Staying Ahead And Being Successful In Nursing School || How To

You know how being a nerd in high school is seen as a bad thing and you’re probably going to get bullied for being one? University is the total opposite, in fact if someone calls you a nerd it’s basically a compliment. I was never the nerdy type in high school, I hated high school it was an awful experience for me. When I started studying nursing 2 years ago, I developed a love of study and work and thus I became a nerd.

This year is my final year before I graduate and boy oh boy how quickly time has past! As more students start studying nursing I thought I’d share my little tricks and tips that have helped me survive the last 2 years!

You can also see my previous posts here:

Staying Motivated When Studying Nursing

How I Study For Exams || Nursing

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

Before studying nursing

It’s something you need to be really passionate about, not loosely interested in. It requires a lot of hard work and it’s not something to sneeze at. You need to put your blood, sweat and tears into it.

Become aware of why you want to study nursing and write them down, you can use them as motivation when you’re feeling run down. It also helps you to realise why you’re doing what you’re doing and why you’re spending so much time doing it.

At the start of the semester

Memorise your course descriptor, note down when your assignments are due, make a plan of when you’ll start them and try and get as ahead as possible before the semester actually starts.

I find writing down the due dates of assignments in multiple places to be really handy. I have a daily planner that I live by, I write on the day it’s due, I mark the day on the month overview, I make note of it on a calendar and I put it on an assignment tracker that sits on my desk; I literally have no excuse to miss a due date.

Also reading through what’s required for an assignment is good because then you can deduce when to start it depending on how content-heavy it is. I like to start my essays quite a while before they’re due, for example.

Look into what text books you’ll need. I don’t buy all of mine because we don’t always end up reading them, I just get the ones that are referenced the most.

Make sure you write down some goals, maybe what grades you want, what you want to have done by a certain time, what you want to achieve overall etc.

Planning out your semester

Now that you know your content and due dates, you can start making a day-by-day plan of attack!

I have my classes on Tuesday and Wednesday, which means I spend all of Monday and Thursday on study and homework. I then work Friday, Saturday and some Sunday’s; Sunday is my rest day. I usually plan most of the hours in my day, but that’s because I have a major anxiety about knowing how my day is going to be (it’s stressful, if you read my previous mental health posts you’ll know why!).

Always plan breaks too, you don’t want to burn out. Once you burn out, you can kiss goodbye the rest of your semester because you’ll stop caring and just feel overwhelmed.

In my previous posts section, the li k with free printables is super handy in planning out your semester and keeping on track!

At the end of your semester

Look back on what you need to work harder on, what things tripped you up, what you succeeded at and so on. Write down your accomplishments too, it makes you feel good about yourself and what you’re doing.

I like to make a list of the things I struggle to understand and focus on those in the breaks and add them to my binders which are mentioned down below. Your university will focus on some things more in-depth than others, which means you’ll need to put in the hard yard on the gaps in your knowledge.

Take this time to relax too, every semester is going to stress you the fuck out no matter how organised you are, so don’t take relaxing time for granted!!

In my spare time

The thing about studying nursing is that it doesn’t really stop, even on your breaks if you’re passionate enough. I decided to create 2 separate binders: one full of diseases and conditions; the other full of tips and tools on how to perform assessments, fill out documentation, anatomy and so on.

I highly recommend doing this, you’ll remember things a lot better and give yourself the benefit of gaining more knowledge than what you’re taught. It also enhances your researching skills and keeps your knowledge up to date.

Make a list of the things you struggle with the most, that way you can focus on those before other topics. Don’t be afraid to ask for help either! There’s plenty of people that will have been stuck on the same or similar topic from one time to another.

Apps and programs

There are a lot of online aids to help out during the course and afterwards. The biggest one you’ll use, in Australia anyway, is MiMs. It has basically every drug that’s in circulation and gives you all of the necessary information you need on those drugs. It comes as an app and website.

An app I use is called NRSNG, some of of the content you’ll need to pay for (I opt for the free stuff) and every Friday they send you a free fact sheet on various topics anyway! It’s pretty handy.

A website I’ve found recently called iFolio is super handy. You’re able to do quizzes, learn from a wide variety of content and they’ll even send you free cheat sheets to clip on to your nursing gear.

Pinterest can be handy too, however be careful that it is actually reputable and not just someone’s opinion on something.

Vancouver Community College also has a page on their website with anatomy and physiology information.

Your university library should have a lot of resources to help you out too.

Have a hobby or two outside of nursing

This one is pretty obvious but it does need to be said, I encourage you to have hobbies outside of nursing! It’s very important in keeping sane. My hobbies are drawing and photography, they are the only things that can relax me; except for maybe The Sims or Cities: Skylines.

I recommend having a hobby regardless of studying or not. The most fulfilled people in life that I’ve come across have hobbies, they’re important in maintaining your mental health too. And no, watching tv isn’t a hobby.

All in all

If it’s something you’ll want to do, you’ll do anything to make it happen. You won’t make any excuses and you’ll constantly push yourself to be better than you were last semester. I wish luck to anyone that’s studying nursing! Or in any course in general.


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