Everyone who wants to be a nurse has to do one thing – they have to go through nursing school. Although there are various ways to do this, some of which we’ll discuss later in this article, the overview is that in order to learn to be a nurse, you need to study for a number of years and learn as much as you can.
This is not an easy thing to do. Nursing school is all about challenging people to do and be their best. After all, when you are a nurse, you’ll be presented with different challenges every day, and those challenges will sometimes have life-or-death consequences. We don’t want to scare anyone away from becoming a nurse, but it is important to know that it is a role with some unique and crucial responsibilities.
Whether you’re about to start nursing school or you’re already partway through and you need some advice about how to make it easier for you (not easy, of course), read on for some helpful tips that will ensure you can learn how to become the very best nurse you can be.
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Set Up Study Groups
Something you’ll quickly learn as a student nurse is just how important the people around you are. This is the knowledge that will go with you into your career; a nurse is nothing without excellent teamwork. All nurses have to work together to create the very best healing environment for their patients and to overcome the challenges they will face. In other words, nurses cannot do what they have to do alone.
Therefore, a good idea to help you understand this point and start working well with others is to start or join a study group. As well as being able to bounce ideas off one another, you’ll have a good idea about how teamwork helps you, enabling you to use it to your advantage (and that of the patient) once you graduate.
Study groups are effective even if you are learning different things at different levels. You don’t have to be learning about the exact same medication or part of anatomy, in order to make the most of them. It’s about learning as a whole and getting advice – as well as giving it. It’s also about being in an environment that’s particularly conducive to learning, and even if you are just all together in a quiet space, that’s more motivating than being alone for a lot of people.
Since you’ll need to use teamwork every day as a nurse, it’s worth starting as early as possible with your studies.
Read The Books
Does this sound like an obvious point? For some nursing students, it will; it will be the ideal way to learn, and they will be happy to read as many books (and/or websites), journals, and papers as they need to in order to get the most information that will help them with their studies and future nursing career.
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However, some students who have never studied in this way before might think that the only knowledge they need to understand and retain is that offered in the lecture itself. This is certainly a good start, but it’s nowhere near enough. The lectures are there to give information and to stimulate the potential nurses’ minds, but there is a lot more reading needed.
Look at the reading lists your college will give you and ensure you get the textbooks in plenty of time to study them. These can be expensive, but used copies are always available – just be careful not to buy anything that’s too old, as the information might be out of date.
Don’t forget that the internet is a vast resource of information as well, much of it free. Even if you do have to sign up to paid websites to get the knowledge you need, the cost will be minimal, especially when compared to textbooks.
The point is, use the lecture as a starting point, but always do more learning because as a nurse, you can never know enough.
Enhance Your Long-Term Memory
In high school, you might have managed to complete your tests by cramming the night before, but this will not help you when it comes to nursing school.
There is just too much information, plus, even if you could cram for everything the night before a big test, that wouldn’t help you in your career; you would forget everything quickly and your patients would not get the best care from you. On top of this, you would find it hard to do well in your work, and promotion would be very difficult to achieve.
The way that nursing school works is that the knowledge you gain will build up over the weeks and months. Through the program, you’ll build on the information you are given until you have a full picture (with help from the additional learning you do for yourself as well). This is actually the best way for most people to learn, and the lectures at your college, whether it’s online or on campus, will be geared towards ensuring this happens.
Therefore, it’s crucial you attend as many classes as you can and that you do all the required reading and assignments. This will enhance your long-term memory and help you learn as much as possible in order for you to be a successful nurse.
Some people are more naturally organized than others, but when you are at nursing school, you need to learn how to be organized if you are not already. There will be a huge amount to learn, plus you’ll need to study and complete assignments.
There will also be a practical aspect that you’ll need to complete by working in a hospital for a set amount of time. If you are not organized, all of this will be very difficult to do, and you might even become overwhelmed. It is possible for even the most dedicated of potential nurses to decide it’s not the right career for them once they get to school and realize how much there is to do.
However, being more organized would ensure they are able to continue their studies and do everything required of them, helping them to realize their dreams and help the country gain another nurse, which is so important.
Although everyone will work differently, one thing that everyone will find useful is a planner. This could be an app or a simple piece of paper. It might be a calendar or a diary. It could be a big whiteboard attached to your wall. Whatever works best for you, make sure you keep the planner up to date and include all your lectures, study groups, assignment due dates, and anything else you need to add. In this way, you can see at a glance where you need to be and when, and you can allocate time accordingly.
It’s also a good idea to keep your study space organized. Again, this will come more naturally to some than others, but having a tidy desk is useful as it leads to a less cluttered mind. You won’t be distracted by the things around you, allowing you to fully focus on the task ahead, whatever that may be.
Find The Right School
Of course, everything we’ve mentioned so far will depend on one important factor: you’re studying at the right school. There are a number of dedicated nursing schools, and it’s going to be important for you to choose the right one for you.
If you can do that, everything else will feel easier to deal with, as you’ll be settled and comfortable. If you are at a school that isn’t working for you, even if the information you’re gaining would be the same as elsewhere, you just won’t feel comfortable, and therefore you might not do as well.
This is why it’s so important to pick carefully and to do your research before you make your applications. One thing that can often be worrying is the location of the school. After all, the further away you are from home, the more you’ll need to think about.
If this is something that is concerning you, why not look into online schools? Online learning is entirely legitimate, and there are many excellent nursing schools that are solely online. When you study online, you’ll be able to stay at home, which is ideal if funds are limited, or you have other responsibilities like children or a job.
This is another great thing about online learning; it’s flexible. If you do already have a job and want to come into nursing later in life, for example, you’ll be able to without sacrificing your income.
Plus, online learning is ideal for nurses who have already graduated nursing school but who want to progress their careers and need to gain additional qualifications. Rather than leaving their job for an extended period of time to go to college, they can keep working (and therefore gaining experience and staying up to date with nursing techniques) by applying for BSN to MSN online programs and advancing their careers as they see fit.
Talk To Your Professors
The professors at your nursing school, no matter which one you attend or whether it’s online or not, will be well-versed in helping students. It’s what they are there for; they will impart their knowledge and answer questions, and they will help their students do the best they can. This is why if you have a question or a problem or even if you simply need to know the best way to study or have an idea you want to discuss, you should not be shy about talking to your professors.