Practical Advice to Make It Through Nursing School

After much thinking, you finally decided to become a nurse but don’t know how to start. You are probably also scared of nursing school as well. Rest assured that it is normal for student nurses to feel that way. You only need to follow some simple advice to pull you through nursing school.

A good first step to take is to select a good nursing program. Check locations, tuition rates, admissions and NCLEX passing rates of nursing schools in your area. Verify the accreditation status of these programs with the state board of nursing. Talk to graduates and gather some feedback about their schools’ nursing programs.

Getting into a good nursing program is crucial to get a solid foundation. It is a good idea to complete nursing prerequisites like biochemistry and microbiology as soon as possible. Once these subjects are done, you can just concentrate on your core nursing curriculum.

You should also look for a job in the health care field while still studying. Try to apply for a position or volunteer in a nearby facility as a patient care technician, medical clerk or any position that can give you some exposure to the health care environment. As an employee, you get to network with other personnel, including HR folks who could help you get a nursing job later.

Nursing school is tougher than some students anticipate. You need to buckle down to studying your nursing subjects. That means you may have to cut back on partying, playing video games overnight and spending your day updating your social networking page. Minimize activities that sap your energy and distract you from learning. Make sure you eat your breakfast and get enough sleep so that you come to class prepared.

You need to pay attention during class. Quit goofing around or daydreaming. Take your nursing studies seriously since your future depends on it. Make and share notes with your classmates. Better yet, organize study groups and discuss lessons. Do your homework and read in advance so that when the instructor talks about a topic in class, it feels more like a review rather than a first-time discourse that is harder to digest.

Remember to take much-deserved breaks too. You don’t want yourself to experience a burnout in nursing school. Give yourself some respite every now and then from all your hard work so you can come back re-energized. Don’t get caught up in the race for the highest grades nor lag too far behind that you drop out. You should study hard but not overdo it. It is your goal to strike a good balance that works.

When it comes to clinicals, take every chance you get to learn something new such as a procedure from the veteran nurses. Help out as much as you can and work with classmates to maximize your experiential learning. You need to get used to the culture, process and environment this early so that you are not shell-shocked during your first day at work as a newly-employed nurse.

One common fear of new nurses is patient interaction. You need to lessen this fear while still in nursing school. During clinicals, practice your communication skills. Learn how to build rapport with patients. This will help you relax and allow you to perform tasks more effectively. Learn to manage your nerves and patient interaction will come more easily.

Because nursing nowadays is such a competitive field, you should be one step ahead of your peers. Months before graduation, start looking for job openings and externships, and begin sending your applications as soon as possible. As stated earlier, if you already hold another paid position in a facility, then you would have one foot in the door.

All the hard work you put in nursing school will be for naught if you don’t pass the NCLEX. So read and practice answering NCLEX-type questions as early as your first term. NCLEX books make good reference for your subjects because they contain condensed information that can be absorbed easily. Start answering 100 questions per week.

As graduation nears, try to increase the number to 200 or 300 questions per day. Analyze the type of questions and the rationales of the answers. If you feel the need to enroll in a review program then by all means do so. NCLEX questions have a different character compared to all other nursing tests. You need to recognize that and apply certain test-taking techniques that will help you conquer the exam and earn your nursing license.

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