6 Nursing School Tips for Success

Nursing school is hard. If it were easy, our society would have a big problem on its hands. After all, would you want an inadequately prepared nurse taking care of you or a loved one? Neither would we. So while our 16-month ABSN program has its challenges, it’s nothing you can’t handle if you’re dedicated to becoming a nurse. It also helps to consider these six nursing school tips for success.

1. Get a student planner.

Our ABSN program comprises four full-time semesters of a compressed curriculum. From your first to your last day of class, you can expect a whirlwind of learning, with a fast-paced blend of online coursework, nursing skills labs, and clinical rotations. Therefore, being able to prioritize and manage your time wisely is vital to your success in nursing school.

A student planner can help keep you from becoming overwhelmed by making you more effective in juggling multiple priorities. When you can visualize your learning activities on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, it becomes easier to get your nursing school routine down to a science.

What should be on your nursing school supplies list

2. Develop unique study habits.

Nursing school requires you to absorb massive amounts of information, making it important for you to become efficient in your study efforts. Because everyone retains information differently, think about how you best learn and get creative.

Let’s say you’re an auditory learner. Record yourself reading your notes out loud, and then replay these audio recordings as you drive in the car or go for a walk. Maybe you’re a visual learner. Try developing note cards that feature nursing mnemonics to help you remember terms or concepts. Not to mention, our online learning platform features technology that supports multiple student learning styles.

P.S. You can find other fun nursing mnemonics on Nurse Buff blog.

3. Find relatable resources.

Given the compressed nature of our ABSN program, there really aren’t any “light” semesters or classes. While each semester poses a unique set of challenges and unknowns, the intensity of the curriculum remains consistent throughout. During the first semester, for example, most students are dealing with the fear and anxiety that comes with not knowing what online learning is like or what to expect during clinicals.

To help you mentally prepare for each semester of nursing school, you might find comfort in reading blogs or listening to podcasts created by nursing students and/or practicing RNs. A quick Google search of top nursing blogs will set you in the right direction.

4. Focus on comprehension.

Nursing school is less about memorizing facts and more about synthesizing concepts. Therefore, it’s important to focus your efforts on learning the course material, understanding how the content ties together, and developing your critical thinking skills. For example, simply memorizing the term “renal failure” and its associated complications doesn’t mean you understand what’s going on inside the body. You need to know how kidneys work and how they influence other parts of the human body.

A good way to gauge your comprehension of a concept is to try explaining it to someone. If you can’t explain it, you know you need to do some more studying. Being able to synthesize nursing concepts comes in handy when taking courses such as pathophysiology, which many students claim to be one of the most difficult classes in nursing school.

P.S. It’s important to do well in pathophysiology because it helps put all the pieces of the nursing puzzle together. A good understanding of this subject can also lead to better clinical experiences.

5. Practice makes perfect.

As part of the ABSN curriculum, you’ll complete a series of nursing labs that teach you how to safely and effectively deliver patient care. These labs, which cover everything from hygiene to musculoskeletal assessment, also help prepare you for your clinical rotations in diverse areas of health care.

However, before you can apply a particular nursing skill in an actual clinical environment, we must verify your competency by way of a skills check off. For example, before you can take a real patient’s blood pressure, we must check you off for this skill. Therefore, as you learn new skills throughout the program, we encourage you to practice as much as you can during open lab hours.

If you’re someone who can effectively perform a skill but becomes anxious under the watchful eye of an instructor, you might consider roleplaying with a friend or family member before a skills check off to help calm your nerves.

P.S. You’ll complete 13 practicums during our four-semester ABSN program, with each one featuring a lab and clinical component.

6. Develop self-care rituals.

While in the throes of nursing school, it’s easy to let self-care fall by the wayside. However, regularly taking time away from your studies to relax and recharge is vital to your success. A good rule of thumb is to block out time in your student planner for self-care just as you would for exam preparation. Self-care rituals can be as simple as meditating for 15 minutes every day or getting a massage once a week.

P.S. You should consider self-care rituals to be just as essential as daily hygiene practices. Licensed professional counselor Leslie K. Lobell explains, “You cannot keep giving to others if you do not give to yourself first. It is like pouring water from a vessel: you cannot pour and pour without refilling it. Eventually, it will run dry.”

Want to know more about our 16-month ABSN program in Cincinnati, Ohio? Need more nursing school tips for success? Contact our admission team today!

Xavier ABSN simulation lab

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