Tips & Advice

Five Real-World Tips for First-Time Nursing Students

Tips & AdviceJune 17, 2016

The day is fast approaching. You’re finally about to leave for nursing school. Of course, you’re excited, but you’re probably also a little nervous. That’s understandable. Everyone has told you this will be challenging. But you’ve worked for years to get your RN to BSN, or to attend a nursing school program, or even to begin an online nursing program. 

You’ve probably already shopped for school supplies. You have flash drives at the ready and plenty of pens or pencils for old-school note taking. You’ve even invested in required course materials. But there are a few things you may not have considered yet. Here are some tips to help you hit the ground running and keep up with the pack.

1. Invest in Transportation

We’re not talking about a car, or a bus pass. Rather, we’re talking about a heavy duty rolling bag. Books and other weighty course materials are likely to pile up faster than snow in a blizzard. Be prepared to take a load off your back with a rolling bag. This isn’t high school, and you’re not backpacking through Europe. It’s all about practicality. Wheels are good. 

2. Ditch the Fancy Shoes

Speaking of getting around: Surrender your pride and invest in some sensible, durable, well-cushioned shoes. Ladies shouldn’t even think about wearing high heels. Nurses work hard, and so do nursing students. Dress accordingly. Your shoes have to hold up, and so do you. Even men’s dress shoes can be hard on the feet and legs after a long day. Consider wearing more comfortable, workplace-appropriate shoes. 

3. Save a Copy of Everything You are Required to Submit in Writing

If a paper is due, print out two copies. As scattered and stressed as you may feel some days, rest assured that your instructors are equally stressed, if not more so. They sometimes lose track of assignments, even after you’ve faithfully submitted them. Instructors have dogs at home too. One may have eaten your homework. For everyone’s sake, be prepared with an extra copy.

4. Adjust Your Mindset and Expectations

Entering a nursing program is a huge commitment. It takes time, money, energy, and dedication. The time and energy parts, especially, mean you’ll probably need to adjust your lifestyle. You may no longer have time for life’s simple pleasures. Like bathing as often, or for as long, as you’d like. Or talking with friends, going shopping and going out to regular dinner. Something’s got to give when you commit to this sort of goal. Leisurely gourmet meals that you fix for yourself may need to wait a while. 

5. Learn to Manage Your Time and Schedule

This is corollary to the preceding tip advice. In nursing school, time becomes your most precious asset. Spend every minute wisely. And remember that most humans require seven to nine hours of sleep to function optimally. You are very unlikely to be among the very rare exceptions to this basic rule of human biology. Guard your sleep time jealously. Adequate sleep is crucial to your success and even to your safety. Sleep-deprived individuals experience deficits in everything from cognitive abilities, to memorization tasks, to reaction times. Act accordingly. Sleep really matters.