How Nursing Students Can Manage Midterm Stress

How Nursing Students Can Manage Midterm Stress

If you’re a nursing student, this time of year generally brings a schedule full of midterm exams and projects. Many students say this time of year is the toughest for studying. The weather is still chilly, and everyone’s ready for something, anything, than what they have to get done.

Being a nursing student is stressful and pretty busy in general. You’ve got a lot of work to do, a limited amount of time, and haven’t shaken off the winter hibernation mode yet. If that sounds familiar, here are a few ideas to help you power through this tough time.

Block It Out

The news is full of upsetting events. Coronavirus. Politics. Climate change. Influenza. If you have a fear or an anxiety, there’s probably something about it in the news. You’ve got work to do and world events are overly distracting—but you also can’t just pretend it’s not happening. Set aside specific times to check in with daily events. Don’t scroll through on your phone every hour. Resist the urge to check the news on TV when you’re making dinner or eating with friends. Being in control over the way you consume the information will make it less distracting and leave you time to focus.

Find Your Study Sweet Spot

You might find studying in the library is not the best location for you. Maybe you prefer studying in the gym with the rest of your gym buddies or your team. Maybe a coffee shop is for you or a lounge in your school’s campus center. Or maybe your best study spot is a comfy corner in an academic building. Wherever you can focus on your work and get the most done is the place for you to go during midterms. Find that place and set yourself up with snacks, a water bottle or some coffee, and get your work cranked out.

Time to Relax Isn’t Wasted Time

Endless studying is actually going to work against you. Your brain needs to take breaks to help it process what you are learning and what you are trying to get done. The key is to plan it into your day. A couple of hours of cramming deserve to be followed by a short walk with a friend or some time listening to your favorite podcast or watching funny cat videos. Plan a dinner in which your only company isn’t just a textbook. Connect with your family, friends, or pets. Take time to eat. Watch a movie. You’ll actually give your brain a much needed rest so it, and you, can perform best.

Pay Attention to Self-Care

You probably are going to skimp on sleep during midterms. There’s a lot to get done and only so many hours in the day. But try to keep as much to a schedule as you can. Fit in short naps during the day if you’re really dragging—they will refresh you. In this time of flu and colds, be sure to wash your hands frequently with soap and water—even when you feel like you’re washing your hands all the time. Stay hydrated with lots of liquids (water is always best) or even fruits and veggies like watermelon and cucumbers. Get outside when you can because sunshine and fresh air are refreshing to tired bodies.

Get Help

If you feel overwhelmed by the academics or the life overload, get help. Tutors, student success centers, study groups, or even reliable online help can give you a better understanding of work that you’re having difficulty with. Many schools offer counseling centers where trained therapists can help you manage the stress and anxiety many nursing students feel during midterms (or at any other time as well). The help is out there and taking advantage of it can help you through this tough spot.

Remember, midterms will be over soon enough and you’ll be on to the next great challenge that nursing school brings. This is part of the road to a career that will be rewarding to you and will make a huge impact on humanity. Good luck—you’ve got this!


6 Tips to Help With Final Exam Stress

6 Tips to Help With Final Exam Stress

If the thought of your nursing school final exam schedule has you harried and anxious, it’s time to take a step back and figure out some tricks to help you get through this very stressful time.

1.Get Help

If you don’t understand some of the material you know will be on the final exam, schedule an appointment with your professor or a tutor before your exam presses down on you. Studying for finals is about reviewing the information (and a lot of it!). This isn’t the time to try to learn information on your own that you are assumed to know. Don’t wait until the last minute.

2. Assess What You Need to Do

Don’t panic over things you can’t control. Start your exam preparation by getting organized. Figure out what your exam schedule is, what needs to be done so you can get ready, and what time you have available for studying. Make task lists for each class so you don’t forget anything. If you know what it all looks like, you’ll be more in control.

3. Gather Your Equipment

Equipment isn’t necessarily pens and paper. You need all that (index cards to make flash cards, gum for stress, and a little bit of chocolate!), but take a look at the bigger picture, too. Decide what you need to study best. Can your professor recommend any additional materials to help you study for the specific subject? Do you need any books ordered from the library to help you out? What about online resources you can access to boost your studying?

4. Take Care of Yourself

Pulling an all nighter isn’t going to make things better. It’s going to make you a cranky student who is more prone to falling asleep and forgetting important points. Eat well to keep your energy up, exercise to blow off steam, take the time to relax so you can recharge, and get enough rest. If you stay up too late one night, try to fit in a short nap the next day.

5. Study With Others

Try to meet up with a study group or at least one other student for each class. Just talking about the subject, writing down notes, and revisiting tough points or applications can help you remember the information better. Someone else might have some excellent study tips or resources you might find helpful as well.

6. Get to Work

Don’t jump from subject to subject. Block out several hours and devote that time to one specific class. But don’t study for five hours without a break. That will set you up for overload. Plan a certain amount of study time, fit in a 10-minute break, and then get back to studying. Remove all the things that might normally distract you. Put your phone away, and turn off the TV and radio if they interrupt you. Try not to think of all you have to do. Just start working and checking tasks off your list.

With a little organization and a lot of dedication, studying for finals will be manageable. Good luck!

Study Tips for the Student Nurse

Study Tips for the Student Nurse

Millions of nursing students began their spring semester last week. For some, it marked their first week in nursing school, while others are continuing their nursing journey. Whatever the circumstance, effective study habits are needed in order to be successful in nursing school. 

Everyone has their own way of learning and studying, but developing good study habits early will help you get your semester off to a great start. 

  1. Make a study plan. Write out a study plan detailing what you will study and when. Your study plan can change depending on if it is general study between exams or studying for an actual upcoming exam. Write your study times down on your calendar to stay on track.
  2. Find a quiet and comfortable place to study. Your study environment is an important factor of your study plan. Find a place to study that minimizes distractions (extreme temperatures, noise, people, etc.)
  3. Disconnect. Turn off the TV and turn your phone off to minimize distractions. If you can’t live without your phone for a few hours try to place it out of reaching distance so you won’t be distracted by constantly checking status updates.  
  4. Read and summarize. Read your class handouts and assigned reading and then summarize the information into your own notes. Your notes should be produced in the form that aids your learning the best; flashcards, outline format, diagram, audio recording, or a combination of all of the above.
  5. Review and update. Review and update your notes with new information frequently. You should do this after each class so the material is fresh. Old material is reiterated when new information is added. Reviewing and updating keeps information fresh in your head so you won’t have the need to cram before a big exam.
  6. Take breaks. Studying is mentally taxing and you need to take breaks to stay alert. Study in 30-45 minute blocks and then take a well-deserved break to mentally refresh yourself.

What study habits have aided your learning? Share them with us!

In addition to working as a RN, Nachole Johnson is a freelance copywriter and an author with her first book, You’re a Nurse and Want to Start Your Own Business? The Complete Guide, available on Amazon. Visit her ReNursing blog at