Nursing School Advice from Students Who’ve Been There
“If you wish to know the road up the mountain, you must ask the man who goes back and forth on it.”
Just like the inspirational quote states, the first step towards your nursing education is to seek out nursing school advice. To receive the best advice, you’ll want to seek out individuals who have experienced the rigors of nursing school firsthand.
Take for instance the current students and graduates of Concordia University–Portland’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program. Having gone through the program, these students know what it takes to achieve nursing school success. Here are their top five pieces of nursing school advice:
1. Find Your Study Groove
According to several students in Concordia’s Accelerated BSN program, finding balance is essential to your success. This is because the program includes a comprehensive curriculum which consists of online coursework, skills and simulation labs, and in-hospital clinical rotations at top healthcare facilities in the Portland, Oregon area.
“Nursing school is a full-time job,” says Kevin Writer, an Accelerated BSN student. Outside of hands-on labs and clinicals you can expect to spend up to forty hours a week on reading assignments, writing papers, learning about medications, and more,” he says.
“Nursing school takes up a lot of time. I don’t have a job, so I look to nursing school as my full-time job.”
– Kevin Writer, Accelerated BSN Student
Each learning component will present a unique set of challenges, so it’s crucial that you stay organized at all times. Your study routine will start to develop once you begin online coursework.
“All of our assignments are due on Saturday night, so Sunday is the day for me to become familiar with what I’m going to be learning next,” says Kevin. “I like to schedule out my deadlines for the week – this helps me get everything done.”
2. Create a Dedicated Study Space
While it is a well-known fact that studying is vitally important to a student’s success in nursing school, one factor that is often overlooked is the importance of dedicated study space. As you begin online coursework, you’ll want to create a space conducive to your study habits, like Accelerated BSN student Vicki Waadevig. “I have an office set up in my home,” says Vicki. “It’s where I keep all my materials, including books, pens, highlighters, etc.”
“I like to reserve a study room at the library.”
– Sandra Herrera-Alonzo, Accelerated BSN Student.
3. Pace Yourself
Throughout Concordia’s ABSN program, you’ll experience a whirlwind of learning, which will require you to pace yourself. “Some days will be more challenging than others and you may get tired but you have to remember what your end goal is,” says Vicki.
A student planner can serve as a great resource by making you more effective in prioritizing. Being able to write down and visualize your learning activities on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis will help you stay on track and meet deadlines.
“Be really dedicated with your schedule and make sure you complete all assignments,” says Stephanie Hollingworth, Accelerated BSN Graduate, Class of ’18. “Balancing online coursework with clinical rotations can be tricky from time to time.”
Additionally, don’t forget to give yourself some downtime in between study sessions. According to research from the University of Texas, the brain mechanisms that are engaged when the mind is resting and reflecting on previously acquired information can boost future learning.
4. Lean on your Support System
As a student in the Accelerated BSN program, you will be surrounded by like-minded peers from all walks of life. These individuals will serve as your biggest support system, so it’s important that you turn to them for inspiration and advice during times of need.
“I would definitely not have made it this far without my classmates,” says Kevin. “They’re one of the most important parts of the program. We spend a lot of time together. We study together and watch each other succeed. They can offer a lot of support in ways you didn’t know you needed,” he says.
“It’s nice to have classmates to lean on every step of the way.”
– Kevin Writer, Accelerated BSN Student
Don’t be afraid to ask your cohort members questions. Find out how they manage their time and what tools they use to stay on track.
“It’s nice to be with a cohort because when we get together we can check in with each other,” says Vicki. “There’s always someone you can learn from.”
5. Unleash Your Inner Confidence
Having a strong sense of self during clinical rotations could tip the scales from failure to success. “The importance of your clinical experience cannot be overstated,” says Stephanie. “It’s crucial to your learning; to your preparation; and your practice as a nurse.”
Beginning in the first semester, your clinical experience will show you what it’s like on the job, as a registered nurse.
“Your clinicals are where you’re going to learn the most… Come ready because that’s where you’re really going to learn, build confidence, and gain hands-on experience.” – Stephanie, ABSN Graduate
While you may experience times of doubt and frustration, it’s how you react that matters most. The challenges you overcome will help you become accustomed to high-stress moments. The experience you take away will enable you to refine your preparation skills and reflexes and prove to others that you’re capable of anything. “Your confidence and competency will make a big impact,” says Kevin. “It can even encourage employers to call you when you’re graduated.”
Press Play on Your Nursing Education
Sometimes a little nursing school advice can go a long way. Now that you understand what it takes to find success in Concordia’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program, it’s time to start your nursing education. Contact an enrollment specialist today to see how you can get started.