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Nursing school is not an easy road, but it is a worthwhile investment.
It requires long hours and ruthless self-discipline, but it will pay off in the end. If you are committed to becoming an RN, then you will find a way to make it happen — and you will be glad that you did!
You are probably thinking, “I’ll just pick it up along the way!” That is not always enough, and there are things you should be aware of before committing to this path.
Failure To Prepare Is Preparation For Failure
Preparing for any study experience is both exciting and scary, you know you are going to be dedicating time and effort to something that will, hopefully, pay off in the long run; but it is not a guarantee, and that can be crippling for students to realize.
Whether you are a high school student looking into college, or a seasoned RN looking for a change of career, the preparation you put in now can be the difference between success and failure down the line.
The problem is most people do not think about their career until it is too late. You will see ads on TV for nursing schools and RN programs, such as RN to family nurse practitioner programs, and many students will sign up without doing any research. They focus on all the things they do not want to do (such as taking care of babies) and might not be open-minded to opportunities they did not even know were an option for them.
This is why you need to prepare long before you even start your nursing education.
Get Organised Before You Start Studying
You should always have a plan of action, know what kind of program you are doing, such as on-site nursing school or even a direct entry master’s in nursing, and know what your priorities are.
If you are going into nursing school with a family already in tow, for example, you will want to make sure that they are taken care of.
You can be a nurse and a parent, but it is not an easy road to take. Be sure to educate yourself on financial aid opportunities and scholarships since this can be an expensive endeavour for undergrads.
Consider how much time it will take to finish your coursework, find an internship and do your clinical, then include the time for getting all of this done — plus working part-time so that you can cover expenses until you get your RN license.
Develop A Thick Skin
Nursing school can be difficult, and it is an extremely stressful experience. If you are an emotional person, this can be a hard time. You should take the time to try to learn how to manage your feelings and not let them get in the way of your education.
You are going to have many sleepless nights when studying for exams, especially during nursing school. You will want to make sure that you have strategies in place for keeping yourself calm and focused so that you do not burn out before your program is over.
Decide How Much Work You Want To Put In
It is important to recognise that while nursing school is discipline-based, it is not easy to complete. You will have to work really hard and take care of yourself if you want to succeed. If you are not up for the challenge, then you should probably consider your options before diving into a qualification.
You should also consider how much effort is required from your family, taking care of your needs, making sacrifices along the way, and preparing for your first time away from home if this is something you have not done before.
You will also need to consider spending some time away from your studies too so that you can work and save some cash, take care of your family, and focus on the important things that are going to help you succeed in this career.
Get A Hobby (that is not nursing related)
Some students end up putting too much stress on nursing school and find it difficult to take a break.
Take the time to go on a vacation or travel so you can get away from your education.
You may want to think about getting involved in community service as well since this is not the time for a huge amount of partying and socializing. Helping in the community will help you get out of your comfort zone and grow as a person.
In addition, make sure that you do something with your friends outside of nursing school; if you are stuck at home or in school all the time, it is easy to forget who your real friends are.
Develop Your Communication Skills
Medical language is a special thing and if you do not understand it, it can lead to some major blunders on the job. This is why you should take the time to learn how the healthcare system works so you can be in command of your career.
This will start with taking a look at your academic performance so that you can identify any gaps in your knowledge. As mentioned above, you will need to take charge of your learning experience and find ways to fill in these gaps if you want to succeed academically.
You should also start addressing issues that are important to nurses when it comes to patient care.
Consider Getting Some Therapy
Many RNs will opt to take time off work when entering nursing school to really focus on their studies and their budding new career goals.
Other students will feel unprepared for the challenges that are ahead and find themselves struggling with depression, stress, and anxiety.
If this rings true for you, it is important to consider getting some counseling before you do anything drastic – such as dropping out of school.
A therapist can provide insight into your feelings and provide strategies to help you cope with challenges when they arise in your nursing school career.
Do Not Forget To Focus On Your Family
Prior to entering nursing school, you will want to make sure that your family is on board with what you are doing. Nursing school can be extremely stressful, and many students find it hard to take care of their families or connect with their wider families (such as parents and siblings) while they are studying.
Make sure that you are not too busy worrying about your studies that you forget about your loved ones, make time for them as well. We all need a little love!