Nursing School Prep

The Struggles of Having a Friend in Nursing School

Nursing School PrepJune 15, 2016

Being a faithful friend to someone in nursing school requires a special kind of patience and dedication. Students attending nursing school, enrolled in an online nursing school, or going from RN to BSN, are a breed apart. They’re engaged in a noble pursuit, which is admirable. Some day they may be in a position to render you important medical aid. But right now they’re also probably working harder than you, and longer hours than you and many of your peers.

That’s where you come in. You’re determined to remain a close, dedicated friend, despite the numerous challenges posed by nursing school. Don’t let it come between you. Your nursing friend still needs your support and friendship. He or she just doesn’t have the bandwidth right now to show it.

Patience is a Virtue

Be patient. Eventually your nursing student friend will resurface and ask for your advice, companionship, or input. Sooner or later, they’ll be ready to blow off some steam again. Despite your own scheduling issues, make every effort to be available during the brief moments when they indicate a readiness or willingness to spend some time with you. It’s not that your nursing student friend doesn’t care about you or think about your friendship occasionally. It’s just that he or she is probably a little overwhelmed: by lack of sleep, a crushing workload, pending papers, and approaching clinical rotations. Try to keep perspective and remain flexible.

Plan ahead. That said, it’s also a good idea to try to schedule time—far in advance—when you can reconnect or have a little fun that doesn’t involve medicine. Don’t expect to be able to schedule these gatherings on week nights. Save it for the weekend. Nursing students are generally too tired or stressed to go out on week nights.

Planning and Compromise

Adjust your expectations. You may be accustomed to texting back and forth with your bestie, but if he or she is enrolled in nursing school, you may have to realign your expectations. They’ll no longer have the time or opportunity to text repeatedly, continuously, and promptly. Get used to it. Rather than complain, try to be understanding and supportive. Many nursing students feel as if they’re peddling as fast as they can already. Don’t add to the pressure. You job is to be supportive and to listen well when the rare opportunity arises.

When your friend asks if you’d like to go out—accept. It may not be the most convenient possible time for you, but you can bet it’s one of the few moments of free time your friend will have earned. Grab it when it comes.

Finally, resist the urge to review your own medical concerns with your friend. The impetus to develop hypochondria is hard enough for medical and nursing students to resist themselves. Don’t add to the problem. If you have a headache, for example, it’s far more likely to be from lack of hydration or sleep than a rare brain tumor. Get some rest, drink some water, and take an aspirin if you really think it’s necessary. Just don’t pester your nursing student friend with your hypochondriacal musings. It’s gauche. And boring. Just be a fun, supportive—and understanding—and you’ll both get through this thing called nursing school.