Study Tips to Help You Ace Nursing School

Nursing is a gratifying career. You’ll make a significant difference in people’s lives by caring for them in their toughest times. As a nurse, you can work in different settings, such as hospitals, doctors’ offices, schools, or even in your own home. However, to become a successful nurse, you must first pass nursing school. It intimidates a lot of aspiring students. You must manage your home and job and retain all the information you learn in your nursing classes. But don’t worry; it’s not an unachievable feat. All you need is a good plan and some study tips to ace nursing school. If you’re ready for the journey, these tips will help you get started:

  1. Learn to Manage Your Time Well

Time management is one of the most difficult tasks for nursing students. You have to deal with numerous theoretical classes, clinical rotations, and home assignments. And so, it’s essential to plan and allocate time for each task. Prioritize your activities and break down large tasks into manageable chunks. One super easy way that has helped many nurses is to use a planner or an app to keep track of their tasks and assignments. You can make weekly plans to ensure that you don’t forget anything. Also, start preparing for your exams well in advance. The eleventh-hour stress can erase all your hard work.

  1. Make Things Easier for Yourself When Possible

It can be tricky to manage both your job and nursing classes if you’re a working professional enrolled in an advanced nursing degree like BSN or MSN. So, if you have the option, choose online nursing programs that allow you to study at your own pace, according to your convenience. Online classes give you the flexibility to learn anytime and anywhere. They also provide access to digital course materials, which you can check anytime.

Another benefit of online classes is choosing a school near you and attending the clinic in person. If you’re concerned about the quality of education, rest assured that the curriculum of online nursing programs is just as intensive and well-designed as on-campus classes.

  1. Find an Effective Study Group

Nursing classes involve a lot of patient care scenarios and memorizing key concepts. Therefore, finding an influential study group can be a game-changer. Working with peers who share your passion for nursing can enhance your learning and help you gain new perspectives. You can share your knowledge on specific topics and even discuss complex concepts, making studying easier. Also, connecting with peers helps you stay motivated throughout your nursing school experience. It also improves your critical thinking and refines your communication skills. Both of which will make your journey as a nurse easy.

  1. Employ Mnemonics for Better Retention

Do you struggle to remember all the complex medical terms and procedures you learn in nursing school? Mnemonics might be the solution for you! They’re a helpful tool many nurses use to succeed in their studies and daily practice. Mnemonics can be a pattern of letters or phrases that make it easier to remember important information. You can also use mnemonics in your clinical rotations to help you quickly recall the details of a particular patient’s condition or treatment plan. 

Here are a few frequently used ones:

  • ABCDE is used for assessing critically ill patients in order of priority: Airway, Breathing, Circulation, Disability, and Exposure.
  • ADPIE is a nursing process mnemonic for Assessment, Diagnosis, Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation.
  • COLDSPA assesses pain: Character, Onset, Location, Duration, Severity, Pattern, and Associated Factors.
  • HOB helps remember the head of bed position: High Fowler’s, Orthopneic, Semi-Fowler’s, and Trendelenburg.
  • SAMPLE is for obtaining patient history: Symptoms, Allergies, Medications, Past Medical History, Last Oral Intake, and Events preceding the illness.
  1. Understand Your Learning Style

How do you learn best? Do you prefer charts and graphs? Are you an auditory learner who does best with lectures? Do you need to watch videos or read textbooks for better understanding? Is kinesthetic learning your thing?

Once you understand your learning style, creating an effective study plan becomes much easier. It also allows you to make the most of your study time and maximize your productivity. Making diagrams and mind maps is a great way for visual learners to remember information. In comparison, kinesthetic learners can benefit from hands-on activities and practice tests.

  1. Schedule Meetings with Your Instructor for Difficult Concepts

Of course, some concepts will be more challenging to grasp than others. Take pharmacology, for instance. In such cases, it’s best to meet with your instructor to get help on the topics that are troubling you.

During meetings, you can ask questions, seek clarification, and get personalized explanations for complicated concepts. It’s also a great opportunity to build a relationship with your instructor. It’ll help you feel more comfortable asking questions and seeking guidance throughout your nursing school journey. Use your time wisely.

  1. Use Outside Learning Resources Well

Classroom lectures and textbooks don’t always provide you with all the information you need. That’s where outside learning resources come in handy. These can include the following:

  • Online courses
  • Tutorials
  • Videos
  • Study groups
  • Social media groups

These resources can help you enhance your learning experience, gain new perspectives, and deepen your knowledge. 

You can also leverage technology to your advantage. Flashcard apps, quiz apps, and educational podcasts are all helpful.

Mayo Clinic and WebMD are reliable websites for information about health conditions and treatments. You can use these for a quick refresher or explore them in-depth.

  1. Take Breaks for Optimal Efficiency

We understand there’s a lot to learn! Nursing school can be demanding, and studying continuously can take a toll. That’s why taking regular breaks between studying sessions is essential. Taking breaks helps you stay focused and productive. It also refreshes your mind, which can be useful for taking exams or dealing with challenging tasks.

During your breaks, you can do relaxing activities like yoga or meditation. Or, take a walk outside for some fresh air and sunlight. Also, schedule some time for fun activities like watching movies, playing games, or socializing with family and friends.

Final Thoughts

Acing nursing school requires hard work, dedication, and commitment. Following the tips above will help you develop a positive and productive study habit that will help you become a successful nursing professional. 

Remember, just like you want to prepare for exams and do well, you must also care for yourself. So, get enough sleep, eat healthily, and stay positive. You can do this! Good luck!

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