Staying On Track In Nursing School || Hints, Tips & Free Printables

AS I head out for my first round of placement, I decided I’d make a post on how I stay on track throughout my studies so far! I’m still only a first year student but I feel at this point I’m pretty qualified to give a run down on these things…

Plan out your semester before it starts

Depending on where you go for your bachelor of nursing, you should get all the information you need a good 2 weeks prior to commencement. This is an amazing thing, why you ask? Because you can get your Life Planner, diary or monthly planner and start filling in due dates and classes to begin simply planning out your basic week. I colour code my planning as it makes it super easy and stands out.

From here, I begin to figure out when and where I’ll study and what homework I’ll do. I’ve made a post of my planner in the past but I’ll add some photos here of what that looks like! When the semester actually starts I do a full plan of the week, which you will also see here. For me, if it’s not in the planner it doesn’t happen. Hence why I plan everything I do about 1-2 weeks in advance so I can work around it and get a good life/work/study balance going on. Actually, I really recommend planning your weeks in advance as you’ll be more productive and more organised.

I also like to do a list of the most urgent assignments I have and start with those first so I don’t stress myself out close to due dates, but I’ll go further into this below.

I also like to use the Semester Planner for this as well just to put on my desk.
It isn’t a clear photo but you get the idea with the planning your weeks part.

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Study and work load 

This is super important, which is why the last 3 months and including this month’s blog posts were written earlier in the year and just scheduled to be posted, this one I wrote 4 weeks into this semester however.

Be prepared that there is a lot you need to study for. It’s on thing doing the work but another thing is actually remembering it. At my university, we get modules of content uploaded and we do those week to week, and have tutorial/clinical lab classes in person during the week as well.

I find that having 3 days of classes (2 on one day, 1 the next day and another 1 the day after) gives me plenty of time to do my modules and study. I have it so that I stay at uni for most of the day I have classes that way I use the facilities and get work done.

I spend Monday-wednesday doing modules then Thursday-Saturday doing study and Sunday is my day for me-time. I work on weekends, and I take that time to think about the things I’ve learnt and see if I can notice symptoms in people, observe them and cement my learning that way.

Assignments 

You’ll get a lot of assignments with not much content in them or you’ll get less assignments with a tonne more content involved. The first semester I had a lot of assignments whereas this semester I have less assignments but they are more content heavy. As I said above, making a list of the most urgent/hard to the easiest really helps take the stress out of it. You can clearly see what you have and when it’s due and simply work around it.

Don’t leave assignments to the last minute if you can, just because they can be very wordy assignments and require a lot more time to do them in. Plus, the more effort you put into them the higher scores you gain, it’s a win win!

I use this Assignment Planner as a way to do my list as well as work out the information I need. I also like to use this Essay Planner to help with my essays, it’s a literal godsend.

Grades

This one kind of ties in with assignments. I like to track my grades and see where I’m at and see if I need to work harder to understand the content. I use the Grade Tracker to do this. It’s really handy because I find I end up getting a higher score than I anticipate and it’s interesting to look back on it and realise I know more than I thought.

It’s important to keep your grades anyway, they make for a neat learning tool and you learn to expect more from yourself in your assignments, because no one wants to write a 20% result…

Plan yourself some me-time

This is important, if you put too much work into your studies you’ll burn out before you even hit the industry. Plan a me-day or me-time in a couple of days every week so you can relax and do other things that aren’t nursing related. It also gets you into a good habit for when you start working as nurse, as nurse burnout rate is so high; so having that time for yourself is your key to success.

Not cramming things in helps a tonne as well, if you are mentally tired and stressed out you won’t last long, so keeping your mental health as good as it can be is important. I tend to put my mental health over my physical health, but that’s just me.

Have a course information folder 

Having a folder that has everything you actually need to know about your course is essential. My folder has course descriptors, immunisation information, placement information and my student number information. It’s my go-to and life saver on occasion.

It’s really neat having it all in one place as it’s easy to access and find out what you need to know straight away. Plus, it’s important to keep all of your course descriptors so when you’re applying or a job they can see the exact content you’ve done throughout your studies.

Have a nursing tools folder 

I love folders, as you can probably tell. I use this one as kind of a cheat sheet/study sort of thing. I fill it with clinical document hints and tips, diagrams and more. I will make a post on this one day as I feel it’s really helpful. I have information for vital signs, dosage calculations, anatomy, physiology, communication methods and delivery, person-centered care tips, legal and so much more.

It’s also really good for studying as well. I print out blank diagrams and tables and fill them out myself in pen then put them in as I retain information better that way. I also have tab in my folder so everything is sectioned and kept together. I also have practice documentation in there to play around with.

Summary
Plan out your week, work out the perfect life/work/study balance, match your physical classes to your content, be prepared and organised, always have me-time }

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