Tips on How To Be Successful in Nursing School

A group of nursing students learning to do an IV drip

Nursing school is a difficult endeavor, whether you are earning your Bachelor of Science in Nursing, enrolled in an RN to BSN program or working toward your Master of Science in Nursing. Between going to class, studying for exams, completing clinical hours and managing personal responsibilities, it can seem hard to keep up at times. 

Despite the hard work, a career in nursing is extremely rewarding, and just earning your nursing degree is a major accomplishment. As an aspiring nurse, you may be wondering how to be a successful nursing student. If so, here are some tips on how to stay on top of it all while earning your nursing degree.

Set Realistic Goals

To succeed in nursing school, it’s important to stay driven and set realistic goals for yourself. Rather than holding yourself to an impossible standard, focus on doing your best whenever you can and when you make mistakes, learn from them and move on. It’s not realistic to expect yourself to be perfect and study every second that you’re free — balance between your school life and personal life is important.

In addition, setting both larger and smaller goals will be extremely beneficial to your success as a nursing student. You may have a larger goal to expand your career options and make a positive impact on the lives of your patients, however, to be successful in nursing school, sometimes you have to look at things at a micro level and set goals such as reading a few chapters of your work each week.

This will help you stay motivated while completing your coursework by giving you a frequent sense of accomplishment when you meet these smaller goals. This, in turn, will drive you forward in your career. Thus, setting both smaller and larger goals will help you not only while earning your degree, but also in the future as well.

Stay Positive

Having an intense workload while trying to balance a personal life can be challenging. However, to be a successful nursing student it’s important to stay optimistic and try to look on the bright side as much as possible. There will be setbacks while you work toward your nursing degree, but looking for solutions and moving forward, rather than dwelling on them, can make a big difference.

Although there will be obstacles, continuing to work hard and stay motivated will be essential. If you don’t reach a goal, don’t give up; instead, set a new goal and reward yourself once you reach it. This will help you to stay positive and keep moving forward, even when you won’t feel like it.

Manage Your Time Well

Time management is a necessary skill for any nursing student. In order to avoid burnout, nursing students must schedule time to relax as well as time to study. This means taking breaks from studying when you have a lot to do and making sure you get a good amount of sleep each night. Students often sacrifice a good night's sleep for a last-minute study session. This can seem like a good idea at the time but will have negative side effects in the near future.

To break the habit of procrastination, use a planner to schedule out your time in advance. Write down tasks you need to complete each day and stick to this list. This will help you to identify free time where you can prioritize other activities like working out, having dinner with friends or visiting family. Sticking to a schedule will not only help you feel more organized, it will help you minimize stress throughout nursing school.

Get Connected

Successful nursing students invest in their relationships, especially with professors and classmates. Not only can this help you make important connections that you can use throughout your career as a nurse, it can also help you as you earn your degree.

Forming connections with others can help you feel more comfortable asking questions, which is a necessary part of learning. It can feel intimidating to go up to your professors or another classmate to ask for help when you need it, but doing so will benefit you down the line. It will also help you to better understand your work rather than just doing it for a grade.

Although nursing school is time consuming, if you’re an on-campus student, getting involved in campus life can also be rewarding. Although it’s important to form connections with people in your classes, making friends with other students can also help to take your mind off your work if you’re stressed and can help you to focus on other topics. Making friends outside of classes may also help you to keep up with hobbies while earning your nursing degree rather than putting them on the back burner entirely

Stay True to Your Passion

Your success in nursing school will ultimately be driven by your passion for the career. If you’re earning your nursing degree, you are most likely passionate about the healthcare field and caring for others and want to pursue a rewarding career in this after graduation. Even when the workload becomes tough, it’s important to remember this passion and persevere through the hardships to reach your ultimate goals.

The College of Nursing and Health Care Professions at Grand Canyon University prepares students to fill evolving healthcare roles as highly qualified professionals. To learn more about GCU’s online nursing degrees, click the Request Info button at the top of the screen.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.

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