If you have decided on nursing for your chosen career path, you are about to embark on a journey to an incredibly rewarding career that will both challenge you and allow you to contribute to the health and wellbeing of your future patients. Nursing is also a career that provides for an abundance of opportunities to practice in various capacities and roles within the greater world of healthcare.
Before you are ready to start your career in nursing, however, you will need to enroll in nursing school and complete your degree. While there is more than one way to become a qualified nurse, the most popular route these days is to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.
A BSN degree will take roughly four years to complete, depending on your past education and qualifications, and can be quite a taxing process. From your first introduction into the world of medicine to your last clinical rotation, you will find yourself challenged throughout nursing school in ways that you might not have imagined. In fact, around 20% of nursing school students drop out and abandon their programs altogether each year.
The best thing you can do in order to achieve success in nursing school is take a proactive stance in setting yourself up to succeed. With many nursing school dropouts attributing their early departure from school to a variety of reasons ranging from financial to personal, it is impossible to provide for every eventuality. However, by thinking ahead and taking care to make the right decisions regarding your education, you can put yourself in a better position from the start of your education.
If you are about to enter nursing school and want to set yourself up for success to the best of your ability, here are a few things to consider.
Choose the Right Program
There are a great many nursing school students who choose to leave the program they are in because they ultimately find that the school is not a good fit for them. Not all nursing schools are created equal and many differ both in structure as well as in general philosophy when it comes to educating nurses. It is important that you choose the right program for you if you want to have the best chances of sticking it out.
For starters, you should consider the type of program that you are more comfortable with. While some people perform better in a traditional academic setting, there are other options out there these days for those who are not able to attend college in the traditional sense.
Online nursing school programs are becoming more and more popular. This is because nursing students are able to complete their courses on their own time without feeling restrained by being in a classroom at particular times. This flexibility helps many students who are in a situation where they need to work while they are in school as well.
Furthermore, making your selection from a number of accelerated BSN nursing programs means that you might not need to spend as much time on your degree as you would if you enrolled in a traditional four-year program. Ultimately, you will set yourself up for the best chances of finding success in nursing school when you take the time to choose a program that fits you.
Master Time Management
No matter what sort of program you choose to enroll in, it is important that you understand right from the start that nursing school is a very demanding process. This is because the job of a nurse is demanding as well, and you will need to be prepared for such a career. You will need to learn how to budget your time wisely through solid time management practices.
For starters, learning how to schedule your time from week to week is going to be a skill that is worth acquiring. While you will have designated class times and clinicals, you will need to schedule in time for studying and extensive reading. If you have social or professional obligations that must be seen to throughout the week, these should find their way onto your schedule as well.
The key to mastering time management, though, is to be honest with yourself. If you know that it is going to take you longer to prepare for a certain exam, then you need to make sure that your schedule and priorities reflect that. You will not do yourself any favors by overscheduling yourself throughout nursing school.
Do Not be Afraid to Ask for Help
Nursing school can be an incredibly humbling experience. Because of the demands of the workload, it is easy to find yourself overwhelmed and struggling to keep up. In such cases, you need to understand that there is no shame in asking for help.
In fact, many students who are pursuing degrees in medicine are encouraged to have at least a consultation with a school counselor in order to help them become more aware of the mental health risks associated with such endeavors and to learn the best ways to manage stress and anxiety. Asking for help in this way can be incredibly beneficial and help you to learn the signs of stress and burnout before things spiral out of control.
There are also other ways that you should be prepared to ask for help. For example, if you have previously seen yourself as an independent studier, nursing school is going to be the perfect time to learn the many benefits of joining a study group. It is nearly impossible to memorize and master all of the reading and material that you will be presented with in nursing school. A study group is a great way to share the workload a bit and make things a bit easier to manage.
Lastly, bear in mind that your professors and instructors are there to guide you. Never be afraid to ask for clarification or guidance when you are not entirely sure about something pertaining to a class.