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There’s no question that nursing school is challenging and requires a lot of time, energy, and dedication. It’s tough for a nursing student to learn new material and keep up with clinical while working full-time. It can be tricky to try and balance all the studying and coursework from your nursing program with a full-time job and have a life outside of school. However, it can be done. Let’s look at some effective tips for nursing school.
Your success in nursing school ultimately depends on the effort you put in, the strategies you utilize while studying, your time management skills, and how dedicated you are. To achieve success in nursing school, students need to maintain a positive attitude towards their studies and remain mindful of their clinical hours.
In this guide, you’ll discover some practical yet effective study tips to help make nursing school more manageable, as well as learn what it takes to prepare for your nursing career.
Effective Tips for Nursing Students
The following tips will help you succeed in nursing school, whether you are starting your BSN or MSN. These are the study tips that most nursing professionals used in their personal life.
Have Study Groups
Having a relationship with your classmates is very important. You’ll need to depend on them for extra studying or when you have trouble understanding new material for the nursing exam. You can easily make a group of 3-4 people.
Working with your classmates is an effective way to practice questions because most school programs require students to complete group projects, which can be very beneficial in preparing for the real world. Also, sometimes they understand the thing that you don’t. So it’s helpful to talk about your study materials.
Prepare for Clinicals Ahead of Time
Before coming into nursing school, you must clearly understand what clinical rotation entails and how it will benefit you as a student. You must acquaint yourself with the layout of each facility where you are scheduled for clinical rotations because this will help make the process easier on you during your first day/week there.
If time allows, try practicing putting on sterile gloves or watching other students perform EKGs to understand what to expect before experiencing it firsthand. With that, you can also create detailed notes while watching a live procedure.
Read the Books
It’s logical, but many students think that the class materials they are getting from lectures are enough to pass the exams, but most of the time, it is not. It’s worth spending your whole Sunday reading for Monday’s class, then going into that class and retaking notes just for practice because sometimes taking notes & summarizing lectures can be very helpful in understanding things better.
The textbooks help you more than you think, and they are a more effective study guide than anything your professor could give you. Focus on the most relevant information to what is being covered in class, though. The additional materials from books can help you with practice tests.
Take Effective Notes
Taking good notes during your lectures will help ensure that critical information doesn’t slip through the cracks. It’s beneficial to narrow down your note-taking to essential concepts and theories rather than write down every little detail the professor mentions. Make it a daily habit.
If possible, taking organized notes may also help with studying because it allows students to view specific learning materials in sequential order, making it easier to recall later on before exams or when you need a refresher on a particular topic.
Categorize your notes by class, section, and topic to help you quickly find what you’re looking for. You can do this either on paper or using note-taking software that allows you to organize your notes on a digital device.
Be Proactive & Ask Questions
If the concepts taught during lectures don’t make sense to you at first, ask questions during or after class to better understand things before moving forward. It is essential not to ask questions because this shows your professor that you are engaged with the course material and want to achieve success.
In some cases, students who think they understand everything might misinterpret critical concepts, leading them to do the wrong thing during clinical rotations. It’s also a good idea to seek help from classmates too.
They could be struggling with the same things that you’re going through, and helping each other could build a stronger sense of teamwork in class which can benefit both of you in the long run. Also, don’t forget to enjoy school life.
Keep it Simple
It’s straightforward for students to get overwhelmed when they see all of their notes & textbooks because reading them cover-to-cover doesn’t always work well for everyone. Instead, focus on what is most relevant to your course material and try not to overdo things by reviewing too much information at once.
If possible, go over lecture notes a second time after reading your textbook or research articles before moving forward because this helps make it a lot easier. Doing so can help bring everything together and put things into a proper perspective which is necessary for understanding materials on your own.
Take Chances at the Clinical Site
Attending clinical rotations is a great opportunity to gain real-life experience at the hospital that you may not get from working in a classroom. This can be very helpful for your learning process, but it requires that you take the initiative at the clinical site and ask questions if there’s something you’re unsure of.
