Student nurse tips

Every August the top Google search that leads to my blog is “what is nursing school like?” By early September, it changes to “how to survive nursing school.” And by late September, “Should I quit nursing school?” starts creeping up. If you are struggling in school, please do not give up! My classmate used to ask me:  “What do you call a nurse who got all C’s in nursing school?”  The answer:  “A nurse!”       I’m not telling you to stop caring about your grades, because you should do your best. But your future patients will care more about how you treat them– your compassion, kindness, and genuine interest in helping them– than how you did on your health management exam your first year of school. You will have bad weeks. You will have bad tests. But you will also have amazing patients whom you will never forget. My advice– after you’ve had a great day in clinicals, write down how you feel. Write the nice compliments you receive from your patients, instructors, and classmates. Then if you fail an exam, hang it on your fridge. But make sure you put the paper with all your compliments right next to it. It will help you remember what is more important.

Always feel free to leave me a comment if you need advice! Please include your email address.

And for those who came for it, here’s my original advice for student nurses:

1. Never forget that every other person in that
classroom is just as scared as you are. If they always look confident,
it is just an act. So don’t let them stress you out.
2. Be prepared to work hard. You will have to do a
lot of reading, and it will be very confusing at times. Do the best you
can to get through it, and highlight anything that might sound
3. Find a few classmates you get along with, and
stick with them through the whole program. At times when no one else in
your life fully understands what you are going through, they will. I
can’t emphasize enough how important this mutual understanding is, and

 I guarantee that these people will talk sense into you every time you
are 100% sure you are going to quit.
4. Be prepared to feel lost. My first time doing
everything (including putting a patient’s sock on her foot), I was so
scared I was shaking. It is normal to completely forget how to do
everything (even the most simple tasks) when you are nervous. So don’t let this make you feel stupid or inferior- it is NORMAL!!

5. Ask tons of questions. If you are told by a

 nurse to do something on a patient and you are not familiar with it or
are uncomfortable, ask for help. Don’t let it bother you that she rolls
her eyes at you, you have the right to learn, and your patients have
the right to receive safe care.
6. Be prepared to laugh at yourself. If you fail to
do this, you will be more stressed out than necessary. When you do
something stupid, laugh. Don’t be embarrassed, we all do dumb things.
Also, allow your patients to laugh at you. One patient told me that

 watching me frantically search for my clipboard (the clipboard I was
holding in my hand) and then laughing with me when I realized my
mistake, was the highlight of her week.
7. Even though you are extremely busy, take one
night off. This means do not do any school work whatsoever one night
every week. Thursday night is my night off. I watch TV, catch up with
friends, just do whatever I want. On Monday, when I really want to
watch something on TV or feel unmotivated to work, I keep telling
myself that I only have a few more days until Thursday.
8. Find an outlet for your frustrations. This site
has been wonderful for me- I just write about what I feel, and even
though I usually don’t end up posting those things for the world to
see, just writing about them makes me feel a lot better. Although this
takes away from my study time, it is well worth it. I don’t think I
could keep going all those hours if I didn’t have some way to release
some steam.banner51.jpg
About these ads
This entry was posted in Nursing student advice. Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Student nurse tips

  1. Linda C says:

    Oh my gosh…my bff just sent this to me and I needed to hear every word you have written. I am in my last year of an eve/wkend RN program and my bff is a year behind me. I have light at the end of the tunnel and every day I want to quite! No lie….I just keep telling myself I can do this!!! I am doing this!!! I will finish this!!!

    Thanks for the encouragement!!!!!

    • Linda C says:

      I just reread my post from last fall…to those out there reading this and feeling hopeless know it can be accomplished! IT CAN~

      I graduated from nursing school on May 22, 2014 and passed my boards on June 19th! Yes, I am a nurse!!!

      I will say this has been the hardest thing I have ever accomplished in my life….I am so proud of myself and my classmates!

      Good luck to everyone out there pursuing their dreams…don’t let go!!!!

  2. Stephanie says:

    Thank you so much for this. I had my first week of nursing school and failed an exam given the first day and am Scared of Upcoming clinicals. I’ve been crying everyday and this blog has helped me. Please keep writing :-)

    • Linda C says:

      Please don’t give up! I am in my last year and just got my grade on the first quiz of the semester….BOMBED IT! Understand what went wrong and fix it, if you need help ask for it! You will get there!!!

  3. Nurse Mo says:

    All excellent advice…nursing school is hard and takes over your life. The best thing I can say about it, is that it eventually ends!

