Choosing to become a nurse can be a big step toward your future career, and it is a very noble profession to get into. In this role, you will be actively helping your local community, and this is a wonderful way to contribute to society and be a positive role model for others. This career is not only rewarding because of the people you are helping and getting to know along the way, but also because this is a challenging career that will require you to develop specific skills. It can also help you to learn new things about yourself and become more resilient, all while providing job stability and career progression opportunities.
For all of these reasons and more, it’s easy to see why people will be drawn to a nursing career, but before you can start working in this role officially, you will need to get your nursing degree and pass the licensure exam. This is the first step in your nursing career, and if you are about to start nursing school soon, here are some tips and advice to help you survive for the next few years.
When it comes to your studies, and even your time working professionally, being organized is essential if you want everything to run as smoothly as possible. Any degree will need its students to manage their time effectively and keep a record of their classes, deadlines, etc., but a nursing degree will place a greater demand on this than some other subjects. This is because there is a lot to cover when it comes to medical topics, and you will need to balance both your theory and more academic assignments with your practical examinations and experiences. If you want to keep yourself in a comfortable position throughout your nursing career, good organization is key – so try to improve these general skills if you haven’t previously been great at this. Find a system that works for you so you can keep on top of all of your assignments and study time while also managing your work placements.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Sometimes it can feel a little bit intimidating to speak up if you don’t understand something, or you feel as though you’re worried about asking a silly question. Well, there are no silly questions, and it’s much better to ask for clarification if you feel unsure rather than letting that opportunity pass you by. This is true no matter what the subject, but when it comes to medicine and taking care of patients, it is even more prevalent that you make sure you understand what is being discussed in your classes and on your placements. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you are unsure about something, even if it’s taking your tutor or the nurse that you are shadowing to the side to discuss this privately if you would prefer. You will feel much better for doing so and be able to build your confidence this way, too.
Be Open to Feedback
You should also make sure that you are staying open to feedback throughout your nursing degree. This will still be useful even in the early years of working as a professional nurse, too. While sometimes it might feel difficult to listen to critiques of your work, remember to not take this personally and instead use this information to improve your performance. Your tutors and nurses in charge of your training are there to look out for your strengths and weaknesses to help you become the best nurse that you can be. So, even if you might feel disappointed with this feedback on occasion, take it in your stride and consider how you can use this to become a better nurse moving forward.
Pick the Right Degree Program for You
Another thing to keep in mind if you want to get the most out of your nursing degree is making sure that you have chosen the right program for you. All nursing degrees will cover the same topics, but if you are trying to balance a job or other commitments around your studies, you may find that a part-time degree program or online learning could be a better approach to your studies. The online degrees at Holy Family University are a good example of this. You must look around to make sure that you are choosing the right nursing degree for your needs, as this will make it easier for you to stay committed to your studies and get the most out of this experience. If you’re not sure which program would be right for you, speak to other nurses you might know or ask on nursing forums to see if you can get some recommendations.
Find a Mentor
You might also want to consider finding a mentor at some stage during your nursing degree, as they will be able to support you during your studies and give you important feedback. Nursing schools and hospitals tend to run mentoring schemes, so do ask about this when you start your course to learn about the possible opportunities that you can take advantage of. Mentors will not only help you during your nursing school but they might also be willing to provide references for you when you do start applying for nursing positions after your graduation. They can also give you tips and guidance for preparing for your licensure exams after your degree, as well as further advice on how to get through your degree and what you should do once your graduate.
Make Sure You’re Looking After Yourself
Studying to become a nurse can be a lot of pressure, particularly when you start doing your practical placements, too. It can be easy to find yourself struggling to keep up with the demand of your studies and assignments, and this is why it is important to make sure you are looking after yourself properly . This includes getting enough sleep each night (as tempting as the all-nighter study sessions might be), eating well, and engaging in some regular exercise to boost your mood and energy levels. You should also ensure that you are setting aside some time for yourself to relax, whether that be curling up with a good book or spending time with your family and friends. This balanced lifestyle will help to reduce the chances of burnout and keep you feeling more positive when it comes to getting through your nursing degree.
Make Friends on Your Course
You might be focused on getting through your nursing degree so that you can start working in healthcare, but it is wise to try and make some friends in your degree program, too. You won’t necessarily get along with everyone, but having one or two people you do enjoy spending time with can make a big difference to your learning experience. Not only will you feel more positive about attending classes, etc., but you can support each other throughout your degree, helping each other out with study sessions, and even offering emotional support to each other when things get tough. You might even find that these friendships last for years after your graduation, and you could even become future colleagues. In any case, making some friends in your nursing degree program can certainly enhance your overall experience for you.
Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself
It’s good to stay motivated and challenge yourself, but you should also remember to allow room for mistakes. Putting too much pressure on yourself to get a certain grade on an assignment or exam can often be counter-productive, and you need to give yourself room to grow throughout this experience. If you are disappointed with a grade, choose to see this as positive instead and learn from the feedback you get. You might even find that you need to repeat a class at some stage in your degree, and this is OK too. A nursing degree is a lot to balance, and you won’t be the first nursing student who has had to do this, and you certainly won’t be the last.
Remind Yourself of Why You Have Chosen Nursing
There will be times throughout your degree when you might feel exasperated and consider whether or not you want to continue with your studies. It’s not uncommon for nursing students to feel this way, but this is why you should remind yourself of why you have chosen a nursing career in the first place. Going back to what made you passionate about this profession can help you to stay motivated even through the most challenging stages of your degree, so it’s good to keep this in mind. You might find that writing this down in a journal or on a piece of paper that you can stick up on your wall helps to keep you driven.
If you are ready to start your journey to becoming a professional nurse, getting onto a degree program is the first step. Use these tips to help you find a way to get through the highs and lows of your nursing degree so that you can move to the next phase of your career.