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Set Yourself Up for Success in Nursing School With These Tips  


Nursing school is challenging. Even the most motivated of students may struggle in nursing school, especially when you consider the sheer amount of information that you need to learn as an aspiring nurse. 

As you prepare to begin your nursing program, now is an excellent time to create a game plan for success. By knowing how to set yourself up for success in nursing school, you will be more likely to pass your program with flying colors and be prepared to enter the workforce as a skilled nurse. 

From staying organized and motivated to maintaining your own physical and mental well-being while in school, we have some practical tips that are sure to come in handy as you embark on your nursing program. 

Cultivating Discipline for Nursing School 

Getting through any higher education program requires a great deal of discipline, but this is especially true of a nursing program. Students in nursing school have so much to juggle that it can quickly become overwhelming if you do not have a plan in place for staying disciplined and focused. Fortunately, there are some tips you can keep in mind to put yourself on track as you prepare to start nursing school. 

Importance of Being Organized 

One of the biggest challenges many new nursing students face is simply staying organized. This is especially true for those who may not have had any experience in a college setting before. Nursing students work with a wide range of materials, including textbooks and digital resources, and a lack of organization can make it challenging to stay on top of assignments and deadlines.  

Having a system in place to help you stay organized is vital to your success. Make sure that you have a dedicated and organized space set up where you can study and complete your coursework without disruptions. Keep track of deadlines and exam dates by using a calendar app and planner. 

Balancing Work and Life: A Crucial Skill for Nursing Students 

Many nursing students also struggle with maintaining a healthy work/life balance in nursing school once they begin their coursework. While it is important to be disciplined and dedicated to your studies, it is also crucial to make time to live your life and do the things you enjoy. Striking that balance can be challenging, especially when you need to prepare for a test or complete a research paper with a looming deadline. However, you will be able to stay more motivated and focused in the long term if you make time for things you enjoy, such as hobbies and spending time with friends. This is a vital skill that will carry over into your career and serve you well. 

Building Motivation to Succeed 

Whether you are in a short nursing program or are committed to four years in your program of study, maintaining your nursing motivation can be difficult at times. Knowing how to stay motivated in nursing school will help you push through and keep going, even when you might feel like giving up. 

Celebrating Small Victories: Keeping Spirits High 

One of the best tips to keep in mind when it comes to maintaining motivation for nursing students is to celebrate small victories. If you wait until you have completed the final semester of your nursing program to pat yourself on the back, you are going to have a hard time staying the course. 

To avoid burnout, give yourself permission early on in your program to celebrate even the smallest of achievements. Passing an exam, getting a good grade on a research paper, and even making it through another semester are all causes for celebration. These small triumphs can add up big time, helping keep your spirits high. 

Constant Goal Setting: The Key to Long-Term Success 

Many students who begin a nursing program have the same goal: to graduate and land a job in the healthcare field. However, those big goals can sometimes feel so distant and abstract that staying motivated may feel like an uphill battle. Rather than setting one large goal of completing your nursing program, keep yourself going with constant goalsetting for long-term success. For example, you might aim to get an “A” on an upcoming exam—or you might set a goal to complete all your assignments for the week early. You will feel productive and motivated as you complete these smaller goals, making it easier to keep working toward your overarching objective. 

Academic Strategies for Success in Nursing School 

All nursing students, even the most organized and motivated of them, struggle with maintaining healthy study habits and managing their time responsibly. The good news? There are some tips you can follow to support your academic success while in any nursing program. 

Cultivating Healthy Study Habits 

You will need to do a lot of studying as a nursing student—and, unfortunately, cramming for an exam the night before is not likely to serve you well. Instead, set aside a small amount of time to study each day. Make the time for these healthy study habits, and you will find that preparing for exams is much less stressful (and that you are able to retain more information). 

When studying, make the most of your time by eliminating distractions as much as possible. This may mean turning your phone to “Do Not Disturb” mode and shutting off the television. 

Time Management: Mastering the Art 

As a nursing student, you will have a lot on your plate at any given time—but with the right time management skills, you will at least have a fighting chance. 

