12 nursing school survival tips

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Don’t you wish you knew what is worth stressing about in nursing school and what isn’t?
Thankfully, we have seasoned nurse, Kati Kleber, to the rescue with her list of 12 things to focus on and ignore in nursing school:
1. Do NOT get involved in nursing school drama. A bunch of women + a handful of guys + frustrating classes for years = hotbed for unnecessary drama.
2. Get on your clinical instructors’ good side. Clinical instructors, despite how awful they may be in your opinion, make great references for your résumé in this extremely competitive market.
3. Know basic lab values: CBC, BMP (and also normal urine output).
4. Know basic EKG stuff: NSR, brady, tachy, fib/flutter, vtach, vfib, asystole.
5. Don’t care about what your classmates get on their exams.6. Don’t fight tooth and nail about points in class from tests…you’ll completely forget about it after you graduate. It just adds stress and pisses off your instructors—both of which are not worth it. Let those points go.

7. Take the Kaplan NCLEX review.

8. Try to get an understanding of the general major topic of each exam. Trying to understand 300-plus pages of material for a 25-question exam is unrealistic. Understanding topics rather than memorizing sentences will help you more for tests and comprehensive finals at the end of the semester.

They will always get you with two to three completely random questions that you would not have known if you didn’t have a photographic memory. Just know that will happen so you won’t be super pissed and caught off guard when it does.

9. Most RN students were getting A’s prior to their nursing classes. Kiss those A’s goodbye and just try to pass. An A in a prerequisite class = a B in nursing school. Don’t kill yourself for a 4.0; it’s not worth the stress.

10. Take every opportunity to do any tasks in clinical (start foleys, IVs, blood draws, vitals, repositioning and changing patients, admission paperwork, injections, etc). Once you’re on your own, being comfortably with tasky things makes you think big-picture-wise faster.

11. The day you get your syllabi, get out a calendar and write out all of your assignments. Things will sneak up on you. Prepare appropriately so you don’t have to cram. Get papers done early. I decreased a decent amount of stress by doing that because I was able to actually get sleep the night before papers and tests because I was already done.

12. And if you did step 11, this will allow you to enjoy the non-nursing parts of your life. You need time off and time away. It’s easy to just do all nursing, all the time…but that’s terrible for your mental health. Organize a calendar for yourself and make sure you spend time AWAY from the books. If your brain is de-nursed for a night, it might do you better than cramming for yet another night.

To read more, visit

Nursey-123x1851Learning how to be a great nurse at the bedside while maintaining your sanity at home is no easy task. Becoming Nursey: From Code Blues to Code Browns, How to Take Care of Your Patients and Yourself talks about how to realistically live as a nurse, both at home and at the bedside…with a little humor and some shenanigans along the way. Get ready: It’s about to get real, real nursey. You can get your own copy at at, Amazon or Goodreads (ebook).



Want to find out more about continuing your education? Visit our Next Level Nursing hub.

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