straight A’s. So when you get into your nursing program, the standard and expectations you hold yourself too are the same–to get straight A’s (basically just to make really good grades). Well, here’s the thing guys. Nursing courses are not like your other classes! More often than not, your grades will not be as good in nursing school as they were previously, and THAT’S OKAY. I remember when I first started nursing school all of our professors were like YOU JUST NEED TO PASS haha. And not to say that I’m promoting mediocracy here, but nursing school is hard enough. You don’t need to stress yourself out even more because you aren’t making straight A’s. The girls in my program who graduated with honors got the same jobs as those who didn’t. There is so much more that goes into getting a job than your grades. I wrote another blog post on this with nursing school that you can find here.
So, there’s my advice! I think at the end of the day, just try to not let nursing school ruin your life haha. Work hard, yes. But also make sure that you’re still making time for yourself and doing things that make you happy. There will always be things in life that come up that are stressful or time consuming. So when you know that they are going to be part of your life more than just momentarily, you have to find ways to handle the stress and cope!
For all of you guys in nursing school, were these tips helpful? Have you found any other tips that have helped you survive?! xx C