You’ve prepared for this day for so long, and now it’s arrived; your first day of nursing school! Ever since you peered through a microscope back in middle school you’ve dreamed of your career in the medical field. And what better choice than nursing? As you begin your first day of nursing school, let us offer a few bits of advice, for today, and the next few years, to help you get the most out of nursing school.
Before you attend your first class you’ll want to know exactly what to expect, and what is expected of you. Use these 12 tips to guide you on your first day of nursing school and beyond. Preparation is key and these tips will keep you from being surprised by the unexpected.
Get Familiar with The Material
Nursing school learning happens at warp speed. Refer to your syllabus for your courses and always, always be prepared. Learn as much as you can ahead of class so you can get the most out of your class time.
As your nurse educator goes over the material for the lesson learn to be comfortable speaking out if you are unclear about something. You won’t look like a dim bulb! In fact, it’s likely if you don’t understand something another student is also having a difficult time. Be the one to ask the questions.
Find Your Tribe
Nursing school can be all-consuming, and it can seem as though your family and friends don’t “get it”. It helps to have the support of your peers. Those with whom you’e starting your first day of nursing school understand the struggles and the triumphs. Support one another.
Join Study Groups
You may find you need to “try out” a few study groups before your find the one that benefits you the most. If you find a particular group is lagging, or you feel they don’t meet your study needs, don’t be afraid to move on.
Make Studying Your Priority
By now you probably know your best approach to studying. Some people are auditory learners and may require reading outlaid. If possible, read and record, then go over as you highlight the text. For those who read, try hi lighting and making note cards to reference. Studying must be your priority right now. You may need to put your social life on the back burner for the time being.
Let Others Know You’re Focused on School
In that same vein, let your family, friends, and significant other, know you are hyper-focused for the time being. They will understand if they know you and have an idea how devoted you are to becoming a nurse. Communicate to your loved ones just how challenging nursing school can be. Never be afraid to say no to outside commitments.
Go Beyond “Good Enough”
Many students have a difficult time accepting their grades when they begin nursing school. For those nursing students who have had a relatively easy time in high school, and in their core course years of college, nursing school can be a shocker. You may find the wind taken out of your sails if you get a less-than-stellar grade, but don’t let it slow you down. Always try your hardest and you’ll have no regrets, even if you need to repeat an assignment. Don’t be afraid to ask for some tutoring, if need be.
Take Advantage of Available Resources
Your nursing school toolbox is filled with wonderful resources. You have passionate professors and educators, a library of reference texts, podcasts, online study guides, pre-exam study books for the NCLEX, and one another. Take advantage of all your resources to become the best nurse you can, from day one onward.
Find a Mentor
Your first day of nursing school promises to be the start of a fulfilling experience. The best way to navigate these waters is by finding a student who is ahead of you, someone who has the knowledge and experience and can help you get the most out of your classes. As you advance toward your degree you’ll find many opportunities when you can find a mentor.
Stay in Touch With Your Why
When the going gets ought take a break, step back, and reexamine why you want to be a nurse. This will help you get through he difficult times when a particularly hard class, or less-than grade make you question your decision. Keep your eyes on your whys!
Practice Time Management
From your first day of nursing school and on into your career you will need to practice excellent time management. Get a good planner (bullet journals can be helpful in organizing your tasks and goals) and stay connected to all of your assignments. tests, commitments, study sessions, etc. Dedication and planning are key to realizing your nursing school goals.
Don’t Neglect Self-Care
Self-care is another skill you’ll practice from your first day of nursing school and for the rest of your life. What healthy ways do you cope with stress? Meditation, yoga, running, pumping iron, sipping some chamomile tea in a bathtub filled with bubbles, binging on Netflix? Find what works for you and even throw in a day of pampering here or there.
Nursing school is hard, make no mistake. You’ll memorize more information than you ever thought possible. You’ll miss sleep as you study anatomy and physiology, cram for a pharmacology test, and try to quell the pre-clinicals jitters. But, through it all you will remain committed to your calling; to provide the best care any patient ever received.