Dealing with stress in nursing school


The stress level of nursing students is higher than those in most other academic programs, and some studies have even suggested that their stress levels are higher than their counterparts in medical school, social work and pharmacology programs. The workload of nursing students is profound—not only maintaining academic studies and a clinical practice, but also a work/life balance that is important to both young students and those who are more mature when they achieve their degree.

Many nursing students today are “re-careerers” and have multiple family concerns, including coping with adolescent children and caring for elderly parents. Think about the questions patients are asked when they complain of health issues, and then consider your own lifestyle and habits. These may be obvious, but consider the following suggestions for maintaining optimum health and an even disposition during nursing school.

1. Eat right. Just as we say during the elementary years, having a nutritionally well-balanced diet is equally important during college. The body metabolizes more during stressful times, meaning you may be hungrier more often, but without proper planning you might find yourself making poor food choices. Because the nursing profession is largely comprised of women, it’s not surprising that eating disorders are prevalent in the profession. By maintaining good eating habits through your education and training, you’re more likely to continue on a healthy path throughout your career. Eat five or six small meals a day, drink plenty of water and be conscious of choosing whole foods, with an emphasis on fresh vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

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Fran Roberts

Fran Roberts is the Vice President of Strategic Business Alliances for the College of Nursing and Health Sciences (CONHS) at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix. The CONHS was created and expanded under Dr. Roberts’ guidance during her tenure as Dean of the College of Nursing for GCU.

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One Response to Dealing with stress in nursing school

  1. Juliaflohenderson

    I am in second semester of nursing school. I just got back from all day clinicals where I was so anxious and nervous the entire day I couldn’t think straight. Then at the end of the day I took a math test and blew it. I felt confident about the math until I went to take it and then just blanked out. It seems like the other students were confident and had it down but I was just a basket case! I am a single mom, have a 14 year old daughter and aging parents, and I am always broke! I would like to know what I can do to alleviate my anxiety. I feel like it is hurting my grades. I don’t want to quit — I really want to be a nurse!