Nobody said going to nursing school was easy. The sheer bombardment of information that requires hours of study is enough to discourage even the most attentive of students.
No matter how enthusiastic you are about nursing school, your motivation will most certainly ebb and flow. Consider the following ways nursing students can keep their motivation levels up while studying for their nursing careers:
Many students lack sufficient organizational skills as they enter college. Poor organization and time management can mean missed deadlines and sloppy work. An excellent place to start your organizational goals is with your study space.
Less is more when it comes to the space you use to study. Do not overload it with tools you will never use. Keep the bare necessities and make sure everything has a place.
You also want to keep your course materials accessible, so you can find what you need when you need it. If you work with hard copies, set up a filing system. If you work on your computer, then create class folders.
Celebrate the Small Successes
There is no such thing as a success too small to celebrate. Patting yourself on the back when you succeed at something will give you the little dopamine hit you need to keep working hard.
Instead of only applauding a good grade in a class, find ways to celebrate yourself when you pass a quiz or even complete an assignment. Set yourself up for success by rewarding the wins.
Your ultimate goal, of course, is a rewarding career as a nurse. If that is the only one you have, though, it will take a while to get there.
A better strategy is to establish small goals that keep you moving toward the big one. At the beginning of each class or semester, write out a list of goals you want to achieve and check them off as you complete them.
Make Friends in Class
Friends help motivate each other. Perhaps just as importantly, they can be your accountability partner to keep you on track. Friends can offer you that little push you need to get through one more class, clinical, or semester. They are also potential study partners with sympathetic ears and understanding shoulders to lean on.
Avoid Making Comparisons
There are no upsides to comparing yourself to your fellow students. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, and if you get stuck in the rut of saying this person is a better student or everything comes more easily to them, the negativity can drag you down.
You are most likely your own worst critic. Comparing yourself to others just amplifies that negativity.
Keep a Positive Mindset
Negativity will also just drag you down. Avoid negative self-talk like “I am going to fail that class,” or “I cannot do this assignment.” Instead, remind yourself of your victories and that you are still learning. You will stumble a few times along the way, but all you need do is get back up again.
Flexibility is the key to most things, including getting through nursing school. Even if you go into school determined to be one kind of nurse, you might discover another option that is more appealing. Keep an open mind, and your passion will motivate you to make the right choices.
Connect With Your Instructors
Few things are as motivating as a wonderful teacher. Take advantage of what a nursing professor can offer you. Make a connection and use that experience to inspire you as you learn.
Get Enough Sleep
It is hard to stay motivated if you are tired or do not feel well. Practice good sleep hygiene as you study. Set a sleep schedule for yourself and stick to it. If you go to bed and get up at the same time each day, you will feel better going into class and require less active motivation on a daily basis.
Along those same lines, make sure to keep yourself physically active. Regular exercise will not only improve your mood, but it will help you sleep better. Exercise is a great stress reliever, too. If you feel frustrated, hit the gym, hop on your bike, or go for a run.
Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance
It is important to make school a big part of your life, but not the only part. You still need to maintain relationships and find time for yourself. If you stay organized and focused, you can do well in school and still enjoy your life.
Find that balance to succeed now while you are in nursing school. You can carry that skill with you as you pursue your career, too.
Develop an Effective Study Process
Too many college students fail to develop a healthy and effective study process. Cramming is rarely effective, and information retention is reduced. Instead, set up a study schedule that has you hitting the books for a specific amount of time each day.
Then, learn to use your study time effectively. That means removing all distractions and finding ways to make your studying more efficient.
Ask for Help If You Need It
Asking for help may be one of the more difficult parts of being a nursing student, especially if you have a family or work while you are in school. Talk to your friends and family and let them step if you struggle.
You may also need help with your study. Talk to an instructor, student advisor, or reach out to a classmate. They can work with you or help answer questions.
Keep Your Eye on the Prize
You chose to go to nursing school for a reason. Let the rewarding career you dreamed about be your motivation. Once you graduate, you can consider ways to build on this career you earned. For example, you can go from RN to BSN or BSN to MSN studying online. That will open more doors for you.
Discover more about advancing your nursing career by visiting the American Sentinel College of Nursing & Health Science at Post University.
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