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Getting the Most out of Nursing School

*Original post released 1/5/20

If you are in nursing school, you’re probably feeling overwhelmed with all of the information you’re expected to learn and apply. I know I was. Each semester builds off one another and if you don’t learn the foundational material, it can be a nightmare to try and catch up. However, I’m here to tell you that it’s doable. It seems like a mountain, but even the highest of mountains are climbed one step at a time. Let me share with you a few of the things I learned during my time in nursing school.

First, your syllabus/course calendar is your best friend for every class. This is essentially a blueprint for the entire semester, so use it to your advantage to plan appropriately. Find a study method that works for you. I must have gone through at least 5 different methods before finding one that worked for me. This is going to vary from person to person. We can discuss different approaches to studying at a future time.

If you feel like you’re struggling to grasp the material, don’t let it get you down. Utilize your available resources to help enhance your understanding. This might be a study group, a tutor or more senior student, or seek out advice from the instructor/TA during their office hours. It may feel intimidating to approach an instructor outside of class, but there are a few perks of doing so. For instance, doing so allows the instructor to put a name to your face and see the effort you put forth. Professors are much more willing to help when you seek their assistance early on rather than the day before an exam. Another advantage can be the relationship that forms from the time you devote to forming that teacher-student relationship…such as a letter of recommendation for a scholarship, clinical placement, internship, job, or graduate school.

In clinical, always make the effort to leave the best impression on the nurses you will be working with, NO MATTER the unit you’re placed on. This means being prepared with your paperwork, researched meds/conditions, and being punctual/willing to get involved. Whenever someone asks for help (or even if they don’t), offer to assist and participate. If an opportunity presents itself to see or do something unique, always ask to be involved. Be that person that people want to work with. This will go a long way in leaving a lasting impression on people who may have a say in whether or not you get hired for a new grad position after graduation. That’s it for now, but stay tuned for next week’s post!

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