Tips For Surviving Your First Semester In Nursing School

Education & Development Articles

Whether you've dreamed about being a caregiver since you were a small child or are ready to take on a new challenge later in life, the decision to enroll in nursing school is a huge commitment. For many new nursing students, the first semester can be very stressful, and if you're not careful, you could wind up getting in over your head. Here are a few simple tips that will help you get through that challenging and rewarding first semester of nursing school:

Keep Your Expectations in Check

You were a rock star all throughout high school and even aced your first few non-nursing general requirements. However, now that you're concentrating on the nursing curriculum, it is time to keep your expectations in check.

During the first few days and weeks of your nursing school career, your instructors will bombard you with a massive amount of information. You will be expected to read from several textbooks, sit through endless lectures and actually retain all of this information.

Don't worry if you are a solid B student – even if you're accustomed to getting straight A's. Instead, strive to be a great learner rather than a perfect student.

It's Never Too Early To Start Studying for the NCLEX

Even though it is your first semester, it is not too early to begin preparing for the National Council Licensure Exam, or NCLEX. This is the exam you will take at the end of your nursing school career, and it will be one of the most difficult tests of your life.

Although the NCLEX is months away, it is important to begin preparing for it during your first semester. Not only will reading study guides and taking practice tests help you prepare for the NCLEX, they will also help you master the critical thinking skills you will need to excel in your classes.

Additionally, preparing early for the NCLEX will also help you remember there is an end in sight. According to Nurse Together, remembering that there is a rewarding job waiting for you is one of the best strategies any nursing student can employ.

Don't Shy Away From Clinical Tasks

Many novice nursing students struggle with one of the biggest aspects of their education: clinicals. "Clinicals" refer to the hands-on tasks that you will need to perform once you are a full-fledged nurse. In addition to drawing blood, taking vitals and starting Foley catheters, you will also need to learn how to admit patients, communicate with your fellow health professionals and do endless amounts of paperwork.

The clinicals are often the most challenging parts of your nursing school career, which is why, instead of avoiding them, you need to jump in head first. Begin by getting to know your instructor. Let them know you're eager to learn and are seeking extra opportunities.

When you're not in school, practice the non-invasive skills you will need to perfect. For example, ask one of your family members to be a patient. Go through the admitting process, take their vitals and discharge them.

While you're in class, don't be afraid to step up and show your instructor what you have learned. Conversely, don't be afraid to ask for help, especially with the more invasive aspects of nursing. It can take months to learn how to take blood or work with needles, so do not get discouraged.

The first semester of nursing school will be trying – and it is tough for a reason. The instructors want to make sure you are passionate and have the drive to succeed. Instead of buckling under the pressure, remember to keep your expectations in check, that there is an end in sight and that it is okay to get a little queasy when drawing blood! Click here for more information about nursing school.


11 December 2015

Dedicating Your Time To Learning

When I started college, I realized that most of my friends and roommates weren't really serious about hitting the books. Instead of studying, most of them worried more about getting invited to parties or going out on dates. However, I realized that my time in college would matter a lot later in my professional life, so I decided to dedicate myself to learning. I spent hours in the library learning course material, and it really started to pay off. I was able to earn my degree a lot faster than some of my colleagues, which was awesome. Check out this blog to learn tips for getting more out of college.