Having just completed my nursing program, I’ll be the first one to tell you that getting through nursing school isn’t easy. However, if you work hard and work smart, you’ll do just fine! To make your experience in nursing school a little easier, I’ll share some of the habits that helped me as a nursing student. Here are 7 habits that will help to ensure your success in nursing school:
- Always come to class prepared
Early on in nursing school, I learned the hard way that coming to class prepared is absolutely essential. With all the readings we were assigned, it was easy for me to rationalize that skipping out on a few chapters here and there couldn’t hurt. Without fail, the chapters I neglected to read were ALWAYS tested in the form of a pop quiz. There’s nothing worse than staring at a sheet full of questions that you have no idea how to answer, so be sure to complete ALL of your assigned readings prior to class.
- Study with practice questions
Reading is an important part of test preparation, but it’s probably not enough to get you the grades you’re hoping for. The questions used on nursing exams, especially HESI exams, are unlike most other exam questions. Instead of simply selecting the right answer, you need to select the most right answer. The best way to get a feel for these types of questions is to practice with similar ones.
- Make safety a priority
When you start doing clinical rotations, you’re not expected to know everything. However, you are expected to be safe in all that you do. After all, you’ll be working with actual patients. Never, ever, compromise a patient’s safety; it’s the fastest way to get in serious trouble with your clinical instructor and risk losing your spot in nursing school.
- Get plenty of sleep
Clinical rotations can be quite long. Some of mine had me in the hospital for more than 14 hours at a time! Make sure that you always get plenty of sleep prior to clinical days. If you don’t, you’re going to have a very hard time making it to the end of your shift. Also, on the nights prior to exams, you might be tempted to stay up extremely late studying. Unless you haven’t cracked your books open yet, long last-minute study sessions are more likely to hurt you than help you.
- Develop good relationships with instructors
To the best of your ability, try to get on your instructors’ good sides. Not only are they the ones guiding you toward a successful career as a nurse, they’re the ones in charge of your grading! Developing good relationships with instructors will also help you out when life happens outside of nursing school and you need some flexibility with assignments, scheduling, etc.
- Complete assignments early
In my nursing program, most instructors had a very rigid stance on late assignments. In nearly all cases, late assignments simply weren’t accepted unless there were extenuating circumstances. To avoid missing out on valuable points, always be sure to complete and submit your assignments well before their due dates. One of the best ways to stay on top of assignments is to mark your calendar with due dates at the beginning of each semester.
- Find time to have fun
Did you know that a large percentage of nurses leave the profession within the first 5 years of their career? Nursing has a very high burnout rate, and as a nursing student, you’re going to learn why very quickly. You’ll be working long hours at your clinical site, and more often than not, you’ll have to complete school assignments when you go home. You’ll likely have much more stress and much less free time than you’re used to. When you do have free time, be sure to make the most of it by pushing nursing out of your mind for a while. If you can cut loose and relax every now and then, you’ll be able to tackle your responsibilities as a nursing student without getting overwhelmed.
I wish you the best of luck and hope that these habits help you succeed in nursing school. There are plenty other helpful tips out there, so find what works for you and stick with it!
Do you have any helpful habits of your own to share with your fellow nursing students? If so, be sure to post them in the comment section below!