Do you want to help people every day while also making a reasonably large amount of money in the process?
If so, you should consider becoming a registered nurse! The average RN makes upwards of $70,000 per year these days and gets the chance to work closely with patients on a daily basis.
While nursing can offer you a rewarding and lucrative career, it can also be a difficult field to break into initially. You need to know how to prepare for nursing school and then survive it before you can get to work.
Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to increase your chances of making it through nursing school unscathed.
Here are 12 tips and tricks for getting through nursing school and launching a great nursing career.
1. Speak With Current Nursing School Students Before You Start
If you’re preparing to attend nursing school for the first time, you probably don’t have any idea about what to expect from it.
Is it going to be overwhelming right from the start? Will the workload gradually build up and become too much for you to take? Are there going to be moments when you want to quit and find a different profession to pursue?
You likely have a million and one questions. The only way to get answers is to speak with those in nursing school now.
If your nursing school allows it, you should take time to meet with those who are in the class ahead of you. They’ll be able to give you some pointers that will really help you to get off to the right start in nursing school.
2. Purchase All the Textbooks You’ll Need for Nursing School Classes
There are some college students who will try to get away with not buying textbooks for certain classes. These textbooks aren’t always 100 percent necessary for the classes they’re taking.
This is not going to be the case in nursing school. You’re not just going to be able to “wing it” and learn all of the things you’ll need to know to become a nurse without books.
You should make sure you buy all the recommended textbooks for your specific nursing school.
3. Read Your Books and Prepare Accordingly Before Nursing School Classes
Buying the textbooks for your nursing school classes is really only half the battle. You’re also going to have to study them in order to get the information you need out of them.
Your nursing school teachers will let you know which chapters you need to read each night to stay on task. You should take their advice and read each and every word in your books so that you’re prepared.
If you’re walking into your classes without having read the chapters that will be discussed, you will be lost. You will also put yourself behind and make it very difficult for you to catch up later.
4. Form Bonds With Your Fellow Nursing School Students Immediately
When you’re in nursing school, your fellow students are going to start to feel like your family before long.
You’re going to spend a lot of long hours in class with your fellow students. You’re also going to be growing as a nurse with them and might even work with them in a professional capacity later.
You should walk in on your first day of nursing school and introduce yourself to as many people as you can immediately. You should also try and get to know at least a few of your fellow students better.
You’re going to see some of these students more than your own parents, friends, and significant others. It’s a good idea to get off on the right foot with them so that you all get along in the weeks, months, and years to come.
5. Ask Your Nursing School Teachers for Help When You Need It
As a nursing school student, you’re not going to be expected to know everything. No matter how much time you spend studying, you’re still going to have questions about the things you see and read.
Ask any and all questions that come to mind!
The last thing you want to do is put a chapter to bed or put a lesson behind you when you’re still confused about a nursing concept. Your nursing school teacher is there to clear up any confusion you might have and allow you to process information better.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. It’ll pay off for you later when you have a better understanding of something you weren’t sure about before.
6. Start a Study Group With Other Nursing School Students
Once you get a chance to exchange pleasantries with your fellow nursing school students, you should try and arrange a study group with them.
Most nursing school students spend a lot of time studying together outside of the classroom. They collaborate to make sure they understand certain lessons and concepts.
They also share tips and tricks among themselves like the Pearson Vue trick.
As a nurse, you’re going to be working closely with your fellow nurses for the rest of your career. So why not start working together now and increase your chances of passing exams and tests together?
7. Learn How to Manage Your Time During Nursing School
All the work you’ll have to do to become a nurse can come crashing down on you at once if you let it.
If you don’t manage your time well, you’ll get stuck trying to cram for all of your tests, and it won’t work out well for you. You will find yourself getting lower grades than you should.
Prior to attending your very first nursing school class, you should purchase an organizer and use it faithfully. It’ll allow you to keep everything in good order and help you map out your plan of attack for getting work done.
8. Utilize the Nursing School Resources Available to You
You’re going to rely on your nursing school textbooks a lot. But they shouldn’t be the only resources you use in school.
You should also make sure you use resources like:
- CDs filled with nursing school information
- Websites that contain nursing school lessons
- NCLEX review books that provide nursing-related questions
Ask your nursing school teachers and fellow students which resources they would recommend to you. It might take a little bit of a financial commitment on your part to obtain some of them, but it’ll be well worth it in the end.
9. See If You Can Find a Nursing School Mentor
One of the most important things you should do when you first enter nursing school is to try and find a mentor to help lead the way for you.
There are many older nursing school students and recent nursing school graduates who would be happy to take a new student under their wing. A mentor can be an invaluable tool for those who are just getting their feet wet in the world of nursing.
You’ll be able to ask any questions you have about nursing school now to your mentor. You’ll also be able to ask questions to them well into the future.
10. Talk to Your Loved Ones About the Strain Nursing School Puts on You
When you first start attending nursing school, your loved ones might not be prepared for the strain it will put on you and your time.
You should sit down with your parents and let them know that you’re going to need to spend a lot of hours studying in the months to come. You should also sit down with your boyfriend or girlfriend and let them know you won’t be able to go on as many dates as usual or even hang out like you always do.
Your time is going to be very valuable when you’re in nursing school. You should make it a point to fill them in on how your life will change as you strive to become a nurse.
11. Find Ways to Blow Off Steam Outside of Nursing School
It’s very important to study hard while in nursing school. It’s also important to do well on your tests.
But you shouldn’t devote your entire life to nursing school and all that it entails.
You should still make time for going to the movies, watching TV, and hanging out with your family and friends. That doesn’t mean you should goof off all the time, but it does mean you should blow off steam every now and then.
It’ll help you avoid dealing with too much stress and prepare you for the work-life balance you’re going to want to try and achieve once you become a nurse.
12. Remind Yourself Why You Want to Become a Nurse Throughout Nursing School
There might be times when you aren’t sure you can make it through nursing school. There might even be times when you’ve had it and want to quit.
During these times, close your eyes and remind yourself why you want to become a nurse. It’ll help to keep you focused on the prize.
Now That You Know How to Prepare for Nursing School, Get to Work!
It’s one thing to know how to prepare for nursing school. It’s another to survive the experience.
If you’re worried about nursing school, you should take comfort in the fact that there are millions of people that have made their way through it successfully. You should also think about how great it will feel to accomplish your goal and become a nurse one day.
Take a look at our blog for more nursing and career tips.