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10 ways for nursing students to productively procrastinate

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If you’re a nursing student, there are exams to study for and papers to write, but sometimes your brain just needs a break. These tips will help you unwind (and maybe put off that last paper!) productively—and, okay, give you an excuse to nap, too!

1. Update your resume to begin looking for jobs. As nursing students, clinical experiences are constantly being acquired and need to be documented on your resume.

2. Begin looking for summer nursing externships or patient care technician jobs. These are hard to come by, so the earlier you start looking, the more likely it is you won’t have to babysit the terrible twins next door for the entire summer.

3. Clean up your emails. Your school probably has bombarded your inbox with paperwork needed to begin clinicals and career fair fliers. Take a little downtime to delete those unnecessary emails and organize the ones you need. The more organized you are, the less unnecessary stress you’ll have (and we all know there’s no shortage of stress as a nursing student!).

4. Keep networking. Send an email to that nurse manager you worked for over the summer, make a phone call to your family friend who’s an RN or send some snail mail—it still exists! Like any other field, nursing isn’t all about what you know; it’s also about who you know. A simple reminder that you’re an interested and eager nursing student keeps your name fresh in their minds, and hopefully with a job in the future.

5. Go to a professor’s office hours. We all know nursing classes can be a killer sometimes. Check when your professor’s office hours are and stop in for some assistance with the last lecture material. Those 20 minutes can help you with that next test, as well as build a lasting relationship with your professor!

6. Create a spa day for yourself and your friends. Give yourself a break, stop studying and get a much-needed manicure and pedicure. A good laugh and a healthy do-it-yourself cucumber facial can be the cure to all!

7. Visit an online scrub shop! We all love a fresh new pair of scrubs. Shopping online may be the perfect distraction when you’re in a homework rut. Not only does a new pair of scrubs make you all giddy inside, but it may provide some retail therapy as well.

8. Work out. It’s almost inevitable that nursing school will make us gain weight. Ample gym time is not only crucial for your physical health, but also will allow your mind to stay sharp when memorizing all of the side effects of beta blockers.

9. Learn to cook. I see in your future…very little time to cook. Start whipping up quick and healthy 15-minute meals now. By the time you graduate, you’ll have perfected that yummy lemon baked chicken or gourmet hamburger.

10. Take a nap. The ultimate power nap can rejuvenate your body and give you ample energy to power through those care plans. Twenty minutes of shuteye is all you need to be ready to tackle new tasks.

What’s your favorite way to productively procrastinate?

Melanie Chang is a nursing student at Boston College in Massachusetts.

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