Finding Your Balance in Nursing School

Finding Your Balance in Nursing School

Nursing students are a disciplined bunch. They balance coursework in both classrooms and labs, clinicals, a social life, and essential self care in a fast-paced and structured environment.

As a new nursing student, how can you make sure you keep everything moving forward but still take care of yourself? Set good habits and now and get your year off to a good start.

1. Be Open to a New Approach

The most successful students aren’t always the smartest ones. The students who do the best are often the ones who learn how to manage their time best and know what their strengths and weaknesses are. You might have been a top student before, but nursing school is a whole new game. Find the best method of time management for you by experimenting, researching time management approaches, and even taking a seminar (almost all schools offer these). One or two hours of learning a new approach can save your hours and hours of lost time and unnecessary stress.

2. Rethink Getting Help

Nursing students don’t always like to ask for help. But if you don’t ask for help when you’re struggling with an assignment or with an overall course load, you risk falling behind or getting grades that aren’t what you expected. If you’re reluctant to ask for help, look at getting help in a new way. Consider the effort as learning from the best. Ask people to let you in on their secret to success. You are asking to make yourself better, not because you lack skills or knowledge. Assistance doesn’t show your failings, it shows your strength.

3. Learn the Delicate Balance

Anyone in nursing school has the potential to burn out. There is always something more to do, another paper to finish, another exam to study for before your head hits the pillow. If you don’t take time for you, no one is going to do it for you. Now is the time to learn your limits and to respect how caring for yourself makes you a better person. Get enough rest and eat well, but also take time to spend with friends and family. Block off some time for solitude if that’s how you thrive. Be good to yourself now and you’ll reap the benefits throughout your career and your life.

4. Be Proud

You are going to have bad days. Nursing school challenges each and every student—that’s why we have excellent nurses. But it won’t always be fun and your confidence is going to take some serious hits. Throughout it all remember to be proud of yourself. Not everyone can make it as far as you have. Remember that and use that to fuel your fire to become the best nurse you can be. When a bad day knocks you over, just get up and keep going.

Study Tips for Success and Growth in Nursing

Study Tips for Success and Growth in Nursing

Working in health care, you have to be comfortable with change. It’s an ongoing quest to help patients, and it’s riddled with many different directions. One thing is certain, though. You can’t plateau with your studies, especially when you’re a practicing nurse.

Nursing aspirations don’t have to end with an RN degree. If you’re a natural born caregiver and feel you’ve peaked, you can reach beyond the RN and consider a career as a forensic nurse, nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife, or nurse practitioner.

Working a full-time job, staying current, and striving for more is about as easy as finding a cure for the incurable. It may seem daunting; however, with the right mindset, it’s not only possible, it’ll make your job more rewarding. Here are some noteworthy tips to a journey of success:

Focus on growth

Growth leads to desire for more. When you decide you want to grow in your nursing career, you naturally become intrinsically motivated—your desire comes from within. You begin to want more.

As a nurse, you can find growth opportunities in many places. The field is constantly growing and opportunities exist around every corner. You just have to get out of your own way and accept the fact that you need more.

Jobs in anesthetics, midwifery, forensics, along with management, are all growth opportunities afforded to nurses who have already earned an RN degree.

Opening your eyes and mind to the possibility that there’s room for improvement is hard, but re-framing your thinking helps you see opportunity.

Strengthen your writing skills

If you’re looking to go back to school or advance in your career, you have to be able to write well. If you want your ideas to be taken seriously and respected, you have to know how to convey them appropriately.

Strong writing skills will do the trick! A few writing tips you should keep in mind, especially when writing for academics are:

  • Stay in the third person.
  • Use a formal tone.
  • Use technical vocabulary appropriately for your audience.

Strong self-study skills

In this day and age, multitasking has plagued the minds of students. They are focused on completing tasks instead of processing information. Set yourself up for success by taking the time to think about your thinking. Take an active role in trying to understand how you process information along with what methods of learning work best for you.

  • Do you do better with skill and drill practice?
  • Can you read and recall information easily?
  • Do you need to see things in an outline?

Find your strengths and then use them to process information easily.

Growing in your nursing career can be an extremely rewarding yet challenging. Invest as much of yourself into it as possible, and you’re sure to reap both personal and professional benefits.

Surviving Your First Nursing Job

Surviving Your First Nursing Job

Congratulations! You have successfully finished nursing school, passed the NCLEX and are now preparing to start your first job!

Now that you are out of school you may be wondering if your first job will be anything like what your professors taught you in school. I’m here to tell you no, but don’t fret.

Here are a few tips that can help you ease into the transition from student to nurse.

1. Remember the NCLEX and school are NOT like real world!

Many new graduates struggle with this fact when they are out practicing as a nurse. When you are out you will soon face this reality. Different facilities have different protocols, report may be carried out differently than it was in school, and when a patient is crashing it isn’t always “textbook” like NCLEX questions.

2. Listen to your senior nurses.

We’ve all heard the phrase “nurses eating their young” when referring to the relationship between new nurses and seasoned nurses. Sometimes there actually are personality conflicts, but most of the time seasoned nurses are just frustrated with the newer generation thinking they know everything straight out of school. Seasoned nurses on the unit your working have a wealth of information to share with you, just be willing to listen.

3. Don’t act like a know-it-all.

The quickest way to become the unpopular nurse on the unit is to act like you know everything about everything. I, nor any other nurse on the unit, care if you graduated from nursing school with a 3.9 GPA and passed your clinical rotations with flying colors. All we care about is how you can safely and effectively deliver care to your patients. This does not involve you telling us that we are doing things wrong (unless we really are), or that you jump ahead of your preceptor and do things your way. Remember you are there to learn to be a real nurse, not a student nurse!

4. Don’t cause waves.

When I say don’t cause waves, I mean don’t do things like actively complain about your chosen profession. I’ve seen and heard it many times; a new graduate comes into the unit and actively and continuously vocalizes how much bedside nursing sucks and that they are out of there, on to NP or CRNA school after one year! Doing this usually causes a divide between you and other nurses on the unit. If you think bedside nursing sucks now, wait until you don’t have help from your colleagues when stuff hits the fan. Because, according to you, who would want to be a bedside nurse for more than one year?

Use these tips to successfully integrate into your new role. Pretty soon you’ll be a seasoned nurse and will be able to give tips to the newbies on your unit.

Seasoned nurses, what have you found to be a good way to transition from student to practicing nurse?