Clinical practice. Heavy workloads. Night shifts. These are just a few of the things a nurse must be able to handle other than constantly juggling schedules and priorities. Between the volume of material to cover, the hours of studying to understand it all, and learning to care for patients, nursing students have to work hard to stay on top of it all.

The good news is that it is possible to do a good job in school and still have time for family, friends, and fun. Making these strategies a component of your life can help you to become a more practical and successful nursing student, regardless of what stage you’re in.

Manage Your Time

Balancing classes, work, family obligations, and your private life takes some serious planning.

To-do lists are a good start for students needing to prioritize their day and get things done on time. Break down your day into blocks, then decide what’s the most important thing for each block. Many students recommend creating a daily schedule that carves out a certain amount of time for schoolwork or test preparation.

Working nurses who are studying for a BSN or MSN need to become experts at balancing school, and their shifts, often while caring for their family members. It is where strict scheduling helps.

Engage your family in making a master calendar, so they also know when you’re working and studying. Most importantly, make sure to schedule some free time for the things you like to try and do, whether it’s working out, reading, spending time with your family, or sleeping. Remember, proper sleep is the foundation for a healthy, stress-free school of nursing experience, so don’t skip it!

Study Smart

Some people procrastinate or cram for tests, and still make it work. But in nursing, you have to understand tons of materials and how to apply them in real-life situations. 

As an aspiring nurse, you’ll be using your reasoning skills to apply the right choices to different conditions. That’s why you need to study smart. Try these ideas to make your study time work more effectively for you:

Again, time management is the key. Try dividing a four-hour study block into four segments, and space them out a bit. You’ll probably comprehend the material much better and finish faster. When you sit down to study, put away any distractions, or avoid the temptation to check your texts or social media.

Give yourself enough time. Most students underestimate the amount of time it will take to finish an assignment, study, or write a paper. Be realistic.

Ask for Help

It is a tough one, but one of the most important things to practice early on if you want to be a nurse. For most of us, asking for help seems like a sign of weakness or failure, but it’s not. Seek out someone who’s been in your nursing shoes, and can offer advice or just listen. They’ll help you get through the difficult spots.

In our previous live chat, titled Nursing Grads Beyond the Pandemic, nurses with years of collective experience shared expert advice and highlighted the importance of mentorship. Seeking a mentor is especially useful in getting familiar with nursing practices in the healthcare world, improving their self-confidence, understanding moral and ethical issues, and developing real-world skills not covered in nursing school. 

Be Proactive

Planning and staying on top of your assignments will save you lots of time and prevent a rush to complete everything right before the end of the term. Take the initiative to ask questions of your instructors, to know about their standards and preferences, and you’ll complete assignments right the first time. By orienting your mental attitude to embrace a proactive mindset, you will naturally become more productive.

Reward Yourself

Nursing school is both challenging and fun. But no matter how much you enjoy it, you may find yourself feeling exhausted and somewhat burnt out once your lengthy classes are over. That’s when it’s time to set a goal and reward yourself when you reach it. Getting into the habit of motivating yourself, controlling your behavior, and doing something nice for yourself will take you far, both in nursing school and in your career.

If you want to learn more expert advice and critical tips to surviving and thriving in nursing school or the work field, then you’re in luck! On October 17th, coach Tonika Bruce will be facilitating a webinar on the topic “Hand Picked Tips: Things You Only In the Field.” For more details, head on to my Facebook page and click “Going.”