Nursing school is not going to kill you. Really. On the other hand, it can certainly make you feel like your life is over if you let things get out of control. It is possible to survive nursing school. After all, many have done exactly that. If you are a nursing student, or plan to be, here is what you need to do to keep control of your life and to actually thrive while you are getting your training:
The first thing you should do is to get a job in the healthcare industry. Whether you work as a patient care assistant, clerk, patient transporter, cna, or other worker, you will be getting experience that can help you along your career path. When applying for these positions, make sure to let employers know that you are going to attend nursing school. Working in the healthcare field before you start nursing school allows you to observe the culture in which you will be working, to earn a paycheck, and to make useful contacts. Who knows? It may even help you to get some funding for college!
It is also a good idea to get your prerequisites out of the way before you start your nursing program. Nursing classes will likely dominate your entire life. As such, it is vital that you take microbiology, communications, and other prerequisites before even thinking about taking nursing education classes.
The most important thing you can do to be successful in nursing school is to go to class and pay attention to everything. Ignore any and all distractions, such as texting, checking Facebook, or swapping gossip with others.
Sleep is another step you can take to make sure you are a nursing school success. Regardless of how busy you are, make sure to get enough sleep every night. This will allow you to stay awake during classes and to comprehend and retain information much easier. If you are working full-time and find it impossible to get enough rest, at least record all lectures so you can review the material when you are more alert and rested.
Condense your reading assignments. Pay attention to how your instructors teach. The material they stress during lectures is the material you will see on exams. If your instructor seems solely interested in nursing responsibilities, focus your reading on those parts of the book and skim the rest.
It is never too early to start reviewing for the NCLEX. These great resources work like cheat notes for nursing. They will focus on and condense the important parts of every subject you cover and make for much easier reading and studying than standard textbooks. You can also boost your grades and understanding by using the NCLEX review questions. Answer a set number of questions at a time and carefully read the rationale behind any questions you missed. Aim to do around 100 questions a week and increase this number as you get closer to graduation. This serves the double duty of helping you perform better in class and preparing you for the NCLEX.
During clinicals, make sure to always present yourself as a professional. Treat your clinical assignments like a real job. Show up a few minutes early so you can get your daily assignment and discuss the patient with the nurse in charge of his or her care. Your instructor will notice your professionalism and dedication and will see you more favorably for it.
Get around. Find out what kinds of procedures are going on throughout your floor each day. Ask if you can observe. Build relationships with floor nurses and let them know you are interested in learning anything and everything. Then, when they invite you to see a procedure, accept with gratitude even if you have seen it dozens of times already.
Be helpful to other nursing students. When you put yourself out there to help fellow students, they will be there to help you when you are in a tough place. This will help you to succeed in clinicals and will also help the floor nurses, instructors, and others see your professionalism.