Accelerated nursing school is no walk in the park. With such a comprehensive curriculum, it’s no surprise that nursing students are some of the hardest-working students out there. If you’re on the path of becoming a nurse, you may be wondering how to succeed in nursing school. What are the tried-and-true nursing school tips for success?
Felician University’s 16-month Hybrid Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program and 18-month On-Ground ABSN program in New Jersey have guided countless students through the journey of earning a BSN. We are well-versed in helping students overcome hurdles and graduate ready to take on a nursing career.
We’ll discuss eight helpful nursing school survival tips so you can see that success in nursing school is possible. If you have a passion for patient care and a hearty amount of grit, you can achieve your goal of becoming an RN.
1. Clarify Your Passion
Before you start scribbling notes and creating study schedules, follow the first nursing school study tip and take some time for self-reflection. Nursing school will challenge you in ways you’ve never experienced. It will push you to learn more and learn faster than you did in your prior college experience.
The challenge of an ABSN program can cause anxiety and stress as you work to meet expectations. Therefore, when school gets busy, you’ll need to remind yourself why you’re putting in the work. When you have a clear motivation and passion, you can cling to it and stand firm.
This is where clarifying your passion comes in. Before starting the accelerated BSN program, think through and write down your “why” for nursing. What motivates you? Why are you willing to put in the effort to become a nurse? Once you clarify your reasons, you’ll be able to use them as fuel. They will help you work harder and commit more fully to your academic success.
2. Create a Schedule
The key to success is effective planning and organization. Specifically, create a schedule to keep yourself accountable. Schedule when you’ll study and attend labs, clinicals, study groups, and exams. Add your assignment deadlines to your schedule.
When planning your study time, form a consistent routine. Plan for the same wake-up time, bedtime, and mealtimes each day. This consistency will help you settle into a healthy routine for managing school.
Some students use a digital calendar, some use a handwritten planner, and others use a mix of both. Find a system that works for you. With an accelerated BSN program like ours, you’ll need to juggle your classwork, skills and simulation labs, and clinical placements; keeping track of everything will take substantial organization.
Another key to creating an organized system for the ABSN program is to schedule your break times and extracurricular activities. When you have a break scheduled, take it.
3. Find Study Partners
One of the most common strategies of successful accelerated nursing students is group studying. In a hybrid accelerated nursing program, you will focus on independent learning with your online or on-ground coursework. However, many students find it helpful to collaborate with a group of like-minded students.
Find a few students in your cohort who are committed to working hard. Plan times to meet in person or by video to review material, clarify confusion, and quiz each other. Students find that having a consistent study group helps them understand course material better and keeps them accountable when finishing assignments and preparing for study sessions.
Lastly, connecting with peers throughout the stress of nursing school can support your mental health. Your nursing school classmates can relate to your unique situation, offering support and encouragement as you progress through the program.
4. Tailor Your Learning Strategies
Another one of the key nursing school tips for success is to optimize your learning methods. In an accelerated program, efficiency is vital. You have limited time and a lot to learn, so finding the best strategies for absorbing and retaining information will help you learn faster.
Below are a few ways you can improve your learning strategy:
- Tailor your learning methods to your learning style, whether audio, visual, kinesthetic, or reading/writing. Complete the VARK survey if you’re unsure of your learning style.
- Focus on active learning, not passive learning. For example, completing flashcards or answering practice questions are active strategies while reading a textbook is more passive.
- Use spaced repetition to help with long-term retention. For example, after learning a concept, review it again one day later, then two days later, then four, then six, and so on, gradually increasing the time between reviews. Download the Anki flashcard app to create digital flashcards for spaced repetition.
- Create outlines of the information you need to know for each exam.
- Listen to relevant podcasts or watch videos while exercising, driving, or preparing meals.
The main thing to remember is to keep your learning method fluid, especially at the beginning of nursing school. Try new strategies and tweak things along the way, paying attention to what works best for you. Cut out what doesn’t work and focus on what does. After a few months of refining your studying, you’ll settle on a plan that you can use throughout nursing school.
5. Ask Questions
As a nursing student, you will surely have countless questions. Whether you’re not sure how to put in an IV, how to recognize the symptoms of heart disease, or how best to study for an upcoming exam, your instructors at Felician are here to help. They look forward to talking with students and helping them succeed. That’s why they chose to go into teaching in the first place.
Our ABSN students can access instructor support through video office hours, emails, or discussion posts. It’s always in your best interest to ask questions early. That’s because the nursing curriculum is cumulative, building upon everything you’ve learned before. Therefore, get your questions answered early to avoid gaps in your knowledge moving forward.
6. Seek Support from Family and Friends
Nursing school will challenge you, so one of the nursing school tips for success is to rely on your loved ones for support. Talking with a good friend or family member in person or over the phone can improve your mood and provide much-needed encouragement.
Before starting nursing school, have a conversation with those close to you. Tell them your goals and explain that you’ll be busy with school for the next 16 or 18 months and would appreciate any help they’re willing to offer. There are many ways family and friends can support you during nursing school:
- Staying in touch through texts or regular phone calls
- Sending you handwritten letters of encouragement
- Meeting for the occasional coffee or meal
- Bringing you a meal while you’re studying for an exam
- Babysitting your children on a particularly busy day
7. Reserve Time for Breaks
While studying is essential for your nursing school success, taking time to decompress and process what you’ve learned is also important. Every day, set aside a little time for yourself. Prioritize the activities that mean the most to you, whether that’s playing with your kids, going for a bike ride, reading for fun, or visiting with a friend.
Making time for these activities will keep you grounded and sane. It will help you avoid excess stress when you feel like studying is consuming your life. It’s all about balance. Your brain has the ability to learn massive amounts of information, but even so, it needs time to process and organize that information. On top of that, you need the mental and emotional space to breathe between tough study sessions.
So, write those breaks into your schedule every day. It’ll keep you strong and focused and help you avoid burnout.
8. Take Care of Yourself
The final method for how to succeed in nursing school is to prioritize your overall health and wellness. You can do this in several ways:
- Spend time outside every day.
- Eat healthy foods and a well-balanced diet.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Exercise regularly.
- Stay current on health and dental visits.
- Seek mental health therapy if you’d like more support.
Begin Your Journey of Becoming a Nurse
As you can see from these nursing school tips for success, success in nursing school is possible. Hard work and determination will bring you a career where you get to influence someone’s life every day.
Felician University’s accelerated BSN program offers both a 16-month hybrid ABSN with three start dates yearly and an 18-month on-ground ABSN with one start date per year. Both options will prepare you with the skills and knowledge to be a practice-ready nurse upon graduation. Through a combination of coursework, nursing labs, and clinical placements, you’ll develop nursing skills in adaptable and interactive ways.
To learn more about your eligibility for the ABSN program, fill out our online form, and our admissions counselors will call you.