Life of a Nursing Student: Here’s What to Expect at Nursing School

Life of a Nursing Student: Here’s What to Expect at Nursing School

22 July 2019 By Kate

Nursing student at school

Nursing can make for a great career and educational pursuit for the right person. If you’ve decided you’re that right person, you may be curious as to the life of a nursing student. Such knowledge can better prepare you for the road and years ahead, which can go a long way toward success and satisfaction. Here is what to expect at nursing school. 

Clinical Rotations Don’t Start at Day One

One of the first things to make yourself aware of is that, depending on your specific program, you likely won’t have clinical rotations your first semester. Instead, you can expect to be immersed in concept courses that provide you with a solid foundation on which you can learn how to take the best care of your patients. Nursing classes are designed to teach you about medical terminology, the history of nursing and how to apply nursing theory. 

The Life of a Nursing Student Is About Balance and Management 

If you don’t already have solid time management skills, now is the perfect time to change that. Specifically, you’ll have to balance your personal life/obligations, classes, family and friends. There’s even a chance that you may hold down a job while attending nursing school. Be prepared to make the most of every minute and second of the day, prioritizing what’s most important in both your academic and personal life. 

To help with this, let your family and friends know you’ll be busy with nursing school for the next few years and may not be as present in their lives as you’d like to be. In school, set yourself up for success by being well-prepared for your classes, studying whenever you have a free minute and letting your teachers know when there’s something you don’t understand. Additionally, use a detailed calendar to keep track of assignments, exam dates, study sessions and the like. It’s also good to schedule time to relax to avoid burnout. 

You Will Likely Feel Overwhelmed 

There’s a lot to take in when it comes to nursing school and learning how to survive nursing school. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed and stressed, just make sure you take steps to address those feelings. This is an area resolved by proper time management, prioritizing and deprioritizing. Also, now is the perfect time to exercise your right to say, “no.” While you may let family and friends know you’re busy with nursing school, there may be some people in your life who insist on your time. Establish boundaries before anyone tries to overstep them. 

Finally, it helps if you give yourself a break and realize you aren’t going to do everything perfectly while in nursing school. Rather than aim for perfection, aim for improving, being a little bit better than you were the day before. Learn how to extract opportunities and lessons from perceived “failures.” Although at times your schooling may feel overwhelming, it can be very rewarding to have long term goals and stay positive about the career you are pursuing.

Nursing Students Often Spend Money Out of Pocket 

Not only is nursing school hard, but you may have some out of pocket expenses. Note that you have to buy medical supplies and nursing scrubs, and pay licensure exam fees. One thing to bear in mind with medical supplies and scrubs is that you can use them once you’ve graduated and started your career.

For that reason, it’s best to opt for high-quality scrubs and equipment that will last you for years to come. Consider starting a savings account specifically for nursing school expenses, and keep an eye on your budget to avoid overspending or going without necessary items. 

There’s a Lot of Reading Involved

Of course, you expect a lot of reading when enrolled in higher education, but nursing school can take that expectation to an entirely new level. Do your best to avoid getting behind on class readings, even by just a few pages. When you keep up with readings, it becomes easier to keep up in class, and it’s easier to avoid feeling overwhelmed. 

For chapters or sections that prove more intimidating than others, space them out so you can devour them in small bites. Once you’re done with them, take out some time to go back and review them at a later date to keep the information fresh in your mind and make it easier to make connections with new, connected information. Finding and participating in study groups is also a great way to break down and gain a deeper understanding of confusing information.  

You’re Better Off Focusing on Your Comprehension Rather Than Your Grades 

The best way to determine how well you’re doing in any academic program is going by your grades, right? With nursing school, it’s more beneficial to concentrate on how well you comprehend the material rather than your grades. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to make good grades, just that even great students get Bs and Cs. As long as you understand the material and can think about it critically, you’re on the right track.

Think you have a good grasp of what nursing school is like? It may seem challenging, but we can assure you it’s worth it. If you’re still undecided about becoming a nurse, check out this post: Should I Be a Nurse? Get Help Deciding Your Career Path, or you can contact us at Pioneer Pacific College if you have any questions.

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