To My Dream Reader: 7 Ways to Help You Survive Nursing School

Part of Blogging 101 Posts Series

Today’s Assignment: publish a post for your dream reader, and include a new-to-you element in it.

3062570_1351987949343.99res_480_300At dawn, I wake on books

Pore over lectures that I

Will dream of tonight

-Nursing School Days, a Haiku

So you’ve decided to take up nursing school.  Kudos to you for taking up the road to one of the most uplifting, most rewarding yet most demanding professions in the world!

Anyone who’s ever been to nursing school knows how stressful it can be.  Whether you came in as a fresh high school graduate or an experienced employee looking for an advancement in your degree or a total career overhaul, nursing school can and will ask a lot out of you, physically, mentally and emotionally (at some point, even socially).  But if you’ve got the passion for nursing, then don’t let the hurdles of learning to be one hold you back.  It’s only for a few years so make the most out of it.  Trust me, your future self will hug you so hard in gratitude!

Here are the best tips I’ve found, and used, to help you get that hug!

20080115coffee-openKeep track of all the important times and dates!  Don’t let yourself become overwhelmed by the busy schedule of a nursing student!  Know your schedule by heart, take note of the dates and times of your shifts and your quizzes and exams.  Keeping yourself informed and taking charge of planning your free time around them helps give you a sense of control.  It also helps you be prepared and not to be caught cramming in the last minute for a due homework/quiz/project.

Tailor Learning to Perfectly Fit You!  Find your learning style and adjust your study habits accordingly.  If you’re a visual learner, for example, watching YouTube videos visualizing the bloodstream will help you understand it better.  If you’re auditory, reading the material out loud (though be mindful of where you are!) can help with memorization.  There are several resources that can help guide you to your unique learning style and give you useful tips to make the most out of it (take this test for starters!).  It’s also possible to be a fit for more than one learning style, so take the techniques that work best for you.



Prioritize!  Nursing students are required to memorize a lot of things on several subjects, and some subjects may be difficult for others to grasp than the rest.  Experts recommend that students should study hardest subjects first, finishing up with the easiest, so that your mental power is at its peak during those tough subjects.  Don’t forget to take a break in between readings!

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Know What To Retain!  You’ll be asked to know a lot of things, but come exams–and real life nursing–you might have a hard time swimming through all that knowledge you’ve accumulated unless you know where to focus.  Nursing exams are often there to test you on your critical thinking skills more than spouting textbooks word per word.

The key here is to start thinking like a nurse and focus on the things that can help you be a better one, including knowing your anatomy, pathophysiology of diseases, nursing diagnosis and responsibilities and performing nursing skills correctly.  It’s not the name of the bone that really matters; what does is knowing what you’re supposed to do when it breaks.


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Have A Support Team!  Nursing school is tough to face alone, so join a band of like minded individuals to weather the storm together!  Have a study buddy, preferably someone who is good at where you’re bad, or join a study group that is really serious about getting some work done.  When the lectures and the shifts in the hospital get too much for you, don’t hesitate to vent or ask for help.  That includes your professors–they may be strict but they’re there to help you.  The point is that know that you are NOT alone.  You need to know that to basically stay sane.  🙂

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Supplement your Readings!  Even until now, having a Pathophysiology book helped in making me understand disease processes I normally won’t through my MS book.  If the textbooks become too mind boggling for you, feel free to use extra books, journals, the internet and other resources to speed up your learning.  Just make sure that your supplemental materials are legit sources!  Remember that not everything you read in Wikipedia is a gospel truth!

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Take Care of Yourself!  All work and no play will make Toto and dull and burnt out boy!  Keep yourself fit and bushy tailed by eating healthy, getting some exercise done and having a good amount of sleep in, especially during your off days.  Prioritizing and time management work great in helping you keep a chunk of your time free for all those things and for some fun time–go to the mall, hang out with your friends, join a club!  College isn’t just about studying but also time to enjoy all the good things that come with being a student!

My cousin, who is now a doctor, once said that getting through (med) school requires passion.  It is not something you can survive with half baked motivations and scatterbrain ambitions.  I believe that to be the case not just with medicine and nursing, but with everything in life.

Nursing school is tough, and I’ve even called it hell at some point, but it is also one amazing experience that will teach you a lot about not just nursing, but life in general.  Surviving the war is tough, but with the right support and the right effort, I can’t see why not.  Hey, I’m no top notcher back in the day, but I did survive so I must have done something right. 😀

Fight on, nursing students!  Fight on!


Postscript: Aside from Blogging 101, inspiration for this list came from reading a blog post from Tales of a Typical Teen.  Today’s blogging homework is quite a piece of work that made me dig deeper than the previous ones.  It asked a bit more work than usual, but I loved every minute of it.  It also asked me to come up with a new way to write.

Cheers for TWATY’s first ever list post!  Applause! 😀

Additional Readings/Sources:

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