Remember, it’s better to ask about something twice than get embarrassed because you failed or did wrong while trying to figure out what was going on. So asking questions is a good thing.
Determine Your Learning Style Early
Changing the learning style is something that most students don’t know. Because of that, their work becomes a bit sloppy or even worse – they end up not finishing things because it’s a struggle for them. The good news is that there are many effective ways to help you learn effectively, and one of those is determining your learning style early on in the course material.
In simple words, if the textbooks are not working for you, why not try visual content like Youtube videos? There are plenty of videos out there that share interesting lectures from top universities, and those could make a great addition to your studying routine.
If you prefer to read things on your own, there’s also the option of reading from eBooks or online textbooks, which can be an excellent idea to avoid wasting time with your learning process.
This is one of the essential tips for nursing school. You can’t expect to learn things if you’re constantly feeling sick or having the flu; it just doesn’t work that way. Ensure you are getting enough sleep, eating healthy food, doing physical activities throughout the week, and practicing good hygiene because those help students are more effective in class & study sessions.
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Think in terms of Action, Not Facts
Nurses need to understand why certain conditions are happening, but it’s also crucial for them to know what actions they need to take to resolve the problem. Knowing these facts is good, but getting into your head that you have to remember them all could be a big mistake. Instead of thinking about things in terms of memorization, approach things with an action mindset because this allows students to understand the material better and see how everything comes together so much easier.
Hang around Mentally Fit People
If you want to succeed at anything in life, hanging around people who are already doing well and personally inspiring can help you become more motivated and driven. Most people don’t think about it like that. Still, the truth is that we tend to absorb some pieces of information and behaviors from our peers without even realizing it, and that’s why it’s a good idea to seek people out who can inspire you and push your learning process forward.
Stick to the Same Study Pattern
This is one of those tips for nursing school that will help you learn things more efficiently, especially if you’re the type of person who tends to forget information as soon as they leave class. Studying for nursing school doesn’t have to consume your life. One study suggests that making sure you follow the same schedule every day will help reinforce what you learned at school, so there’s less chance of losing or forgetting something.
Use Outside Sources
Sometimes you do not find the information in the books and notes that you are looking for. That’s why you should use the internet, a vast source of information. One of the best sources is Wikipedia, and you can almost get any information from there. Of course, there’s always the option of asking your instructor to help you with that, but it takes time and leads nowhere if you could find everything online in less than 5 minutes.
If you spend all of your time studying, you can get burnt out and start to lose interest in the things you’re doing. That’s why it’s a good idea for nursing students to take breaks now and then, and try new activities that can help them unwind and relax, so they don’t get burned out too early on. By taking regular breaks, you’ll be able to come back to studying with much more enthusiasm than before.
For example, if you are studying for 5-6 hours it’s very important to take a 5-minute break because this will help you to relax.
Some people are great at multitasking, but most humans don’t do it well because there’s not enough time for everything. It’s tough, if not impossible, especially when learning new material. Make sure you’re only focusing on one thing at a time, or else your concentration will drop significantly, which no one wants when it comes to studying.
Don’t Waste Time in the Library
The library is often seen as one of the most beneficial places for students to get some extra studying done, but there are a lot of great places to study when you are in nursing school that can lead you to success. First of all, let’s be honest here–when you’re at the library, there are usually people talking, distracting either themselves or others around, which can get under your skin quickly.
Also, depending on where you live, some libraries might be loud because they don’t have any soundproofing whatsoever. Do you know what would make them even better? Adding a bunch of cushioned chairs with leg rests & footstools so students could comfortably read their books without worrying about their back giving them problems.
Ready to Apply The Above Tips?
Now that you know how to prepare for and succeed in nursing school, apply what you’ve learned today. These are the best and most helpful study habits that will help in the long term. Good Luck. Thank you for reading.