  4. Pingback: It’s Roundup Time! | Straight A Nursing Student

  5. Nurse Mo says:

    I included this post in my blog roundup…thanks again for such great advice!

  6. Mia says:

    Thankyou so much for this post! I really needed this!

  7. This is the best thing I have ever read. I just started college but my major is Nursing. I am in the process of doing pre requisites and this made me feel much better about going into the Nursing program. I know it’s going to be hard but you are right when it comes to doing your best and your patients are going to care more about your compassion.

  8. Morgan says:

    I just failed my last semester and I am desperately hoping that I can have another shot at taking the final over. I am so disappointed and I really do not know what will be next. I am not sure what other options I have.

    • Stephanie says:

      I’m at the teetering point of failing my final semester. I only have my final to make or break me. How did it turn out for you?

  9. Maryanne White says:

    Was it the “non-skid” DOUBLE-SIDED footwear that gave you trouble? :) That one made me laugh out loud! I am in an accelerated program and we are about to finish our first (of 4) semester. I love ALL of your suggestions and advice! Thanks for giving us all a boost!

  10. terah says:

    I just flunked it of nursing school on the last day of my last semester when i should have been celebrating graduation. 2 years ago i got an F in fundamentals and now i just failed med/surg 2 by 1%. I am now out of the program. I went to Bryant & Stratton. Any idea of what school takes the most transfer credits? I don’t have the energy not the means to start over at fundamentals again

  11. Vicki says:

    These are such good words to read. They do not just give you a nursing degree because you want one! You have to work hard and sacrifice things…but Believe me e it WILL all be worth it in the end! I am almost done with LPN then on to RN! Hang in there fellow students! We can do this!!!

  12. Ashlee says:

    I love this! I just finished my last semester ( which I repeated) and it has been the hardest thing I have ever done. I was never an A B honor roll student, not until I required a B to pass each semester :/ yes, the school I attend is pretty tough! I believe if I can get through nursing school with a newborn and a hubby who works away from home, anyone can ;) good luck to everyone, your not alone….

  13. Kelly says:

    This is great!! I shared this with my cousin starting RN school this fall!

  14. Trish Norwood says:

    I agree with you about taking one night off. I think it is so important to have this time to just decompress and catch your breath. I give myself time every week to just forget about school and do nothing school related.

  15. elsalorene says:

    Hi, my name is Elsa. I am a 17 year old from Texas, currently enrolled in high school as an incoming senior this August and a college student, sophomore this incoming August as well. I am extremely interested in becoming an RN, but still have many questions unanswered. From reading some interesting stories on your blog, I am very interested in getting in contact with you. I would really love to know your first steps right out of high school. I am decided that I should go for my BSN but that is all, I don’t know what steps to take from there… I would really appreciate if you could get in contact with me. I would like to have some questions answered from an actual RN that has passed by the common experiences most student nurses do. Please and thank you.

    • lilk8tob says:

      Hi Elsa,
      I sent you an email. :)

    • Linda C says:

      hello Elsa!

      Some suggestions for you….Call your local hospital and see if they have a shadow program or volunteer program to see if nursing is for you! Then find a mentor, a nurse who loves what they do and they will be a great source of support as you pursue your dream. Many nurses are burnt out and not happy with their role as nurse and will discourage you from your dream….so find find a good role model and forget the rest!
      Nursing school is hard work! It is unlike any other course of study…..there are days of “I got this” to days of “I quit!” Temper tantrums and crying jags! Honest….But you can do it!. Going for your BSN is best…talk around town is all nurses will have to have BSN by 2020…although this talk has been going on for sometime now.

      Good luck in your endeavors! Don’t give up the dream!!


  16. Jules says:

    I honestly really needed to read this. I have one more year in my program and I am still feeling like I do not know anything. I feel like I am so scared to make mistakes that it holds me back from ever learning anything. Do you have any study tips and suggestions for those days when you just are not motivated?

  17. Linda C says:


    My advice to you is remember why you started this journey! Many days I wanted quit! Don’t be afraid to make mistakes….As I look back (and I just graduated 5/22) I wish I hadn’t stressed out about clinicals as much as I did…go in prepared and ready to learn and ask questions! All the nurses I worked with during clinicals all felt the way we do during their journey and I agree with the statement “the more you learn the less you know” or at least it feels that way! You cannot possible know everything…think about it…its medicine…ever changing! Give yourself a break, breath and remember your dream!

    Good luck!


  18. elsalorene says:

    Thank you Linda! I sure will do that.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s