Survival tips for a future student nurse

Many of you found my blog by googling something along the lines of “Will I survive nursing school?”  I know school is beginning soon, so I have some advice:

~ Stop freaking out.  Yes, nursing school will be challenging. You are going to learn more than you can imagine, and some skills will be difficult for you to master. But as long as you take it one day at a time, you’ll get through it.

~ Stop watching medical shows. They will not prepare you for school, they’ll just make you even more nervous. “Did that nurse just shove a needle in that guy’s neck? I don’t know how to do that!” Of course you don’t, you haven’t even had your first day yet. You have my permission to watch some trashy reality shows instead.  Or read a book. I recommend Texts from Bennett.

~ If your school provided you a list of your textbooks, get them used from sites like bigwords.com.  However, don’t spend the rest of your summer memorizing the first few chapters of every book. Your study time will be much better spent in a few months when you actually know what material your instructors want you to cover. So don’t burn yourself out now!

~ Start a blog. I started this blog during nursing school, and I can’t describe how much it helped me survive. When I found myself in embarrassing situations, I kept thinking, “I can’t wait to write about this, I bet everyone finds it hilarious.” It helped me laugh at myself in the moment. Trust me, being able to laugh at yourself (and being okay when others laugh with you) is the key to surviving clinicals (hands-on patient care).

~ Find other nursing students to talk to. There are a ton of websites with nursing students posting questions and sharing their stories– join a few! Once you’re a few months into school, you’ll have close relationships with your classmates and will have them for support as well.

~ Don’t focus too much on getting perfect grades. Whenever I’d get overstressed about a test, my classmate used to ask, “What do they call a registered nurse who got all B’s in nursing school?” The answer: A registered nurse.

~ And down the road, remember that your patients are more scared than you are, so always treat them with respect and genuine kindness. When you get little thank-you notes from patients in the future, they aren’t going to say, “You checked my breath sounds perfectly!” So don’t concentrate so much on the technical side of things that you forget you are dealing with human beings.

~ Feel free to ask me any questions!

Good luck!

Katie

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6 thoughts on “Survival tips for a future student nurse

  1. I just stumbled upon your interesting blog. For a look back in time please see oldfoolrn.blogspot.com. You can even learn how to correctly fold and wear your nursing cap!

  2. Hi, you’re right I am thinking about college is gonna start. What am pissed of is I have to take 6 courses because I only have fall & spring semesters. No summer. I am post graduate so my BSN is my second. I feel too much pressure because preparing ahead wors for me! But it’s also crazy & drama for the next semesters. Recently I created my blog 🙂 I really hope I can be constant with it. I posted things in my personal IG but wasn’t enough! For now I am posting other interests in my blog. And I kind consideration preparing ahead? What do you think ?!

  3. I am not even going to lie. I start nursing school in less than 3 weeks and I am freaking out. Like I am so excited to be doing something different. But the fear of failure is right there to make me forget the excitement. Anyway, I really enjoyed this article. I am hoping I do well. I am taking 9 extra credit hours along with the 7 for nursing school. Thankfully, my job is working with me to allow me to keep it but at a reduced number of hours each week. And i already have great friends who I know are going into the nursing school also. 🙂

  4. Hi, I love reading your blogs! I’m in my last semester of nursing school and I’m stressing myself out 😦 graduation is near ( a few months away) and I feel completely lost! I have to say I don’t feel ready to be a nurse. When I was in doing my speciality rotations I was always so excited and stoked about clinicals and calm. Now I’m constantly stressed and overwhelmed ;( I even started to question myself if I wanna to do this for the rest of my life . I’m almost done and I don’t want to give up. I hate this unprepared feeling for real nursing. Is this normal?

    • Hi Nat,
      Thanks for the comment, and congrats on making it almost all the way through nursing school! What you are going through is 100% normal. The people who worry me are the ones who aren’t terrified of being unprepared, I think they’re more likely to get in over their heads and not know to ask for help. When you start on a floor (or wherever you end up after graduation), you’ll have a preceptor for awhile who will make sure you know what you need to for where you’re at. I went to the ER after graduation, and had a TON to learn still. So please try not to stress too much, everyone is (or should be) in your same shoes! Good luck with the rest of school!

  5. Hi, I came across your blog post recently and I think that it’s really appealing what you are writing. The tips that you are giving and your style of writing is helpful and full of sincerity that really touches me. I am from Mauritius and I not in the nursing profession but still, this post has been attracting me for some days now because my mum has now 43 years of services in the nursing profession. She started as a nursing student and has recently been promoted as Nursing Administrator. She has lived some of the experiences that you wrote and I know for sure that she worked really hard to be where she is now. For me, what you have written is very interesting because most people believe that it is quite an easy job but I know that it requires a lot of patience, discipline, good communication skills among others to be a good nurse. I thank you for the pleasant reading that I have been doing and I am looking forward to read your future posts on the nursing profession as it is one of the best profession I have seen.

    Annelise Albert.

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