10 Nursing School Tips for Success

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Plenty of advice is out there for nursing students to help them determine how to get through nursing school. Some of the top nursing school tips include building a social support system, staying organized, using available nursing school resources, connecting with professors, and prioritizing self-care.

Nurse sitting and writing at table

Nursing can be an exciting and meaningful career, and fortunately, it’s also accessible, even for those with a non-nursing academic and professional background. Whether you are a recent college graduate or a busy parent, the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program at Xavier University can fast-track you into the profession.

Nursing school is not without its challenges, but it’s essential to know how to get through nursing school before diving in. For example, you’ll need a robust support system to help you through the ups and downs of nursing school. Check out these helpful nursing school tips for accelerated nursing students.

nurses walking up stairs

What is an accelerated nursing program? Discover how an ABSN works and the benefits of choosing an ABSN program.

1. Mindset Advice for Nursing Students

The first step toward how to survive nursing school is to develop the right mindset. The Xavier ABSN program fits the curriculum of a traditional four-year nursing program into 16 months. You’ll need to master many nursing competencies in a concise amount of time. To do this successfully, you’ll need to be all in.

This means you may have to miss out on events or social activities you’d otherwise attend, and instead, you’ll dedicate most of your time to studying and grasping new concepts. Our program is intensive, so we do not recommend working a full-time job in conjunction with the program; instead, we recommend treating your time in the ABSN program as a full-time job.

2. How to Be Successful in Nursing School by Staying Organized

Staying organized will be vital to your success in the Xavier ABSN program. Because you’ll be learning many new concepts and skills and taking many different courses, we recommend buying a planner or creating an online schedule to keep everything straight. You’ll need a place to keep track of deadlines, labs and tests; staying organized will help everything run smoothly.

nurse fixing bed sheets

3. Use Available Resources

The Xavier ABSN program is committed to your achievement. That’s why our faculty and staff are available to help you on your journey toward becoming a nurse. From planning which prerequisites to take to studying for the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-RN), we’re here to help you put your best foot forward. You can also access more nursing student resources here and schedule an appointment with an Academic Success Coach whenever you need extra help.

4. Develop an Accelerated Nursing Support System

As an accelerated nursing student, you’ll have a lot on your plate, spending up to 60 hours a week on your education. You’ll face a rigorous blend of online coursework, hands-on nursing labs, and in-person clinical rotations. It’s best not to tackle all this alone.

Giving and receiving support is a basic human need. We need people who listen to and understand us and are there for us in good times and bad. Studies have shown that when people have a support system they can depend on, they experience higher levels of well-being and better coping skills.

Support can be emotional, physical, or financial. Therefore, having various resources in place during nursing school is crucial. For example, your dream team of nursing school supporters might include family, friends, classmates, professors, and maybe even a financial aid adviser.

5. Seek Support from Your Cohort (and Reciprocate)

As an ABSN student, your cohort will comprise individuals of different ages and backgrounds. Some students might be recent college graduates, while others might be making a career change later in life.

What is a nursing cohort, exactly? Find out why nursing schools use cohorts and the benefits of being a part of one.

nursing smiling standing in front of other nurses

Though many incoming ABSN students have a biology, health sciences, or psychology background, our cohorts also have a lot of academic diversity. We’ve had students who previously studied anthropology, elementary education, finance, public policy, and more.

Regardless of what our ABSN students previously studied, they all come to us with the same goal: to work hard and graduate from nursing school in as few as 16 months. You’ll find a real team spirit in this type of learning environment.

Gaining support from your peers in your cohort can pay off. Here are just a few advantages to consider:

  • They’re facing some of the same challenges as you and can empathize.
  • They understand the pressure of meeting deadlines and balancing schoolwork.
  • They have firsthand knowledge of the sacrifices needed to finish the program.
  • They’re likely studying for the same classes and the NCLEX-RN® exam.

