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How to Make a Good Impression in Nursing School

*Original post released on 7/26/2022

Now that you’ve made it into nursing school, part of you is likely thinking, “Thank God! Now I can relax a little bit and focus on the program.” The other part of you is also likely thinking ahead about how you can get the most out of nursing school, stand out, and make a good impression. There are always those few students who fly under the radar, managing to pass their classes without being noticed. However, this article is going to help show you how you can stand out and make a good impression while in nursing school and why that is the BEST thing you can be doing for yourself right now.

First and foremost, to make a good impression, you need to have (or develop) good habits. This means being punctual, prepared, and willing to participate in all of your classes – lecture, lab, online discussions, simulations, clinicals, etc. Be a go-getter, seek out opportunities for participation, and put yourself out there…even if there’s a chance of being wrong. Not only will other students take notice of your level of activity in the program, but this will also show your instructors initiative and willingness to learn.

On a similar note, make sure you complete all of the necessary prep work in advance to a class, lab session, or clinical day. Ensure you’ve packed all of the required supplies and that your outfit is within the defined dress code. Disrespecting the rules and regulations of your program is a quick way to get on the black list of any professor or administrator, and that is NOT what you want to do when getting started in a nursing program.

While in a class session, make sure to use that time for school-related tasks…not socializing, being on social media, or doing homework for other classes. Afford that class and its professor the respect deserved for the couple of hours you’re scheduled to be there. Avoiding these distractions can help you focus on the material at hand and retain information that much better. If you find yourself struggling at any point, make an attempt to seek clarification and/or assistance BEFORE the exam week. Utilize office hours and the teacher’s assistant (TA) to the fullest. If arguing exam answers for credit, do so with caution; you don’t want to be the student that does this all the time. Lastly, make the effort to actually grasp the information on your own prior to seeking help from the professor. This initiative will go a long way with the instructor and allow for a more intelligent conversation when you do speak with them one on one.

Another tip that helps in making a good impression while in nursing school is to actually make your instructor look good. What do I mean by this? When you do well in simulation lab or on exams, it makes the professor’s overall statistics within the program look good. If you’re at clinical, be helpful, a self starter, willing to work and assist others, etc. If you make yourself look good to preceptors during clinical, it will reflect well on your instructor and your program, thus making you stand out even more.

You may be asking yourself why it matters to make a good impression while in nursing school. The short answer is that it builds up your reputation within the nursing program. The longer answer to this question is that nurturing your relationship with instructors and admin within your program can open the door for letters of recommendation later on when applying for internships and new grad nursing jobs. Furthermore, building your reputation and relationship with these professionals can help you find a long-term mentor to help guide you throughout your career as a nurse. Having a mentor within both the educational and clinical communities can be an invaluable resource as a new grad nurse.

Every decision you make in your nursing career is strategic in one way or another. The ripple effect in this profession is astounding. A seemingly simple choice to participate more in a lecture discussion could become the spark of a long term mentorship that nurtures you throughout your nursing career. A great friend of mine once told me that indecision is, in fact, a decision, and that is very much the case in nursing. Make each of your decisions, from the very start of your nursing school career, with intention.

Until next time, happy studying!

Andra Alyse

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