One of the most essential time management tips is to keep a detailed planner/schedule. This can be on paper or on your computer or phone (whatever works best for you). Regardless of format, maintaining a detailed schedule each day can help you ensure you are setting aside the appropriate amount of time to complete assignments, study, and keep up with other obligations outside of nursing school. 

Nurturing Positive Relationships in Nursing School 

You may not realize it yet, but the relationships you develop in nursing school will have a significant impact on your future success and growth. Not only does nursing school give you the opportunity to make life-long friends, but connecting with instructors can also set you up for potential employment opportunities and other valuable connections. 

The Role of In-Class Friendships 

Whether you are attending nursing school on-campus or online, make an effort to connect with your peers. Building relationships with classmates can help you create a sense of comradery that will keep you motivated and accountable. Consider setting up a study group or finding time to meet outside of class. The right friends can make nursing school more enjoyable while boosting your motivation as you work together toward the same goal together. 

Connecting With Instructors: Why It Matters 

Likewise, do not underestimate the power of building relationships with your teachers and instructors. Instructors teaching nursing classes often have extensive experience working in the field. They may have connections in local hospitals and other healthcare facilities—and are usually happy to help nursing students network and discover career opportunities once they graduate. Likewise, connecting with your instructors by asking questions and being invested in your coursework will help you get the most out of your program. 

Maintaining Optimal Physical Health 

You do not need to be a nursing school graduate to understand that your physical health can have a major impact on your academic performance. However, taking care of yourself and making time to prioritize your physical health while in nursing school is easier said than done. 

Sleep: The Underrated Performance Booster 

Perhaps above all else, make sure you are getting enough sleep throughout your program. Pulling all-nighters to prepare for an exam is not likely to pay off. Instead, create a strict sleep schedule for yourself and do your best to stick to it. 

How much sleep do you need? Ideally, adults should get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night to maximize their energy levels and performance during the day. 

The Role of Regular Exercise for Students 

Your time may be limited while you are in nursing school, but it is still important to prioritize your physical health by keeping your body moving each day. Even if you do not have time to spend an hour at the gym every day, you should make an effort to squeeze in physical activity when you can. This can be something as simple as going for a walk on campus in between classes or even committing to 20 minutes of light yoga to start your day. 

Mental Well-Being for Nursing Students 

As you embark on your nursing journey, it is also important to focus on your mental health and well-being. You will undoubtedly encounter obstacles that challenge you throughout your program, but with the right attitude and perseverance, you can overcome anything life throws at you. 

Staying Positive Amid Challenges: How? 

A positive mindset can go a long way in nursing school while preventing negativity from dragging you down. Additionally, a positive attitude helps nurse retention for yourself and your fellow nurses! Make a concentrated effort to stay optimistic, even when things seem difficult. Focus specifically on your own internal voice and self-talk, using positive language to build yourself up and keep moving forward. 

When Should You Seek Help in Nursing School? 

Even with the right tools and plans in place, there will likely come a time in your program when you need to ask for help. Whether asking a friend to help you study or an instructor for an extension on an assignment deadline, remember that your loved ones and your instructors want to see you succeed. Sometimes, part of that means knowing when to ask for assistance. 

What Is the Ultimate Reward for aNursing Student? 

Finishing nursing school takes a lot of hard work, so be sure to keep your eye on the prize. Beyond obtaining your degree or certificate, your ultimate reward as a nursing student will be working in the healthcare field and making a difference in the lives of your patients. Remember this when you are feeling discouraged or motivation is waning. 

Begin Your Nursing Program With Confidence 

Nursing school is far from a walk in the park, but with these tips in mind, you can be prepared for even the most challenging of programs. The key is creating a plan to overcome some of the most common challenges associated with nursing school, including long hours of studying and juggling many responsibilities at once. 

Of course, choosing the right nursing program can also make all the difference when it comes to your long-term success. The nursing program that is right for you is one that is not only accredited, but flexible enough to suit your busy schedule while supporting you every step of the way. 

At Post University’s American Sentinel College of Nursing & Health Sciences, we are proud to offer a number of fully online nursing programs to suit your needs, including a Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing and an MSN degree with eight specializations. Explore our full roster of nursing programs on our website to learn more about what sets us apart and how we help position students for success in their future nursing careers. 

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