Another advantage is that studying together and bonding over everything you go through in the program might lead to a great friendship.

three nurses in hallway

Forming friendships with other students in your cohort will help you stay engaged with the coursework and motivate you to succeed. Furthermore, if you’re ever struggling with a nursing concept, your classmates can share their insights and help you with your study strategies. Similarly, you can lend a hand when your fellow learners are struggling with aspects of the curriculum that you’ve mastered.

6. Nursing School Tips for Students with Families

Prepare your family for all the changes that will take place when you start nursing school. Daily routines will change, household responsibilities will change, and sacrifices will be made.

Sit down with your significant other, kids, parents, and others to explain what support you need from them to get through nursing school. Your significant other may need to start picking the kids up from school, and your mom and dad may need to step in to help with cooking and cleaning.

It can be challenging for a family to adjust to a new routine, so be patient. Just keep reminding yourself and your family that it’s only 16 months. And when you do have some extra time, be sure to spend it with them, reminding them how much you love and appreciate them.

7. How to Survive Nursing School with Friendships Intact

Not all nursing school tips lists mention the importance of friendships. However, humans are social creatures, and friends are essential for our well-being. Being a successful nursing student requires a lot of time and energy. So, before embarking on the accelerated path to nursing, be sure to tell your friends what you’re up against.

Explain to them that while you won’t see them as much, you still need them. It might help to plan a celebratory outing with them after you graduate — giving everyone something to look forward to. If they’re good friends, they’ll understand and be there for you when needed.

However, it’s best not to talk shop when you have time to step away from your studies and meet up with them. Focusing your thoughts on something other than school can do wonders for your mind. Plus, your friends might be hesitant to hear about the various bodily fluids you encounter.

four nurses with patient

Another valuable piece of advice is to limit the time you spend with negative people. Too much negativity can rob you of the energy to focus on your studies. Your time is better spent with those who make you feel good about yourself.

8. Connect with Instructors and Academic Success Coaches

Connecting with your instructors regularly is an excellent idea to ensure you understand their expectations regarding the ABSN curriculum. By doing so, you’ll get to know them better, making it more comfortable to ask them for help when needed. When an instructor gets to know you, they are more apt to connect you to jobs and serve as a reference after graduation.

As a Xavier ABSN student, you also have access to an Academic Success Coach. This individual ensures you receive the best learning experience possible. Essentially, they serve as your bridge between admissions and academics, advocating for whatever you need to succeed, from billing questions to test-taking strategies.

nurses with durags and masks looking at clipboard

Wondering what you can do with a BSN? Check out a few career paths available to you post-graduation.

9. Connect with a Financial Aid Advisor at Your School

A Xavier financial aid advisor is a vital member of your personal support team. They can help you identify the best options for financing your education and assist you with anything associated with applying for and receiving financial aid. This includes filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), a first step in determining which federal loans and grants you may qualify for.

In addition to federal loans and grants, you may qualify for state aid, third-party scholarships, and private student loans.

10. How to Get Through Nursing School by Prioritizing Self-Care

A list of nursing school tips would only be complete with a look at self-care. Nursing school is an intense, exhausting process, and it’s too easy to feel burned out unless you take proactive steps to prevent it.

In addition to relying on your personal support team (see above), you can care for your physical, emotional, and social health by:

  • Getting enough sleep every night (Don’t skimp on sleep for more study time; your memory and concentration will suffer.)
  • Exercising at least a few days each week
  • Eating healthy meals and snacks
  • Staying hydrated
  • Limiting caffeine, alcohol, and sugar
  • Talking to a mental health counselor as needed (Online counseling sessions can save time, as there is no need for a commute.)
  • Calling or texting a friend when you feel stressed
  • Spending a little time on hobbies you enjoy now and then
nurse studying at table

Ready to Shoot for Success in Nursing School?

Xavier offers the only ABSN program in Ohio with three enrollment locations and three start dates each year. When you’re ready to pursue a future in nursing, Xavier is here to help you make your dreams a reality. After completing any prerequisites, you could graduate in as few as 16 months and confidently sit for the NCLEX.

Contact our friendly admission counselors today to learn about the next steps in the admission process.

Xavier ABSN simulation lab

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