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The Best Nursing School Advice from a Nursing Student

Nursing school advice comes in all forms! From seasoned nursing professionals to incoming students, there are plenty of tips for nursing students that can be helpful. Learn insights into nursing school and how to study as a nursing student from Sandra Wong (@thesandrawong), a family nurse practitioner student!

Here are some key points you should take note of from the webinar:

Is nursing school hard?

Nursing school is hard, but you can do hard things. What makes nursing school challenging is the fact that you have to juggle a lot of responsibilities at once. However, the nursing concepts themselves are not impossible to comprehend. With enough practice and the right tools (like Picmonic or TrueLearn), you can break down hard nursing courses and concepts into digestive bits. 

How to get your brain in the game 

Getting caught up in the stress is easy, but the best nursing school advice is to take a deep breath.

Before your exams or after a stressful day, get your brain in the game with a breathing exercise. Try the three steps below.

Study with Picmonic

1. Inhale through your nose for two seconds.

2. Hold your breath for one second.

3. Breathe out of your mouth slowly for four seconds.

This should help ease nerves, but try skipping caffeine too if you’re prone to the jitters. 

Furthermore, you can filter out social media accounts that don’t bring you joy. Doom scrolling is a real thing, and you don’t need that before or after a long day of learning.

Another good piece of nursing school advice is to create your own health mantra. Repeat, “You are enough. You can do hard things. You got into nursing school.” Positive affirmations curate a positive mindset and keeps anxiety at bay, so believe in yourself when times get rough.

How to organize your semester in nursing school

exam study plan

You need a planner! When you have a lot going on externally and internally, writing down your plans will keep you organized and mentally prepared. 

Find an easy planner like this one made for nursing students, and write it all down. All events are important—birthdays, tests, and quizzes.

Write down your tasks and list at least five each day. Longer lists can be overwhelming, so stick to your top priorities. When you cross out your top five priorities, you’ll feel accomplished and ready to rest.

Healthy habits to build in nursing school

Starting healthy habits early in nursing school is key to survival. Find a carb and protein snack, prepare meals, and make sure to not skip breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Skipping meals increases cortisol, leaving you stressed, hungry, and angry. Offer your body a healthy portion of veggies and fruits, exercise or walk, and sleep to be fueled and well-rested.

Overall, sleep helps your body reduce stress, think logically for exams, and prioritize patient safety when you’re answering nursing questions. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep every day, and prioritize sleep over studying up late for a test—wake up early and study instead.

Wondering how to study as a nursing student? Build healthy learning habits by identifying what works best for you! Watch videos, listen to lectures, write notes, use study guides, and read. And if it helps, find images related to the topic, listen to podcasts, and take more notes. It will help information stand out. 

To increase focus during study sessions, use your planner to regroup and adjust, turn off your phone or notifications, get up and walk to get gears turning, and study for 25 minutes with a break of five minutes.

How to stay motivated in nursing school 

woman sitting at classroom desk character

Remember your purpose. Why did you choose nursing? At times, showing up can be the most difficult part of nursing school, but repeat your reasoning vocally and internally every morning to motivate yourself. Don’t forget, at one point, you were thrilled to get into nursing school, so remembering that day should also be encouraging.

Furthermore, you should look at that card from your patient from clinical if you have it, keep in mind things or people that keep you going, and–-if finances are a motivator—print out your student loans to put on your wall!

A nursing student’s tips for studying and taking nursing exams 

Clinical tips: When you’re in clinical, you’ll engage in hands-on learning. The more you see and do will build your confidence and the experience allows you to practice nursing. Acknowledge the nerves, and don’t forget that fear is expected. All that matters is that you show up willing to learn. 

Study tips: When studying for exams, write safety implications: 

  • Does the BP med lower BP?
  • What would the patient look like if the patient was experiencing side effects?
  • What is a normal BP for the patient?
  • How do you know if the patient should hold the med?

Knowing your nursing concepts and interventions will help you over time. To practice questions, transform them into a safety fun fact.

Anki flashcards are also especially helpful in memorizing key concepts and terms. These digital cards can be created or bought, and you can bring them with you digitally to study on the go. 

Exam tips: Use these tips when encountering nursing questions.

  • Identify the concept and see if the answers relate to the question being asked. If it doesn’t, it’s probably not the right answer.
  • Select all that apply questions are kind of like true or false questions. If the answer is false, do not select it! 

Are you a first-year nursing student? Get more nursing advice and tips for first years in our blog. Also, just remember, nursing school is a marathon, not a sprint. Be kind to yourself, celebrate your achievements, and never give up on your dream of becoming a nurse. You’ve got this!

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